USPS Is Making Even More Changes to Your Packages, Starting This Summer
The agency is now planning to replace a popular shipping offering.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is currently in the midst of a major transformation. After years of financial struggle, the USPS announced in May 2021 that it would be taking action to improve itself and reverse a projected $160 billion in future losses through its new Delivering for America plan. Over the next several years, the Postal Service will continue to enact various changes in order to modernize its service. Some adjustments have already been made, but they show no signs of slowing down. Now, the USPS has announced a new plan for packages. Read on to find out what you should prepare for, starting this summer.
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The USPS transformed its First-Class Package Service last year.
As part of its Delivering for America plan, the Postal Service has decided to shake up how it delivers our packages. Back in May 2022, the agency implemented new service standards for its First-Class Package Service (FCPS). This change allowed for "additional transport time for long-distance package deliveries," slowing down the delivery timeframe for 32 percent of packages by one to two days.
The new FCPS service standards also allow some packages to be shipped by ground transportation, "which is more reliable and affordable compared to air transportation," according to the Postal Service.
"Modifying select service standards is a key growth element and enabler of our 10-year plan. This action will contribute to our cost savings efforts and improve our reliability across all product classes, including our growing package market," Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said at the time. "By implementing the elements of our 10-year plan, we will deliver the consistent, reliable service that the American people and our customers expect and deserve and grow package volume, spurring revenue growth that can be invested back into the Postal Service."
But now it's planning to replace this service altogether.
The Postal Service just announced more new plans for these packages. On Feb. 10, the agency filed a proposal with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to get rid of its entire existing FCPS category altogether. According to a press release, the USPS is looking to replace this service with a new offering called USPS Ground Advantage.
"USPS Ground Advantage will feature two-to five day service standards for packages up to 70 pounds," the agency said in its news release, adding that the new shipping offering has an "anticipated summer 2023 launch."
In its PRC filing, the USPS gave a more exact date for when it is planning to implement this new change: "The Postal Service expects that its retail and commercial customers will all benefit from this consolidated ground package offering, which beginning on July 9, 2023, will be known as USPS Ground Advantage."
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The Postal Service said this change will simplify package options for customers.
The USPS has been working to simplify shipping product offerings since last year. On Oct. 28, the PRC "granted approval" for the agency to incorporate both its Retail Ground and Parcel Ground shipping options into one enhanced FCPS product. As part of the Postal Service's "overall strategy to enhance its shipping offerings," the agency's newest filing with the PRC is a continuation of these efforts.
"The filing streamlines and simplifies package shipping options for customers and enhances the Postal Service's ground product offering," the agency explained. "USPS Retail Ground, Parcel Select Ground, and First-Class Package Service will be incorporated into USPS Ground Advantage."
Prices for USPS Ground Advantage are still being decided.
The Postal Service has raised prices for customers time and time again with its changes over the past two years. But the introduction of USPS Ground Advantage is not likely to involve a price hike, as this "product is aimed at shippers willing to sacrifice speed for price," according to FreightWaves.
"It is also intended for users of the Postal Service's Priority Mail service, who need two- to three-day transit times but don't want to pay Priority Mail's pound-based prices," the news outlet further explained.
The USPS said it has been "focused on improving its package offerings" by lowering shipping prices. In Jan. 2022, the Postal Service lowered the average shipping rates for USPS Retail Ground products by 7 percent, and rates for Parcel Select Ground by 12 percent. Now, rates are in the process of "being established for USPS Ground Advantage," the Postal Service said in its PRC filing.
The agency is looking at rates that "are designed to closely align with existing ground package rates established in January 2023," although changes could be made to these proposed rates at the USPS Board of Governors meeting in May.