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Shipping Out: Couriers Announce Big Business Changes

FedEx said Tuesday that shipping rates for its Express, Ground, Freight and Home Delivery services will increase by an average of 4.9 percent in January because of higher-than-expected operating costs due in part to larger package sizes.

Before then, however, surcharges for Ground shipments that exceed 150 pounds, are more than 108 inches long or more than 165 inches in length and girth combined will jump from $57.50 per package to $110 per package on November 2.

UPS plans to hire between 90,000 and 95,000 full- and part-time seasonal employees to work as package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers during the e-commerce-driven delivery demand that the company expects will begin in November and continue through January.

“We have initial volume forecasts from our customers and are starting the hiring process for our temporary holiday season jobs,” Myron Gray, president of U.S. operations, said Tuesday. “We have need for various positions on all shifts at UPS locations throughout the United States.”

Cainiao, the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to speed up the delivery of goods sold through AliExpress to consumers in the U.S.

“As cross-border e-commerce grows rapidly, it is critical that we evolve shipping services to the next level, with shorter delivery times and easier methods to track a shipment,” said Wan Lin, president of Cainiao.

Under the agreement, Cainiao and USPS are aiming to develop an integrated e-commerce solution that provides full access to the U.S. market and neighboring countries and which will improve the way goods purchased from China are processed, handled and delivered.