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September 27, 2006

September 27, 2006


Shaping a More Efficient Future

United States Postal Service Seeks Comments on Proposed Mailing Standards


In the September 27 Federal Register we provide the proposed mailing standards that support our current pricing proposal. We believe the standards are straightforward and consistent with the messages we provided in advance. The Federal Register notice is intended to provide customers with the opportunity to comment on and make suggestions regarding the proposed mailing standards. You have 45 days to make comments.


Our proposed standards are designed to:


·        Give customers more choices in terms of shape, sorting, packaging, and using containers to encourage the production of efficient, effective mail.

·        Expand worksharing opportunities for mailers.

·        Give customers opportunities to pay lower rates than they otherwise would.

·        Reduce the number of bundles, sacks, or trays in a mailing through scheme sorting for letters, flats, and parcels, when appropriate.

·        Allow mailers to qualify for lower prices by permitting multiple classes of mail to be combined.

·        Minimize undeliverable-as-addressed mail by encouraging Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certified address matching of all discount letters and flats.





·        3.5-ounce maximum weight for all First-Class Mail letters.

·        Fewer presort requirements for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail non-barcoded machinable letters. 

·        Require full trays for most Enhanced Carrier Route (ECR) mail.



·        All flats must be rectangular, flexible, and uniformly thick. Nonrectangular, non-uniform, or rigid pieces pay parcel or Not Flat-Machinable prices.

·        Consistent size standards for all flats. For example, Standard Mail ECR flats will have the same maximum size as all other flats.

·        Physical standards for automation flats adjusted to meet the current criteria for AFSM 100 pieces, with new standards for flexibility and deflection.


Not Flat-Machinable (NFM) Pieces

·        New category for Standard Mail pieces with parcel-like characteristics, including rigid pieces. Today these pieces qualify as automation flats under UFSM 1000 guidelines or because flexibility is currently not required. These pieces are actually handled as parcels, especially at delivery. Under the new standards, these pieces will be presorted, entered, and processed as parcels.

·        Qualify for 5-digit rates with minimum five-piece bundles on pallets for easier access to the lowest NFM price.



·        Minimum 10 pounds qualifies for presort rates.

·        Simplify standards by eliminating almost all bundling of parcels.

·        Enhanced discounts to encourage drop shipping parcels to destination delivery units (DDUs), with no minimum volume requirement for parcels sorted to the 5-digit level.

·        Additional options to combine different classes of parcels in sacks and on pallets to achieve finer levels of presort as long as they are in the same processing category.

·        Require barcoding of parcels unless prepared in 5-digit/scheme containers.


 We welcome your feedback and encourage you to comment on our proposal. Send written comments on or before November 13 to the Manager of Mailing Standards, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW Rm 3436, Washington DC 20260-3436.