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Quick Service Guide 401
Discounted Parcels
Physical Standards for Discount Parcels

January 2006
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Overview

Parcel Dimensions

This graphic illustrates that for parcels, length is the measurement of the longest dimension and girth is the distance around the thickest part (perpendicular to the length). Length plus girth (the distance around the thickest part) can not exceed 108 inches (Parcel Post can not exceed 130 inches).

 

Measuring Length Plus Girth (401.1)

For parcels, length is the measurement of the longest dimension and girth is the distance around the thickest part (perpendicular to the length).

Except for Parcel Post, no mailpiece may measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined. Parcel Post pieces measuring over 108 inches but not more than 130 inches in combined length and girth are mailable at the applicable oversized rate (453.1).

This graphic show an example of measuring length and girt for a box. The example shows length = 10 inches, girth is the measurement around the thickest part (8 +5 + 8 + 5) = 26 inches, and length + girth = 36 inches.
Length = 10 inches
Girth (8 +5 + 8 + 5) = 26 inches
Length + girth = 36 inches

This graphic show an example of measuring length and girt for a three sided tube. The example shows length = 20 inches, girth is the measurement around the thickest part (6 +6 + 6) = 18 inches, and length + girth = 38 inches.
Length = 20 inches
Girth (6 + 6 + 6) = 18 inches
Length + girth = 38 inches

The Postal Service classifies parcels as machinable parcels, irregular parcels, or outside parcels.

 

Machinable Parcels (401.1.5)

If you prepare your discount parcels so that they can be processed on Postal Service equipment, your mail is "machinable." Machinable parcels must meet specific standards for size, shape, content, and weight.

Minimum weight: 6 ounces.

Maximum weight: 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter). Lower weight limits apply to First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Bound Printed Matter.
Dimensions:

  • Minimum: 6 inches long, 3 inches high, and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Maximum: 34 inches long, 17 inches high, and 17 inches thick.

Soft goods wrapped in paper or plastic bags and enveloped printed matter are machinable only if all the packaging standards in 601.2 are meet.

This graphic shows the minimum and maximum dimensions for a machinable parcel as described in the text above.
Machinable Parcels
Minimum weight: 6 ounces.
Maximum weight: 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter).

 

Irregular Parcels (Nonmachinable) (401.1.6)

Irregular parcels include parcels that do not meet the dimensional criteria of machinable parcels and other parcels that cannot be processed by parcel sorters, including:

  • Rolls and tubes up to 26 inches long and merchandise samples not individually addressed.
  • Unwrapped, paper-wrapped, or sleeve-wrapped articles that are not letter-size or flat-size (e.g., catalogs, directories).
  • Articles enclosed in envelopes that are not letter-size, flat-size, or machinable parcels.

This graphic shows examples of irregular parcels as described in the text above.

 

Outside Parcels (Nonmachinable) (401.1.7)

Outside parcels exceed any of the maximum dimensions for machinable parcels. This category also includes certain high-density items, cartons containing more than 24 ounces of liquids in one or more glass containers, cartons containing 1 gallon or more of liquid in metal or plastic containers, and items in 401.1.7.

This graphic shows examples of outside parcels as described in the text above.

 

First-Class Mail Parcels (401.2.1)

Maximum weight: 13 ounces.

Parcels that weigh 1 ounce or less are subject to a $0.058 nonmachinable surcharge if the piece is more than 1/4 inch thick.

See Quick Service Guide 430, First-Class Mail Presorted Parcels.

 

Standard Mail Parcels (401.2.2)

Maximum weight: less than 16 ounces.

Residual shape surcharge: pieces prepared as parcels or are not letter-size or flat-size are subject to a residual shape surcharge. Presorted Regular and Nonprofit $0.242, Enhanced Carrier Route and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route $0.211 (443.4.5).

Barcode discount: Presorted rate machinable parcels for which the residual shape surcharge is paid may be eligible for the barcode discount of $0.03 per piece (443.5.5).

See Quick Service Guides:
440a, Standard Mail Machinable Parcels
440b, Standard Mail Irregular Parcels
440c, Standard Mail Enhanced Carrier Route Irregular Parcels

 

Parcel Post (401.2.3)

  • Oversized Rate: pieces measuring more than 108 inches in combined length and girth, but not more than 130 inches in combined length and girth, are mailable at the applicable Parcel Post oversized rate. Oversized rates are not subject to the nonmachinable surcharge.
  • Balloon Rate: Parcel Post pieces measuring more than 84 inches in combined length and girth, but not more than 108 inches in combined length and girth, and weighing less than 15 pounds are mailable at the rate equal to that of a 15-pound parcel for the zone to which the parcel is addressed.
  • Parcel Post machinable parcel rates are lower than Parcel Post nonmachinable parcel rates.
  • Nonmachinable Parcel Post: Pieces that meet any of the following criteria must pay the nonmachinable surcharge. The surcharge does not apply to pieces mailed at oversized rates or parcels sent with special handling.
    a. A parcel more than 34 inches long, 17 inches wide, or 17 inches high.
    b. A parcel less than 6 inches long, 1/4 inch thick, or 3 inches high.
    c. A parcel that weighs less than 6 ounces or more than 35 pounds.
    d. A parcel containing more than 24 ounces of liquid in glass containers, or 1 gallon or more of liquid in metal or plastic containers.
    e. An insecurely wrapped or metal-banded parcel.
    f. A can, roll, or tube, or wooden or metal box.
    g. Books, printed matter, or business forms weighing more than 25 pounds.
    h. A high-density parcel weighing more than 15 pounds and exerting more than 60 pounds per-square-foot pressure on its smallest side.
    i. A film case weighing more than 5 pounds or with strap-type closures, except any film case the USPS authorizes to be entered as a machinable parcel under 401.1.5 and to be identified by the words "Machinable in United States Postal Service Equipment" permanently attached as a nontransferable decal in the lower right corner of the case.
    j. Parcels with characteristics (such as inadequate packaging) that could result in damage to the contents of the mailpiece, other parcels, or postal machinery if mechanical sortation is used.

For additional information, see Quick Service Guide 450, Parcel Post.

 

Bound Printed Matter (401.2.4)

Maximum weight: 15 pounds.

Barcode discount: $0.03 discount available for machinable parcels.

For additional information, see Quick Service Guide 460, Bound Printed Matter Irregular and Machinable Parcels.

 

Media Mail

Maximum weight: 70 pounds.

For machinable parcels, see Quick Service Guide 470.

For additional information on preparation of irregular parcels, see 475.5.3.

 

Library Mail

Maximum weight: 70 pounds.

For rates, eligibility, postage payment, and mail preparation, see 480.

 

Examples of Balloon Rate, Nonmachinable Surcharge, and Oversized Rates

Priority Mail and Parcel Post Balloon Rate if:

  • Weight less than 15 pounds and
  • Length plus girth combined is more than 84 but not more than 108 inches.

This graphic shows an example of a package requiring a Balloon rate surcharge. It is 10 pounds and measures 30 inches long, 15 inches wide and 15 inches tall.
Nonmachinable Surcharge: No
Balloon Rate: Yes
Oversized Rate: No
In this example, length and girth is 90 inches.

Parcel Post Nonmachinable Surcharge if:

  • Length more than 34 inches or
  • Height more than 17 inches or
  • Width more than 17 inches or
  • Weight more than 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter) or
  • Meets any Parcel Post nonmachinable criteria on page 3.

This graphic shows an example of a package requiring a nonmachinable surcharge. It is 16 pounds and measures 36 inches long, 11 inches wide and 12 inches tall.
Nonmachinable Surcharge: Yes
Balloon Rate: No
Oversized Rate: No
In this example, length and girth is 82 inches.

Parcel Post Oversized Rate if:

  • Length plus girth combined is more than 108 but not more than 130 inches.

The nonmachinable -surcharge does not apply to the oversized rate or pieces with special handling fee.

This graphic shows an example of a package requiring the Parcel Post oversized rate. It is 10 pounds and measures 30 inches long, 25 inches wide and 25 inches tall.
Oversized Rate: Yes
In this example, length and girth is 130 inches.

Balloon rate: Priority Mail and Parcel Post only.
Nonmachinable surcharge: Parcel Post only.
Oversized rate: Parcel Post only.

 

Discount rates not available for Priority Mail.For the specific DMM standards applicable to this category of mail, consult the DMM sections referenced above and the general sections within each DMM module.

 

 

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