June 2 2008 09:18 AM

The Postal Service has improved its Priority Mail Drop Shipment service and renamed it Priority Mail Open and Distribute a premium service provided primarily to large mailers and consolidators.


Because Priority Mail costs for items that weigh between 20 and 70 pounds will be reduced by up to 19% when new rates take effect this spring, Priority Mail Open and Distribute service is an excellent choice for customers to increase volume in the heavier weight categories.


This service provides an easy alternative to mailer-transported drop shipments for customers who want to expedite shipments of other classes of mail to domestic destination postal facilities. The shipment receives Priority Mail service between the origin post office and the destination facility, where the enclosed mail is then processed according to its type of service and sent on for final delivery.


Priority Mail Open and Distribute service expedites handling of other classes of mail entered at business mail entry units (BMEUs) or other Postal Service acceptance units. A customer prepares the mailing, following standards for the particular class of mail, and then encloses it in larger containers to ship at Priority Mail rates.


Postage for the Enclosed Mail

Mailers must prepay postage and fees for the enclosed mail under applicable standards. Postage is paid based on the weight of the entire contents of the Priority Mail Open and Distribute container and may be paid with any method permitted for the mail class, with the exception of ordinary postage stamps requiring cancellation.


Mail that requires cancellation may not be enclosed. The mail enclosed in the container also must meet all corresponding eligibility and preparation standards for the class of mail for which postage has been paid.


Postage statements are necessary only if payment for the mail inside the container is made by permit imprint; statements are not necessary for the Priority Mail Open and Distribute portion of the shipment if it is paid by postage meter strip.


New Sack Tags

Two new sack tags one green and the other bright pink have been introduced to make the service more efficient, and the current orange letter tray label for Priority Mail Open and Distribute containers has been revised. The old drop ship tag, Tag 159, was discontinued as of February 2007.


The green tag Tag 161 is for containers addressed to mail processing facilities. The bright pink tag Tag 190 is for mail addressed to destination delivery units (DDUs). The orange tray tag Label 23 is for letter trays destined to both mail processing facilities and DDUs.


To determine where the Priority Mail Open and Distribute shipment will be processed, customers should consult a designated labeling list in Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), section 705.16.


A Unique Business Opportunity

Why has the new service been introduced? The upcoming USPS rate case provides a unique business opportunity. With proposed rate reductions in heavier weight Priority Mail categories, customers may choose to increase the volume of mail for items that weigh between 20 and 70 pounds, thereby saving approximately 19%.


Delivery Confirmation service is recommended with Priority Mail Open and Distribute but is not required. Delivery Confirmation service will provide the mailer with the delivery ZIP Code and the date and time that the container was delivered to its destination. For more details, mailers can check Publication 91, Confirmation Services Technical Guide, for descriptive information, technical specifications and requirements to use the Postal Services Confirmation Services.


Mailing Supplies

Free Priority Mail packaging and shipping supplies are available through the Postal Services website at http://shop.usps.com. Customers may order supplies of Tag 161, Tag 190 and Label 23 by calling the Postal Services Expedited Package Supply Center at 800-610-8734.