Watch Out for a More Costly Postal Zone 10 in July

Bye-bye, free shipping offers to Hawaii and Alaska…

:exploding_head:

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By adding a Zone 10 for the more outlying areas in those two states, it will probably not increase the average order going to those states as most of those are already Zone 7, Zone 8 and maybe Zone 9 (from our location). In addition, the more remote in those two states … the less the population. It will most likely add an extra day or two to the transition time.

For us, we price shipping USPS based on Zone 6 pricing. Maybe with this addition, we would adjust to somewhere between Zone 6 and Zone 7. Most of our orders going to those states go to the larger cities so the impact is not going to be that great.

Those shipping from the east coast to Hawaii and Alaska could be more impacted if they have a large volume of orders going to those destinations.

It is hard to think of a large volume of orders to those destinations given the SMALL population in those destinations.

Population of Alaska 2020 733,391
Population of Hawaii 1.4 million with about a million on Oahu.

This is why I tend to minimize my reactions to anything in Ecommercebytes.

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The exact text…

18.0 Expand Domestic Competitive Shipping Products Zone Chart

The US Postal Service is considering creating an additional zone (10) in pricing tables for all Competitive full-network shipping products.

This includes Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and USPS Ground Advantage products.

The Zone 10 will be applied primarily to mailings from contiguous USA states to
offshore ZIP Codes.

Zone 10 pricing excludes Alaska Bypass, Alaska LOR (USPS Ground Advantage),
and APO/DPO ZIP Codes.

The Zone Chart Matrix product will be updated to implement Zone 10 in the
one-character field (as a value of X). A separate rate structure will be implemented to allow Flat Rate Products (Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express) to have a separate price for Zone 10 and also for Zone 9 which includes the Freely Associated States (FAS).

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I used to sell on ebay a long time ago, somewhat large items, maybe 20 - 30 lbs. I remember charging a pretty hefty surcharge for alaska/hawaii, like $75-100 extra, since I used UPS and they had a hefty surcharge for going there. I only remember of one or two times that fee was paid.

Shipping stuff to an island or remote area is fairly expensive. There’s a reason why prices are jacked up in any island nation.

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Population of Puerto Rico is 3,200,000

Guam 153,000
US Virgin Islands 88,000
American Samoa 50,000
and the Marianas 50,000

Population of Alaska 733,391
Population of Hawaii 1,400,000

Combined is 5.6 million. That is 1 in every 60 Americans.

Understand, it is very costly for an American to live or be born “outside” the contigeous 48 in the first place. Most everything needs to be imported in, and home grown industries in the states, territories, have the added cost of exporting out.

So these added costs are NOT WELCOME. And in fact very unfair, as each of these States and Territories play a VITAL role in Americas defense and economic health (Think Oil, Ports, Intelligence Gathering, etc). Their distance is A SIGNIFIGANT VALUE.

Add to this, is the crazy arcane, law of 1920 call the Merchant Marine Act or Jones Act…

It prohibits any foreign carriers from delivering good from one US port to another US Port. This increases the cost of all imported and exported goods in DRAMATIC WAYS.

First the monopoly. Only US Flagged Shipped can call in these ports,
2nd, those few can set higher prices and decrease traffic for better load management. Even without manipulation, which occurs, the prices are double and triple the norm.

So the FAIR way to deal with increased costs getting mail and material to these 5.6 million Americans is either to VOID the Jones Act, or subsidize these States and Territories for the benefits the US gains in keeping the Jones Act in effect.

I would argue the flip side of this, that it’s not fair to have to pay to subsidize someone else’s costs. A subsidy isn’t free, it’s coming out of someone else’s pocket.

Whether a territory should be compensated in some way for what they offer is a separate discussion, but as far as delivering packages go, rates should generally reflect the costs involved in moving said package. This also brings USPS rates more in line with other carrier’s AK/HI rates. Without that there’s probably some businesses that use USPS only to ship money losing packages because of the cost differential.

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I declined to ship Internarionally for many years and there are lots more people in Europe and Asia than in Zone 10. There are even more in Canada than Zone 10.

The average income in the territories is lower than in the mainland, so the potential market is smaller than the population numbers indicate.

I am quite willing to decline to serve any country or marketplace which does not fit my business model.

Ebay has gotten me selling Internationally again with their Ebay International Shipping Program. A freight forwarder/consolidator which does all of the customs documentation, takes responsibility for any returns and refunds, and knows the customs regulations.

And like @GGX I neither seek subsidies or wish to subsidize anyone else.

I do have some sympathy for the sellers in Zone 10, but if they can’t afford the higher postage they probably have too little margin to survive selling online, unless they are using FBA. And if they can’t afford to use FBA they probably can’t survive.

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and there is the rub - Who on god earth wishes to subsidize anyone else !!!

Oh wait. The Jones Act is subsiziding the shipbuilding and merchant industry.

Farm subsidies for our food, steel subsidies for defense, now chip making subsidies for IT protection, etc, etc. all for the good of the country.

so, it is not that you do not see the value in subsidies I would imagine, it is this particular one I am suggesting.

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I am not a rent seeker, and do not support any subsidies.

That includes the subsidies which are 100% of Tesla’s profits.

I do believe that in some cases, the national interest requires the continued existence of some industries and that means artificial efforts which which distort the free market need to be used.

I prefer harnessing the free market. For example, we all know that US drug makers sell their drugs at lower prices to other nations. I could support a requirement that they sell their drugs at the lowest price they have agreed to anywhere in the world, to the US. Since they have a choice what to agree to and whether to sell to any country which has distorted the free market, this would be a market based solution.

Were it not for the Jones Act, there would be no US merchant fleet. I can see this as a serious national security problem. Given the practical effects of the Jones Act which is inadequate shipping capacity and bottlenecks, a better solution is required to meet the goal.

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Where can we find out how much more it will cost?

As far as I know I can’t exclude or charge a different amount for AK and HI on Etsy.

Depending on the pricing difference this could end up being an issue and maybe I have to get rid of free shipping and change to calculated and just drop my overall prices?

I think this is going to be a real mess for Etsy sellers.

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While I agree, do know, in 34 years of (mail order) Commerce, since eCommerce evolved after we started, less than 1/2 of 1% of our orders come from these remote locations.

When we do get a large item order from one of them, I swallow hard, and ship it. Raise our prices, all others pay so a customer in paradise can enjoy our work.

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There is a phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Assuming that those orders are not significantly heavier and larger than the typical order, this is not worth a lot of thought, let alone effort.

For what is probably my natural perversity, I am more favorably inclined for AK than HI. And more for the sellers based there.

Since much of what I am selling is history or social history, 1/2 of 1% is probably higher than what they represent to my sales.

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That’s a little crazy they don’t let you exclude AK/HI. Even Amazon lets you exclude those locations right? And Amazon’s one of the least seller friendly platforms.

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Last year for me I had 28 PR, 34 AK, 31 HI, and 6 APO orders.

Order wise about 1% for me.

I agree, and doubt this new Zone and increase pricing will concern most.


Again as to Puerto Rico. Yes I am biased.

But I have lived many places, and as an American the contradictions, and utter unfairness is astonishing living there.

The Jones Act effect on AK, HI, and PR is very costly to these 3 (hence this tread).

but the most amazing of all… is as an American I can live in Moscow, or Beijing, or Timbuktu, and I can vote for President of the US. But live in Puerto Rico - No you can not !!

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What about absentee vote?
Example - Live in Florida but work in Puerto Rico for 6 months during election

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I don’t vote and would love to not have to pay federal income tax.