Saturday, January 06, 2007

Terminal dues

Christopher Beam, writing in Slate, says the U.S. Postal Service may be revising its international mail pricing system. The new rates would raise shipping rates from the United States by 13 percent on average.

In his article, "Who Pays the French to Deliver It?," he poses another question.

"Seeing as foreign postal services deliver our mail overseas, do they get a cut of the postage?"

"Yes, but not directly," Beam writes.

"Say you're paying the U.S. Postal Service 84 cents to send a letter to Paris. Part of that cost covers postal labor and infrastructure here in the United States. Another part takes care of the transportation to Paris. (The USPS regularly contracts commercial airlines, as well as private carriers like FedEx and United Parcel Service to transport international mail.) And a third part helps offset the fees paid to the French postal service to carry letters like yours from the airport to their destinations."

Those fees are known as "terminal dues."

Since 1969, countries have been required to pay terminal dues to destination countries as compensation for local mail delivery costs. The system is overseen by by the Universal Postal Union.

To read his entire article, click here.

For more on "terminal dues", click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM