[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 4 (Monday, January 7, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 1158-1162]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-25635]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Implementation of Intelligent Mail[supreg] Barcodes

AGENCY: Postal Service.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: In January 2009, mailers will be required to meet one of two 
options using Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes to access automation 
prices for letters and flats. Automation prices will no longer be 
available for the use of the POSTNET barcode. This Federal Register 
notice provides advance information to help mailers understand the mail 
preparation requirements that the Postal Service will propose when 
using Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes and offers insight into the 
additional information that will be available to mailers who comply 
with these requirements.

DATES: In order to transition to Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes by 
January 2009, it is important that we receive comments to this advance 
notice February 21, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Mailing 
Standards, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Room 3436, 
Washington, DC 20260-3436. Written comments may be inspected and 
photocopied at USPS Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., 11th 
Floor N, Washington DC between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST, Monday through 
Friday. Comments and questions can also be e-mailed to imb@usps.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Chatfield, e-mail: 
william.a.chatfield@usps.gov phone: 202-268-7278; Karen Zachok, e-mail:

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karen.zachok@usps.gov phone: 202-268-8779; Uni Han-Norton, e-mail: 
uni.k.han-norton@usps.gov phone: 202-268-8437.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Given the success of our automation program 
over the years, the great majority of letters and flats are eligible 
for automation prices. Therefore, this continuing evolution of our 
automation program is expected to generate extensive comment. The 
purpose of this advance notice is to seek such comments so that we can 
address them as we move forward to the revised requirements for 
automation prices. A separate rule-making will be issued in the near 
future to address mail characteristics that impact machinability and 
delivery efficiency for letters and flats.
    Two options will be proposed for using Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
barcodes to obtain access to automation prices. Under the ``Full 
Service'' option, mailers will be required to apply Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] barcodes on their letter and flat mailpieces, trays and 
sacks, and other containers. Mailers will also be required to submit 
their postage statements and mailing documentation electronically. For 
drop-ship mailings and all origin-entered mail verified at a detached 
mail unit (DMU), mailers will be required to schedule appointments 
using the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system.
    Under the ``Basic'' option, mailers will be required to use the 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode on their letter and flat mailpieces in 
place of the POSTNET barcode. At a minimum, this barcode will include 
the same delivery point information that is included in the POSTNET 
barcode today, an assigned Mailer ID, the class of mail, and optional 
endorsement line (OEL) information if an OEL is printed on the 
mailpiece. Mailers using pressure sensitive barcoded presort labels 
will not be required to include this information in the Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] barcode.
    General requirements for the Full Service and Basic options for use 
of the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes will be proposed as follows:

Requirements for Full Service Intelligent Mail[supreg] Option

Intelligent Mail[supreg] Barcodes

    Mailpiece barcode. The 65-bar Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode, 
which accommodates 31-digits of data, will be required on letter and 
flat mailpieces. This barcode is used to sort and track letters and 
flats and will include the delivery point routing code. Unlike the 
POSTNET barcode that only contains the routing code, the Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] barcode contains additional fields that encode special 
services, identify the mailer and the class of mail, and uniquely 
number the mailpiece. The USPS will issue a Mailer ID to each mailer 
for use in their Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes. Mailers must 
include this USPS-assigned Mailer ID in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
barcode. In most circumstances, mailers will be expected to use the 
mail owner's Mailer ID in all Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes. 
Mailers will be required to uniquely number each mailpiece in a mailing 
and the number cannot be reused for a period of 45 days from the date 
of induction. Alternatives to this requirement, such as using the same 
number on all mailpieces in a mailing or the same number on all 
mailpieces in a handling unit (tray, sack or bundle) may allow for the 
collection of similarly-detailed data, but will require USPS approval.
    Tray barcode. An Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode will be 
required on letter trays, flat trays and sacks. Unlike the current 10-
digit tray barcode that only contains routing information, the 24-digit 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode includes additional fields to 
identify the mailer and uniquely number each tray or sack. Mailers will 
be required to uniquely number each tray or sack in a mailing, and the 
number cannot be reused for a period of 45 days from the date of 
induction.
    Container barcode. An Intelligent Mail[supreg] container barcode 
will be required on all containers used to transport mail such as 
pallets, all purpose containers (APCs), rolling stock, gaylords, etc. 
This 21-digit Intelligent Mail[supreg] container barcode includes 
fields to identify the mailer and uniquely number each container. 
Mailers will be required to uniquely number each container in a 
mailing, and the number cannot be reused for a period of 45 days from 
the date of induction.

Electronic Documentation and Appointment Scheduling Using FAST 
(Facility Access and Shipment Tracking)

    Mailings claiming prices that require minimum volumes must be 
accompanied by a postage statement and, in most cases, by presort 
documentation. Mailers typically furnish hard copy postage statements 
and documentation or supply a computer terminal at their site for USPS 
acceptance personnel to view their documentation. Several mailers have 
already transitioned to electronic submission of their postage 
statements and mailing documentation to the Postal Service's 
PostalOne![supreg] System using Mail.dat[supreg], Wizard Web Services, 
or Postage Statement Wizard. Mailers will be required to use one of 
these three methods to send their electronic mailing information to the 
PostalOne![supreg] System if they are meeting the new requirements 
through the Full Service option. This information-management system 
translates the customer-generated electronic information into postage 
statements and supporting documentation, such as qualification and 
container reports, that are used for business mail verification, 
acceptance, and induction processes. By submitting documents 
electronically, mailers will be able to avoid the creation of paper-
based forms and use this technology to manage their mailing data.
    In addition to the presort documentation required today, the 
mailer's electronic documentation will contain information about 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes applied to mailpieces, trays and 
sacks and containers. The documentation must include the unique 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode applied to each mailpiece in a 
mailing, the unique Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode applied to 
each tray or sack, as well as the unique Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
container barcode applied to each container in a mailing. The 
documentation must also describe how mailpieces are linked to handling 
units, such as trays and sacks, and how mailpieces and handling units 
are linked to containers. The documentation must also identify the 
preparer of the mailing and the mailer for whom the mailing is prepared 
(i.e., mail owner, if applicable). Mailers that otherwise meet the Full 
Service option standards and use Postage Statement Wizard for mailings 
that do not require documentation to support presort (mailings of fewer 
than 10,000 pieces with postage affixed to each piece at the correct 
rate or if all pieces are of identical weight, the pieces are separated 
by rate) will not be required to submit this additional documentation.
    Mailers will be required to schedule appointments using the FAST 
(Facility Access and Shipment Tracking) system for drop-ship mailings 
and for all origin-entered mail verified at a detached mail unit (DMU). 
Mailers may schedule appointments online using the FAST Web site or 
they may submit appointment requests through PostalOne! FAST Web 
Services using the Transaction MessagingTM specifications. 
This convenient messaging protocol allows customers to automate the 
appointment scheduling process and receive electronic

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information about their appointments from the Postal Service.

Requirements for Basic Intelligent Mail[supreg] Option

Intelligent Mail[supreg] Barcode

    The 31-digit Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode will be required on 
letter and flat mailpieces. Mailers will be required to include the 
delivery point routing code in the barcode. The USPS will issue a 
Mailer ID to each mailer for use in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
barcodes. Mailers must include this USPS-assigned Mailer ID in all 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes. In most circumstances, mailers will 
be expected to use the mail owner's ID in their Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] barcodes. Under this option, mailers will not be required 
to uniquely number their mailpieces. Mailers will simply populate the 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode with the Mailer ID, delivery point 
routing code, the class of mail (service type identifier), and optional 
endorsement line (OEL) if an OEL is printed on the mailpiece. Mailers 
using pressure sensitive barcoded presort labels will not be required 
to include this information in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode.

Scheduling Using FAST (Facility Access and Shipment Tracking)

    Mailers will be required to schedule appointments electronically 
using the FAST system for drop-ship mailings. Mailers may schedule 
appointments online using the FAST web site or they may submit 
appointment requests through PostalOne! FAST Web Services using the 
Transaction MessagingTM specifications.

Additional Available Mailing Information With the Full-Service Option

    Implementation of the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes and 
electronic mailing documentation solutions will offer mailers better 
visibility into the mailstream. The additional fields in the 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes expand the ability of mailers to 
track individual pieces, handling units and containers; receive 
information about mail preparation and address quality; and determine 
when a mailing was inducted to the postal system.
    Mailers that comply with the January 2009 requirement through the 
Full Service option (Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes, electronic 
documentation and appointment scheduling) will receive address 
correction services, if requested, and mail induction (start-the-clock) 
information at no additional charge. We understand that some mailers 
will be interested in more granular information such as piece, unit, 
and container tracking and service performance data at a mailing-
specific level. We plan to make such information available at an 
additional charge, either through an existing service such as Confirm 
or through a service that we develop later.

Descriptions of Intelligent Mail[supreg] Barcodes and Electronic 
Documentation

Types of Intelligent Mail[supreg] Barcodes

    The Intelligent Mail[supreg] program includes the following three 
Postal Service barcodes that enable the tracking of letter and flat 
pieces, handling units and containers as they move across the Postal 
Service network:
     Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode for mailpieces
     Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode for handling units 
(trays and sacks)
     Intelligent Mail[supreg] container barcode for containers 
(pallets, APCs, gaylords, etc.) Each of these barcodes is mailer 
applied and has a common customer identifier called the Mailer ID which 
can be used to associate the mailpiece, handling unit or container to 
the appropriate mailer. Each barcode also has a field which is used to 
support a serial number allowing mailers to uniquely identify their 
mailpieces, handling units and containers.

Intelligent Mail[supreg] Barcode for Mailpieces

    The Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode is a 65-bar USPS barcode used 
to sort and track letters and flats. It allows the mailer to number 
each mailpiece so that it can be uniquely identified in the mailing. 
The Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode contains a USPS-assigned Mailer ID 
field.
    There are two formats of the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode. The 
format a mailer will use depends upon the Mailer ID assigned by the 
Postal Service (see examples of an Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode 
with a 6-Digit Mailer ID and with a 9-Digit Mailer ID on Postal 
Explorer at pe.usps.com--click on Federal Register Notices in the left 
frame).
    The following fields are embedded in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
barcode:
    Barcode ID: The barcode identifier is a 2-digit field that is used 
to specify the presort makeup.
    Service Type Identifier: Used to indicate the class of mail and 
request special services such as tracking or address correction.
    Mailer ID: Used to identify mail owners and/or mailing agents. The 
Mailer ID is assigned by the Postal Service. The Postal Service assigns 
6-digit or 9-digit Mailer IDs based upon the mail volume of the mail 
owner/mailing agent. Mail owners and mailing agents will be expected to 
use the mail owner's Mailer ID in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode 
in most circumstances. Mailer IDs can be obtained by making a request 
to the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085.
    Serial Number: If a 6-digit Mailer ID is assigned, the mailer will 
have a 9-digit Serial Number to uniquely identify the mailpieces. If a 
9-digit Mailer ID is assigned, the mailer will have a 6-digit Serial 
Number to identify the mailpieces. To comply with the Full Service 
option standards, the Serial Number field is populated with a unique 
number for each mailpiece in the mailing. These unique mailpiece IDs 
must be maintained unique for 45 days from the date of induction.
    To access the automation prices through the Basic option, the 
minimum information required in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode 
will be the Service Type Identifier (showing class of mail), Mailer ID, 
delivery point routing code, and OEL information if an OEL is printed 
on the mailpiece.
    To access the automation prices through the Full Service option, 
the required information in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode will 
be the Service Type Identifier (showing class of mail), Mailer ID, 
delivery point routing code, OEL information if an OEL is printed on 
the mailpiece and a unique serial number.
    To view the final specifications and for detailed information on 
how to generate the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode, access the 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcode link from http://ribbs.usps.gov/.
Intelligent Mail[supreg] Tray Barcode for Trays and Sacks
    Today, mailers that prepare their mail in trays and sacks typically 
use a 10-digit barcode that contains only sorting information on their 
labels (see example on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com--click on Federal 
Register Notices in the left frame). A 24-digit Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] tray barcode will be available for mailers that use 
barcoded tray or sack labels. The Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode 
not only includes routing information but also includes additional 
fields to identify the mailer and uniquely identify each tray or sack. 
Use of the Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode allows mailpieces 
bearing Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes to be linked to the specific 
tray or sack in which they are placed. The Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
tray barcode is applied to a label called the 10/24 Digit Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] tray label (see example on Postal Explorer at 
pe.usps.com--click on Federal Register Notices in the left frame). The 
10/24

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Digit Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray label is a transitional label which 
contains the current 10-digit barcode on it as well as the 24-digit 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode. The inclusion of the current 10-
digit barcode on the label is a transitional strategy as the Postal 
Service enhances all processing systems to read the 24-digit barcode. 
Mailers will need to use the new 10/24 Digit Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
tray label to comply with the full service option standards.
    There are two formats of the Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode. 
The format a mailer will use depends upon the Mailer ID assigned by the 
Postal Service (see an example of an Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray 
barcode with a 9-Digit Mailer ID, and with a 6-Digit Mailer ID on 
Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com).
    The following fields are embedded in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
barcode:
    ZIP Code: Used to identify the destination of the tray or sack.
    Content Identifier Number (CIN): Describes the contents of the tray 
or sack including presort level and class.
    Content Label Source (L SCR): Used to designate that the contents 
of the tray or sack are automation compatible.
    Mailer ID: A 6-digit or 9-digit Mailer ID assigned by the Postal 
Service for use in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] barcodes.
    Serial Number: A mailer will use this field to uniquely identify 
individual trays or sacks. If a 6-digit Mailer ID is assigned, the 
mailer will have an 8-digit Serial Number to uniquely identify the 
handling units. If a 9-digit Mailer ID is assigned, the mailer will 
have a 5-digit Serial Number to uniquely identify the handling units. 
To participate in the Full Service option, the Serial Number field is 
populated with a unique number for each handling unit (tray or sack) in 
the mailing. These unique mailpiece IDs must be maintained unique for 
45 days from the date of induction.
    Label Type: Indicates the length of the Mailer ID field.
    To access the automation prices through the Full Service option, 
mailers will be required to populate all fields in the Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] tray barcode to include a unique serial number.
    To view the final specifications and for detailed information on 
how to generate the Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray barcode, access the 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] tray label link from http://ribbs.usps.gov/.
Intelligent Mail[supreg] Container Barcode for Pallets, APCs, Rolling 
Stock
    Mailers typically apply a label on containers of mail deposited 
with the Postal Service. Today, mailers are not required to put a 
barcode on these labels. The Postal Service has introduced a label 
format which includes the Intelligent Mail[supreg] container barcode 
(see both examples on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com--click on Federal 
Register Notices in the left frame). This barcode includes fields to 
identify the mailer and uniquely identify the containers. To comply 
with the Full Service option standards, mailers will need to apply the 
label to all containers such as pallets, APCs, rolling stock, and 
gaylords.
    The Postal Service is also exploring other modifications to 
container labeling to improve the visibility and scanning of the 
barcodes. The proposed changes would require the use of green 
identifying strips or borders for enhanced visual identification of the 
Intelligent Mail[supreg] container barcode and the application of three 
labels (increased from the two labels currently required) with one 
facing the tail of the truck on all drop shipments and plant load 
mailings. These changes would provide the flexibility needed to scan 
the barcodes in processing and enhance the ability to locate the 
barcodes quickly at varying distances.
    There are two formats of the Intelligent Mail[supreg] container 
barcode. The format a mailer will use depends upon the Mailer ID 
assigned by the Postal Service (see examples of an Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] container barcode with a 9-Digit Mailer ID and with a 6-
Digit Mailer ID on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com--click on Federal 
Register Notices in the left frame).
    The following fields are embedded in the Intelligent Mail[supreg] 
barcode:
    Application ID (Appl ID): ``99'' indicates the source of the 
barcode.
    Type Indicator: ``M'' indicates a mailer generated barcode.
    Mailer ID: A 6-digit or 9-digit Mailer ID assigned by the Postal 
Service for use in the Intelligent Mail barcodes.
    Serial Number: A mailer will use this field to uniquely identify 
individual containers. If a 6-digit Mailer ID is assigned, the mailer 
will have a 12-digit Serial Number to uniquely identify the containers. 
If a 9-digit Mailer ID is assigned, the mailer will have a 9-digit 
Serial Number to uniquely identify the containers. To participate in 
the Full Service option, the Serial Number field is populated with a 
unique number for each container in the mailing. These unique mailpiece 
IDs must be maintained unique for 45 days from the date of induction.
    To access the automation prices through the Full Service option, 
mailers will be required to populate all fields in the Intelligent 
Mail[supreg] container barcode to include a unique serial number.
    To view the final specifications and for detailed information on 
how to generate the Intelligent Mail container barcode, access the 
Intelligent Mail Container barcode link from http://ribbs.usps.gov/.

Electronic Documentation

    To participate in the Full Service option, mailers will be required 
to submit their postage statements and mailing documentation, when 
applicable, electronically using one of three methods: 
Mail.dat[supreg], Wizard Web Services or Postage Statement Wizard. 
Electronic information is transmitted to the Postal Service's 
PostalOne! System. The information is used for verification, 
acceptance, and payment. The PostalOne! System can also use this 
information to automate payment processes using ACH Debit or Credit 
payment methods. With the PostalOne! System, mailers have access to 
their mailing documentation and financial transaction information 24 
hours a day, seven days a week.
    Mail.dat: Mail.dat file submission is part of the overall 
PostalOne! application and provides customers with the capability of 
submitting mailing documents over a secure connection with the Postal 
Service. Mail.dat uses industry standard electronic file formats 
developed by IDEAlliance to facilitate communication of mailing 
information to the Postal Service. Mailing information is sent 
electronically to the PostalOne! System where it is stored and used to 
generate documentation to support verification and payment.
    Wizard Web Service: The Wizard Web Service is part of the overall 
PostalOne! application and provides customers with the capability of 
submitting mailing documents through the internet using a Web service 
over a secure connection with the Postal Service. The Wizard Web 
Service uses a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to submit 
information in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) format that ensures 
that the data can be sent and received by applications written in 
various languages and deployed on various platforms. Mailing 
information is sent via Wizard Web Service to the PostalOne! system 
where it is stored and used to generate documentation to support 
verification and payment.
    Postage Statement Wizard: The Postage Statement Wizard is an online 
tool that allows mailers to enter their postage statement information 
using a secure PostalOne! account. The Postage Statement Wizard 
verifies completed information for an online postage statement and 
automatically populates

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the Permit Holder section of the postage statement based on the account 
number provided. It guides the user through the items needed to 
complete the statement. The Postage Statement Wizard automatically 
calculates the postage and validates the information entered. Once the 
postage statement is completed online, the electronic statements will 
be submitted directly to the acceptance unit.
    For detailed information about electronic mailing information 
options, access http://www.usps.com/postalone/guides.htm.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a); 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 
416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 3403-3406, 3621, 3626, 5001.

Neva R. Watson,
Attorney, Legislative.
[FR Doc. E7-25635 Filed 1-4-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P