Why Does FedEx Not Deliver to PO Boxes?

When it comes to shipping, FedEx is among the most trusted names in the industry. Overnight delivery, ground shipment, and international shipping are just some of the options they provide. However, there is one type of address that FedEx does not deliver to: post office boxes.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this limitation, explore alternative options, and uncover the intriguing difference between traditional PO Boxes and virtual mailboxes.

What Are PO Boxes?

What Are PO Boxes?

PO Boxes, short for Post Office Boxes, are a popular mail management service offered by postal authorities worldwide, including the United States Postal Service (USPS). They provide individuals, businesses, and organizations with a dedicated and secure mailbox located within a postal facility.

PO Boxes are an alternative to traditional street addresses and are especially beneficial for those who may not have a permanent physical address or require an additional level of privacy for their mail.

Users of PO Boxes can receive letters, packages, and other mail items, which are kept securely within their designated box until they collect them personally from the post office counter. PO Boxes offer a convenient way to centralize mail reception and are widely used by businesses, travelers, and individuals seeking to separate their personal and business mail or maintain a secure mailing address.

Can FedEx Deliver to a Post Office Box?

Can FedEx Deliver to a Post Office Box?

The short answer is no. FedEx does not deliver to traditional Post Office Boxes. The reason behind this policy lies in the way PO Boxes operate. Let’s take a deeper look at the reason behind this.

Why Does FedEx Not Deliver to PO Boxes?

FedEx does not deliver to PO Boxes primarily because of the way PO Boxes are operated and managed by the United States Postal Service (USPS). There are a few different factors that contribute to this restriction:

  • Delivery Protocol: PO Boxes are located within USPS facilities and are exclusively managed by the postal service. FedEx, being a private courier company, does not have access to deliver directly to these USPS-operated PO Boxes.
  • Security and Access Control: PO Boxes are situated within secure postal facilities, ensuring controlled access and the protection of mail. Private courier companies like FedEx do not have authorization to enter these secure postal premises for package deliveries.
  • Carrier Arrangements: FedEx and USPS have distinct carrier arrangements and partnerships. While USPS and FedEx may collaborate on certain services, their primary operations and logistics are separate. FedEx primarily focuses on its own delivery network and services.
  • Package Size and Handling: PO Boxes have size limitations, and they are not designed to accommodate larger or heavier packages that FedEx often handles. FedEx has its own network of delivery facilities and methods for handling various package sizes and types.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Each carrier, including FedEx, has specific regulatory requirements and guidelines for package deliveries. These regulations may not align with the operational protocols of USPS-operated PO Boxes.

However, there is a catch: FedEx now delivers to PO Boxes

FedEx Ground Economy is the only option for domestic P.O. Box deliveries.

FedEx Ground Economy (formerly known as FedEx SmartPost), though comprehensive in coverage, cannot bypass the PO Box restriction either. This service primarily relies on the USPS for the final leg of their deliveries, making it impossible to deliver directly to a PO Box.

FedEx now delivers to PO Boxes

FedEx Ground Economy is a cost-effective shipping option for small and medium businesses. It is a slower shipping service than FedEx Ground, but it is also more affordable. FedEx Ground Economy typically takes 2–7 business days for delivery, but it can take longer depending on the distance the package is traveling.

Shipments up to 70 pounds in weight and 130 inches in combined length and width are permitted. 

FedEx Ground Economy is a good option for shipping items that are not time-sensitive. It is also a good option for shipping items that are not fragile or valuable.

Some of FedEx Ground Economy’s features are as follows:

  • Affordable: FedEx Ground Economy is a more affordable shipping option than FedEx Ground.
  • Slower delivery: FedEx Ground Economy typically takes 2–7 business days for delivery, but it can take longer depending on the distance the package is traveling.
  • Not time-sensitive: FedEx Ground Economy is a good option for shipping items that are not time-sensitive.
  • Not fragile or valuable: FedEx Ground Economy is a good option for shipping items that are not fragile or valuable.

FedEx Package Delivery Instructions for Post Office Boxes

Here are some of the FedEx package delivery instructions for post office boxes:

  • Use FedEx Ground Economy: As discussed, FedEx Ground Economy is a slower shipping service that uses USPS for the final leg of delivery. This means that your package will be delivered to the post office, and then the USPS will deliver it to the PO Box.
  • Shipping Address: Enter the full name of the recipient, followed by the PO Box number, and then the zip code of the post office. Do not include the street address or city in the address field.
  • Dimensions: Make sure that the package is not too large or heavy to fit in the PO Box. The dimensions of a PO Box are typically 12 inches x 10 inches x 12 inches, and the weight limit is usually 35 pounds. If the package is too large or heavy for the PO Box, it will be held at the post office for pickup. The recipient will be notified by the post office when the package is available for pickup.

While FedEx cannot deliver packages to PO Boxes, they offer a convenient solution for customers facing this dilemma. When shipping to an address that includes a PO Box, FedEx allows customers to opt for a Hold at Location (HAL) service. This service permits the recipient to pick up their package from a nearby FedEx Office or a designated FedEx location, thus circumventing the PO Box issue.

Using a Virtual Mailbox as an Alternative to a Post Office Box

As a tech-savvy alternative to the traditional PO Box, virtual mailboxes have emerged as a popular solution for individuals and businesses alike. Virtual mailboxes provide a digital platform that allows users to receive, manage, and forward mail and packages from anywhere in the world. These virtual solutions offer significant advantages over PO Boxes, making them a worthy consideration.

Benefits of a Virtual Mailbox:

  • Physical Street Address: Virtual mailbox services provide users with a real street address rather than a generic PO Box number. This legitimizes businesses and eliminates the stigma often associated with PO Boxes.
  • Access and Convenience: Virtual mailbox users can access their mail and package deliveries through secure online portals or mobile apps. This eliminates the need to physically visit a postal facility.
  • Mail and Package Management: Virtual mailbox services offer a range of functionalities, allowing users to request mail scans, forward packages to different addresses, or even discard junk mail.
  • Global Accessibility: Regardless of your location, you can effortlessly manage your mail and packages with a virtual mailbox service. This is particularly advantageous for travelers and expatriates.
  • Privacy and Security: Virtual mailbox providers take privacy and security seriously, ensuring that your sensitive information and packages are handled with the utmost confidentiality.

Difference Between PO Box and Virtual Mailbox

While both PO Boxes and virtual mailboxes offer mail management services, they differ in significant ways.

FeaturePO BoxVirtual Mailbox
CostTypically less expensiveTypically more expensive
LocationAt a post officeAt a physical address
AccessibilityYou must go to the post office to access your mailYou can access your mail online or by phone
SecurityMail is not always secureMail is more secure
FeaturesLimited featuresMore features, such as mail forwarding, scanning, and shredding

Physical Presence: PO Boxes are physical locations within postal facilities, whereas virtual mailboxes exist in the digital realm, accessible through online platforms.

Package Handling: PO Boxes are primarily designed for USPS mail, limiting their ability to accept packages from private carriers. In contrast, virtual mailboxes are equipped to handle mail and packages from various carriers, including FedEx.

Global Accessibility: Virtual mailboxes can be accessed and managed from anywhere with an internet connection, making them a versatile option for those who travel or relocate frequently.

Privacy and Legitimacy: A virtual mailbox offers a physical street address, adding a layer of legitimacy for businesses. PO Boxes, on the other hand, are often seen as a less professional option.


While FedEx’s inability to deliver directly to PO Boxes may initially cause confusion, alternatives like the Hold at Location service or Ground Economy shipping offer a convenient workaround. However, for those seeking a modern and versatile mail management solution, virtual mailboxes stand out as an excellent choice.

With their global accessibility, privacy features, and package handling capabilities, virtual mailboxes present a promising future in the world of mail management. Whether you are a business owner or a digital nomad, a virtual mailbox opens the door to a world of mail convenience and efficiency. 

If you have any questions regarding FedEx shipping services or PO Boxes, please free to let us know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

fedex PO BOX

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