The USPS proposes Periodicals standards

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The U.S. Postal Service last week published proposed revisions to the Periodicals portion of the mailing standards that will accompany the new Periodicals pricing slated to go into effect on July 15.

Periodical mailers will have new incentives to use efficient containers and bundles, and co-palletization (publishers or printers merging bundles from separate publications or titles on the same pallet) becomes a permanent offering to encourage more publishers to combine mailings. The USPS also is adding new prices for the editorial portion of a mailing to give mailers of high-editorial-content publications access to lower-destination-entry rates.

The proposed revised standards are published at www.usps.com/ratecase.

In its request for a recommended decision filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission on May 3, 2006, the USPS proposed Periodicals rates based on pieces, pounds and a single container charge.

The PRC recommended rates based on pieces and pounds but also on bundles, sacks and pallets. Piece rates vary based on machinability, barcoding and presort level. Bundle, sack and pallet rates vary based on presort level and point of entry.

The USPS said the recommended rate structure is much more complex than the one it originally proposed. However, the agency also said that by explicitly recognizing the cost differences between various bundles, container

and entry points, many mailers will respond to these price signals and bring down costs.

While most postal service price changes and new mailing standards will go into effect on May 14, the USPS Board of Governors delayed the implementation of new Periodical prices and mailing standards until July 15.

The delay will give mailers and the postal service more time to prepare for the new pricing structure recommended by the PRC.

The USPS said that for In-County Periodicals, the rate design is still based on pieces and pounds, as it is today. But, since many publications use both Outside-County and In- County rates, the board set the same July 15 implementation date for both subclasses and for all Periodicals fees.

The postal service is seeking comments on the new standards for Periodicals. Comments may be sent to the Manager of Mailing Standards, USPS, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 3436, Washington, DC 20260.

Comments must be received within 14 days from the date the proposed standards are published in the Federal Register.

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