Do you need to ship a can of hairspray down to Puerto Rico? What about some spray paint, or lithium ion batteries? Each of these items are examples of hazardous materials, and while you can send certain shipments containing hazardous materials via air transport services, most carriers require you to ship them via ground transportation. This means you can’t use any air-based services such as Priority Mail, UPS 2nd Day Air, or FedEx Overnight. The thing is, Puerto Rico is separated from the United States by a body of water, and there’s no “ground” for carriers to travel on, per se. This conundrum begs the question…does ground service even go to Puerto Rico in the first place?
USPS Ground Service Goes to Puerto Rico, but UPS and FedEx Ground Do Not
Of all three major shipping carriers in the United States (USPS, UPS, and FedEx), there’s only one that provides ground service to Puerto Rico: the US Postal Service.
Since Puerto Rico is a US Territory, USPS treats it as a domestic destination. This means that rates for shipping to Puerto Rico are on par with packages going to any other state within the contiguous United States. So, like they do for all states in the country, the Postal Service in fact does offer ground service to Puerto Rico. However, USPS ground packages typically travel to Puerto Rico by sea transportation instead of by trucks.
UPS and FedEx, conversely, treat Puerto Rico as an international destination rather than part of the United States. This means they don’t offer any domestic ground services for Puerto Rican addresses; the only services they offer are their international services, such as UPS Worldwide Express and FedEx International Priority.
USPS is Always the Cheapest Option for Shipping to Puerto Rico and Other US Territories
Since UPS and FedEx treat Puerto Rico as another country, they’re always going to charge international prices to ship there. These prices can be crazy—in the realm of hundreds of dollars—so using any carrier other than USPS would be even crazier! Why pay international rates with UPS or FedEx when USPS offers domestic rates to ship to the exact same place?
It’s not just Puerto Rico that UPS and FedEx charge international rates for. In fact, they consider every US Territory to be a foreign destination; this includes Guam, Palau, and the US Virgin Islands. So, if you ever need to send a package to any of these destinations, don’t spend your entire life savings with UPS or FedEx. Save your money by shipping with USPS instead!
Learn more about the cheapest way to ship to US Territories.