Changes at USPS could impact holiday shipping, greeting cards

The United States Postal Service has made a few changes for the busy holiday season, which will impact everything from your holiday shopping and shipping to sending holiday cards to friends and family.

The USPS launched new “service standards” on October 1 for first-class mail (letters, small packages, bills, and tax documents). Now, customers nationwide can expect First Class Mail to arrive at their destination in 1-5 days. Previously, the delay was 1 to 3 days. Local mail will not be affected as the service standard is still two days.

Most people won’t notice much of a difference, with the Postal Service saying it will affect about 39% of first-class mail, mostly mail that needs to travel longer distances. This means that people in rural areas are likely to be the most affected.

So if you want your greeting cards to arrive before the holidays, it’s best to send them a little earlier this year. USPS also recommends that anyone sending mail over long distances send those letters and packages early.

Additionally, the Postal Service is temporarily increasing package prices for the peak holiday season this year. This means that the cost of sending commercial and retail parcels will be 25 cents to $5 more expensive than before, depending on the type of service you purchase. (The heavier the package, the more expensive the increase – you can find the price for each USPS service online here.)

This will impact everyone who sends packages, including those who send gifts for the holidays. People who shop a lot online may also see an increase in shipping costs over the next few months.

However, this price increase is only temporary. It went into effect Oct. 3 and will be in place until Dec. 26, according to the USPS.

However, USPS plans to revise its rates more frequently in the future, with the possibility of prices increasing twice a year as the Postal Service works to limit its budget deficit, the Washington Post said.

The USPS is expected to suffer losses of $160 billion over the next 10 years.

These changes should help the USPS save money. This is part of the Postal Service’s 10-year plan.

Slowing down mail by moving it by land instead of air could help reduce costs and increase reliability. The USPS says these new service standards for first-class mail and newspapers will also improve the consistency and reliability of service, which has improved in recent months after struggling in 2020.

And increasing package prices, even temporarily, will bring the USPS “in line with competitive practices,” according to a press release.

“These temporary rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with the revenue needed to cover additional costs in anticipation of peak season volume increases similar to levels experienced in 2020,” the USPS said, noting that additional revenue will depend on the volume of packages shipped during the peak holiday season (October 3 through December 26).

In addition to introducing new service standards and increasing shipping prices, the Postal Service says it continues to prepare for the higher delivery demands that are expected for the holiday season.

Last year saw more people take advantage of online shopping and gift shipping during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may continue this year as the highly contagious delta variant continues to keep case numbers down. a high level.

USPS is working to hire an additional 40,000 seasonal workers and is leasing 7.5 million square feet of space to help handle growth in packages sent by the Postal Service. It is also installing new parcel processing and sorting equipment to accommodate larger volumes of items.

Mika R. Pyle