The USPS will eliminate Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground services, which offer very low rates for large or heavy packages (up to 70 pounds). And it will reinvent First Class Package Service, which is currently limited to lightweight packages (up to 15.999 ounces), to consolidate the three services into one.
The two disappearing Ground services are alternatives to costlier Priority Mail.
According to Wednesday’s announcement, “USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground will be incorporated into one enhanced FCPS product” – the USPS is looking to roll out the changes on January 8, 2023.
The Postal Service submitted filings to the Postal Regulatory Commission on July 13, but blithely omitted such key information as pricing, knowing the PRC has largely an advisory role in rate setting.
“The pricing for the newly expanded First-Class Package Service product will be dealt with in a subsequent Governors’ Decision and Commission filing, and the Postal Service fully expects that First-Class Package Service will continue to meet the standards of 39 U.S.C. § 3633,” the USPS wrote in its filing for changes in classifications for competitive products available on the PRC website (Docket No. MC2022–82).
The USPS Board of Governors said it intends to maintain the Retail and Commercial price categories within First-Class Package Service – notice it used the word categories, not prices.
Strangely, just months ago, the USPS filed its intention to speed Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground service standards. Just months later on June 22, the USPS Board of Governors formally decided to eliminate those offerings to merge them into FCPS.
The USPS is rapidly changing offerings available to mailers and shippers. And in a move right out of Corporate America’s playbook, the Governors cited “simplification” as the benefit to shippers when in fact online postage services automate the process of finding the cheapest method of shipping an item.
The USPS Board of Governors wrote, “The classification changes established herein are designed to simplify and streamline the Postal Service’s ground competitive package offerings under one product.” And the USPS press release announcing the news on Wednesday was titled, “USPS Simplifies Package Shipping Options.”