May 11, 2009, 12:00 AM

U.S. Postal Service shipping rates on Parcel Post rise 4.5%

The U.S. Postal Service raised its overall postal rates by 3.8% today. Rates for Retail Parcel Post, which direct-to-consumer retailers use for standard ground shipping, rose 4.45%.

The U.S. Postal Service raised its overall postal rates by 3.8% today. Rates for Retail Parcel Post, which direct-to-consumer retailers use for standard ground shipping, rose 4.45%.

The rate increases come just after the Postal Service reported a $1.9 billion net loss for the first quarter ended March 31, compared to a year-earlier loss of $707 million.

The Postal Service attributed the widened loss to a sharp drop in mail volumes driven by the economic downturn. Overall volume of letter mail, periodicals and packages fell 15% year-over-year in Q1; separately, package volume also fell 15%.

Retail Parcel Post, up 4.45% in average rates, delivers within two to nine days and is for packages weighing up to 70 pounds and measuring a maximum of 130 inches in combined length and width around the thickest part.

Shipping rates on First-Class Mail packages rose an average of 3.78%. First-Class Mail delivers within three days and includes packages weighing up to 70 pounds and measuring a maximum of 108 inches in combined length and width around the thickest part.

Rates on Express Mail and Priority Mail package delivery services, which provide overnight delivery and delivery within three days, rose in January and were not affected by today’s rate increases, a spokesman says.

The postage rate for first-class letter mail rose today to 44 from 42 cents.

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