There have been Internet rumors that the United States Postal Service has stopped accepting mail going to China.
These rumors stem from a story reported by the AP that said the USPS had informed its counterparts at the Universal Postal Union (UPU) that it would no longer accept transit mail destined to China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Transit mail is mail from other countries that go through the U.S. Postal Service offices of exchange (International Service Centers).
The UPU is a United Nations agency with headquarters in Switzerland and provides a forum for cooperation between 192 member country postal services.
Diminished Cargo Space Availability
Due to the viral outbreak of the Coronavirus in China, many airlines have cut back or canceled flights to China. The reduction in air cargo capacity has put a strain on postal services worldwide to find room for mail and parcels heading to China.
Therefore, by restricting the acceptance of transit mail from other countries, the U.S. Postal Service is trying to retain as much cargo capacity for shipments originating in the U.S.
While USPS is still accepting letters and parcels bound for China, it has suspended the delivery guarantee on Priority Mail Express International shipments. This suspension has been in effect since Monday, February 10, 2020.
“Due to widespread airline cancellations, capacity constraints and restrictions into this area, the U.S. Postal Service has temporarily suspended the guarantee on Priority Mail Express International destined for China and Hong Kong.”
Coronavirus Disrupts Global Trade
The Coronavirus outbreak has disrupted global shipments going to and from China. Also, some Chinese factories have shut down or are operating below capacity levels as China battles to contain the outbreak.
While the USPS notice to the UPU only addresses shipments destined to China, the reduction in cargo space availability is also a problem for shipments leaving China.
In a statement to the AP, the UPU expects the suspension of flights to continue to “impact the delivery of mail for the foreseeable future.”
The UPU hopes this situation is temporary, but in the same statement to the AP it said, “The Universal Postal Union is carefully monitoring the operational situation, and is in constant contact with postal operators to ensure any backlog is cleared in the shortest possible time.”
Impact on Online Merchants
As many small businesses and marketplace sellers use the U.S. Postal Service to ship items globally, right now, it may be a good idea to restrict accepting orders going to China.
Online merchants with UPS, FedEx, and DHL accounts have more flexibility as courier services are still operating flights to and from China.
However, it is still wise to check with courier services before sending packages to China to get the latest update on their service commitments.
What do you think about how the U.S. Postal Service is handling the shortage of cargo capacity for shipment to China?
Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.