Why is identifying HAZMAT so important?
HAZMAT is defined as any article or substance designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as being capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or property during transportation. Due to the nature of damage and safety USPS needs to know items are HAZMAT so they can handle it appropriately.
What service level restrictions are there when shipping HAZMAT?
Based on the type of HAZMAT you designate, your shipment may not be allowed on aircraft. EasyPost will comply with this by only returning ground transportation service levels, such as Parcel Select Ground. We will also determine if international shipping is allowed and only return rates when allowed.
How can I learn more details about how to prepare and handle HAZMAT shipments with USPS?
USPS provides a comprehensive guide and regulations for shipping HAZMAT in USPS Publication 52: https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/welcome.htm.
How can I find out what category my HAZMAT item is?
Use the USPS HAZMAT search tool: https://pe.usps.com/HAZMAT/Index. Enter your item description to determine what class of HAZMAT your item belongs to.
How do I designate my shipment as HAZMAT and identify the HAZMAT type?
Each HAZMAT type is listed and described in the EasyPost API docs, including where to designate it in your rating or shipment request.
EasyPost Shipment Option API Doc: https://www.easypost.com/docs/api#options
Am I required to do anything else besides providing the HAZMAT type?
Yes, additional labels, markings, and documentation may be required depending on the type of HAZMAT you are shipping. You, as a shipper, are responsible for adhering to all USPS regulations. See Pub 52 for specifics: https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/welcome.htm.
What will change on the label?
Service indicator "H" for easy identification.
"HAZMAT - Surface Transportation Only" below the return address for surface-only packages.
The word "HAZMAT" after "USPS TRACKING #" is above the tracking barcode.
What extra services are allowed?
Extra services are limited to adult signature or USPS Insurance.
Are there extra fees for HAZMAT shipments?
There are no additional fees for HAZMAT shipments.
How do I present my HAZMAT items to the USPS?
You can drop off your items at a USPS facility, schedule a pickup, or present items to your postal letter carrier during your normal pickup. However, you need to separate all of your HAZMAT items from your non-HAZMAT items when shipping multiple packages.
How is USPS aware of the type of HAZMAT being shipped?
The label will identify the shipment as HAZMAT and all pertinent details on the HAZMAT type will be uploaded electronically to USPS so their system is aware when they scan the tracking barcode.
What happens if I use old HAZMAT codes?
Before July 9, 2023, if you use old HAZMAT codes or codes used for another carrier besides USPS you will receive rates, but the shipment will not be properly identified as HAZMAT to USPS. After July 9, 2023, old HAZMAT codes and codes not related to USPS will not return USPS rates.
What changes to USPS HAZMAT go into effect on July 9, 2023?
USPS has mandated all shippers use the proper HAZMAT identifiers on this date. Old HAZMAT codes will not be accepted after July 09, 2023 for USPS shipments.
When will new HAZMAT codes be made available within EasyPost’s API?
As of April 20, 2023, the updated USPS HAZMAT codes are supported in EasyPost’s shipping API.
What happens if I don't designate applicable shipments as HAZMAT?
Shippers who do not designate HAZMAT items when shipping are liable for civil penalties and prosecution. If that HAZMAT causes damage additional litigation could result in compensation.
What's the difference between HAZMAT and dangerous goods?
When shipping HAZMAT internationally, dangerous goods terminology and rules are used rather than HAZMAT.
Can I ship HAZMAT in a letter or flat-sized mailpieces?
HAZMAT is not eligible for First-Class Mail, however, it is allowed in First-Class Package Service.
Can I ship HAZMAT to APO/FPO/DPO addresses?
When shipping to Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO), or Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) destinations, mailers must follow international dangerous goods regulations. This mail is only treated as domestic for pricing purposes.
Are electronics with lithium batteries always considered HAZMAT?
Packages being sent domestically containing new electronic devices, in original unopened packaging or manufacturer-certified new or refurbished devices, that bear no lithium battery marking, are exempt from applying STCs and ESCs. This exemption does not apply to packages being sent internationally or to APO/FPO/DPO destinations.
These packages must meet the following:
- only button cell batteries installed in equipment; or
- no more than 4 lithium cells; or
- two lithium batteries installed in the equipment they operate, (e.g., cell phones, tablets, digital readers, glucose monitors, etc.) are not required to bear the lithium battery mark. and
- when there are no more than two mailpieces in a single consignment, per Pub 52, Section 349