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Intelligent Mail Package Barcode and our upcoming release

Okay so you say you have heard of IMb, what do you know about IMpb?  Get ready for our upcoming summer release!  I know I did not say a date but I can’t at this time.  Perhaps later more info can be provided.  But first, please check out these links for more detailed information.

Sources of detailed information for IMpb – excerpts have been included below:

Pub 199 – Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Implementation Guide for: Confirmation Services and Electronic Verification System (eVS) Mailers


RIBBS Intelligent Mail Package Barcode




Full compliance for Parcel Barcode usage:

The Postal Service will soon require the use of a unique tracking barcode on all commercial parcels, except Standard Mail parcels that claim presort / destination entry.  It will require all parcels to have an Imp barcode which will use version 1.6 of the electronic shipping services manifest files for each destination delivery address by January 7, 2013.

 One of the big pushes that the USPS is touting and another reason why they would want to transition as early as possible is free end to end tracking. “to encourage use of IMpb unique tracking barcodes by providing end-to-end tracking including confirmation of delivery on all commercial parcels except Standard Mail and Package Services parcels; and to require the use of an IMpb on parcels bearing PC Postage®.” -FRN link.


What parcel mail classes will be allowed to use this new barcode within our software?

At the present time we are working on enhancing First Class mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, Library Mail, Parcel Select – destination entry / Parcel Post, and Parcel Select Lightweight.  Standard Mail® parcels will not require the IMpb and will not get free tracing services, so we do not plan to support at this time.  FYI this list is always subject to change.



Dates, Usage and exceptions:

January 22, 2012 is the effective date.  However, the Postal Service will begin to implement the standards as shown from the final rule on January 22, 2012.  Wait now, don’t panic there is what I call a small grace period of transition up until July 2, 2012. The USPS will then finalize the implementation to be effective on January 7, 2013.  

As stated in the FRN the USPS says they understand that some mailers may have difficulty preparing their systems and processes in time to meet January 22, 2012 implementation (required after July 2, 2012), and further recognizes that some mailers may be unable to meet the January 7, 2013 deadline for use of IMpb.  So the USPS as stated in their words “will provide limited exceptions for those mailers who may require additional time to finalize their transition to the use of unique tracking barcodes or IMpb. Mailers requiring an exception may direct their request to vice president, Product Information, USPS Headquarters, Room 3667, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20260–5626.”  – FRN link.



So what does this mean? And how does it look?

Remember:  In the spirit of allowing mailers time to make changes to the software the USPS provides a transitional period until July 2, 2012 to adhere to these new standards and not have company’s penalized.  So on January 7, 2013, the USPS will finalize this implementation and require an Imp barcode as stated above for “all commercial mail pieces that include a tracking or extra service barcode and on all parcels (except Standard Mail parcels) claiming presort or destination entry pricing.” FRN link.


Example barcode as shown from PUB199:

Exhibit 16: Barcode Specification

NOTE: The barcode label depicted below is for illustration purposes only.


Lastly, if you are still wondering about the Intelligent Mail Barcode and what that is, as maybe you have not changed over from the POSTNET, here is a link that gives the fastest over view I have ever found.


As always – United States Postal Service owns all Registrations and Trademarks –

Best Regards!

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