Effective January 22, 2023, USPS is discontinuing Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the decision, and as a result, shippers will no longer be able to use any of the Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes.
Why Did USPS Discontinue Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes?
USPS decided to discontinue its Regional Rate boxes “as part of an effort to simplify the Priority Mail products offering,” per the aforementioned statement from the Postal Service. The statement adds that USPS made its decision after conducting a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis.
A Brief History of Regional Rate
The United States Postal Service introduced the Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes A and B in 2011. USPS created them as a way for customers to potentially save money on shipping by combining the speed of Priority Mail shipping with zone-based pricing, though the service remained less popular than weight-based Priority Mail and other dimension-based services, such as Priority Mail Cubic.
Regional Rate Boxes A1 and A2 had a maximum weight of 15 pounds for domestic shipping and 10 pounds for international shipping. Regional Rate Boxes B1 and B2, meanwhile, had a maximum weight of 20 pounds for both domestic and international shipping.
The Alternative: Priority Mail Cubic
Now that Priority Mail Regional Rate is no more, the alternative that USPS recommends is Priority Mail Cubic, or “cubic,” for short.
Used for shipping similar-sized packages as Regional Rate boxes, cubic is the cheapest and fastest option for sending packages under 0.5 cubic feet. Unlike other USPS shipping services, Priority Mail Cubic isn’t priced based on weight. Instead, the outer dimensions of a box or envelope determine how much it costs to ship it. As long as the maximum weight of the package doesn’t exceed 20 pounds, the price won’t fluctuate at all. Here are the criteria your box or envelope needs to meet in order to qualify for cubic rates:
- No single dimension on your package can exceed 18 inches
- Your package’s total weight can’t exceed 20 pounds
- Your package’s total volume can’t exceed 0.5 cubic feet
Can I Still Use Regional Rate If I Have the Boxes On Hand?
You can still use Regional Rate boxes if you have them on hand. In fact, USPS encourages customers who use these boxes to order more before supplies run out. However, current Regional Rate pricing will not be available starting on January 22, 2023, and USPS says that any Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes given to them from that point forward will be treated as weight-based Priority Mail shipments.
Regional Rate Boxes Work for Priority Mail Cubic Shipments
Since Regional Rate Boxes are similar to box sizes that qualify for cubic rates, you can also use them for Priority Mail Cubic shipments. You won’t be able to purchase Priority Mail Cubic postage at your local Post Office, though; you can only purchase cubic postage through online shipping software companies that sell USPS postage at discounted rates.