The US Postal Service’s main job is to get mail and packages from Point A to Point B for the American people. But as it faces declining mail volumes and increasing competitive pressure in the package space, instead of vowing to improve service, the USPS will slow it.
That applies not only to First Class Mail, as it announced on Monday, but to its fastest Priority Mail offering, known as Express.
On Friday, the USPS announced its intention to change the delivery time for Priority Mail Express to be 6 pm on the committed delivery day. The new single guaranteed delivery time will be the same regardless of package origin and destination.
Currently the Postal Service delivers Priority Mail Express (PME) mail 1 – 2 business days: 10:30 a.m. (in select locations, for an extra fee), noon, or 3 pm.
The USPS justified the move to a later guaranteed delivery time by saying it would “simplify” the delivery time for Priority Mail Express.
However, most companies are open until 5 pm, so the decision to change PME delivery guarantee to 6 pm is incomprehensible unless it’s a deliberate move to discourage companies from using it.
Compare it to FedEx, for example. The only cases where FedEx offers guarantees for express service later than 5 pm is for residential deliveries, when people are expected to be home in the evening.
The price of using PME as a shipping option will not change. The current price for PME flat rate envelope starts at $26.35. But the USPS said Monday it would be raising rates in the coming weeks, though it provided no details on which rates would be rising.
The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the changes before they are scheduled to take effect, though it’s our understanding the PRC has no control over the decision.
The changes to Priority Mail Express will take effect “no earlier than May 23, 2021.”
The USPS also filed notice with the PRC on Friday seeking to transfer Bound Printed Matter (BPM) Parcels to the Competitive Product list, which would allow it greater control over rate increases.