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Quick Service Guide 401a
Designing Parcels for Automated Processing
January 27, 2013
440a, Standard Mail Machinable Parcels
460, Bound Printed Matter Irregular and Machinable Parcels
Physical Standards (401)
Minimum weight: 6 ounces except under 401.1.5.2.
Standard Mail: maximum weight is less than 16 ounces.
Bound Printed Matter: maximum weight is 15 pounds.
Parcel Select: maximum weight is 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter).
Dimensions: 6 to 34 inches long, 3 to 17 inches high, and 1/4 to 17 inches thick. Parcels 1/4 inch thick must be at least 3-1/2 inches high and 6 inches long.
For an overview of the physical standards for commercial parcels, see Quick Service Guide 401.
Parcels are nonmachinable if they meet any of the criteria in 401.2.5.
Commercial parcels (except for Standard Mail parcels) mailed at a presorted or destination entry price must include a unique Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) or extra services barcode, including a postal routing code. On January 7, 2013, an Intelligent Mail package barcode will be required for all commercial mailpieces that include a tracking or extra services barcode and on all parcels (except Standard Mail parcels) claiming presort or destination entry pricing.
Package Services barcodes may be combined with USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation or Signature Confirmation and insurance barcode.
Standard Mail barcodes may be combined with electronic USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation and insurance.
Standard Mail and Package Services barcodes must be prepared with the address and barcode placed squarely onto the largest surface area of the parcel except when the shape and contents require specific orientation for stability during processing. The barcode should be placed immediately adjacent to the delivery address and no closer than 1/2 inch from the edge of the parcel.
Acceptable Container (601.4.0)
Use sturdy materials to withstand handling.
Size must be adequate to contain items and provide space for cushioning material:
Cushioning absorbs shock and vibration of handling. Combinations of cushioning materials are most effective. Cushion items separately.
Closure and Sealing (601.3.0)
First-Class Package Service: A surcharge applies for parcels with the following characteristics:
Standard Mail parcels: Unless prepared in a carrier route 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, (IMpb).
Parcels must be prepared and marked under applicable standards for machinable parcel preparation:
For pallet preparation, see 705.8.0.
For combined mailings of Standard Mail and Package Services parcels, see 705.6.0.