In today’s world, it seems as if you can ship virtually anything to someone across the country. Dry ice is a very common item used in shipping perishable food items, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe.
So, before you choose a shipping service to send dry ice, you might be asking, does UPS ship dry ice? And if so, what do you need to know before doing so? I’ve looked into it, and here’s what I found out!
UPS Dry Ice Shipping In 2023
UPS ships dry ice; however, dry ice is a hazardous material, meaning there are special precautions to take as of 2023. There are three types of services available for shipping dry ice: UPS Three-Day Shipping (includes UPS Ground which doesn’t regulate dry ice shipping), UPS Two-Day Shipping, and UPS Next-Day Air.
If you want to learn more about how to safely ship dry ice with UPS, as well as see some side-by-side price comparisons for each shipping service, be sure to keep reading!
What Shipping Services Can You Use To Ship Dry Ice UPS?
UPS categorizes all its shipping services into three categories:
- UPS Next Day Air
- UPS Two-Day Shipping
- UPS Three-Day Shipping
On the one hand, UPS Next-Day Air Shipping guarantees next-day delivery and has three shipping services under it (in order of fastest to slowest delivery time):
- UPS Next-Day Air Early
- UPS Next-Day Air
- UPS Next-Day Air Saver
On the other hand, UPS Two-Day Shipping guarantees your package will be delivered within 48 hours and typically includes Second-Day Air AM and Second-Day Air.
Finally, UPS Three-Day Shipping delivers packages within three days of pick up, typically including Three-Day Select and UPS Ground shipping.
Also, although you can use any of these services to ship dry ice, some of the options come with more regulations than others.
For example, you can use UPS Ground shipping to ship as much dry ice as you’d like.
With that, there’s no weight limit as long as you affix the proper Class 9 Miscellaneous Hazard label to the package.
However, suppose you’re shipping dry ice by air.
In that case, there are weight limitations because dry ice is an explosion risk due to the sublimation of the substance (direct transfer of matter from a solid to a gaseous state), a suffocation hazard as it releases CO2.
If you’re choosing to ship your dry ice by air, you can only ship in quantities of five and a half pounds or less, which will typically evaporate completely in about 24 hours.
Still, this doesn’t mean that your entire package must weigh five and a half pounds or less; only the quantity of specifically dry ice needs to be five and a half pounds or less.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship Dry Ice UPS?
UPS calculates its shipping costs based on delivery time, distance traveled, and the weight of a given package.
So, if we assume that you’re planning on shipping a package of dry ice that weighs five and a half pounds in an average-sized box, traveling approximately 1,000 miles, we can start to get some price estimates.
UPS Next-Day Shipping
First, UPS Next-Day Air Early is the fastest shipping service available, with delivery guaranteed by 10 am the following day and shipping costs around $160.
In comparison, UPS Next-Day Air typically guarantees delivery by the next day at 3 pm and costs just under $130.
Then, UPS Next-Dair Air Saver guarantees next-day delivery before the end of the day, and you can expect to pay around $117 in shipping costs.
UPS Two-Day Shipping
For Two-Day Delivery with UPS, you can choose from Second-Day Air Am and Second-Day Air.
Usually, Second-Day Air Am delivers in the morning, although the timing is not guaranteed, and it costs about $60.
On the other hand, Second-Day Air delivers by the end of the day, with shipping costs around $51.
UPS Three-Day Shipping
Three-Day Shipping with UPS is the least expensive category of shipping services and includes UPS Three-Day Select and UPS Ground shipping.
First, UPS Three-Day Select has no guaranteed delivery time other than delivering in three days and would cost about $36 for a five-and-a-half-pound package traveling 1,000 miles.
In comparison, UPS Ground shipping for the same package is the most economical option, with shipping costs reaching $18.50 even.
However, it’s important to remember that these shipping costs are estimates based on hypothetical information and aren’t guaranteed shipping prices.
With that, the price of shipping your package will fluctuate based on the package’s weight, dimensions, distance traveled, and how fast you want it delivered.
So, if you’re interested in getting a more tailored estimate personalized to your specific package, you can get a shipping quote off the UPS website here.
How Do You Ship Dry Ice With UPS?
The first step to shipping anything is to ensure everything is packaged safely and securely.
When it comes to shipping dry ice, the most important thing to remember is to allow breathing room in the package. Put another way; dry ice cannot be airtight.
Dry ice undergoes a process of sublimation, which means that it changes from a solid form of CO2 directly into a gaseous form of CO2.
So, if that gaseous CO2 is trapped in an airtight container and has nowhere to go, it can explode.
Also, it’s crucial to choose a sturdy container because dry ice can burn flesh easily and create condensation, which can eat away at thin cardboard boxes.
Therefore, choosing high-density expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulating foam containers will help keep your dry ice from sublimating too quickly, as well as help prevent leaks.
Once you’ve chosen your container, carefully place the dry ice inside along with any items you may be using the dry ice to keep cool.
Be sure to seal the box securely, but leave room for the CO2 to escape, which you can do by blowing into the corners of the package or along where it’s sealed to see if you can push air into the box.
Once you seal the box, be sure to print out your label from the UPS website and schedule a pick-up for your package.
Also, when scheduling a pick-up, the sooner, the better if you’ve already packed your dry ice!
Finally, secure the shipping label to your box, and be sure to mark the box with a Class 9 label and “Carbon Dioxide: Solid” and the weight of the dry ice included.
Additionally, if you’re interested in seeing some of UPS’ resources, as well as some helpful tips and tricks from its staff for shipping dry ice, you can check out this article.
UPS does ship dry ice; however, it’s considered a hazardous substance, which means you must take special precautions when it is shipped.
Further, you can ship dry ice with UPS by air or ground.
But, you can only use air shipping services when your package contains five and a half pounds or less of dry ice as it’s both a suffocation and explosion hazard.
Moreover, the quickest shipping service for shipping dry ice is UPS Next-Day Air Early, which costs around $160 and has a guaranteed delivery time of 10 am the next day.
In comparison, the cheapest shipping service available for shipping dry ice is UPS Ground, which allows you to ship as much dry ice as you want and costs around $18.50 with a three-day delivery time.