[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 39 (Tuesday, February 27, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 8399-8403]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03947]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Proposed Changes to Validations for Intelligent Mail Package 
Barcode

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service is proposing to revise the Mailing 
Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual 
(DMM[supreg]), to add new Intelligent Mail[supreg] package barcode 
(IMpb) validations for evaluating compliance with IMpb requirements for 
all mailers who enter commercial parcels.

DATES: Submit comments on or before March 29, 2018.

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 
ProductClassification@usps.gov, with a subject line of ``Intelligent 
Mail Package Barcode Validations.'' 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-
2906.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct questions or comments to 
Juliaann Hess at jsanders.hess@usps.gov or (202) 268-7663.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Postal Service is proposing to update 
IMpb requirements relative to Compliance Quality Validations for 
Thresholds, Address Quality, Shipping Services File Manifest Quality, 
and Barcode Quality. These proposed validations would allow the Postal 
Service to further improve service, tracking, visibility, and positive 
customer experiences along with better identifying noncompliant 
mailpieces.
    Technical and in-depth IMpb guidance is available in Publication 
199, Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Implementation Guide for: 
Confirmation Services and Electronic Verification System Mailers, which 
is conveniently located on the PostalPro website at https://postalpro.usps.com. This publication would be updated to reflect all 
adopted changes.

Background

    On December 18, 2013, in a notice of final rulemaking (78 FR 76548-
76560), the Postal Service announced that mailers who enter commercial 
parcels must adhere to the following: IMpb must be used on all 
commercial parcels; piece-level information must be submitted to the 
Postal Service via an approved electronic file format (except for 
mailers generating barcodes for use on return services products, such 
as MRS); and electronic files must include the complete destination 
delivery address and/or an 11-digit Delivery Point Validation 
(DPV[supreg]) ZIP Code[supreg] for all records, except for Parcel 
Return Service, a ZIP+4[supreg] Code is required to be encoded into the 
barcode for all returns products.
    Since IMpb requirements were implemented, the Postal Service has 
made significant advances with its package strategy. Use of IMpbs 
continues to be the critical bridge between physical packages and the 
digital information required to enable world class service, tracking, 
visibility, and positive customer experiences. Barcode intelligence 
along with the corresponding digital data captured through in-transit 
processing and delivery scans are fundamental requirements in the 
shipping market. The data have enabled the Postal Service and its 
customers to enhance products, improve customer satisfaction, increase 
efficiencies, provide greater visibility, integrate with eCommerce and 
supply chain systems, enhance performance and analytics tools, and 
generate actionable business insights for better decisions.
    In January 2015, the Postal Service required that all parcels with 
an IMpb be accompanied by the complete destination delivery address or 
an 11-digit ZIP Code (validated by the DPV System, or an approved 
equivalent) in the Shipping Services File or other approved electronic 
documentation. This information is critical to the Postal Service 
package strategy, the dynamic routing process that enable package 
distribution without scheme-trained employees, improving the customer's 
experience, and enhancing business insights and analytics.
    In January 2016, the Postal Service began measuring the quality of 
mailer compliance for the newly introduced IMpb Compliance Quality 
Category with data validations to determine the IMpb Compliance 
Assessment criteria as follows: Address Quality, Manifest Quality, and 
Barcode Quality. Then, in July 2017, the Postal Service began assessing 
mailers with a $0.20 IMpb

[[Page 8400]]

Noncompliance Fee for commercial, competitive parcels (Priority Mail, 
Priority Mail Express, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select and 
Parcel Select Lightweight) that did not meet the established thresholds 
for one or more IMpb Compliance Quality Categories. For customers using 
the Electronic Verification System (eVS[supreg]), the Postal Service 
assessed the fee based on the individual mail class or aggregate 
compliance performance, whichever results in the lowest financial 
impact to the customer. The fee is not assessed on packages when a 
price adjustment results in single-piece pricing.
    As of January 21, 2018, addresses and products for Puerto Rico or 
that contain an Open & Distribute Service Type Code were eliminated 
from all Address Quality validations.

Proposal Overview

Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Quality Requirements

    This section provides an overview of the IMpb Compliance Quality 
Validation and Threshold requirements that the Postal Service is 
proposing to revise. As indicated in the table that follows, on July 1, 
2018, and February 1, 2019, the Postal Service would begin assessing 
quality using the newly proposed thresholds.
    If commercial, competitive parcels consisting of Priority Mail, 
Priority Mail Express, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, and 
Parcel Select Lightweight exceed the compliance thresholds outlined 
below, a $0.20 IMpb Noncompliance Fee would be assessed for each piece. 
This fee would only be assessed on the number of pieces that fall below 
the threshold according to the following examples:
    [ssquf] Example 1: In the case of 100 pieces being shipped, if 98 
pieces are in compliance, no pieces would be charged the $0.20 per-
piece fee.
    [ssquf] Example 2: In the case of 100 pieces being shipped, if only 
90 pieces are in compliance, 8 pieces would be assessed the $0.20 per-
piece fee.
    If the threshold for more than one category is not met, the fee is 
assessed based on the IMpb Compliance Quality threshold that yields the 
greatest number of noncompliant pieces. The fee is charged only once 
per noncompliant mailpiece and is only applicable to the following 
competitive parcels: Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First-Class 
Package Service, Parcel Select, and Parcel Select Lightweight.

           Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Compliance Quality Categories, Validations and Thresholds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     July 2018     February 2019
      Compliance categories          Compliance codes          Validations          thresholds      thresholds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address Quality: Checks for a     AQ                     Must include a full,                 89             TBD
 timely address that validates                            valid destination
 to a unique 11 Digit DPV.                                delivery address that
                                                          has sufficient quality
                                                          to yield an 11-digit
                                                          ZIP Code that matches
                                                          the delivery point in
                                                          the file as follows:
                                                         [ssquf] Valid secondary
                                                          address information..
                                                            [ssquf] Match
                                                             between address to
                                                             ZIP+4 Code.
                                                            [ssquf] Includes
                                                             street number.
                                                            [ssquf] Valid
                                                             primary street
                                                             number.
                                                         Customers using eVS
                                                          must provide the
                                                          address information
                                                          prior to the Arrival
                                                          at Unit (07) Event
                                                          Scan and non-eVS
                                                          customers at the time
                                                          of mailing.
Manifest Quality (Shipping        MQ                     Entry facility must                  94              94
 Services File): Checks for a                             match between scan and
 timely Manifest File that                                manifest.
 passes 4 critical validation                            Valid PO of Account ZIP
 criteria.                                                Code (Where account is
                                                          held for payment).
                                                         Valid Payment Account
                                                          (Permit Number)..
                                                         Valid Method of Payment
                                                          (Permit, Federal
                                                          Agency, PC Postage,
                                                          Smart Meter, Other
                                                          Meter, or Stamps).
Barcode Quality: Checks the       BQ                     Valid and Certified                  98              98
 Barcode in the manifest that                             Mailer ID in the label
 passes 2 critical validations.                           that is in Program
                                                          Registration/Online
                                                          Enrollment.
                                                         IMpb must be unique for
                                                          120 days..
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Address Quality

    The Postal Service proposes to update the threshold for the Address 
Quality IMpb requirements described in this section. If destination 
delivery address information is included in the Shipping Services File 
or Shipping Partner Event File, the address elements must be complete 
and have sufficient quality to yield an 11-digit ZIP Code that matches 
the delivery point. Address Quality measures the percentage of 
addresses that contain sufficient information to validate to the 11-
digit DPV ZIP Code when matched against the Address Management System 
(AMS) database.
    Destination delivery addresses would be compared against the AMS 
database for accuracy and the ability to be validated to the 11-digit 
DPV ZIP Code representing the finest depth of code for the delivery 
point (including secondary information such as the apartment or suite 
number). If the delivery address of a package or mailpiece does not 
result in an exact match, an Address Quality noncompliance indicator 
would be assigned for any of the following reasons:
    [ssquf] Invalid secondary address.
    [ssquf] No match between the address and the ZIP+4 Code.
    [ssquf] Missing street number.
    [ssquf] Invalid primary street number.
    In addition, for eVS customers, an Address Quality noncompliance 
indicator would be assigned when the address information is not 
received before the Arrival at Post Office (07) scan event and when the 
address information is not present at the time of mailing.
    In July 2018, the Address Quality threshold would remain at 89 
percent. If mailpieces fail to meet the compliance threshold of 89 
percent, customers would be assessed the IMpb Noncompliance Fee of 
$0.20 per piece for competitive parcels only. However, the Postal 
Service provides notice of its intent to collaborate with the mailing 
industry to increase the Address Quality threshold beginning on January 
1, 2019, with mailpieces assessed on February 1, 2019.

Manifest Quality (Shipping Services File)

[[Page 8401]]

    In accordance with this proposed rule, the Shipping Services File 
manifests must be received timely or each mailpiece on the file would 
be noncompliant. For customers who do not use eVS, the Shipping 
Services Files must be transmitted to the Postal Service prior to the 
physical entry of the mailing for acceptance. Customers who use eVS are 
required to transmit the Shipping Services File prior to the Arrival at 
Post Office (07) scan event unless the address information was provided 
via the Shipping Partner Event File prior to the Arrival at Post Office 
(07) scan event. If the address is provided in the Shipping Partner 
Event File before the Arrival at Post Office (07) scan event, the 
mailer must transmit the Shipping Services File prior to 23:59 on the 
date of mailing. Mailpieces that do not have a Shipping Services File 
record or have an untimely record would be noncompliant and receive a 
Manifest Quality validation noncompliance code.
    Manifest Files would have to pass the following four validation 
criteria:
     Entry Facility ZIP Code: The entry facility ZIP Code in 
the Shipping Services File must match physical scan event at location.
     Payment Account Number: The USPS account number from which 
the mailing will be paid must be valid.
     Method of Payment: The approved payment method must be 
valid (permit imprint, postage meter, PC Postage, OMAS, franked mail, 
and stamps) for the mail being entered.
     Post Office of Account: The 5-digit ZIP Code of the Post 
Office issuing the permit number, meter license, or precancelled stamp 
must be valid and agree with the information on the postage statement.
    Also, the Transaction ID (TID) is already required. However, when 
the TID is used in conjunction with the Payment Account Number, Method 
of Payment, and Post Office of Account, it enables the Postal Service 
to calculate IMpb compliance for each mailing at the postage-statement 
level for non-eVS customers. If any field is missing or inaccurate, a 
Manifest Quality IMpb Compliance Quality indicator would be assigned.
    In addition, in July 2018, the Manifest Quality threshold would be 
increased from 91 percent to 94 percent. If mailpieces fail to meet the 
compliance threshold of 94 percent, customers would be assessed the 
IMpb Noncompliance Fee of $0.20 per piece for competitive parcels only.

Barcode Quality

    Barcode Quality is essential to create the digital trail that adds 
intelligence and enables business insight from parcels traveling 
through the Postal Service network, which leads to innovation and 
growth. Therefore, when manifests are processed by the Postal Service, 
Barcode Quality would continue to be measured under the following 
standards:
    [ssquf] IMpb(s) must pass the Uniqueness and Mailer Identification 
validations without errors or warnings.
    [ssquf] The IMpb must be unique for 120 days from the date of the 
first event record posted to the Postal Service's database.
    [ssquf] The IMpb must include a valid Mailer Identification that is 
properly registered in the Postal Service's Customer Registration 
Online Enrollment System.
    [ssquf] IMpb(s) that fail the Uniqueness and Mailer Identification 
validations will be assigned a Barcode Quality noncompliance code and 
such pieces would be counted against the threshold.
    In addition, in July 2018, the Barcode Quality threshold would be 
increased from 95 percent to 98 percent. If mailpieces fail to meet the 
compliance threshold of 98 percent, customers would be assessed the 
IMpb Noncompliance Fee of $0.20 per piece for competitive parcels only.

Public Participation

    Although the Postal Service is 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 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.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Postal Service proposes 
to amend 39 CFR part 111 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)

* * * * *

200 Commercial Letters, Flats, and Parcels Design Standards

* * * * *

204 Barcode Standards

* * * * *

2.0 Standards for Package and Extra Service Barcodes

2.1 Intelligent Mail Package Barcode

2.1.1 Definition

    [Amend 204.2.1.1 by revising the third and fifth sentences to read 
as follows:]
    * * * Intelligent Mail package barcodes must be used on all 
commercial parcels and on other mailpieces requesting extra services. * 
* * Electronic files must include a complete destination delivery 
address (which has sufficient quality to yield an 11-digit ZIP Code 
that matches the delivery point) and/or a delivery point validation 
(DPV) 11-digit Code for all records in the file. * * *
* * * * *

2.1.3 Barcode Data Fields

    [Revise the final sentence of the introductory paragraph for 
204.2.1.3 as follows:]
    * * * Detailed specifications are provided in Publication 199 and 
available on PostalPro at https://postalpro.usps.com:
* * * * *

2.1.7 Electronic File

    [Amend 204.2.1.7 by revising the introductory paragraph and item d 
as follows:]
    All mailers generating Intelligent Mail package barcodes must 
transmit piece-level information to the USPS in an approved electronic 
file format (except for mailers generating barcodes for use on return 
services products, such as MRS). Specifications for electronic files 
are available in Publication 199 on PostalPro at https://postalpro.usps.com. Electronic files must include the following 
elements:
* * * * *
    d. Version 1.6 (or subsequent versions) of the electronic Shipping 
Services manifest files including each destination delivery address or 
ZIP+4 Code. Shipping Services File manifests or other approved 
electronic documentation, must include the destination delivery address 
(that has sufficient quality to yield an 11-digit ZIP Code that matches 
the delivery

[[Page 8402]]

point) or delivery point validation (DPV) 11-digit ZIP Code for each 
record in the file.
    [Amend 204.2.1.8 by revising the title and contents as follows:]

2.1.8 Compliance Quality Thresholds

    All mailers who enter commercial parcels must meet the established 
thresholds for the IMpb Compliance Quality Categories outlined in 
Exhibit 2.1.8 to avoid an IMpb Noncompliance Fee. For details, see 
Publication 199 available on PostalPro at http://postalpro.usps.com.

                                Exhibit 2.1.8--IMpb Compliance Quality Thresholds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Compliance
          Compliance categories               Compliance codes                Validations             thresholds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address Quality: Checks for a timely      AQ                        Must include a full, valid                89
 address that validates to a unique 11                               destination delivery address
 Digit DPV.                                                          that has sufficient quality to
                                                                     yield an 11-digit ZIP Code
                                                                     that matches the delivery
                                                                     point in the file as follows:
                                                                    [ssquf] Valid secondary address
                                                                     information..
                                                                    [ssquf] Match between address
                                                                     to ZIP+4 Code..
                                                                    [ssquf] Includes street number.
                                                                    [ssquf] Valid primary street
                                                                     number..
                                                                    Customers using eVS must
                                                                     provide the address
                                                                     information prior to the
                                                                     Arrival at Unit (07) Event
                                                                     Scan and non-eVS customers at
                                                                     the time of mailing.
Manifest Quality (Shipping Services       MQ                        Entry facility must match                 94
 File): Checks for a timely Manifest                                 between scan and manifest.
 File that passes 4 critical validation                             Valid PO of Account ZIP Code
 criteria.                                                           (Where account is held for
                                                                     payment)..
                                                                    Valid Payment Account (Permit
                                                                     Number)..
                                                                    Valid Method of Payment
                                                                     (Permit, Federal Agency, PC
                                                                     Postage, Smart Meter, Other
                                                                     Meter, or Stamps)..
Barcode Quality: Checks the Barcode in    BQ                        Valid and Certified Mailer ID             98
 the manifest that passes 2 critical                                 in the label that is in
 validations.                                                        Program Registration/Online
                                                                     Enrollment.
                                                                    IMpb must be unique for 120
                                                                     days..
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Amend 204.2.1. by adding new 204.2.1.9 as follows:]

2.1.9 Alternate Approval

    Labels not meeting IMpb specifications or other label element 
standards, but are still able to demonstrate acceptable functionality 
within USPS processes, may be allowed using an alternative approval 
process authorized by the Vice President, Enterprise Analytics (See DMM 
608.8.1 for address).
* * * * *

210 Commercial Mail Priority Mail Express

213 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Priority Mail Express

* * * * *

3.2 IMpb Standards

    [Revise 213.3.2 by modifying the last two sentences as follows:]
    * * * Unless otherwise excepted, mailpieces not meeting the 
requirements for use of unique Intelligent Mail package barcodes or 
extra services barcodes as outlined in section 204.2.1.8 and 
Publication 199 will be assessed an IMpb noncompliance fee. For 
details, see the PostalPro website at https://postalpro.usps.com/node/782.
* * * * *

220 Commercial Mail Priority Mail

223 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Priority Mail

* * * * *

3.2 IMpb Standards

    [Revise 223.3.2 by modifying the last sentence as follows:]
    * * * Unless otherwise excepted, mailpieces not meeting the 
requirements for use of unique Intelligent Mail package barcodes or 
extra services barcodes as outlined in section 204.2.1.8 and 
Publication 199 will be assessed an IMpb noncompliance fee. For 
details, see the PostalPro website at https://postalpro.usps.com/node/782.
* * * * *

250 Commercial Mail Parcel Select

253 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Parcel Select Parcels

* * * * *

3.3 IMpb Standards

    [Revise 253.3.3 by modifying the last sentence as follows:]
    * * * Unless otherwise excepted, mailpieces not meeting the 
requirements for use of unique Intelligent Mail package barcodes or 
extra services barcodes as outlined in section 204.2.1.8 and 
Publication 199 will be assessed an IMpb noncompliance fee. For 
details, see the PostalPro website at https://postalpro.usps.com/node/782.
* * * * *

280 Commercial Mail First-Class Package Service--Commercial

283 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for First-Class Package Service--
Commercial

* * * * *

3.4 IMpb Standards

    [Revise 283.3.4 by modifying the last two sentences as follows:]
    * * * Unless otherwise excepted, mailpieces not meeting the 
requirements for use of unique Intelligent Mail package barcodes or 
extra services barcodes as outlined in section 204.2.1.8 and 
Publication 199 will be assessed an IMpb noncompliance fee. For 
details, see the PostalPro website at https://postalpro.usps.com/node/782.
* * * * *

600 Basic Standards For All Mailing Services

* * * * *

608 Postal Information and Resources

* * * * *

8.0 USPS Contact Information

8.1 Postal Service

* * * * *
    [Revise 608.8.1 by adding Enterprise Analytics in alphabetic order 
as follows:]
    Enterprise Analytics, US Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, 
Room 2100, Washington, DC 20260-2100.
* * * * *

[[Page 8403]]

    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 and 
Publication 199 to reflect these changes, if our proposal is adopted.

Ruth B. Stevenson,
Attorney, Federal Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2018-03947 Filed 2-26-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7710-12-P