2023 USPS Rate Changes and Service Updates

Published on November 16, 2023
Written by
Filed under Carrier Rates
Read time 11 Minutes

Welcome to our United States Postal Service Updates blog, your guide to the changing postal scene. Here, we’ll share the latest news and rate updates from the USPS. Dive in as we break down the 2023 updates. 

November 2023 USPS Rate Changes

Starting November 18, 2023, the USPS will implement new rate adjustments that may impact your shipments. Here’s an overview of what’s changing: 

  • Priority Mail® costs will increase by an average of 1.5%, with Zones 1-2 seeing steeper increases. 
  • Ground Advantage™ costs will decrease by around 5%, with Zones 1-5 seeing more significant drops. 

So which shipments will see the biggest changes? The short answer: those traveling shorter distances. More specifically, Ground Advantage™ packages weighing 1-2 lbs to Zones 1-5 could see a price drop ranging from up to 10-18%. 

Additionally, those relying on Priority Mail Flat Rate® boxes can anticipate a price increase around 5%. 

Exact rates will vary depending on the package details and how far it’s traveling. As always, we recommend comparing rates and services to find the best option for your business. 

USPS Ground Advantage™

As of July 9th, USPS will offer a new domestic shipping service called USPS Ground Advantage™. This service combines and replaces USPS Retail Ground, USPS Parcel Select Ground, and USPS First Class Package Services.

USPS Ground Advantage™ Key Points 

  • Delivery time of up to 5 business days.
  • Shipments can weigh up to 70 lbs and measure up to 130 inches in length + girth
  • Pricing structures for parcels under one pound have rates based on limits of 4 oz, 8 oz, and 15.99 oz. USPS zones also impact rates. 
  • Rates for parcels weighing between 1–70 lbs are calculated based on the rounded-up pound.
    • Ex: A 3.5 lb parcel is rated at the 4 lb rate structure.
  • Schedule a free Package Pickup service at your home or office.
  • Tracking is included for all Ground Advantage parcels.
  • $100 of insurance coverage is included with all Ground Advantage shipments at no additional cost.
  • Business customers can use commercial rates and USPS Ground Advantage Return services.
  • First Class Mail International® will continue to be offered—only domestic FCM is impacted by USPS Ground Advantage™. 

Please note that if you have any outbound or return labels connected to the services that will no longer be available, USPS will continue to accept and process those labels until September 30, 2023.

Continue reading below

Updates to Shipping Hazardous Materials

On July 9th, USPS enacts new rules requiring anyone printing a USPS label to declare whether the contents being shipped contain hazardous material (HAZMAT) and Dangerous Goods (DG). This requires Service Type Codes (STCs) specific to HAZMAT/DG shipments. These STCs are numerical values used by the USPS to identify a package’s contents and HAZMAT classification. This will help shipments move through the USPS safely and efficiently. These requirements are due to the risk of damages, fire, and injury caused by lithium batteries and other hazardous materials. It is the shipper’s responsibility to follow all HAZMAT regulations and ensure their shipments are correctly identified. Shipments not following USPS HAZMAT protocol may be returned to sender without refund. 

Notes on the HAZMAT changes

  • Additional updates go into effect on January 21, 2024 when senders of HAZMAT/DG parcels will need to add a new two-dimensional barcode or Intelligent Mail Matrix Barcode (IMmb) on labels. 
  • Merchants can start by familiarizing themselves with Publication 52 on HAZMAT regulations and marking requirements.
  • The USPS maintains the most current, full list of items deemed hazardous.
  • Please note that ShipStation’s USPS integration does not currently support printing postage for parcels containing Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT).

Did you miss the January 2023 rate and service changes? You can find them below!

January 2023 USPS Rate Changes

Keeping with tradition, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced its annual rate changes and service updates effective January 22, 2023. Along with standard rate increases to some Priority Mail® and First Class Mail services, there are changes to regional and local shipping. Additionally, shipments headed to Canada have seen a simpler pricing structure. These changes help the USPS deliver parcels more effectively to customers that live in the same city or across the globe. 

  • USPS Priority Mail® rates increased by 3.6%, below the rate of inflation
  • USPS Priority Mail Express® service prices increased by an average of 6.6%
  • USPS First-Class Package Service prices increase by an average of 7.8% 
  • Parcel Select Ground pricing remains the same as 2022 rates
  • Regional Rate Boxes A & B® services have been discontinued
  • Local Zone no longer exists
  • Zone 2 pricing has a higher cost than Zone 1 pricing 

USPS Pricing Updates for 2023

If you’re an ecommerce seller who sends mail and parcels on a regular basis, the most impactful annual changes the USPS makes are the rate increases. Priority Mail, Priority Flat Rate, and First Class Mail are all seeing rate changes this year. Despite these changes, you can save money on shipping regardless of annual rate increase. You save big on shipping with ShipStation. We offer discounts on USPS retail rates. See how affordable shipping costs can be by using ShipStation’s USPS Shipping Calculator

2023 USPS Rate Changes Chart

Commonly used USPS services are seeing a range of rate increases for 2023. Luckily, USPS Commercial rates not only cost less, they’re also seeing a smaller rate increase. While the average rate increase for Priority Mail is 5.5%, ShipStation users see a lower rate and can avoid many of the higher costs associated with USPS retail rates on Priority Mail and other services. 

Changes to USPS Local and Regional Shipping  

The USPS has restructured elements of its local and regional shipping services. These changes include both pricing increases and some discontinued services which may require you to change how you offer local delivery or pickup. Services like Parcel Select Ground offer economical delivery options and also are not seeing pricing updates this year!  

2023 Changes to USPS Zones

The USPS segments pricing for parcels into something called “zones.” Domestically, USPS’s zones consist of local zone and zones 1–9. The three nearest zones are zones local, 1, and 2. Mail that are only sorted at the origin post office fell into “local zone.” Zone 1 shipments are within 50 miles. And zone 2 shipments are within 150 miles. Historically, parcels falling into these three categories had the same pricing structure. But this is changing. 

As of January 22, 2023, the local zone no longer exists. “Local” mail pieces now fall under the zone 1 pricing structure. Additionally, USPS zone 2 shipments now have their own pricing structure. 

Support Ends For USPS Regional Rate Boxes 

Along with local zone shipments, USPS has ended support for Regional Rate Boxes. This option allowed for shipments weighing up to 15 pounds (Regional Rate A box) and 20 pounds (Regional Rate B box). Even though Regional Rate boxes have been suspended, the boxes may be used as for other USPS services until supplies deplete. Note that the parcel’s cost will be for the selected service/package combination. 

USPS Simplifies Priority Shipments to Canada 

In the past, Priority Mail International shipping costs for Canada have been segmented into 8 different pricing groups. USPS has streamlined Canadian pricing into a single Group for any and all locations. All Priority Mail International mailpieces sent to Canada will now fall into International Pricing Group 1.

How ShipStation Keeps Shipping Costs Low

ShipStation is all about efficiency. We help ecommerce merchants save time and money when shipping their orders. Through shipping automation, simple-to-use bulk actions, and shipping discounts, you can print your day’s shipping labels in just a few clicks and save up to on label fees. 

Discounts on Label Rates

ShipStation values its close relationship with global shipping leaders like USPS. With ShipStation Carrier Services, you can print postage for many carriers and access massive savings label fees. All the postage is paid through a single postage balance—streamlining purchasing and bookkeeping. 

Shipping Automation Built For How You Need It

ShipStation allows you to automate many of the tedious steps that would otherwise require manual entry. Things like automatically applying shipping presets and sending shipping confirmation are done behind the scenes. All you have to do is click “print.” 

If you currently use ShipStation, you may want to double check your automation rules to make sure they are using the best shipping services for the destination and parcel size and weight.

Continue reading below
Written by

James Messer

James Messer is a copywriter specializing in shipping, logistics, and ecommerce.

Want to learn more about ShipStation?