Say goodbye to USPS Priority Mail Regional rates and boxes on Monday, January 22, 2023.
What you need to know: Originally introduced in 2011, the USPS Priority Mail Regional Boxes and rates provided business shippers with additional choices in the popular flat-rate Priority Mail service, not available to retail customers at Post Office locations.
Most online shipping platforms supported these regional rates, and the boxes could be ordered through the USPS store online at no charge.
Over the years, they gained some traction among online merchants and marketplace sellers, especially with smaller and heavier items that shipped to customers within a few states away.
However, as part of the US Postal Service’s strategy to simplify its parcel shipping options, the first hint dropped in September that these boxes and rates may disappear as soon as this January.
In an industry notice today, USPS is preparing shipping platforms and large shippers that the discontinuance of the USPS Priority Mail Regional Boxes and service will occur on January 22, 2023, although technically still subject to final approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).
What it means: Shippers that use USPS Priority Mail Regional Boxes will only have about a month left to use up their supply if they want to use them for the special flat rate. The USPS Postal Store still has Regional Rate Boxes available as of this writing, but once they run out, they will be out.
A key point USPS said in its industry notice is that shippers can continue to use the free Regional Rate boxes after January 22, “but they will be treated as weight and rate packages.”
What else is important: There is no replacement for the USPS Priority Mail Regional Boxes and rates per se. USPS recommends that shippers look at Priority Mail Cubic pricing, usually reserved for high-volume shippers, but it is available on many shipping platforms.
Check with the shipping platform you are using if they are offering USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing. One main change with Priority Mail Cubic pricing is that shippers will have to use their own boxes, potentially adding more costs for sellers.
More USPS Changes Coming in January and Beyond
While the US Postal Service highlighted this upcoming change, USPS will also be raising stamps and package prices in January.
And sometime in 2023, the Postal Service plans to further consolidate its Ground package services (non-Priority Mail) from three services to one.
Originally also planned for January, USPS announced in August that it was postponing this transition, presumably to give the industry more time to adapt to this change.
One thing is for certain, 2023 will bring massive changes to the USPS parcel offerings, requiring online merchants and marketplace sellers to make adjustments throughout the year to keep shipping costs at bay.
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