updated 11/20/2009 4:33:58 PM ET 2009-11-20T21:33:58

UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, is hiking 2010 rates for ground packages by an average of 4.9 percent.

The company, based in Atlanta, said Friday there also will be an average net rate increase of 4.9 percent next year on all air express and U.S. origin international shipments.

The rate increase for air express and international shipments is based on a 6.9 percent increase in the base rate, less a 2 percent reduction in the air and international fuel surcharge index.

Also, fuel surcharge tables for air express and ground services will be adjusted. UPS said the changes will better align air and ground fuel surcharges and will substantially reduce the volatility of air surcharges when fuel prices fluctuate.

The new rates take effect on Jan. 4.

Rival FedEx Corp., based in Memphis, Tenn., said in September that it will raise express shipping rates an average of 5.9 percent in January. The rate is a standard annual increase that FedEx generally announces in the fall. FedEx Ground, SmartPost rates and surcharge changes for 2010 have not yet been announced.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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