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Tue June 29 2021 17:17:24

USPS Wants to Slow Down First Class Package Service

By: Ina Steiner

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In March, we reported that the USPS plans to slow down First Class Mail (extending service standards from 1- 3 days to 1-5 days). But in May it revealed it also wants to slow down First Class Package Service (FCPS), which many sellers use to ship lightweight items.

On Monday, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) held a technical conference - an "informal, off-the-record opportunity to clarify technical issues as well as to identify and request information relevant to evaluating the Postal Service's proposed changes."

The Federal News Network attended and published a detailed write-up on the issue and what transpired at the meeting.

The USPS says it can save money by using ground instead of air transport, thus the slowdown in service standards it's requesting.

But if shippers - including online sellers - know that FCPS will take longer to get delivered at the same or higher costs, they may seek alternatives.

Despite the USPS moving FCPS to competitive instead of dominant class, it says customers will continue to use the service even though it would take longer for packages to be delivered. It based that assertion on a survey of over 400 customers.

Jory Heckman of Federal News Network said under the proposal, "USPS would shift 32% of first-class package service volume from a three-day service standard to a four or five-day standard. About 64% of volume would not experience any change, while the remaining 4% of volume would see service upgraded from three-day to two-day service."

He said the USPS reported it delivered 1.8 billion FCPS packages in fiscal 2020, with 31% of FCPS currently transported through air carriers. 

Not unexpectedly given the Postmaster General's 10-year plan, the USPS told the PRC the proposed changes would allow it to improve overall on-time delivery and reliability, while also reducing costs.

Define "improve."



Comments (24) | Permalink

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by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 29 17:49:23 2021

I keep hearing 3-day, 4-day, and 5-day from USPS, but a significant portion of my first class packages are taking WEEKS, and so is priority, for that matter!

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by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 29 19:11:02 2021

Good grief.

Why not go back to the pony express.  It already takes up to 5 days for a first class envelope to be delivered to an address in the same city it was mailed from.  Can't wait to see the actual FCPS delivery times, especially during the year end holiday season.

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by: aris 2 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 00:40:58 2021

The best way to improve the USPS right now would be to show that Maga Clown 'snake' Louis DeJoy the door.
As soon as he took over, general service and the delivery time of all of my parcels went into the toilet.

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 06:22:34 2021

Agree wit Aris2... Dejoy has to go.

I just had 15 packages sent Media Mail on May 8th finally start showing scans on June 27th... not a week later, not 2 weeks later, not 3 weeks later, not a month later.. over 8 weeks later.

No scans, not even acceptance scans... half have already been refunded.

I know, it's Media Mail and slow delivery should be expected.. 2 months for the first scan is unacceptable.  Packages are getting delivered overseas faster.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jun 30 10:40:50 2021

In what world does ANY BUSINESS want to slow down service?  I supposed that would be in  DeJoy's world.   His conflicts of interest should have never allowed him to be selected as Post Master General.  I think the poster above who labeled him MAGA World Snake nailed it.  (Has anyone noticed his strong resemblance to Tony Soprano?  How fitting.)

If a leader is trying to slow down business he does not have the success of that business in mind.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 11:28:57 2021

With no intent to defend DeJoy whatsoever, (slowdown is the consequence in this case, not the intent per se’), it needs to be realized that the USPS - any carrier really - isn’t immune to a finite cap for infrastructure and capacity. Note this doesn’t address his machinations made during election season. That (and all the other COI issues) still render him unfit for this position, regardless.

Meanwhile, DeJoy or not, the USPS is trying to economically ingest 10x the volume in package handling compared to less than two years ago - and the system is over stressed. There are only so many planes, so many pilots, (all contracted BTW), so many delivery chain employees, so many containers, and they have all exceeded their capacity for the ability to support current ‘standards’, much less working miracles.

It’s difficult to imagine just what it takes to deliver MILLIONS of packages every month to every address in the entire US, much less adding international volume to that. Which has also increased similarly. Especially if one is focused on their one or half dozen parcels alone. What can be so difficult, one might ask? Well, nothing, IF ‘your’ concern is the only one.

And the impact of the pandemic regarding reduction of personnel availability, asset assignment, and internal delivery chain logistics can not be overemphasized either. It will continue to impact incidentally, same way all businesses are even as folks increasingly emerge from their hibernations.

The ‘improvement’ claimed relates to the ability to ACHIEVE set time goals (as a percentage), not necessarily an ‘improvement’ of the service itself. Unless one counts the creased ability to achieve what is ‘promised’. It’s about setting (resetting) realistic expectations, and increasing confidence they will be achievable. As opposed to those being increasingly unmet under current conditions.

In all this, the USPS is no different than any other enterprise, including their ‘competition’, which is even less capable of hitting ‘all delivery points’ daily - and why UPS/DHL, etc. hands off’ so many pieces for last mile delivery.

You can have it fast, cheap, and accurate. But you can only pick two.

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by: ShortSeller This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 14:46:15 2021

They are literally already doing this with cuts to flights and much volume being redirected by truck. De Joy needs hauling out of office and should be permanently banned from being hired by any organization related to the government. Call your representatives and demand his removal.

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by: JohnX This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 17:55:09 2021

Lately, many packages picked up from mailbox are either not scanned, delayed a few days in some distribution centers or lost.  Normal 5 day delivery are now 10 days if first class.  Asian package shipping costs are subsidized by US sellers for decades.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jun 30 19:31:06 2021

"You can have it fast, cheap and accurate but you can only choose two."

And yet AMAZON delivers on all three and more. It's all about leadership and a can do attitude. You can't have it however if you have a leader with conflicts of interest and one who is hell bent on destroying the very system that he is supposed to be leading.

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 30 23:01:57 2021

The fact that DeJoy out and out lied during the confirmation hearings about his holdings in both UPS and FED-EX should provide immediate grounds for his removal from his position.  He has done everything in his power to slow things down to a grinding halt, all while avoiding any mention or conversation about his investments in his competitors.  Every move he has made has been by design to leave the USPS in complete turmoil and disarray if he is ever removed from his position.  I'm betting if you look at all the political donations that are made on his behalf that those that can at least try and bring him down are totally dependent on the money he continues to donate to their campaigns which is the most important thing as far as any politician is concerned.  

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by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 01:27:39 2021

Everyone's negative response about DeJoy is 100% accurate. I'm sure Biden has gotten wind of canning Dejoy and for us vendors it can't come soon enough! USPS was being run the best I can remember just before Trump put DeJoy in to screw up mail-in ballots and it's been on a downhill ride every since. I just had a repeat customer complaining about a late package the first of this week. We are in San Antonio and customer lives in Oklahoma City. Straight shot up I-35 corridor. His previous orders were delivered 1st class in 3 business days. This last package left SA, next scan was Little Rock, AR, then St Louis, MO. Set for a couple days and then scanned in Tulsa, OK, then Oklahoma City Dist, then some small town (customer said it was 30 miles from him), then back to OKC, then he finally got the package. Note that every scan was a day longer than the scan prior except where I stated 2 days. 8 days total to get a package that should have been delivered in 3 days. My customer stated when he called about the delay he wanted to place another order, but not until he receive the "scenic route" order. Thankfully he called back the next day stating he got the package and placed the next order. We offer USPS 1st Class, USPS Priority, USPS Express, FedEx 3 day, and FedEx Second Day. We've noticed that quite a few of our customers are overlooking USPS completely (due to inconsistency in delivery times) and paying a little more for FedEx because they know if it's stated 2 or 3 days it will be delivered in 2 or 3 days.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jul 1 02:05:42 2021

Since they plan to decrease their service, are they going to decrease the price?  Sarcasm of course.  Certainly they will expect us to pay the same or even MORE for a lessor service.

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by: Gumball This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 02:27:45 2021

First Class packages are already taking 5 to 10 days or more to reach the Buyer. From what I can see First Class has been put on the sane track  as Media mail. I am worried that when the Christmas rush comes in, we may see 20 to 30 day delivery windows. If that happens, Sellers are going to big time losers as Ebay refunds the complaining buyer their money, and they still get the item free of charge. I think the Post Office is trying to force sellers to pay for Priority mail to ensure their items get delivered on time. Which would be within 4 to 7 days,  You have to remember the new Post Master has 75 million dollars invested in UPS & Fedex. I am sure he would also like to see sellers use those services more often. Though I do not know why. I have never had anything with UPS or Fedex delivered any faster than 5 to 10 days.  

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 06:18:05 2021

“ And yet AMAZON delivers on all three and more.”

Think so? All those Prime Members have financed quite a growing fleet to be sure. But sellers pay 15% FBA fee even if they don’t use FBA. (Do those ‘expenses’ count as part of the “more”?).

Of course, that’s only for those products procured through AMZ, which represents about 40% of all eCom parcels these days. Huge, but FBA won’t help the independent seller ( small and large) or non-eCom shipper. Considering that total volume, you’re comparing about half a crate of apples to three crates of oranges…and apples…and bananas, grapefruit and the occasional pomegranate. Plus all the rest on the menu. And the menu itself.

Meanwhile, currently around 40% of AMZ packages are handed off and delivered by USPS (parcel select). Because it’s cheaper - by half. That’s down from almost 70% since 2019. About 3% of those (palletized) are routinely mis-sent to an incorrect delivery unit (local PO) by their contracted truck drivers, who will also not take them back or redeliver to the correct facility themselves. That can delay ‘expected’ delivery for up to a week.

Amazon will also regularly ‘repackage’ their already cartoned products into a larger, often unnecessarily oversized ‘swoosh branded’ AMZ box.

Who do you suppose pays for all that branding, delay and excess cost? Not to mention all those claimed as ‘not received’.

Meat Loaf sang it best though…two outta three ain’t bad.

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by: MIscetal This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 07:39:38 2021

I PAY for Priority Mail for most of my listings. It has taken 2 weeks to get a package from Lancaster, PA to a city 200 miles away.

Ebay has actually refunded buyers because the holiday Priority Mail was so slow.

So now my top dollar Priority Mail fees are underwriting DeJoy's efforts to line the pockets of his company, those on which he's a board member - and his crony Fred Smith of FedEx.

The US Postal Service is infrastructure. We need to get rid of people in Congress who have chosen to destroy it with a little help from DeJoy.

You'll never guess which CEOs and stockholders of shipping services support those MOCs

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by: birdieluv This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 08:04:07 2021

I'm not sure if this is the same problem, but I'm waiting on a package from London and I've been waiting since April 28th. It's apparently in customs in Chicago. It was sent by Royal Mail and received by the USPS. I'm told that there is nothing the USPS can do about it until customs releases it. I'm more than a little worried as it's an original watercolor of my dog. It's not large and I'm sure will be lost and/or damaged in the incoming horde that customs is not processing. How can the USPS claim there is nothing that can be done? It was scanned on April 28th and nothing since then.

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by: Tinysaur This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 08:50:14 2021

This promise sounds like a speed-up from current conditions.
I had a package to Queens from Manhattan go out to Long Island about 30 miles from the destination, and then down to the southern tip of NJ 120 miles away, before being brought back to the 5 boroughs. I could have walked it to the customer. My international shipments routinely sit in Jamaica Queens for a couple months, only to be returned -- if I'm lucky. I've had to refill 1 in 5 packages this year because they disappear with the message "In Transit. Arriving Late" but they never arrive at all. I'm tired of writing apology letters to folks who've been trained that they can have anything the next day with free shipping.

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by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 11:06:00 2021

What "Snapped" said !

However, one more thing. Until the USPS gets rid of the "entitled employee" syndrome and assigns accountability and consequence to those "entitled" nothing will change.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 1 13:31:01 2021

Snapped. ypu make good points but Amazon still found away didn"t  they. Resourcefulship by leaders who demand excellence.

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by: Nothingnewecrater This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 1 16:04:41 2021

Didn't they just get millions of dollars from the gov't. And now they want to slow down the service?

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