USPS rolls out Express Mail Flat Rate Box
January 30, 2012
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently rolled out its first Express Mail Flat Rate Box.
This offering will enable shippers to ship a box—weighing up to 70 pounds—anywhere in the U.S. for one price, $39.95. This box is for USPS customers needing overnight service for items larger than what can be placed in an Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope, said the USPS.
USPS officials said that the Express Mail Flat Rate Boxes can also be used for international shipments weighing up to 20 pounds and cost $59.95 for shipments heading to Canada and $74.95 for all other countries accepting Express Mail International.
“With the Express Mail Flat Rate Box, there’s no need to use a zone chart to calculate prices. If it fits, it ships,” said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products, in a statement. “The Express Mail Flat Rate Box offers convenience, ease of use, free packaging and a flat-out value price.”
Express Mail is part of the USPS Competitive Products line, which also includes Priority Mail and Shipping Services. The USPS, by law, can increase rates by as much as it wants at a value-based price, based on factors like the markets it wants to be in to competitors’ pricing to where it thinks the elasticity’s are in the market place.
In a November 2011 interview with LM, Reblin said that all of these things determine prices, explaining that the USPS does an in-depth study of products and service and where it wants to place everything in order to come up with these prices.
“We like the signals with e-commerce…and we think we can really set ourselves up with growth if we price reasonably and competitively,” he said. “These are really moderate increases, considering the increases in fuel costs we have seen in the last year, as well as other factors.”
AMFS Vice President, EMEA, Doug Caldwell, told LM that the Express Mail Flat Rate Box can be a compelling offering, even for shippers who have decent discounts with UPS or FedEx.
“You can easily get 15 or 20 pounds in the box,” said Caldwell. “A 20 pound FedEx Standard Overnight from Los Angeles to the East Coast is $154, and that’s without any other add-ons, such as residential or rural. On the International side, a 20 pound FedEx shipment to Australia using their least expensive service, International Economy, is $326. And the international can go much higher, with a wide array of add on charges.
Interestingly, FedEx is flying the new USPS box, so many shippers can get a better rate through the Postal Service.”
And for international shipments, Caldwell said many shippers don’t realize that the Postal Service has some really good deals on international that do not have add-ons.
For Fiscal Year 2011, USPS Shipping Services were up $530 million—or 6 percent and was spurred by growth in its Parcel Select and Parcel Return Services. Both of these offerings saw increased activity, due to increased e-commerce activity. USPS Standard Mail was up $495 million—or 2.9 percent on a 2.6 percent volume increase of 2 billion pieces.
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