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Royal Mail & Parcelforce price increase: 2013

June 26, 2013

Royal Mail Rate Increase

Royal Mail and Parcelforce increased prices on April 2, 2013. Shipwire seeks to provide the best shipping services and competitive rates for all our customers, so we have enabled Hermes for domestic UK shipments as an additional carrier option (see below for details). We are providing the following summary of the changes, an explanation of what they mean for businesses using Royal Mail and Parcelforce, and how the Shipwire platform is helping customers offset these price increases with carrier rate arbitrage.

Context for understanding the Rate Increase
Carrier rate increases happen every year like clockwork across all major parcel carriers. FedEx and UPS usually announce their rate increases in January. It is so consistent that the industry term for it is “GRI” (General Rate Increase).

Royal Mail has increased rates across several product groups, and introduced a new parcel size. You can find a summary sheet of changes released by Royal Mail here.

Shipping rate changes
From the link above, there have been numerous changes. The most commonly used shipping methods are Air Mail, First Class Packet, First Class Packet Recorded, and AirSure. Among these four, the changes from 2012 pricing average out to the following:

Method 2013 Increase
Royal Mail Air Mail 6-12%
Royal Mail First Class Packet (Small) 6.89%
Royal Mail First Class Packet Recorded (Small) 9.67%
Royal Mail AirSure 1-2%


New parcel size: Why have my rates gone up?
Royal Mail has introduced a new Medium sizing for parcels, making the Parcel and Letter categories the following:

Size Dimensions
Small Parcel 45 x 35 x 8 cm
Medium Parcel 61 x 46 x 46 cm
Letter 24 x 16.5 x 0.5 cm
Large Letter 35.3 x 25 x 2.5 cm

The Small Parcel is now limited to 8cm in depth, and larger parcels will be categorized as Medium. This new classification may in some cases cause a higher rate for shipping due to products no longer being considered Small Parcel.

New UK carrier enabled: Hermes
For customers impacted by these pricing changes, Shipwire recommends enabling Hermes for your Shipwire account. Contact our Customer Care team to enable Hermes in your Shipwire account. When Hermes is enabled it will automatically be selected for an order when it is the most cost-effective option.

Using Hermes will be help with domestic UK delivery, and will provide an alternative carrier for rating your shipments. Hermes parcels are insurable and trackable, and are generally cost-effective for packages between 2kg and 10kg.

Dimitri Onistsuk

Dimitri Onistsuk is the marketing director at Shipwire, and is in charge of figuring out what knobs to turn in order to spread the word about the leader in order fulfillment. During his years working in ecommerce, shipping, and fulfillment, he has helped countless merchants sell stuff to their global customers.