When people need to ship something, they have plenty of options, and many prefer to use FedEx for its fast, reliable service, bolstered by an international network of facilities.
But if you were expecting something from FedEx and saw it being delivered by the United States Postal Service, you might have some questions.
First and foremost: Does USPS take FedEx? What’s going on here? Well, I have the answer you’re seeking.
Does USPS Take FedEx?
In general practice, the United States Postal Service does not accept parcels meant for FedEx shipping, i.e., packaged in FedEx envelopes or boxes. However, USPS and FedEx have a longstanding business arrangement. USPS benefits from the use of FedEx’s considerable global network, while FedEx’s SmartPost shipping capitalized on USPS’s strong local delivery services.
For a more in-depth look at how USPS and FedEx work together, what might happen if you tried to ship USPS in a FedEx box, and whether FedEx can deliver parcels to your USPS mailbox, keep reading!
How Do USPS and FedEx Work Together?
Back in 2001, USPS and FedEx began their working partnership, whereby USPS would take advantage of FedEx’s considerable domestic and international reach.
That reach is facilitated by what is today one of the largest fleets of aircraft in the world, and the largest non-passenger fleet, called FedEx Express.
USPS mail, especially that going international, has “hitched a ride” on FedEx Express for years; recently, USPS and FedEx renewed their longstanding contract into 2024.
Interestingly, though, FedEx recently dissolved the second major part of their partnership.
In Spring 2021, FedEx announced it would no longer be relying on USPS ground to cover the “last leg” of parcels’ journeys.
This service was known as FedEx SmartPost, where FedEx would get the package reasonably close to the delivery area, hand it off to USPS, and then let USPS handle the actual delivery.
It was an inexpensive option for shippers who weren’t in a rush and benefited FedEx in a number of ways.
One such example: Instead of FedEx drivers having to navigate less-familiar back/rural roads, USPS – more familiar with their local geography – would handle it.
By closing that branch of services, FedEx has also shut down the entire SmartPost network, moving it to their own Ground Network.
And finally, they have rebranded the service as FedEx Ground Economy.
So while for many years we all tracked our packages through FedEx, then switched over to USPS tracking and expected parcels in our mailboxes, that is no more.
But rest assured, with their contract extension into 2024, your long-distance packages will still reach their far-flung destinations via FedEx Express.
Can I Use a FedEx Box To Ship USPS?
When it comes time to pack things up for shipping, we cast around our houses for available boxes.
If that box happens to be a FedEx box, you might wonder if USPS will deliver it.
Or, maybe you intended to drop off your box at FedEx but forgot and dropped it into the USPS package slot accidentally.
(If you remember right away, you can always go up to the counter, explain what happened, and they’ll dig it out for you.)
But let’s say you walked away, none the wiser, and the box entered the USPS system.
According to SurvivalFreedom.com, a benevolent postal worker might notice the mistake, grab it, and hand it off to FedEx for shipping.
But it could also end up set aside and then forgotten or lost.
It appears that, in most cases, the box will reach its intended destination, but it could be a lot later than you were hoping.
If you’re re-using a FedEx box because that’s what you received a delivery in, and it’s your only good box, you could try taping over or blacking out all the FedEx logos and barcodes.
(If you want to use, say, a box that wine was delivered in, you have to do something similar so that no alcohol indicators show.)
Or if you have taped up your items in a FedEx box and brought them to your post office, you could see if that box fits inside a USPS Flat Rate box, then ship it Priority Mail.
Basically, it’s not the end of the world if your only available box is from FedEx or you accidentally mail one. But it could cause delivery delays.
Why Did FedEx Give My Package to USPS?
Until very recently, FedEx offered a service called SmartPost shipping.
This inexpensive shipping option was perfect for shippers of smaller packages, where speed wasn’t a top priority.
FedEx built up its own network of distribution centers specifically for SmartPost, which transferred packages over to USPS.
Once that occurred, USPS completed the “final leg” of the parcel’s journey, in effect, becoming the actual deliverer of the package.
With SmartPost shipping, then, the whole idea was for FedEx to give a recipient’s package to USPS.
However, in 2021, FedEx announced it was dissolving SmartPost. USPS will no longer jump in for deliveries.
Instead, FedEx will handle delivery of the newly branded FedEx Ground Economy all by themselves, in a move designed to save the major shipper money.
Is It Legal For FedEx To Put Packages in Your Mailbox?
It is actually illegal for FedEx to put their packages inside your USPS-owned mailbox.
In fact, it is illegal for anyone except USPS and the residence’s inhabitants to put their hands inside mailboxes.
If you ever dropped off a tin of brownies or stuck a card in someone’s mailbox, you were committing a criminal act! (Don’t worry, we won’t tell on you.)
Thus, FedEx (and UPS and whatever other shipper) must trudge the extra steps to your porch and place the parcels there.
Yes, even with FedEx’s longstanding business partnership with USPS, they still can’t use the USPS-monopolized mailboxes.