The U.S. Postal Service has announced across the board shipping rate increases averaging five percent. They begin January 18th.
USPS reported a net loss of $2.8 billion for fiscal 2008, which it attributed to reduced mail volume caused by the economic slowdown, and costs mandated by the Postal Act of 2006, including pre funding worker retirement plans. The loss occurred despite more than $2 billion in cost cutting measures that included employees putting in 50 million fewer hours, compared with the previous year, the Postal Service said.
Mail volume in fiscal 2008 was down 9.5 billion pieces, or 4.5 percent to 202.7 billion pieces. Declining mail volume is a symptom of the worsening national economy, the Postal Service said, particularly related to the financial and housing industries and to increasing use of electronic mail.
The January USPS increase conforms to the timing of other shipping services' annual price adjustments, said Robert Bernstock, president, mailing and shipping services. Previous shipping price hikes coincided with mail service increases.
Shipping prices will go up 5.7 percent for Express Mail, 3.9 percent for Priority Mail, 5.9 percent for Parcel Select, 5.3 percent for Parcel Return Service and 8.5 percent for some international shipping products.
Also new for this year is Commercial Plus pricing, aimed at high volume Express Mail and Priority Mail users. New Commercial Plus prices for Express Mail are 14.5 percent less than retail on average, the Postal Service said, and for Priority Mail an average of seven percent less than retail.
"Commercial Plus is a tiered pricing option designed with larger shippers in mind," said Gary Reblin, VP, expedited shipping. "It's a very competitive offering for commercial customers; lower prices that will reward them for shipping higher volumes with the Postal Service." Price changes for mailing services, including stamps, will be announced in February and will be effective in May 2009.
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