Windowbook--The United States Postal Service announced last week their intention to increase postage on competitive shipping products by an average of 4.6%. This increase, which still must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), includes Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, and Priority Mail International. The price increase for the competitive products and the previously announced increase for the market-dominant products will be implemented on the same date - January 22, 2012. The USPS also announced they plan to maintain a unified implementation date for both sets of products moving forward into the future. 

Price Increases
The price increases vary by class and processing category, and are as follows:
• Express Mail: overall increase 3.3%, with retail prices seeing an average increase of 4.4%. Commercial Base prices will actually decrease by 5.0%, and Commercial Plus prices as a whole receiving a zero increase with some seeing a decrease. The USPS will introduce an Express Mail Flat Rate Box for $39.95.
• Priority Mail: Overall increase of 3.1%, with retail prices going up by an average of 3.2%. Flat Rate Box prices will be: Small ($5.35), Medium ($11.35) and Large ($15.45), while Flat Rate Envelope will be $5.15. Commercial Base prices will increase an average of 3.0%, while Commercial Plus rates go up on average by 2.8%. 
• Parcel Select: Overall increase of 8.5%, with destination entered parcels increasing from 6.8% to 7.8% depending on the type of destination entry facility. Non-destination entered parcels go up by .8% to 1.5% depending on the level of presort. Lightweight Parcel Select, the replacement for Standard Mail commercial parcels, will increase by 8.9%. The Intelligent Mail parcel barcode will also be introduced at this time, which will allow for free tracking of these parcels.
• Parcel Return Service: Overall increase of 4.6%. 
• Commercial First-Class Package Service: Commercial First-Class Mail Parcels were recently transferred to the competitive product list; these prices will increase 3.7%.
• International Expedited Services: Global Express Guaranteed prices increase by 6.0%, and Express Mail International by 11.6%.
• Other International services: International Priority Airmail increases by 1.0%, International Surface Airlift by 13.7% and Airmail M-bags by 3.5%.