USPS Delays Full Service IMb Requirement
The U.S. Postal Service has delayed the planned January 26, 2014 change that would require use of the Full-Service Intelligent Mail® barcode to earn automation price discounts. Mailers who are not currently enrolled in this program will still be able to claim automation rates. However, to achieve the best pricing mailers must meet the full-service requirements.
This announcement comes after a Postal Regulatory Commission ruling that found that the combination of the planned January 2014 price increase and the IMb Full-Service requirement would cause rates to increase by more than the maximum allowed by law.
Despite this delay, the USPS is committed to full-service adoption by all mailers-and organizations who were in the process of complying with Full-Service IMb may be well served to stay on track. Benefits of full-service include:
- An additional per piece discount on every mailpiece
- Address correction information at no additional cost
- The ability to track service performance through reports and scan information
- Visibility into containers, tray and mailpiece tracking
- Using Full Service IMb allows you to participate in USPS mailing promotions that can provide big savings or credits on postage.
- Annual permit fees will be waived when 90 percent or more of cumulative annual mailings consist of Full-Service mail.
To stay up-to-date on USPS changes, be sure to read our Postal Blog.
Price for USPS shipping services to rise 2.4 percent
The USPS has proposed a price increase on its Competitive Products, also known as Shipping Services. If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, these new rates would take effect January 26, 2014 on services including Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, First-Class Package Service, Standard Post, Domestic Extra Services, and International. The increases average 2.4%.
As part of this price adjustment, other significant changes include:
- New Priority Mail Express 10:30 a.m. delivery time option for an additional $5.00
- New Priority Mail annual volume thresholds for cubic pricing and other commercial plus offerings will be lowered to 50,000 packages
- New Premium Forwarding Service pricing options for commercial customers
- New Flat Rate Commercial Base and Commercial Plus prices for Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International
- A fee of $0.20 assessed on any commercial parcels that lacks an Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb)
The USPS is also expected to soon release its Final Rule on IMpb as well as specific shipping standard changes, which will provide more details on how the prices and fees will be implemented.
For more information about the Shipping Services price change, read the USPS release
Holiday mailings to military personnel
To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by December 25, the USPS advises mailers to send cards and packages to military APO/FPO/ DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed below:
|Military Mail Addressed|
To and From
|Priority Mail Express |
|First-Class Mail |
Letters and Cards
|Priority Mail||Parcel Airlift Mail||Space Available |
|APO/FPO AE ZIPs 090-92||Dec-17||Dec-10||Dec-10||Dec-3||Nov-26||Nov-12|
|APO/FPO AE |
|APO/FPO AE ZIPs 094-098||Dec-17||Dec-10||Dec-10||Dec-3||Nov-26||Nov-12|
|APO/FPO AE ZIPs 962-966||Dec-17||Dec-10||Dec-10||Dec-3||Nov-26||Nov-12|
Helping to get packages on their way, the Postal Service offers a discount on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate box at $14.85. The price includes a $2 per box discount for military mail being sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office, Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide.
New USPS Mobile Promotion Kicks Off
Organizations can register for the Mobile Buy It Now promotion starting September 15, 2013. This program demonstrates how direct mail, combined with mobile technology, continues to be a convenient method for consumers to do their shopping.
Qualified business mailers will receive an upfront two percent postage discount on Standard Mail® and First-Class Mail® letters, flats and cards (presort and Automation). Each mailpiece should include a mobile barcode that can be read or scanned by a mobile device, which links the recipient to a mobile-optimized shopping website. On that site, they must be able to purchase an advertised product on the mobile device. Additional restrictions apply.
The incentive runs November 1 through December 31, 2013. For more information on this promotion, visit usps.com
. To learn how you can add mobile barcodes to your mail, visit us at pbSmart™ Codes
USPS Previews Proposed 2014 Changes
While the US Postal Service probably won't make any recommendations on new prices until sometime this fall, they have identified structural changes that are under consideration. These proposal include:
- create a new price category for First-Class Mail Retail Single-Piece
- discontinue support for First-Class Election Mail as a rate type
- add a Zone 9 to the Priority Mail
- rename the Service Type "Delivery Confirmation" to "USPS Tracking".
- revise the minimum volume and weight requirements for parcel mailings.
- add an Extra Service fee for IMpb Non-Compliance
Express Mail® now Priority Mail Express™
As of July 28, 2013, Express Mail® service will be rebranded as Priority Mail Express. This name change is designed to consolidate most of the USPS® shipping options under a single brand identity. Users of Express Mail will enjoy the same service they receive today.
As part of this change, new Priority Mail shipping labels and retail receipts will indicate day-specific delivery options, including 1-day, 2-day and 3-day service.
Mailers and shippers may continue to use existing Express Mail packaging materials and product indicia until January 2014. Many organizations, however, are taking steps now to prepare for this change. View our latest postal blog
to learn how this change may affect your business.
USPS Product Sample and Picture Permit Promotions
Organizations can register now to take advantage of the 2013 Product Samples Promotion, which runs August 1 - September 30, 2013. This campaign provides mailers with an upfront 5 percent postage discount on Standard Mail® and Nonprofit Marketing Parcels that contain product samples.
To be eligible for the discount, all mailpieces received must contain a product sample, and mailing documentation must be submitted electronically. Certain restrictions apply. To learn more, visit the USPS business promotions
During the same campaign period, you can also take advantage of the Picture Perfect Promotion, which provides commercial mailers the creativity and flexibility to customize the permit indicia space of a First-Class or a Standard mailpiece by adding a business-related image such as a company logo, trademark or brand. Pitney Bowes experts have outlined the benefits and requirements, so you can easily learn more about Picture Permit
USPS delays plans for 5-day delivery
In response to Congressional action, the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service has decided to delay plans to adopt a new delivery schedule this August. The proposed plan would have provided for mail delivery Monday through Friday and package delivery Monday through Saturday.
In a statement
released, the board commented: “Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the Board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule. The Board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time. The Board also wants to ensure that customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties and are able to adjust their business plans accordingly.”
Who protects your mail?
Every year, headlines remind us that that mail center managers are not only responsible for processing mail; they need to take steps to provide for the security and safety of staff and mail recipients.
In January 2013, The US Postal Inspection Service released a Guide to Mail Center Security (Pub166).
Here, experts from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service highlight ways you can assess your risks, secure your mail center from theft, screen for package bombs and explosives, and protect your team from hazardous substances.
As an organization, Pitney Bowes has been at the forefront of mail security for decades. We recommend that facility managers take time to understand the risks that suspicious mail can pose to their people, their facility, and the business processes they support. Consider how you can implement a screening process that’s right for your organization. For some, the screening process may be as simple as just spending a few extra seconds looking at each letter as it is being sorted. For others, the process may involve robust secure mail services
, which could include a specially designed offsite facility, complete with x-ray equipment, biohazard detection systems, chemical sensors, and decontamination equipment. In all cases, the process must be capable of dealing with the current level of risk to the organization and be capable of rapid upgrade in the event that the threat posed by suspicious mail changes quickly.
Delivery Confirmation is now USPS Tracking
The new USPS Tracking™ service, which replaces Delivery Confirmation™, is available at no additional cost for First-Class Mail® parcels, First-Class™ Package Service, Priority Mail®, Standard Post™ and Parcel Select®.
At the same time, the USPS is transitioning to a new Intelligent Mail® package barcode, which will be required on all parcels claiming presort or destination entry pricing (except for Standard Mail® parcels). Pitney Bowes customers have additional time to comply with this new requirement. Organizations that rely on shipping software to print labels (i.e. SendSuite® Shipping solutions) will have until October 2013 to comply. Mailing system customers will have until January 2014.
In the interim, Delivery Confirmation™ labels will be rebranded as USPS Tracking™ labels. Mailers can continue to use existing labels until the new ones are available. Learn more about the Intelligent Mail® package barcode.