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UPS, eBay Extend Shipping Pact

Shipping giant UPS and auction heavyweight eBay have extended their relationship to include new shipping tools for the eBay site, a move that incorporates even more professional shipping and receiving services to the small businesses that call eBay home.

To improve the rendering of shipping info and simplify transactions, the new services calculate costs for UPS and postal services, as well as track UPS shipments, review transit times and print shipping labels, at the point of transaction.

For example, the companies said sellers on the auction site no longer have to jump from eBay to UPS's Web site to process or track shipments after a sale; they also don't have to e-mail the information to their customers. To make exchanges easier, sellers can help buyers calculate UPS or U.S. postal shipping costs based on their ZIP codes directly from the "View Item" page.

The UPS cost calculator allows sellers to enter shipping information such as weight, package size, shipping service and any handling fees, then calculate shipping rates based on the buyer's ZIP code and the type of service selected. Insurance rates can be calculated based on the final bid price of the item. Rates for the buyer's selected carrier are then displayed in a calculator on the listing page and in the payment process.

"This latest innovation helps bring buyers and sellers closer together by synchronizing the exchange of products, information and payments, just as we do for businesses around the globe each day," said UPS Chairman and CEO Mike Eskew.

An eBay spokesman said the company was not diclosing the length of the latest renewal agreement. The Atlanta-based UPS and San Jose, Calif.'s eBay have collaborated since December 2000, when they teamed up to create a shipping info center on eBay, a move that helped small home businesses use the same shipping methods as those deployed by major companies.

The partnership deepened last year, when the two integrated UPS shipping tools into PayPal's payment process.

There is no charge for eBay sellers to use the UPS tools in their listings. The companies said they would initially support shipments within the United States. The UPS/eBay relationship and shipping service will be formally introduced at the annual eBay Live! community conference, which begins on June 26th in Orlando, Fla.