Is UPS a Government Agency? (Not What You Think)

Many countries, America included, have a shipping service that is funded and run by the government, while also having several private businesses competing in the same industry.

So, is UPS the United States’ government shipping agency, and what is there to know about it? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I discovered!

Is UPS a Government Agency In 2024?

UPS is not a government agency. America’s government-owned shipping agency is the United States Postal Service, or USPS in 2024. USPS and UPS commonly get confused because of their similar acronyms and services, but UPS is actually a privately-owned competitor of USPS. While UPS is not a government agency, it is regulated by a government agency: the Securities Exchange Commission.

If you want to learn more about how UPS operates in the public sector, or just want to better understand how UPS and USPS get confused, be sure to keep reading for more facts!

Is UPS the United States Postal Service?

The United States Postal Service, otherwise known as USPS, is a government agency that was created to help transport mail and packages across the United States.

USPS commonly gets confused with the United Parcel Service, or UPS, because of their similar acronyms and services, but these two companies are not the same.

USPS was created in 1773 by the governing forces in what is now the United States, while UPS was created in 1907 by Claude Ryan and Jim Casey with the rise of shipping packages.

After USPS was created, it was built into the fabric of America’s history, and focused on disseminating critical information between citizens, no matter what was happening.

By 1907, USPS had what was essentially a monopoly on the mail industry, although at the time, mail consisted mostly of letters, magazines, catalogs, and other paper mail.

USPS was much more concerned with the transport of letters and other paper mail when UPS was founded.

The company saw the growing demand for shipping parcels as a nuisance that was unlikely to become profitable.

So, when UPS came along and offered to take care of shipping packages/parcels and leave mail to the USPS, it seemed like a win-win situation for everyone.

Afterward, UPS exploded in popularity, expanding from Seattle, where UPS was founded, to Oakland, California, and then to New York City, New York.

USPS quickly began offering parcel delivery services as well.

However, because UPS could change its prices with the fluctuating market, it had an edge on USPS that allowed the company to become a titan in the package shipping industry.

This is due to the fact that USPS’ price changes have to be dictated by congress.

Is UPS Owned by the Government?

Is UPS Owned by the Government?

UPS is not owned by the government- rather, it is a privately owned and operated company that was started in 1907 by Jim Casey and Claude Ryan.

By 1950, UPS was a household name when it came to shipping packages.

The company offered competitive pricing and ground-breaking, state-of-the-art services, such as 2-day delivery to major cities along the east and west coast.

UPS’ other achievements include the following:

  • The first package delivery service to serve every address in the continental United States
  • The first air delivery network to reach every address in the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

If you want to read more on the fascinating history of UPS, you can check out this page on the UPS website!

What Government Agency Regulates UPS?

While UPS itself is not a government agency, it is regulated by a government agency, and must comply with the rules and standards of multiple other agencies.

As a privately-owned company, UPS is mostly regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission, or SEC.

In contrast, government-owned companies, such as USPS, are only regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC.

Publicly traded, privately-owned companies like UPS are expected to adhere to the codes of not only the SEC, but also the FTC, as well as any government agencies that intersect with company activities.

For example, UPS has a fleet of planes it owns under a subsidiary called UPS Airlines, which is used to transport packages and other cargo as necessary.

This means, in addition to needing to be compliant with all FTC and SEC regulations, UPS must also adhere to all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards and regulations.

It’s also worth noting that all companies that offer ground transport services also work with the Surface Transportation Board.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why is UPS so slow, is UPS a federal job, and the difference between UPS & USPS.


UPS is not a government agency. The only government shipping agency in the United States is the USPS, which UPS commonly gets confused with, due to their similar acronyms, missions, and services.

UPS is a privately-owned competitor of USPS, and handles packages almost exclusively, whereas USPS has more of a focus on paper mail.

Photo of author

Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

Leave a Comment