UPS's daily volume is about 30 million deliveries around Christmas time, compared to 19 million at other times, according to the Wall Street Journal. For those, UPS suggested using its UPS Freight option.
UPS's next day air shipping will carry a surcharge of $0.81 from December 17 to December 23. Despite the extra charges, per package costs will rise "only marginally", the company said.
UPS is one of the largest postal shipping company in the world.
There will be no additional charges for residential ground-shipped packages during the two-week period from December 3 to December 16. Last year, UPS hired 95,000 more employees to help manage the holiday traffic. That period includes the major Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping occasions. Online shopping accounted for $36.5 billion in online revenue by the end of November, with 26 out of 27 days in November generating $1 billion each day.
Both UPS and FedEx have spent billions of dollars in upgrading their networks to handle rapidly rising e-commerce package volumes, leaving investors chafing over the expense.
This is the first year UPS has introduced seasonal surcharges.
Throughout 2016, UPS shipped nearly 5 billion packages, with nearly 3 million packages and documents shipped every day by the its airline.
UPS has never before charged holiday season fees, and its rival, FedEx, now does not have a holiday surcharge. It added that packages that have "unconventional shapes or sizes create even greater operational complexity during high-demand periods".
At various times throughout the year UPS must flex its delivery network to meet increased demand, including almost doubling its normal volume during the November and December holiday season.