[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 2 (Friday, January 3, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 376-378]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31442]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 121


Service Standards for Destination Sectional Center Facility Rate 
Standard Mail

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Proposed rule

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service seeks public comment on proposed revisions 
to the service standards for Standard Mail that is eligible for 
Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) rates. The revisions would 
change the service standard (a) from three days to four days for 
Standard Mail pieces that are eligible for a DSCF rate and that are 
properly accepted before the day zero Critical Entry Time on a Friday 
or Saturday, and (b) from four days to five days for DSCF Standard Mail 
properly accepted at the SCF in San Juan, Puerto Rico and destined to 
the United States Virgin Islands, and properly accepted DSCF Standard 
Mail destined to American Samoa.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 3, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be mailed to the Manager, Industry 
Engagement and Outreach, United States Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant 
Plaza SW., Room 4107, Washington, DC 20260-4107, or transmitted by 
email to industryfeedback@usps.com. Copies of all comments will be 
available for inspection and photocopying at the Postal Service 
Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 11th Floor North, 
Washington, DC 20260, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
by appointment (please call 202-268-5585 to schedule an appointment).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anthony Frost, Industry Engagement and 
Outreach, at 202-268-8093; or Prathmesh Shah, Processing and 
Distribution Center Operations, at 404-792-3195.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Introduction

    Standard Mail may include any mailable matter weighing less than 16 
ounces that is not otherwise required to be mailed as First-Class Mail 
or Periodicals mail. Of the Standard Mail products, High Density and 
Saturation Letters, High Density and Saturation Flats/Parcels, Carrier 
Route, Letters, Flats, and Parcels are eligible for the DSCF rate, 
provided that the mail meets the standards for such a rate.\1\ Among 
other requirements, to qualify for a DSCF rate, a mailing must contain 
at least 200 addressed pieces or 50 pounds of addressed pieces; \2\ 
mailers must make an appointment to deposit DSCF Standard Mail; \3\ and 
mail must be prepared and delivered in a specific manner.\4\ DSCF 
Standard Mail primarily consists of direct mail letters, catalogs, 
flyers, and other advertising mail.
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    \1\ (Draft) Mail Classification Schedule secs. 1200.1(a) and 
1200.2, revised December 5, 2013.
    \2\ Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 246.2.2(a).
    \3\ DMM 246.2.6.3.
    \4\ DMM 246.4.0.
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    Currently, DSCF Standard Mail has a 3-day service standard.\5\ 
Monday is the expected delivery date for the DSCF Standard Mail entered 
on Thursday and Friday, which are two of the three heaviest days for 
acceptance of such mail. Moreover, in Fiscal Year 2013, DSCF Standard 
Mail comprised 62 percent of Standard Mail volume and 32 percent of 
overall mail volume. Accordingly, DSCF Standard Mail has a significant 
impact on processing and delivery operations through which it passes.
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    \5\ 39 CFR 121.3(b)(2). DSCF Standard Mail that is dropped at 
the SCF in Puerto Rico and destined to the U.S. Virgin Islands, or 
mail destined to American Samoa has a 4-day service standard. 39 CFR 
121.3(b)(3). The proposed changes will also apply to the service 
standard for mail that is dropped at the SCF in Puerto Rico and 
destined to the U.S. Virgin Islands, and mail that is destined to 
American Samoa.
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    The Postal Service faces an uneven workload for postal delivery 
operations and extraordinary allocations of resources to meet Monday 
delivery expectations, based on current service standards. 
Specifically, the high volume of Standard Mail with a service standard 
that creates a Monday delivery expectation contributes to the 
significant challenge faced by the Postal Service in seeking to achieve 
efficient and timely completion of delivery operations on Monday, and 
to make dispatch of collection mail picked up by carriers to mail 
processing plants for timely cancellation. This general imbalance in 
the proportion of volume with a Monday delivery expectation contributes 
significantly to increased overtime workhours in delivery operations at 
a time when the Postal Service is faced with increased costs while 
revenues decline as a result of the overall reduction in mail volumes.
    The Postal Service seeks to address these issues by proposing an 
adjustment to the service standard applicable to DSCF Standard Mail 
entered on designated days of the week. Realization of a more balanced 
distribution of DSCF Standard Mail across delivery days requires a 
modification to the current service standards for that mail. 
Accordingly, the Postal Service is exploring a proposal (the Proposal) 
to revise service standards applicable to DSCF Standard Mail that is 
entered on a Friday or Saturday. The Proposal would change the delivery 
day for DSCF Standard Mail accepted on Friday and Saturday. DSCF 
Standard Mail that is accepted before the Critical Entry Time (CET) on 
Friday will have a Tuesday delivery expectation, rather than Monday. 
DSCF Standard Mail that is accepted before the CET on Saturday will 
have a Wednesday delivery expectation, rather than Tuesday. The 
proposed changes will apply to DSCF Standard Mail that is dropped at 
the SCF in Puerto Rico and destined to the

[[Page 377]]

U.S. Virgin Islands, or mail destined to American Samoa, which 
currently has a 4-day service standard and would have a 5-day service 
standard under the Proposal. By adjusting the processing and delivery 
of DSCF Standard Mail accepted on Friday and Saturday, the Postal 
Service seeks to achieve a more even distribution of mail volume 
delivered throughout the week.\6\ Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3661(b), the 
Postal Service has also requested an advisory opinion from the Postal 
Regulatory Commission regarding these changes in the nature of DSCF 
Standard Mail service.\7\
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    \6\ Under the proposed schedule, Wednesday becomes the expected 
delivery date for DSCF Standard Mail entered on both Saturday and 
Sunday. Due to the relatively small volume of mail accepted on 
Saturdays and Sundays, the Postal Service does not believe that the 
Proposal will present a challenge regarding the ability to more 
evenly distribute mail volume throughout the week.
    \7\ Request of the United States Postal Service for an Advisory 
Opinion on Changes in the Nature of Postal Services, Docket No. 
N2014-1 (Dec. 27, 2013). Documents pertaining to the Request are 
available at the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Web site, http://www.prc.gov, under Docket No. N2014-1.
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II. Proposed Revisions to Service Standards

    Before describing how service standards will be revised, it is 
important to explain how service standards are structured. Service 
standards are comprised of two components: (1) A delivery day range 
within which all mail in a given product is expected to be delivered; 
and (2) business rules that determine, within a product's applicable 
day range, the specific number of delivery days after acceptance of a 
mail piece by which a customer can expect that piece to be delivered, 
based on the 3-digit ZIP Code prefixes associated with the piece's 
point of entry into the mail stream and its delivery address.
    Business rules are based on the CET. The CET is the latest time on 
a particular day that a mail piece can be entered into the postal 
network and still have its service standard calculated based on that 
day (this day is termed ``day-zero''). In other words, if a mail piece 
is entered before the CET, the mail piece's service standard is 
calculated from the day of entry, whereas if the mail piece is entered 
after the CET, its service standard is calculated from the following 
day. For example, if the applicable CET is 4:00 p.m., and a letter is 
entered at 3:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, its service standard will be 
calculated from Tuesday, whereas if the letter is entered at 5:00 p.m. 
on a Tuesday, its service standard will be calculated from Wednesday.
    The Postal Service is proposing to revise the Standard Mail service 
standards for pieces that qualify for a DSCF rate and are accepted 
before the day zero CET at the proper DSCF on Friday or Saturday, to 
enable a more balanced distribution of Standard Mail volume across 
delivery days. For these Standard Mail pieces entered on Friday or 
Saturday at the DSCF rate, the Postal Service is proposing to change 
the current three-day delivery expectation to a four-day delivery 
expectation. And for pieces entered at the SCF in San Juan, PR and 
destined for the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as all DSCF entry pieces 
destined for American Samoa, the delivery expectation for pieces 
entered on Friday or Saturday would change from four days to five days.
    The Postal Service is not proposing any other revisions to its 
service standards in this notice.

 III. Request for Comments

    Although exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the 
Administrative Procedure Act [5 U.S.C. 553(b), (c)] regarding proposed 
rulemaking by 39 U.S.C. 410(a), the Postal Service invites public 
comment on the proposed revisions to 39 CFR part 121 and on the 
Proposal generally. A more extensive discussion of the Proposal and its 
associated operational and service implications is available in the 
materials filed by the Postal Service with the Postal Regulatory 
Commission in Docket No. N2014-1, available at http://www.prc.gov. If 
the Postal Service determines to implement the Proposal, it will 
publish a final rule in the Federal Register.
    Accordingly, for the reasons stated, the Postal Service proposes 
the following amendment to 39 CFR part 121:

PART 121--SERVICE STANDARDS FOR MARKET DOMINANT MAIL PRODUCTS

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 121 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 1001, 3691.

0
2. In part 121, revise Sec.  121.3 paragraph (b)(2) and (b)(3) to read 
as follows:

PART 121--SERVICE STANDARDS FOR MARKET-DOMINANT MAIL PRODUCTS

* * * * *


Sec.  121.3  Standard Mail.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) Standard Mail pieces that qualify for a DSCF rate and that are 
accepted before the day-zero Critical Entry Time at the proper DSCF 
have a 3-day service standard when accepted on Sunday through Thursday 
and a 4-day service standard when accepted on Friday or Saturday, 
except for mail dropped at the SCF in the territory of Puerto Rico and 
destined to the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands, or mail destined 
to American Samoa.
    (3) Standard Mail pieces that qualify for a Destination Sectional 
Center Facility (DSCF) rate and that are accepted before the day zero 
Critical Entry Time at the SCF in the territory of Puerto Rico and 
destined for the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands, or are destined 
to American Samoa, have a 4-day service standard when accepted on 
Sunday through Thursday and a 5-day service standard when accepted on 
Friday or Saturday.
* * * * *
0
3. In Appendix A to part 121, revise Tables 5 and 6 to read as follows:

Appendix A to Part 121--Tables Depicting Service Standard Day Ranges

    The following tables reflect the service standard day ranges 
resulting from the application of the business rules applicable to 
the market-dominant mail products referenced in Sec. Sec.  121.1 
through 121.4:
* * * * *

[[Page 378]]



 Table 5--Destination Entry Service Standard Day Ranges for Mail to the Contiguous 48 States and the District of
                                                    Columbia
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                                                                     Contiguous United States
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                   Mail class                               Destination entry (at appropriate facility)
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                                                    DDU (days)      SCF (days)      ADC (days)      NDC (days)
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Periodicals.....................................               1               1             1-2             1-2
Standard Mail...................................               2             3-4  ..............               5
Package Services................................               1               2  ..............               3
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                        Table 6--Destination Entry Service Standard Day Ranges for Mail to Non-Contiguous States and Territories
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                                                                             Destination entry (at appropriate facility)
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                                                                  SCF (days)                       ADC (days)                       NDC (days)
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                Mail class                     DDU                 Hawaii,                          Hawaii,                          Hawaii,
                                              (days)               Guam, &     Puerto               Guam, &     Puerto               Guam, &     Puerto
                                                         Alaska    American    Rico &     Alaska    American    Rico &     Alaska    American    Rico &
                                                                    Samoa       USVI                 Samoa       USVI                 Samoa       USVI
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Periodicals...............................          1        1-2          1        1-2   1-3 (AK)     1 (HI)        1-2      10-11         10       8-10
                                                                                         11 (JNU)     2 (GU)
                                                                                         11 (KTN)
Standard Mail.............................          2        3-4        3-5        3-5  .........  .........  .........         14         13         12
Package Services..........................          1          2          2        2-3  .........  .........  .........         12         11         11
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AK = Alaska 3-digit ZIP Codes 995-997; JNU = Juneau AK 3-digit ZIP Code 998; KTN = Ketchikan AK 3-digit.
ZIP Code 999; HI = Hawaii 3-digit ZIP Codes 967 and 968; GU = Guam 3-digit ZIP Code 969.

* * * * *

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Legal Policy & Legislative Advice.

[FR Doc. 2013-31442 Filed 1-2-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P