Sponsored Link
Email This Post Email This Post

USPS Says End of Regional Rate Is to ‘Simplify’ Priority Mail Offering

USPS Says End of Regional Rate Is to 'Simplify' Priority Mail Offering

The USPS continues to shake up services popular with online sellers as it looks to cut costs and streamline operations. On Friday, it issued an industry alert detailing the end of Priority Mail Regional Rate. Readers had discussed in September what the news meant for sellers when EcommerceBytes first reported its pending demise.

Regional Rate Boxes A and B are best used for small, dense packages being shipped short distances. In Friday’s announcement, the USPS suggested an alternative once the new policy takes effect on January 22, 2023 (still subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission):

“The recommended alternative is Priority Mail Cubic. Priority Mail Cubic is a sub-service of Priority Mail in which the commercial customer ships using their own packaging and the pricing is based on the outer dimensions of the package rather than weight. This option offers similar cost savings as Regional Rate boxes. Priority Mail Cubic packages must measure 0.5 cubic feet or less, weigh 20 pounds or less, and the longest dimension may not exceed 18 inches. Priority Mail Cubic has zone pricing with five price tiers up to 0.5 cubic feet (see Notice 123 – Postal Explorer (usps.com)).”

In a similar move that proved much more disruptive to sellers of certain items, the USPS instituted a costly surcharge on long skinny packages containing products like movie posters, golf clubs, fishing poles, plants, baseball bats, and windshield wipers. Shippers now pay a $4 nonstandard fee for a tube greater than 22″ and a $15 nonstandard fee for a tube greater than 30″.

As we’ve previously noted, online marketplaces have stayed silent about the nonstandard surcharges. Paradoxically, sites like eBay and Etsy earn more in fees the higher the shipping costs, but it’s unclear if they saw any change in the number of sales of such products.

One change that has nothing to do with simplifying postal operations is the practice of hiking rates during the peak holiday-shopping season, but that has also gotten little attention from anyone but small shippers.

You can learn more about alternatives to Priority Mail Regional Rate in last month’s coverage, “The Demise of the USPS Regional Rate – Is There a Substitute?”

The USPS also restated in today’s alert what it had told us last month: “Customers with Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes in their inventory can still use them to ship, but they will be treated as weight and rate packages.”

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “USPS Says End of Regional Rate Is to ‘Simplify’ Priority Mail Offering”

  1. I ordered some Regional A and B boxes. Looking forward to using them after the USPS discontinues the Regional rates. 🙂

Comments are closed.