Image via USPS Newsroom
If you’ve been on social media lately, you know what everyone’s talking about. The USPS unveiled its new fleet of mail trucks, of course! Spoiler alert: It’s an ugly duckling. While it may take all of us some time to get used to the new look, there are so many advantages to the new fleet. It’s greener, safer and more spacious. For businesses that means more cargo space for their shipments. Maybe it’s not cool-looking, but all the new vehicles will come with air conditioning standard, so technically speaking the new trucks will be “cooler.”
The new fleet of USPS trucks, called Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV), is part of a 10-year plan to transform the USPS into the preferred delivery service provider. As a self-funding entity, it’s important to see where the Postal Service is investing in itself and examine how it impacts us as mailers and shippers.
According to the USPS there will be 165,000 of the new USPS trucks released and rolling up to mailboxes and front steps in the next decade—with the first NGDVs slated to appear on mail routes in 2023. For added bonus, all of the trucks will be built in the United States. Part of the 10-year plan includes cargo vans and mixed delivery vehicles to supplement delivery needs on an ongoing basis.
According to the USPS, the NGDVs “will be built for increased cargo capacity to maximize efficiency and better accommodate higher package volumes stemming from the growth of eCommerce.” Online shipping continues to skyrocket. In 2010 eCommerce accounted for 6.4% percent of all retail sales, compared to 21.3% in 2020. Imagine where we’ll be in another 10 years!
More packages means more reasons for business mailers and shippers to rely on USPS Priority Mail® and Priority Mail Express® services. Priority Mail is one of the most cost-effective ways to send envelopes and packages. With Priority Mail you pay one flat rate, as long as your items fit in the box. Odd-shaped boxes make it difficult for all of the carriers to optimize the space and cargo capacity of vehicles. Dimensional weight pricing is just one way the carriers try to curb large yet light-weight packages. If your packages seem to have more empty space and packing peanuts than actual product, then you should consider flat rate boxes. Did we mention the boxes are free?
In 2020, the USPS shipping and packages segment reported over 12.5 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from Priority Mail services. Launching the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles to provide more cargo space will give the USPS a competitive edge. So everything from NGDV cargo space and route planning to logistics center operations and mail automation is going to benefit businesses, consumers and the USPS as well. If you don’t know much about Priority Mail flat rate envelopes and boxes, know this: You pay one, set rate to send packages up to 70 lbs. anywhere in the United States. This is a fantastic deal, and our Mailing and Shipping Experts recommend using flat rates to send out communications and shipments whenever possible, especially when you are shipping small, heavy items.
Priority Mail means that “If it fits, it ships!” (No overstuffing, folks.) Visit the USPS website to learn more about Priority Mail products, pricing and delivery times.
Let’s face it, a new fleet of trucks is needed. The workhorses we know and love have aged and can’t deliver with as much efficiency as the competitors. The USPS stated that one of its main objectives for launching its replacement plan was “to obtain vehicles that will help us provide reliable and efficient delivery service for customers.” While only 10 percent of the USPS fleet will be EV, or all-electric vehicles, reducing environmental impact and providing a safer driving environment for employees also topped the list of USPS priorities.
Speaking of services, how about that Weekend service from the USPS?!? It’s not an oversimplification to say that running mail trucks 24/7 will make any vehicle unreliable. If you’ve got to get those Priority Mail items out, weekend services through the USPS is definitely worth looking into. Weekend services from the Postal Service won’t cost you any additional fees. Other carriers charge the shipper an added delivery fee if they want packages to arrive on Saturday, instead of waiting for the next business day. As consumer demand rises and the modern workplace evolves, having the ability to ensure your shipments or business-critical documents arrive on a Saturday or Sunday has become a very popular option.
Visit our Postage Rates Hub to learn more about postal services and rates, as well as other variables your business needs to consider.
At the end of the day, no matter what the vehicle, the USPS delivers all of the mail—the good, the bad and the postcards. The major lines of USPS business still center on three main categories: First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, and Packages. In 2019, the Postal Service delivered over 143 billion pieces of mail to 160 million addresses! Sure there are still birthday and holiday cards in the mail stream, but a big chunk of mail is made up of business-related communications, like bills, invoices, statements and a whole lot of marketing materials. In fact data from the USPS shows that 51 percent of the mail sent to U.S. households is marketing mail. And get this: researchers have found that 79% of consumers prefer reading mail over going online.
In 2020, the Postal Service’s shipping and package volume increased dramatically from 6.2 billion to 7.3 billion. With 231,579 delivery routes across the United States to cover, it makes sense that the USPS’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicles are here to support the delivery of shipments today and for ten years down the road.
Are you shipping more envelopes and boxes this year too? See how you can rate shop for the best price with Neoship multi-carrier shipping software.
With its announcement of the next generation of vehicles, the USPS signaled its “most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades.” If you’re looking ways to modernize your mailing and shipping then contact a Quadient rep for a workflow gap analysis. You’ll learn how to save money and transform your entire mail prep process.