*USPS Announces Reduced Rates for International Priority Airmail

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The U.S. Postal Service began its plans this week to lower costs and improve service for its International Priority Airmail service, which allows U.S.-based customers to deliver letters, printed matter and merchandise overseas.


Under the new schedule, mailers using IPA will see an average 25 percent rate reduction across the board, and high-volume mailers using the service will see a drop in per-pound rates for drop-shipped, sacked mail sorted by country, excluding Canada. Mailers, however, will see no change in per-piece charges.


The USPS also has expanded IPA availability from 100 post offices to thousands of post offices around the country.


Mailers spending $2 million to $5 million annually on postage will qualify for a 5 percent discount for drop-shipping their mail at one of four designated drop-ship centers: Jamaica, NY; Franklin Park, IL; Miami; and San Francisco. A mailer who spends $5 million to $10 million per year will get a 10 percent discount while a mailer exceeding $10 million will save 15 percent.


The lowered rates are the result of last year's reduced fees by the foreign postal service to handle international mail, according to the USPS. "Working with our foreign partners, we have lowered our costs so we can pass the savings on to our customers," said James Grubiak, vice president of USPS' International Business Unit, in a statement.


In order to qualify for pre-sorted IPA rates, however, mailers must now have 11 pounds of sacked mail, up from the 10 pounds previously required. The pound requirement matches requirements for a more popular USPS international mail service.


"The administrative ways of handling these services were different," said USPS spokesman Norm Scherstrom. "But now they are pretty much done, administratively, with the same kind of procedures making it easier on customers."


Other international rate changes will take place on May 30, including a 9 percent increase for USPS' Global Link Service, a 5 percent increase for air-letter mail sent from the United States to Canada and a new volume discount program for mailers who send at least 100,000 packages overseas.


[Chart]


Sample IPA Rates


Country


Argentina & Brazil


China & Hong Kong


Germany & Great Britain


Worldwide


Old Price Per Pound


$7.15


$8.50


$5.15


$8.55


New Price Per Pound


$5.25


$6.50


$5.00


$7.00
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