Apr. 28th, 2017

mtbc: maze N (blue-white)
Various domestic-recipient mail systems charge fees for handling the tax and duty collection on international packages. For example, for services that end up entering the UK's normal Royal Mail service, Parcelforce charge maybe ten pounds or so for the administrative hassle. I vaguely recall the USPS charging something but rather less; then again, domestic postage also tends to cost less in the US even though the distances are rather larger and the average population density lower.

It occurs to me that there is little direct opportunity for market forces to work their dubious magic. Many senders of international mail probably have little idea in which domestic service the package will eventually end up, let alone what their fee structure is. I can't help but think that it might make far more sense for the administrative costs of downstream mail services to be included in the original shipping price so that the agent who chooses how to ship is directly influenced by the full cost of their decision. I do not know if this is the kind of thing about which the Universal Postal Union are wont to have meetings but I like to think that somebody does.

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Mark T. B. Carroll

September 2017

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