If you’ve ever shipped something to a friend in the next town over, then shipped something else across the country, you probably noticed a huge difference in price.
Don’t worry, you’re not imagining things. Even if the packages weigh the same, the package with more distance to travel will cost significantly more. That’s due to something called shipping zones. In this article, we’ll explain what FedEx shipping zones are and why they exist.
What Are FedEx Shipping Zones In 2023?
FedEx uses shipping zones to determine shipping prices- the more miles a package has to travel, the more expensive it will be. In the continental United States, FedEx breaks the country into 7 shipping zones (numbered zones 2-8) in 2023. Express shipments are broken down into 16 zones. FedEx’s Zone Locator tool can be used to determine zones before shipping.
Knowing what shipping zones are and how they work can be confusing, so if you still have questions, then be sure to check out the rest of this article.
How Do FedEx Shipping Zones Work?
FedEx uses shipping zones in order to determine prices. Essentially, the farther a package has to travel, the more expensive it is to ship.
That’s because it costs FedEx more money to move your package longer distances. Therefore, it’s only natural that rates go up proportionally the farther customers are shipping.
To put it another way, zones relate closely (but often not exactly) to distance traveled.
As an example, a package originating in Knoxville, Tennessee has an origin ZIP code of 377. ZIP codes with the first 3 digits between 376-379 are considered part of Zone 2.
On the other hand, a shipment to a ZIP code starting with 902 would go to California and would be in Zone 8.
When it comes to pricing, it would cost $9.87 to ship to Zone 2, but $14.97 to ship to Zone 8.
As you can see, distance makes all the difference when it comes to pricing.
How Does FedEx Determine Zones?
FedEx determines its shipping zones according to the distance from the origin warehouse to the final destination measured in miles.
If the distance from the warehouse to the customer address is farther, then it will be considered a higher zone.
How Many Shipping Zones Does FedEx Have?
In the continental United States, FedEx divides its ground services (FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground) into 7 different zones. These zones are numbered 2-8.
Due to their extremely time-sensitive nature, Express services are divided into 16 zones for even more accuracy and precision.
What Are the FedEx Shipping Zones?
Below is a breakdown of FedEx shipping zones by distance:
|Zone||Distance (in miles) from the point of origin to destination|
|8||1,801 or more in the continental US|
In addition to these 7 zones, there are separate zones for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and military addresses (FPO and APO)
Why Does FedEx Have Shipping Zones?
Shipping zones help FedEx determine how much to charge customers for shipping in a way that reflects the time and effort required for shipping.
Because shipping longer distances take more time and resources (e.g. truck drivers, fuel, wear and tear on equipment), FedEx needs to charge more in order to remain competitive and profitable.
How Do You Find Out FedEx Shipping Zones?
Once you enter your ZIP code, you’ll get a full list of shipping zones for every destination ZIP code in the United States.
More simply, however, you can use the price calculator to find shipping prices based on the origin and destination ZIP codes.
To use this tool, you’ll need to know the weight and dimensions of the packages, as well as which shipping service you’re interested in.
Does FedEx Ever Use Something Besides Zones for Pricing?
For casual shippers, FedEx’s published rates and shipping zones will determine how much it will pay to ship.
However, high-volume shippers (e.g. freight companies and eCommerce businesses) may be able to negotiate with FedEx for cheaper rates.
For more information, contact your fulfillment warehouse.
Are UPS and FedEx Zones the Same?
Generally speaking, major carriers in the United States like FedEx, UPS, and USPS use the same 7 shipping zones when determining shipping prices.
These zones may differ by a few miles here or there, but in general, they break down the country into similar segments.
On the surface, FedEx’s shipping zones can appear a bit confusing, but once you understand the basic principle that more distance equals more money, you know pretty much everything you need to know about shipping zones.