Shipping: Say Hello to Rate Hikes
Shipping costs are up, but don't let that get you down--it's not all bad news.
If your homebased business relies heavily on shipping items to your customers, you may have noticed the change in rates recently enacted by most of the major carriers for 2002, including DHL, FedEx and UPS. If you've had your account for more than a year, you know rate increases are nothing out of the ordinary, but this year's rate increases particularly target home and residential area shipments. If your business ships primarily to customers' homes, you'll see the biggest changes in your bill.
The good news is, after a year when fuel prices skyrocketed and most carriers implemented a fuel surcharge--by some estimates, the first time in 20 years--most carriers have come up with some form of sliding scale; if fuel prices continue to go down, so will the fuel surcharges, and vice versa. DHL recently lowered its fuel surcharge by a flat 1 percent, bringing it down to 3 percent, and UPS just implemented an index-based fuel surcharge that's based on the U.S. Energy Department's On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices. The index will change the first Monday of every month, and you'll be able to check on fuel index changes online at www.ups.com.
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