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Understanding UPS & FedEx shipping zones

By Last updated on: March 3, 2023

What is a shipping zone?

UPS & FedEx shipping zones are crucial for each package you send. Shipping contracts are divided into zone pricing. Each package price is based on the destination zone. You cannot get away from zones, so investigate what a zone is and how to determine your zones.

UPS & FedEx shipping zones are based on a package’s distance from origination to the final destination. These distances are formulated in various zones. Since UPS & FedEx shipping zones start where your package originates, use the zone chart specific to your originating ZIP code.

The zones also change with each service. For example, Ground does not have the same zip code range as Next Day Air.

FedEx Zones

Get a list of FedEx zones from your zip code, and use the “Get FedEx Zone Locators” function. Just enter your zip code and hit the “Get zone locator.” FedEx will provide a list of all other zip codes and the zone it is located in. A popup window will open that says “Download Rates.” Click on the “Download Rates” box. Your FedEx Zone Locator will appear in a PDF file, ready to print.

FedEx zone calculator screenshot Refund Retriever

FedEx Ground Economy Zones (SmartPost)

FedEx Ground Economy uses the United States Postal Service for final delivery to ship low-weight residential packages. SmartPost can reach every U.S. address. P.O. boxes, APO, and FPO locations. SmartPost does not use assigned zip codes but uses the distance in miles.

UPS Zones

To get a list of UPS zones from your zip code, go directly to UPS with this link. Enter your zip code in the download zone charts box and hit the “Download” button. UPS will provide a list of all other zip codes and the zone it is located in.

The CSV file will contain zones for UPS Ground, UPS 3 Day Select, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Next Day Air Saver, and UPS Next Day Air. To determine the zone, take the first three digits of the receiver’s ZIP code and refer to the UPS chart.

UPS zone calculator screen shot Refund Retriever

How Distance Affects E-Commerce Delivery

One of the biggest mistakes in contract negotiation is¬†coming to the negotiation table unprepared. UPS & FedEx shipping zones are critical. UPS & FedEx know more about a shipper’s distribution than the shipper. Know how many packages are delivered in each zone among various weight ranges before you start the process. How many packages each year will receive more significant discounts? Contact us if you have more questions. We are happy to help with a free benchmark analysis.

Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay-based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce, and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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