2020 Holiday Carrier Cutoff Dates and Surcharges You Should Know

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Holiday shoppers are ready to begin filling their carts this season. However, sellers are facing new holiday challenges this year, and there are many changes your eCommerce business should be aware of in order to deliver your packages on time. Here’s what you need to know about holiday shipping deadlines and peak season surcharges.

Shipping Deadlines

Although many shoppers plan to complete their lists early, a large number of consumers will make their purchases within the last 10 days of the season. These are the shipping deadlines you should know for all major carriers in the US.


  • Retail Ground: December 15
  • First Class Mail: December 18
  • Priority Mail: December 19
  • Priority Mail Express: December 23


  • FedEx Smart Post: December 19
  • FedEx Ground: December 15
  • Home Delivery: December 15
  • Express Saver: December 21
  • 2-Day Services: December 22
  • Overnight Services: December 23


  • Ground: December 15
  • 3-Day Select: December 21
  • 2nd Day Air Services: December 22
  • Next Day Air: December 23


  • SmartMail Expedited Max: December 17
  • SmartMail Expedited: December 15
  • SmartMail Ground: December 11

Be sure to communicate internal deadlines with customers to ensure your team can accurately fill orders and deliver them in time for the holidays.

Related Article: Success Tips for Your Holiday eCommerce Season

Holiday Surcharges

Each year, US carriers implement peak season charges for shipping. This year, however, could be more expensive with additional charges that also run through January 2021.


USPS holiday surcharges will be implemented for a limited time but will impact both commercial and domestic packages.

Effective Dates: October 18, 2020 - December 26, 2020

  • USPS Priority Mail Express: $1.50
  • USPS Priority Mail and Parcel: $0.40


FedEx has implemented several different peak season surcharges for their services. From November 2, 2020 - January 17, 2021, standard packages will incur a $1 - $4 charge for Domestic FedEx Ground Residential and a $2 - $5 charge for Domestic FedEx Express Residential. Below are the additional charges for Domestic Express Packages Services, Domestic Ground Services, and International Services.

  • Additional Handling: $4.90 per package
  • Oversize Charge: $52.50 per package
  • Over Maximum Limits: $250 per package


UPS has created multiple levels of peak season charges this year based on standard-sized and large packages running through the new year. Standard-sized shipments will incur a $1 - $3 surcharge per package from November 15, 2020 - January 16, 2021. This applies to UPS SurePost, UPS Ground Residential, UPS Next Day Air Residential, and all other UPS Air Residential Services. Below are the peak season surcharges for large packages.

Effective Dates: October 4, 2020 - January 16, 2021

  • Additional Handling: $5 per package
  • Large Package: $50 per package
  • Over Maximum Limits: $250 per package

For sellers using UPS SurePost from October 18, 2020 - December 27, 2020, packages will incur an additional charge of $0.24. You can see the full list of international and US holiday rates here.


DHL is offering set peak season surcharges for the following shipping methods:

Effective Dates: October 18, 2020 - December 27, 2020

  • Smartmail Parcel Ground: $0.29
  • Smartmail Parcel Plus Ground: $0.29
  • Smartmail Parcel Expedited: $0.29
  • Smartmail Parcel Plus Expedited: $0.29

The key to a successful holiday season is clear communication. Ensure your internal team and customers are aware of any holiday shipping deadlines and additional charges for last-minute orders. Make a plan to effectively manage all incoming holiday purchases and ensure your logistics and return management can handle all of your customers' requests.

At Rakuten Super Logistics, we are dedicated to the success of your eCommerce business. From online purchases to mailbox delivery, our experienced team can help you efficiently and accurately pick, pack, and ship all of your orders.

Learn how we can help you streamline your logistics and grow your business in 2021. Contact us today!

Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Miami (FL), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce.