Small Package Changes Coming Next Week

October 28, 2015 at 8:58 AMLeah Palnik

As you may have heard, small package carriers FedEx and UPS recently announced their general rate increases for 2016. As you prepare for these adjustments in the next couple of months, it’s important to take notice of a couple changes coming before the New Year.

Beginning November 2, 2015, shippers will see a significant increase in the charge assessed for oversized packages. The FedEx Unauthorized Packages surcharge and the UPS Over Maximum Limits surcharge are jumping from $57.50 to $110. These changes come just in time for the holiday rush, where the carriers see a significant increase in shipment volume. This charge applies to: 

  • Any package measuring more than 108 inches in length
  • Any package measuring more than 165 inches in length and girth combined
  • Any package weighing more than 150 lbs.

Another change shippers will see from FedEx and UPS before the holiday rush pertains to fuel surcharges. Effective November 2, 2015, FedEx and UPS will update their fuel surcharge tables for Ground, Express/Air, and International. This is the second time FedEx will be increasing fuel surcharge tables this year. However, UPS fuel surcharges will be higher than their competitor. Next month the fuel surcharge rate for Ground services will increase from 4.75% to 5.25%, while the fuel surcharge for Air services will increase from 3% to 4.5%. In comparison, the FedEx fuel surcharge for Ground services will jump from 3.5% to 4.25%; and from 1% to 2.75% for Express services. To view the updated tables, click the links below:

Every year, PartnerShip conducts a full analysis of the FedEx and UPS small package rate increases to help shippers assess the true impact. Be on the lookout for this informative white paper, coming soon! In the meantime, it's important to start evaluating how you can combat these rises in shipping costs. Through a PartnerShip-managed shipping program, you receive significant discounts on select FedEx services - resulting in savings that can offset these rate increases. If you're not sure if you qualify for one of our small package shipping programs contact us and we'll find the solution that's right for you.

Why You Should Care About Truck Driver Availability Issues

October 21, 2015 at 8:45 AMMatt Nagel

Why should you care about truck driver availability issues? For one, it directly affects how much you pay to ship your freight. The more truck drivers available to transport loads across American roadways means more competition for your load, more capacity available, and lower prices on freight transportation. It also means that you have less of a headache trying to find someone to take your freight to less desirable locations in the country.

Now that you know why you should care, we’ll take a look at what is causing this issue, what steps are being taken to address this issue, and how you can offset this problem for your company’s shipping operations right now.

What is causing the driver shortage?

  • Age – One of the largest factors today is the average age of the existing workforce which is 55 as compared with 42 for all US workers. With an aging demographic of labor, there aren’t enough newer generations looking for jobs in the trucking industry. Coupled with the age gap, the industry has struggled historically to attract enough qualified applicants to drive a truck. Carriers need to be highly selective when hiring drivers because they have made safety and professionalism their main concern.
  • Industry Growth – There is more freight on our roadways today than ever and all signs point to that continuing to increase - with overall revenue in the trucking industry expected to rise 66% and tonnage forecasted to increase 22% by 2022. More freight means the need for more drivers.
  • Lifestyle – New generations are not exactly flocking to the trucking industry, as the romance of the open road doesn’t seem to be enough to entice drivers to spend significant amounts of time away from their families.
  • Gender – The majority of the workforce is predominantly male. Females only comprise of 6% all truck drivers which leads to a very large untapped portion of the population.
  • Job Market – With the job market improving over the years there are more job opportunities available for would be potential truck drivers.
  • Federal Regulations – While normally in the interest of safety, changes to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, CSA and Electronic Logging Devices continue to play a large role as they can reduce driver productivity and ultimately earning potential.

How are driver availability issues being addressed?

  • Driver Pay – Perhaps the most important attractor to truck driving is that pay is increasing for this profession. The average annual pay is up about 28% since 2000 and that trend shows no signs of changing. In an effort to attract quality candidates, sign-on bonuses are now very common within the industry along with family-friendly work schedules.
  • Working Conditions – Technology updates such as a shift to automatic transmissions, new diagnostic tools, and digital communication and tracking are being implemented to attract tech-savvy generations to a traditionally un-technology focused industry. Secondly, long-haul trucks are being made more comfortable with amenities like kitchenettes, pet accommodations, and more comfortable interiors that are taking the edge off of long trips.
  • Lowering the Driver Age – The minimum age for interstate driving in the trucking industry is 21. By lowering the age limit to 18, the industry will open up to those 18-20 year olds that may have already found another trade by the time they are 21.
  • Increasing the Labor Pool – Initiatives are being created to help foster a positive image of truck driving as a satisfying career. Carriers are also developing programs to help with the training and development of their existing talent.
  • Autonomous TrucksNew technologies like driverless trucks might not be on the roads today, but it's a technology that is gaining steam and could be here sooner rather than later. Platoon driving might be the first technology down the pike that, while still requiring equipment operators, provides the opportunity to decrease driver involvement by using a lead truck connected to others. The lead truck would then control the following (linked) vehicles through controlled breaking and acceleration.

How can I offset issues for my shipping operations due to current driver shortages?

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the U.S. is short 35,000-40,000 truck drivers and has the potential to go much higher. And, as we mentioned before, less truck drivers means less competition for your freight and, in turn, a higher price to move your shipment. While there are steps being taken to correct 35,000 driver gap, it definitely won’t happen overnight. It’s important to take corrective steps now to realize present and future savings for your company.

The right price for your load is usually out there, you just have to put in the time to find the rate. Working with a 3PL partner, someone completely dedicated to finding you the right rate, is one way many companies are offsetting the current time and price commitment reality in the trucking industry. A good 3PL should put a great deal of effort into concentrating on the market, developing solid relationships with carriers and drivers alike, and leveraging that stability into savings and service for their customers.

Visit if you would like to know more about truckload services through PartnerShip, our carrier partners, or to contact us with questions.

How to Manage Customer Returns with FedEx

October 15, 2015 at 10:32 AMLeah Palnik

If you’re in the e-commerce game, you know that a certain amount of returns is inevitable – especially around the holidays. FedEx® return shipping services make it easy to manage customer returns. Here are a few of the return services you can take advantage of:

FedEx Print Return Label
With this option you can create and print a return label with FedEx Ship Manager®, and then include it either in the original shipment to your customer or in a separate correspondence. No charges are assessed until the label is used. 

FedEx Email Return Label
Instead of printing the return label and sending it to your customer, you can simply have it emailed. The customer receives an email with a link and barcode which allows them to access the label and print it themselves if needed. 

FedEx Express® Billable Stamps
FedEx Express Billable Stamps take the place of airbills and the recipient's information is conveniently preprinted on the stamp. No charges are assessed until the stamp is used. 

FedEx Express® Prepaid Stamps
These prepaid labels allow you to allocate shipping costs and specify a FedEx delivery service upfront, letting you control and plan for return costs.

FedEx Ground® Package Returns Program
FedEx Ground Package Returns Program simplifies returns for your customers. You provide your customer with a preprinted return label and they can schedule the pickup, without being charged a pickup fee. 

FedEx Express Tag®
For express shipments, FedEx will create and deliver return shipping labels to your customer and collect the item for return. You can then schedule the express return pickup. 

FedEx Ground® Call Tag
With this ground return pickup option, FedEx creates and delivers the return label to your customer, and then collects the item for the ground return pickup.

Through an association shipping program managed by PartnerShip, you can receive exclusive discounts on select FedEx services. If you belong to an association we work with, take advantage of our free shipping benefits today. If you’re not sure if you qualify for one of our FedEx small package shipping programs, contact us and we’ll find the solution that’s right for you.

FedEx and UPS rates are increasing in 2020! Make sure you know what to expect so you can mitigate the impact to your bottom line. Our free white paper breaks down where you'll find the highest increases and explains some of the complicated changes you need to be aware of.

Download the free white paper: Your Guide to the 2020 FedEx and UPS Rate Increases

Safety Truck lives up to name

October 13, 2015 at 10:35 AMMatt Nagel

We’ve all been there; driving behind a semi that is chugging up a long hill or taking its time on a two lane road. Sometimes, it’s OK, you’re not in a hurry, but other times you’re already late and the truck is making a bad situation worse! The choice you’re left with is safely waiting it out and following the truck to your destination, or weaving in and out of oncoming traffic to find the perfect moment to legally pass the semi-truck. Most of us choose the more dangerous, but quicker, second option.

The good news is that Samsung is actively working on a solution to this very problem. Over the summer, Samsung released video of its Safety Truck in action (below)!

The Safety Truck works by using a safety camera attached to the front of the truck, which is connected to a video wall made of four monitors located on the back of the truck. The monitors provide any driver behind the truck with a full, unobstructed view of the road ahead.

While the technology is currently targeted for use abroad, where there are more serious traffic safety issues, the possibility of seeing this on United States roadways definitely exists. We just hope the technology is in fact used for displaying roads and not for serving for more FanDuel advertisements…

Everyday Heroes - Karen and Amanda

October 9, 2015 at 8:33 AMLeah Palnik

“When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” –Robert Half

Our customer service professionals know this to be true and always make our customers their top priority. Every day they strive to provide our customers with the best service possible by working hard and being personable.

Our everyday heroes featured today for Customer Service Week know how to treat the customer the way they’d want to be treated. Following the Golden Rule comes naturally to the members of the PartnerShip customer service team. That’s what makes it so easy to celebrate each of them during this special week. Read below to find out more about our last two customer service heroes.