parcel post

parcel post

parcel post, sending of packages through the mail service. At the congress of the Universal Postal Union in Paris in 1878, an international parcel-post system was established. The British parcel-post bill, passed in 1882, put into effect the following year domestic, colonial, and foreign services. Various other countries established such systems; the United States entered into conventions with other governments to convey parcels sent into the country but delayed instituting a domestic service until the Parcel Post Act of 1912. A water route for parcel post was started in 1917, and a fleet of trucks was put into operation in the East the next year. Parcel-post delivery on rural routes was established in 1919, making it possible for farmers to ship eggs and other produce direct to the consumer. Small animals that do not require food or water while in transit are accepted as parcel post. Extra fees provide for the special handling, insurance, and special delivery of parcels. In 1948 an air parcel-post service was established. Under treaty arrangements the United States is able to exchange parcel post with most countries of the world. Private freight companies (such as Federal Express and United Parcel Service) compete with the U.S. Postal Service for domestic and international delivery.

Parcel post is a service of a postal administration for sending parcels through the post. It is generally one of the less expensive ways to ship packages that are too heavy to be sent by regular letter post and is usually a slower method of transportation.

UPU Parcel Post Treaty

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) agreement of 1885, initially signed by 19 nations, established an international postal agreement for the orderly shipment of mailed packages and parcels from one country to another according to predetermined rates.

Great Britain and Commonwealth

In 1882 the British General Post Office (later Royal Mail) first initiated domestic, commonwealth, and foreign parcel post services. Australia and the other separate postal services of the colonies joined the UPU in 1891.

United States

In the USA, Parcel Post is a United States Postal Service(USPS) method of shipping parcels of books, merchandise, and other bulk goods; items can weigh up to 70 pounds.

International parcel post service between the USA and foreign countries commenced in 1887. That same year, the U.S. Post Office (predecessor of the USPS) and the Post-Master General of Canada established parcel post service between the two nations. A bilateral parcel post treaty between the independent (at the time) Kingdom of Hawaii and the USA was signed on December 19, 1888 and put into effect early in 1889. Parcel post service between the USA and other countries grew with the signing of successive postal conventions and treaties. While the Post Office agreed to deliver parcels sent into the country, it did not institute a domestic parcel post service for another 25 years.

Domestic parcel post service within the USA was finally inaugurated by Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock on January 1, 1913 under the administration of President William Howard Taft. The advent of parcel post service greatly increased mail volume, and stimulated development of nationwide trade and commerce.

As of May 2007, international Parcel Post service, both surface and airmail, was discontinued by the USPS. In its place the USPS instituted several new international delivery classifications, including Priority Mail International, Priority Mail International Flat-Rate, and Express Mail International.

See also


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