FedEx hikes rates

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Memphis--FedEx Corp. said Tuesday it will raise rates an average of 3.5%, effective Jan. 7. The shipping company, which has annual revenues of more than $20 billion, said the increase includes $1.35 for companies shipping to residential addresses and a $1 increase to $4 for instances when a courier is called to pick up a package.FedEx has never charged a surcharge for b-to-b shipments, because the origination and destination addresses for those packages tend to be centralized in commercial centers. There will be an undisclosed increase in special handling fees for dangerous goods.The company's FedEx Ground delivery service--a competitor to the standard services of United Parcel Service--will also boost rates an average of 3.5%. The new rates represent a standard increase to offset inflation, said Carla Boyd Richards, FedEx spokeswoman. Also, they will help pay for technology and personnel investments made in advanced services in recent years, Richards said. Enhancing security in response to Sept. 11 and the anthrax threat played no part in the increase, she said. On Dec. 7, FedEx plans to publish its rates on its Web site. New rates for FedEx Ground will be posted Dec. 14.

--John Evan Frook

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