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is increasing the net average FedEx Express shipping costs by 3.5% starting next year, a move the company indicated will better enable it to meet the exacting specifications of its customers.

The price hike applies to U.S. domestic and U.S. export express package and freight shipments. The new schedule is actually made up of a 5.5% average increase in standard list rates, but that's being offset by a 2-percentage-point reduction in its fuel surcharge. The new rates will be effective Jan. 2.

Next month, the Memphis-based package shipper will begin new retail counter rates for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground services at drop-off counters in staffed locations across the country.

"This reflects our continued commitment to invest in our business in order to meet and exceed new customer expectations," FedEx said in a press release. "Enhancing our operations and services gives our customers greater ability to better manage their supply chains and improve their competitiveness."

Other enhancements that will take effect Jan. 2 include delivery area surcharges for FedEx Express shipments, destined for certain locations, increasing by up to 10 cents per package. The new delivery area surcharge for residential locations will be $2.10 per package, and the surcharge for commercial locations will be $1.30 per package.

Shares of FedEx were gaining 51 cents to $86.10.