Trends in Print and Mail

The Berkshire Company Blog

Terrible Timing – The Absurdity of the August Rate Increase

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 1, 2021 11:03:09 AM

For over 6 months, mailing industry professionals – through their associations and as individuals – have expressed their concerns about a second postage rate increase in 2021. Through group calls with the US Postal Service (USPS) leadership, meetings with the postmaster general, and many articles and blog posts, the message has been clear – a second rate increase in 2021 will cause harm. Annual budgets have been set, printers and mailers are just beginning to recover from the pandemic, and USPS service levels will be lowered in September.

Their efforts were for naught.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General / The Berkshire Company

What’s the Cost of the Universal Service Obligation?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 16, 2021 11:51:53 AM


On December 10, 2020, The Postal regulatory Commission issued Order Number 5777, requesting comment on Docket No. PI2021-1: Public Inquiry on the Universal Service Obligation Valuation Methodology. The Berkshire Company submitted the following document in response to the PRC.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Regulatory Commission / Universal Service Obligation

A Ship Adrift – The US Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 1, 2021 4:00:00 AM



The last year has brought one challenge after another. The pandemic. Civil rights protests. A divisive election. Violent rioters in our nation’s capital.

The impact to the US Postal Service (USPS) was augmented by additional factors.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General

Preparing for the 2021 Rate Increase

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 18, 2021 12:14:04 PM


On Sunday, January 24, 2021, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect. Mailers mailers have less than a week to complete their final preparations.

This may be the last increase under the ratemaking rules established under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006. Under the PAEA, the rates for Market Dominant products – First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, Periodicals, etc. – were limited by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

After completing their 10-year review, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) modified the ratemaking rules. On November 30, 2020, the PRC issued Order No. 5763 – Order Adopting Final Rules for the System of Regulating Rates and Classes for Market Dominant Products. Under the new system, the USPS will have additional rate authority to raise rates. The factors include a combination of delivery density and retirement-related expenses. The rules went into effect on January 15, 2021 and may be used by the USPS to raise rates above CPI.

There are currently four legal appeals on the PRC order, including one by the USPS. Industry advocates claim that the PRC overstepped its authority, while the USPS is appealing the narrow scope of the order. Until the courts issue a ruling, the order remains in effect.

The current USPS price list – Notice 123 – is available on Postal Explorer as either an HTML or PDF document. Until January 24, the new rates are available for download as either an Excel or PDF file. The Excel file has a tab for each rate class, complete with Zone and weight tables.

Even with the increase, postage rates are a great deal. The USPS retail rates for letter mail remain lower than our trading partners – including the countries that have privatized their posts. This is the current prices for one-ounce stamps (based on exchange rates in effect on January 17, 2020):

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission

Postmaster General DeJoy Should Know Silence Isn’t Golden

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jul 20, 2020 1:17:52 PM


Last month, Mr. Louis DeJoy began his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). On his first day in office, PMG DeJoy released a video praising USPS employees and recognizing outgoing PMG Megan Brennan. It was an upbeat message that was received well by employees and customers alike.

There have been no public statements by PMG DeJoy since then. Just silence.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Leadership / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General

What’s a Letter?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 6, 2020 9:00:00 PM


On February 7, 2020, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued Order Number 5422 – “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Consider Regulations to Carry Out the Statutory Requirements of 39 U.S.C. 601”. It’s a brief document – only 10 pages – that opens up significant issues around the definition of “a letter”, the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) monopoly to deliver letters, and the universal service obligation (USO).

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United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission

Our Unique American Institution

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 9, 2020 5:00:00 AM

The Lexington Institute hosted a Capitol Hill Conference on Postal Reform. 
On Friday, March 6, 2020, The Lexington Institute hosted a Capitol Hill Conference on Postal Reform. With a packed room of legislative aides, mailing industry professionals and interested individuals, 12 speakers shared ideas on what has worked, what has failed, and what should be considered to reform the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The roster included:

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United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission

The US Postal Service 5-Year Strategic Plan – Still No Plan

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 20, 2020 3:25:05 PM



Last April, during a House Oversight Committee hearing, Representative Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) took Postmaster General (PMG) Brennan to task for not delivering a 10-year strategic plan to Congress that was promised to be handed over in January. A second delivery date was also missed. The congressman was not happy.

Representative Meadows had worked with his Democrat colleagues to draft bi-partisan postal reform bills. As he said, the PMG’s actions were turning an advocate into an adversary. At the end of the discussion, the Committee Chair, the late Representative Elijah Cummings, directed that the plan be delivered to the committee no later than July.

At that summer’s Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting, PMG Brennan was asked when the strategic plan would be published. The PMG said that the Oversight Committee had the plan, and that it would be released to the industry “in due time”.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission

Implementing the US Postal Service 2020 Rate Changes

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 13, 2020 5:00:00 AM

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect, so mailers need to act now to be properly prepared. For most mailers, the first day of mailing under the new rates will be Monday, January 27, 2020.

This rate case was announced on October 9, 2019. Set to go into effect on January 26, 2020, the new rates represent about a 1.9% increase over the current prices for mailing, or “Market Dominant” products and about a 4% increases for shipping, or “competitive” products.

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United States Postal Service / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission

5 Postal and Print Issues for 2020

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 30, 2019 8:53:17 AM


It’s impossible to predict the future, but when there are storm clouds in the sky, you can be pretty sure it’s going to rain. Lightning and downpours can be seen in the distance, inching their way forward. We brace for the worst.

Of course, a good rain helps farmers grow crops. Watersheds and aquifers are refreshed, increasing the supply of clean water for our homes. Grasslands and forests are rejuvenated, staving off brutal fires.

There are clouds in the skies for the print-mail industry.

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Industry Vendors / Strategy / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / NPF / mail / Postal Regulatory Commission / print