The U.S. Postal Service is projecting it will handle 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, a drop from both 2018 and 2017. Sunday delivery will be expanded beginning Nov. 24 to high-volume urban locations, with projections of over 8 million package deliveries on Sundays in December.
Pitney Bowes was hit by a ransomware attack that affected its postage systems and impacted customers globally. The company said systems were up and running although high volumes could still cause issues, and no personal customer or employee data was compromised. The same attack hit Florida cities and a newspaper in 2018.
The U.S. Postal Service is calling for rate increases of up to 6.3% for its parcel shipping products in 2020, which are being reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The USPS is hoping increased rates will partially offset volume declines as UPS, FedEx and Amazon are all diverting volume to their own networks to save costs.
The UPU on Wednesday approved a compromise plan that will let countries set their own inbound postal rates, avoiding a threatened pullout by the U.S. that would have caused shipping chaos ahead of the peak holiday season. The U.S. can begin imposing self-declared rates next July, with others following in 2021.
With a showdown looming over international postal rates at a Sept. 24 congress of the Universal Postal Union, uncertainty reigns in terms of the United States’ continued participation in the organization, leaving merchants wondering about parcel shipping rates heading into peak season. Consolidators are making contingency plans.
The U.S. Postal Service reported a drop in its parcel volume for the first time in nine years during its third quarter, as major customers like Amazon continue to shift business away from the USPS and take on some of the deliveries themselves. However parcel revenue was up thanks to rate increases and a DIM adjustment this year.