Webb's Office Equipment Inc

PEAK Shipping Surcharges Still Being Applied due to COVID-19

Here is a snapshot of what’s happening with 3 of Canada’s top couriers (as of August 28th, 2020):

Purolator, FedEx, and UPS have all suspended their guarantees on delivery services (like 9am and Next-Day).  Note:  The Services themselves have not necessarily been suspended.  You can still select 9am Delivery (and pay for it).  Couriers aren’t currently guaranteeing the parcel will actually get delivered by 9am.

FedEx Express and Ground Services Temporary 6.75% Surcharge has been extended to August 30th (in effect since April 6th).

The Purolator (Courier Division) fuel surcharge for Canadian Domestic services is 7.5% (in effect since August 3rd and extended until at least September 6th).

UPS‘s current Canadian Domestic surcharge is 9% (in effect since August 24th and will be in play until further notice).


Among the many, many, many impacts of COVID-19 on businesses is the disruption in shipping.

March saw people ordering cleaning and bathroom supplies they could no longer find at the local grocery store, April brought us a rise in other household items coming via eCommerce, and the steady trend as people avoid going shopping (or discover depleted stock in their communities), has online shopping and real world shipping matching or surpassing Christmas-season volumes for months on end.

With an uncertain end-date, these are the tides upon which businesses now must surf.  Product coming into our businesses from suppliers AND orders shipped to clients might both suffer delays.  But as businesses have gotten over the major hurdles of shifting business and staffing processes and policies to adapt to this ongoing episode of The Twilight Zone, something else is coming into focus:  delays are not the only cost.

Businesses with negotiated service rates should be aware of three key things:

  1. Negotiated rates do not include Fuel or Peak surcharges.
  2. When booking online, most shippers do not factor in the surcharges until after you’ve booked the shipment.
  3. Not all shippers calculate their surcharges the same way for the same origin/destinations.

It’s easy to get lost and it’s easy to spend more than you intended (and often more than you needed to).  There are tools like Quadient Shipping Solutions that will consolidate all of your shippers (with your negotiated rates) onto a single screen so that you can enter your shipment details once and get a FULL snapshot that includes:  all preferred shippers, all services, and the TOTAL cost of the shipment.

Shipping is, of course, an integral part of many of our businesses and often is the most critical cog in your customer service wheel – so it’s not something we can simply put on hold as the world changes around us.  But now is the time to get down to best practices.  It’s a cost of business that is worth evaluating, monitoring, and mastering.