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    Sunday, September 24, 2023

    USPS to raise rates on packages during the holiday season

    Sending loved ones packages this holiday season will get more expensive, based on a planned rate hike from the U.S. Postal Service.

    The mail agency's board of governors approved a peak-season plan to up the costs of commercial and retail parcels from early October through late January to capture the bustling holiday shopping season when packages crisscross the country.

    Postal officials said the surcharge was necessary to keep rates competitive. The Postal Service generally does not receive taxpayer funding, but Congress restructured its finances earlier this year to relieve $107 billion in past-due and future obligations. The agency relies on the sale of postage products to fund its operations, but Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that the agency was facing a $60 billion to $70 billion shortfall over the next decade without substantial reforms and price hikes.

    In anticipation of a heavy package volume, the Postal Service said it would look to generate additional revenue to cover extra handling costs. The agency said the planed increases are in line with the agency's 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and set appropriate pricing.

    "The temporary rate adjustment is similar to ones in past years that help us cover extra handling costs to ensure a successful peak season," said David Coleman, a spokesperson for the agency. "The Postal Service has some of the lowest mail postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer great values in shipping."

    Retail customers would see increases ranging from 30 cents to more than $6, depending on the weight of the package and the distance it must travel. For example, the cost of flat rate boxes and envelopes sent using priority mail or priority mail express would rise by 95 cents, according to the pricing plan. Heavier packages sent from coast to coast using first class package service would cost $5.85 more, the Postal Service said.

    The temporary rates would go into effect Oct. 2, and remain until Jan. 22, 2023.

    On Wednesday the Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission to seek final review for the peak season pricing plan.

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