Welcome to our United States Postal Service Updates blog, your compass through the dynamic postal landscape. This is where we unveil the most recent news and rate adjustments from the USPS. Take a deep dive with us as we unravel the intricacies of the 2023 updates.
Table of Contents
- USPS Ground Advantage™
- USPS HazMat Changes
- Key Takeaways for the USPS July Changes
- January 2023 USPS Rate Changes
- USPS 2023 Shipping Rate Changes Highlights
- Priority Mail Local Zones
- Regional Rate Shipping is Going Away
- Collapsing Canadian Pricing Groups
November 2023 USPS Rate Changes
On November 18, the USPS will initiate new rate adjustments with potential implications for your shipments. Here’s a snapshot of the key changes:
- Priority Mail® rates will increase by an average of 1.5%, especially impacting Zones 1-2.
- Ground Advantage™ costs will decrease by around 5%, with Zones 1-5 seeing more significant drops.
Where will these changes be felt the most? Packages traveling shorter distances. Specifically, Ground Advantage™ packages weighing 1-2 lbs destined for Zones 1-5 could see a price drop ranging from 10-18%.
Additionally, those relying on Priority Mail Flat Rate® boxes should brace for an approximate 5% price hike.
Bear in mind that exact rates will hinge on package details and the distance traveled. As a standard practice, we recommend diligently comparing rates and services to pinpoint the optimal solution for your business.
USPS Ground Advantage™
Beginning July 9, 2023, USPS will implement service changes, including introducing USPS Ground Advantage™. These changes might be coming soon, but we’ve broken down everything you need to know to prepare for July 9. USPS is combining its domestic First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground, and Retail Ground services into a single service called USPS Ground Advantage. The features of this new service include:
- A maximum weight of up to 70 pounds*
- $100 of insurance at no extra charge for all shipments
- A national service standard of 2-5 days for all shipments
- A dimension maximum of up to 130 inches in length and girth
*DIM weight will still be considered for all shipments.
USPS Ground Advantage will be available to all shippers beginning July 9, 2023.
Please note that if you have any outbound or return labels connected to the services that will no longer be available, USPS will continue to accept and process those labels until September 30, 2023.
USPS HazMat Changes
The STC and banner changes mentioned in the spring USPS HazMat updates were initially slated to roll out on April 30, 2023. However, these changes have now been incorporated into the July 9 changes. In case you need a quick refresher on HazMat items, USPS considers “any matter having a clear potential for causing harm to the mail, persons, or property involved in moving the mail” to be hazardous. For a full list of hazardous materials, visit the USPS website.
HazMat Label Updates
The July HazMat label changes for USPS are two-fold. Firstly, updated Dangerous Goods STCs will be added to HazMat labels. Similar to HS codes, Dangerous Goods STCs are numerical values that identify a package’s contents and classification and help shipments move through the USPS safely and efficiently. Secondly, the barcode banner text will now indicate the package includes hazardous goods. All HazMat shipments will still require the same documentation as has been required in the past.
Key Takeaways for the USPS July Changes
- Updated Dangerous Goods STCs and new barcode banner text will now be included with HazMat shipments.
- Domestic First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground, and Retail Ground will combine into Ground Advantage.
Did you miss the January 2023 rate and service changes? You can find them below!
January 2023 USPS Rate Changes
The USPS 2023 shipping rate changes have been approved and will go into effect on January 22, 2023, replacing the Peak Season rates released in October 2022. Here, we will sum up what you need to know. Overall, rates increased across services and zones from last year, though many are still a reduction from the October increases. USPS is also introducing some changes that merchants must be aware of, particularly if they ship to nearby locations.
USPS 2023 Shipping Rate Changes Highlights:
- Priority Mail commercial rates will increase by 3.6 percent, below the rate of inflation
- Priority Mail Express service prices would increase by 6.6 percent
- First-Class Package Service prices would increase by 7.8 percent
- Overall, Priority Mail service prices would increase by approximately 5.5 percent
- There is no price increase for Parcel Select Ground
- Regional Rate boxes A and B will no longer be supported (if you have boxes still, you can use them at regular Priority Mail rates until stock is exhausted)
- Local, Zone 1, and Zone 2, which were previously the same rate, will now change to just Zone 1 and Zone 2 with separate shipping rates
- Canadian Zones will be collapsed down to a single pricing zone for Priority Mail International
Let’s get into a few more details on these changes.
USPS Flat Rate 2023 Rate Changes
USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes are popular shipping services for many online sellers thanks to their simplicity, free packaging, and competitive rates, regardless of package weight or destination. This year, it looks like each of the options will be seeing an increase across the board, mostly around 3.6% as mentioned above for Priority Mail in general.
Priority Mail Local Zones
Priority Mail shipping rates are based on weight and distance. That distance equates to Zones. In the past, Local and Zones 1 & 2 were all the same shipping cost. For 2023, USPS is doing away with the Local terminology and splitting Zones 1 and 2 into separate pricing tiers. This will impact merchants with customers who live in nearby neighborhoods or within the same state in many cases.
Regional Rate Shipping is Going Away
Regional Rate service is a service that let you ship using preset boxes you could order online, and the rate is cheaper when shipping short distances. USPS is doing away with this service with the 2023 shipping rate changes. The removal of this service, coupled with the change to Priority Mail Local and Zones 1 & 2, means merchants with a lot of localized business will see the most impact to their shipping. USPS has recommended trying to use Priority Mail Cubic in lieu of Regional Rate. This knowledge base article explains how and when you can use cubic rates in ShippingEasy to save over standard Priority Mail shipments.
Collapsing Canadian Pricing Groups
In the past, Priority Mail International shipping costs for Canada were broken into 8 different Pricing Groups. USPS has decided to simplify Canadian shipping down to a single Pricing Group for all locations. According to the USPS 2023 shipping rate changes FAQ, all packages shipping to Canada will fall under Pricing Group 1 for international shipping.
In other international shipping news, USPS is updating ‘‘Turkey’’ to ‘‘Turkiye,’’ which is the official short name for the Republic of Turkiye. So if you see this on your customs forms, it’s not a typo.
ShippingEasy is always here to make sure you’re informed of the latest in shipping rates. Plus, you’ll always get the best shipping rates available when you use our software. Click below to start a 30-day free trial and save on every shipment!