- 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?