It's no secret that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been struggling over the past few years. The agency has managed to work itself into a financial hole that has been negatively impacting its operations and frustrating customers. That's why the USPS introduced its Delivering for America (DFA) plan in March 2021, which is a 10-year imitative set on transforming the Postal Service from an "organization in financial and operational crisis to one that is self-sustaining and high performing." This will involve the agency implementing a series of changes to its services over the next decade—and one of these planned adjustments was just revealed. Read on to find out what the USPS is planning to change for deliveries this October.
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USPS has already made a number of changes over the past year.
The Postal Service's DFA plan has been in effect for more than a year now—and as a result, numerous changes have already been implemented. In Oct. 2021, the USPS introduced new service standards for First Class Mail, increasing the amount of time it takes to deliver about 30 percent of mail in this category. Then in May, it slowed down deliveries again by extending the timeframe for First Class Packages.
But the many changes made recently have also included price adjustments: In April, the USPS introduced two new shipping fees for customers to cover non-standard package dimensions. And just last month, the agency increased the price of its First Class Forever stamp and raised the cost of several other First Class Mail shipping fees.
Now, the Postal Service has just confirmed another change for the fall.
The agency just announced plans for a new adjustment.
Get ready to say hello to new price hikes for your mail delivery. In an Aug. 10 press release, the USPS revealed that it is planning to introduce higher costs later this year. The Postal Service said it has filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to increase some of the prices for its delivery services. The new rates are set to go into effect on Oct. 2, "pending favorable review by the PRC," the agency said.
Prices for "key package products" will be affected by this price hike, according to the USPS. The agency is planning to raise prices on certain commercial and retail packages: Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, and USPS Retail Ground. For the customer, this translates to increased costs ranging from 30 cents to more than $6, "depending on the weight of the package and the distance it must travel," The Washington Post explained in its report.
This price hike will only be temporary.
The Postal Service is only planning to adhere to these higher price rates for a few months, however. According to the news release, this is meant to be a "temporary price adjustment" for the peak holiday season, so the rates would only remain in effect until Jan. 22. "This temporary rate adjustment is similar to ones in past years that help cover extra handling costs to ensure a successful peak season," the agency explained.
Due to heightened demand and extra shipping costs during the holiday season, the USPS also previously implemented temporary price hikes in both 2020 and 2021, according to CNN. "This seasonal adjustment will bring prices for the Postal Service's commercial and retail customers in line with competitive practices. No structural changes are planned as part of this limited pricing initiative," the USPS further explained in its news release.
But the Postal Service has already warned about permanent price hikes down the line.
While this planned peak-season pricing will only be in place temporarily, other permanent price hikes are likely on their way as well. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently warned Americans that he believes the agency needs to make "more aggressive" changes to its pricing structure in the future. During a public meeting with the USPS Board of Governors on Aug. 9, DeJoy warned that despite recent improvements, the Postal Service is still projected to lose around $60 to $70 billion over the next 10 years.
This is partly because of new and "stiff inflationary pressure," according to the Postmaster General. "As everyone knows, inflation has hit the nation hard, and the Postal Service has not avoided its impact. We expect inflation to exceed our expectations by well over a billion dollars against our planned 2022 budget," DeJoy explained. "Because of this, my recommendation to the governors will be to remain on course to raise prices again in January."