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UPS Additional Handling Charge: What you need to know

By Last updated on: January 18, 2024

Many shippers notice a UPS Additional Handling charge on their UPS invoice and wonder what it is and why it is so expensive. Additional handling charges are an added fee because the package did not conform to UPS’s characteristics. UPS service centers must treat the box differently than the rest. So how much are these fees, and how can we reduce them?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

How much is the UPS additional handling fee?

2024 *Effective December 26, 2023Zone 2Zone 3 – 4Zone 5 & UP
Dimensions (Length, Width, Length + Girth)$22.00$24.50$28.25
2023Zone 2Zone 3 – 4Zone 5 & UP
Dimensions (Length, Width, Length + Girth)$18.50$20.50$23.50
2022Zone 2Zone 3 – 4Zone 5 & UP
Dimensions (Length, Width, Length + Girth)$15.75$17.50$20.50
2021 Zone 2Zone 3 – 4Zone 5 & UP
Dimensions (Length, Width, Length + Girth)$15$16$18
UPS Additional Handling Charge 2023

2020 UPS changes to additional handling

Before this year, an additional handling charge was applied to packages weighing 70 pounds or greater. In 2020, any domestic package with an actual weight greater than 50 pounds will see a charge of $24.00 added to the cost.

UPS Additional Handling Charge

How does UPS define an additional handling charge?

The following is from the 2021 Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service Agreement that was updated on July 11, 2021:

40.9 UPS Additional Handling Charge 

  • Any article that is not fully encased in a cardboard shipping container, including tires;
  • A package with an outer shipping container not made of corrugated cardboard,
    • including but not limited to canvas, leather, metal, wood, hard plastic, soft plastic, or Styrofoam;
  • Any article in a soft-sided pack (polybag or bubble mailer) that exceeds 18 inches along the longest side, 14 inches along the second-longest side, or 6 inches in height;
  • Packages covered in shrink wrap or stretch wrap;
  • Any package bound with metal, plastic, or cloth banding or that has wheels, casters, handles, or straps;
  • Cylindrical-like items;
  • Packages routed through UPS’s irregular package sortation process;
  • Any Package with its longest side exceeding 48 inches or its second-longest side exceeding 30 inches;
  • Any domestic package with an actual weight greater than 50 pounds;
  • International package with an actual weight of 71 lbs or more;

How can a company avoid UPS’s additional handling charges?

UPS’s additional handling and other fees account for a considerable portion of a small parcel shipper’s overall shipping spend. Therefore, effective shipping spend management is vital for any business to achieve a competitive edge in the densely populated e-commerce market. Our analytics and reporting will provide shipping and transportation insight for all your logistics and technology levels.

Price Reduction

They cannot avoid shipping packages within the UPS definition. Many companies have this cost reduced during a contract agreement negotiation with UPS. The carrier might agree to a 25-75% reduction of this fee.  

A shipper can also request to have one of the four different situations discounted. Rather than receive a 50% discount on all the additional handling fees, opt for a reduction on the two most used fees and full price on the others. 

Definition Variance

But what if, instead of a cost reduction, a company could negotiate a definition variance of UPS additional handling? This would prevent packages from falling within limits. Try altering the UPS agreement to increase the actual weight limit to 53 or 55 pounds if your company has a product just over the limit. Another option is to request a variance in the measurements. Namely, negotiate for a modification to “any package with its longest side exceeding 50 inches or its second-longest side exceeding 33 inches.”

Contact the experts at Refund Retriever to analyze your current accessorial fee spend. In summary, we can help lower future shipping costs with a complete contract negotiation. 

UPS Additional Handling
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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