Postal Service may expand international parcel, mail delivery services

The U.S. Postal Service is inviting public comment on a preliminary proposal to expand the network of providers allowed to transport outbound mail and parcel traffic, an initiative that has been on the table for some time.

The program, which the Postal Service has called the Outbound Commercial Provider Initiative (OCPI), was introduced Monday in the Federal Register, the federal government’s publication of record. The action was classified as an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking,” underscoring the proposal’s preliminary status. Interested parties have 30 days from the Feb. 1 publication date to submit comments, which must be sent in only by email due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In its notice, the Postal Service said the growth of cross-border e-commerce and the increasing demand for shipping solutions has forced it to “identify alternatives for commercial shipments going through its international mail streams.” The quasi-governmental agency relies exclusively on foreign postal operators to deliver outbound shipments worldwide. The lack of commercial alternatives has restricted the Postal Service’s international delivery flexibility, and impedes its ability to be fully competitive in a fast-growing marketplace, it said.

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