Postal Service adds holiday surcharge to packages

There are no changes to moving first-class mail in and out of Wrangell — that will continue by air, according to a U.S. Postal Service official. But service out of state could be slower, depending on how far the mail is coming or going.

And it will cost more to mail packages now through Christmas as the Postal Service tries to improve its finances.

Through Dec. 25, customers will pay an additional 25 cents to $5 to ship a parcel through the Postal Service, depending on the level of delivery service they select and the distance the package will travel.

The federal government is not alone in tacking on a holiday surcharge for package deliveries.

FedEx and UPS also add a surcharge for many of their services and customers to cover the additional work required to meet the overwhelming holiday demand.

The Postal Service surcharge applies to anything that isn't a postcard, letter or a flat package such as a large envelope, newsletter or magazine. “A box of cookies, for example, would be a parcel,” and subject to the surcharge, the agency said.

The added fee started last Sunday.

Separate from the holiday surcharge, the Postal Service has taken other steps to bring in more money and reduce its costs.

It raised the price of a first-class stamp to 58 cents at the end of August.

And last Friday, it implemented new — often slower — service standards for the delivery of first-class mail, newspapers and magazines.

“Most first-class mail and periodicals will be unaffected by the new service standard changes,” the Postal Service said in a statement. “Standards for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.”

But the farther a letter travels, the more likely it will take longer to arrive.

“The Postal Service will increase time‐in‐transit standards by one or two days for certain mail that are traveling longer distances,” such as cross country, according to the statement. That will allow the Postal Service to use ground transportation instead of air, saving money.

The Washington Post reported that the Postal Service plans to cut in half the amount of mail it transports by plane, instead moving it across the country by truck.


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