Sending a package any time soon? Brace for an expensive surprise


People sending packages by mail or courier this holiday season should brace for an extra expense. 

High fuel costs have led Canada Post and major delivery companies to raise fuel surcharges for parcels, with late-November levels hovering at an average of 40 per cent the base cost of delivery. 

Canada Post’s surcharge for parcels sent within Canada for the week of Nov. 14-20 was 38 per cent, and it will rise to 39 per cent for the week of Nov. 21-27. 

FedEx was adding a surcharge of 41.5 per cent for domestic FedEx Express and Ground parcels for Nov. 14-20, rising to 42.5 per cent the following week.

Purolator was holding its fuel surcharge for all shipments at 33.25 per cent through Dec. 4, with another announcement expected the week of Nov. 21 about what the surcharge will be as of Dec. 5.

Purolator has posted this chart on its site showing fuel surcharges and current average fuel prices. (CBC)

“Due to the fluctuation of fuel prices and their changing impact on operational costs, fuel surcharges are a standard industry practice for parcel shippers,” Canada Post said in an email to CBC News when asked to comment on the surcharge. 

This has been part of our standard practices for nearly 20 years and is the norm in the delivery industry given the reliance on fuel consumption.— Canada Post statement

“This has been part of our standard practices for nearly 20 years and is the norm in the delivery industry given the reliance on fuel consumption.”

A Purolator spokesperson said that company’s surcharges are set monthly based on the four-week average price of diesel fuel as reported by Natural Resources Canada.

High diesel costs are behind a surge in courier and postal fuel surcharges. (Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images)

“The surcharge applies to all courier shipments tendered to Purolator,” Courtney Reistetter said in an email. “The fuel surcharge rates for courier shipments will be applied to the sum of the service rate, additional specialized services and applicable surcharges.”

The surcharges have been gradually rising throughout 2022 as international diesel fuel costs soared from an average of $1.46 per litre across Canada in early January to $2.30 per litre the week of Nov. 15. 

Retailers pinched too

The fuel surcharge affects not just individuals sending packages, but online retailers.

The Retail Council of Canada said in July that most companies were trying to absorb the extra cost. 

“Retail is one of the most competitive industries in Canada, so raising minimum free shipping thresholds or adding surcharges to consumers directly is often done as a last resort,” spokeswoman Michelle Wasylyshen said at that time. 

“Retailers would prefer to find savings elsewhere.” 2022-11-18 16:10:01


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