Consumer Products

This Is the Most Expensive Country to Mail a Letter

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could not be in worse shape financially. This means, among other things, the possibility tens of thousands of postal workers could lose their jobs, and hundreds of post offices could be closed. A number of observers believe that these actions are long overdue. They think the organization as it is currently constituted belongs to the 19th and 20th centuries.

The USPS revenue was $18.9 billion in the quarter that ended March 31, up from $17.8 billion the year before. The loss for the period was brutal—$1.7 billion, compared to a loss of $1.9 billion in the same period a year earlier. Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy commented: “With our Delivering for America plan, the Postal Service will become a growth-oriented, high-performance organization that operates with greater precision, achieves 95 percent on-time delivery, and does so at a lower cost to serve.” Since it was none of those things in the recent past, it is a huge question about how it can achieve the goals anytime.

To help solve this problem, USPS has presented some of its plans for a 10-year turnaround program. This has just been given to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Part of this program is to raise the price of a first class letter from 55 cents to 58 cents. The PRC could turn this down. The logic for the move is confusing. First class mail volume has dropped. The USPS believes it can make up for that by raising prices. Of course, the increased prices could drive people away from the use of first class mail.

Part of the USPS’s argument about a higher price for First Class mail comes from its argument that similar service costs consumers more in other nations. In its filing with the PRC, it showed an analysis of first class mail (“single-piece letter mail”) costs in eight countries. The fact that other counties were left out points to the chance that in some nation’s first class prices run less than in the United States.

Japan’s price runs 77 cents. The cost of first class in Australia runs 86 cents, in Canada 89 cents, in Germany 97 cents, in the United Kingdom $1.20 and in France $1.90.

The most expensive country was Italy where the price to mail “single-piece letter mail” is $3.40.

Click here to see why first class mail may hit 58 cents.