Contents Index


D000 Basic Information

D020 Plant Load


D020 describes plant load operations, how to apply for plant load privileges, and explains expedited plant load shipment.

1.0 Basic Information


In a plant load operation, the USPS receives mail at a mailer’s plant and transports it to bypass handling otherwise required at one or more postal facilities. Plant loads are authorized if they benefit the USPS. The USPS selects the appropriate mode of transportation and determines responsibility as shown below.

Type Who Arranges,
Pays Transport
Responsibility Postage
Paid From
Collection2 USPS USPS Affixed/Mailer Plant None
Pickup3 USPS With Fee USPS Affixed/Mailer Plant None
Drop Shipment4 Mailer/USPS USPS Acceptance
Post Office
Drop Shipment
Metered Mail
Mailer Mailer Post Office
of License
Business Mail Entry
Unit (BMEU)
Mailer Mailer BMEU Post Office None
Destination Entry
(drop shipment)
Mailer Mailer Entry Office Form 8125
Periodicals Additional Entry Mailer Mailer Entry Office Form 3510
Periodicals Exceptional
Mailer Mailer Entry Office Statements
Periodicals Airport Mail
Mailer Mailer Entry Office Form 3510
Plant Load USPS USPS Mailer Plant None
Expedited Plant Load
Mailer Mailer Mailer Plant Form 8017
  1. Postage statements and other appropriate mailing documentation forms are required.
  2. Collection applies to mail that is part of an approved collection service and may include Presorted First-Class Mail and all automation rate mail. It generally does not apply to mailings at bulk rates.
  3. Express Mail, Priority Mail, and scheduled Parcel Post only.
  4. Express Mail or Priority Mail service to expedite other class. Only at designated postal facilities; mailers must submit/present shipment to acceptance unit designated by postmaster (mailer transportation). USPS transports by Express Mail or Priority Mail from origin post office to destination post office of the shipment. If authorized, the shipment is accepted at mailer plant acceptance unit and transported from mailer plant with other mail on USPS transportation.
1.2Service Objectives

The service objectives for the class of mail transported apply to the plant-loaded mail. Plant-loaded mail may have deferred service objectives if provided in the plant load agreement.

1.3Service Not Provided

The USPS does not hold, store, or delay the dispatch of plant-loaded mail released to the USPS, except under the plant load agreement with the mailer. The USPS does not relocate trailers on the mailer’s premises.

2.0 Application for Plant Load Privileges


To have mail plant-loaded, the mailer must complete Form 3815 and submit it to the postmaster of the post office serving the mailer’s plant.


Generally, a plant load application is approved if transportation is available and cost savings to the USPS are shown. If the application is approved, the mailer must enter into a plant load agreement with the USPS.

2.3Denial and Appeal

If the application is denied, the mailer may appeal through the local postmaster within 10 calendar days of the mailer’s receipt of the denial notice to the vice president of area operations for the area in which the mailer’s plant is located, giving the reasons why the application should be approved.

3.0 Plant Load Operations

3.1Mixed Mail Classes

A mailer may combine Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Package Services in a single vehicle if the mailings are physically separated, a postage statement is submitted for each mailing, and the service standards are met for each class of mail combined in the vehicle or trailer.


The mailer must meet all relevant mailing standards and the terms of the plant load agreement. Destination loads must be prepared under M074 and as specified by the postmaster administering the plant load.

3.3Reimbursement by Mailer

Under the plant load privileges and the terms of the plant load agreement, the mailer must reimburse the USPS for services it furnished while providing plant load service, including:

a. Detention charges when trailers furnished by the USPS are held up for some action or inaction of the mailer.

b. Costs for bobtailing, deadheading, or waiting/holding, if such charges are incurred by the USPS to provide plant load service for some action or inaction of the mailer.

4.0 Expedited Plant Load Shipment


Under an expedited plant load shipment authorization, the USPS verifies and receives postage payment for mailable matter at the mailer’s plant, after which the mailer transports the shipment (at the mailer’s expense) to a destination postal facility.


Only an authorized plant load mailer may prepare and transport expedited plant load shipments. Authorization is by written request to the postal official who authorized the plant load. The request must state, for each destination to which mail is to be transported, the material to be deposited as an expedited plant load shipment (e.g., the class, characteristics, and quantity), the frequency of mailing, and whether the request is for one or for a series of mailings. The mailer must meet all conditions in the authorization, if approved.


The mailer assumes all liability and responsibility for any loss or damage to the shipment before it is deposited in and accepted at a postal facility, whether or not a third party is used to transport the shipment. The USPS is not liable or responsible for any loss of or damage to an expedited plant load shipment before it is deposited in and accepted at a postal facility.

4.4Postage Refund

The USPS does not refund postage for any failure to provide service caused in whole or in part by any event that occurs before the shipment is deposited in and accepted at a postal facility, except under the applicable standards for refunds.

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)