Postal Updates

Postal Service to raise Priority Mail, other postal rates Jan. 24

Nov 19, 2020, 11 AM
Various Priority Mail rates are set to increase Jan. 24, 2021. The $26.35 rate for the Priority Mail Express flat-rate envelope, currently satisfied by the $26.35 Grand Island Ice Caves Priority Mail Express stamp, will remain unchanged.

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

Prices to mail packages will rise at least 3 percent under a new rate schedule the United States Postal Service announced Nov. 16. Some rates will increase even more.

Subject to approval of the Postal Regulatory Commission, the higher prices will be effective Jan. 24, 2021.

The agency’s board of governors approved the increases, saying “these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue.”

Priority Mail prices will rise by 3.5 percent overall, a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission said.

The price for the Priority Mail flat-rate envelope will increase 20¢, from $7.75 to $7.95. It is possible that the Postal Service will issue a new Priority Mail stamp next year to satisfy the new rate, but no official announcement has been made. If a new Priority Mail stamp were to be issued, it would replace the $7.75 Big Bend National Park issued Jan. 18 (Scott 5429).

All prices for the popular flat-rate Priority Mail boxes will increase, with the small box rising to $8.45 from $8.30, the medium box to $15.50 from $15.05, and the large box to $21.90 from $21.10.

The large Priority Mail boxes for overseas APO and FPO (Army Post Office and Fleet Post Office) addresses will rise to $20.40 from $19.60.

Overnight Priority Mail Express parcels will increase by 1 percent, the filing said, but the retail flat-rate envelope, said to be one of the most popular express parcels, will remain at $26.35. This rate is satisfied by the $26.35 Grand Island Ice Caves Priority Mail Express stamp issued Jan. 18 (Scott 5430). This likely means the Postal Service will not issue a new Priority Mail Express stamp in 2021.

Large mailers who qualify for commercial base rates will see their rates rise by 2.5 percent. On average the commercial base rates are 14.1 percent less than retail rates.

There is one new wrinkle in the rate structure. A penalty of $100 will be assessed on any parcel “discovered in the mailstream” that exceeds the maximum size of 130 inches in length and girth, the filing said.

Rates for Commercial Plus shipments for large volume mailers will increase by 4.5 percent but will average 14.1 percent below retail prices, according to the filing.

Prices for Parcel Select destination-entered shipments will increase by 8.9 percent. Parcel Select rates are typically paid by shippers using the USPS to make the last leg (final mile) of a delivery.

If the Parcel Select shipment is delivered to the destination delivery unit, the price increase is 4.9 percent. But if the shipment is presented to the USPS at a destination sectional center facility, the average price increase is 10.7 percent.

Parcel Return Service will increase by 4.9 percent overall.

The Postal Service did not spell out how much revenue it expects from the various price increases.

That information was placed in a sealed file with the Postal Regulatory Commission, citing Postal Service concerns that revealing the numbers might do commercial harm to the agency.

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