The United States Postal Service will begin opening its first mailboxes in September with a new package size of 4×8, as it tries to make up for lost mail volumes following the government shutdown.
The change follows a report that said mail volumes could be cut by as much as half by 2018, and is expected to lead to an average of $1,300 in lost revenue.
The agency said in a statement Friday that it is opening up mail for delivery in a variety of sizes, including a new standard sized envelope with a box and letter.
In its first three months, it expects the mail volume to grow by 4,700, or roughly 10%, compared with the same period last year.
The first package of mail to be opened will be a 4×4 envelope, and the agency expects that this size will be popular, too, with its current customers, such as those in the health care industry, being able to order larger packages.
The Postal Service said in its announcement that it has seen a “huge amount of interest” in the new sizes, and hopes to see a surge in requests for delivery when they are fully operational.
A 4×5 envelope, for example, would be the most popular size, and it has been a consistent customer.
It said customers will be able to choose between the smaller, standard, and oversized size, as well as the standard, 4×6 and larger sizes.
The announcement comes just a week after President Donald Trump signed legislation to reopen more than 5 million mailboxes and open them to business, and a week before Congress is scheduled to vote on an extension of the government’s shutdown, which is set to end September 1.
The postal service said the change in size will allow it to provide faster delivery of the mail and to make room for delivery at a lower cost.
“This change in mail size is part of our efforts to address the increasing volume of mail sent in the wake of the shutdown,” the agency said.
“As we prepare to reopen mailboxes, we’re also looking at the ability to deliver a larger, faster package to customers who are waiting in line.
This will be helpful for people who live farther from their workplace, such that delivery can be done at a faster rate.”