UPS Inc. announced on Friday that it will increase the general rate of about 5.4 percent on non-contractual shipments in the U.S. and Canada.

The increase is set to effect in February applying mainly to minimum charge less than truckload rates.

The announcement came shortly after FedEx Corp. said last month that its freight segment was to implement a 5.5 percent general rate increase starting January 14 and its long haul less than truckload business will impose a similar increase for its general rates.

The rate increase for Memphis, Tenn., transportation company's FedEx Freight and FedEx National LTL businesses was to apply to interstate and intrastate traffic and certain shipments between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

UPS increased rates for 2008 by an average of 4.9 percent for ground shipments, air express and international parcels from the U.S. FedEx air rates increased 4.9 percent but the 4.9 percent increase was partially offset by a 2 percent point cut in fuel prices.

FedEx Ground rates increased 4.9 percent.

The increase in competition for delivery of goods led UPS to broaden its global services beyond small package delivery to shipping heavy freight and providing logistics services for companies.