USPS Mail Truck in New York

USPS Wants To Drop Parcel Return Service From Its Package Product Offering

The changes USPS wants to make and still plans to implement are coming fast and furious this summer.

Just last month, we learned that the Postal Service is seeking approval to combine three ground package services into one, leaving an expanded version of its First Class Package Service as its sole economy ground service.

Also, last month, USPS killed its fee-based Special Handling – Fragile Service, placing a greater burden on shippers to properly pack fragile items.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, the Postal Service enacted new (slower) service standards for Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground, following a similar service adjustment with its First Class Package Service in the spring.

Looking forward to the end of this year, we already learned USPS is planning to hire fewer temporary workers for peak season and requested approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to hike many package prices during the holiday season.

But wait, there is more. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said this week that the US Postal Service will request more price increases to start in January as USPS is still falling way short of covering its expenses.

These are just the highlights so far this year. So, what could possibly come next?

USPS Parcel Return Service To Be Eliminated (Sort Of)

USPS has announced it is asking the PRC to remove its Parcel Return Service (PRS) from the competitive product list to further streamline its product offerings.

The service has been part of the Postal Service product offering to eligible shippers since 2003.

Although Parcel Return Service will be removed from the competitive product list, USPS intends to continue to offer it through negotiated service agreements (NSAs).

This means that many shippers that use shipping platforms will still be able to use the service. But PRS will disappear for customers that previously were approved to use the service through the Postal Service.

“The elimination of Parcel Return Service from the competitive product list will simplify and streamline the Postal Service’s product offerings, and minimize customer confusion. The service that we provide to the very small number of existing customers that currently utilize the published product can be continued through an NSA.”

US Postal Service Statement

If this request is approved by the PRC, it would go into effect on January 22, 2023.

Fortunately, unlike many of the other changes mentioned earlier, this will not impact most small shippers using cloud-based shipping platforms or label services offered by marketplaces such as eBay or Etsy.

But this news demonstrates again that the US Postal Service continues to look for any and all small inefficiencies it can eliminate to try to correct its financial situation.

Some will hurt small sellers and shippers more than others. But even after passing the Postal Reform Act earlier this year, USPS is still facing a shortfall of about $60 to $70 billion over the next ten years.

This will likely not be the last of the operational adjustments USPS will announce. Stay tuned!

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