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Holiday Shopping May Be Pricier This Year

A United Parcel Service Inc. driver delivers packages on Cyber Monday in New York U.S. on Monday Nov. 30 2015

UPS announced this week that it will be adding a new charge during peak holiday shopping weeks for US residential packages, large packages and packages over maximum limits.

UPS said the new charges are needed to help pay for additional expenses incurred by the company during the holiday season. Additionally, from December 17 to 23, they'll add on an 81 cent surcharge for next-day air and a 97 cent fee for second- and third-day air deliveries.

"To meet their requirements, UPS flexes its delivery network to process near double our already massive regular daily volume, and that creates exceptional demands", UPS Chief Commercial Officer Alan Gershenhorn said in a statement.

UPS has worked closely with retailers to manage the peak season surge since struggling to do so in 2013 and 2014.

It is unclear whether Memphis-based FedEx, which is due to report quarterly results after the close of trading on Tuesday, plans to adopt a similar peak season surcharge policy.

UPS shares were down 6 cents at $110.53 in late morning trading on Monday.

The peak surcharge will apply to packages with an actual weight of more than 150 pounds, ones that exceed 108 inches in length or packages that exceed a total of 165 inches in length plus girth (2 x width) + (2 x height) combined.

Last minute holiday shopping might be stressful for consumers, but it's quite literally millions of times more exhausting for shipping companies. The company added 95,000 seasonal employees during the last holiday period.

It's going to cost a little more to ship that holiday package this year. The 27 cent surcharge on each item represented an increase of about 3.4 per cent.