Comparison of International Shipping Rates between UPS, FedEx, and DHL

Sellers are constantly on the lookout for shipping rates that are both cost-effective and reliable without compromising on either. Choosing the best carrier for your business can be a challenge if you’re a retailer shipping to customers. Fortunately, you won’t have to sift through hundreds of companies to find the best one, which can be a time-consuming task.

In terms of shipping companies to choose from, you have three main options: UPS, FedEx, and DHL. These private shipping giants have been in business for decades and have moved billions of packages worldwide. It’s hard to tell which one is best for a company’s products or brand because they share many similarities but differ significantly. Even so, there are still plenty of questions about their relative strengths and weaknesses. For this article, we’ll focus on these three private carriers, so you can pick the shipping rates that best suits your needs.


A Comparison of the Big Three Shipping Companies: UPS, FedEx, and DHL

It’s not just that they’re in competition with one another all the time; all three of these companies have their distinct strengths. You can better understand them if you learn more about them, their services, and their pricing model.



Shipping Rates | UPS

Established in 1907 in the United States, United Parcel Service is a global shipping, receiving, and supply chain management company. As the American Messenger Company specializes in telegraphs, UPS has grown to become a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest shipping couriers in the world. Currently, UPS is most well-known for its ground shipping services and the UPS Store, a retail chain that serves UPS shipments and provides small-business tools. The company also delivers to PO Boxes via UPS SurePost, a subsidiary that transfers packages to the United States Postal Service for last-mile delivery. UPS also provides overnight and two-day air shipping options to customers.


As of 2021, UPS is expected to be the world’s largest courier company by revenue, surpassing rivals DHL and FedEx. Currently, UPS operates in more than 220 countries across the globe. In 2018, it delivered more than 5.2 billion parcels or 21 million per day on average. 


Both domestically and internationally, UPS offers non-freight shipping service types: UPS Express Critical – Domestic, UPS Ground, UPS Next-Day Air Early, UPS Next-Day Air, UPS Next-Day Air Saver, UPS Second-Day Air AM, UPS Second-Day Air, and UPS 3 Day Select.


There are several options for international shipping, including the following options: UPS Critical Express International, UPS Worldwide Express Plus, UPS Worldwide Express Shipping, UPS Worldwide Saver, Next Day Air, UPS Worldwide Expedited, UPS 2nd Day Air, as well as UPS Standard.



Shipping Rates | FedEx

Incorporated in Memphis, Tennessee, FedEx is an American transportation, e-commerce, and business services conglomerate holding company that was formerly known as Federal Express Corporation and then as FDX Corporation. The term “FedEx” is a one-syllable abbreviation of the name of the company’s original air division, Federal Express, which was used from 1973 to 2000.


FedEx has the most number of planes in its fleet, with 670, far outnumbering UPS and DHL. With respect to overnight shipping and package tracking, FedEx was the first to market with both of these innovations in its early days. There are currently over 220 countries and territories where it offers services today. More than 50,000 FedEx locations in the United States allow you to pick up, drop off, or ship packages.


To date, FedEx’s air delivery service, FedEx Express, is what most people know it for; it was the first major shipping company to offer overnight delivery as a standout service. There have been several new services launched by FedEx since then to compete with its main rival, UPS. These services have included the original Kinkos, FedEx Ground, the FedEx Supply Chain, and FedEx Freight, amongst others. Aside from FedEx being a major US government contractor, FedEx SmartPost assists in the delivery of USPS packages through its service.


Within the US, FedEx offers the following non-freight service types – FedEx SameDay, FedEx SameDay City, FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day A, FedEx 2, FedEx Express Saver, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, and FedEx SmartPost. FedEx offers these services for non-freight shipments: FedEx SameDay, FedEx SameDay City.


For non-freight international parcels, the carrier provides the following service options: FedEx International Next Flight, FedEx International First, FedEx International Priority, FedEx International Economy, FedEx International MailService, FedEx International Priority DirectDistribution, FedEx International Economy DirectDistribution, and FedEx International Ground.



DHL is a logistics firm that specializes in international express mail delivery. It offers document and parcel shipping, air, ocean, road, and raid freight, warehouse solutions, transportation management, and contract logistics, among other services. DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, and DHL eCommerce are some of the company’s divisions. Automobiles, chemicals, consumers, energy, engineering, manufacturing, life sciences, healthcare, and technology all benefit from the company’s services.


Since 1978, DHL Express has been operating in Belgium. There are over 220 countries and territories where the company has operations. DHL Express makes on-time and accurate deliveries all over the world. Their logistical procedures link your company with your clients. They offer a variety of services that can be customized to meet your company’s specific requirements. Their goal is to help you gain a competitive advantage by optimizing and improving your supply chain.


DHL provides a wide range of services to meet its customers’ shipping needs – DHL SameDay Sprintline, DHL Express 9:00 Domestic, DHL Express 10:30 Domestic, DHL Express 12:00 Domestic, DHL Express 18:00 Domestic, and DHL Express Easy are a few of the company’s domestic non-shipping service options.


DHL Sameday Jetline, DHL Sameday Sprintline, DHL Express 9:00, DHL Express 10:30, DHL Express 12:00, DHL Express Worldwide, DHL Express Envelope, DHL Express Easy, and DHL Globalmail Business are among its international shipping options.


Which is better for your company: UPS, FedEx, and DHL?

UPS, FedEx, and DHL each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, including FedEx’s overnight shipping and expedited 2- and 3-day delivery capabilities are extremely strong, Ground shipment performance by UPS is impressive, whereas DHL has the largest global footprint and is the most outspoken when it comes to its environmental commitments of the three.


Compare Your Shipping Rates Easily

Using a ‘shipping calculator’ is the fastest and easiest way to calculate shipping costs. Shipping companies such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL provide shipping calculators on their websites.

However, if you need to analyze and compare all available shipping rates for different shipping carriers (UPS, FedEx, and DHL), the ReachShip shipping calculator tool is a great place to start. The ReachShip shipping calculator tool works with a variety of carriers, including DHL, FedEx, and UPS, to help you provide exceptional post-purchase experiences for your customers.

There are only four easy steps to follow:


  • Fill in the ‘from’ and ‘to’ addresses.

  • Select the shipping companies.

  • Calculate the shipping costs by entering the weight and width/height of your packages.

  • For the entered locations, you will receive a list of all available shipping rates from selected shipping carriers.


To conclude:

As previously stated, each of these shipping powerhouses has distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it impossible to pick the best one. In the end, the decision between the three carriers is based on your unique business requirements. Using multiple carriers for various requirements is a good strategy to ensure that you get the best out of each one. We hope you found this article on the Comparison of International Shipping Rates between UPS, FedEx, and DHL useful.

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