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USPS January 2016 Rate Increase for Mailing and Shipping Services

The United States Postal Service (USPS®) will be raising rates on commercial Priority Mail® products – for the first time in three years – as well as for other Shipping Services products, effective January 17, 2016.

The average rate increase for Priority Mail is 9.8 percent, while the average overall Shipping Services rate increase is 9.5 percent. The USPS did not propose any rate adjustments to First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail® or its other mailing products, including the Forever Stamp.

The Postal Service’s average rate changes to specific products include:

• Priority Mail Express®: 15.6 percent
• First-Class Package Service® : 12.8 percent
• Parcel Select® Destination Entry: 4.9 percent
• Parcel Select® Ground: 1.9 percent
• Parcel Select Lightweight®: 23.5 percent
• Parcel Return Service: 5.0 percent
• Standard Post™: 10.0 percent

In addition, the USPS will be discontinuing its Domestic and International Priority Mail Express Flat Rate™ Box and Priority Mail Regional Rate Box® C, instead charging based on the applicable Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express price (determined by weight and zone), and also changing the name of its Standard Post product to Retail Ground.
The rate change also calls for an adjustment to a current anomaly in First-Class Package Services rates. Currently, Commercial Plus™ Pricing (CPP) for First-Class Package Service is actually higher than Commercial Base™ Pricing (CBP) for items weighing 13 ounces or less. Normally, CPP prices are lower than CBP, which are lower than retail prices. CBP prices are available up to 13 ounces, while First-Class Package Services items weighing between 13 and 15.999 ounces are shipped using the higher CPP price.

With the 2016 pricing changes, the USPS is extending the allowable weight of CBP shipments all the way up to 15.999 ounces, while also eliminating both CPP and the option to presort First-Class Package Services. What this means is that effective in January, only single-piece rate Commercial Base pricing will remain. These pieces are not sealed against postal inspection. Mailers that were paying higher CPP prices for items weighing between 13 and 16 ounces will be able to pay the lower CBP price. Also, higher volume First-Class Package Services mailers that have been presorting their parcels may have to pay the higher single-piece Commercial Base Price. The USPS has long-term plans to eventually eliminate Commercial Plus Pricing for all products.
To accommodate these rate increases and remove complexity from mail and package sending, mailers should work with trusted partners that offer technology solutions for ensuring compliance with the Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail® package barcode (IMpb) guidelines. This will allow them to qualify for CBP discounts, to avoid paying higher than necessary retail rates and to receive the best rates and service value by comparing USPS options with alternate carriers.

A trusted mailing partner can help businesses of all sizes send smarter, take advantage of available discounts and find efficiencies and opportunities for cost savings in their mailing and shipping operations. Reach out to us today for a free analysis on your mailing operations.

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