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Quick Service Guide 401
Physical Standards for Commercial Parcels
January 27, 2013
Measuring Length Plus Girth (401.1.0)
For parcels, length is the measurement of the longest dimension and girth is the distance around the thickest part (perpendicular to the length).
Except for Standard Post and Parcel Select, no mailpiece may measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined. Standard Post and Parcel Select pieces measuring over 108 inches but not more than
The Postal Service classifies parcels as machinable parcels, irregular parcels, or outside parcels.
Machinable Parcels (401.1.5)
If you prepare your parcels so that they can be processed on Postal Service equipment, your mail is “machinable.” Machinable parcels must meet specific standards for size, shape, content, and weight.
Minimum weight: 6 ounces (3.5 ounces for parcels prepared under 401.1.5.2).
Maximum weight: 25 pounds (35 pounds for Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service parcels that do not contain books and other printed matter). Lower weight limits apply to First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Bound Printed Matter.
Soft goods wrapped in paper or plastic bags and printed matter are machinable only if all packaging standards in 601 are met.
Irregular Parcels (401.1.6)
Irregular parcels include parcels that do not meet the dimensional criteria of machinable parcels and other parcels that cannot be processed by parcel sorters, including:
Outside Parcels (401.1.7)
Outside parcels exceed any of the maximum dimensions for machinable parcels. This category also includes certain high-density items, cartons containing more than 24 ounces of liquids in one or more glass containers, cartons containing 1 gallon or more of liquid in metal or plastic containers, and items in 401.1.7.
First-Class Package Service (401.2.3)
Maximum weight: 13 ounces, except for commercial plus presorted machinable parcels, which must weigh less than 16 ounces.
A surcharge applies for parcels with the following characteristics:
See Quick Service Guide 430, First-Class Package Service parcels
Bound Printed Matter (401.2.6)
For additional information, see Quick Service Guide 460, Bound Printed Matter Nonmachinable and Machinable Parcels.
For machinable parcels, see Quick Service Guide 470.
For preparation of irregular parcels, see 475.5.3.
Barcode discount: available for machinable parcels (50-piece minimum), mailed at Basic prices.
For prices, eligibility, postage payment, and mail preparation, see Quick Service Guide 480.
Standard Mail Parcels (401.2.4)
Maximum weight: less than 16 ounces.
Unless prepared in carrier route (irregular parcels only) or 5-digit/scheme containers, Standard Mail parcels are subject to a surcharge if machinable parcels do not bear a GS1-128 routing barcode or Intelligent Mail package barcode, or irregular parcels do not bear a GS1-128 routing barcode, an Intelligent Mail package barcode, or POSTNET barcode.
Parcel Select (401.2.5)
Parcel Select Destination Entry packages are priced as machinable or nonmachinable. Nonmachinable parcels are subject to the applicable nonmachinable surcharge unless the special handling fee is paid. There is no Parcel Select nonmachinable surcharge for NDC Presort, ONDC Presort, or nonpresorted.
Oversized Price: pieces measuring more than 108 inches in combined length and girth, but not more than 130 inches in combined length and girth, are mailable at the applicable Parcel Select oversized price. Oversized pieces are not subject to nonmachinable prices.
Balloon Price: Parcel Select pieces measuring more than 84 inches in combined length and girth, but not more than 108 inches in combined length and girth, and weighing less than 20 pounds are mailable at the price equal to that of a 20-pound parcel for the zone to which the parcel is addressed.
Nonmachinable Parcel Select Destination Entry: Except for pieces mailed at oversized prices or parcels sent with special handling, pieces that meet any of the following criteria must pay nonmachinable prices.
a. A parcel more than 27 inches long, 17 inches wide, or 17 inches high.
b. A parcel less than 6 inches long, 1/4 inch thick, or 3 inches high.
c. A parcel that weighs less than 6 ounces (except under 401.1.5.2) or more than 35 pounds.
d. A parcel containing more than 24 ounces of liquid in glass containers, or 1 gallon or more of liquid in metal or plastic containers.
e. An insecurely wrapped or metal-banded parcel.
f. A can, roll, or tube, or wooden or metal box.
g. Books, printed matter, or business forms weighing more than 25 pounds.
h. A high-density parcel weighing more than 15 pounds and exerting more than 60 pounds per-square-foot pressure on its smallest side.
i. A film case weighing more than 5 pounds or with strap-type closures, except any film case the USPS authorizes to be entered as a machinable parcel under 401.1.5 and to be identified by the words “Machinable in United States Postal Service Equipment” permanently attached as a nontransferable decal in the lower right corner of the case.
j. Parcels with characteristics (such as inadequate packaging) that could result in damage to the contents of the mailpiece, other parcels, or postal machinery if mechanical sortation is used.