What USPS Closures Mean for Expedited Shipping

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Some call it the beginning of the end; others cry it will cripple online movie rentals; and your 90-year old great-uncle who still won’t leave the farm that’s a thousand miles from anywhere is complaining that the world is abandoning him. Dramatics aside, there’s no arguing that the U.S. mail system is changing, and with Saturday deliveries on the out, expedited shipping will change with it.

It was a projected deficit that led the U.S. Postal Service to try dropping Saturday mail: a huge one. With a business model that hasn’t changed in decades, executives have predicted losses in the hundreds of billions—and slashing their half-day Saturday deliveries will grandly reduce those numbers. Opponents to the plan point to people like that great-uncle of yours: rural Americans who depend heavily on the mail system for their livelihood. USPS alludes to impending bankruptcy in rebuttal, and in the reality of the situation, everyone must consider these implications.

Rural farmers are not the only dependents on Saturday mail. Many businesses and urban individuals use USPS for all letters and packages, because when you look at the numbers for expedited shipping, the U.S. Postal Service can’t be beat. While they don’t offer same day delivery, next-day is often half the price of Fed Ex and UPS, but their popularity is certainly going to wane. Without Saturdays, their express mail system will slow, and larger dependence on for-profit shipping companies will emerge. Rates are going to shift, as will trust. Saving money is nice for individuals now, but if a package has to be someplace in a day, Fed Ex and UPS will firmly establish themselves as the preferred option for everybody.

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