Additional Handling | Large Package | Over the Max

by LJM Group

UPS has been on a mission to eradicate undesirable freight. Specifically targeting larger, heavier, and oversized packages that do not align with their shipping network. As you can imagine, these larger and heavier packages consume more of their time, space, and most importantly, their profits. To make up for the additional work and overhead needed to handle these unwanted shipments, UPS has significantly increased the fees associated with handling them. The fees most affected include Additional Handling, Large Package and Over Maximum Limits. If you ship large and heavy packages, be prepared to see your shipping costs rise significantly.

Additional Handling Fee has increased by 18.8% in 2019, jumping to $14.25. This $14.25 surcharge is applied to packages that require special handling, including:

  • If your packages’ longest side exceeds 48 inches (122 centimeters)
  • If your packages’ second-longest side exceeds 30 inches (76 centimeters)
  • Any article that is encased in an outside shipping container made of metal or wood
  • Any cylindrical item, such as a barrel, drum, pail, or tire, that is not fully encased in a corrugated cardboard shipping container
  • Weight
    • If your package has an actual weight greater than 70 pounds (32 kilograms), your fee is $23.00 (a 21.1% increase from $19.00 in 2018).
    • Each package in a shipment where the average weight per package is greater than 70 pounds/32 kilograms and the weight for each package is not specified on the shipping documentation or in the UPS automated shipping system used.

Large Package Surcharge – For domestic shipments, UPS defines a “Large Package” when its length (longest side of the package) plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeds 130 inches (330 centimeters), or shipments whose length exceeds 96 inches (244 centimeters). Large Packages will be subject to a minimum billable weight of 90 pounds (41 kilograms). An additional handling fee will not be assessed when a Large Package Surcharge is applied.

How much is that Large Package surcharge? In 2019, you will now be paying $95.00 for any commercial package and $115.00 for any residential package that is deemed a Large Package by UPS; these are 18.8% and 27.8% increases from 2018, respectively. Your package will also be up-charged to a minimum billable “90 pound” shipment (ouch!).

UPS is not done there. Let’s not forget about the Over Maximum Limits Surcharge, which increased by 30.8% in 2019 to $850.00 per package (yes, you read that correctly). This surcharge applies to packages with an actual weight of more than 150 pounds, or that exceed 108 inches in length, or when its length (longest side of the package) plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined, exceeds 165 inches. These packages are not accepted for transportation in the UPS small package system and if they are found, they will be subject to additional charges including the Over Maximum Limits surcharge of $850.

We have already noticed several instances where UPS took advantage of these increases, particularly with the Over Maximum Limits fee. The below example is a scenario we have seen far too often between a shipper and UPS.


The shipper manually entered their box size of 33x30x30 into the UPS shipping software. The total length and girth combined of this package equates to 153 inches which means this package would have been charged with the additional Large Package surcharge of $95.00, which the customer was prepared for. When UPS received this package, their scanners measured the same exact box as 40x34x30. With these new box dimensions, the total length and girth combined of this package is now 168 inches.

33 + plus girth [(2 x 30) + (2 x 30)] = 153 inches (Large Package Surcharge)

40 + plus girth [(2 x 34) + (2 x 30)] = 168 Inches (Over the Maximum Limits Surcharge)

Why is this significant? This package now exceeds the 165-inch threshold and now qualifies as an Over Maximum Limits package. That $95.00 Large Package surcharge the shipper was prepared for just turned into a $850.00 Over Maximum Limits surcharge. This is a 795% increase! I am sure we have all heard the cliché saying, “It’s a game of inches” but it appears that UPS really is playing a game of inches now. As this example illustrates, a couple of inches, one way or the other, can have significant consequences on your small parcel spend.

The drastic increases in Additional Handling, Large Package and Over Maximum Limits fees in 2019 is proof that the Carriers are getting smarter and hitting the shippers where it hurts the most to discourage packages of this size and weight from shipping through their small package systems.

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