The USPS is making a significant change to what types of international shipments are allowed to use the Large Envelope/Flat package type. This article discusses what is changing, how this will impact ShipStation users, and what alternate options are available.
Please note, these changes are in addition to the 2018 USPS Rate Changes.
What is changing?
Starting January 21st, 2018, the USPS is no longer allowing First Class Mail International (FCMI) service using the Large Envelope/Flat package type to ship anything but Documents. For any content type other than Documents, the USPS will now require shipments to use the package type of Package or Thick Envelope.
For more details on the USPS change, including what does and does not meet the criteria for a document, read the Stamps.com blog post about it.
Here is what is affected in ShipStation:
This change in package requirements can result in a shipping rate increase of $7 or more per package. To address this, Stamps.com will automatically enroll all Stamps.com account holders into the Global Advantage Program, which will allow users to continue to select the package type of Large Envelope/Flat with a content type other than Documents.
- Up to 65% in savings over the USPS Package shipping cost
- No more need to print Customs Declarations forms
- No need to change your workflow in ShipStation to accommodate the new USPS Package requirements
What is the Global Advantage Program?
Any label created through ShipStation that meets the following criteria will be a Global Advantage Program (GAP) label:
- Service = USPS First Class Mail Int'l
- Package type = Large Envelope/Flat
- Package Contents = anything other than Documents
The labels generated for these shipments will be domestic labels that direct the packages to the nearest international sorting facility, where the packages will be relabeled and forwarded to their final, international destination.
Note: The Global Advantage Program can also be used for other First Class Mail and Priority Mail services, but this must first be set up through Stamps.com directly.
Here is an example of what the label provided through ShipStation will look like. The customer name, company, province, and country code are provided on the bottom right of the label:
Here is a break-down of what happens once Create Label is clicked in ShipStation:
- ShipStation prints a domestic label (as shown above, with a scannable barcode for USPS and an international tracking number*)
- ShipStation submits the Customs Declarations to Stamps.com (or Endicia) electronically
- USPS ships the package to the nearest sorting facility
- Sorting facility staff relabels the package
- International carrier ships the package to its final destination
*The international tracking number will track the package to the sorting facility and may track the package to the destination country as well, depending on the country.
How do I use the Global Advantage Program in ShipStation?
ShipStation users do not have to take any steps to participate in the Global Advantage program, and no changes need to be made to your existing workflows. Starting January 21, 2018, this change will take place automatically and all labels created according to the above criteria will be GAP labels.
If you do not wish to participate in the Global Advantage Program, be sure to start selecting Package or Thick Envelope from the package type drop-down menu when shipping via USPS First Class Mail International beginning January 21st, 2018.