USPS attempts to push back entry time; delay can cause extra delivery day

Jun 1, 2022

The U.S. Postal Service wants to change the entry time for Periodicals at Processing and Distribution Centers from 11 a.m. to 8 a.m., but it ran into a snag at the Postal Regulatory Commission.

USPS included the change in an advisory to the Commission regarding other mail that would be newly counted in the service on-time measurement system, such as business reply mail. The report covered technicalities of data used to formulate quarterly service reports, but the change in critical entry time was considered by several stakeholders to be more than a reporting technicality.

The National Newspaper Association, the Association of Magazine Publishers-MPA and the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) objected to sweeping the change into a reporting rule.

The PRC agreed and ordered USPS to halt its plans until it supplies the Commission with more information on whether the change will affect service, as opposed to just measuring service.

“Of course it will affect service,” NNA Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications, Cordell, Oklahoma, said.

“The change will mean that newspapers entered for processing at the plant after 8 a.m. will be considered an arrival counted on the following day, which gives USPS an additional day to process and deliver,” Wesner explained. “So a 10 a.m. arrival on Tuesday for a Thursday delivery will be counted on the books as a Wednesday entry, which gives USPS until Friday to accomplish a two-day delivery time. Since two-day delivery is the most common service standard for newspapers entering at plants for local service, USPS will be effectively changing the newspaper’s publication day.”

The PRC set June 3 to receive further comments on the matter. USPS has the authority to implement the change without the PRC’s approval, but if the change is considered an alteration of nationwide service, the Postal Service is required to seek the PRC’s advice first.