Russia Postal Delays April 2013

Russia Postal Delays April 2013

Delays and disruption as Russian Post struggles with e-commerce

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Russian Post is contending with tons of backlogged international mail – mostly e-commerce parcels – in Moscow after problems with staffing levels in the Russian customs service.

An embargo on inbound international mail has been declared from 9th to the 14th April at Sheremetyevo International Airport with reports of 500 tons of mail sitting waiting to get through customs.

Growth in the volume of mail sent to Russia from abroad has doubled in the last three years, while at the same time domestic mail volumes have grown only 15%. Internet shopping accounts for about 70% of Russian Post’s parcel volumes.

Russian Post itself has been struggling with its own infrastructure, and last year urged major foreign posts to consider sending inbound Russian mail to specific regional airports, rather than via Moscow, to avoid swamping the Russian capital’s processing facilities.

However, the latest problem has seen the Post suggesting that customs officials are as much to blame as the problems in the postal network, particularly with a 20% cut to civil service staffing levels in 2013 as ordered by the previous Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev.

Russian Post director general Alexander Kiselev has now written to the Federal Customs Service calling for improvements.

Foreign postal operators have been warning their customer of likely delays, while looking for alternative routes for particularly urgent items.

bpost international, the cross-border mail division of Belgium’s bpost, said that with Domodedovo International Airport also closed to international mail it was routing some mail and express items through Turkish Airlines, with some letter mail going through bpost UK.

Russian Post is facing considerable domestic network problems as well, and as of today more than 11,000 people have signed an online petition at calling on President Vladimir Putin to deal with the mail network.

The petition complains that some people are having to wait up to six months for a parcel to be delivered.


The Post organized an open forum last week to discuss the problems it is having keeping up with the distance selling market, discussing the issues with politicians, experts and representatives of public organisations.

Russian Post has been calling for state assistance for months to help modernise its aging processing infrastructure.

The company said its forum had come to the conclusion that a concerted effort is needed from both government and business to address the logistics problems in Russian e-commerce and distance selling.

But without government support, Russian Post said strategic development of the business was “impossible”.

Alexander Timofeev, director of production processes, said the company was in need of “serious investment” to provide the desired level of service quality and tap the potential for Russia’s distance-selling market.

He said: “60% of our existing infrastructure is in need of replacement and cannot provide quality service for the avalanche flow of parcels. And it will inevitably become a brake on the further development of distance selling in Russia if we do not solve this problem.”

Alexei Mitrofanov, the chairman of the State Duma committee on information policy, information technology and communications, said the outdated infrastructure and technology and high reliance on manual labour at Russian Post was constraining the distance-selling industry.

“This concerns a huge industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people and we as a legislator take this legislation very seriously,” he insisted.

OZON Holdings, the ecommerce firm dubbed the “Amazon of Russia”, spoke at the forum to state that dealing with Russia’s distance-selling logistics problem cannot be solved by simply upgrading Russian Post’s creaking network.

Nina Mogilev, the director of service delivery at OZON Holdings, said: “We are interested in the development of mail in Russia, as we see this as important in the future development and expansion of our business throughout the country.

“But to build an affordable, effective and efficient system for the delivery of goods to the population of such a great country it is not enough to just update the fleet of Russian Post or add an automated sorting system in order to work effectively. You need a strategic interation between all the participants in this process – the rapidly growing e-commerce sector and also government, transportation and logistics companies,” said the OZON director, whose company has 11m registered users and makes $500m (USD) a year in sales.

Return Shipping Label to Customer Through PayPal

Do you have a customer who wants to return an item and you need to pay for the return shipping?  

Tonight my partner in all things eBay really helped me out when I had a customer who needed to return an item.  I am not part of the return process at eBay by choice (since I sell patterns I do not want a lot of returns due to copyright).  It was nearly impossible to figure out how to send the customer a label to return the item to me.  I asked for help on Facebook and Scott came right through.  

If you need to send a return label by PDF form and email to a customer you can log into PayPal and go to this page

Pre Paid Return Label to customer by email 

Change the mailing address for SHIP FROM:  the buyers address for the main reason that this will change the cost of shipping if they are in another zone and you are shipping priority.  

in the SHIP TO: Column on the right fill in your address Preview Changes

Calculate what you know the weight to be since you mailed this to the customer. You can find the amount in eBay shipping or your third party.  Mine was with

You will put in weight, etc 

Hit Continue 

You will see the cost you are being charged.  Press the Pay and Continue button. 

You will then see the button to print label.   Hit Print and there will be a PDF button.  If you are on a Mac it is really easy as it says to mail a PDF to email recipient

If you are on a PC, it is a bit different but make sure you use the PDF. I think it is a link.   


FOMO Coffee Mug Shipping USPS In Flat Rate Padded Envelope

FOMO SHIPPING Coffee Mugs 101 – As many of you know eBay has encouraged sellers to offer free shipping. Well…. if you sell Coffee mugs or cups and they are over 13 ounces it can get quite costly to go from coast to coast.  A package can cost up to $12.79 to mail to New York from Utah.  

I came up with a way to ship for $5.35 Priority if you are an eBay eTRS (Top Rated Seller) and $5.70 for non eTrs. I ran it by my friend Jason Smith of Thrifting with the Boys and asked what he thought… He said… “my Favorite FOMO is a genius”. Now understand FOMO means former Mormon and it is Jason’s favorite term for me … so he started naming the coffee packaging this term.. The name stuck but we felt we needed a new definition to not offend anyone. Jason and his wife Staci came up with “Freely Overcoming Mug Obstacles” (FOMO) … it works and it is a hit. We will include videos on how we use this method.  We would love to hear your reaction on this method of shipping.   Send all your friends to to learn how we do this. 

Fomo Shipping Saves You money shipping Coffee Mugs cross country
FOMO Shipping saves you money shipping coffee mugs cross country.

1. Flat rate Padded Priority Envelopes that are free from the post office website. (you cannot get at the counter)  You have to order from the USPS website or the 1.800.610.8734.  You will need to set up a free account.  You can call and order 200 envelopes a day.  

2. If you use online shipping, such as eBay, PayPal, or the USPS website, this will be between $5.05 and $5.15 depending on the site you use.

3. You will need 1. the envelope 2. Bubble Wrap 3. Cardboard to wrap the handle and mug after wrapping in Bubble wrap.   (I cut a lot of pieces from boxes and lay them in a pile for just this purpose)

4. Watch to see how we pack mugs below.  

1.  David Rayor Of COST shipping Fomo

2.  Jason Smith of Thrifting with the Boys shipping FOMO

I received a package in the mail from a customer so I wanted to show you how she mailed a FOMO mug.. view here

USPS Parcel Select & Standard

So with all the questions of the January 27, 2013 change to Parcel Select and eBay not printing Parcel Select Labels until late March, I get asked about it all the time

My friend Eric Nash at answered many questions on this blog a few days ago. 

The Difference between Parcel Select and Parcel Standard   <———  The article is great.. 

Can I buy Parcel Select at the Post Office?
NO — Parcel Select  can only be purchased online via a PC Postage vendor (such as or from an authorized USPS business partner.

Can I buy Standard Post (formerly known as Parcel Post) online using
NO — Standard Post postage can only be purchased at the Post Office.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 1.25.49 AM


No USPS Saturday Delivery? Packages YES

Today the United States Post Office (USPS) announced that starting in August 2013 that there will be no Saturday delivery of mail to homes and businesses.  Don’t get scared if you are an online buyer or seller.  There is great news for all of you.  There will be Saturday delivery of all packages, first class, parcel and priority.  

So if you sell online, the news is really not a change if you send packages. If you ship a package and it is supposed to arrive on Saturday… it will.   There will be no delivery of first class letters, junk mail etc.  

Post offices that are open now will continue to be open and you can send any type of mail on Saturday.  Will there be Pick Up for Priority on Saturdays at your home or business?  That is to be determined.  However, if you have packages ready to go and you see a carrier or your carrier delivers to you, they should take the packages for you.   You can still go to your local post office and drop off all mail.  

This is good news for carriers locally where I live as the full timers will not have to rotate and work different schedules. They will work Monday – Friday and the lighter Saturday delivery will be done by the sub route carriers.   So….. no complaints anyone… if you send packages there is no change to you… it could have been much much worse.   


Ask Cindy: Seller Protection International

Kim asked tonight if she is covered if she ships international with first class package by USPS.

Kim you have to have proof of delivery such as a delivery confirmation. Easy in the US if you ship online and get free delivery confirmation with First Class and Priority packages.

Much harder internationally.


You hear people say all the time that you can ONLY get delivery confirmation with Express.  I went to the USPS website tonight and this is what they have on their site.


So as I ship a $300.00 order tomorrow to the customer in Russia (0 Feedback and brand new buyer on eBay)  I will not only be praying but I will be using the signature confirmation on the service that works for seller protection.

I will keep you posted.

I hope this helps Kim and thanks for stopping by my blog.



Bulk Edit New Shipping on eBay

I am worried that many of you have not edited your shipping charges if you offer flat rate international first class package or parcel shipping, (including me). I am right there with you. I figured I would do it tomorrow night.  

Bulk editing on eBay has become so wonderful.  If you have not tried it recently and you remember the old clunky format, you are in for a treat.  

Go to your active listings

I will cover flat rate priority envelopes first since they are going from $12.95 to $19.95 in Canada and from $16.95 to $23.95 worldwide.

Let’s say you have 25 coffee mugs that you ship FOMO method by putting in a flat rate padded envelope and ship.  If you have categories (store owners) go to that category if not in active listings type in coffee or mug

Highlight those listings and hit edit editalllistings

A new screen will pop up with columns

Hit this same Edit button on left of the listings and select all

Select Edit then  select shipping international editinternational

a new screen will pop up editbulk2013

For For Priority Flat Rate Envelopes you will change it all here.  Edit in Bulk   Flat (not calculated)  you can do your Canada and add another service for worldwide.  

Save and submit.  All have been saved. 

You can do the same technique if you offer a flat rate on items that are a flat fee per item that you ship first class… do the steps I suggested such as breaking into categories of if you know the weight of each highlight those.  Follow the steps for First Class International and you are done. 




Priority International USPS Increase

I talked about the Priority Flat Rate International rates going up quite a bit on the 27th of January last week in my blog.

The good news for other international Priority is it is a slight increase.

Make sure you have your Flat Rate International Envelopes and Boxes Fixed in your shipping on eBay!  If you have calculated shipping on eBay, it will automatically fix on January 27th.  If you have $16.95 for flat rate, fix by Sunday to $23.95

note that International Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are MORE expensive than mailing by weight if 4-pounds or under so mail these items First Class if possible.

Priority International USPS January 27, 2013
Priority International USPS January 27, 2013

USPS First Class International Parcel + 60% Increase

I wrote last week about the changes to the USPS shipping service for International First Class Parcel that is coming on January 27th.  

I think the biggest shock is going to be mailing packages to Canada for most sellers.  

Most of the first class international packages are going to be going up at least 60%  Yep Sixty percent..  Remember you will get delivery confirmation on many first class to Canada for free (you pay for it, believe me). The post office has been secretive about what exactly will be “Select”.  I have made a form below to give you an idea of the difference.  Check back tomorrow for Priority Prices. 

Note:  this is online prices if you use, eBay Shipping, PayPal Shipping, etc.   If you go to the counter you will pay more.  

First Class International Price Changes 2013
First Class International Price Changes for Parcels (not Flat) 2013  Comparisons to Current 2013


2013 International USPS Increases

On January 27, 2013 the United States Post Office mailing prices will be going up.  Domestic (USA and territories) is pretty standard for increases in the past.

Where I noticed the Drastic Change is in International.  Priority Flat Rate is HUGE!

Priority Flat Rate Envelopes to Canada was $12.95. It will go to $19.95  

Other international Flat Rate Priority Envelopes will go from $16.95 to $23.95

First Class:

Countries are broken up into regions for first class

  • Group 1 (Canada)
  • Group 2 (Mexico)
  • Group 3 – 5 (Eastern Asia, Europe, and Australia)
  • Group 6 – 9 (Western Asia, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, and New Zealand)

I ship a great deal of large flat envelopes first class internationally.

January 27, 2013 I will be paying the following rates: (This is online rates)  Rates at the USPS Counter are higher.

Here are some more International Changes


First Class Mail International is being renamed First Class Package Service International and is being transferred to the “competitive product list” which allows the mail class to be eligible for Commercial Base pricing (online rate discounts).

2013 rates are seeing a significant increase, with rates increasing as much as 60% for packages that weigh up to 1 lb

Make sure you get all adjustments to shipping internationally done  on eBay, Etsy, and your business website.

If you want to dig deeper into pricing, grab the whisky and visit the USPS new prices here

January 2013 USPS Increases

A quick glance at the changes