Postal Service files for 2011 rate increases

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The US Postal Service filed proposed rate increases on January 13 with the Postal Regulatory Commission that would raise the rate of standard flats by 0.8% and increase the cost of carrier route flats by 1.4%. If approved, the rate structure will go into effect April 17.

The cost of high-density flats would increase by 0.4% under the new price structure. The rate of first-class flats will increase by 5.3%, while that of first-class parcels will go up 3.8%. Presort first-class mail will see its rate go up 1.8%, while the rate of first-class international will increase 4%.

For standard mail, the rate of letters will go up 1.8%

The rate changes, which are within a cap based on the rate of inflation, are expected to generate $340 million for the rest of the USPS' fiscal year, which will end September 30.

The PRC rejected the Postal Service's application to apply an “exigent” rate increase in September. The USPS is appealing that decision.

Direct mail fits into several mail classes. Magazines and other periodicals are sent in the domestic periodicals category, while catalogs are sent in the standard flats, carrier route flats and high density flats classes.

Hamilton Davison, president and executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association, said in a letter to organization members that “the USPS is deliberately seeking catalog rates lower than the average to encourage more catalog volume.”

“Overall, it was an incredible breath of fresh air for the mailing industry. The meeting signaled a real willingness on the part of [Postmaster General Patrick] Donahoe and the USPS to work on substantive issues and customer concerns,” said Davison. “This is exactly the right move for a high fixed-cost institution that ultimately must grow its way out of financial difficulties.”

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