Bush delivery, postage costs expected to soar
by Joy Mapaye
Monday, April 16, 2007
ktuu channel 2 Anchorage, Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- If you live in rural Alaska, get ready for some major sticker shock.
A postal rate hike scheduled to take effect next month is going to have a dramatic impact on prices in rural Alaska.
When the price of mail goes up May 14, the impact will be felt here, in the grocery stores Bush Alaska.
The bypass-mail program, used by a majority of shippers to get goods out to rural Alaska, helps keep postage costs down, according to shipping industry experts.
Michelle Adams, a logistics manager for Alaska Commercial Company, says that next month's rate increase will mean shipping costs may double to some communities.
"The post office on May 14 is taking an increase on 4th class mail, which is parcel post," Adams said. "And depending on the area that it's going to and the average bundle weight, it can go up anywhere from 32 to 58 percent over the current rates."
Adams delivers to more than 30 stores in the Bush. She says this rate increase will catch many by surprise.
"I don't think a lot of people out there are aware of how large this increase is and what it's going to mean to rural Alaska," she said.
Officials with the U.S. Postal Service say the increase will affect all parcel post customers around the nation, and Alaska is no different.
The Postal Service says it is required by law to charge a uniform rate on the same class of mail everywhere in the United States.
"In many cases, that helps Alaska, because although the costs individually to the Postal Service are higher here, due to the transportation costs, everyone across the country pays the same," said Kathy Hamilton, acting marketing manager for the Postal Service, Alaska District.
But, this time, it's likely that prices out here will continue to go up.
Postal officials met with Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens last week in order to determine whether anything can be done about the increase.
I love living in the bush, I really do. I love rural Alaska, but it does have it's down points.....prices being one of them. It always makes people from the Lower 48 want to faint when I tell them that I regularly pay $4.99 for an 18 pack of eggs, $9.98 for a 12 pack of diet pepsi and $10 for a half gallon of ice cream. That's not even taking into account the $5.20 a gallon for gas at the pump and $4.02 a gallon for fuel to heat your house. So now we get to look forward to another freight price hike.
With my job I get to travel to Anchorage about 5 times a year, sometimes more. During those 2-3 day trips I try and travel with almost nothing for baggage. Alaska airlines allows you to travel within Alaska with three 50lb pieces of luggage. I usually hit Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart. I go home with 20lbs of chicken, 8-12 lbs of butter, 5 lbs of cheese, 15 lbs of frozen vegetables, toilet paper, tissue, laundry soap etc. These opportunities to shop save a lot of money.
The walmart in Anchorage also has a thing called the bush department. While at walmart you can fill up your cart with things that you want to buy and then drop it off at the Bush counter. They will shrink wrap it, box it up and send it C.O.D. to you in your village. You can also call them up on the phone and tell them what you want and they will box it up and mail it C.O.D. Of course this service isn't free. On the total of your merchandise you pay a 15% handling fee and 26% for postage. Even still it is often cheaper to get things you want than buying it at the ONE store here in Kotzebue.
Here's another article on the rate increase.
So that's the big news here in the Bush. Other than that things are business as usual. Spring is dragging it's feet. As you can see it's not anything resembling warm out..............
It's supposed to warm up a bit tomorrow. Hopefully it will stay there and we will all welcome the start of mud bog season.
BALDWIN PENINSULA AND SELAWIK VALLEY-
444 AM ADT TUE APR 17 2007
TODAY ...MOSTLY CLOUDY. ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.
HIGHS 20 TO 25. WEST WINDS TO 10 MPH BECOMING
EAST 10 TO 25 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT ...SNOW LIKELY. UP TO 3 INCHES OF ACCUMULATION.
LOCAL BLOWING SNOW. TEMPERATURES RISING TO NEAR 30 BY MORNING.
EAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH.
WEDNESDAY ...CLOUDY. RAIN AND SNOW LIKELY. HIGHS 35 TO 40.
EAST WINDS 20 TO 30 MPH.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT ...CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS 20 TO 25.
SOUTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 30 MPH.
THURSDAY ...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SNOW. HIGHS 25 TO 30.
SOUTH WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH.
THURSDAY NIGHT ...MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOWS NEAR 15.
FRIDAY ...CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. HIGHS NEAR 30.
FRIDAY NIGHT ...CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS NEAR 20.
SATURDAY ...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS NEAR 35.
SATURDAY NIGHT ...MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOWS NEAR 20.
SUNDAY ...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS NEAR 35.
SUNDAY NIGHT ...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS NEAR 20.
MONDAY ...PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS NEAR 40.