USPS International Service Alert to Papua New Guinea

USPS Suspends Package Service to Papua New Guinea Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

USPS is suspending international airmail services to Papua New Guinea due to Covid-19 transportation cancellations and restrictions until further notice, effective October 8, 2021.

With the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus continuing to spread globally, some countries are experiencing a new wave of infections causing governments to reimpose restrictions impacting package, mail, and postal operations.

The suspension to Papua New Guinea appears related to lack of transport to Australia and New Zealand as it is like shipments to Papua New Guinea transit through one or both of those countries.

USPS did not issue a formal “Industry Alert,” but they issued a notification to industry partners that this service suspension will occur starting Friday.

The US Postal Service constantly monitors mail services globally and evaluates parcel volume as well as transport capacity to adjust its service standards and availability.

The postal operating conditions within Papua New Guinea and the lack of sufficient transport capacity to the country have forced USPS to suspend the following mail services:

  • Priority Mail International (PMI)
  • First Class Package International Service (FCPIS)
  • Commercial ePacket (CeP)
  • International Priority Airmail (IPA) Packets
  • International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) Packets
  • Airmail M-bags
  • International Priority Airmail (IPA) M-bags
  • International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) M-bags

The Postal Service advises that items deposited and processed through the International Service Center (ISC) by October 8 will be transported to Papua New Guinea, but shippers should expect delays.

After October 8, USPS will return packages to shippers, and they will be marked as “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.” Shippers are entitled to a full refund when service to the country is suspended.

After October 8, US Postal Service retail locations will not accept affected mail services. However, if shippers deposit packages in a mailbox; drop off packages at retail locations that have collection areas for parcels, or if they are picked up by a postal carrier, USPS will return the item to the shipper.

Returns may take a few days and tracking may become erratic when this happens.

The Postal Service will continue to accept and transport USPS Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) shipments, First Class letters, and military/diplomatic mail (APO/FPO/DPO). The transportation of these items is not affected by the service suspension to Papua New Guinea.

Please check our USPS status of international services page for more Postal Service interruptions worldwide. We will update this post as new information becomes available.

What About USPS First Class Mail International?

Because USPS did not issue a formal “Industry Alert,” we are not certain about the status of First Class Mail International (FCMI). Our assumption is that most First Class mail is normally routed through Australia to Papua New Guinea.

Therefore, we believe based on Australia Post information, some mail transport is available to Papua New Guinea and First Call Mail is being delivered, even if very slowly.

However, First Class Package International Service (FCPIS) is assumed suspended (and was added to the above list of suspended services) because USPS suspended FCPIS to Australia.

Note: This post was updated on October 14, 2021, with new information about First Class Mail shipments.

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