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Postal News and Information from Around the World
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September 3, 2015

PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Postal Executive Update  is now available online.


DOMESTIC NEWS

Roll Call: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that funding the government is the top challenge facing him when he returns to the Capitol next week. The Kentucky Republican said he would work with the White House to come up with budget levels to keep the government open past Sept. 30.

Politico: Our political discourse is shrinking to fit our smartphone screens. Twice before in the last hundred years a new medium has transformed elections. In the 1920s, radio disembodied candidates, reducing them to voices. In the 1960s, television gave candidates their bodies back, at least in two dimensions. With its jumpy cuts and pitiless close-ups, TV placed a stress on sound bites, good teeth and an easy manner. Image became everything. Today, with the public looking to smartphones for news and entertainment, we seem to be at the start of the third big technological makeover of modern electioneering. The presidential campaign is becoming just another social-media stream, its swift and shallow current intertwining with all the other streams that flow through people’s devices. This shift is changing the way politicians communicate with voters, altering the tone and content of political speech. But it’s doing more than that. It’s changing what the country wants and expects from its would-be leaders.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. worker productivity grew much more than initially thought in the second quarter, reflecting a bounce back in economic activity following a slow start to 2015. The productivity of nonfarm workers, measured as the output of goods and services per hour worked, increased at a 3.3% seasonally adjusted annual rate from April through June, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That was the strongest pace since the fourth quarter of 2013, and followed two consecutive quarterly declines. From a year earlier, however, productivity was up just 0.7%, and has been lackluster during the six-year expansion.

Virtual-Strategy.com: PhysicalAddress.com is a USPS-certified Commercial Mail Receiving Agency that gives postal mail a digital life. Every user who signs up with PhysicalAddress.com can select a unique address. Starting at $9 a month, PhysicalAddress.com will scan and upload envelopes and packages to a users' virtual mailbox. Users may then choose to shred, store, scan, trash, block, filter and download copies of mail from inside the Virtualized Mail application. PhysicalAddress.com offers mail forwarding, allowing users to forward mail wherever they choose.

WBNS: "Columbus Postal Worker Accused Of Hoarding More Than 13,000 Pieces Of Mail"

Martha's Vineyard Times: With some regularity, The Times receives telephone calls and emails from patrons of the Edgartown Post Office, asking that we report on the poor service they receive. Last week, a woman called and said she waited almost one half-hour in line expecting to pick up a package that should have been there, but she was told when she finally made it to the window that the package could not be found. A postal employee who was not identified [said] that post office boxholders are served first “because they are paying customers. General delivery is handled after that, and is done for free as a courtesy by the Edgartown Post Office.”

eCommerceBytes: The USPS should consider adding functionality to its USPS Mobile app that would allow customers to pay for postal services through the app, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). And it should consider creating a new app to allow customers to order money orders through their mobile devices. These and other recommendations were published in a white paper recently released by the OIG. Mobile apps present opportunities for the US Postal Service to attract more customers, generate additional revenue, and improve customer service, the OIG said, and it came up with 10 ideas with the help of a digital-mobile strategy expert and a marketing analysis firm - 5 suggestions for enhancing the existing USPS Mobile app (released in 2009), and 5 suggestions for new standalone apps from the Postal Service. Some appear obvious, such as adding account management to USPS Mobile - customers could store information such as frequently used addresses and post offices, delivery preferences, and payment details, for example. Also a sure-to-please addition: "allowing package recipients to receive alerts automatically when a package is sent to them, giving options to arrange a pickup time at a post office, offering expedited delivery service for an additional fee, or changing the delivery destination." The OIG also suggested that the USPS add payments capability to its current mobile app.

September 2, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office of the Inspector General: The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) is conducting a review of political mail. The objective of this review is to evaluate existing political mail strategies and identify opportunities for the Postal Service to grow political mail. The OIG established an Audit Asks web site to provide an opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on our projects. Web site visitors can register comments and upload documents related to our project at https://www.uspsoig.gov/audit-asks/how-can-political-mail-be-more-effective. We will consider and use this information as appropriate during the course of our work. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me at 636-345-9722 or Chad Stroup, Auditor-In-Charge, at 312-601-3918.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Union Bulletin: Snail mail, while not as popular or crucial at it once was, nevertheless serves an important purpose. Congress needs to take action to ensure the U.S. Postal Service can operate efficiently. Yet, that's not happening as federal mail service is floundering as a quasi-governmental agency. It is expected to operate just like a private for-profit business while also having to follow various government regulations — and restrictions — imposed by Congress. Given that, it's no wonder the Postal Service is doing a lousy job serving its customers.

Yahoo! Finance: Amazon Prime members may end up getting less out of the $99 per year service, depending on where they live. Most people end up getting Prime because they get free two day shipping on so many items. However, some members will now be limited with regards to what "Prime" items they will get in two days. Amazon is testing a program called "Ship By Region". Under this, select vendors get to decide where they are willing to ship items to in two days. Customers who have Prime, but are outside the region sellers are willing to send their goods to with two day shipping will have to wait longer.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

NIGERIA: Vanguard: SInce the advent of Information and communications Technology, ICT, the impact on the Nigerian Postal Services Nipost, has not been favourable as the fortunes has continued to nosedive, as a result of huge apathy from the customers towards post services. Apart from the need for a total revamping of the Post occasioned by this development, experts have shared the view on the need for the establishment of a National Postal Commission (NPC) to engender proper regulation of the industry and at the same time check the excesses of the independent courier companies operating in the country.

INDIA: Livemint: More and more e-commerce companies are looking to make use of India Post's wide network across the country in order to increase their rural reach. The latest to join the list is Bangalore-based mVikarsha Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd which has signed a so-called memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu circle of India Post to provide assisted e-commerce solutions through head post offices and sub-post offices. E-commerce companies, including Flipkart.com, Myntra, Snapdal.com and Amazon.in, already have tie-ups with India Post to provide distribution and cash-on-delivery services. The postal department has an e-commerce and parcel processing centre in Parel, Mumbai, with a capacity to handle 30,000 parcels per day.

KOREA: Korea Times: Korea Post, the state-run postal service operator, said Wednesday it will work with eBay Korea to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to run businesses abroad. The company said it will launch an online export support program called "eBay for Business" jointly with the global e-commerce firm from September to April, and encouraged the active participation of local SMEs.

BELGIUM: CEP News: bpost wants to replace all mailboxes in the country with new secured boxes. Last week, the Belgian postal operator announced that 14,000 mailboxes across the country are to be replaced. The new boxes will make it impossible for thieves to snag mail items out of these boxes or get access by a master key.

September 1, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office of the Inspector General

  • Mobile Opportunities: Smart Services for Connected Consumers -- The U.S. Postal Service could enhance its mobile app, USPS Mobile, in five ways, and it could also develop five additional new apps, a new paper from the Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found. Working with a digital-mobile strategy expert and a marketing analysis firm, the OIG identified a total of 10 opportunities for the Postal Service to expand its mobile offerings in ways that could attract more customers, generate additional revenue, and improve customer service.Read Mobile Opportunities: Smart Services for Connected Consumers.

  • Going (More) Mobile -- If you're like most people – say, the 64 percent of American adults who own at least one smartphone, according to Pew Research – you probably do a fair amount of online browsing wherever you happen to be. Increasingly, mobile is not just an extension of the web experience but rather the focal point of it: All signs point to mobile driving e-commerce's future growth. Way back in 2009, the U.S. Postal Service developed USPS Mobile, an app that allows consumers to find the nearest Post Office, schedule a pick-up, put their mail on hold, or track packages. USPS Mobile is comparable to apps developed by Postal Service competitors, but a new white paper we've just released has found that the time is ripe for the Postal Service to "catapult its mobile offerings from functional to fantastic." Working with a digital-mobile strategy expert and a marketing analysis firm, we identified five ways to enhance USPS Mobile and five new apps. These 10 ideas could help the Postal Service attract customers, generate revenue, and improve customer service. For instance, USPS Mobile could include more package services, or a way to determine how long the lines are at your local Post Office, so you can plan accordingly. And new apps could provide capabilities for scanning packages, paying postage at home, requesting money orders, accessing passport services, and more. The imperative of a mobile first strategy and the details about potential new USPS Mobile features and apps are explained in our paper, Mobile Opportunities: Smart Services for Connected Consumers. Meanwhile, we'd like to know: Do you use USPS Mobile? What additional or new postal features or apps would you like to have?

  • How Can Political Mail Be More Effective? -- The U.S. Postal Service plays a vital role in the American democratic process by ensuring campaign material mailed by registered political candidates and political committees is brought to the American voters as quickly as possible. Billions of dollars are expected to be spent on campaign advertising (including television, radio, on-line, direct mail, and other print) leading up to the 2016 national elections. In November 2016 citizens will vote for a new president, 435 members of the House of Representatives, 34 senators, 12 governors, legislators in 43 states, city and county officials around the country, and various state and local ballot initiatives and proposed constitutional amendments. The Postal Service has dedicated a site on USPS.com to promote and advertise its political mail products and services - https://www.usps.com/business/political-mail.htm. How effective is mail for campaign advertising, particularly compared to other advertising mediums, such as television, radio, and social media? What digital enhancements, such as "quick response" codes, would increase your interest in the political campaign mail you receive? Is there anything the Postal Service could be doing to encourage mailers to enhance the value of political mail?

  • How Can the Postal Service Best Manage Special Services Billing Determinants? -- Billing determinants are spreadsheets U.S. Postal Service employees input manually to report volume and revenue for each price in each class of mail. Special Services billing determinants are obtained from the Revenue, Pieces, and Weight Report; they deal primarily with transactions and revenue for Special Services provided by the Postal Services such as Certified Mail, return receipts, insurance services, and money orders. Special Services billing determinants play a critical role in the Annual Compliance Report by helping the Postal Service ensure that any price adjustment does not exceed the price cap for each Special Service. We are looking into the accuracy, efficiency, and completeness of the Special Services billing determinants. 1. Do you analyze the Special Services billing determinants for accuracy and completeness? If yes, how? 2. Can you identify any risks of data entry errors in Special Services billing determinants? 3. Do you recommend any improvements in the procedures used to prepare the Special Services billing determinants spreadsheets that will improve accuracy and efficiency?

  • Small Business Exports -- This white paper presents the results of our self-initiated review of Small Business Exports (Project Number 15RG014MS000). Our objective was to identify opportunities for the U.S. Postal Service to increase revenue from small and medium-sized enterprise exports.

  • Management Advisory - Premier Office Program -- The U.S. Postal Service has a national retail network of about 32,000 post offices. In 2013, the Postal Service selected 3,088 of these offices to be part of its newly created Premier Office program. The primary goals of this program are to improve the customer experience and cost efficiency and to maximize revenue. Participating offices were selected based on revenue and geographic location to ensure that all areas of the country had access to a Premier Office. These offices represented about 10 percent of post offices and $5.2 billion (46 percent) of total Post Office revenue in fiscal year 2014. The Postal Service plans to expand the program in the future to improve customer service in other offices. Our initial objective – developed in conjunction with Postal Service management – was to identify characteristics of successful Premier Offices that other post offices could implement. Our subsequent analysis did not identify consistent characteristics of successful Premier Offices. We then focused our analysis, including our accompanying survey of Premier Office managers, on potential program improvements.

Federal Register

  • Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 52810 [2015–21568] [TEXT]
  • Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 52810 [2015–21661] [TEXT]

Postal Regulatory Commission:

DOMESTIC NEWS

Direct Marketing News: After the Postal Regulatory Commission gave the U.S. Postal Service nearly everything it asked for in an appeal on the scope of the exigent surcharge, USPS has gone back to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to ask for more. In Order No. 2623 filed on July 29, the PRC answered a court mandate to reassess the cost of the Great Recession by essentially checking off the Postal Service's wish list. It threw out the controversial "count once" rule in accounting the deficit that brought exigency into play, extending the amount that could be collected via the surcharge by $1.2 billion to $3.96 billion. The wish PRC didn't grant, and that the Circuit Court's original opinion also declined, was establishing the 4.3% exigent rate increase as part of the Postal Service's base rate. The new appeal, which simply asks the court to review Order No. 2623, is clearly a move by USPS to keep exigency in play. As the situation now stands, it will be phased out next spring, most likely in April. "I can only make a conjecture that [USPS managers] figure that postal reform may or may not occur before exigency is pulled out, so maybe the best way to keep it going is to send it back to the court that took six months to make the first decision," says Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce. "They have a whole staff of lawyers that can just file this stuff, so they do it and force the mailing industry to spend more time on the issue. It's another way of leaving the opponent dry."

eCommerceBytes: Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox, and last week, we wrote about an essay written by a UPS executive who'd like to see that change. The USPS has responded, making an argument for why it made sense for the USPS to have exclusive access. "The fact is that exclusive mailbox access isn't some kind of gratuitous privilege," USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer wrote. "Rather, it reflects commonsense ways of helping the Postal Service shoulder its enormous and unique responsibility: namely, delivering mail and packages to every home and business in America at affordable prices, and not just delivering packages to the most profitable addresses or with hefty surcharges." Partenheimer cited three main reasons for exclusive mailbox access: security ("it would increase criminals' opportunities for mail theft, identity theft, and explosive attacks"); efficient delivery of mail (mail carriers would not be able to fit letters, catalogs, and magazines in mailboxes and would be unable to distinguish between outgoing mail and privately delivered items, he said); and universal service at affordable and uniform prices.

KDKA:  A delivery snafu with the U.S. Postal Service this weekend had one neighborhood confused as to what happened with their packages and when they saw where the boxes were, some got pretty irritated.

MyPrintResource: As of May 31, each one-ounce metered letter now costs $0.485 to post. Let the implications of that sentence sink in. For the first time in modern history, the public is being charged half a cent for a service, with no opting out or avoiding the potential legal challenges when inexact charges begin appearing on consumer accounts. For those who bill many transactions at one time, the half cent is no problem. Just round up at the end; after all, who cares about half a penny? But for those who bill at the line level, every transaction is losing half a cent, with potential losses in the thousands of dollars—and the financial shortfall being only one of their worries.

Dead Tree Edition: The long-standing controversy over the U.S. Postal Service's money-losing "Standard Flats" mail is apparently being tamped down in true Washington fashion – not by raising prices, cutting costs, or solving a problem, but by changing a definition.

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers: The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers has told its members that:

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the USPS on Friday, August 28, filed a Petition for Review of Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Order Number 2623 that a month ago ruled that the exigent surcharge of 4.3 percent could be extended until next spring but then must end. Many expected this move, not because the USPS is likely to have strong legal grounds to overturn a very well done PRC decision, but more for political reasons to support action in Congress that would overrule both the regulator and the U.S. Court of Appeals by making the surcharge permanent. It could take months to resolve.
It is very difficult for customers to realize that with this USPS they do not come first, but rather last. Once again, litigation and legislation come before the organizations and companies that pay the freight and stay with the Postal Service through thick and thin.

Copy of the USPS filing with Court of Appeals for DC Circuit

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday: The Management of the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation and the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Workers Union, on Thursday, signed a memorandum of agreement for the bargaining period January 2011 to December 2013. This agreement addressed employees' salaries and cost of living allowances for two out of the three bargaining units. In a statement to the media, TTPost said it celebrates the milestone in its Corporation's development.

ITALY: Reuters: Italy's market watchdog has imposed a 60,000 euro ($67,620) fine on Poste Italiane, the postal service the government is set to privatise via a stock market listing in October, for behaving improperly in providing investment services to its clients. Poste is cutting back in its costly mail delivery business and expanding in financial services and insurance ahead of the long-awaited share sale that is set to be Italy's biggest privatisation in a decade. But market watchdog Consob said it found in an audit that Poste customers had been directed towards investment products on which the postal service earned large upfront fees and encouraged to liquidate investments to switch into different products regardless of their real needs. "Poste Italiane ... has allowed, at the level of operational relationships with clients, a behaviour that does not comply with a duty to act with diligence, correctness and transparency," Consob wrote in its bulletin.

August 31, 2015 

DOMESTIC NEWS

Nextgov: The Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General wants the agency to take cues from Uber's and Starbucks' mobile apps. USPS has offered its mobile app, USPS Mobile, since 2009, and it now has about 7.2 million downloads. USPS Mobile has a variety of functions, including Post Office location, package pickup scheduling and package tracking. But in a new report on mobile technology, inspectors pushed the agency to upgrade the app to take advantage of unique smartphone features, such as camera functionality and GPS tracking instead of simply adapting USPS' regular web services to a mobile format. The OIG recommended USPS adopt a "mobile first" campaign in which mobile technology is the "focal point of developing ways to engage with consumers."

Postalnews.com: The US Postal Service last month posted a brief time lapse video of a package zipping through a processing plant on its Facebook page with the caption: "Our scanners help us deliver billions of packages per year. By the time you watch this video, thousands have already been sent." Many customers were not impressed . . . . [T]he vast majority of 422 comments posted so far have been negative. Probably not what the USPS Social Media folks were looking for!

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INDIA: The Indian Express: Investigative agencies across Maharashtra have finally decided to wake up to the power of technology and move on from using postal services to emails to communicate with each other. The Mumbai-headquartered Maharashtra Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) will soon send forensic test reports to far-flung police stations across the state via email and not traditional post, if their proposal to allow digital signatures on reports is approved by the state government. This will come as a relief to both the FSL and the police. Explaining the delay in adopting e-mail to send reports, an official said so far the main problem had been the fact that the original hard copy of a forensic report bearing the signature of the section head was required by courts during trials. "Now, however, we have sent a proposal asking for approval to send the report to the police station with a digital signature of the section head instead of the actual signature," the official said. However, since the court may still ask for the original hard copy, the FSL will also send the report through post as an additional measure.

NEW ZEALAND: Newstalk ZB: Posties are delivering a strong message following the release of New Zealand Post's annual financial results. It's sparked concern over the future of some services - including calls for a Parliamentary Inquiry. Postal Workers Union spokesperson John Maynard says New Zealand Post is forced to do the leg work for private competitors - which "cherry pick" what work they want to carry out. "They're running down the service and we're also worried they may be next looking at contracting out the postie jobs."

August 30, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

PostalReporter: The United States Postal Service has awarded contract for Extended Capacity Delivery Vehicles. This award is separate from the pending USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) and the award for USPS Intermediate Walk-In Body Delivery Truck. This contract covers at least 9,000 new, commercially available Class II, two-wheel drive carrier route vehicles, having 907 kg (2000 pounds) cargo + passenger minimum capacity. The vehicles covered by this specification fall under the classification of carrier route vehicles. USPS plans on spending over $6 Billion for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles. But USPS has been purchasing other vehicles, transportation services, tires, and other items associated with vehicles over the past two years. In short, the USPS cost for replacing its entire fleet could possibly reach between $8-10 Billion by 2018. With the proposed cost of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) along with recent purchases that figure has already reached over $7 billion. Below are some of the USPS contract awards covering transportation services and vehicles over the last two years.

August 29, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 52526 [2015–21429] [TEXT] 52525–52526 [2015–21468] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Idaho State Journal: Local pharmacists said the closure of the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center on Flandro Drive has caused delayed delivery of medication for people in outlying counties.

New York Daily News: Bad news doesn't always travel quickly. A New Jersey mail carrier is facing charges after police say he was found with 1,000 pieces of undelivered mail along with drug paraphernalia.

Investing: A U.S. Postal Service employee in Alabama was arrested on Friday after she was indicted on more than 50 federal charges in connection with a $1.5 million identity theft tax refund scheme. Elizabeth Grant, a USPS mail carrier of Seale, Alabama, became involved in a stolen identity fraud tax refund scheme along with several co-conspirators in 2013, according to Federal Court filings. Grant and her co-conspirators allegedly obtained stolen identification information from several avenues, including an Alabama state database, the filings revealed. Grant's co-conspirators allegedly prepared and filed false returns for tax year 2012, before the co-conspirators directed the tax refund checks from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to be sent to addresses along Grant's mail route. During the entirety of the scheme, Grant and her co-conspirators allegedly filed more than 700 false tax returns, claiming more than $1.5 million in refunds. Grant faces one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 14 counts of mail fraud, 14 counts of embezzling mail and 14 counts of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Grant faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy charge. In addition, Grant could serve 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, five years in prison for each charge of embezzling mail and two years for each count of aggravated identity theft.

August 28, 2015

logoPostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online. Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. See what you've been missing.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Department of State: On September 9, the Department of State's Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services will meet to consider issues related to terminal dues, customs treatment of mail, and recent developments in the Universal Postal Union. The meeting will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, at the American Institute of Architects Board Room, 1735 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006. The public may attend this meeting as seating capacity allows. Meeting documents will be posted on the Committee website: http://www.state.gov/p/io/ipp/c25478.htm

USPS Attention Business Customer Gateway Users: Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application, CI #694796 application. We are continuing to work to resolve the issue. · FS ACS Provisioning is current · MicroStrategy Reports are delayed. 

Postal Regulatory Commission:

Attention Postal One! Users: PostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 will deploy this Sunday August 30, 2015 between 4:00 AM CT and 9:00 AM CT. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will not be a Mail.dat® client download required for mailers. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues to include updates to select Business Intelligence Data Store (BIDS) MicroStrategy reports. Release notes are posted on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releases/may2015/docs/releasenotes/PostalOneReleaseNotes41_2_1_0.pdf. PostalOne! Release 41.2.1 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will also occur Sunday morning Aug 30, 2015 between 4:00 AM CT and 9:00 AM CT, as well. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Monday morning August 31, 2015 between 09:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT.

DOMESTIC NEWS

24/7WallSt: The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) in July won a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board that the U.S. Postal Service acted illegally when it agreed to set up postal units in Staples Inc. stores. The APWU has also opposed the proposed merger between Staples and Office Depot Inc. and has begun gathering electronic signatures on a petition to stop it. In a press release issued Thursday, the APWU said that it had gathered more than 5,000 signatures on its petition to stop the merger.

Barrons: Amazon's threat of moving more product to expedited truckers is limited by the low supply of qualified truckers. Amazon is forecasted to control ~35% of the domestic ecommerce market in 2015, according to Cowen's internet analyst. In 4Q14, Amazon spent $3Bn on shipping costs. UPS is the main carrier for Amazon and would stand to lose some of this revenue if Amazon changed their shipping policies. Trucking companies capacity has been limited by a small supply of qualified truckers; new regulations limit the number of hours truckers can work. Due to this, we believe FedEx and UPS will still perform the majority of e-commerce deliveries

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

AUSTRALIA: Motley Fool Australia: In an effort to offset the costs Australia Post faces for delivering letters and parcels to virtually every house around Australia, the company has applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to raise stamp prices by around 40% to $1.00 from its current price of 70 cents. Not only that but Australia Post also wants two classes of letter deliveries – Priority and Normal – or less regular. There will be a new timetable for delivery of those normal letters – adding up to two business days. That could mean a letter sent from Sydney to Melbourne might take three, four or five business days at the basic postage rate. The cost of larger letters could rise from $2.10 to $3.00. Concession stamps will be frozen at 60 cents while the seasonal greeting card rate is frozen at 65 cents. Australia Post recently received permission from the Australian government to introduce a two-speed letter service.

ZIMBABWE: TechZim: The local postal services company, Zimpost, hardly makes a lot of noise about its remittance service Zipcash (not to be confused with Indian mobile money company ZipCash). But the service has been on a steady paced growth, spreading into several countries in Sub Saharan Africa after its confirmed plans to move into West Africa last year.

EUROPE: Post & Parcel: Cross-border e-commerce delivery specialist B2C Europe has introduced its new premium priority service for UK untracked parcels. The company said that – through one simple integration – customers will now be able to access additional tracking statuses at no extra cost. There are now three additional tracking statuses for customers and their consumers. These are: "in transit – received at national postal hub"; "in transit – received at local postal depot"; and "out for delivery". According to B2C Europe, this will give online retailers and their consumers more visibility as to where their parcels are within the UK postal network. Retailers will not need to print complex barcodes on their address labels or implement additional IT integration. Instead, they can provide this tracking information directly to their consumers via the B2C Europe automatic email service using the website: http://trackyourparcel.eu/.

NORWAY: Post & Parcel: Norway Post has announced that turned in "a good half-year performance", as its parcel volumes have been boosted by the continuing growth in online shopping. Operating revenues in the first half of 2015 were NOK 12,407m, which was an increase of NOK 364m (3%) on the corresponding period of 2014. Operating profit before non-recurring items (EBIT) in the first half of the year amounted to NOK 314m, which is NOK 2m higher than at the same time last year. "Developments in the mail segment were affected by the continued fall in letter volumes," said Norway Post. "Mail sent by the public sector accounted for the greatest decline in addressed mail (-9%) as a result of the transition to digital solutions. The Logistics segment is influenced by the reduced activity in the oil industry, but managed to achieve a growth in operating revenues of 5.5%."

NEW ZEALAND: TVNZ: As postal volumes continue to plummet NZ Post is launching a new online delivery service to try and reverse the trend. Kiwis are sending 10 per cent fewer letters than last year and it's expected to keep falling at that rate each year. So the company is diversifying with the launch of a web-based delivery app called At Pace.  "Within 60 minutes and three clicks they can have their item delivered," Michael Stewart from NZ Post said. It's aimed mainly at tradespeople like project manager Phil Stewart, ordering supplies for his work sites.

NEW ZEALAND: Guide.co.nz: After another year of returning good profits, New Zealand Post has plenty of room to take a breath and begin planning for the future, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union. "The postal industry is changing," says Joe Gallagher, EPMU organiser for New Zealand Post workers. "New Zealand Post is changing too. But now they're in a strong position and it's time to start investing properly in their workforce and their services." Hundreds of jobs have been lost at New Zealand Post in recent years as the company responded to declining mail volumes and government demand for increased dividends. "We don't want to see any more jobs go, and we don't know where there's any more room to cut," says Joe Gallagher. "The strategy for New Zealand Post's future can't be more cuts. "There are big opportunities in the parcels and logistics business, and we want Post to sit down with its workers and the union and refine our engagement around productivity. "We've done it before with companies like Air New Zealand, which has just enjoyed its own record profit off the back of a lot of work around building a high performance organisation.

August 27, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One! Users: Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application, CI #694796 application. We are continuing to work to resolve the issue. · FS ACS Provisioning - was delayed by 2-3 hours; the records have been provisioned · MicroStrategy Reports are delayed.

Mailers Technical Advisory Committee: Presentations and notes from the August MTAC meetings are available on the MTAC webpage on RIBBS. The documents are located MTAC Notes and Presentations, 2015, listed as August 2015 MTAC Meeting Presentations and 2015 Presentations for MTAC Open Session.

Postal Regulatory Commission

DOMESTIC NEWS

FCW: Think your mail carrier can evolve? The U.S. Postal Service does. Kelley Sullivan, an IT program manager at the agency, fully expects that tomorrow's USPS will have new technology but not, she hopes, fewer employees. "The work that they're doing will change," she said at an Aug. 25 Internet of Things panel discussion hosted by GovLoop. The size and cost of USPS' workforce have long been a subject of debate. Labor costs were among the culprits fingered for killing USPS in a 2011 Atlantic article. In August 2014, the USPS inspector general issued a report showing that the agency's workers' compensation expenses were 50 percent greater than the industry average and that labor costs had risen 35 percent even as the agency slashed nearly 20 percent of its workforce.

Quad Graphics: "What's In the Tea Leaves for USPS Fall Service Performance?"

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (via Twitter): Possibly coming this Friday: Even though @PostalRegulator gave @USPS what the court ordered, many expect USPS to file another appeal of # exigent this week.

Lansing State Journal: The president of the state and local unions for U.S. Postal Service workers was indicted in federal court this month on an embezzlement charge.

Transport Topics: American Trucking Associations and two major business lobbying groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking a three-judge panel to find in favor of a FedEx Corp. subsidiary and against the National Labor Relations Board. ATA was joined by the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its support of the Home Delivery unit of FedEx Ground. Last year, Home Delivery got on the court's docket to appeal an NLRB order that said drivers in Windsor, Connecticut, are employees rather than independent contractors. The board faulted Home Delivery for its refusal to bargain with the Teamsters union regarding the drivers.

Fort Hood Sentinel: Postal customers wanting to send parcels from overseas military post offices starting this fall will no longer be allowed to submit handwritten customs forms and instead will have to do the forms online. The change starts Oct. 1 and applies to all customers using post offices on U.S. military installations in the Pacific and Europe, said Matthew Lewis, the Camp Casey, Korea, postmaster. In Korea, the change will affect about 43,000 military customers, including service members, Defense Department civilians, Family members and contractors, according to Postal Management Division Korea. The change comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection looks to further tighten screening of items entering the United States, he said.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

MetroNews Canada: The Coalition for an Accessible Public Postal Service calls on mayor, councillors to officially oppose Canada Post's phasing-out of the urban service.

August 26, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One! Users: The PostalOne!® system is experiencing Mail.Dat validation errors due to an Internal Server Error. The issue is currently under investigations. We will send another update as soon as information is made available. In the interim, mailings will continue to be accepted using the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf. Please note Ticket INC000000700911 as the incident number.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Field Technologies Online: Scandit, developer of the leading software-based barcode scanning solutions for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, today announced the launch of a new mobile Proof of Delivery (POD) solution designed to improve efficiency for an increasingly mobile workforce by enabling the use of smartphones and wearable devices to keep track of pickups and deliveries. Companies using Scandit's solution benefit from a single app that supports all driver tasks and enterprise-grade barcode scanning that eliminates the need for costly dedicated barcode scanning devices. The Scandit Proof of Delivery solution includes a customizable and easily deployable proof-of-delivery app (for iOS and Android) combined with Scandit's Enterprise Mobility and Data Capture Cloud, and easily integrates with existing enterprise IT infrastructures. It supports all delivery tasks, including navigation, geotagged signature capture and barcode scanning equivalent to dedicated devices. The solution can easily be distributed to corporate devices or downloaded by third-party contractors ensuring that everyone in the delivery chain — drivers, contractors and even part-time workers — can track deliveries in realtime.

The Washington Post: Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that the Postal Service caused a "disaster that is negatively impacting Americans all over this country" when it shuttered more than 140 mail-sorting plants and slowed delivery times to cut costs. "I have heard from people all over this country who have reported serious delays in receiving life-saving prescription drugs, and the bills that they need to pay to keep the lights and electricity on in their homes," the senator from Vermont wrote in a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan, urging her to reinstate overnight delivery for regional mail. Sanders wrote that he has heard from veterans and seniors in his rural state who are not getting life-saving prescriptions in the mail for nine or even 11 days.

MAIL: The latest issue of Mail magazine's Memo to Mailers has been posted on its web site.

WBTV: The US Postal Service is warning neighbors in south Charlotte and Matthews about mail thefts. Packages from delivery trucks are also being stolen as soon as they are dropped off. The USPS says zip codes affected include: 28210, 28211, 28270, 28277, and 28105. Police believe the thieves are targeting gift cards, financial information, and hoping to steal packages with valuable contents. Stealing mail from a mailbox is federal crime.

Troy Daily News: Post offices are crucial anywhere, but especially crucial in rural areas that depend on the postal service to stay connected through news delivery, services crucial to businesses, and, in some communities, a link to prescription drugs and other services. The mail service is a national treasure that has been in operation for 240 years. Every day, the Postal Service provides affordable, universal mail service to all—without using taxpayer dollars for its operation. The Center for Rural Affairs has signed letters of support for continuing reliable, affordable six-day mail delivery from the U.S. Postal Service. Particularly for remote rural citizens, the service is a lifeline. Nearly 10,000 people have signed the pledge.

The Washington Post: Amid a significant downsizing of the money-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the number of letters arriving late has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year. And that's as measured against the agency's own newly relaxed standards. First-class mail has gradually been traveling more slowly since the Postal Service started closing dozens of mail-sorting plants in 2012. But in January, something more drastic happened: To prepare for another round of plant closings, the agency eliminated overnight delivery for local first-class letters that used to arrive the next day. And up to half of mail traveling longer distances was given an extra day to reach its destination. These longer delivery times became the new normal, or "service standards" in postal parlance. Mail was considered on time if it took four to five days to arrive instead of three.

NextGov: The future of mail delivery could include sensor-equipped mailboxes that text recipients when packages arrive, or that adjust their temperature to keep food or medicine deliveries fresh. At least, that's according to a report the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General released earlier this month, urging the Postal Service to investigate how the Internet of Things could transform its operations. But at a recent conference on the Internet of Things in Washington, USPS IT Program Manager Kelley Sullivan told an audience the agency's first priority with emerging technology is cutting costs.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: CBC: Finding a bridesmaid's dress can be stressful enough. For one Halifax woman, trying to track down a bridesmaid's dress she bought online turned into a postal nightmare. Jessica Lunn ordered the dress from China last month, for a wedding on Friday. She said she stopped being able to track it two weeks ago when it got to Canada. She called Canada Post last week and created a service ticket number. Canada Post could not find the parcel and told her the package was redirected twice to incorrect addresses, she said. Lunn says she's been getting parcels delivered to her workplace for years with no problem. "It was the physical address, no PO box or anything," she said. "The workers that are on foot everyday have become so familiar with the names that it would've taken a day for my parcel to be given to me instead of a week."

LIBERIA: The New Dawn: Posts and Telecommunications Minister and Postmaster General, Dr. Fredrick B. Norkeh, told a press briefing Tuesday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism in Monrovia that the service delivery is to enable citizens have access to Internet Communication Technology in the country. Dr. Norkeh said the ministry has started a numbering system to mark every house in Monrovia and across the country for the purpose of easy identification and mail delivery. He added that the Post Office in Monrovia should be another base for vehicle registration, driver license and passport issuance, while the Liberia Telecommunications Authority or LTA regulates the communication system and implement strategy to make communication one of the cheapest services in the country unlike four years ago.

August 25, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • PI2015-1 Notice of The United States Postal Service Concerning the Filing of the Statistical Design Plan for Internal Service Performance Measurement 
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/93/93212/Notice of Filing and Stat Plan.pdf
    USPS description: "The new supporting document -- USPS Informed Visibility: Statistical Design Plan for Internal Service Performance Measurement (August 25, 2015), reflects the proposed statistical design methodology for measuring transit-time performance for various market-dominant product letters and flats and explains both the sampling methodology and the estimation methodology for calculating service performance scores and their margins of error."

Attention PostalOne!® Users:  Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application, CI #694796 application. We are continuing to work to resolve the issue. The following are currently delayed: · FS ACS Provisioning - delayed two (2) hours · MicroStrategy Reports – delayed four () hours.

DOMESTIC NEWS

The Wall Street Journal: Warehouse demand in Denver is hot, but it's not because of a surge in logistics business. WSJ Logistics Report's Robbie Whelan writes that Colorado's marijuana industry is gobbling up available warehouse space in the Denver area, straining availability and driving up costs for companies that want to use the structures as, well, warehouses. That's tough on distribution channels because the city is a key hub for business in the Rocky Mountain states, and an important crossroads between the Pacific Coast and the Midwest. Rents have soared and some logistics operators say they have turned away customers because of a lack of space. And it's not like they're getting a new market: because marijuana is only legal in a handful of states, the pot in Colorado is grown and consumed right there, with no shipping involved. [EdNote: Any available excess USPS facility capacity?]

eCommerceBytes: UPS would like to gain access to your mailbox. The USPS Office of Inspector General invited four experts to contribute a column on neighborhood logistics, and Keith Kellison, Senior Vice President of UPS Global Public Affairs, chose to tackle the issue of mailbox access . Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox, Kellison wrote - but given the demand for parcels containing such items as eyeglasses, designer clothes, and even time-sensitive groceries, doesn't it make sense to no longer restrict mailbox deliveries, he asked. Not only that, but consumers own the mailboxes. "Customers would benefit from reduced delivery costs, additional flexibility, and the knowledge that their packages are safe," the UPS executive said. And it wouldn't be the first country to lift such restrictions. "For years, third parties in Europe have been allowed to deliver parcels to mailboxes, with no security issues. If it's worked there for so long, why can't it work here?" Kellison said that if such restrictions were lifted, neighborhood logistics could continue to advance. "Electronic delivery notifications and boxes with temperature controls are just two potential ideas with immediate potential. The list of opportunities is endless, but the first step is access."

eCommerceBytes: eBay previewed its Fall Seller Update, and some may be wondering if the promises made by the new CEO of what appears to be a "kinder, gentler" company may truly be fulfilled. The head of eBay's Global Customer Trust Laura Chambers provided details of how eBay would be changing the way the company hands out defects when it comes to late shipments. Currently, sellers can be penalized for factors outside of their control, such as shipping delays due to the carrier of Postal Service. In fact, at one point, readers were telling EcommerceBytes that eBay Customer Service Representatives were blaming sellers for using the Postal Service when they received defects for late delivery.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

FINLAND: YLE: Postal services Posti will begin trials of drone copters for mail deliveries to the island of Suomenlinna in September. The pilot programme marks the first time that unmanned aerial vehicles have been used for the purpose in Europe. Posti will use the remote-controlled aircraft to deliver packages to Suomenlinna, a former island fortress that forms part of Helsinki. The drones are expected to take to the air in early September, initially make deliveries to Suomenlinna residents for orders made in the online store Verkkokauppa.com.

CANADA: The Windsor Star: Windsor city council has directed administration to write a sternly worded letter to Canada Post to avoid the problems encountered with the installation of community mailboxes in the east end of the city. "This is totally unacceptable," said Ward 6 Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac, who brought forward the motion at Monday night's meeting. Some parts of East Riverside in Windsor have already had the mailboxes installed in recent weeks because they are served by the Tecumseh letter carrier depot. Windsor was awaiting consultation with Canada Post on the locations of the boxes, although many communities across the country claim they have not been adequately consulted.

August 24, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office Of The Inspector General: Now posted on the OIG's Pushing the Envelope blog --

  • What's in Store for Neighborhood Logistic Services? -- It's now the norm to see doorstep delivery of groceries, medication, dry cleaning, oversized patio furniture, and basically anything else you can think of. And we expect those deliveries on demand, sometimes even the same day we place the order. Read more...
     
  • The Delivery Revolution in Your Neighborhood -- By Jody Berenblatt, senior advisor, GrayHair Advisors -- We are living in the age of the "delivery revolution." Businesses are positioning themselves to deliver goods where and when customers want them. Order nearly anything anywhere and the Postal Service can deliver the item in a reasonable timeframe at a reasonable price. In my Greenwich Village neighborhood, we are able to get anything promptly delivered, from the mundane to outrageous. In the 1990s, we were amazed when our local McDonalds, which took orders by phone and delivered them to our door, would ask, "The usual Happy Meal and Big Mac?" McDonalds used a phone-driven database for customer preference and delivery information. Read more...
     
  • Worth the Price: High Quality, Convenience, and Timeliness -- by Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., president and vice-chancellor, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB Canada When I became president of Mount Allison University, Canada's top-ranked undergraduate university, I moved to a college town, which, like most Canadian towns, did not get home delivery from Canada Post. I had to adjust to the rhythm of mail runs to our Post Office. Read More...
     
  • Carriers as Conduits -- By Jim Holland, research director, National Association of Letter Carriers Six days a week, over 200,000 city delivery letter carriers fan out on routes across the country to deliver and pick up mail and packages for residences and businesses. Carriers now even deliver packages on Sundays and holidays. Increasingly, letter carriers do work beyond traditional postal services, helping to meet the growing needs of both shippers and recipients. Read More...
     
  • Rethinking Mailbox Access -- By Keith Kellison, senior vice president, UPS Global Public Affairs -- When we say "neighborhood logistics," what we really mean is serving everyday people like me and you better than ever before. At UPS, that's nothing new. Since our start in 1907, we've gone through a host of transformations. From the early days of delivering by bike, to the first package cars, to next-day air shipments, UPS has led the way in meeting customers' demands. Read More...

Attention PostalOne!® Users:  Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application. We are working to resolve the issue. The following are currently delayed seven hours: · FS ACS Provisioning · MicroStrategy Reports

Postal Regulatory Commission:

Attention PostalOne!® Users  Due to database maintenance, the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) MicroStrategy reports are delayed seven hours. We are working to resolve the issue and will provide an update later day.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Omaha World-Herald: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska recently sent a letter to the U.S. postmaster sharing Nebraskans' grievances over slow mail delivery, including overdue charges because of late credit card payments and delayed arrival of prescription drugs. Then, just days later, Fortenberry found himself with a major snail mail gripe of his own. Because of a yet-unexplained recent foul-up at the Omaha mail processing facility, postcards inviting Fortenberry's Bellevue constituents to a town hall meeting didn't arrive until the day of the event.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

AUSTRALIA: Post & Parcel: Australia Post has issued a trademark infringement notice against parcel delivery start-up Sendle over its "Post without the Office" tagline, according to local sources. An article published by The Australian today (24 August) said that Australia Post has objected to the Sendle's tag-line for being "substantially identical" and "deceptively similar" to the national postal operator's own trademarks.

FIJI: The Fiji Times: POSTAL mail is in decline worldwide because people have moved to new forms of communication, says Post Fiji Ltd board chairman Lawrence Tikaram. However, he said, they had a robust system that tried to capture other opportunities in the marketplace. Post Fiji's recent partnership with LICI for the payment of premiums through 40 Post Fiji outlets was an example of extending their services. "At the end of the day, we are deemed to be a service provider, trying to provide the very basic services that are necessary to everyday ordinary Fijians. We are also mindful of the needs of consumers and the need to lookout for opportunities out there. We operate in a very competitive environment." Mr Tikaram said they had changed their point of sale system three years ago to embrace new opportunities in the wider market.

SOUTH AFRICA: Reuters Africa: The state-run corporations that have shaped South Africa's economy and been part of its every day life for nearly a century are mostly in a state of collapse, threatening to crush already weak growth. Economists estimate that underperformance and inefficiency in state-owned firms ranging from power utility Eskom to South African Airways (SAA) to the postal service is lopping 2-3 percentage points off annual growth. Johannesburg resident Gertrude Nduna [said] her fledgling online perfume shop is facing ruin due to late deliveries by the South African Post Office, whose slogan is "We Deliver, Whatever It Takes", but which is tipping into financial failure. "It is ruining my business and my reputation but I cannot afford to use private couriers," Nduna said, lamenting her reliance on a postal service that ran out of money for fuel for its delivery vans this month.

August 23, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Corpus Christi Caller Times: U.S. Postal Service officials will gather public comment on the proposed closure of the Corpus Christi Processing and Distribution Center tonight at Del Mar College. The Corpus Christi center is a hub for sorting regional mail for distribution or shipment, and is one of 252 regional plants being reviewed by the Postal Service. The agency is looking for ways to make up for a multibillion-dollar shortfall, though no decisions would be made for several months. A Postal Service study's initial results support consolidating the facility with operations in San Antonio. The service estimates closing the plant could save $11.2 million in transportation, maintenance and employee costs.

Buffalo News: Over the course of one week this month, three U.S. Postal Service carriers appeared in Buffalo federal court and admitted stealing or destroying mail they were supposed to deliver. And that was after two other carriers pleaded guilty or were sentenced for similar crimes earlier this year, and after two postmasters – one in Lawtons, the other in Frewsburg – garnered headlines last year for stealing cash.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Daily Telegraph:  The potential demise of Australia Post is not something that might happen one day. Without major, rapid reform it could happen any day.

August 22, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Watchdog.org: Our Big Dog interview of the week is with Jason Hart, who takes a look at the spiraling debt at the U.S. Postal Service and what can be done about it. Do we even need the USPS in a world where Amazon will soon be making deliveries by drone?

WINK: Neighbors say their mailboxes are getting raided and mail stolen. It's happening on 5th Avenue Northwest and at least five mailboxes have been hit multiple times. "They are helping themselves to the mail, opening it and throwing it on the ground," says one neighbor who didn't want to share her name. Neighbors say they are finding mail ripped up and scattered down their street. Some have had checks stolen. "One of my neighbors handed me one of my checks, he found it laying on the side of the road," says another neighbor. The checks were for her bills; she had to cancel all of them. "It's terrible. It's a federal offense," says one neighbor. "That's something everyone has always trusted, the US Post Office and the mail system and now someone is violating it."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

KENYA: Daily Nation: The Communications Authority has reviewed postal and courier regulations in a move likely to increase Postal Corporation of Kenya's (PCK) clout in the industry. Last week, CA announced it had adopted a new market structure and license fees for postal and courier service providers. The new regulations came into effect on July 1. They require new postal and courier service providers applying for licences to adhere to conditions such as use of PCK's vast national networks to interconnect to areas the couriers have no presence.

INDIA: The Hindu  Postal service is playing an important role in facilitating exporters. Scores of agro-based product samples were being dispatched to importing countries through posts by exporters on a regular basis. Ahead of exporting agro products to overseas countries, pre-shipment samples were dispatched to buyers normally, to get their nod after ascertaining its quality. The number of samples air-shipped to countries abroad through Tuticorin Head Post office had increased in 2014-15, during which 744 samples were sent, whereas 531 samples were sent during 2013-14, sources told The Hindu here on Friday. Samples of agro products including senna in leaves and powder form, drumstick leaves, cassia leaves and gymnema leaves were being sent. Among these products, senna samples had been delivered, mostly to importing countries like Japan and China, through express mail service (EMS). EMS could be availed to send permitted articles to reach 98 foreign countries and also through ‘World Net' to 202 countries abroad, sources added.

August 21, 2015 

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users  An issue was identified in the PostalOne! system that has impacted a few mailings submitted electronically and claiming Incentive discounts. Specifically, for extremely large eDoc files (over 2 million piece records) the system was creating the postage statement without including the Incentive discount information. A data repair was completed on Friday, 8/14, to allow future mailings to be processed claiming the discount until the root cause can be determined. For mailings that have been affected: Non-finalized Mailings – if possible, mailers should cancel jobs (postage statements) that have been already submitted and resubmit the jobs. Finalized Postage Statements - If a job has been submitted and the postage statement has been finalized:

  • Provide the BMEU a listing of affected mailings containing the following information
    • Permit Holder
    • Permit Number
    • Total Pieces
    • Total Postage
    • Mailer Job ID
  • The BMEU will reverse the affected postage statements and notify the mailer or Mail Service Provider
  • Mailers should resubmit the mailings information once the reversals are complete.

FedBizOps: The U.S. Postal Service will rent minivan cargo vans and cargo vans (low, medium and high roof) up to 2 tons capacity for delivery of packages and to fill in for vehicles out of service. The contract will extend for a period of one year with an option to renew for one additional year.The total number of vehicles is unknown. We are projecting the estimated value of the contract could range into the upper six figures per year. However, there is NO GUARANTEE that the number of vehicle rentals will result in this level of spend. Mail volumes and number of carrier delivery route expansion will influence the demand. During the holiday season on can anticipate that a single location may have a demand level of 50 to 100 vehicles.

USPS Industry Alert:  PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 Production Deployment - PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 will deploy Sunday, September 20, 2015 between 4:00AM CT and 9:00AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be unavailable during the deployment time. Please note the following regarding the Mail.dat client: (1) New Mail.dat client download 41.3.0.0_PROD will be made available during this release. This download will be optional and users can continue to submit files using Mail.dat client Version 41.2.0.0_PROD. (2) Mail.dat client download 41.2.0.0_PROD will continue to be supported. (3) Mail.dat client download 41.1.0.0_PROD will expire and be unsupported on September 20, 2015.
PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will also occur Sunday, September 20, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Monday morning September 21, 2015 between 9:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT.

USPS Office of the Inspector General:  Is the Postal Service's Active Directory Environment Secure? The Postal Service, like 95 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, uses Active Directory throughout its network. Active Directory uses physical and logical security controls to protect the network infrastructure. Active Directory centralizes and automates the security access management of user data, security, and distributed resources. With a single network logon, administrators can manage directory data and authorized users can access resources on the network for which they have permissions. What are the latest security risks we should take into account while reviewing Active Directory?

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES

Periodic Reporting,

50815–50816 [2015–20633]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

NOTICES

International Mail Contract,

50879–50880 [2015–20648]

[TEXT] [PDF]

New Postal Products,

50880 [2015–20634]

[TEXT] [PDF]

50880–50881 [2015–20635]

[TEXT][PDF]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Foster's Democrat: Our nation and the world faces many challenges. The list is long: ISSL, Iran, China, the growing deficit, the entitlements, and most importantly, the unfunded liabilities. Most New Hampshire voters want presidential candidates to explain how they plan to make change, not just talk about it. The federal government has many challenges that are not prominent in our minds, but require leadership. This week, for example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) reported a third quarter new loss of $586 million. It is presently headed in the wrong direction.

Multichannel Merchant: Latching onto the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which connected devices share data in real time to provide enhanced services, the U.S. Postal Service is envisioning an "Internet of Postal Things." According to a paper published this month by the USPS Office of Inspector General in collaboration with IBM, the USPS has prioritized 16 potential IoPT applications for development. These include things like data-gathering sensors on delivery trucks, smart connected mailboxes and applications that monitor the status and performance of vehicles, including fuel consumption and maintenance.

Wall Street Journal: With sales of DVDs, videogames and traditional packaged software slumping for years, more state and local governments are eyeing technologies, such as streaming video subscriptions and cloud computing, to help make up for hundreds of millions of dollars or more in lost revenue. Applying age-old sales taxes to the era of new media hasn't been simple. States have long taxed tangible goods, but the broad array of new digital products often don't fit the category. Some states are trying to use existing laws, while others are taking on the politically thorny task of rewriting tax rules. The result is a patchwork of tax policies—and some new laws—for fast-growing slices of consumer and business sales. While taxes on digital entertainment and software represent only a sliver of the $271 billion that states collected in sales taxes last year, the issue highlights the challenge states and localities face as technologies rapidly shift.

KFYR: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., says rural residents are being left behind when it comes to both modern and older forms of communication. To fix that, she's introduced a plan that would have rural post offices deliver high-speed Internet on top of their normal mail delivery duties. "We're going to continue to do everything that we can to get postal service back where it belongs, at a quality category, for our rural residents," Heitkamp said. Nearly half of rural North Dakota residents don't have access to high-speed Internet yet. Heitkamp says this project would improve global connectivity for those communities while allowing post offices to remain economically viable.

Postalnews.com: Earlier this week, hackers released millions of records of people who had subscribed to the "Ashley Madison" web site, a meeting place for people seeking extra-marital affairs. Given that there were around 36 million individual accounts leaked, it is hardly surprising (and hardly newsworthy) to learn that some postal employees may have been members. What is surprising, and quite newsworthy, is that 52 of them apparently used their official @USPS.GOV email addresses to sign up for the site!

Triple Pundit:If you are a Sprint customer, this month your statement might be printed on a tree-based paper alternative. Sprint is piloting a new type of paper for its customer mailings that is made from a wheat straw byproduct. The pilot program marks the first time wheat straw paper has been used for customer correspondence in the U.S. The wheat straw paper is made by Prairie Paper and called Step Forward Paper. It looks the same as tree-based paper, but it's more sustainable. In other words, no trees are cut down to make it. To learn more about the company's groundbreaking use of wheat straw byproduct-based paper, [read the conversation with] Keanon Swan, strategic partner of relationships and postal alliances for Sprint.

Reuters: FedEx pilots tentatively agreed with the package delivery company on an amended collective bargaining agreement, the Air Line Pilots Association, or ALPA, said. Fedex and its pilots have been negotiating on employment conditions since 2011. FedEx management filed for a mediation process with the National Mediation Board in October 2014. The terms of the agreement are not being released pending approval by the union's executive council, ALPA said on Thursday. The contract would become amendable in 2021 if the tentative agreement is ratified by more than 4,000 FedEx pilots, ALPA said.

Pymnts: United Parcel Service held its quarterly earnings call this week, and the logistics and delivery conglomerate's B2B operations took center stage as one of its strongest aspects for growth. According to reports from The Motley Fool, UPS CFO Richard Peretz highlighted B2B services as outpacing B2C.

Richmond County Daily Journal: Many residents along Rummage Pack House Road have had a little trouble getting their mail. Twice this week, neighbors have woken up to find their mailboxes beaten and knocked over with mail scattered along the roadside.

Reuters: The U.S. Postal Service and its internal watchdog plan to review whether or not some of the agency's employees may have violated federal policies by using their government email on the infidelity website Ashley Madison.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UNITED KINGDOM: PrintWeek: Royal Mail is aiming to migrate 90% of its machine-readable mail to its Mailmark tracking system by March 2017, and is increasing the cost of other systems in comparison to encourage uptake. Mailmark, launched in March last year, now tracks 22% of machine-readable mail dealt with by Royal Mail. Managing director of consumer and network access Stephen Agar told PrintWeek the company's target was to increase the percentage of mail using Mailmark to 35%-40% by March 2016 and to 90% by March 2017. It plans to increase a previously proposed price differential of 1%, due to come into effect in January, to up to 5% and is currently consulting businesses on the plans. Currently Royal Mail scans between 50 million to 60 million items a night using Mailmark. Mail is scanned up to five times, starting when it arrives at a Royal Mail sorting office.

AUSTRALIA: The Advocate: Under new regulations people will be able to walk a letter faster than they can post it in Tasmania, according to mainland union officials. See your ad here The new service, expected to come into effect next month, will see a 30 cent increase in stamp prices and a slower service. It will create a two-tiered speed system, with a regular service operating slower than the existing delivery speed. The other tier would be a premium priority product, which would provide a faster speed for a higher cost. The union's NSW secretary, Jim Metcher, said the new system would hit Tasmanians hard. "You'll be able to walk a letter from Hobart to Launceston faster than you'll be able to post it under these new regulations," he said.

FINLAND - ESTONIA: Baltic Business News: Posti, the Finnish state-held postal service and logistics company, plans to relocate some accounting functions to Estonia to save costs. The company expects to save about half a million euros in costs annually by relocating purchase and sales ledger operations from Finland to Estonia.

UNITED KINGDOM: Postal Technology International: Online marketplace Amazon has announced that as of August 28, 2015, it will no longer be delivering parcels to CollectPlus (Collect+) locations in the UK. The CollectPlus network consists of approximately 5,800 newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations throughout the country.

GERMANY - AUSTRIA: Postal Technology International: DHL Parcel, a subsidiary of German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL, has unveiled its plans to invest €100m (US$110m) in establishing its own parcel network in Austria by 2016. The company has already set up operations in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

August 20, 2015


PostCom Members !!
The latest issue of PostCom's Postal Operations Update is now available online.
 

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne!® & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 Production Deployment - PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 will deploy Sunday, September 20, 2015 between 4:00AM CT and 9:00AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be unavailable during the deployment time. Please note the following regarding the Mail.dat® client. (1) New Mail.dat® client download 41.3.0.0_PROD will be made available during this release. This download will be optional and users can continue to submit files using Mail.dat client Version 41.2.0.0_PROD. (2) Mail.dat® client download 41.2.0.0_PROD will continue to be supported. (3) Mail.dat® client download 41.1.0.0_PROD will expire and be unsupported on September 20, 2015. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.3.0 can be found on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm.

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES

Periodic Reporting ,

50589–50590 [2015–20534]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

NOTICES

International Mail Contract ,

50669–50670 [2015–20535]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

New Postal Products ,

50669 [2015–20579]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

 

Postal Service

NOTICES

Product Changes:

 

Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,

 

50670 [2015–20533]

[TEXT]  [PDF

Attention PostalOne!® Users: RESTORATION COMPLETE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 – The PostalOne! System is fully operational with no performance issues. eDoc processing is now current and there is no backlog.

DOMESTIC NEWS

HCPress: After a resident in Foscoe submitted a complaint, a postal carrier out of the Banner Elk office is no longer flying a small Confederate battle flag while delivering mail, according to U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Freda Sauter. U.S. Postal Service policy regarding employees driving their own vehicles states, according to Sauter, that employees must cover up any "political bumper stickers … during the time that the car is used for work." "Employees are prohibited from engaging in political activities while on duty, in any government office, while wearing an official uniform or while using government or personal vehicle," Sauter said.

Las Vegas Now: Jim Bilbray is no stranger to political tussles. He was a Nevada regent, state senator, and served four terms in Congress, but when this lifelong Democrat was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, he may have thought he was entering a non-political arena. But instead, he says he found that hyper-partisan political battles are being waged. "If we don't get any new appointees by Dec. 6 of this year, I will be the only governor in the United States Postal System" explains Bilbray.

American Postal Workers Union:  A hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples was dominated by procedural wrangling on Aug. 17 and 18. The hearing before Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will resume on Nov. 2. Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26 in response to an "unfair labor practice" charge filed by the APWU against the Postal Service. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return work that existed on July 31, 2014, to the APWU bargaining unit. At the hearing, the Postal Service withdrew its request to defer the hearing to arbitration. Both the Postal Service and Staples continued to resist complying with subpoenas issued by Region 5 of the NLRB and the APWU for use at the hearing, claiming that many documents contain confidential, proprietary information. Judge Bogas will rule on their claims at the Nov. 2 hearing. Bogas granted a motion by Staples to intervene in the case, after Staples argued that it could not rely on the Postal Service to defend its interests in the proceedings. The Postal Service supported Staples' motion. The judge's ruling is not supported by legal precedent, attorneys for the APWU and the NLRB General Counsel noted, and announced plans to appeal.

American Postal Workers Union: A delegation representing six member organizations of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service met with Postmaster General Megan Brennan at Postal Headquarters in Washington, DC, on Aug. 13. The meeting was "a historic first" for the Alliance, which is dedicated to building a vibrant, public Postal Service for generations to come.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: Canada Post: Canada Post will be shutting down its website, canadapost.ca, and its web services and mobile app from Friday, August 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) to Sunday, August 23 at 7 p.m. ET as we complete an important upgrade of our IT infrastructure. This shutdown will impact all of Canada Post's online and retail IT systems. The website and related services will not be available for any transactions during this time. Canada Post understands this outage will disrupt your ability to conduct business during that weekend. We apologize in advance and thank you for your patience and understanding. This large-scale effort will improve the stability, security and capacity of our platform. This work is critical to our ongoing efforts to support the growing 24/7 digital expectations of our customers. To find out more, go to https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/blogs/business/details.page?article=2015/08/12/website_and_web_serv&cattype=business&cat=shipping.

CANADA: Post & Parcel: The core segment of Canada Post has reported a loss before tax of $31m for the second quarter (Q2). The Canada Post Group of Companies consists of the core Canada Post segment (whose results were announced today) and its three non-wholly owned principal subsidiaries, Purolator Holdings Ltd., SCI Group Inc. and Innovapost Inc. According to a statement issued by Canada Post, the loss was due to a sharp fall in transaction mail as well as higher employee benefit expenses, although this was partially offset by continued strong growth in the parcels business.

UNITED KINGDOM: PrintWeek: Whistl has officially opened its new Scottish depot. Whistl has operated in Scotland over the past nine years and collects and sorts an average of 2 million items of mail a week before handing over to Royal Mail for delivery. Its most remote Scottish customer is the Western Isles Council, which uses Whistl for its Hybrid Mail services.

August 19, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users:  FINAL UPDATE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 - The PostalOne! application is back online the issue that was causing the technical problems earlier has been resolved. We expect to be fully operational by 5:00PM Central this evening. We will be monitoring Mail.dat and Mail.XML processing until these processes are all caught up. We anticipate being caught up later today within the next 3 – 4 hours. We will send out a notice later this evening once all of the processes are caught up.

Postal Regulatory Commission

Attention PostalOne!® UsersUPDATE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 - The PostalOne! application is still experiencing technical problems and we are continuing to work on the issue. The following applications are affected by the PostalOne! issue: · Business Customer Gateway · CAPS · Program Registration Mailings will continue to be accepted following the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf. An update will be provided in one hour or when the issue is resolved. If you have any issues or concerns, please contact the PostalOne! Helpdesk at 800.522.9085 [EdNote: This is getting ridiculous! The complaints on this issue have been pouring into the PostCom office. Whoever is responsible for addressing this should do so post haste(!).]

USPS Postal One! AlertAttention PostalOne!® Users -- UPDATE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 - The PostalOne! application is still experiencing technical problems and we are continuing to work on the issue. In the interim, mailings will continue to be accepted using the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf. Program Registration Issue INC000000686066 - Program Registration External application is down and the Internal application is slow. The root cause has been determined and the application will be available when the PostalOne! issue is resolved. An update will be provided in one hour or when the issue is resolved.

Federal Register : State Department Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services September 2015, 50375–50376 [2015–20492] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Memo to Mailers: Memo to Mailers is updated daily at www.mailomg.com. Share Memo with a colleague. Got news? Email it to mailmagazine.com.

Supply Demand Chain: "Undoubtedly." It's the simple answer most tech industry watchers give in response to the question of whether or not Uber will move beyond delivering people and into delivering packages. Local delivery is a $45 billion industry in the United States that does 2 billion deliveries per year. While on-demand companies could certainly cut into the local delivery industry's business with their better-known brands and large coffers, entering the same-day and local delivery market would require a significant amount of initial subsidization to overcome the industry's large existing B2B package volume. UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service will also struggle to provide this service level since they're optimized to consolidate volume overnight and send drivers out in the morning, although they could presumably repurpose a part of their operations to get there.

World Stamp Show: The much anticipated information regarding discounted hotel accommodations is contained in the lead article in World Stamp Show-NY 2016's ninth quarterly newsletter. It was timed to be released less than a week before the opening of APS StampShow in Grand Rapids, taking place August 19-23. The newsletter can be downloaded from http://www.ny2016.org/images/ny2016newsletters/2015-08-newsletter9.pdf..

eCommerceBytes: "Despite Warning over Mail Delays, USPS Focuses on Same-Day."

Decaturish: DeKalb County says the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is to blame for a number of residents in north DeKalb who did not receive their water bills. In a press release, DeKalb Watershed said some bills mailed on June 23, 2015, "were marked ‘undeliverable' by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) due to a glitch in its system with the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INDIA: NDTV: Armed with a payments bank licence now, the postal department should gear up to become a vehicle of financial inclusion in the country, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. The minister said that the postal department should prepare itself properly and effectively for this opportunity. The payments bank licence will enable the Department of Post (DoP) to offer banking services to the masses through its vast network of 1,54,000 post offices, of which 1,30,000 are in rural areas.

UNITED KINGDOM: Brand Channel: The criticism of Amazon's treatment of workers may be creating an opening for rival brands, young and old, to compete just as the company is evolving its delivery services yet again. In the wake of the New York Times‘ harsh takedown of the company's US workplace culture, the criticism has spread across the Atlantic to the UK. According to The Guardian, the GMB trade union has heard complaints from workers at Amazon's UK warehouses of physical and mental stress caused by the company's relentless "regime" to make its delivery service ever faster.

NIGERIA: AllAfrica.com: The post master general of the Nigerian Postal Services (NPS), Ibrahim Mori Baba, says the agency has seized goods worth N125.243 billion in nine years of his leadership. According to him, the items were interceptions of scam (419) letters and financial instruments from 258,207 seized within the period.

AUSTRALIA: Perth Now: Australians could be forced to walk kilometres to pick up basic letters and bills from local "community mailboxes", under a bleak forecast for the future of our 206-year-old postal service. A new report points to the near-collapse of the service in Canada, where letters are now being sent to neighbourhood drop-off points, and says the same thing could happen here.

SAUDI ARABIA: Arab News: The Passport Department has launched its new postal parcel service, aimed to deliver residency permits (Iqama) to beneficiaries directly, Saudi Press Agency said. The service will be conducted through the ‘Muqeem" e-portal, in coordination with the Elm Company. The department claims that this advancement will develop the e-portal's list of services, which include the issuance of profession changes, service transfers and the launching of the postal parcel service.

August 18, 2015

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Graphic Communications 5700 Darrow Road, Suite 110 Hudson, OH 44236 Contact: Erv Drewek, Manager, Postal Affairs.
Founded in 1979, Graphic Communications is a Veritiv company. Veritiv is a North American leader in business-to-business distribution solutions, specializing in the implementation of end-to-end packaging, paper and print management, publishing supply chain, facility and logistics solutions that help our customers make their business operations more efficient, sustainable and cost effective.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 50052 [2015–20246] [TEXT] 50053 [2015–20247] [TEXT]

Attention Postal One! Users: The PostalOne!® system is experiencing an issue with Postal Wizard with customers being denied access to procure their statements. The issue is currently under investigations. We will send another update at as soon as information is made available. Access Denied You don't have permission to access "http://www.uspspostalone.com/postal1/postage_statements/manual_statements/index.cfm?" on this server. Reference #18.190ad817.1439855467.90f4c7 In the interim, mailings will continue to be accepted using the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf.

USPS Office of the Inspector GeneralJenny Come Lately -- Think stamps are only worth the paper they're printed on? Philatelists will tell you to think again. The tiny One-Cent Magenta stamp, now on display at the National Postal Museum, recently sold for $9.5 million. Of course, that sole-surviving stamp of the British Guiana penny issues is the rarest stamp in the world. Other stamps deemed collectible by the philatelic community are also worth a pretty penny. Take the 1918 Inverted Jenny 24-cent airmail stamp. It is one of the world's most collectible stamps because a sheet of 100 misprinted stamps showing an upside-down biplane was accidently sold to a customer. In today's market, an Inverted Jenny stamp could fetch close to $1 million. To generate interest in stamp collecting and engage new generations of stamp collectors, the Postmaster General requested that the Postal Service create 100 additional stamp sheets that showed the biplane upright. Seventy of these Un-Inverted Jenny stamp sheets were distributed to be sold in the top 50 markets along with 1.2 million Inverted Jenny stamp sheets. The remaining 30 Un-Inverted Jenny stamp sheets were to be randomly distributed in the first 60 days of release. While an innovative idea, this action had the unintended consequence of creating and improperly distributing a philatelic rarity. In 2014, at least two Un-Inverted Jenny stamp sheets sold for more than $50,000 each.

Postal Regulatory Commission:

DOMESTIC NEWS

Postalnews.com: Back in my previous life as a financial analyst, one book that was always on my shelf was "How to Lie With Charts" by Gerald Jones. The title is meant to be tongue in cheek- Jones's purpose is to help presenters avoid creating misleading charts and graphs. But I couldn't help thinking of the title after reading Kevin Kosar's article "Four charts explain the Postal Service's financial struggles", which was posted on the RStreet blog yesterday. Kosar was formerly an analyst with the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, where he frequently wrote analyses of the postal service's finances. He now works for the very partisan RStreet lobbying organization. What led me to connect Kosar's piece with Jones's book wasn't the charts themselves for the most part, but rather the conclusions Kosar wants the reader to reach based on the charts. He certainly isn't lying- but his charts don't always support his conclusions. And sometimes they show the exact opposite. Let's look at them, one by one . . . .

Direct Marketing News:  Upset over Postal Service procedure in which operational changes translate into de facto rate increases for certain classes of mail, a coalition of mailer associations (including PostCom) filed a petition with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to address the problem yesterday. The petition also asks the PRC to create a rule-making proceeding that would require the Postal Service to file a notice of an operational change and give mailers at least 15 days to respond with their evaluations. Should, based on those comments, the PRC decide that the proposed change will have a greater than de minimis rate effect, the Postal Service should be ordered to file a notice of rate change, say mailers.

The Guardian: According to Western legal doctrine, once one enters a shared, public space, their individual rights are curtailed in order to preserve the security and integrity of that space. In a public park, for example, it is perfectly legitimate for a government to monitor your behavior and listen to your conversations. Mail, on the other hand, is considered a specific transmission of information between two or more people, and is afforded robust protections from government intrusions on the content of the messages. International treaties and organizations continue to ensure the secrecy of correspondence, as long as that correspondence takes place via traditional, twentieth-century means of communicating. The modern internet economy in many ways evolved out of a casual disregard for secrecy and privacy; it is dependent on gathering and analyzing individual user behavior and benefits a handful of western countries and companies. When the UPU was formed, statesmen understood that establishing shared standards and rules for communication across national borders, including protecting the confidentiality of messages, was critical. Perhaps it is time to consider expanding our definition of internet freedom to include a guarantee of secrecy of correspondence. Such a move may, at a minimum, provide the historical context for protecting the integrity of online communications and establish a path forward for a shared, global, and democratically inclined internet.

Mobile Marketing Watch: "Email Marketing Benchmarks 2015: Are Performance Metrics Revealing Signs of Consumer Fatigue?" examines the need for relevancy, which has never been more critical. "If consumers are going to engage with a brand, they expect that brand to know the best way to reach them and communicate with them," says Spencer Kollas, vice president of global deliverability services at Experian Marketing Services. "They don't care that your email marketing group isn't going to get credit if you click on something through an SMS. They see you as one brand." What has changed?

KTNV: Residents in a North Las Vegas neighborhood are taking to social media in hopes of finding one or more people they say have been stealing their mail. "We've been missing mail now off and on now for about a month," Kevin Scott said. That's why Scott says he decided to look at surveillance video from the camera pointed towards the mailboxes at the edge of his driveway. In the video, he saw the person walking up and unlocking the boxes before walking back to a pickup truck with arms full of mail. "He had a key, opened it right up and took what he wanted," Dallas Davis said.

Post & Parcel: The United States Postal Service (USPS) has issued a strong-worded rebuke to the Americans for Tax Reform group, which last week accused it of being "incapable of financial accountability". The USPS hit back with a riposte posted on its website yesterday (17 August), in which it described the Americans for Tax Reform column as "overtly flawed and significantly exaggerated". The USPS statement continued: "The entire piece is based on a competitor-funded paper fraught with errors about the financial status of the Postal Service that the Americans for Tax Reform organization unquestioningly parrots. "The writers of both documents fail to report the truth — that the Postal Service receives no tax dollars or subsidies for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund operations. "The writer also makes no mention of the incredible cost savings the Postal Service has achieved. The Postal Service has proactively down-sized its network from 675 processing facilities to 318 over the last 10 years, and enacted other savings initiatives reducing our annual cost base by over $15 billion per year, an extraordinary cost savings by any measure. "The ‘subsidy' numbers referred to in the column and paper are created by flawed methodologies and assumptions, apples-to-oranges comparisons, and a one-sided narrative. "The document claims that the Postal Service's economies of scale and scope are a ‘subsidy' resulting from the organization's monopolies. This is completely incorrect. In fact, the opposite is true. The Postal Service has a universal service obligation to deliver to each and every address in the United States, six days a week, regardless of the volume of mail destined for each. "Without any support, the piece accuses the Postal Service of failing to be financially accountable. Yet nowhere in the article does the writer discuss the fact that the Postal Service is constrained by a price cap tied to inflation for the overwhelming majority of its products or that the Postal Service has billions of dollars in unique burdens placed upon it, like the requirement to prefund its Retiree Health Benefits, something no other private entity is required to do. "Americans for Tax Reform owes readers a more accurate, better researched and fact- checked representation of the financial situation of the United States Postal Service. The inaccuracies contained in the column are a disservice to the American public."

RStreet.org: The U.S Postal Service reported a third-quarter loss of more than $500 million. If you are wondering whether this is news you're already heard, it is. The USPS has been running deficits for years. But this was not how the Postal Service was supposed to work. Congress abolished the tottering old Post Office Department in 1971 and replaced it with the USPS. An "independent establishment of the executive branch," the Postal Service was designed to be self-sustaining. Toward this end, it has more operational freedom than a typical government agency. It can, for example, sell unneeded real estate with relative ease. The agency also has managed, to its credit, to downsize its workforce by 225,000 persons over the past decade. So why is the agency losing money? Four charts explain the Postal Service's financial struggles.

Direct Marketing News: Direct mailers and catalogers worry that the Postal Service won't be able to predict on-time delivery by the advent of the fall mailing season. Late mail increased by 494 million pieces in the first six months of 2015, a 48% rise over the same period last year, according to a management alert released last week by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Postal Service. Due to drastic changes in service standards implemented in January, a rise in delays was expected, yet the sheer volume of lateness has big mailers concerned about the status of their fall mailings. "The Postal Service made some massive changes with the 24-hour operational clock that has taken some time to recover from," said Hamilton Davison, president and executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association. "At last weeks' MTAC meeting, USPS officials explained why they feel ready to handle the busy fall mailing season with the usual level of performance," Davison said. "But we need to have better mechanisms to understand what it is actually running rather than receiving after-the-fact reporting. Given notice, we can adjust to most anything." The Postal Service uses an External First Class Measurement system, which has IBM sending out test mailings and tracking them to obtain a view of delivery standards. It's an imperfect metric, said Grayhair Software analyst Jody Berenblatt, something USPS itself recognizes. "We can have a better system when and if the Postal Regulatory Commission approves the Postal Service's request to perform real-time measurement itself," she said.

Shelton Herald: For two days I didn't pick up the mail. No bills to worry about. No get-rich offers to resist. No once-in-a lifetime bargains for timeshare in Trinidad and Tobago. And no solicitations from charities to make me feel guilty. Things just aren't the same anymore. Gone are the days of anticipation when the mail delivery held the possibility of a new job, a college acceptance, a love letter, a secret decoder ring or some other exciting offer you got as a kid with your sugar-coated, artificially colored and artificially flavored breakfast cereal. After two days, my mailbox was bursting at the seams. Out of the 25 or so pieces of mail, not one was — how should I phrase this? — the real deal. It was all junk mail, which is known in polite postal terms as "direct advertising." The good news is that a lot of people make their livelihood from junk mail, including postal workers, copywriters, graphic designers, marketers, printers and garbage haulers. I calculate that if we doubled or tripled the volume of junk mail we produce, America could rival the growth of China's economy in a few years. (Marketers spend $17 billion on postage alone.) Since junk mail is keeping the U.S. economy afloat, President Obama, in one of his last acts as chief elected major domo for the U.S. Postal Service, should join forces with Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court to declare National Junk Mail Day. Then, we could spend the federal holiday sitting around the kitchen table, opening all those envelopes and applying for credit cards, which is surely an economic stimulus.

Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Postal Service is ramping up same-day delivery of everything from bottled water to fresh fish as its new postmaster general tries to better compete with FedEx, UPS and even Amazon.com. In New York City, letter carriers in the early morning hours load boxes of fresh and frozen seafood from Fulton Fish Market onto mail trucks and deliver them to local restaurants by 11 a.m. They collect packages from Internet electronics retailer Newegg Inc. for fast, local afternoon delivery. They're also doing daily water delivery to businesses for Nestlé SA in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Same-day delivery is part of a big push by Megan Brennan, the new postmaster general, to make the postal service more competitive.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Postal Technology International: The latest issue of Postal Technology International is now available online.

EUROPE: Transport Topics: European Union antitrust regulators will decide by Jan. 13 instead of Dec. 8 whether to clear FedEx's $4.9 billion bid for Dutch rival TNT after the logistics companies asked for more time. The European Commission opened a full-scale probe last month, concerned that the deal would lead to higher prices for businesses and consumers because the merged company would only compete with UPS and DHL, a unit of Deutsche Post. "The parties have requested a 20-day extension for the phase II investigation, as they are entitled to do according to the merger regulation," Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said Aug. 14.

NIGERIA: Punch: The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ebony Express Limited, Mr. OkeyUba, has said that the Capital market and postal industry collaborations are crucial for the nation's economic development. Uba stated this while presenting a paper, titled, "Postal Industry and Capital market: A synergy for wealth creation', at Bulk Post's Annual Customer Forum/Public Lecture in Lagos. He said that the ultimate role of the capital market was to raise funds for both government and companies through investments in securities by the public. Uba, who was the guest speaker, said securities documents were generated including public offer forms, share certificates or lodgment notices, annual reports, dividend warrants or dividend credit advice, rights circular, share transfer forms, among others, which require delivery. Thus, he said, the capital market operators engaged the services of the postal industry to collect, convey and deliver the documents to shareholders. "In all, the common gain from this activity of the capital market operators and the postal industry is wealth creation for the investing public," he said.

August 17, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users:Update CI # INC000000664723 – SASP and BIDS Delay -- We are continuing to investigate the root cause of this issue and will provide an estimated fix date when one is determined. The impact is as follows: FS ACS Provisioning is currently delayed by 24 hours. MicroStrategy Reports are currently delayed by 8 hours.

USPS Industry AlertPostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 Production Deployment - PostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 will deploy on Sunday morning Aug 30, 2015 between 4:00 AM CT and 9:00 AM CT. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues to include updates to select BIDS MicroStrategy reports. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will not be a Mail.dat client download required. Please note release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 will be published and can then be found on: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm

DOMESTIC NEWS

Federal Soup: The National Postal Mail Handlers Union announced it has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Postal Service, charging USPS with breaching its contract when it unilaterally reversed an earlier craft determination. In that earlier determination, USPS had determined that that mail handler craft is the primary craft for operating the Postal Service's new Small Parcel Sorting System. That determination was made after both NPMHU, which represents about 45,000 mail handlers, and the American Postal Workers Union submitted position statements vying for the positions. According to information in the lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, neither union disputed the Postal Service's determination to assign the system to the mail handler craft. Beginning June 1, USPS began to implement the determination by posting and awarding bids to member of the mail handler craft for positions on the new system. In some facilities, non-career mail handler assistants had been converted to full-time and permanent career mail handler positions, according to the filing. But on Aug. 7, USPS revered its determination and issued a new determination that certain duties associated with the new system instead would be assigned to the clerk craft represented by APWU. Because the original determination resulted in a tripartite agreement among USPS, NPMHU and APWU, the lawsuit also names APWU as a required party to any litigation.

CNET: Amazon's CEO says he doesn't measure drone delivery's arrival in months. He does say, though, that he expects the service to be ubiquitous. Ever since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos floated the notion, I've been excited about what life will be like when the air is constantly filled with the same sound as when my neighbor cuts his trees with a chainsaw. Bezos remains excited about this too. In an interview with the Telegraph, he said that he expects the sight of his Prime Air drones to be "as common as seeing a mail truck."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

HONG KONG: South China Morning Post: As China's e-commerce market tops US$670 billion, Hong Kong's Tom Group joins JD, Alibaba in targeting rural consumers.

GERMANY: Irish Independent: When monopolies had a popularity peak in the mid-20th century, the common view was that they guaranteed a quiet life. That was certainly the case for our company today, the German postal giant, Deutsche Post (DP), up to the time it went public in 1995. It had been the protected monopoly provider of postal services in the old West Germany from 1947, but the challenges that the emerging world of the internet was likely to throw up fascinated the business world in Germany and abroad and DP took up the task.

THAILAND: Bangkok Post: Thailand Post expects to maintain its stellar profit growth of 10% and reach 2 billion baht this year, supported by the higher-margin express parcel business and booming e-commerce market.

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