USPS Proposes APPS Mail Rules

The U.S. Postal Service wants to require all elements in the delivery address and presort designation on bundles of flat-size and irregular parcel mail pieces to be standardized, according to a proposal in the Federal Register yesterday.

The proposed standards apply only to bundles that are candidates for processing on the postal service's automated package processing system equipment.

APPS will replace more than 100 mechanized small parcel and bundle sorting machines at 70 postal facilities nationwide. The system is expected to boost productivity by reducing manual handling.

APPS has many enhanced features, the USPS said, such as singulation, which lets packages line up for processing more easily. Also, APPS' dimensioning capability measures a package's length and girth to determine whether it is oversized. An image tunnel lifts images from four sides of a package. APPS combines these features with tested automation scanning tools such as an optical character reader, barcode reader and a video coding system to improve productivity and serration accuracy.

The proposal would require all elements in the delivery address and presort designation on the top piece of carrier route and presort bundles containing flat-size or irregular parcel pieces, either prepared in sacks or placed directly on pallets, to be completely visible and readable without the need to manipulate the banding or shrinkwrap.

The deadline to submit comments is Oct. 18.

The USPS filed other proposals recently in the Federal Register:

· It seeks a two-year experimental classification it hopes will open its co-palletization test to more mailers. The co-palletization program, begun in April, gives mailers of small-circulation periodicals the work-sharing discounts enjoyed by large mailers when they combine bundles or packages of different periodicals on the same pallet and drop-ship them to an area distribution center or sectional center facility. The USPS said this filing serves mailers who were ineligible for the co-palletization test by including incentives for heavier publications with a national scope and with high editorial content. This specifically includes those weighing more than nine ounces with less than 15 percent ad content. Two years will let the USPS measure the effect of the level of the discount structure, the filling said. Applications for participation in the experiment were available Sept. 1. The starting date for the experiment is Oct. 3. Comments must be received by Oct. 2.

· The USPS proposes letting sample copies of authorized Periodicals publications mail with merchandise mailed at Parcel Post or Bound Printed Matter rates. Postage at the Parcel Post or BPM rate would be based on the combined weight of the host piece and the sample copies enclosed. The postal service said this would benefit publishers and the USPS by providing another venue for promoting publications. It also benefits customers, printers and advertisers by providing a chance to obtain additional subscriptions, the USPS said. Comments must be received by Oct. 4.

· The USPS proposes eliminating the signature waiver option for its Signature Confirmation service. The option lets senders waive the signature requirement and accept the USPS delivery employee's signature and date of delivery as proof of delivery. The USPS said now that the Signature Confirmation service is fully implemented and widely recognized, the waiver feature is no longer needed. This option has caused confusion for customers, according to the filing. Comments must be received by Oct. 4.

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