Recent Posts

  • TRACKING INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES (pt 2) Open or Close

     

    TRACKING INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES – helpful tips from IMS

    What we’ve learned about tracking packages …….

    1. Packages will get an acceptance scan at IMS the same day we receive the packages.  This includes the PMEI – PMI services, Commercial ePacket, and packages sent via IPA (Endicia integrations only).
    2. The number of scans a package gets will vary by service. Packages sent via the PMEI and PMI services will normally get more scans (visibility) while the ePacket service will average about 3-5 scans including the acceptance scan and delivery scan.
    3. Some countries are better at this than others. In order for the USPS to include a country for the ePacket service as an example, they must be able to give a delivery scan on 90% plus of the packages – our overall average has been 95% plus.  A delivery scan is not guaranteed.
    4. Just because a package does not show scans does not mean it is not moving. Sometimes barcodes are smudged, torn, or any number of other things that can render them “unreadable”.  It can also mean that someone on the other end just for whatever reason didn’t scan a package – it happens. The 5% on average that don’t get a delivery scan are more than likely to have been delivered, just not scanned upon delivery.
    5. If customs holds a package (for whatever reason), they are “supposed” to notify the recipient.  We have no control over whether that’s done or not. 
    6. Packages may go into a seemingly black hole with no activity for a period of time.  Australia as an example, only gives us a delivery scan for ePacket packages – no scans when passing through customs, etc.  Again, this does not mean your packages are not moving and/or delivered (see #8 below).
    7. If a package shows to have passed through customs or a “facility” and then goes dormant for a few days, have your customer check with their local post office as they could be holding it.
    8. You can also enter your USPS tracking numbers on the foreign post’s website and SOMETIMES get additional scan activity.  Ask us and we'll send you the links.
    9. In some extenuating circumstances, we can enlist the help of contacts we have at USPS headquarters in DC, but that’s not an option when looking for a single package.

    I hope this helps when fielding customer inquiries and managing expectations.

     

  • USPS postage rate changes (Aug 20, 2017) Open or Close

    July 25, 2017

    Subject: Some USPS postage rates increasing on August 20, 2017

    Dear IMS customer,

    The United States Postal Service (USPS) is increasing rates for segments of the International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) services on August 20, 2017. As you know, our normal rate changes take place in January so this is unusual. This is not a standard postage increase but rather the result of renegotiated contracts per the USPS notification below:

    United States Postal Service has notified partners with Negotiated Service Agreements of a price increase for International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Airlift (ISAL) effective August 20, 2017. The increase was planned to coincide with contract renewals which expired in June; however, we granted additional time to allow for coordination of technology changes and client notification. The decision was made to modify the contracts to reflect shape-based pricing to align with our increased costs in these products.

    Here’s how the following service groups will be affected (percentages are based on the average of all country groups and piece weights, your actual costs could vary accordingly):

    • Commercial ePacket (CeP): No changes
    • PMEI and PMI (both Standard and Presort Drop Ship): No changes
    • IPA Letters: Increase of 5.4%
    • IPA Flats: No changes
    • IPA Packages: No changes
    • IPA M-bags: No changes
    • ISAL Letters: Increase of 16% (Note: It will be much cheaper to route all Letter size pieces via IPA)
    • ISAL Flats: Increase of 3.5%
    • ISAL Packages: Increase of 3.5%
    • ISAL M-bags: No changes

    Because costs can vary by destination country, piece size, and weights, we recommend that certain mailings/shipments be quoted if questions. As we’ve always done for customers, we’ll recommend one service over another when it’s advantageous for the customer both rate and service wise.  Here’s what we’ll be looking at for items sent IPA and ISAL only:

    • Letters: Routing all via IPA (cheaper and faster).
    • Flats: With the increase to ISAL (and not to IPA), it becomes cheaper to route certain countries (most notably, Canada) via IPA.
    • Packages: Routing all via IPA.

    We’re hoping to have rates emailed to all customers within a week. Your business is important to us – we’ll strive to provide the best possible rate and service for customers of all sizes. Thanks for your business!

    Regards,

    Mark Bouman, Business Development, Principal

    International Mail Service Inc (IMS)

    www.intlmailserv.com

    800-466-6245

  • 4/30/17 Japan added to ePacket list Open or Close

    Effective April 30, 2017 the Commercial ePacket service will be available to Japan bringing the total number of countries to 30 with more being added.  Japan will be in the newly created Country Group 6.  Related, Brazil will be moved from Country Group 15 to Country Group 10.

    Please let us know if you'd like information about this or other IMS Parcel Services.

  • 4/11/17 Services suspended to Guatemala (again) Open or Close

    International Mail: Temporary Suspension of Mail Service to Guatemala

    On April 11, 2017, the Postal Service™ announced the suspension of most mail services to Guatemala. Until further notice, all Post Offices™ and other acceptance locations must not accept any mail destined to the country of Guatemala, other than Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®) service, which is still available. The suspension affects Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI), Priority Mail International® (PMI), First-Class Mail International® (FCMI), First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®), International Priority Airmail® (IPA®), International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®), and M-Bag® items.

    For already deposited items other than GXG addressed to Guatemala, Postal Service employees must endorse them “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender” and then place them in the mail stream for return.

    For any returned item bearing a customs form, as well as any item shipped with Priority Mail Express International service, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service.

    For all other returned items not bearing a customs declarations form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service, or the sender may remail them with the existing postage once service to Guatemala has been restored. When remailing under this option, customers must cross out the markings “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.”

  • Package tracking tips from IMS Open or Close

    We get a lot of questions about what to expect when tracking packages sent via the different services so I think it's time to share some information for future reference.  Your tracking results will vary by service level, destination country, and how you run your package labels (online, PC postage, shipping software, etc).  Additionally, the percentage of packages that actually get a delivery scan will vary too - they should all be well over 90% but some countries are just plain better than others at this.

    First, we'll look at the various USPS service levels ...........

    First Class Package International (FCPI):  Tracking can only be described as "limited" at best and is not to be relied upon.  The USPS does claim on their website that "FCPI includes electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International when you ship online to select destinations".  Safely put, your results will vary.

    IMS "International Priority Airmail" (IPA):  The IPA service does not offer door to door tracking.  IMS customers using Endicia to print labels will however at least get an acceptance scan here in Kalamazoo.  Additional scans from there are a bonus and again, not to be relied upon. 

    IMS "Commercial ePacket" (CeP):  This is a fully trackable (door to door) service available now to 31 of the most popular countries (including the two news ones mentioned above).  For about HALF the cost of FCPI, you won't get quite the visibility of a PMEI or PMI package, but you do get a delivery scan (scan rates are about 95%, some countries better, some a little lower).  For an example, cut and paste the tracking number LX595336037US to USPS.com

    IMS "PMEI and PMI" (both "Standard" and "Presort Drop Ship"):  Fully trackable services to most countries with more visibility (scans).  For an example, cut and paste the tracking number CY008968223US to USPS.com

    Once in a while, you'll hear from customers that the package shows "Delivered" when actually it hasn't been or you'd just like some additional information on the whereabouts.   For many countries, you can actually enter the USPS tracking number into the destination country's postal web site and get more information.  The country specific links for some of the most popular countries are as follows:

  • 3/17/17 Rain in Australia causing delays (updated 4/4/17) Open or Close

    Australia Post asks us to inform the designated operators of UPU member countries that, beginning on 14 March, weather warnings have been issued across Northern New South Wales (postcodes 2484, 2429, 2780, 2480, 2602, 2611, 2605, 2606, 2204, 2902, 2612, 2914, 2913, 2614, 2615, 2480, 2481, 2482, 2484). Heavy rainfall is forecast, leading to flash flooding and unpredictable levels in floodways and river crossings. This will affect the collection and delivery of all mail products.

    Australia Post thanks all designated operators for their understanding and will update them once the situation has returned to normal.

    Update 3/27/17:

    Australia Post asks us to inform the designated operators of UPU member countries that, beginning on 27 March, weather warnings have been issued across North Queensland (postcodes 4740, 4741. 4750, 4751, and 4798 to 4820). Heavy rainfall is forecast, leading to flash flooding. This will affect the collection and delivery of all mail products.

    Australia Post thanks all designated operators for their understanding and will update them once the situation has returned to normal.

    Update 3/28/17:

    Australia Post asks us to inform the designated operators of UPU member countries that the weather warnings across northern New South Wales (postcode areas 2204, 2429, 2460, 2480, 2481, 2482, 2484, 2602, 2605, 2606, 2611, 2612, 2614, 2615, 2780, 2902, 2913 and 2914) ended on Monday, 27 March 2017, and all postal services are again operating as normal.

    Update 3/31/17:

    Cyclone Debbie, with its 161 mph winds, has caused havic in parts of coastal Australia.  Australia Post asks us to inform the designated operators of UPU member countries that it is continuing to experience severe weather in Queensland. As of today, 30 March 2017, all postal services in Queensland (postcodes 4xxx) are suspended, affecting delivery and lodgement across all products.

    Australia Post thanks all designated operators for their understanding and will update them once the situation has returned to normal.

    Update 4/4/17:

    Australia Post asks us to inform the designated operators of UPU member countries that, in addition to the impacts on the state of Queensland, Cyclone Debbie has now also caused flooding in New South Wales.

    Australia Post thanks all designated operators for their understanding; it will update them once the situation has returned to normal.

  • 12/20/16 Flooding in Spain (updated 12/27/16) Open or Close

    The designated operator of Spain, Correos y Telégrafos, asks us to inform the designated operators of other Union member countries that the east coast of the country is currently experiencing flooding.

    The affected postal codes are as follows: 03590, 03599, 03710, 03140, 03149, 03300, 03311, 03312, 03313, 03315, 03316, 03318, 03321, 03322, 03189, 03193, 03317, 03325, 03190, 03191, 03182, 03183, 03188, 03180, 03181, 03184, 03185, 03186, 30330, 30390, 30395, 30593, 30594, 30200, 30201, 30202, 30203, 30350, 30351, 30353, 30392, 30399, 30320, 30329,30331, 30332, 30333, 30334, 30335, 30338, 30860, 30868, 30870, 30875, 30876, 30877, 30878, 30879, 30590, 30591, 30592, 30720, 30730, 30739, 30740, 30700, 30708, 30709, 46670, 46843, 46844, 46860, 46868, 46869,, 46890, 46891, 46910, 46870, 46192, 46193, 46194, 46900, 46901, 46909.

    As a result, some roads are closed and some areas are difficult to access. In certain locations, the army is assisting with evacuation and rescue efforts. According to the weather forecast, the storm will be approaching the Balearic Islands in the next few hours. The delivery and collection of mail is thus being seriously affected in all these areas.

    Correos y Telégrafos thanks all member countries for their understanding and will update the designated operators through EmIS as soon as the situation returns to normal.

    Update 12/21/16:

    During yesterday 19/12 and today 20/12 and due to heavy floods, the collection and delivery of all kind of postal items has been interrupted in the following 84 zipcodes affecting 3 provinces located in Spain South East:

    ·         Alicante (03XXX): 28 zip codes

    03590 03599 03710 03140 03149 03300 03311 03312 03313 03315

    03316 03318 03321 03322 03189 03193 03317 03325 03190 03191

    03182 03183 03188 03180 03181 03184 03185 03186

     ·         Murcia (30XXX): 40 zip codes

    30330 30390 30395 30593 30594 30200 30201 30202 30203 30350

    30351 30353 30392 30399 30320 30329 30331 30332 30333 30334

    30335 30338 30860 30868 30870 30875 30876 30877 30878 30879

    30590 30591 30592 30720 30730 30739 30740 30700 30708 30709

     ·         Valencia (46XXX): 16 zip codes

    46670 46843 46844 46860 46868 46869 46890 46891 46910 46870

    46192 46193 46194 46900 46901 46909

    We will report when collection and delivery processes are resumed.

    Update 12/23/16:

    Further to EmIS 134/2016, the designated operator of Spain, Correos y Telégrafos, asks us to inform the designated operators of other Union member countries that the situation is now almost back to normal. Correos expects to begin normal delivery of postal items as of tomorrow. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there may be some items that have arrived in the last few days that are awaiting delivery and that there may be slight delivery delays until the situation is fully restored.

    The collection and delivery of postal items continues to be affected in the areas covered by postal codes 30710, 30590, 30591, 30592, 30720, 30729,30730, 30739, as some post offices have been flooded.

    Correos y Telégrafos thanks all member countries for their understanding and will update the designated operators through EmIS as soon as the situation returns to normal.

    Update 12/27/16:

    Further to EmIS 134/2016 and 137/2016, the designated operator of Spain, Correos y Telégrafos, asks us to inform the designated operators of other Union member countries that the situation is getting better and the delivery of postal items to the regions that were still affected (postal codes 30710, 30590, 30591, 30592, 30720, 30729,30730, 30739) will be as usual from today, 27 December 2016.

    Correos y Telégrafos thanks all member countries for their cooperation.

  • 12/15/16 Postage rate changes for 2017 Open or Close

    Both the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Canada Post Corporation (CPC) have announced postage rate changes for January 2017.


    Summary of USPS changes effective January 22, 2017

    First, a note about IMS rates - The postage rates we pay differ from published pricing in that they are part of separate, negotiated contracts.  Individual services may have different discount levels and even effective implementation dates.  This process benefits our customers as work share opportunities drive the postage cost down and can improve turn times and ultimately, the delivery of your mail and packages. 

    The following IMS services will see minimal increases on January 22, 2017.

    International Priority Airmail (IPA) and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL)

    • Rates for all service categories (letters, flats, packages, and m-bags) will increase an average of 3.8%.
    • IMS all-inclusive rates will save customers up to 80% compared to First Class Mail (and Package) International.
    • For packages, IMS provides an acceptance scan for customers using Endicia or Stamps PC postage software.
    Commercial ePacket (CeP)   
    • Rates will increase an average of 3.0% (note that IMS rates for this service have not changed since May 31, 2015).
    • IMS all-inclusive rates will save customers 50% or more compared to First Class Package International.
    • Service provides full door to door tracking to 29 of the most popular countries worldwide.
    • Endicia and Stamps integration.
     
    The following IMS services will see little to no changes in January 2017:
     
    "STANDARD" Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) and Priority Mail International (PMI) 
    • Because of restructured rates, some customers will see a very slight increase, some will see a slight decrease in pricing as determined by weight and destination country.
    • IMS all-inclusive rates will save customers up to 38% (PMEI) or 25% (PMI) compared to Retail.
    • Fully trackable.
    • Endicia and Stamps integration.
    "DROP SHIP" Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) and Priority Mail International (PMI)
    • No changes to pricing for January 2017.

    • Packages must fit into a standard USPS mail sack.
    • IMS all-inclusive rates will save customer up to 55% (PMEI) or 40% (PMI) compared to Retail.
    • Fully trackable.
    • Endicia and Stamps integration.

     

    Canada Post
     
    Canada Post changes will be effective January 16, 2017.  IMS does not publish direct entry rates as they are based on volume and the current exchange ratePlease contact us if you want updated pricing or a quote on a new project.
  • 12/15/16 Flooding in Thailand causes delays Open or Close

    The designated operator of Thailand, Thailand Post, asks us to inform the designated operators of other Union member countries that heavy rain and flooding in the southern part of the country are having an impact on mail operations and transportation, resulting in delays in the delivery of letter post, parcels and EMS items throughout the provinces and regions affected.

    The following postcode areas are affected to a greater or lesser extent by floods:

    77xxx, 80xxx, 84xxx, 85xxx, 86xxx, 90xxx, 92xxx, 93xxx, 94xxx and 96xxx.

    Thailand Post thanks all member countries for their understanding and will update the designated operators through EmIS as soon as the situation returns to normal.

  • 12/15/16 Expect delays in Germany Open or Close

    The designated operator of Germany, Deutsche Post, asks us to inform the designated operators of other Union member countries of the following:

    Owing to the recent Lufthansa pilots' strike and service limitations imposed by that airline, coupled with extremely heavy peak volumes, there is presently heavy congestion for airmail at Frankfurt Airport. Deutsche Post's office of exchange in Frankfurt is running smoothly, and there are no major delays for mail arriving or leaving by road. However, all the airport logistics and the Frankfurt airmail centre are severely impacted.

    Deutsche Post is attempting to bypass the affected areas wherever possible, but heavy delays in the processing of inbound, outbound and transit airmail are inevitable. The situation is likely to remain critical for several days at least. Between now and 23 December, it is therefore advisable for designated operators to dispatch mail to Frankfurt by surface routes wherever possible, in order to ensure smooth processing.

    Deutsche Post thanks all member countries for their understanding and cooperation.