Background

The international mailing and shipping industry is growing significantly — global eCommerce topped $2.8 trillion in 2018 and is projected to grow over 60 percent by 2021. The Postal Service is an active participant in this international market, offering a variety of mailing and shipping products and services including Priority Mail International, commercial ePackets, and First-Class Package International Service. The Postal Service recorded nearly 638 million pieces of inbound international mail in fiscal year (FY) 2018, with associated revenue totaling $1.1 billion.

The Postal Service coordinates its international inbound mail acceptance operations with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A key part of these efforts is the availability and use of advance electronic data (AED), which can include details such as the recipient’s name and address, the sender’s name and address, and package contents.

For inbound mailings, AED is sent from the originating foreign post to the Postal Service, which then routes it to CBP. ITMATT can be provided in one of two formats (Version 8 and Version 11), with slight differences in the number and size of data fields. For example, in Version 11 the address data is separated into specific fields (street, city, state, etc.) and some of the field lengths were increased to accommodate larger information sets.

The objective was to determine if the Postal Service is effectively fulfilling CBP’s AED-based holds for inbound international mail. We also assessed the reliability of AED.

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  • anon

    Just a quick related observation: flagged items that are captured downstream use the Intercept scanning event. A large number of the packages sent back to CBP do not receive a subsequent Into Customs scan. Often times, these items end up being returned to sender (as does most international mail arriving into the ISCs from the sorting facilities). It is not possible to identify if these items are returned by U.S. Customs' authority, or because of operational error (since no Customs scan was recorded). This causes problems and added expenses to USPS when unnecessary inquiries, postage reimbursements to foreign operators and additional return transportation costs are added up.

    Jul 16, 2019