The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is joining UPS and FedEx Corp., which added surcharges earlier this year, as the pandemic prompted more people to order goods online rather than risk shopping in stores. Package carriers are expected to be strained this holiday season, raising concern over their ability to keep pace.
The increases range from 24 cents to $1.50 per package and will last from Oct. 18 to Dec. 27, the post office said Friday in a notice to the Postal Regulatory Commission. This increase will affect everyone, including Amazon.com Inc., smaller retailers and couriers.
The Postal Service’s temporary increases on ground deliveries range from 5.7% for priority mail to 13% on lightweight parcels. The surcharges will provide “much needed revenue,” according to an agency statement.
UPS last week announced hefty seasonal charges of as much as $3 per ground delivery for the holiday season, and FedEx is expected to follow suit.
Because of the pandemic, U.S. package volume has jumped about 20% for UPS and FedEx. It surged 50% for the Postal Service in the quarter ending in June compared with the same period a year earlier.
The Postal Service handled 34% of package deliveries during last year’s holiday shopping season, the most of any carrier, according to SJ Consulting Inc. UPS was second with 32% while FedEx got 19%.
With the possibility of additional mail-in voting for this year’s Presidential election, due to hesitancy by voters to go to voting places, due to the coronavirus, delivery schedules could be overwhelming. The USPS has already said it can’t guarantee that all mailed ballots would be delivered by the Nov. 3 election.
As the only courier that makes daily rounds to every home, the Post Office, for some unknown reason has refused to in raise its delivery prices amid increased e-commerce. No wonder the USPS was in debt over $160 billon at the end of 2019.