Where is the Love from Low Fuel Prices?

If you’re a shipper, you may have noticed your fuel surcharge fees aren’t going down in step with the declining price of oil. That’s because both FedEx and UPS tie their fuel surcharges to the price of diesel, which hasn’t dropped as far or as fast as gasoline prices. Furthermore, both shipping giants recently adjusted how they calculate fuel surcharges, resulting in surcharges that won’t drop as much as they would have under the previous calculation. In some cases, fuel surcharges are even going up.


Keepin’ It Simple?

Steve Jobs was famous for the ingenious simplicity of his designs. And, of course, his single button iPhone, now the standard in smart phoning, is a great testament to the value of simplicity.

As in design, simplicity in pricing, and a related simplicity of choices, are appealing to consumers. There is even empirical evidence that consumers will buy more when they aren’t overwhelmed with too much clutter and too many choices.


Dim Weight, Bright Idea?

Dim weight. Sounds like something you might call your not-so-smart cousin. It’s actually a way to price parcels based primarily on how much space they take up during transport and delivery.

FedEx is the first major carrier to announce plans to charge prices based on the dimensional weight of all its ground shipments. Retailers and other shippers are bracing for a nasty hike in shipping costs come January 2015, when the FedEx changes take effect.


Exigent Price Increase Proposed

The U.S. Postal Service’s governing body, the Board of Governors, voted this week to request permission to raise postage prices above the inflation-based price cap to generate $2 billion in revenue in 2014. It is asking the regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), to allow the Postal Service to raise the price of a stamp by 3 cents (to 49 cents), which is 2 cents more than the annual inflationary increase. Prices on other single-piece and commercial mail products would also increase.


The Long and the Short of It

Some have argued that the U.S. Postal Service should be allowed to raise prices in order to increase revenue and ensure that the sales of their products cover their costs. Others have argued that the current costing system may overstate the cost of some products, as it assumes the Postal Service is able to adjust its capacity, such as quickly closing a facility or eliminating a tour, to match the decline in mail volume.


What is the appropriate pricing regime for the Postal Service?

This is the fourth topic in our "Five Elements of a Postal Solution" blog series. Link to last week's topic.
Link to today's recap.
Link to Thursday's blog by John Waller.
Link to Wednesday's blog by Jeff Colvin.
Link to Tuesday's blog by Jessica Lowrance.

Recapping the week - March 30, 2012

In the fourth week of our blog series, we asked three experts to give us their opinions on an appropriate pricing regime for the Postal Service.


Pricing and Price Caps

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) changed the way the Postal Service sets rates. It divided postal services into two broad categories: market dominant (mailing services) and competitive (shipping services). Market dominant products constitute about 90 percent of postal revenue. They include First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and some Package Services. Products such as Priority Mail, Express Mail, and bulk Parcel Post are considered competitive. The PAEA placed a cap on price increases for market dominant products.