Terminal Dues, Transit Charges, and Other International Expenses

Under the Acts of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), each postal administration that receives mail from another administration has the right to collect payment from the originating post to compensate for costs incurred to deliver that mail. These charges are called “terminal dues” for letter mail and “inward land rates” for parcels. Express Mail International items also incur processing and delivery charges from foreign posts or commercial delivery companies. Additionally, the UPU provides for transit charges for mail exchanged between administrations through a third country. Transit charges are paid by the originating country to the intermediary country for its forwarding of mail to the destination.

For the most part, settlements of terminal dues, inward land rates, and transit charges are contingent upon both the Postal Service and foreign posts accepting statistics on the mail exchanged. Final settlement and payment can occur a year or more after service is performed. The Postal Service accrues an estimate of these expenses based on available weight and piece data by country. This year the Postal Service incurred $571 million in terminal dues, Express Mail, transit charges, and other international expenses unrelated to the transportation of mail.