USPS Announces Postage Rate Increase – Starts January 17, 2016

October 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Blog_Postage_Rates_2016The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a postage rate increase for select mail classes and services in 2016, pending approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).  If approved by the PRC, the new postage rates will start on Sunday, January 17, 2016.  Below are some highlights on the upcoming rate changes:

Priority Mail Express
The Priority Mail Express service will see an average increase of 15.6% in postage rates next year.  2016 Commercial Base rates for your Priority Mail Express packages will increase across the board, with the exception of packages weighing less than 0.5 lbs being shipped to Zones 5, 6 and 7.

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Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
In 2016, Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes will see an increase of $2.55.  Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes will be discontinued next year.

PME Flat Rate
Priority Mail
Priority Mail rates will see an average increase of 9.4% in 2016.

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Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
Postage rates for Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes as well as Envelopes will increase across the board in 2016.

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Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes
Postage for Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes A and B will be increasing for a large majority of the zones as shown below.  Priority Mail Regional Rate Box C will be discontinued in 2016.

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First Class Package Service
First Class Package Service rates will see an average increase of 12.8% in 2016.  The maximum weight for First Class Package Service Commercial Base pricing will be increased from up to 13 ounces to up to 16 ounces.  First Class Package Service Commercial Plus pricing will no longer exist in 2016.

FCPS

Parcel Select Ground
Currently known as Parcel Select Nonpresort, this ground service will undergo a name change in 2016 and will be referred to as Parcel Select Ground next year.  Parcel Select Ground rates will see an average increase of 1.9% in 2016.  Postage prices will actually go down for packages weighing between 3 – 10 lbs. and being shipped to Zones 1 – 5.

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International Shipping
International shippers will also see an increase in postage rates starting January 17, 2016.  Below are some highlights on the upcoming rate changes for international mail classes:

Global Express Guaranteed postage rates are expected to rise by an average of 7.1%.

Priority Mail Express International postage rates will increase by an average of 11.6% next year.  Flat Rate Boxes for this international service will be discontinued in 2016.  In addition, prices for Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes will be further separated into additional country groups.

Priority Mail International postage rates will see an overall increase of 10.2% in 2016.  Commercial Base and Commercial Plus pricing for this service will be the same next year.

First Class Package International Service postage rates will increase by an average of 21.6% in 2016, however Commercial Base and Plus prices will remain the same next year.  The average price increases by pound are:

– Up to 1 lb. – Average Increase of $5.17
– Up to 2 lbs. – Average Increase of ($1.77)
– Up to 3 lbs. – Average Increase of $1.63
– Up to 4 lbs. – Average Increase of $11.58

Additional Changes
Below are details on additional changes that will be implemented next year:

Critical Mail:  In order to further simplify its product offerings, the U.S. Postal Service will discontinue the Critical Mail service in 2016 once the new rates are implemented in January.

Click-N-Ship Features:  Available on USPS.com, these features will move to retail pricing once the new rates are implemented in January 2016.  Commercial Base pricing for these features will no longer be available.

Stamps.com Will Automatically Update to the New USPS Rates on January 17, 2016
Stamps.com will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online) on Sunday, January 17, 2016. If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will see the new USPS rates automatically.

Priority Mail International: New Shipping Zones For Canada

June 3rd, 2015 Comments off

Blog_PMI_Canada

On Sunday, May 31 2015, the USPS introduced zone-based pricing for Priority Mail International packages being shipped to Canada.  Previously, shipping rates for each country were based on package weight alone.  However, with the new change, distance has also become a factor in determining the shipping rate for Priority Mail International packages being routed to Canada.

How does Priority Mail International for Canada Work?

Depending on the origin zip code of the package, your shipment is assigned one of 7 pricing zones, that are numbered between 1.1 and 1.8.  This pricing zone along with the weight of your package determines the shipping rate.

Prior to the 2015 USPS Rate Increase, the shipping rate only depended on the weight of your package.  As of May 31, 2015, the shipping zone is also considered in determining the shipping rate of your package.  The table below shows 2015 Commercial Base (Online Postage) rates for Priority Mail International packages weighing up to 5 lbs. that are being shipped to Canada.

Blog PMI 600

With Priority Mail International, you can send shipments of up to 66lbs. to Canada.

Stamps.com Customers Must Upgrade to Version 13.0

In order to print online postage (Commercial Base rates) for Priority Mail International shipments to Canada, Stamps.com customers must upgrade to Version 13.0 or use Stamps.com Online.

Download Stamps.com Version 13.0 now.

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.

More info on the U.S. Postal Service’s Lithium Battery mailing standards is available on the USPS.com site.

USPS News – Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act

July 15th, 2010 12 comments

blog_pact-act_usps-logoRecently, legislation entitled “Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act,”  was  passed by Congress that prevents shippers/mailers from using the U.S. Postal Service® to send tobacco related products.  Specifically, the U.S. Postal Service can no longer be used to ship any package containing smokeless tobacco or cigarettes.

Cigarettes, including roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco are considered “nonmailable” matter, unless the shipment falls within certain exceptions.  For instance, cigars are not prohibited and may still be shipped and mailed without impact from PACT.  Other exceptions to this law include:

  • Alaska/Hawaii: Shipment entirely within Alaska or Hawaii.
  • Business/Regulatory Purposes: Shipments transmitted between verified and authorized tobacco industry businesses for business purposes, or between such businesses and federal or state agencies or regulatory purposes.
  • Certain Individuals: Infrequent, lightweight shipments mailed by age-verified adult individuals.
  • Consumer Testing/Public Health: Shipments of cigarettes sent by verified and authorized manufacturers to verified adult smokers age 21 and over for consumer testing purposed, and shipments sent by federal agencies to consumers for public health purposes.

Learn more about the PACT Act from the USPS site.

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