Stamps.com Blog

Stamps.com Blog

Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

New USPS Mailing Standards For Lithium Batteries

February 26th, 2015 Comments off

Lithium Batteries Blog

What are Lithium Batteries?
Used in a diverse range of products such as cameras, laptops, cell phones and many other consumer products, lithium batteries are designed to provide significant levels of power.  While the high power levels make them an effective choice, these batteries can produce a substantial amount of heat if short circuited.  Additionally, the chemical contents of these batteries can catch fire, if damaged or incorrectly assembled.

New Shipping Regulations
Starting February 2015, businesses must comply with new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) standards for preparing shipments that contain lithium batteries.  The new standards were issued to ensure the safe transportation of shipments that include these batteries and cells.  Shippers are responsible to comply with these new regulations or risk fines.

To align with these new DOT and PHMSA regulations, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has also revised its mailing standards for lithium batteries.

Changes to USPS Standards for Domestic Shipments Containing Lithium Batteries
Effective March 2nd, 2015, the new regulations impact shipping processes as follows:

  1. Lithium-ion cell and battery size was previously determined by lithium content.  Under the new regulations, watt-hours will be used (Example:  An iPhone 5 battery includes 5.45 watt-hours).
  1. Lithium metal (non-rechargeable batteries used to power calculators, remote car locks etc.) and lithium ion batteries (rechargeable batteries used to power laptops, cell phones, camcorders etc.) will be classified under separate shipping descriptions.
  1. All shipments containing lithium batteries or cells (standalone, packed with or installed in equipment) must include markings (or a lithium battery handling label) and documentation that indicates:
  • Whether the package contains lithium metal or lithium ion batteries or cells.
  • Potential of a flammability hazard if the package is damaged.
  • The special procedures to be followed in case the package gets damaged.
  • A telephone number for additional information.
  1. Shipments that only include button cell batteries that are already installed in equipment do not need to display any marks or labels or be accompanied by any document.  Additionally, no markings or documentation are required for packages that include up to 4 cells / 2 batteries (lithium ion or lithium metal) that are already installed in the equipment they power.
  1. Air shipments, including Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, can include a maximum of 2 batteries or 8 cells when they contain standalone lithium ion cells or batteries, or lithium cells or batteries packed with or contained in equipment.

Shipping Lithium Batteries to International Destinations?
With the exception of using watt-hours to determine size, there are no additional new USPS requirements that will impact international shipments of lithium batteries.  Lithium batteries can only be shipped internationally if they are installed in the equipment they operate.  Shipping carriers are not allowed to ship packages containing only lithium batteries or cells to international locations – they must be included inside a product.  No markings or documentation are allowed on these international mailpieces.  This rule applies to all international as well as APO/FPO/DPO destinations.

Categories: USPS News Tags:

How the New IMpB Requirement Impacts NetStamps Users

February 23rd, 2015 Comments off

IMpB Requirements NetStamps

Effective January 25th, 2015, the USPS enforced a new IMpB requirement as a result of which Stamps.com customers need to make adjustments to the way they use NetStamps for their packages.  All USPS packages must now carry an IMpB tracking label.  Designed to function like stamps, NetStamps do not carry a barcode like shipping labels, which is why there are some limitations around their use going forward.

This change only impacts First Class, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.  First Class letter postage is not impacted, for which Stamps.com customers can continue to print NetStamps, envelopes and mailing labels at the discounted Commercial Base rates.

Using the Stamps.com software?
You can still print postage for First Class packages, as well as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages on NetStamps, but at retail rates only.  Additionally, these packages must be accompanied by the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label, which can be ordered at the Stamps.com Store.  To continue receiving the discounted Commercial Base rates, print shipping labels for these packages.

Using Stamps.com Online?
Stamps.com Online customers will no longer be able to print NetStamps postage for First Class packages, as well as for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.  Use shipping labels instead!  All shipping labels generated by Stamps.com already contain the IMpB-compliant tracking barcode and our customers will continue to receive discounted rates.

Printing PhotoStamps?
If you are creating PhotoStamps to use on your Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes (1 oz.), you will continue to be charged $5.60 for postage, but the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label will need to be included for these mailings.

IMpB required for all USPS Packages – Starts January 25th, 2015

January 27th, 2015 Comments off

IMpB Blog New

Effective Sunday, January 25th, 2015, the USPS requires that all First Class, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages be shipped with an Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpB) tracking label. First Class letters, Large Envelopes and Postcards are not affected by this new USPS requirement.

Packages that do not include an IMpB may face delivery delays as well as increased postage charges. Moreover, if you print postage online with a service like Stamps.com, the IMpB is required in order to receive Commercial Base and Commercial Plus discounts.

Stamps.com shipping labels already include IMpB barcodes!
Stamps.com customers printing shipping labels need not worry. All shipping labels generated by Stamps.com already contain the IMpB-compliant tracking barcode and our customers will continue to receive discounted rates.

Printing NetStamps? Learn how this update impacts you.
Stamps.com customers printing NetStamps are impacted by this update. Since NetStamps are designed to function like regular stamps, they don’t carry a barcode like shipping labels. Within the Stamps.com software, customers can still print NetStamps postage for packages but at Retail Post Office Rates only. A Form 400 USPS Tracking Label must be included. If using NetStamps with First Class letters, Large Envelopes or Postcards, Stamps.com customers will still receive discounted rates and will not need to include the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label. The Form 400 USPS Tracking Label is available for order at the Stamps.com Store. Stamps.com Online customers will no longer be able to print NetStamps postage for First Class Packages, as well as for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.

Pay Retail Post Office Rates with a Postage Meter
Businesses that print shipping labels on a postage meter are also impacted by this USPS update. Since postage for a package using a meter is typically printed on “meter tape”, there is not enough space to print a barcode.  Therefore, as of January 25th, 2015, metered postage for packages is not eligible for discounted shipping rates.  Commercial Base rates are only available to shippers who have the ability to print their own unique IMpB tracking label.  All other shippers can continue to use their postage meters but will no longer receive the discounted rates.  Since costs can add up quickly without the commercial base discounts, high volume shippers may want to consider alternative shipping solutions.  Moreover, these shippers need to ensure that each mail piece includes a USPS Tracking label (Label 400) to comply with the new requirement.

FREE Guide! How to Calculate Dimensional (DIM) Weight

December 26th, 2014 Comments off

Starting in 2015, UPS Ground and FedEx Ground/Home Delivery will modify their shipping rates. The current rates are based on the weight of the package, but the new shipping rate method will be based on the size of the package. This pricing program is known as Dimensional Weight Pricing, also referred to as “DIM Weight.”

600x315 DIM Guide Package
Stamps.com has released a NEW Dimensional (DIM) Weight GuideThe FREE downloadable PDF includes everything you need to know about DIM Weight including:

  • New rates being implemented by UPS and FedEx in 2015
  • Description of DIM Weight
  • How to Calculate DIM Weight Pricing
  • DIM Weights for the 25 Top Selling Box Dimensions
  • Benefits of using the USPS, Pricing Examples, Tips to Reduce Costs
  • and much more!

DOWNLOAD THE DIM WEIGHT GUIDE NOW!

Stamps.com Enterprise Named to Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine 100 List

December 22nd, 2014 Comments off

sdce_logoWe are excited to announce that Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine has named Stamps.com as a top supply chain provider in its 12th annual listing of the Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100. Stamps.com was recognized for its Enterprise corporate postage solution, a product that allows an administrator to manage postage spending across a network of offices or locations.

For 2014, the magazine’s criteria for the SDC 100 list was to focus on supply chain transformation products that can help business executives find new opportunities to drive improvement in their operations.

Stamps.com’s Enterprise solution was identified for helping organizations replace expensive postage meters with its turnkey software, generating immediate cost savings, and providing tools to simplify the mailing and shipping process. The program allows a designated account administrator to run reports from a company headquarters showing detailed postage activity and expenses for an entire network of offices or locations.

Corporate Postage Solutions

“Our readers count on Supply & Demand Chain Executive for intelligence and decision-making information on solutions and best practices for supply chain transformation,” said Barry Hochfelder, editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “With this year’s Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100, we are featuring ‘100 Great Supply Chain Projects’ that demonstrate the broad spectrum of opportunities for enabling excellence in the supply chain.”

The complete list of the 100 honorees are listed online at www.SDCExec.com

Categories: Awards Tags: