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Quick Service Guide 401

Commercial Parcels

Physical Standards for Commercial Parcels

June 7, 2010
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Overview

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Parcel Dimensions

can not exceed 108 inches (Parcel Post can not exceed 130 inches).

Length
Girth
Length plus girth
The longest side of the parcel.
Measurement around the thickest part.
Cannot exceed 108 inches (Parcel Select cannot exceed 130 inches).

Measuring Length Plus Girth (401.1.0)

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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 and Parcel Select, no mailpiece may measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined. Parcel Post and Parcel Select pieces measuring over 108 inches but not more than
130 inches in combined length and girth are mailable at the applicable oversized price (453.1.0).

This graphic shows an example of measuring length and girth 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.

This graphic shows an example of measuring length and girth 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 = 10 inches
Girth (8 +5 + 8 + 5) = 26 inches
Length + girth = 36 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)

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If you prepare your 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 (3.5 ounces for parcels prepared under 401.1.5.2).

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. A mailpiece exactly 1/4 inch thick is subject to the 3-1/2 inch height minimum.
  • 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 packaging standards in 601.2.0 are met.

This graphic shows the minimum and maximum dimensions for a machinable parcel as described in the text.

Machinable Parcels
Minimum weight: 6 ounces (3.5 ounces for small lightweight parcels prepared under 401.1.5.2).
Maximum weight: 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter).

Irregular Parcels (401.1.6)

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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.

Outside Parcels (401.1.7)

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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.

First-Class Mail Parcels (401.2.3)

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Maximum weight: 13 ounces.

Unless prepared in 5-digit/scheme containers or paid at a single-piece price, presorted parcels are subject to a surcharge if any of the following apply:

  • The parcels weigh less than 2 ounces.
  • The parcels do not bear a GS1-128 or POSTNET barcode.
  • The parcels are irregularly shaped, such as rolls, tubes, and triangles.

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

Bound Printed Matter (401.2.6)

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Maximum weight: 15 pounds.

Barcode discount: Machinable presorted parcels may be eligible for a $0.03 barcode discount per parcel (50-piece minimum), except for parcels mailed at presorted DDU or DSCF prices.

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

Media Mail

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Maximum weight: 70 pounds.

Barcode discount: available for machinable parcels (50-piece minimum), mailed at Basic prices.

For machinable parcels, see Quick Service Guide 470.

For preparation of irregular parcels, see 475.5.3.

Library Mail

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Maximum weight: 70 pounds.

Barcode discount: available for machinable parcels (50-piece minimum), mailed at Basic prices.

For prices, eligibility, postage payment, and mail preparation, see Quick Service Guide 480.

Standard Mail Parcels (401.2.4)

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Maximum weight: less than 16 ounces.

Unless prepared in carrier route (irregular parcels only) or 5-digit/scheme containers, Standard Mail parcels are subject to a surcharge if machinable parcels do not bear a GS1-128 barcode or irregular parcels do not bear a GS1-128 barcode or POSTNET barcode.

See Quick Service Guides:

Standard Mail Not Flat-Machinable Pieces (401.2.4)

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Standard Mail with the following characteristics are Not Flat-Machinable pieces unless mailed as parcels:

A. Rigid pieces or pieces not uniformly thick with the following dimensions:

  • At least 4 inches high, but not more than 12 inches high.
  • At least 4 inches long, but not more than 15-3/4 inches long.
  • At least 0.009 thick, but not more than 1-1/4 inches thick. (Pieces less than 5 inches long must be over 1/4 inch thick.)

B. Flexible pieces that are at least 4 inches high, but not more than 12 inches high, with either of the following dimensions:

  • Over 15 inches long, but not more than 15-3/4 inches long.
  • Over 3/4 inches thick, but not more than 1-1/4 inches thick.

Unless prepared in carrier route or 5-digit/scheme containers, Not Flat-Machinable pieces are subject to a surcharge if:

  • The pieces weigh 6 ounces or more and do not bear a GS1-128 barcode (708.5.0).
  • The pieces weigh less than 6 ounces and do not bear a GS1-128 barcode (708.5.0) or POSTNET barcode (708.4.0).

For Not Flat-Machinable pieces, see Quick Service Guide 440d.

Parcel Select (401.2.5)

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Parcel Select Destination Entry packages are priced as machinable or nonmachinable. Nonmachinable parcels are subject to the applicable nonmachinable surcharge unless the special handling fee is paid. There is no Parcel Select nonmachinable surcharge for NDC Presort, ONDC Presort, or barcoded nonpresorted.

Oversized Price: 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 Select oversized price. Oversized pieces are not subject to nonmachinable prices.

Balloon Price: Parcel Select 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 20 pounds are mailable at the price equal to that of a 20-pound parcel for the zone to which the parcel is addressed.

Nonmachinable Parcel Select Destination Entry: Except for pieces mailed at oversized prices or parcels sent with special handling, pieces that meet any of the following criteria must pay nonmachinable prices.

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 (except under 401.1.5.2) 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.

Examples of Balloon Price, Oversized Price, and Priority Mail Dimensional Weight
Priority Mail (zones 1-4) and Parcel Select (all zones) Balloon Price if:
  • Weight less than 20 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 Price: No
Balloon Price: Yes
Oversized Price: No
In this example, length and girth is 90 inches.
Priority Mail (zones 5-8) Dimensional weight for rectangular shaped parcels.
For Priority Mail dimensional weight for nonrectangular shaped parcels to zones 5-8, see 123.1.4.2.

This graphic shows an example of a Priority Mail rectangular package requiring Dimensional Weighting.  It is 10 pounds and measures 20  inches long, 20 inches wide and 20  inches tall.

Dimensional Weight: Yes
Balloon Price: No
In this example the dimensional weight for a package to zones 5-8 is 44 pounds.
1. Round off each measurement to the nearest whole number (length = 21,
height = 20, and width = 20).
2. Multiple length x height x width (21 x 20 x 20) = 8,400 cubic inches
3. If more than 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 194 and round up to the next whole number to determine dimensional weight (8,400/194 = 43.29). Dimensional weight = 44 pounds.
Parcel Select Destination Entry
Nonmachinable prices 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 three.
Nonmachinable prices do not apply to parcels mailed at oversized prices or parcels sent with special handling.

This graphic shows an example of a Priority Mail rectangular package requiring Dimensional Weighting.  It is 10 pounds and measures 20  inches long, 20 inches wide and 20  inches tall.

Nonmachinable Price: Yes
Balloon Price: No
Oversized Price: No
In this example, length and girth is 82 inches.
Parcel Select
Oversized Price if:
  • Length plus girth combined is more than 108 but not more than 130 inches.
The oversized price does not apply to 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 Price: Yes
In this example, length and girth is 130 inches.
Balloon price: Priority Mail (zones 1-4) and Parcel Select only.
Nonmachinable price: Parcel Select Destination Entry only.
Oversized price: Parcel Select only
Priority Mail dimensional weight zones 5-8 only.

 

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