[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 159 (Monday, August 18, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48717-48719]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-19433]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


New Standards to Enhance Business Reply Mail (BRM) Visibility

AGENCY: Postal Service.TM

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service proposes to revise Mailing Standards of the 
United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM[supreg]) to 
require the use of an Intelligent Mail[supreg] package barcode (IMpb) 
on Business Reply Mail[supreg] (BRM) labels intended for use on 
cartons, parcel-shaped items, or Priority Mail[supreg] items of any 
shape.

DATES: Submit comments on or before September 17, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the manager, product 
Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 4446, 
Washington, DC 20260-5015. You may inspect and photocopy all written 
comments at USPS[supreg] Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 
11th Floor North, Washington, DC, by appointment only, between 9 a.m. 
and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 202-268-2906 in advance. 
Email comments, containing the name and address of the commenter, may 
be sent to: ProductClassification@usps.gov, with a subject line of 
``BRM Visibility.'' Faxed comments are not accepted.

[[Page 48718]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Juliaann Hess at 202-268-7663, John F. 
Rosato at 202-268-8597, or Suzanne Newman at 202-695-0550.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Postal Service continues to enhance its 
operational capability to scan IMpb, encoded with routing and tracking 
information, via automated mail processing equipment and Intelligent 
Mail scanning devices and to provide tracking information to the 
mailers. Full implementation of the Postal Service's package strategy 
relies on the availability of piece-level information provided through 
the widespread use of IMpb. Mailing standards recently added to the DMM 
now require the use of IMpb on all commercial parcels (except parcels 
paid for using BRM service). The Postal Service now advances its 
package strategy by requiring a unique IMpb on cartons, parcel-shaped 
items, or Priority Mail pieces of any shape, sent using BRM service.
    Background: On December 18, 2013, the Postal Service published a 
final rule in the Federal Register (78 FR 76548) announcing that an 
IMpb, unique to each mailpiece, would be required on all commercial 
parcels, effective January 26, 2014. At that time the Postal Service 
also announced that it would be eliminating the option for any 
mailpiece meeting the physical characteristics of a parcel (under DMM 
201) to pay for postage using Business Reply Mail[supreg] (BRM).
    In response to mailer feedback, on June 5, 2014, the Postal Service 
published a Federal Register notice (79 FR 32490) indefinitely 
deferring the elimination of the option to use BRM to pay postage for 
parcel-shaped items. At that time the Postal Service also indicated 
that it expected to issue proposed rules requiring the use of an IMpb 
on certain BRM cartons and labels.
    In accordance with its previously expressed intent, the Postal 
Service now issues proposed rules for requiring the use of an IMpb on 
BRM cartons, parcels, and Priority Mail items of any shape.
    General IMpb Requirements: Technical and general specifications for 
IMpb use are provided in Publication 199, Intelligent Mail Package 
Barcode (IMpb) Implementation Guide for: Confirmation Services and 
Electronic Verification System (eVS) Mailers, and DMM 708.5.1.
    BRM: In order to ensure that parcel-shaped items sent using BRM 
service comply with the same standards as all other commercial parcels, 
the Postal Service would require a unique IMpb on:
    a. All BRM cartons.
    b. All BRM labels distributed with the intent of being placed on an 
item meeting the physical characteristics of a parcel in DMM 201.
    c. All BRM labels distributed with the intent of being placed on 
Priority Mail items of any shape.

    For the purposes of this requirement, a BRM carton is defined as a 
parcel-shaped mailpiece with a BRM label either printed directly on the 
mailpiece or affixed by the end user prior to mailing. BRM permit 
holders would not be required to submit shipping manifests to support 
these mailpieces. BRM labels would be required to use a unique Mailer 
ID (MID) for parcel-shaped BRM pieces and a concatenated IMpb construct 
that includes the ZIP+4[supreg] routing code. The barcodes must be 
unique for 180 days. BRM cartons and parcels shall use IMpb service 
type codes for Merchandise Return Service for Priority Mail or First-
Class Mail[supreg], based on the product shipped. The Postal Service 
will provide an exception process--for mailers of small BRM cartons and 
parcels lacking sufficient label space to apply an IMpb barcode meeting 
the \3/4\-inch height requirement--to submit barcodes of at least \1/
2\-inch in height for USPS[supreg] testing and approval. This exception 
process will be administered by the National Customer Service Center 
(NCSC), as part of the normal barcode approval process. At this time, 
no other changes would be made to the BRM requirements in DMM 505.1 
applicable to all other mail shapes.
    Noncompliant Mailpieces: The Postal Service would assess a per-
piece price adjustment on all noncompliant pieces. The Postal Service 
would begin enforcement of the per piece price adjustment for Priority 
Mail pieces once final rules are issued. The proposed effective date 
for the per-piece adjustment on First-Class Mail pieces would be 
predicated on the Postal Service filing a notice with, and receiving 
approval from, the Postal Regulatory Commission.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    Although we are 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), we invite public comments on 
the following proposed revisions to Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by 
reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1. 
Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 111--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-
1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 
3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.
0
2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), as follows:

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail 
Manual (DMM)

* * * * *

505 Return Services

1.0 Business Reply Mail (BRM)

* * * * *

1.4 General Information

1.4.1 Description

    [Insert a new fourth sentence in 1.4.1 to read as follows:]
    * * * All BRM labels intended for use on cartons, mailpieces 
meeting the physical characteristics of a parcel in DMM 201, or a 
Priority Mail item of any shape, must meet the standards under 1.7.10. 
* * *
* * * * *

1.7 Mailpiece Characteristics

* * * * *
    [Insert new 1.7.10 to read as follows:]

1.7.10 Labels for Parcels

    BRM labels intended for use on cartons, mailpieces meeting the 
physical standards of a parcel under DMM 201, or a Priority Mail item 
of any shape, must also bear an IMpb prepared under 708.5.0 and meet 
the technical standards in the Parcel Labeling Guide available on 
RIBBS.
* * * * *

1.8 Format Elements

1.8.1 General

    [Revise the text of the first and second sentences of 1.8.1 to read 
as follows:]

[[Page 48719]]

    Except for BRM labels for parcels as provided under 1.7.10, all 
pieces of BRM are subject to these format elements. For all other BRM 
pieces, an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is not required, except for 
QBRM prices; if an IMb is used, it must be printed and placed as 
provided under 1.9 and as shown in Exhibit 1.8.1. * * *
* * * * *
    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to 
reflect these changes if our proposal is adopted.

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Federal Requirements.
[FR Doc. 2014-19433 Filed 8-15-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P