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FedEx vs. UPS Shipping Plans 2023


In the shipping industry, FedEx and UPS are the top dogs.

FedEx dominating the air courier service. While UPS is at the helm for ground parcel deliveries. Both companies are household names (thanks Cast Away), and offer a wide variety of shipping services. With each having their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

So, which company is better? FedEx or UPS? Let’s take a look at their services and the differences between them.


FedEx is a multinational delivery service company based in the United States. The company provides shipping, transportation, and logistics services to customers and businesses worldwide. It operates a fleet of planes, trucks, and other vehicles that it uses to transport packages and documents to destinations around the world.

Founded in 1971, FedEx has grown to become one of the largest and most well-known delivery companies in the world. The company offers a wide range of services, including overnight, same-day, and ground delivery, as well as logistics and supply chain management services. Customers can track packages, schedule pickups, and drop off packages at FedEx locations and other retail outlets.

FedEx has a significant presence in the e-commerce market, as the company has been able to capitalize on the growth of online shopping. The company has invested in technology to optimize its operations and improve the customer experience.

Shipping Service Rates:

1. Flat Rate

FedEx flat rate is based on three factors: packaging size, destination and the delivery speed chosen:

  • Small box: as low as $12.40
  • Medium box: as low as $16.50
  • Large box: as low as $24.95
  • Extra large box: as low as $39.10

2. Overnight

As the name suggests, this delivery service guarantees shipments will be delivered the next day by a certain time. If your shipment is 150 lbs. or less, FedEx offers three different delivery options for overnight delivery, depending on when you need your package to arrive.

Below, you’ll find an examples of shipping costs when shipping a 5lbs package sized 12-3/8″ x 3″ x 17-1/2″ from Los Angeles, CA to New York City, NY:

  • First Overnight: $191.25

Delivery the next-business-day morning by 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. to most areas. Additional extended delivery locations are guaranteed up to 2 p.m.

  • Priority Overnight: $154.51

Delivery the next business day by 10:30 a.m. to most businesses in the contiguous U.S. and by noon to residences and 4:30 p.m. to some rural areas.

  • Standard Overnight: $1492.20

Next-business-day delivery by 4:30 p.m. to U.S. businesses and by 8 p.m. to residences.

3. Ground

Your run-of-the-mill ground delivery service, perfect for your everyday shipment needs. Especially if you need to get something from point A to point B quickly and affordably.

  • Shipping/transit time 

Delivery within the contiguous U.S. takes 1–5 business days. Shipping to and from Alaska and Hawaii requires 3–7 business days

  • Weight Limit & Maximum Package Size

Packages up to 150 lbs., 108″ in length, and 165″ in length plus girth (L+2W+2H) can be shipped.

  • Delivery Rate

FedEx Ground delivers throughout all 50 states to all U.S. business addresses. FedEx International Ground ships between the U.S. and Canada, and within Canada

  • Cost/Rate

Determined by how many different ground shipping zones the packages travel through for delivery. FedEx Ground has seven zones for U.S. shipping. Zones are laid out in a rough bullseye around your origin address.

Each ring labeled Zones 2 through 8. Zone 2 is 0–150 miles away. Zone 3 is 151–300 miles from the origin address, and so on.

4. Freight

FedEx’s forte, freight can be transported domestically or internationally by land, air or sea. Any shipment over 150 lbs. is considered freight. There is a plethora of shipping services offered by FedEx to accommodate any and every freight needs. Ocean delivery, custom flights, large-volume LTL shipment, temperature control and increased security freight. Just to name a few.

For brevity’s sake, here’s quick rundown LTL freight services. LTL shipping refers to the transportation of smaller freight or cargo that does not require an entire truck to transport. This service is often used by companies that need to ship goods that are too large for parcel delivery services, but not large enough to fill an entire truck.:

  • Freight Priority 

Offered by FedEx that provides fast and reliable delivery for larger, heavier shipments. With FedEx Freight Priority, you can expect the fastest published transit times of any nationwide LTL freight carrier.

  • Freight Economy 

Offered by FedEx that provides cost-effective delivery for larger, heavier shipments. FedEx Freight Economy offers delivery at a lower cost than FedEx Freight Priority, making it an ideal option for businesses on a budget.

  • Freight Direct  

Offered by FedEx that provides direct-to-consumer delivery for larger, heavier items. It is designed for businesses that are looking to expand their e-commerce capabilities and reach more customers. With FedEx Freight Direct, businesses can offer their customers the convenience of home delivery for larger items that are not typically available for home delivery.


United Parcel Service (UPS) is a multinational package delivery and supply chain management company based in the United States. Founded in 1907, the company has grown to become one of the largest and most well-known logistics and delivery companies in the world.

In recent years, UPS has made significant investments in technology to optimize its operations and improve the customer experience. The company has embraced automation and digitalization in its warehouses and delivery trucks, and has developed a range of digital tools to help customers manage their shipments.

UPS also has a significant presence in the e-commerce market, as the company has been able to capitalize on the growth of online shopping. The company has also been expanding its services in the healthcare, automotive and industrial sectors.

Shipping Service Rates:

1. Flat Rate

With UPS Simple Rate, you pick from the five flat packaging rates and the four shipping speeds. Ship anywhere in the U.S. for a predictable rate:

  • Extra Small: Starting at $10.20
  • Small: Starting at $13.35
  • Medium: Starting at $16.05
  • Large: Starting at $21.05
  • Extra Large: $26.05

2. Priority/Overnight

UPS 2nd Day Air and 3rd Day Air are shipping options offered by UPS that allow customers to receive their packages within a guaranteed timeframe. 2nd Day Air is a service that guarantees delivery of packages within two business days, and 3rd Day Air guarantees delivery within three business days. These services are typically more expensive than standard ground shipping but provide faster delivery times.

  • UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.® delivers to the 48 contiguous states and limited addresses in Alaska and Hawaii
  • UPS 2nd Day Air delivers to all 50 states and Puerto Rico with some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
  • UPS 3 Day Select delivers to the 48 contiguous states.
  • Packages can be up to 150 lbs. and up to 108” long.

3. Ground

Typically the most economical option for shipping packages within the United States. As well as UPS’s bread and butter. UPS Ground uses a network of ground transportation to deliver packages to destinations. The delivery time varies depending on the distance between the origin and destination, but it typically takes 1-5 business days for package to be delivered within the contiguous United States. Ground shipping is the most common way for packages to be delivered for residential or commercial addresses, also for a large or heavy items.

  • UPS Ground delivers to businesses and homes in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
  • Packages can be up to 150 lbs. and up to 108” long.
  • Transit times are between one to five business days, with Saturday delivery standard to most residential addresses.
  • Shipping rates are more intuitive than FedEx. Calculate time and cost here.

4. Freight

PS Freight operates through a network of terminals and hubs across the United States and Canada, providing customers with reliable and efficient shipping options. The company also offers a variety of additional services including tracking, insurance, and customs clearance for international shipments. UPS Freight offers just about the same services as FedEx freight.

Both companies have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to compare them based on factors such as cost, transit times, shipping routes, and the type of cargo you’re shipping.

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