[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 190 (Tuesday, October 3, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 46010]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21150]



39 CFR Part 111

Overweight Parcels

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Postal Service is contemplating amendment of the Mailing 
Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual 
(DMM[supreg]), to address the challenges presented by overweight 
parcels that make their way into the postal network. To aid us in this 
effort, we are requesting comments from the postal community regarding 
a variety of suggested actions to resolve or ameliorate this problem. 
Overweight parcels for the purpose of this notice are defined as 
anything in excess of 70 pounds or the maximum weight allowed for 

DATES: Submit comments on or before November 2, 2017.

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. If sending comments by email, include the 
name and address of the commenter and send to 
[email protected], with a subject line of ``Overweight 
Parcels.'' Faxed comments are not accepted.
    You may inspect and photocopy all written comments, by appointment 
only, at USPS[supreg] Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 
11th Floor North, Washington, DC 20260. These records are available for 
review on Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., by calling 202-268-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct questions or comments to 
Lizbeth J. Dobbins by email at [email protected] or phone 
(202) 268-3789.


The Challenge of Overweight Parcels

    Overweight parcels should never be accepted for delivery into the 
postal network. On occasion an item, such as a returns parcel, gets 
into the Postal network and arrives at a destination plant or post 
office. It is unsafe to return the item back through the postal network 
so the receiving office contacts the customer and asks the customer to 
pick up the package. Sometimes the package is abandoned which creates 
another safety issue trying to dispose of the overweight item.
    Part of the challenge is that we do not want overweight items at 
any time since these items cause numerous safety issues and we strongly 
discourage mailers from entering them into the postal system. We do not 
accept them at postal retail counters either and yet, these items still 
get into the postal system.
    In order to discourage unsafe practices, the Postal Service is 
seeking input from the mailing community about how to prevent 
overweight packages from entering the postal system, and if they get 
into the postal system, the appropriate postage to be paid. The maximum 
weight for postage payment is 70 pounds.

Suggested Remedies

    One partial remedy would be to assess additional postage on 
overweight parcels discovered in the postal network. Thus, if a package 
weight is 75 pounds, and it arrives at the destination office, with 
postage calculated at 70 pounds, an additional 5 pounds worth of 
postage could be collected (70 plus 5). Or if the item is 80 pounds, 
postage would be collected on the additional 10 pounds. This would 
appear to provide the Postal Service with at least some degree of 
reimbursement for the extra service provided.
    As a further deterrent, another possibility would be to charge not 
only additional postage, but an additional penalty fee (perhaps 
$20.00). Thus, for an 80 pound parcel the total amount due would 
include the postage payment for 70 pounds, a postage surcharge for the 
additional 10 pounds and a $20 penalty.
    Since HAZMAT parcels have lower maximum weight limits, and 
overweight HAZMAT parcels may pose additional safety challenges, it 
would seem appropriate to provide an additional element of deterrence 
with regard to the mailing of such items. Thus, for example, if a 65-
pound HAZMAT package exceeded the maximum weight limit of 25 pounds, 
the amount due might include not only the postage on the actual weight 
of the package, but an additional surcharge of $20.00 for each 10 
pounds (or fraction thereof) in excess of the applicable weight limit.
    We look forward to feedback on this important safety issue.

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Federal Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2017-21150 Filed 10-2-17; 8:45 am]