Regional parcel carrier OnTrac, in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, announced a new service called DirectPost which will enable it to provide next-day and two-day ecommerce shipping at postal rates, by consolidating shipments and injecting them deep into the postal stream for final mile delivery. It is the first such service offering by a regional carrier.
Starting in early 2015, OnTrac will roll the service out for marketplace provider Newegg, its launch customer. Eventually it will be available throughout OnTrac’s coverage area in eight western states, representing 2,000 USPS facilities and 70 million consumers.
“We’re doing this in response to market demand from lots of large ecommerce shippers,” said Mark Magill, OnTrac’s vice president of business development. “The cost of shipping is such a huge consideration for them, and the free shipping that they offer really isn’t free. So any way they can keep costs down is a welcome thing.”
Magill said OnTrac has partnered with the USPS for a final-mile delivery service since 2008, but until now it was only offered to postal consolidators. Now it can bypass the consolidators and pursue deals directly with major retail shippers. He added OnTrac will be providing DirectPost from any of its 30-plus facilities where a large shipper has its distribution center located nearby.
Both UPS and FedEx offer final-mile services through USPS, dubbed SurePost and SmartPost, respectively. But Magill said DirectPost differs in offering two-day delivery from Washington state down to Arizona, for example, at postal rates, including ounce-based pricing.
“A lot of large ecommerce merchants have been asking about ounce-based pricing, and now we have a solution for them,” Magill said. “The difference is we’re providing ground delivery at postal rates.”
OnTrac offers next-day ground deliveries for distances of up to 500 miles, a service not provided by FedEx or UPS as they use more expensive airfreight services to deliver next-day shipments over that distance.