So what does this change mean specifically? For one thing it means that, unless you have a custom divisor, a one-cube (12x12x12) box will be billed at least 13 lbs. How many one-cube shipments does your company have which weigh 13 lbs.? This is fairly heavy. Currently (166 divisor), this same box would have only been billed at a minimum of 11 lbs. Just a couple years ago (194 divisor), it would have been 9 lbs. And only a couple years before that (no divisor) it could have been as little as 1 lb., so while this single change may seem benign to some, the dimensional trend has been a painful one for shippers of all sizes.
Let’s use some examples using 2016 rates:
- A zone-8, one-cube commercial ground shipment will be billed a (published) minimum of $18.22 instead of $16.19 – a 12.5% increase (to be fair, a zone 2 shipment would only increase 4.0%). Just a few years ago (still using 2016 rates), this same zone-8 package could be have billed as little as $8.66 (I’ll let you do your own math).
- This same zone-8 carton shipped Priority Overnight will be billed $151.27 instead of $136.92 – a 10.5% increase.
This is on top of an average 3.9% rate increase (Ouch!)
What are your options? In addition to considering regional carriers which may have more favorable dimensional rules, the most obvious is to pursue remedies within your carrier agreement. Beyond that, it’s worth evaluating whether or not your packaging is optimized for your product. Working with your product vendors, corrugation providers, or (yes) UPS / FedEx to better design your cartons to reduce wasted (and expensive) space, while simultaneously ensuring product integrity, is another option. Although package design/engineering can be costly on your own, the aforementioned providers can help defray some or all of the cost depending on your situation and relationship.
It’s worth noting that as I am writing this, UPS has not indicated whether or not they intend to follow FedEx’s lead in this change. Any bets? Maybe I should buy two lottery tickets instead.