It's always interesting to look back and see what topics and stories piqued our readers' interest the most. Usually, it's no surprise as to what articles are the most popular (rate changes and announcements, anyone?) but occasionally there is a story that performed even better than expected. So, without further adieu, let's take a look at the most-read articles from 2018.

10. Parcel Rates for 2018 Are Not as Advertised, Study Shows

By Stephen Rolf

This article demonstrates how important it is that the typical, announced rate increase of 4.9% of thereabouts does not show the whole story; your true impact all depends on how and where you send your shipments. While we are naturally focused now on the rates for 2019, this article is still a good refresher to understanding your true parcel costs.

9. The Inconvenient Truth About Packaging Waste and Last-Mile Delivery

By Bob Malley

Anyone who shops online has had this experience: A big parcel carrier truck pulls up to your house, spewing CO2. They drop a large package on your porch. You open it up only to find the tiny product you ordered swimming in a sea of Styrofoam peanuts, air bags, and other filler. How does that make you feel? You don’t have to be Al Gore to be offended by the magnitude of waste.

8. Six Ways that Distribution Centers Can Reduce Packaging Waste

By Erich Lawson

Today's eco-conscious consumer expects the companies they purchase from to do their best when it comes to reducing waste (hmmm, I'm noticing a theme here), so not only is reducing waste good for the environment, it's also good for a company's bottom line.

7. And the 2017 Game-Changer of the Year Award Goes to... Gap Inc.!

By Amanda Armendariz

I always enjoy writing the profile on the company that is selected as the Game-Changer of the Year at our PARCEL Forum, and this one was no different. The folks at Gap Inc. truly deserved the award, as evidenced by the innovation shown in their supply chain. Read their profile here, and keep an eye out for our Jan/Feb 2019 issue, in which we'll profile the winners from last fall.

6. UPS Implements New Fee Type

By Keegan Leisz

"New fee type" are three words shippers never want to hear, and when UPS announced they had a new item along these lines, our readers took note.

5. FedEx 2019 General Rate Increases and Other Changes

By Rebecca Lannon

Remember what I said above about rate change articles always being popular? This one was no exception. Hopefully you're already prepared for the 2019 rate changes, but if you're not, this is a good article to review.

4. Crowdsourcing the Final Mile: The Next Big Opportunity in Parcel Delivery

By Rick Jones and Itamar Zur

The proliferation of ride-sharing platforms and on-demand delivery services poses a serious question to the parcel delivery industry: Can a similar crowdsourcing model be harnessed for final-mile distribution? We believe so.

3. UPS Intra-Year Pricing Changes Deciphered

By Keith Myers

Before we even reached summertime, UPS had decided it’s never too early to start making rate changes. It had already changed its fuel surcharge tables for air export, effective the first week in April. On June 4, it added a fee for Shipping Charge Corrections (SCC) and increasing Over Maximum Limits and Oversized Pallet Handling charges again. Finally, as announced previously, UPS increased the Additional Handling Service (AHS) charge as well as Large Package Surcharge (LPS), effective July 8. Not surprisingly, this article was a very popular one with our readers.

2. Getting Ready for the 2019 GRI: How to Mitigate Cost Increases

By Sam Sealey

This is the time of year that shippers are often bracing for the blow of annual rate increases. Usually in the late third or early fourth quarter, parcel carriers will announce their annual rate and surcharge increases. With the growth in e-commerce, parcel is becoming a larger expenditure for companies. These annual increases are a significant part of a company’s budget; however, there are ways to mitigate the effects.

1. FedEx and UPS Look to Box Out Large Packages

By Greg Merz

The booming trend of e-commerce shopping continues to grow, and not just in massive sales, but also in the actual size of products available. Sales of non-traditional, bulky items are now accessible from a variety of online retailers. Furniture, fitness equipment, home appliances, mattresses, and other goods once bought and delivered by local stores can now be purchased online with delivery executed by parcel carriers. As these large, often residential, packages bog down the FedEx and UPS networks, routes, and truck space, a battle by the carriers has slowly been waged to combat these burdensome items. The costs associated with these changes (you guessed it!) are being passed on to shippers themselves.

Amanda Armendariz is the Editor of PARCEL media, providing shippers of all sizes with the information needed to succeed in this fast-paced environment. From the ins and outs of carrier contract negotiation to optimizing the warehouse process, PARCEL covers the information needed for every aspect of the supply chain. Follow Amanda on Twitter @PARCELmedia or email