Friday, August 5, 2011

Using a Multi-Carrier Shipping System to Help with the Upcoming USPS Triple Whammy

Using a Multi-Carrier Shipping System to Help with the Upcoming USPS Triple Whammy
There has been HUGE news coverage about Congress, their budget, and the nation’s debt. Significant issues, to be sure. However, that coverage has overshadowed some news that also affects all of us—major changes proposed within the United States Postal Service. The USPS has formally requested to close many Post Offices, to raise their postage rates, and to eliminate Saturday delivery. Should even one of these actions take place, Post Office shipping services will change, affecting both businesses that use the USPS as well as private individuals. If all three are enacted, USPS users will make adjustments concerning what can be expected from the Post Office and how Post Office services can best be used, especially for business shipping. Online retailers in particular will have many things to think about concerning their future shipping via USPS. Here are some specifics:

Branch Closures

The USPS wants to close 3653 post offices across the country as a part of its Retail Access Optimization Initiative. In some states, more than 200 offices are being reviewed. The general public may appeal a Post Office slated for closure: interested parties must submit a notice of intervention to the Postal Regulatory Commission by August 19th. The PRC will hear cases of appeal beginning in September. The offices being closed will receive formal notification in late October through December, and they will remain open for 60 days after notification. When the closures begin in early 2012, postal customers will see some changes. In cities, you might have a longer drive or walk to the nearest branch. However, in rural areas, postal customers are likely to have significantly longer trips to pick up packages shipped to them. Expect to see more post office villages where customers can use a few postal services inside another business.

Rate Hikes

The USPS wants to raise its rates in January 2012, and they don’t even seem to be asking permission anymore. They told the PRC the rate changes are an emergency. Why are they raising shipping and mailing rates? They justify this particular hike with a $2.34B decrease in their revenue due to the recession and decreased shipping volume. We don’t yet know how the rate hikes are going to be distributed. Right now, the expectation is an across the board increase of 5-6%. As you plan your shipping budget for 2012, you will want to take these rate increases into account.

Saturday Off

The post office has requested permission from Congress to switch to a five day delivery cycle, eliminating Saturday delivery completely. They say the change will save $3.1B a year in operating costs and help them cope with the losses caused by greatly reduced overall mail volume.

It looks like these three changes will all hit at the beginning of 2012—the post offices that are left will be delivering less often and for a higher price. Watch for more news of these shipping changes in the coming months, and prepare for your business now.

Remember, Harvey Software’s CPS shipping software stays current with ALL carriers’ rate and service changes. When deciding how to ship your packages to your customers, know that CPS can help you make the best decision. For more information about our multi-carrier shipping system, CPS, visit

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