• Project Title:
  • Inbound ePackets Cost Attribution
  • Start Date:
  • Monday, July 31, 2017
  • Estimated Report Release Date:
  • January 2018

The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) allows the U.S. Postal Service to enter into bilateral agreements with foreign posts to promote an efficient operation of postal services with other nations. These agreements govern the exchange of international products and services between the Postal Service and foreign posts and supersede postage rates established by the Universal Postal Union (UPU). 

The Postal Service launched its first bilateral agreement with China Post in 2010. This agreement introduced “ePackets” as a new letter class mailpiece. ePackets are small lightweight packets, weighing up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), that offer delivery tracking and confirmation and are classified with market dominant products. The Postal Service has since acquired bilateral agreements for ePackets with several other foreign countries, to include Australia, Canada, Korea, and Singapore, among others.  

In 2014, the  Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit  to assess whether the Postal Service accurately determined the cost of inbound China ePackets. The audit found that the Postal Service did not isolate the cost of ePackets, which limited its ability to establish effective pricing strategies. The OIG recommended the Postal Service track and report inbound letter post packet costs separately.

Currently, the Postal Service records ePackets cost data as an aggregate figure in the International Cost Revenue Analysis (ICRA) report. The aggregate amount includes inbound priority and/or non-priority letter trays, flat trays, bags, containers, ancillary and customized services, and direct entry letters, flats, and small packets bearing domestic postage and indicia.

  • What issues do Postal Service employees face when processing, handling, tracking, and shipping ePackets?
  • Are there issues that could impact the costs incurred to process ePackets or affect the accuracy of cost estimates for ePackets?
  • How do bilateral agreements with international countries impact domestic shipping of international mail in the United States?
  • How do you think the Postal Service can improve tracking and estimating the costs incurred by ePackets to ensure reliable cost coverage calculations?

Comments (11)

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  • anon

    I haven't received updates yet on my epacket tracking lw6207-10439cn I'm very upset I thought upsp would care this very unprofessional I have not found one update bout my package

    Aug 06, 2017
  • anon

    We process these parcels mostly on overtime which increases labor on machineable epackets 50%. 20% of the parcels can't be read by the machine, reject on the machine, and must be sorted by hand again using overtime hours. Since I don't do Q/C, I have no idea percentage missorted, but at best guess 5%. The epackets are very labor intensive, the volume doesn't justify the unfair cost against U.S. shippers. Seems like U.S. businesses are subsidizing their competitors postal rates.

    Aug 06, 2017
  • anon

    Could you tell us how long this has been happening for? Thank you for your comments as it helps us moving forward and we will continue to monitor for more information.

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    Approximately 2 years, Management has tried several ways to get OT down, hiring 10 hr tour of PSE's, overlapping tours, 6 day work week. Management has a delicate balance. The amount of ePacket to process, and have enough time to make sure domestic parcels are dispatched to the airports on time. The amount that is left over builds up if not taken care of promptly. Manuel processing has that same issue making sure to process epacket. Then domestic and get to the airports in time.

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    The ePackets that originated from China have no packaging standard, they arrive in all shapes and sizes, also the labels and bar codes are not conforming to USPS mail processing equipment. We spent more time process these mail using manual labor than suppose to. Needless to say, the ePackets do not cover its own cost of processing and delivering.

    Aug 06, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your comments on are costs associated with mailing ePackets accurately captured. The information you provide will help us moving forward. If you have any more information you would like to provide feel free to provide additional comments as we continue to monitor for more information.

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    I'd love to be able to send ePackets from the US to foreign countries. A 1oz First Class Parcel costs me over $2.50 just to send 2 miles away. So while sellers in Hong Kong can violate copyright law, get subsidized shipping costs and decimate domestic sellers...I have to think how long can USPS function when more businesses in the US become insolvent? It's hard to believe the administration that entered into these agreements has any comprehension of fiduciary responsibility. If you're running a business with razor thin margins...how can you handle shipping an item that weighs 1.25lbs from the East Coast to the West Coast for approximately $10? A 15oz package costs about $4 to ship, add 2 ounces and the price jumps to around $10. It's no wonder DHL/Airborne Express pretty much bailed on the US shipping industry post 9/11. They knew fully well the costs of dealing with insane, financially irresponsible over-grown children running things. What did US exporters get out of this agreement? I'd greatly appreciate it if someone could let me know.

    Aug 05, 2017
  • anon

    The US Post Office is being duped by China. Vendors from China selling on Ebay ,Amazon,Alibaba are offereing products from $1 to $5 with free shipping from China, How is that possible if our domestic shipping first class packet start at $2.75 to$4.95 .So if they sell something for $2.00 pay ebay %15 and then deduct the cost of item how they ship from China for free. even if the Chinese Govt ships it for free to US and then lets USPS deliver it for free. That is unfair competition and has to be brought to a stop

    Aug 04, 2017
  • anon

    US businesses are at a disadvantage because it cost less to ship the same package from China then it does to ship from the US. Why is USPS subsidizing businesses in foreign countries?

    Aug 04, 2017
  • anon

    3 times in 8 months, priority mail, expected delivery 3 days. All 3 arrived days later. UPS package, expected delivery 3 days, on time. USPS, recommended pay extra, for us to get our job done as we say we will.

    Aug 04, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your comments as it will help us moving forward. If you have any more information you would like to provide feel free to provide additional comments as we continue to monitor for more information.

    Aug 07, 2017

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