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USPS Announces Rate Increases for 2011

January 14, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Postal Service (USPS) has filed new mailing service prices with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The increases are limited by law to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap of 1.7 percent. The new rates are slated to take effect April 17.

In a statement, the USPS pointed out that it has been nearly two years since the last rate increase. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe noted that in an effort to continue improving customer relations within the mailing industry, he consulted with industry representatives on the effective date for new prices. Donahoe also said the USPS is relaxing some guidelines on the implementation of Intelligent Mail services.

“We heard concerns that we were moving too fast on discontinuing POSTNET coding, and we will continue to offer the automation prices for mail with POSTNET barcodes beyond May 2011,” Donahoe said.

Donahoe emphasized the value of the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) to mailers and reiterated the Postal Service commitment to implementing the IMb. To date, more than 41 billion pieces of mail have been processed using the IMb, according to USPS.

Mailers can continue to use POSTNET barcodes to qualify for automation discounts. The POSTNET code was to sunset this May to enable broad adoption and use of the IMb. There will be no full service Address Change Service (ACS) charges.

The following are the postal rate increases by product category:

First-Class mail
• Single-piece letters, cards: 0.5 percent;
• Flats: 5.3 percent;
• Parcels: 3.8 percent;
• Presort letters, cards: 1.8 percent; and
• International (outbound/inbound): 4.0 percent

Standard mail
• Letters: 1.8 percent;
• Flats: 0.8 percent;
• Carrier route letters, flats, and parcels: 1.4 percent;
• High density/saturation letters: 0.6 percent;
• High density/saturation flats and parcels: 0.4 percent; and
• Parcels (NFMs/parcels): 11.3 percent.

• Outside county: 1.8 percent;
• Inside county: 1.1 percent

It's been a busy week for Donahoe, who earlier announced a 16 percent reduction to the officer ranks, realigned revenue-generating business units and the closure of one area office in order to streamline the USPS, the organization reported.

The USPS said that while cost savings will be realized, the main objective of the restructuring is to enhance and strengthen customer service and relationships. The realignment reportedly flattens the organization, fostering flexibility to more quickly adapt to changing market forces and further mail volume decline.

"It is imperative that the Postal Service continue its evolution as a forward-thinking, fast-acting company capable of providing quality products and services for customers and a welcoming, diverse, professional workplace," Donahoe said.

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