On July 9, 2023, USPS will be implementing several updates to its services and rates. These changes will include changes to Hazardous Material, or HazMat labels, and the introduction of a new service, USPS Ground Advantage™. These changes may be rapidly approaching, but we’ll prepare you with all of the necessary information.
What is USPS Ground Advantage™?
USPS Ground Advantage is a new service solution that combines domestic Parcel Select Ground, Retail Ground, and the domestic iteration of the First-Class Package Service. USPS Ground Advantage can be used for packages up to 70 pounds and 130 inches in length + girth but will compare actual and DIM weight like other USPS services. Other USPS Ground Advantage features include up to $100 in free insurance and a delivery window of 2-5 business days.
Please note that if you have any outbound or return labels connected to the services that will no longer be available, USPS will continue to accept and process those labels until September 30, 2023.
HazMat label updates
Back in April, we originally reported that some USPS HazMat changes would take effect in the spring. However, the Dangerous Goods Service Type Code (STC) updates and the new barcode banner text will now be implemented with the upcoming July 9th changes. As a reminder, USPS considered hazardous materials to be anything that can cause harm to people, property, or package/mail. More information on USPS hazardous materials can be found on their website.
Highlights of the July 2023 changes
- USPS will raise the price of its first-class stamps to 66 cents, an increase of 4.8% from its current 63 cents.
- Parcel Select Ground, Retail Ground, and the domestic First-Class Package Service will become USPS Ground Advantage™.
- HazMat labels will now include updated Dangerous Goods STCs and new banner barcode text.
For more information on the upcoming USPS changes, visit the Learning Center.
Did you miss the January 2023 rate and service changes? You can find them below!
USPS January 2023 rate and service changes
The United States Postal Service’s 2023 rate and service changes have been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and the updates will take effect on January 22, 2023. We’re going to address all of the upcoming changes, so you’ll have time to adjust accordingly and prevent negative shipping experiences for your customers.
Important USPS 2023 rate and service changes
More detailed highlights of the upcoming changes are:
- Priority Mail® commercial rates will see an increase of 3.6%, keeping them below the rate of inflation
- Priority Mail Express® will see an increase of 6.7%
- First-Class Package Service will see an increase of 7.8%
- Priority Mail service prices will see an increase of around 5.5%
- USPS First Class Package International rates will see an increase of 6.2%
- USPS Priority Mail International® will see an increase of 5.9%
- USPS Priority Mail Express International® will see an increase of 5.9%
- Zone 1, Zone 2, and Local have traditionally seen the same shipping rates. However, Local will now be combined with Zone 1, and Zones 1 and 2 will have individual rates
- Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes® will no longer be available
- All Canadian Zones will be combined into one pricing zone for USPS Priority Mail International
Local Zone changes
Previously, Local, Zone 1, and Zone 2 all had the same shipping rates. Moving forward, there will no longer be a Local Zone, and Zones 1 and 2 will have two different shipping rates. If your business ships to customers who live close by or in the same state, you’ll see the impact of this change. The changes will be more noticeable when you’re shipping to customers in Zone 2, which is a 51-150 mile radius.
Regional Rate Boxes are being retired
Regional Rate A & B Boxes, used for 15-20 pound shipments traveling a short distance, will be discontinued. If your business uses Regional Rate Boxes after January 23, 2023, USPS will accept your shipment, but the cost won’t be calculated in the same way Regional Rate Boxes were. For this reason, USPS recommends using these materials by January 22.
Priority Mail® Cubic will still be an option for shippers, as it has seen a rise in popularity, and sometimes even offers a lower rate than what was seen with Regional Rate Boxes. The biggest difference with Priority Mail Cubic is that supplies aren’t free. For merchants who want to explore alternatives beyond USPS Cubic, Parcel Select Ground offers shippers a great value, so it’s worth looking into as a substitute for smaller and heavier domestic shipments. Parcel Select Ground offers:
- An estimated delivery window of 2-5 days
- A service for shipments up to 20 pounds
- Uses the Commercial rates
How will the 2023 changes impact international shipping?
The biggest change to international shipments will involve your Canadian packages. Similar to the US Zones, Canada was previously broken down into 8 different pricing groups. Now, all of Canada will fall under Pricing Group 1. Also, USPS will change Turkey to Turkiye, so don’t be alarmed if the spelling of the country is updated on your labels to reflect this update.