The United States Postal Service has announced that beginning October 3rd and continuing through December 26th, there will be a price increase affecting all commercial and retail domestic parcels. According to the USPS, the increase is due to the expected uptick in volume that usually occurs during the holiday season. International shipping isn’t expected to be affected.
Moreover, USPS announced that the current 3-day standard for First Class Packages in the continental US is unattainable due to unreliability with air transport. Thus, USPS has announced a one to two-day increase in the in-transit standard as of October 1st. According to an official statement, “Most First-Class Mail [61%] and Periodicals [93%] will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.” However, it’s the changes to First-Class Package Services that wargamers and miniature purveyors will be affected by most.
USPS Senior Public Relations Representative Kim Frum clarified further about the change to package services, stating:
“[T]he current standard for [First-Class Package Service] requires 3-day service for any destination within the contiguous US with a drive time greater than 6 hours. This is unattainable and forces us to overly rely on air transportation, yielding unreliable service. With this change of offering 2- to 5-day service based on distance, we will improve service reliability and predictability for customers…”
While we questioned whether part of the issue was a shortage of workers, USPS remains adamant that the problem lies in the unreliability of air travel. Whatever the cause, it’s evident that orders shipping within the continental US are going to take longer to get to customers if they are shipped First Class. However, Frum did confirm that “customers may still opt to use Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services to ship packages within the contiguous US with a 1-to-3- day service standard.
As for the temporary price increase, Frum notes that they are part of the Delivering for America 10-year plan to “return the organization to financial sustainability and achieve service excellence…”