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New USPS Rates Take Effect on May 31st

The rates the Postal Service was going to roll out last month will instead go into effect on May 31st, and the Postal Regulatory Commission formally approved the last of the rate changes on Thursday.

The changes coming on May 31st won’t impact Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express – good news for many online sellers. And Media Mail will now include free tracking.

Stamps.com Eric Nash said Thursday’s PRC rate approval only impacts standard mail and periodicals, which are sent by large vendors mailing in bulk. But they were the cause of the Postal Service’s decision to delay rolling out all of the rate changes that had been planned for last month.

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Nash said among the other big takeways for online sellers looking at the new rates were changes to Parcel Select and Priority Mail International Service.

Parcel Select: Prices are decreasing in Zones 1 to 4 for packages weighing between 5 lbs. through 24 lbs. For a package traveling to Zone 4 weighing 15 lbs., the cost is going down $9.35! And the rates are remaining the same for Zones 1 to 4, 25 to 70 lbs.

Priority Mail International Service: Priority Mail International Service will now include special “zone pricing” for Canada, split up into 8 zones. “Online sellers probably will not like this one as the rates are increasing quite a bit for the #1 international destination.”

Nash also said that since Parcel Select prices increase for Zones 5 to 9, Priority Mail is now a cheaper option than Parcel Select.

Big Impact on Shipments to Canada
Amine Khechfe, Co-founder and General Manager of Endicia, said that of the changes approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the decision to switch to zone-based pricing for Priority Mail International shipments headed to Canada will have the biggest impact on online retailers.

“Previously, the rate for a Priority Mail International package to Canada was determined by weight only, not destination; this meant that packages shipped to remote delivery routes cost the same as those going to major metropolitan areas. Now, USPS will be able to determine the rate based on 7 pricing zones. This will allow the Postal Service to charge based on both the U.S. origin city and the destination city in Canada.

“As a result, sellers based in or near major shipping hubs – such as New York City, Miami or San Francisco – could see an average savings of $8 per package when shipping to major metro areas in Canada. Savings are even greater for packages that weigh more than 19 lbs. On the other hand, sellers based in more remote cities in the United States or those sending to more obscure locations in Canada will see increases that range from $3 – $30 per package.”

The Cost of a Stamp
The Postal Service will maintain the price of the First-Class Mail stamp, which includes the Forever stamp, at 49 cents. But the single-piece additional ounce for letters will increase from 21 to 22 cents, and the price of Postcards will increase to 35 cents.

Stamps.com has a guide to the new rates on its website.

Endicia also put together a guide of the new rates.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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