Sending packages to loved ones during the holidays just got more expensive, as the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it is raising prices on postage for many of its services in time for the holiday season.
USPS announced the decision Wednesday. The changes are part of the Postal Service’s 10-year reorganization strategy to achieve financial stability. The rate changes go into effect on October 2, and will last until January 22, 2023. USPS says that the temporary rate hikes are similar to previous rate hikes that help the USPS cover additional handling costs during the holidays, the peak season for postal service deliveries.
“The United States Postal Service filed notice today with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding a temporary price adjustment for key package products for the 2022 peak holiday season,” USPS said in a statement. “This temporary rate adjustment is similar to ones in past years that help cover extra handling costs to ensure a successful peak season. The planned peak-season pricing, which was approved by the Governors of the Postal Service on Aug. 9, would affect prices on the following commercial and retail domestic competitive parcels: Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select and USPS Retail Ground. International products would be unaffected. Pending favorable review by the PRC, the temporary rates would go into effect at 12 a.m. Central on Oct. 2, and remain in place until 12 a.m. Central Jan. 22, 2023. This seasonal adjustment will bring prices for the Postal Service’s commercial and retail customers in line with competitive practices. No structural changes are planned as part of this limited pricing initiative.”
“Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, calls for appropriate pricing initiatives,” USPS added. “The Postal Service has some of the lowest postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer great values in shipping. These temporary rates will keep USPS competitive while providing the agency with the revenue to cover extra costs in anticipation of peak-season volume.”
The new prices are based on the weight of the package and the domestic shipping zone, or the mile radius the package must travel to reach its destination.
Priority Mail flat rate boxes and envelopes will see a price increase of 75 cents for commercial packages, with additional increases of between 25 cents and $6.50, depending on the zone the package is being delivered to, and the weight of the package. Retail packages will see a 95 cent increase for flat rate packages, with an increase of between 30 cents and $6.45 for zone and weight. For first class packages, commercial ground shipping will see an increase of between 25 cents and $5.50 depending on weight and zone; retail shipping will increase between 30 cents and $5.85.
The announcement of the new shipping rates comes after consumers last holiday season suffered through inflation and the brunt of the global supply chain crisis. These crises drove up prices and caused supply concerns for everything from holiday gifts to Christmas trees.
The private sector is already anticipating a crunch ahead of the Christmas season as well. The Hershey Company told Reuters in July that ongoing supply chain issues and labor shortages would mean the company would likely not be able to meet demand for Halloween and Christmas this year.