USPS proposes addressing standards for FSS

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The US Postal Service proposed two rules yesterday that would require stricter addressing for mail sent with automation, presorted or carrier route rates, in an effort to support the national deployment of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS).

These proposals include new address placement requirements for Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flat-size pieces. It also calls for a mandatory 11-digit PostNet barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode on flat-size First Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail and Bound Printed Matter sent at automation rates.

"We are working closely with the mailing industry to make the most of this investment and achieve the lowest combined costs for handling flat-size mail, including developing new standards for optimal addressing," the notice, viewable on the Federal Register, said. "Unlike letter mail, which is fairly uniform in size and address location, flat mail covers a broad range of sizes and has highly variable address placement."

The proposed changes require addresses to be placed parallel or perpendicular to the top edge on the upper portion of all Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail and Library Mail flat-size pieces mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route rates. Addresses must be 8-point type or larger, with no overlapping lines or characters. Each element of the address line may be separated by no more than three blank character spaces.

The first phase of the FSS program calls for an initial order of 100 FSS machines to be deployed to 33 postal facilities beginning in the summer of 2008.

"As we transition to the automated flats processing environment, the Intelligent Mail barcode provides opportunities for mailers to save space within the address block," the notice said.

With IMB all tracking and routing information can be included without human-readable ACS codes and keylines.

The rules can be viewed on the Federal Register. Comments must be received by December 10.

The USPS also proposed a rule to allow Automated Clearing House debit as a method of payment for its Express Mail corporate accounts. The other ways for EMCA clients to pay are participation in the Centralized Account Processing System (CAPS) or use of a personal or business credit or debit card. The rule eliminates cash and check deposits made into local trust accounts. Comments on this rule close November 9.

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