National Newspaper Association President Susan Rowell, publisher of the Lancaster (SC) News, on Feb. 1 celebrated a new ruling from the U.S. Postal Service that will make newspaper mailing easier.
USPS has announced that it will begin to accept newspapers in flats trays (tubs) without lids or strapping. The new mail acceptance procedure allows publishers to nest tubs of newspaper mail within each other and save space for hauling and carrying. Rowell said NNA’s primary goal was to further encourage newspapers to shift mail from sacks to the flats trays.
“NNA’s Postal Committee, led by Max Heath, has worked toward this change for several years,” Rowell said. “We have tested this practice for USPS at some newspapers within my own company, Landmark Community Newspapers, and have found that the lids are really unnecessary for most of our mail. Mail rooms love to eliminate the lids because it makes the trays easier to stack up and carry and they can be loaded into trucks or vans without using up so much space.
“NNA has been the champion of the flats tray for newspaper mail. These white plastic trays are better for us and for the Postal Service. This is just another example of NNA’s service to community newspapers as we seek every possible opportunity to hold down distribution costs and improve service. My thanks on behalf of the industry to our Postal Committee, including Max, and our other Mailers Technical Advisory Committee members Brad Hill and Matt Paxton, for having the patience to see this work to the end. In addition, we would like to thanks the USPS operations division, headed by Postmaster General Megan Brennan and Chief Operating Officer David Williams, who kept their testing teams focused on checking out possible disruptions in mail handling from this new practice. In the end, they agreed with us: unlidded trays are a good thing.”
She noted that trays traveling beyond the newspaper’s a Sectional Center Facility will continue to require lids.
USPS issued its new rule as a Customer Service Ruling on Jan. 31. The new ruling states:
The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) sections 207.22 and 207.25 provide for non-barcoded and automation Periodicals flats to be prepared in flat trays. DMM 126.96.36.199 provides that each tray must be covered and be secured with two plastic straps.
This Customer Support Ruling provides an option for Periodicals mailers to prepare flat-size pieces, under the applicable DMM standards, in flat trays without the use of lids and strapping for pieces that will be worked or processed at the entry facility or associated Sectional Center Facility (SCF). All other flats trays that are not worked or processed at the entry office or associated SCF must contain green lids and strapping and be in compliance with DMM standards.
The Postal Service reserves the right to rescind this CSR if we discover any operational impacts due to this support ruling.
You can access the CSR and DMM language for this approved “Optional Tray Preparation” on Postal Explorer via the following link: http://pe/CustomerSupportRuling/Index