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The definition of expedited shipping

Updated April 17, 2017

"Expedited shipping," by definition, is the process of shipping at a faster rate than would normally be customary. Therefore, what is deemed "expedited" will depend on the company policy of the shipper.

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With the United States Postal Service (USPS), expedited shipping might refer to express or priority shipping, as both are faster than the customary first-class mail process. Express shipping is the fastest method, with guaranteed overnight delivery to most areas, while priority mail allows articles to reach many destinations in two to three days.


UPS, or United Parcel Service, offers a variety of expedited services. They include same-day delivery through Express Critical service, Next Day Air, Next Day Air Early AM, 2nd Day Air, 2nd Day Air AM and UPS 3-Day Select, all customarily faster than traditional UPS Ground Service.


FedEx, or Federal Express, offers a variety of expedited services as well. They include FedEx Same Day delivery, FedEx First Overnight, an early morning next-day service, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx Standard Overnight. There are also second-day delivery services, which are faster than the FedEx Home Delivery or Ground services.


Expedited international services are offered by the U.S. Postal Service through Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) (one to three business days) or Express Mail International (EMI) (three to five business days), with UPS' Worldwide Expedited service, and through FedEx International Next Flight service. Delivery times with FedEx and UPS are contingent upon the destination.

By Vendor

Vendors have their own definitions of expedited shipping, which take into account a predetermined shipping and handling charge. For example, Amazon.com allows one to three days' handling time and express shipping for an expedited order.

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About the Author

Shewanda Pugh

Shewanda Pugh attended Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a Master of Arts in writing from Nova Southeastern University. Pugh's work has been featured in several print publications, including the "Farquhar Forum," "Go!Riverwalk" and "Foreword Magazine."

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