Association for Postal Commerce

"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"
"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you are willing to defend."

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Postal News and Information from Around the World

October 1, 2014 

CTV News: Door-to-door mail delivery for some residents in Lakeshore, Tecumseh and Windsor will cease in roughly one year, according to Canada Post. The postal service informed local employees that door-to-door delivery will stop in fall of 2015 for residents living in three area postal codes. These addresses will transfer to community mailboxes as part of Canada Post’s five-point action plan.

Lexington Institute International: Election mail is becoming a major source of income for postal operators around the world and appears to be improving voter participation rates. Voting by mail is gaining popularity in the United States. In California, for example, half of the ballots in the 2012 general election were cast by mail, compared to only 18 percent in 1990. Oregon and Washington conduct elections entirely by mail, forgoing traditional polling places altogether. Average turnout was 10 percent higher in these two states than elsewhere in the 2012 general election.

ABC News: The U.S. Postal Service and a rural Colorado man will argue in court Wednesday over where on postal property people can legally carry guns. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear the case involving Tab Bonidy, a licensed gun owner who, along with the National Association for Gun Rights, sued the Postal Service in 2010 over its ban on guns in post offices.

ATTENTION MAILERS!! The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided not to seek a price change for mail and shipping products and services in January in part because of the uncertainty regarding the exigent price increase. This means that the current pricing of postal products and services will remain in effect through the holiday season and early part of 2015. The Board will continue to evaluate pricing strategies and will communicate about any potential price change filings in early 2015. As always, the Postal Service will provide customers advance notice of any price changes.

The Missoulian: hings are not looking good for the U.S. Postal Service. It posted a $2 billion loss for the quarter that ended June 30 – even after increasing its prices, and revenue, significantly. The independent agency has been struggling for years, and it’s only getting worse. During the same quarter last year, for instance, it lost “only” $740 million. A postal reform bill is desperately needed. Unfortunately, the bills proposed in Congress so far would have gutted the agency’s essential services, and thus have died well-deserved deaths.

Zambia Daily Mail: This week, Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) looks at the operations of the postal services in Zambia and how it remains relevant for everyday life as well as the business environment. It is of no surprise that the increase in technology development and the use of the internet as a mode of communication has led to an alternative reduction in the need for the basic postal services such as posting letters through mail boxes. Subsequently, the tremendous reduction in the mail volumes had begun to take its toll on the financial viability of the postal operator.

September 30, 2014 

Marketwired: LSO, formerly Lone Star Overnight, a leading regional parcel carrier, today announced exclusive pricing based on parcel package size for their customers' Ground shipments. Recently, the two major global carriers had announced a major shift in pricing for Ground parcel shipping for 2015 based on package size, also known as dimensional weight pricing that will significantly and negatively impact the bottom line for many shippers.

USPS Mailers’ Scorecards: What Does the Data Say? Join us for a Webinar on October 14 Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/263639376 The USPS plans to begin the invoicing process for Full-Service Intelligent Mail® in January 2015. Do you understand the Mailer Scorecards and the impact they will have on your operations? Join PostCom for a webinar on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern as Bob Schimek, Senior Director of Postal Affairs for Satori Software, Inc. will discuss the newly expanded Mailers Scorecard. • What is driving the changes? • How it connects with the USPS initiatives for Full Service, eInduction, and Seamless. Title: USPS Mailers’ Scorecards: What Does the Data Say? Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Canoe: Postal workers could start reporting potholes, messy yards and burned out street lights as part of a new City of Edmonton pilot project. Council’s community services committee voted Monday to move forward with a plan to have Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) employees make reports using the city’s 311 app. Council wrote to Canada Post in June expressing concerns with its plan to end door-to-door delivery, and will send another letter to CEO Deepak Chopra stating that the city is willing to explore the expansion of roles for letter carriers. CUPW put forth numerous proposals of added services, including selling bus passes and pet licences at doors and providing wellness checks on people who have trouble leaving home.

Brand Republic: TNT, the postal service, is launching its first TV ad campaign for four years, in a bid to humanise the brand. The campaign forms part of a marketing strategy to make the brand more personal and will be supported by the launch of the strapline, "The people network". Created by Amsterdam-based Etcetera/DDB, the drive will include TV, digital film, radio, print and outdoor, and shows a TNT truck constructed out of TNT employees.

Arutz Sheva: The Histadrut (national labor federation) has called for a renewal of sanctions to be imposed today due to the ongoing, unresolved crisis between postal workers and the Ministry of Finance. Sanctions will now include the striking of all courthouse employees, including clerical and administrative staff. The public will not be received today, as well. Post offices will continue to refuse to process all court-, police-, and municipal-imposed fines. In addition, Israel Post has resumed all sanctions.

Post & Parcel: Danish-Swedish postal operator PostNord has secured a distribution deal with Danish freight company Blue Water Shipping. Blue Water Shipping is an international transport firm based in Denmark, which operates in 30 countries across the globe. The agreement with PostNord, state-owned parent company of Swedish Post and Post Danmark, will see the postal company distributing parcels and pallets assembled by Blue Water Shipping for destinations in the Nordic region.

The Guardian: Royal Mail shares closed below 400p on Monday for the first time since they floated in October last year, and there has been no recovery in early trading. They are currently down 1.2p at 397.2p, although still well above the 330p flotation price which led to criticism the company had been sold off too cheaply by the government.

St. Petersburg Times: U.S. online auction mega-site eBay plans to expand its Russian services by opening its website to some of Russia's largest online stores, business daily Vedomosti reported Monday, citing retailers involved in the project. Russian vendors such as X5 Retail Group and Wikimart will begin selling their goods via eBay's marketplace on Tuesday, the newspaper said. While many international companies have put expansion plans on hold amid a chill in Russia's political relations with the West, as well as economic sanctions, eBay has stood by its commitment to expansion in the Russian market.

Business Review: Belgian postal services operator bpost was the sole interested party in submitting a non-binding offer on Tuesday for a 51 percent stake of the Romanian Post, writes Mediafax.

Derry Journal: Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has called for postal companies in the North to offer an all-Ireland tariff in order to reduce the cost of sending cross-border letters.


Global Address Data Association Newsletter September 2014 has been posted on the GADA web site.

eCommerceBytes: There's a lot of talk about how postal services around the world can survive given falling letter volume, and some are experimenting more than others. One such entity is Australia Post, which has launched a program this year that brings it into the world of ecommerce. In May, Australia Post signed an agreement with the Alibaba Group to set up its own branded storefront on Tmall, the Chinese B2C marketplace, where it is helping small and medium-sized businesses from Australia sell their products to shoppers in China. The postal service then provides the logistics required by retailers to ship orders from Australia to their buyers in China.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Market Test of Experimental Product-Customized Delivery ,
58831–58832 [2014–23241] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Service
 
NOTICES
Market Tests of Experimental Products:
  Customized Delivery ,
  58832 [2014–23189] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Office of the Inspector General:

Tea leaves, crystal balls, palm readings: There are lots of ways to try to predict the future . . . and most of them are useless. Still, careful examination of measurable indicators — and a little imagination — can yield some clues as to what may lie ahead. That’s good news for the U.S. Postal Service, because if there’s anything that faces an uncertain future right now, it’s the nearly 240-year-old institution that delivers your mail every day. To get a sense of what America’s postal needs might be a decade from now and how the Postal Service could fulfill them, we recently undertook a study that included (a) researching projections for more than 80 social, technological, and industrial trends, (b) reviewing hundreds of articles, and (c) interviewing experts.

What the OIG Found. While the Postal Service’s revenue loss from customer churn and defection decreased by from FYs 2012 to 2013, the magnitude of this problem continues to have a significant impact on its revenue and financial outlook. Enhancements to the Postal Service’s current customer retention strategies could mitigate further revenue loss. Specifically, many customers we surveyed cited service and operational issues as key factors in their decision to reduce their business with or leave the Postal Service. To address these issues, the Postal Service needs to implement an effective strategy to promote collaboration among the Sales and operations groups. This approach is in line with best-in-class organizations, which reduce churn and defection by increasing collaboration among the sales and operations groups when handling customer problems. We noted that limited information sharing may also be impeding efforts to retain customers. Leading practices show that retention can improve if departments effectively share information about customers at risk of reducing their spending. Finally, the Postal Service’s retention strategy does not include a process to contact former customers. Leading practices recommend reaching out to former customers to reestablish business relationships. By addressing the issues outlined in this report, which are within its control, the Postal Service could significantly reduce churn and defection. We estimate improvements to the Postal Service’s retention strategies could prevent of revenue loss from customer churn and defection in FY 2014.
What the OIG Recommended. We recommended the Postal Service enhance the effectiveness of its customer retention efforts by implementing strategies to promote organization-wide collaboration for handling customer service and operational problems that could lead to churn or defection, effectively sharing information on at-risk customers, and reaching out to former customers

September 29, 2014 

Radio Prague: The future of Česká pošta (Czech Post) is unclear as key ministers in the centre-left coalition government have differing views as to what to do with the country’s state-owned mail service, Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. Photo: Tomáš Adamec Photo: Tomáš Adamec Česká pošta has 32,000 employees and an annual turnover of over CZK 20 billion. It has over 3,200 branches in municipalities around the country and administers strategic government IT systems. The postal service comes under the office of the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, who wants to halt plans set in train by a previous centre-right government to turn it into a joint stock company ahead of privatisation. Indeed, Mr. Chovanec told Hospodářské noviny his party the Social Democrats, who lead the government, will not countenance a sell-off.

The Coast News: In a late August visit to San Diego, The Postmaster General of the United States Patrick Donahoe described the situation the Postal Service is in as “very fixable,” but only through legislation. But Donahoe is certain that by changing the law in integrating Medicare and requiring office personnel management to provide a lower cost health care system for retirees, something not within the powers of the Postmaster General, will fix the problems of the Postal Service. While the Postal Service continues to lose money, the latest figures released show However, the Postal Service did see an increase in revenue during the same quarter that Donahoe credits to two things: “We raised prices this year 5.9 percent and we have a nice increase, about 7 or 8 percent increase, in package revenue.” But Donahoe wasn’t convinced that the increase was a signal of things changing for the Postal Service, saying that every year their costs go up a minimum of $1.5 billion and even if they did nothing different, the costs will still go up.

New York Times: An audience measurement system being introduced on Monday will allow individual magazines to capture broad consumer engagement for the first time, whether it is a fan watching a Cosmopolitan fashion video on a mobile phone or a reader looking at a favorite new recipe from Bon Appétit on Pinterest. Mary G. Berner, president and chief executive of MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, said the new monthly system, Magazine Media 360, would measure audience engagement for print and for digital editions and video across desktop and mobile devices. It will also capture data for five social media networks, although those will be reported separately.

Handling & Storage Solutions: DHL Express has announced a general average price increase throughout Europe, effective January 1, 2015. In the UK, the average price increase will be 3.5%. DHL Express adjusts its prices annually, taking into account inflation and other rising costs in each of the more than 220 countries and territories that it serves. Price adjustments will vary from country to country, depending on local conditions, and will apply to all customers where contracts allow.

Stock and Land: Queensland LNP Senators Barry O’Sullivan, Ian MacDonald, James McGrath and Matt Canavan have called on Australia Post to act urgently to ensure the viability of privately owned post offices across rural and regional Australia, following the release of a damning Senate Inquiry report last week. The Environment and Communications Legislation Senate Committee report found Australia Post’s lack of consultation with its more than 3000 privately owned post offices was leading to a “growing divide” that threatened long term viability.

Globes: The crisis in the Israel Postal Company is likely to resume if a dispute between the Ministries of Finance and Communications over the number of mail delivery days is not solved soon. The Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) warned that it would renew sanctions if the matter is not solved in the near future. The dispute focuses on the Ministry of Finance's demand, on which it reached agreement with the Histadrut, on a switch to two mail delivery days a week as part of a general reform in the company, despite opposition from Minister of Communications , who is demanding an initial transition to three mail delivery days for a trial period, after which a transition to two mail delivery days would be considered.

Bloomberg: Japan Post Holdings Co. will settle 700 billion yen ($6.4 billion) of pension liabilities to bolster its balance sheet before an initial public offering slated for next year. The state-owned company plans to raise 1.3 trillion yen by selling a stake in subsidiary Japan Post Bank Co. to the banking unit.

September 28, 2014 

Dead Tree Edition: First Class Forever Stamp revenues were up 10% in December 2013 and 35% in January 2014 over the previous year, temporarily netting USPS more than $300 million in additional cash. Then came the drought: The number of stamps sold was down 18% in February, 17% in March, and 12% in April. By comparison, the 1-cent increase in January 2013 caused hardly a blip -- a 5% increase that month and then a 9% decrease the next. Despite email and online billing, people are still mailing plenty of letters: In the 12-month period from September 2013 to August 2014, the Postal Service sold more than 13 billion Forever Stamps, worth more than $6 billion.

The Hill: The U.S. Postal Service is besieged by financial losses, and the cavalry doesn’t appear to be coming. After years of debate, Congress remains stalled on legislation to prop up an agency weighed down by heavy employee costs and still struggling to remake itself in the Internet era. But asked what the chances were for a deal this lame-duck session, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) made a circle with his thumb and index finger and said: "Zero." “It’s over,” Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, added before lawmakers left Washington last week. Perhaps most importantly, the Postal Service’s finances have improved significantly over the last two years, blunting the momentum for negotiations and prompting some outside advocates to suggest that doing nothing is better than backing the leading proposals on Capitol Hill. “Before there was much more a sense of urgency, and I don’t think that sense of urgency is still there,” Cummings said.

September 27, 2014 

Wall Street Journal: When Patrick Murphy moved to a small town in western Ireland a decade ago, there were already two other Patrick Murphys in the neighborhood. They weren't related and lived in different homes. But they all shared the same address: Dromtrasna Collins, Abbeyfeale, County Limerick. Like many parts of rural Ireland, the town doesn't use house numbers. Some addresses don't even carry street names. And unlike the rest of Europe and most of the industrialized world, Ireland also doesn't have postal codes—the equivalent of a ZIP Code in the U.S. Now, the government here wants to end confusion like this, and plans to roll out the country's first postal-code system next spring. It promises to be one of the world's most specific—assigning an individual number to every residence and business.

eCommerceBytes: The US Postal Service wants to resume consolidation of its operations. This is worrying to online sellers and other mailers, and now comes data on how many jobs might be lost as a result of plant closures. The USPS plans to close an additional 82 facilities next year when it resumes Phase 2 of its consolidation of mail processing centers. Phase 1 saw the closure of 141 mail processing facilities in 2012 - 2013. A publication called Government Executive analyzed the plans and estimated that 7,320 jobs will be lost in Phase 2. That is a net figure, taking into account those workers who are relocated to existing plants.

Sfist: When Amazon announced earlier this month that they would be using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver groceries in San Francisco, it seems like folks reacted with a collective shrug. Having your mailman deliver your Amazon Fresh foodstuffs? Sure, why not? Well, here's one reason: because the postal service says that they'll be delivering these groceries in branded totes, and leaving them outside your home (without ringing your bell or anything) between 3 and 7 in the morning. Sure, that's going to work! According to the filing, this system has been working just great in San Francisco. Which, really? This is a city where a woman can't leave a stroller locked to the front of her North Beach home without it getting swiped. But a bunch of Amazon-branded totebags full of groceries sitting in front of a house in the wee hours of the morning goes unmolested? This, my friends, strains even my credulity.

Financial: An environment of increasing risks, complex regulations and continuing cost pressures is impeding healthcare executives from moving quickly to seize untapped industry opportunities, according to the 7th annual UPS "Pain in the (Supply) Chain" survey. Globally, healthcare executives are planning for strategic partnerships and technology investment to mitigate risks and capitalize on growth opportunities.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
58386 [2014–23001] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreements ,
  58387 [2014–23027] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  58386 [2014–23028] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  58387 [2014–23030] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat: Despite harsh words from a congressman and pleas from dozens of residents and business owners, the Postal Service remains intent on closing two processing centers affecting the mail service of hundreds of thousands of North Coast residents. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, this week sought answers from U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a letter in which he expressed strong opposition to the plan to close processing centers in Petaluma and Eureka. Huffman said the agency has provided inconsistent information to customers and has not justified why the facilities must be closed.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • U.S. Postal Service's DRIVE 43 - Build a Worldclass Package Platform The Postal Service Implemented the Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency (DRIVE) management process in fiscal year 2011 to improve business strategy. DRIVE seeks to reduce the Postal Service’s reported $20 billion gap between revenue and expenses by 2016 through data-driven program and project management. Drive initiative 43 to build a world class package platform is one of 21 DRIVE initiatives.
     
  • Management of Detail Assignments Follow-Up Audit Report Report Number DP-AR-14-007 September 26, 2014
    What The OIG Found. While the Postal Service areas have the ability to manually monitor detail assignments, the areas and headquarters do not have a comprehensive tracking system. Specifically, cost issues have precluded Employee Resource Management from obtaining an automated employee detail assignment tracking system. Corporate Personnel Management recorded from June through December 2013 about $17.8 million spent on travel related to detail assignments. However, there are no controls in place to validate that the amount is complete and accurate because management is unable to determine if employees on a detail assignment are selecting the detail assignment dropdown field in the eTravel system as required by policy. Additionally, inconsistencies remain in Postal Service detail assignment policies.
    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended the chief Human Resources officer and executive vice president implement an interim tracking system this fiscal year for detail assignments and associated travel costs, before phasing in the automated system by 2017.

September 26, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Attention Business Customer Gateway Users  Program Registration Release 11.0.0.6 — will be deployed to Production on Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 4:00 am to 9:00 am CDT. There will be an outage and the Incentives Program and Online Enrollment Services accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during this time. Program Registration Release 11.0.0.6 implements a fix for the following issue. Incentives: · Permit Balance Report and Earned Value Report for certain customers did not display any data.

New York Times: Near the top of the list of tiresome tasks that the Internet has yet to solve is this one: trekking to the post office. Enter a San Francisco start-up called Shyp, which is expanding to New York on Monday. For a small fee, it fetches, boxes and mails parcels for you. The other week, I had a get-well package to mail to my cousin. I opened the app, snapped a photo of the items I wanted to send and entered her address. Fifteen minutes later, someone was at my door and that was it. No boxes, no tape, no weighing, no buying stamps, no standing in line. The post office, with its slow-moving lines and cumbersome packing supplies, offers exactly the opposite. The Postal Service's daily operations are a logistical feat, and it has succeeded at tackling the last-mile delivery problem the expensive process of getting items to their final, far-flung destinations. But getting packages into the system, call it the first mile, is another story. Richard R. John, a Columbia University historian who has studied the postal system, called it a particularly intractable, knotty problemť as he contemplated a package in his office that he had been procrastinating about sending back to Amazon.

Office of the Inspector General:

What The OIG Found. The Greensboro District could improve controls over the use and processing of extra trips. We found the Greensboro District could have avoided 689 of 7,386 (9.3 percent) extra trips used to transport mail due to unnecessary mail processing delays or missent mail. Mail processing delays were the result of non-adherence to dispatch leave times and missent mail was the result of operational errors. These events caused the district to spend an additional $53,927 on extra trips in FY 2013, Q4. `We also determined procedures for authorizing and documenting extra trips were not always followed. Over 49 percent of PS Forms 5397 (or 3,163 of 6,342) were not completed properly. Local officials did not always review or authorize these forms and, in some cases, recorded incorrect miles for the trips. Consequently, the Greensboro District incurred $536,643 in costs that were not properly supported or authorized. We also found that the Postal Service made 34 interest payments because Postal Service Forms 5397 were not submitted on time. Finally, we identified 120 instances where trip dates on Postal Service Forms 5429 did not match those on Forms 5397 because employees were not adequately trained and monitored. As a result, HCR contractors were not paid interest on late payments.
What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management reduce extra trips by implementing controls and enforcing procedures to avoid processing delays and missent mail. We also recommended management provide training on, and monitor compliance with, proper completion of extra trip authorization forms, ensure HCR extra trip forms are submitted timely for payment, and calculate and pay contractors any interest due.

Meridian  Record-Journal: The United States Postal Service can’t win, because Congress won’t let it. Congress requires the postal service to provide door-to-door mail service to every municipality from Washington, D.C., to East Overshoe, Alaska — but won’t let it set prices that will cover the costs of the huge workforce and gigantic truck fleet it takes to deliver that service. Congress requires the postal service to deliver mail six days a week, and then demands that it somehow break even. Congress requires the postal service to prepay health-care costs decades into the future — something no private business has to do — and then expects it to compete with package-delivery specialists UPS and FedEx. But whenever the service proposes closing some corn-crib post office that does hardly any business and should have been shuttered decades ago, there’s a flurry of objections, and the answer is no.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
57987 [2014–22969] [TEXT]  [PDF]
57987–57988 [2014–22970] [TEXT]  [PDF]

New York Observer: A Brooklyn mailman was arrested Wednesday after it was discovered that he had failed to deliver 40,000 pieces of mail. Joseph Brucato kept the undelivered post in his house, locker and car. He was found out after his supervisor saw pieces of mail in his 2004 Mitsubishi Galant, which is not an authorized mail delivery vehicle. Mr. Brucato, who worked in Flatbush, admitted that he had been keeping stolen correspondence in the vehicle for at least six months. In all, federal agents recovered about 2,500 pounds of snail mail dating back to 2005.

   PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is 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. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

September 25, 2014 

The Street: The Chinese government's cabinet has pledged to move toward internationalizing the country's package delivery industry, signaling new profit potential for United Parcel Service and FedEx as China's retail sector shifts to online shopping. The parcel delivery business will be "fully opened up" to "create a fair and competitive business environment in which domestic and foreign-financed enterprises receive equal treatment," according to a summary of the State Council decision posted late Wednesday on a government Web site.

American Postal Workers Union: The president of the American Federation of Teachers has a message for Staples CEO Ron Sargent: We're not buying! AFT President Randi Weingarten wrote to Sargent on Sept. 17, "As you know, teachers are critical to your profits. Last year, educators spent over $1.6 billion of their own money on school supplies and a lion's share of that money was spent at Staples stores all across the country. Some of our local affiliates have even entered into partnerships with Staples to offer discounts to teachers and other school-related staff with a goal of reducing costs to benefit the communities and families we serve. "Regrettably, many of these partnerships have and will continue to end as long as your company continues to participate in the privatization of postal retail operations through the ‘Approved Shipper' program, which replaces living-wage Postal Service jobs with low-wage Staples jobs and compromises the safety and security of the mail." The AFT voted to endorse the ‘Don't Buy Staples' campaign at their national convention in mid-July. The National Education Association, with 3 million members, has also asked their members to buy school and office supplies elsewhere.

Fierce Mobile Government: Mobile technology is helping direct mail become more interactive, particularly for advertisers, says the Postal Service inspector general in a Sept. 22 report on mail innovation. Connected mail connects recipients to a digital experience via a mobile device. The report highlights several connected mail technologies and explains common applications for advertisers, as well as the effectiveness of such technologies and their cost.

September 24, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Brazil-Arab News Agency: For 14 years a simplified export system has been assisting Brazilian small- and medium-sized businesses to sell abroad. The service is called Exporta Fácil (Easy Export) and is provided by the state-owned Brazilian Postal Service (Correios, in Portuguese). The system has also helped boost exports from Brazil to the Arab world. Saudi Arabia ranked among the top ten destinations for goods mailed via the Postal Service in the first seven months of this year, and its imports increased by 800% from the same period in 2013.

BBC: A committee of MPs has announced an inquiry into competition in the UK postal sector. It is in response to complaints from Royal Mail, which says it is facing unfair competition from rival firms such as Whistl - previously TNT Post. The Business Committee said its inquiry would look at how competition was affecting Royal Mail's obligation to provide a universal service. Royal Mail says the obligation gives rivals an unfair advantage. Competitors such as Whistl do not have to provide delivery to the whole country, or guarantee deliveries six days a week, as Royal Mail must continue to do under the Universal Service Obligation, despite its privatisation last year. Royal Mail says this allows Whistl to "cherry-pick" easy-to-serve urban areas that are more profitable than rural areas, and choose to deliver easy-to-process mail.

Post & Parcel: Swiss Post has announced plans to upgrade three of its parcel centres as part of continuing efforts to boost its e-commerce shipping capabilities. The state-owned national postal operator in Switzerland said that in order to continue to handle parcels to its "usual high standard" even at peak times, it needs to expand sorting capacity. Swiss Post said 46% of its customers want parcels to be delivered next day at the moment, while returned parcel volumes are steadily increasing.

Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service is still facing the prospect of having insufficient funds to continue operations, despite its cost-cutting efforts over the last few years, and its improving revenue. That is the conclusion of a new report from the Congressional Research Service, the public policy research arm of the US Congress. With postal reform bills continuing to float around Capitol Hill with no guarantee of landing, the report out yesterday stated firmly that without legislative change, the US Postal Service will need to continue its debilitating deferral of much-needed infrastructure investments and and start to decide who it will, and will not pay. "Congress designed the USPS to be financially self-supporting. The agency's ability to remain financially self-supporting over the long-term is questionable," said the CRS.

Romania-Insider: The state-owned Romanian Post recently launched a money transfer service that allows Romanians who work abroad to send money to their relatives in the country. The main feature of this service, which is called Money Home Delivery, is that the postman will deliver the money to the recipient's home, the company announced on September 24. With this service, Posta Romana enters a market that has been dominated so far by large international money transfer services, such as Western Union and MoneyGram.

Office of the Inspector General: Facilities Repair and Alteration Process Audit Report Report Number SM-AR-14-009 Facilities Repair and Alteration Process September 22, 2014.

What the OIG Found.While controls over repairs and alterations using the national EMCOR contract were adequate, the Postal Service can improve controls over those paid for by credit card. Postal Service policy did not require project managers to obtain written certification of completion for repairs and alterations paid for by credit card. Consequently, project managers did not obtain written certification for 16 of 27 repairs and alterations costing over $2,000. We estimated the Postal Service paid $22.2 million for repairs and alterations via credit card in FY 2013 with no written certification of work completed. Also, officials did not perform a detailed review of credit card statement activity and other supporting documentation for all 113 credit card transactions reviewed, valued at $237,224. There was no policy requiring such a review. Finally, the Postal Service could not reconcile all repair and alteration costs from the general ledger to the enterprise Facilities Management System because identifiers such as invoice numbers are not captured in the general ledger. Without adequate controls over repairs and alterations, the Postal Service is at increased risk of paying for incomplete or faulty work and cannot ensure repair and alteration expenses are properly recorded in its accounting system.
What the OIG Recommended. We recommended management update policies to require written certification of completion for repairs and alterations paid for by credit card and a detailed review of credit card activity. We also recommended management upgrade systems to reconcile general ledger transactions to repair project files.

Washington Examiner: U.S. Postal Service officials operate more than 32,000 facilities across the country, so it's not unexpected that they also spend a lot of money on repairs and maintenance. But there is no documentation for more than $22 million worth of repairs that postmasters and other postal officials paid for last year with credit cards, according to USPS inspector general.

Wall Street Journal: Dutch parcel delivery firm TNT Express NV warned on Wednesday that it no longer expects to meet its full-year guidance amid tough trading in Europe. "Since the interim results of July 28, 2014, overall trading conditions in Europe have deteriorated further and competitive pressures have increased," the company said. "This means that it is no longer prudent to maintain our 2015 guidance—which assumed an economic growth rate in Europe of between 2 and 3%—of an adjusted operating margin of 8% for the combined Europe main and other Europe and Americas segments," it added.

Contra Costa Times: Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today wrote the United States Postal Service (USPS) to express his opposition to their proposal to close the North Bay Processing and Distribution Center in Petaluma and the Eureka Customer Service Mail Processing Center. In a letter sent to Postmaster General Patrick Donohue, Huffman noted that the USPS has provided inconsistent information to his constituents and has not offered a convincing justification as to why these facilities must be closed. "I am frustrated at the Postal Service's lack of transparency throughout this process, disregard for public input, and ambivalence to the impacts reduced service standards will have on local communities," Huffman wrote. "It has come to my attention that the USPS declined to meet with local leaders from my district stating that the decision is final and there is nothing more to discuss, when just the month prior I was personally assured that the process was ongoing and no final decision had been made."

Inside 3DP: Back in July, the US Postal Service (USPS) Inspector General released a whitepaper titled If It Prints, It Ships: 3D printing and the Postal Service. In the whitepaper, the Inspector General made a bold statement: that 3D printing could potentially contribute to an additional $485 million in revenue for the USPS each year. Shortly after, research institute Brookings Institution wrote a blog post saying the USPS increase in revenue due to 3D printing would not be as significant as the postal service company had originally thought. It seems like the USPS may have known that they were talking about. The UPS store, a wholly owned subsidiary of USPS direct competitor United Parcel Service (UPS), previously launched six 3D printers at six different locations across the country. The Stratasys uPrint SE Plus industrial 3D printers used by The UPS Store were launched as part of an intiaitive to offer 3D printing services in store at certain branches and test the results. Following the immense success of the initial launch, The UPS Store has officially announced it will be expanding its 3D printing services to nearly 100 additional locations nationwide.

September 23, 2014

Journal of Commerce: Even as air freight space out of China has tightened because of the launch of the Apple iPhone 6, the traditional air freight surges associated with major electronics product launches are not what they used to be. Reports have surfaced in recent weeks of tight air freight capacity because of heavy volumes of Apple products elbowing out other shippers' goods. But some believe supply chain trends are such that the product launch surge is becoming less relevant today. One reason is that instead of shipping all the product at once, companies are pre-positioning more of it closer to consumer markets to improve responsiveness.

The Messenger-Gazette: The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently passed a resolution supporting the Borough of North Plainfield in its application for a unique postal identity from the United States Postal Service. North Plainfield residents share three ZIP codes with the City of Plainfield in Union County, which results in mail and package deliveries to erroneous destinations, jury summonses and other mail from Union County, and incorrect insurance quotes.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • MT2014-1 Notice of the United States Postal Service of Market Test of Experimental Product - Customized Delivery
    Customized Delivery is a package delivery service offering that will provide customers with delivery of groceries and other prepackaged goods, primarily during a 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. delivery window. The Postal Service may also test other customized delivery windows as part of this market test. The market test, which will begin on or shortly after October 24, 2014, is designed for retailers to deliver groceries and other prepackaged goods in a customized delivery window, tailored to their unique offerings and customer base. In addition to testing the operational feasibility of customized delivery windows, this market test will also assist the Postal Service in determining the optimal pricing structure for this type of service.
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/90/90393/Notice Customized Delivery MT.Public.pdf

American Postal Workers Union: APWU Wins Major Victory on Staffing ‘POStPlan' Offices -- The ruling and MOU establish a minimum of 3,000 new Level 6 career jobs in six-hour offices and Level 18 offices. Positions in the six-hour offices must be staffed with full-time employees. The ruling and MOU also establish more than 6,000 new Level 6 non-career jobs in four-hour offices, to be filled by Postal Support Employees (PSEs). The union expects thousands of additional new career jobs to be created as the process unfolds.

Updated versions of the USPS Leased Facilities Reports and the USPS Owned Facilities Reports has been posted on the Postal Service's web site.:

Congressional Research Service: The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: A Primer Daniel J. Richardson, Coordinator Research Assistant September 22, 2014

The USPS is experiencing significant financial challenges. After running modest profits from FY2003 through FY2006, the USPS lost $45.6 billion between FY2007 and FY2013. Since FY2011, the USPS has defaulted on $16.7 billion in payments to its Retiree Health Benefits Fund (RHBF). The agency reached its $15 billion borrowing limit in FY2012 and did not reduce its total debt in FY2013. In October 2012, the USPS bolstered its liquidity by withdrawing all of the cash from its competitive products fund. This fund has not been replenished since that time. While the financial condition of the postal service slightly improved in FY2013, both revenues and expenses have increased through the first three quarters of FY2014. Compared with the same point in FY2013, expenses are $1.4 billion higher while revenues have increased by $1.0 billion. The USPS's recent financial difficulties are partially the product of reduced demand. The agency has experienced a 21.7% drop in mail volume during the past 10 years. Additionally, during the past decade the "mail mix" has shifted. A growing portion of the mail is advertising mail, which yields low profits. Concurrently, the annual volume of first-class letters, which are highly profitable, has been dropping steadily, at least in part due to mailers shifting to electronic communications. As a result, the Postal Service's revenues in FY2013 were lower than they were in FY2004. Additionally, the Postal Service's liquidity has decreased and its debt has increased because of the statutorily mandated payments that must be made to the RHBF each year. This report discusses these issues in more detail, and it will be updated after the USPS releases its FY2014 year-end financial results in November 2014 and in the interim should there be any significant developments.

Postalnews.com: Next week the National Association of Letter Carriers will begin the process of electing its national officers. In contrast to last year's contentious APWU leadership election battle, which ended with the ouster of APWU President Cliff Guffey, the NALC campaign has attracted little if any notice. But the current NALC President Fred Rolando does have competition- retired letter carrier and former NALC official Dave Noble. Noble's campaign themes are similar to the ones that won the APWU election for Mark Dimondstein, in particular Noble's contention that the NALC "surrendered" to management on the two-tier pay issue during negotiations on the national agreement.

Post & Parcel: Canada Post has launched a new online tool that will allow small businesses to create and run a direct marketing campaign through a single application. Snap Admail has been developed with marketing firm Taradel, and is now available through Canada Post's website. Users can use it to create direct mail pieces, plan their target audiences, send the mailpieces for printing and then distribute them to their target markets.

Post & Parcel: Lithuania Post, one of the largest companies in the country, has implemented an up-to-date IT troubleshooting management and solution monitoring system, for 250,000 Litas. The IT Service Desk was implemented by Synergy Consulting, an information security and IT service management company. According to Tyrnas Jokubauskas, the company manager, it was a huge challenge to implement such a solution with one of the largest companies in Lithuania running a dense network of access points all over the country. The new system was launched in September this year, and additional functions will be implemented in the future.

Postal Technology International: Escher Group used Post-Expo 2014 in Stockholm to announce it has secured a key contract with Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) to supply Escher's Enterprise Mobile solution to DPDHL's network of Paketshops in Germany. The five-year subscription license agreement is based on a minimum of 15,000 mobile devices for DPDHL.

Attention Business Customer Gateway Users Program Registration Release 11.0.0.5 — will be deployed to Production on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm CDT. There is no outage expected for this deployment and the application will be available during this time. Program Registration Release 11.0.0.5 implements a fix for the following issue. · There is a defect in Program Registration that resulted in some customers receiving NSA rates for flat rate envelope when the permit is delinked.

The Baltimore Sun: With the increasing reliance on email and social media slowing the flow of letters to a trickle — and many students ignoring what little comes through — officials at Loyola have scrapped the school's entire student mail system, ripping out 4,000 mailboxes in the campus' College Center over the summer. In place of the traditional mailroom, they have designed a new system to meet another campus trend: The growing delivery of packages to students who now order everything from food to furniture online.

The Straits Times: All households will receive free stamps from Singapore Post by Oct 1. SingPost started delivering the stamps to 1.4 million households yesterday. Each will get a booklet containing six local stamps. Free stamps will also go to over 130 charity homes for the elderly, young, disabled and other residential facilities. The free stamps are meant to encourage more people to use the postal service, said SingPost, which also announced the first hike in postal rates in eight years.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • Misclassified Training Expenses

    What the OIG Found. Postal Service employees misclassified $18.9 million of operating expenses all as training expenses. Employees also misclassified $32.7 million of travel for training costs as training for instruction and fees. Postal Service employees misclassified these expenses because a budget memorandum provided incorrect guidance, and management did not properly configure the eTravel system to identify travel expenses associated with training. As a result, the Postal Service overstated the general ledger expense account balances for "Training - Instructor and Fees" by $51.6 million for FYs 2013 and 2014 (through March 31, 2014), potentially impacting its ability to make informed financial decisions.
    What the OIG Recommended. We recommended the Postal Service correct the misclassification of expenses identified during the review for FY 2014; issue a memorandum outlining the correct procedures and general ledger accounts to charge for meetings, conferences, and training; and configure the eTravel system to allocate travel costs to the proper general ledger account.
     
  • Mail Innovations RARC Report Report Number RARC-WP-14-013 Mail Innovations September 22, 2014.

Despite the sharp increase in digital communications in recent years, mail still elicits a strong connection with recipients. Past work by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) reveals that mail is a critical piece of an omnichannel strategy, which gives consumers a seamless and meaningful experience across a variety of media channels and provides marketers with a rich source of useful information. Now, more than ever, advertising campaigns must compete for recipients' attention, as people are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of advertisements on a daily basis. To give consumers of all ages advertising messages that are relevant, interesting, and dynamic, mailers can incorporate a number of innovations into their mailpieces. These innovations can allow the marketing message to stand out, either by providing additional content in an easily accessible digital space, incorporating handy electronics into the mailpiece, or using unique materials and design to capture the reader's attention. This paper provides an overview of ten mail innovations that range from commonly used and well-known tools to some that are still emerging, and even one that is still in the research and development phase. The OIG interviewed companies that create and support these innovations to learn more about them and what they can do to strengthen a mail campaign. These innovations can be more effective engaging customers and garnering a positive response, either in terms of recipient feedback or sales metrics.

What the OIG Found. Although it has made improvements, the Harrisburg P&DC had difficulties processing its mail on time. In FY 2014, Q1 there were 98 million pieces of delayed mail. The level of delayed mail decreased to 61 million pieces in Q2 and 16 million pieces in Q3. We attributed this improvement largely to a lower volume of mail processed in Q3. The addition of 113 employees in Q2 and Q3 also contributed to this improvement. Despite the FY 2014, Q3 improvement, there are still areas at risk that could make it difficult for the Harrisburg P&DC to process mail on time. For example, the Harrisburg P&DC has a June 2013 facility operating plan that does not reflect recent consolidation activity. An up-to-date operating plan would reflect changes in processing operations and give management an overview of the amount of mail projected to be cancelled. In addition, there were not enough maintenance employees in FY 2014, Q3, which put operations at risk. Of the authorized 189 maintenance positions, 64 were vacant, resulting in less preventative maintenance and equipment breakdowns. Equipment was down for nearly 4,000 hours for mechanical reasons in FY 2014, Q1and Q2, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year. Finally, additional supervisory employees are needed to ensure adequate oversight; nine of the 26 authorized supervisor and two of three manager, Distribution Operations, positions were vacant in FY 2014, Q3. Delays in processing resulting from these areas at risk could cause late mail delivery that could negatively impact service performance.
What the OIG Recommended.
We recommended the senior plant manager update the Harrisburg P&DC operating plan and fill maintenance and supervisor vacancies to authorized levels.

What The OIG Found. The amount of overtime at the Iowa City Post Office was significantly greater than the national goal. Specifically, in fiscal year 2013, overtime was 13.9 percent of total workhours at the Iowa City facility compared to the Postal Service's national goal of 5.6 percent, and the national average rate of 9.3 percent. Also, from January 2013 through January 2014, Iowa City Post Office employees, on average, worked 6 days a week, 40 percent of the time. The facility used a large amount of overtime because carrier positions were understaffed and parcel volumes increased. Additionally, facility management did not perform route inspections or effectively divide overburdened or vacant routes among carriers. Finally, management did not follow overtime procedures, resulting in overtime grievance payouts 179 percent higher than the national average. If management does not properly staff the facility, manage parcel volume increases, use available tools to control overtime, and follow overtime procedures, the Postal Service could be exposed to unnecessary grievances and incur additional overtime costs. Excessive overtime could also harm employee morale.
What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management implement a plan to recruit and retain employees at the Iowa City Post Office; implement procedures to ensure all routes are structured within 8 hour assignments; implement procedures to ensure management pivots available routes; and train facility management on techniques to effectively manage overtime to reduce overtime grievances.

Mere ink-on-paper advertisements are so last week. Cutting-edge ads, including direct mail, involve interactive features that were once limited to slick websites. How about something the size of a postcard that uses radio waves to send detailed product information to your smartphone and lets you to buy the minute you want to? Or a piece of mail that has an embedded, paper-thin video screen that you can control? The first example is called near field communications, the second a type of electronic mail (which is not at all the same as email). They're just two of 10 technological innovations for enhancing advertising mail that we examine in our recently released white paper, Mail Innovations. One way or another, they each leverage technology to provide far more information about a product – and are far more engaging – than advertising mail of yore.

Business expansion is a business strategy used by companies to increase access to their products and services by opening stores in different physical locations while maintaining current business locations. Our objective is to determine whether the Postal Service maintains adequate oversight of the Approved Shippers Program.

Dead Tree Edition: The outlook for changes in postal rates for the next 12 months is murkier than it's been in years. A rate hike, a decrease, an extension of the temporary "exigent" increase, and an even an increase and decrease a few months apart are all plausible 2015 scenarios for First Class, Standard, and Periodicals mailers. That uncertainty is a far cry from the past few years, when "market-dominant" postal rates inched up each January based on the rate of inflation.

Bidness: The UPS Store (UPS) announced that it will expand its 3D printing services across the country to more than 100 locations, in addition to the six locations it already provides services to. Being the country's first 3D printing services retailer the UPS Store, in collaboration with Stratasys (SSYS), is striving to provide its small pool of business customers with innovative services.

Attention Program Registration®   Users: Program Registration Release 11.0.0.6 — will be deployed to Production on Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 4:00 am to 9:00 am CDT. There will be an outage and the application will be unavailable during that time. Program Registration Release 11.0.0.6 implements a fix for the following issue. Incentives: Permit Balance Report and Earned Value Report for certain customers did not display any data. If you have any additional questions please contact the help desk at 800-522-9085.

September 22, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

IMpb Impacts on Extra Services October 2 at 10 a.m. (EDT) Please update your calendar—this webinar was previously scheduled for September 25 This webinar provides an overview of the features, benefits and requirements for Extra Services relating to IMpb. We will review the benefits and requirements unique to IMpb for mailers using Extra Services. Attendee Information: Event number: 992 168 882 Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=992168882 Teleconference information -- U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547 Conference ID: 7017381

The Baltic Course: Lithuania Post, one of the biggest Lithuanian companies providing postal and logistic services, signed a cooperation agreement with the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU). On the grounds of cooperation, the students will have more opportunities to have a supervised practice and start a professional career with Lithuania Post, reported BC post's press service.

Post & Parcel: Austrian Post is raising its rates from the beginning of March 2015, to cope with the long-term decline of the letters business and rising labour costs. The company is raising its Premium (next day) domestic letter rate by 6.4% to 68c and the Economy option for business letters will rise 8.8% to 62c. Other price increases for letter formats will be along these lines.

Globes: In all-night talks, the Finance Ministry and the Histadrut agreed on changes in the Postal Company's workforce. After negotiations that began yesterday evening and continued until the early hours of this morning, a compromise is emerging between senior Ministry of Finance officials and the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) over the restructuring of the Israel Postal Company. A source familiar with the negotiations said that, according to the understandings reached between the two sides, the dismissal of 1,500 temporary Israel Postal Company employees and their replacement with contract workers will be cancelled. According to the source, some of the temporary workers will be laid off as part of the 1,200 dismissals agreed on in the past. Others will be taken on as tenured employees, and the rest will continue to be employed directly but will not receive tenure. All the points of agreement between the sides are still subject to legal scrutiny.

Business Times: Singapore Post (SingPost) is well on its way to transforming itself from a government monopoly delivering letters and parcels into a highly competitive regional e-commerce power house in an age when email is fast replacing letters. Domestic mail volume in Singapore has now been declining for two years in a row. The average Singaporean posts only six letters a year. Wolfgang Baier, SingPost's group chief executive officer, notes that SingPost is working hard towards building up a solid e-commerce platform for its very survival.

September 21, 2014 

Wall Street Journal: Fifty senators on Thursday joined forces to try to halt for one year a U.S. Postal Service plan to close 82 mail sorting centers, cut 15,000 jobs and slow delivery speed for some letters. Since the Postal Service revised its service standards more than two years ago, "it has been more difficult for the American public and small businesses to receive mail in a timely manner," the senators wrote in a letter. "Slowing down mail delivery even further will hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes, small businesses and the entire economy." The senators sent the letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and asked them to include a one-year ban on these cuts as part of any spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. While the majority of those asking for the changes were Democrats, it was signed by seven Republicans and one independent. Democrats currently control the Senate, while the House is under Republican control. The Postal Service argues the changes are necessary as it adjusts its business model to compete with the Internet. The agency, which employs more than 600,000, reached its credit limit of $15 billion with the Treasury Department in 2012 and generally has only enough cash on hand to fund a couple of weeks of operations. First-class mail volume has fallen about 30% over the past decade to about 66.7 billion pieces in 2013, although it still accounts for nearly half of revenues each quarter. Earlier this week, the Postal Service posted a third-quarter loss of $1.96 billion, although its revenues increased due in part to higher postage rates and its booming package business. In a statement, the Postal Service said a moratorium could threaten the progress it has made in regaining stability.

Haaretz: Labor sanctions in support of striking Israel Post employees are expected to spread on Sunday. Postal service and Histadrut labor federation representatives are also scheduled to renew negotiations with the Finance Ministry, in an attempt to draft an agreed-on recovery plan for the nearly bankrupt mail service. Courthouses are expected to be closed to the public, although court hearings will be held as scheduled. Also, tax and customs officials at the border crossings with Jordan and Egypt will not be letting goods in and out of Israel, starting at 8 A.M. Meanwhile, labor sanctions are ongoing at Health Ministry facilities, where employees are not offering public services and are not providing oversight for imported food and medication.

September 20, 2014 

New York Times: Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. The assumption is that planting trees and avoiding further deforestation provides a convenient carbon capture and storage facility on the land. That is the conventional wisdom. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. In reality, the cycling of carbon, energy and water between the land and the atmosphere is much more complex. Considering all the interactions, large-scale increases in forest cover can actually make global warming worse. Of course, this is counterintuitive. Climate scientists have calculated the effect of increasing forest cover on surface temperature. Their conclusion is that planting trees in the tropics would lead to cooling, but in colder regions, it would cause warming. Worse, trees emit reactive volatile gases that contribute to air pollution and are hazardous to human health. These emissions are crucial to trees — to protect themselves from environmental stresses like sweltering heat and bug infestations. In summer, the eastern United States is the world's major hot spot for volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) from trees. The Amazon rain forest is often perceived as the lungs of the planet. In fact, almost all the oxygen the Amazon produces during the day remains there and is reabsorbed by the forest at night. In other words, the Amazon rain forest is a closed system that uses all its own oxygen and carbon dioxide.

The Winnepeg Free Press: Canada Post's new super-mailboxes will make a dent in property values and depress the price of houses located near them, warns an internal document released by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. The internal document is a real estate appraisal commissioned by the union behind a door-to-door campaign against the decision to replace home delivery with the mailboxes -- for 12,400 residents this fall in Winnipeg alone. The CUPW represents thousands of letter carriers. Now they have some professional backup, and while it's too late to stop the boxes to be installed in October, it's a warning property owners will likely take to heart.

Reuters: Workers at a FedEx Corp warehouse in western Canada have successfully unionized, the first employees besides pilots at the package delivery company to organize in North America, a local Teamsters union said on Wednesday.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune: More than 50 people picketed a U.S. Postal Service facility in Industry where union members say plans to relocate first-class mail processing to Orange County will result in big delays to San Gabriel Valley customers. The union members, chanting that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe wanted to "destroy" the postal service, said they came to send a message to Donahoe, who they say was supposed to tour the facility but canceled at the last minute. Plans to relocate the first-class mail processing to Santa Ana starting in January will affect 70,000 businesses and delay deliveries by days, union members said.

Congressman Andy Barr: (Press Release) -- U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), joined Representatives Ed Whitfield (KY-01) and Andy Barr (KY-06) today in meeting with Postmaster General Patick Donahoe to discuss important postal issues related the consolidation of the mail processing facilities in Lexington and Paducah, and other pressing concerns the impact of their consolidation will have on Kentucky jobs, and postal service standards. "I am pleased to work with Representatives Whitfield and Barr on this issue on behalf of our constituents," Senator McConnell said. "I understand the importance of keeping these mail processing facilities open so that local jobs are not jeopardized and that mail deliveries remain timely for Kentucky families and businesses. I am glad I was able to convey what I am hearing from my constituents directly to the Postmaster General, and I am hopeful he will listen to our concerns."– Senator Mitch McConnell

September 19, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Post & Parcel: The Universal Postal Union has opened a new Postal Training Centre in the Caribbean that is expected to train 1,280 people over the next two years. The UPU worked with its regional associate agency the Caribbean Postal Union and the Government of Barbados to establish the facility at Bridgetown, the island nation's capital. The UPU said the training centre will train people on topics ranging from postal operations and quality of service to e-commerce and product management.

CNN: Chris Sheldrick was tired of spending his time telling suppliers, staff, and guests where to look for a venue's back or side entrance. In businesses like his, the small nuisance can become a timewasting burden: "We always had this problem," he says. What3Words (W3W) believes it has found a solution. The start-up, co-founded last year by Sheldrick, divides the entire world into a grid of three meter by three meter squares -- 57 trillion of them in total. Each square has been labeled with a three word sequence. In developed western countries, the precise system could be the answer to countless small problems, and over this summer the company has highlighted how W3W can help in jumbled music festival campsites, and sprawling parking lots. In the developing world, competing address systems can create confusion or, worse, no formal address system is present.

Romania-Insider: The Romanian Post, the largest postal operator in Romania, is preparing for its second privatization attempt. Investors interested in taking over the company's majority stake of 51% must submit their non-binding offers by September 30, according to Ziarul Financiar. Last year, on its first privatization attempt, no investor bought the tender book. Meanwhile, the state decided to erase EUR 38 million of the company's debt and 5,000 people have been fired, to increase attractiveness for the state monopoly.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
56408 [2014–22314] [TEXT]  [PDF]
56408 [2014–22315] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Products; Amendments ,
56408–56409 [2014–22316] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Straits Times: A unit of Xpress Holdings, a Singapore-listed printing company, has partnered with United Parcel Service of Singapore (UPS) and S. F. Express to offer new services, the company said on Thursday. Its subsidiary, Xpress New Media, will provide documentation services like completion of airway bills and shipment invoices, as well as tracking services right up to delivery. The collaborations with UPS and S. F. Express will not only provide Xpress New Media's corporate customers with greater convenience for their logistical needs, but will allow it to extend its services to retail customers, the company said. UPS is the world's largest global logistics provider while S. F. Express has the largest courier network in China..

September 18, 2014 

Columbus Dispatch: Growth in online shopping is boosting profit at FedEx, and the company plans to hire more than 50,000 extra workers to handle what is shaping up as another record year for holiday-season package deliveries. That's up from about 40,000 temporary holiday workers hired last year. The hiring plan from FedEx Corp. came a day after rival UPS said it would hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers. Both companies are trying to avoid the problems that plagued them last year, when they were inundated by more holiday shipments than they expected and some packages didn't arrive until after Christmas.

Roll Call: It's official: The House is closing up shop until after the midterm elections. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office announced Thursday there will be no votes on Friday and said the four-day session originally scheduled to begin on Sept. 29 has been canceled, pending Senate approval of the continuing resolution that passed the House Wednesday. That means lawmakers will be sprinting to the exits — and the quick trip to the airport — after the close of business Thursday. The CR keeping the government open past Sept. 30 is the only must-pass bill keeping Congress in town. The Senate has already set a lame-duck session for Nov. 12 — after the elections but before new officeholders are sworn-in.

Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service mail truck, with its navy blue eagle's head and beak on the side, is a reminder that the postal carrier still delivers the mail every day, even if Americans don't write too many letters anymore. And now, it turns out, one of the largest vehicle fleets in the country has reached the end of its useful life. The question is what will come next. The delivery and collection fleet of 190,000 postal trucks includes 142,000 vehicles that desperately need to enter retirement, with an average age of 24 years and some as advanced as 27. Maintenance costs on the trucks increase every year–and hit almost $1 billion in 2012 –and replacement parts for older models are scarce. The trucks are not up to today's safety codes. They get terrible gas mileage. The USPS Inspector General's office said in an audit this summer that the agency can keep them safely in use only until fiscal 2017. But replacing the fleet would cost postal officials about $5 billion, and that's a check that at the moment they can't write. The Postal Service has come up with a possible solution: Find a company that can retrofit the existing light-duty trucks by keeping their aluminum bodies and replacing the frames.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Reminder: Attention Business Customer Gateway Users Program Registration Release 11.0.0.4 — will be deployed to Production on Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 4:00 am to 9:00 am CDT. There will be an outage and the Online Enrollment and Incentive Programs accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during this time. Program Registration Release 11.0.0.4 implements the following enhancements. Incentives: · Fixes a defect: A few customers are unable to view their MSP Activity and MO Activity reports on the Incentives module in BCG. Incentives & Shipping: · Improving performance for mailers with a large number of CRIDs when logging into Incentives and Online Enrollment via the BCG.

BBC: A postman who dumped thousands of letters over a four year period has avoided prison after a sheriff said the material was junk mail. Kevin Ewing, 31, hid more than 5,000 items of mail between 2009 and 2014. He told Perth Sheriff Court he was finding it difficult to cope. Ewing, from Perth, was caught after Royal Mail set up surveillance to monitor him. Sheriff Lindsay Foulis sentenced Ewing to carry out 300 hours' unpaid work. Among the items Ewing failed to deliver were 2,915 packages destined for one street. He also admitted delaying 1,150 unaddressed door-to-door postal packets in 2013, which were recovered from a delivery frame and a car. Ewing told the court he was struggling to deal with the pressure of work and his personal life.

Ventures Africa: Zimbabwe Postal Company (ZimPost), which recently ventured into money transfer business through its ZipCash brand, has extended this service to the neighbouring Botswana, as it seeks to cash in on a promising regional market. ZipCash is a money transfer service that sits on an electronic platform, International Financial System developed by the Universal Postal Union. Poste Italiane has also begun negotiations with the Italian government to reform the regulations governing the universal postal service, considering the ongoing structural decline of mail volumes and the continuing customer requirements. The company said defining a new framework that sets a predictable path is a necessary condition for finalising the Poste Italiane business plan in the medium term, to lay out the economic and financial prospects of the company ahead of privatisation.

Post & Parcel: Poste Italiane grew its sales in the first half of the year thanks to its insurance business, but profitability slumped under pressure from declining mail volumes. The Italian national postal operator said revenues grew by just over 15% to EUR 15bn in the first six months of 2014. Net profit fell by 38% compared to last year's first half, to EUR 222m. The company said its express courier business achieved positive results in the half thanks to the development of e-commerce, on the back of Poste Italiane's "comprehensive" integrated logistics and secure payment services. However, the good performance of the parcels business was not enough to counter the decline in traditional mail and the high level of competition in profitable segments of the postal business.

Reuters: The Italian government will privatise the state-owned postal service early in 2015, a Treasury official said on Thursday, missing an initial deadline of carrying out the sale by the end of this year.

September 17, 2014 

Press Release: FedEx Corp. has reported earnings of $2.10 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31, up 37% from last year's $1.53 per share. "FedEx Corp. is off to an outstanding start in fiscal 2015, thanks to very strong performance at FedEx Ground, solid volume and revenue increases at FedEx Freight and healthy growth in U.S. domestic volume at FedEx Express," said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. "More customers are relying on FedEx because they appreciate the competitive advantages provided by our broad portfolio of solutions."

Entrepreneur: FedEx and UPS are ready for the most wonderful – and profitable – time of the year. UPS announced Tuesday that it plans to hire up to 950,000 workers during the busy holiday season – perhaps so as to avoid a repeat of last year's struggles. Last year, the company had planned to hire 55,000 seasonal workers, but was forced to add 30,000 additional hires to handle the surge in deliveries. Still, UPS was blamed for ruining thousands of customers' Christmases, when it couldn't deliver last-minute orders on-time even with the extra employees. UPS's biggest competitor, FedEx, is also planning on boosting its holiday hiring numbers. On Wednesday, the company announced plans to hire more than 50,000 extra workers to handle holiday-season package deliveries – more than double last year's plan to hire 20,000 seasonable workers. While FedEx has a smaller slice of the ecommerce market than UPS, the company also faced criticism when it failed to deliver packages on time for Christmas 2013. However, FedEx's biggest recent business decision is going to hit the company after all the Christmas stockings are put away.

The Denver Post: The U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it plans to hire 200 city carrier assistants along the Front Range in coming weeks. The new hires are expected to be in place in time for the holiday mailing rush. All the jobs are one-year assignments that could transition into permanent or "career" positions.

   PostCom Members!! The latest PostCom report on the Postal Service's service performance has been posted on this site.

   PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is 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. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

PostCom Members!!The latest issue of the PostCom Quarterly is now available on this site.

Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs: Opening statement of Chairman Thomas Carper (D-DE) -- "We are also fortunate to have with us Mickey Barnett, who has been re-nominated by the President to serve on the Postal Service's Board of Governors. Mr. Barnett currently serves as Chairman of the Board, a position he has held for the past two years. If confirmed, he would embark on a third term with the Board, where he has been a Governor since 2006. Mr. Barnett's nomination comes at very challenging time for the Postal Service. The Postal Service operates at the center of a massive printing, delivery, and logistics industry that employs millions of people. In recent years, however, the organization has been faced with a decrease in first class mail volumes, and by extension, revenues. The Postal Service today carries barely enough cash to make payroll. We all want a Postal Service that our constituents and businesses can rely on, one that has a chance of continuing the remarkable progress we've seen it make in package delivery and takes full advantage of other opportunities that lie ahead. "Our committee has sent a bill to the full Senate that would save the Postal Service billions of dollars in pension and health care costs. I believe our bill is a solid, comprehensive, and realistic response to a real crisis. I look forward to debating it, discussing amendments to it and acting on it during the upcoming lame duck. Congress holds the keys to the Postal Service's future, but the Board of Governors serve a vital role in setting the direction and policies of this large organization. The Senate must move quickly to confirm all of the nominees to the Board, including the four who have already been considered and approved by this Committee. I look forward to talking to Mr. Barnett today about what he thinks needs to be done to address the challenges facing the Postal Service, and the skills he thinks he brings to the table."

Opening Statement of Mickey Barnett before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (Excerpts presented here)

As everyone here knows, the Postal Service is in a crisis mode. Our liabilities are approximately 68 billion dollars, and we have a fleet of over 200,000 delivery vehicles with an average age of more than 22 years. Even with a reduction of more than 200,000 career employees over the past eight years, a reduction in mail processing facilities, and a reduction in operating hours at some Post Offices, we are unable to service the debt, pay down liabilities, or pay for needed capital investments. Our most profitable product, First-Class Mail, continues to decline at eight percent a year while our costs, like everyone else's, continue to rise. . . . The erosion of First-Class Mail volumes is being driven by rapid changes in the way Americans communicate. Smartphones, texting, Email, and the Internet were unheard of only a few short years ago, but today, they are the primary way most individuals interconnect. But, as First-Class Mail has declined, the U.S. Postal Service's package revenues are growing more than 10 percent, compared to last year, and advertising mail revenues are relatively steady. However, to fully leverage the package revenue opportunities and remain competitive, the Postal Service will need to invest billions of dollars in new delivery vehicles, infrastructure, and new package sorting equipment in the near future. . . . Given its current governance and business model constraints, the Postal Service cannot achieve financial stability without the passage of comprehensive postal reform legislation. If given the flexibility by Congress to quickly adapt to today's evolving marketplace and customer demand, the Postal Service can chart a path forward to remain viable and relevant for many years to come.

Korea Herald: Korea Post has been facing mounting challenges such as the ever-shrinking business in paper mail delivery, and fierce competition with private companies in parcel delivery and shipping. The chief of the state-run postal agency, however, said it would step up its efforts to export automatic postal systems that utilize information and communication technology to other nations to overcome the current difficulties. "Korea Post will expand its global partnerships and increase its export of advanced Korean postal services," Kim Joon-ho, the president of the state postal agency, told The Korea Herald in a recent interview. The postal company mainly plays an intermediary role by supporting private companies that export IT solutions and equipment for postal services to other nations.

ArmInfo: Postal parcels from the U.S. have not reached Armenia for a month already. HayPost CJSC, the national postal operator of Armenia, told ArmInfo. The company has no information about the delay. Many citizens who ordered products from ebay and other online shops have not received their items yet. DHL Armenia Office told ArmInfo they have certain problems with delivery delay, but no 'global problems' with shipment of parcels from the U.S. The Finance Ministry has failed to operatively respond to ArmInfo's questions and asked a written request. One can suppose that cargoes do not reach the country due to the U.S. sanctions against Russia over Ukraine's crisis. Most of the postal parcels are delivered to Armenia via Russia. The parcels delivered via other countries reach Armenia timely.

Post & Parcel: Poste Italiane grew its sales in the first half of the year thanks to its insurance business, but profitability slumped under pressure from declining mail volumes. The Italian national postal operator said revenues grew by just over 15% to EUR 15bn in the first six months of 2014. Net profit fell by 38% compared to last year's first half, to EUR 222m. The company said its express courier business achieved positive results in the half thanks to the development of e-commerce, on the back of Poste Italiane's "comprehensive" integrated logistics and secure payment services. However, the good performance of the parcels business was not enough to counter the decline in traditional mail and the high level of competition in profitable segments of the postal business.

The Yeshiva World News: Striking and work sanctions have not changed the minds of decision makers and the planned firing of Postal Authority employees has not cancelled. On Tuesday 21 Elul, all Health Ministry offices nationwide including district and local offices took part in the job sanctions in a showing of solidarity. Employees reported for work but they would not answer phones or have hours for the public. They also halted food inspections and authorizing new food and medications. In addition, postal workers have halted all mail service to all government ministries.

Federal Express: FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight, subsidiaries of FedEx Corp. will increase shipping rates effective January 5, 2015. FedEx Express will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services. FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9%. FedEx SmartPost rates will also change. FedEx Freight will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9%. This rate change applies to eligible FedEx Freight shipments within the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), between the contiguous U.S. and Canada, within Canada, between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico, and within Mexico. Details of all changes to rates and surcharges are available at http://www.fedex.com/us/2015rates. FedEx previously announced in May 2014 that it will apply dimensional weight pricing to all FedEx Ground shipments. That change also takes effect January 5, 2015.

Government Executive: A spending bill to keep government agencies open appears poised to clear Congress this week, though the final iteration of the measure remains unclear. The CR also includes a boost in funding for the Veterans Affairs Department to investigate potential impropriety in manipulating waitlist data and retaliating against whistleblowers. It would increase appropriations for VA to reduce its disability claims backlog and allow Customs and Border Protection the flexibility to move funds around so it can maintain its current workforce levels. The measure avoids more controversial provisions, such as addressing the U.S. Postal Service's plan to close 82 facilities nationwide in 2015. A majority of senators and 160 House representatives wrote to their respective appropriations committees asking that any spending bill delay closures for one year.

September 16, 2014 

usps logo DMM Advisory: Simplifying Threshold Volume Requirements for USPS Return Services. On September 11, 2014, we published a Federal Register interim rule to revise standards to change the total annual volume thresholds required for USPS™ Return Services products to qualify for Commercial Plus® pricing. A minimum volume of 50,000 will be established for these products across the board to simplify the product and make it easier for customers to do business with the Postal Service™. The interim rule is effective September 15, 2014. We encourage mailers to comment on or before November 10, 2014. See the entire notice on the Federal Register site at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-10-23/html/2012-25994.htm or later this week on the Postal Explorer® website at pe.usps.com.

Yahoo! Finance: The United States Postal Service handled 158.4 billion pieces of mail last year. UPS added another 4.3 billion to that tally and FedEx another 1.2 billion. For many of those the sender had to wait in line to fill out all the paperwork necessary to get their package sent and on the other end many who were not home when their package was delivered had to wait in line to pick it up. What if all this waiting in line were eliminated? What if you could drop off or pick up your package hassle free with the tap of a few buttons. That's the idea behind Swapbox, a San Francisco start-up that aims to take the pain out of the $1 trillion mailing industry. CEO and founder Neel Murthy says his company solves the first mile and last mile problems that cause so much frustration for consumers. To be fair, the concept is not a new one. Mailboxes Etc. or even regular Post Office boxes have been around forever. Murthy says his company sets itself apart by focusing on customer experience and convenience.

FCW: By the end of the month, data collected on federal stimulus spending over the past five years will disappear from public view -- not because the website, which always had an expiration date, will be gone, but because the government doesn't own the data. Dun & Bradstreet does. The Recovery.gov website tracks federal spending under the 2009 economic stimulus law through the unique identifier system called DUNS. But that license expires at the end of the month, and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which monitors the spending, is not renewing it. So come Sept. 30, Dun & Bradstreet is taking its data and going home. Last week, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote letters to GSA and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy urging them to remove specific references to DUNS numbers in acquisitions regulations so other potential vendors could be considered. The letters pointed out that the U.S. Postal Service, which is not subject to the acquisition regulation, saved $6.4 million annually after not renewing its contract with Dun & Bradstreet in 2008. The Postal Service chose Equifax as its new vendor.

Virtual-Strategy: Logistics companies around the world are streamlining operations, increasing efficiency and cutting printing costs by using ScriptX, (http://scriptx.meadroid.com/home.aspx) the global standard for controlling the printing of browser-hosted content on Microsoft Windows. Customer research has found that over 60 million business-critical documents, including shipping labels, invoices, consignment notes and other logistics documentation are now printed every year by logistics companies using ScriptX. ScriptX is the de facto global standard for providing total control when printing html and PDF documents, labels or bar codes from client and server computers running Microsoft Windows. It ensures that printed formatting and appearance is consistent, whatever the actual browser settings on the individual computer. Additionally, ScriptX's Direct (RAW) printing option allows logistics companies to speed up the printing of mission-critical freight labels and other specialised documentation by using strings of printer control codes derived from a web page or from a pre-written text file. Within the logistics industry ScriptX is used by shippers, transport companies, couriers and postal services.

Black Hills Pioneer: The U.S. Postal Service will discontinue home delivery service to 533 addresses in Lead and 218 in Deadwood next month in favor of delivering to multiple centralized locations due to employee safety concerns. Laura Uhrig, postmaster of the combined Lead-Deadwood Post Office, made the announcement at a Lead City Commission meeting Monday night. She said the decision to discontinue home delivery service to 25 percent of Lead's 1,739 total possible delivery addresses and 20 percent of Deadwood's 971 total possible delivery addresses was motivated by the occurrence of seven reportable injuries to postal delivery workers in specific sections of the communities since August 2011. Uhrig specified that one of those seven carriers was on medical leave for 11 months to recover from a fall on his route. The latest injury occurred last week when another carrier fell and sustained a mild concussion.

Press Release: Satori Software has announced the immediate availability of its new cloud-based data quality solution designed to help customers solve the real business problems created by poor quality data without the costs and complexity of a traditional data quality implementation. Media Contact Jessica Formosa (206) 357-2900 info@satorisoftware.com.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Nextgov: With high-profile hacks exposing the futility of passwords, alternatives such as biometric identification and two-step verification are gaining popularity. Waiting in the wings is a login network that could grant users access to many of their Internet accounts with a single registration. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is the planning ground for this system, where users will not have to release personal information or create new passwords to log on to multiple websites. A "trusted" third-party -- such as Verizon or PayPal -- would register your personal information once to create a password, fingerprint scan or other account-login mechanism. Each time you wanted to sign in to H&R Block or another online vendor, for example, you would enter that same ID. The vision is not expected to be fully realized until after 2020. But one part of the network is slated to debut as early as next month, NSTIC head Jeremy Grant told Nextgov. The U.S. government's piece of the ecosystem will be called Connect.gov, a login screen for citizens that ultimately will pop up on every secured federal form and website, according to agency planners. The U.S. Postal Service will operate the backbone of the tool -- currently named the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange. It's a piece of infrastructure that will allow agencies to tap a large assortment of credentials managed by the ID providers.

The Motley Fool: While the United States Postal Service continues to lose money, the service has been thrown a lifeline by Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) , which has partnered with the struggling government entity. The two have been working for over a year offering Sunday delivery in select markets and now they are beginning to roll out grocery delivery in parts of the country. The relationship with Amazon has been a rare bright spot for the USPS, which has struggled with falling first-class mail volume. How is Amazon helping? Having an enormous, paying customer at a time when regular people are using your services less often can only help. Neither Amazon nor the USPS has reported specifically on the success of the Sunday delivery program but its continued expansion suggests it's working. Given how cautious the USPS has become with its dwindling cash, it can be assumed that the arrangement benefits the bottom line. Grocery delivery is a similar deal to Sunday delivery where it will make use of USPS resources and infrastructure at times where they are under-utilized. In the pilot program which is being tested in San Francisco, USPS trucks drop off Amazon's grocery orders in insulated tote bags between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., according to The Wall Street Journal. This lets the post office put some assets to work making money and perhaps allows it to get more work out of its early morning staff. For Amazon, if it works, the relationship lets the company expand its fledgling grocery service much faster than it could build its own fleet of trucks. If the arrangement succeeds, it's not hard to see how the two entities could grow their working relationship.

Compass Cayman: According an Ernst & Young Review of Public Services provided last week at government's request the postal service should be commercialized and then, "We recommend that in the longer term the Cayman Islands Postal Service is sold." The report notes that traditional government-operated postal services around the world are changing to new private-sector-based operating models. "The CI Postal Service could be commercialized and its performance improved significantly," the report states in an option overview, later noting that commercial initiatives should lead to a greater service offering to customers. Cost reductions and revenue expanding initiatives will require a culture change with the postal service, the report states. The final phase of the "commercialize and exit" plan would be to invite the private sector to make a proposal for postal operations. If this is not fully achievable, further rationalization and cost reduction activities will need to be examined and undertaken – such as additional closures.

Government Executive: Federal agencies are increasingly in the wrong when they dismiss discrimination charges, a report released on Monday found. On average, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reversed one-third of all cases dismissed between fiscal years 2008 and 2012 by an agency without an investigation or hearing. The reversal rate has increased significantly in that time period, with the rate most recently standing at 45 percent. The fiscal 2012 figure is up 15 percentage points from fiscal 2008. The U.S. Postal Service and the Army have maintained one of the five highest reversal rates of any agency across government for each of the last three years.

Government Executive: Employment of individuals with targeted disabilities also increased marginally, but has trended downward since fiscal 2002. Disabled employees made up 0.9 percent of the federal workforce in fiscal 2011, down from 1.07 percent 10 years earlier and well short of a 2 percent goal. Targeted disabilities include blindness, deafness, partial and full paralysis, missing extremities and intellectual disabilities. President Obama made federal employment of individuals with disabilities a priority in 2010, when he issued an executive order requiring agencies to hire a total of 100,000 employees with disabilities over the subsequent five years. The federal government employed 203,694 people with disabilities at the end of fiscal 2011, and increased that total to 219,975 by the end of fiscal 2012, according to a December 2013 report from the Office of Personnel Management. New hires with disabilities grew from 14.65 percent in fiscal 2011 to 16.31 percent in fiscal 2012, the report said.

Arab News: Saudi Post will be selling SIM cards and top-up vouchers from the Kingdom's three major telecom operators in and around Makkah during Haj, in addition to Islamic Development Bank (IDB) coupons for animal sacrifice. "We want to expand our services amid new marketing and sales strategies," said Samir Nahas, director-general of the Saudi Post in Makkah. "We have deployed 400 employees across Makkah's 22 post offices and seasonal counters," he said. "Eleven of the postal centers are located mainly around Grand Mosque exits. There are six centers in Mina, four centers in Arafa and one in Muzdalifah to cater for the huge number of pilgrims."

September 15, 2014 

The Desert Sun: Like the late, irascible actor/comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who constantly complained about getting no respect, the once mighty U.S. Postal Services sees no escape from the combination of ever-deepening deficits and inroads made by the ever-expanding on-line e-mail, on-line banking and bill paying, as well as other breakthrough communications technology that is rapidly shrinking the postal department's relevance. When adding on the usual inefficiencies bedeviling U.S. Government agencies in general, there seems no way out for the continuation of the U.S. Post Office agency, in its current method of operation.

Federal Times: "Protecting the public's interest: a model" by Ruth Goldway, Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission.

Irish Examiner: Delivery companies are making efforts to improve how they deliver your parcels, and Whistl (formerly TNT) have come up with a pretty unique way of doing it. The postal company has been training staff to ride the AirWheel devices, with trials of the new device taking place in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. The AirWheel is self-balancing, and comes with a rechargeable battery that has a 20-mile range. It can also reach a top speed of 12 miles per hour.

FEDweek: USPS recently established a competition advocate to improve its noncompetitive purchasing practices, but without a standard for measuring performance the impact of the position remains unclear, the USPS inspector general has said. It said that unlike in other federal agencies, the USPS advocate does not approve large noncompetitive purchases, instead reviewing these purchases when they exceed $1 million and offering feedback on them. In fiscal 2013, the Postal Service had 74 noncompetitive contracts, totaling more than $416 million that exceeded $1 million. The advocate offered feedback on 35 them but there are no metrics to determine the impact of the advice, the IG said, calling on management establish some.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Postal Vision 2020: As the U.S. Postal Service, like many of its foreign counterparts, attempts to generate profits by being more "businesslike", it is running up against a long tradition of public service and costs. Public policy makers – in the name of their constituents – value those public services. They just choose to ignore the costs. And few are discussing, in any practical sense, the opportunities for generating profitable revenue through appropriately priced new public services.

Office of the Inspector General: Opportunity Knocks.

The aptly named Business Service Network (BSN) is charged with servicing the U.S. Postal Service's 23,000 largest customers by addressing service issues, answering questions, and fulfilling other requests. Given the annual postal spend of this customer group – almost $38 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone – it clearly behooves the Postal Service to keep these customers happy. But retaining large commercial customers takes more than just putting out fires and answering questions. That's why BSN employees have been encouraged to reach out to many commercial accounts to gain a better understanding of what customers need and with any luck, they can thwart service problems before they occur. Outreach also builds customer loyalty. And while the BSN's 300 employees aren't tasked with selling products and services – the Sales group does that – their face-to-face contact with commercial customers creates a key opportunity to do so. Our recent audit of the BSN shows just how valuable customer outreach can be. We found that the customer accounts BSN staff proactively contacted spent significantly more on postal services than those who were not contacted. And we estimated the Postal Service could have generated an additional $382 million by proactively contacting all BSN customers. Our report found other opportunities for improvement, too, such as resolving issues more quickly, collecting more customer feedback, and redesigning the BSN staff evaluation process. At the same time, the Postal Service is realizing it needs to beef up the BSN. During a recent meeting with mailer groups, management outlined some planned BSN enhancements. These include streamlining customer surveys, seeking ways to increase "personal" contact with commercial customers, reaching out to smaller customers, and treating all customer issues with the highest level of urgency.

Federal Soup: The American Postal Workers Union reported on its website that it signed a major settlement with the U.S. Postal Service in July that required the conversion of all maintenance craft postal support employees (PSEs) to career status. The settlement, which governs USPS custodial work and staffing, requires USPS to convert more than 3,150 maintenance craft PSEs to career status, either as full-time regular employees or as part-time regular employees.

Post-Europ: A new issue of our PostEuropNEWS is now available for download on: http://www.posteurop.org/AllNewsletters

Korea Times: The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, better known as Nonghyup, plans to launch a parcel delivery service but is drawing criticism from established delivery companies. The organization says that introducing a second state-run delivery provider is sorely needed to alleviate heavy mail distribution within the saturated delivery service industry. "We plan to start a parcel service. We will be able to provide the service at lower prices than average services run by private delivery companies," a Nonghyup official said. They say that the cooperative federation seeks to enter the delivery business by acquiring an existing service provider.

Post & Parcel: Royal Mail's biggest rival in the UK postal market has announced a major rebrand, changing its name to "whistl". In Germany, TNT Post has been rebranded as PostCon, while in Italy it is rebranding into Nexive.

Belleville News Democrat: Ronald Stroman has served as the nation's second-highest ranking postal executive since March 2011. He has served in an era of ongoing transition that has included down-sizing and increasing postal rates. He visited postal employees and customers in St. Louis last week to learn more about the community and postal service here. During his visit, Stroman talked to business writer Will Buss about the state of the U.S. Postal Service.

Santa Fe New Mexican: Even in a high-tech world, where email long ago displaced the art of writing letters, the U.S. Postal Service can still be a critical part of people's daily lives. It's easy to forget that as you pay the cable company or the Internal Revenue Service with a few key strokes from your computer. Numerous residents of the Zocalo condominiums say they would like to forget the Postal Service altogether. In their case, it's delivering more panic than packages.

BoSacks: There is an odd form of delusion in the publishing world, characterized by a resistance to reason in the face of actual facts. This inability to recognize modern business trends is easy for most Millennials to understand, but hard for many magazine traditionalists to reconcile. It is the concept of print's current and future position in the grand scheme of revenue production in the information distribution industry. You see, the cause of this misunderstanding is that print is still the major source of revenue for most traditional publishers and that colors their thinking, even as paper-produced revenues on the whole continue to steadily decline. To be very clear, the future of our industry and our ability to make an honest living is digital. The only real question on that subject is when the watershed moment of digital supremacy will arrive.

Los Angeles Daily News: Same-day delivery has cropped up in metropolitan areas as online retailers look for ways to keep customers from the nearest big box store. L.A. County's more than 10 million residents and high density make it ideal for same-day delivery. Giants, like Amazon and Google, already offer same-day delivery locally, while half a dozen grocery and food delivery services cover the city and neighboring communities. Small companies will need partnerships, like those offered by USPS, Google or Ebay, to avoid hurting their bottom line

Wall Street Journal: All eyes will be on FedEx Corp. Wednesday, when Chairman and Chief Executive Fred Smith unveils first-quarter earnings that will give a first glimpse into whether the company will be able to meet the ambitious annual profit target it has set for itself. Wall Street is hoping this will be a turnaround year for the package-delivery giant, and many factors are working in the company's favor. Demand for both airfreight and truck space have been strong in recent months, boding well for both FedEx's air express and freight businesses. The express-delivery giant should also benefit from lower fuel prices, booming e-commerce sales and the restructuring of the company's express unit. FedEx does face challenges this year. Global trade still isn't as strong as executives were originally hoping.With instability in the Middle East, fuel prices could increase again. And competition is picking up. The U.S. Postal Service this month cut rates on some Priority Mail packages to compete more effectively with both FedEx and rival United Parcel Service Inc. Tech companies ranging from Google Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc. to Amazon.com Inc. are trying out deliveries themselves. FedEx said in its fourth quarter that a large customer left and caused the package volume at its no-frills Smartpost business to fall by 8%. Analysts say it was Amazon, and that it moved an estimated 50 million to 60 million packages annually to a mixture of UPS, the USPS and smaller regional delivery companies.

Linns: In late October 2013, Linn's Stamp News filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the United States Postal Service. The request specifically asked for sales figures for the $2 Jenny Invert pane during the first 30 days after its Sept. 22, 2013, issue date. Our request was denied in November 2013 (written documentation of the denial was received in late December), and we appealed in January. In late August, we received a letter from the Ethics & Compliance branch of the Postal Service's Office of the General Counsel, stating that the denial of our request had been overturned. Included with the letter were the sales figures initially requested, along with sales figures for the Jenny Invert collector's set during that item's limited sales period, Aug. 9, 2013, through Oct. 15, 2013. During the initial 30-day sales period, the Postal Service sold a total of 112,605 Jenny Invert panes of six $2 stamps. This represents slightly more than 5 percent of the 2.2 million panes of six that were printed. Although the Postal Service produced 1,900 Jenny Invert collector's sets, only 1,464 were actually sold.

KUNA: The Kuwaiti postal service will be turned into a joint stock company as part of the state development plan, said Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Minister of Communications Essa Al-Kandari on Sunday. The Ministry is studying a project for turning the postal service into a joint stock company, under Commercial Companies Law, to be fully-owned by the state, the Minister said in a statement. The new entity will be managed on commercial basis. Ministry officials are working on a draft bill for the project, Al-Kandari said.

Arutz Sheva: For nearly two weeks, there has been no mail delivery in most of Judea and Samaria – and residents of Gush Etzion have had enough, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl said Sunday. The lack of mail delivery is the result of an ongoing strike by postal workers in the "Doar-Na" service, which serves most of the smaller towns in Judea and Samaria where there is no post office. Despite the popularity of e-mail and electronic money transfers, many people still depend on the mail for checks, medical documentation for tests and treatment, invitations to events and more. Protesting the ongoing strike, Perl dashed off a letter to the Minister of Communications, Gilad Erdan, attacking him for his failing to more aggressively deal with the situation, which has caused problems for tens of thousands of families across the country.

Financial Times: Business has finally entered the Scottish independence debate, kicked off the fence by narrowing opinion polls and panicked investors. A growing chorus of bosses is now urging the Scots to vote No. The future of Scottish business has become a battleground of the campaign. Shocked into finding their voices, businesses have started explaining the cost of Mr Salmond's dream. They should be still more explicit: pricier postage stamps, kettles or baked beans are not abstractions: they hurt. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. A new border will affect those who never stray over it. Take Royal Mail. Scotland is covered by the universal service provision that obliges the postal service to make deliveries at the same cost across the UK. With independence, this will go: meaning increased costs for businesses that use the post and a sting in the wallet for anyone mailing birthday cards to relatives down south.

Irish Times: Minister for Communications Alex White says the new national postcode system – known as Eircode – will be introduced in early 2015. Mr White has told The Irish Times legislation may need to be introduced to address some concerns that the new codes may compromise the personal data of individuals. However he said that notwithstanding the need for a new law, the long-awaited project could be delivered early next year "and I would hope to do that". "It's one of those things we have been talking about for a long time and we are now at the point that is capable of delivery."

FedBizOpps.gov: Understanding the Effectiveness of Physical Communications Solicitation Number: 6HQOIG-14-A-0040 Agency: United States Postal Service Office: Supplies and Services Purchasing Location: OIG. This RFI solicits suggested methodologies for conducting neuroscience research to understand the human response to and effectiveness of physical communications. Contracting Office Address: US Postal Service - Office of the Inspector General 1735 N Lynn St Arlington, Virginia 22209-2020 Primary Point of Contact.: Millie Abdi mabdi@uspsoig.gov Phone: 703-526-5921

"This RFI solicits suggested methodologies for conducting neuroscience research to understand the human response to and effectiveness of physical communications. Specifically, the USPS OIG seeks to identify possible Suppliers that could propose and conduct neuroscience research based on the following objectives: (1) To understand the human response to physical and digital media; specifically how the brain responds to marketing stimuli and the associated downstream behaviors. (2) To assess the role direct mail can most effectively play in different phases in the relationship with a consumer or elements of the buying process. Companies are concerned with increasing the effectiveness of their marketing activities. No one channel can do all things to build a relationship with a customer, and the task of understanding how they work together is exceedingly complex. Many postal customers, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), may not be able to track the success of a specific channel and do not know the most effective mix of physical and digital communications to best convey their message.

The USPS OIG has reviewed studies related to the impact of the different communications medium on the human brain. For example, in 2010, Royal Mail commissioned a study which found that physical media left a "deeper footprint" in the brain than digital messages, even after controlling for the increase in sensory processing for tangible items. The study results seem to reveal that all other effects being equal, direct mail-based materials are more concrete and "real" for the brain, internalized more, facilitate emotional processing, and result in more fluent decision-making. The Royal Mail study indicated that direct mail elicited deeper levels of processing like vivid memory creation and emotional responses and often increased the likelihood of sales. However, work remains to be done to translate the human response to concrete behaviors (i.e., retention/recall, response rate, or intent to purchase), which illustrate the success of a marketing campaign.

The USPS OIG intends to identify and work with a supplier to use neuroscience to help companies understand where, in their relationship with a customer, that direct mail is an optimal choice of media. The USPS OIG expects the Postal Service could use this information in its ongoing efforts to assist its customers, including SMEs, through its "concierge services" pilot program and other outreach activities such as webinars and communication collateral to help create effective marketing strategies. If a RFP is issued, the Potential Supplier is expected to have capability to: a. Develop a neurophysiological study that illustrates the different human response to hard copy and digital advertising."

September 14, 2014 

Arutz Sheva: The Israel postal workers' strike which has been going on for over a week and a half, is entering new territory tomorrow (Monday). As of tomorrow, post offices will no longer avail the public the ability of paying fines issued by police, the courts, or local authorities. This, in addition to refusal to handling the mail for government offices.

Washington Post: Here in the Senate battleground of Colorado, the latest front in the voting wars is the mailbox. In other states, that fight has generally centered on laws that opponents say restrict voter access – measures, largely passed by Republican legislatures, that require voter identification or reduce the number of days for early voting. But Colorado is operating under a new system designed to do the opposite: For the first time this year, every registered voter will get a ballot delivered to them through the mail, weeks before Nov. 4.

Wall Street Journal: Squeezed by high prices at home, Brazilian consumers in search of bargains are flocking to the Chinese e-commerce giant. Making e-commerce inroads in Brazil has its twists and turns. By regulation, the many packages arriving in the country from overseas can be charged up to 60% in customs taxes if they are valued at more than $50. Many merchants know to ship orders there that have been broken up so that each package falls below the threshold. Even so, buyers say, the threshold is inconsistently enforced: Some customers aren't charged at all, while others say they have been arbitrarily fined as much as full value. With so many packages now arriving from abroad, Correios said the volume of international orders has increased nearly fourfold over the last four years. It now charges 12 reais ($5.16) per package to recipients as a processing fee even when the packages are valued below the maximum. The Correios spokeswoman added that the company is working with Brazil's tax authorities to test new systems that would make clearing customs faster, such as allowing the payment of customs taxes online.

The Independent: MPs are privately warning that Royal Mail could be "fatally wounded" by increased competition, as they prepare to launch an inquiry into the actions of the postal service's rivals. In what Royal Mail executives claim is a threat to the UK's universal service, TNT Post has started to deliver letters and parcels directly. TNT has been accused of "cherry picking" densely populated areas where it can make a profit, such as London and Manchester, and avoiding rural locations. Royal Mail opened itself up to greater competition when it was privatised last year, but had to commit to keeping the universal service until 2021. Chief executive Moya Greene believes this means rivals have unfair advantages as they attempt to grow direct-delivery services, and wants regulator Ofcom to launch an immediate investigation.

September 13, 2014 

Dead Tree Edition:The Postal Service's recent price cuts for big businesses that ship packages are already trickling down to the small fry, like eBay seller Joe Strader. And based on Strader's reaction to the rates that took effect on Sunday (Sept. 7), a lot of other small shippers will be switching their business to the U.S. Postal Service as well.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • Efficiency Review of the Cincinnati,OH, Network Distribution Center – Operations and Transportation

    What the OIG Found. Opportunities exist to improve the efficiency of some operations at the Cincinnati NDC by better managing workhours and processing more mailpieces per hour. The Cincinnati NDC had an average piece per hour productivity of 112 for its distribution operations, while comparable NDCs had an average piece per hour productivity of 186. In addition, the Cincinnati NDC used a higher percentage of workhours for other operations than comparable NDCs. Consequently, the Cincinnati NDC used 51,352 more workhours than necessary. We also found some mail being unnecessarily transported from the Cincinnati NDC and unused space in some mail transport containers. In addition, some trailers transporting mail between the Cincinnati and Des Moines NDCs were not filled to capacity. These conditions occurred because officials did not use best practices to benchmark efficiency against other NDCs; did not always follow NDC guidelines for properly sorting, labeling, and consolidating mail; and did not fully analyze existing transportation as required. If the Postal Service eliminated unnecessary workhours, it could save an average of about $2 million in labor costs annually. In addition, it could save about $473,000 annually in transportation costs by complying with NDC guidelines and eliminating a daily round trip. Finally, we observed that mail transport equipment was not always properly restrained for transport to and from the NDCs as required.
    What the OIG Recommended. We recommended the vice president, Eastern Area, improve the efficiency of the Cincinnati NDC's manual operations and reduce workhours in other operations to achieve the productivity of comparable NDCs. We also recommended the vice presidents, Eastern and Western areas, reinforce compliance with NDC guidelines, remove an unnecessary highway contract round trip, and reinforce existing safety procedures for restraining mail transport equipment.
     
  • Monitoring Post Office Operational Risk in the Southern Area

    What the OIG Found. The Southern Area is effectively monitoring 12 of the 13 risk elements we reviewed. However, we found area and district managers did not continuously monitor refunds. We found that for calendar years 2011 through 2013, refunds increased by $3.6 million (from $9.9 million to $13.5 million, or 36.6 percent), while associated revenue increased by about $7.7 million (from $838.4 million to $846.1 million, or 0.9 percent). Area and district personnel were not continuously monitoring refunds because they are not required to do so under current Postal Service policy and they consider the financial risk from errors to be low. Without refund monitoring, there is an increased opportunity for refund fraud against the Postal Service. Specifically, the Postal Service issues refunds when labels or meter strips are damaged or printed in error and voided. Falsifying refunds would provide employees the opportunity to convert Postal Service funds for personal use.
    What the OIG Recommended. During the audit, the Southern Area Controller established a quarterly variance report to identify units with a high percentage of refunds to total revenue. As a result of this process, from January through June in calendar years 2013 and 2014, the Southern Area's refunds decreased by $1.1 million (from $6.9 million to $5.8 million, or about 15.9 percent). Therefore, we will not be making a recommendation.

Chicago Tribune: A man who the FBI says admitted to being the "Hooded Bandit," responsible for eight northwest suburban bank robberies since 2011 served time in federal prison a decade ago for embezzling $122,000 from the U.S. Postal Service, according to records.

ITV: The Scottish Government opposed the privatisation of Royal Mail last year and has pledged to renationalise the Scottish service if the country votes in favour of independence. By doing so it promises the Scottish people that the mail service they receive will be the same or even better than the one they currently receive. They haven't disclosed and don't appear to know the costs of enacting this promise. Scotland is more sparsely populated than much of the rest of the UK - the country accounts for around one tenth of the British population and one third of its land mass and it is therefore more expensive to deliver mail there.

September 12, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

PrintWeek: UK Mail's hybrid mailing service, imail, has launched a new personalised greetings card app SWALK (Sealed With a Loving Kiss). The app enables consumers to use pictures from their iPhones to create low-cost greetings cards that are then printed and sent by imail. The app is integrated with Facebook so that senders can request postal addresses from intended recipients. The recipient is notified of the request via Facebook and inputs their address without the sender seeing it.

WHAV: "Boss," spelled backwards, is double-S-O-B, and that's how most of the employees of the US Postal Service feel about their top boss. America's postal employees – from mail clerks to letter carriers – take great pride in moving millions of pieces of mail to us every day, whether we live in inner cities or way down at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where mail is delivered by mule-riding letter carriers to a Native American tribe living there. But USPS bossman, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe, definitely does not make postal workers proud, for he's been deliberately monkeywrenching our mail system by slowing delivery, reducing staff and hours of service, closing neighborhood and historic post offices, shutting processing centers, trying to end Saturday delivery, badmouthing his own agency's performance, steadily corporatizing public functions, and transforming decent, union-scale jobs into the low-wage retail economy.

National Review: The National Association of Letter Carriers apparently has a retirement community for former mail carriers—and a hypocritical one at that. The union has long opposed phasing out door-to-door delivery, even though in many instances, delivering mail to a centralized location would make the Postal Service more efficient and less wasteful. "Ending door-to-door for tens of millions of Americans would particularly harm small businesses, as well as the elderly and people who live in areas with extreme weather," the union's president said last year. But at the union's retirement community—which is in hurricane-prone Florida, and which serves aging retirees– mail is delivered to a centralized location.

The Moscow Times: Not getting in to the college of your choice is never nice — but it's even worse if it happens because the postal service delayed your application and reimbursed you 50 cents for a wasted year of your life. A young woman in Siberia's Kemerovo region failed to get into college because the state-run postal monopoly Russian Post did not deliver her entry application on time, a local court reported Thursday. The unidentified woman had applied to two colleges in Moscow, but both denied her a place because the applications arrived too late, contrary to the post office's assurances, the court said on its website. When she complained, the postal company paid her back 20.20 rubles ($0.53) for the mail shipping costs. And when she sued, Russian Post refused to pay up, saying she had presented no proof of suffering moral damages over the incident. Russian Post has a dismal reputation for delays and other shipping problems, ranking among the world's worst in a 2012 study of 159 postal systems worldwide. Though it has reported investing considerable effort and money into improvement in recent years, it remains plagued by incidents and mismanagement.

Washington Post: The Postal Service is losing millions a year to help you buy cheap stuff from China. An international treaty that makes it possible for an individual to send a pound of stuff from Hong Kong to D.C. for less than it would cost to send the same package from, say, Seattle. This strange consequence of postal law was less significant when the mail was mostly personal correspondence. But as Chinese companies began logging on to Web marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba, they started taking advantage of the shipping deal to sell directly to American consumers. And so it's never been easier to get something cheap and Chinese delivered to your door for a startlingly low price: $4.64 for a digital alarm clock; $2.50 for a folding knife; $1.88 for an iPhone cable—all with shipping included. According to the terms set out in Universal Postal Union treaty, the USPS in 2014 gets paid no more than about $1.50 for delivering a one pound package from a foreign carrier, which makes it hard to cover costs. [1] The USPS inspector general's office estimated that the USPS lost $79 million in fiscal year 2013 delivering this foreign treaty mail. (The Postal Service itself declined to provide specific figures.)

The Association for Postal Commerce has expressed concerns with the Postal Service's planned implmentation of the Census Method of assessing compliance with the Postal Service's Move Update Rules and policies.

Office of the Inspector General: Post Office Relocation Process 

  • What the OIG Found: The process for relocating facilities was not always transparent. Further, the vice president, Facilities, has conflicting responsibilities for approving funding and adjudicating relocation appeals. We reviewed 33 of the 114 relocation projects we identified for fiscal years 2011 through 2013, and found 25 new site selections were not announced until after the public comment and appeal periods ended, and two had undetermined announcement dates. We found that only one of the 25 appeals filed for the 114 projects was upheld, leading management to halt the relocation. Further, the Postal Service could not readily identify the number of relocations and officials did not always efficiently manage the public notification and documentation process. These conditions occurred because some procedures were unclear and the vice president, Facilities, was authorized to approve funding and adjudicate appeals. Further, there were no requirements to track all relocations and officials did not always know the specific guidelines and processes. Consequently, the public and local officials may not have had the information they needed to make informed comments and determine the impact of a relocation, potentially harming the Postal Service's relationship with the public.
  • What the OIG Recommended: We recommended the vice president, Facilities, revise regulations and guidelines to enhance transparency and public input for potential alternative site selections. We also recommended modifying the guidance to remove the official's dual funding and adjudicating responsibilities; establishing a method to track and monitor relocations and documentation requirements and retention periods for relocation files; and training real estate specialists.

Office of the Inspector General: U.S. Postal Service's Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency Initiative 42 – Market New and Existing Services

  • What the OIG Found: DRIVE 42 managers did not follow DRIVE project management processes when planning and evaluating overall project metrics and revenue goals. For example, management established a revenue goal of $5.2 billion for the shipping revenue and profitable mail projects without a system to accurately measure achievement. Also, the goal for increasing online revenue is not aggressive, as it calls for growth that is 50 percent less, on average, than that of the 3 years prior to DRIVE 42. Further, the cumulative goal of DRIVE 42 was $8 billion less than the combined goals of the five underlying projects. Consequently, management and evaluation of DRIVE 42 are based on inaccurate information. We also identified $3.4 billion in unsupported increased revenue which management claimed for the shipping revenue and profitable mail projects. These issues occurred in DRIVE 42 because there is no independent audit process in DRIVE to promote accountability and ensure that goals are measurable, realistic, and accurate.
  • What the OIG Recommended: We recommended management include goals that can be accurately measured and that reflect the $24.6 billion total of the projects. We also recommended requiring that initiative leads follow established criteria to set bold and aggressive roadmap goals beyond past performance.

Postal Technology International: DHL Express has launched a pilot scheme to use bicycle couriers for the express delivery of documents and smaller parcels in Frankfurt and Berlin. There will be two different types of delivery models on trial, the first of which will be the 'DHL Parcycle' that has a sealable transport box with a capacity of 140 liters. The second will use the DHL Touring Bike in conjunction with a courier backpack. The trial will run until the end of September. Other news:

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Program Registration Release 11.0.0.4 — will be deployed to Production on Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 4:00 am to 9:00 am CDT. There will be an outage and the Online Enrollment and Incentives Program accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during that time. Program Registration Release 11.0.0.4 will implement the following enhancements. (1) Incentives: Fixes a defect: A few customers are unable to view their MSP Activity and MO Activity reports on the incentives module in BCG. (2) Shipping: Improving performance for mailers with a large number of CRIDs when logging into Incentives and Online Enrollment via the BCG.

This Is Money: An independent Scotland will face soaring stamp prices and could lose Royal Mail services altogether, a leading expert warned last night. Royal Mail currently delivers anywhere in Britain for a single price, under what is called the ‘universal service obligation'. But an independent Scotland would be forced by EU law to establish its own postal service.

From the Federal Register: Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services Department of State. FACA committee meeting announcement. The agenda of the meeting will include: An update on developments in and upcoming meetings of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and an examination of issues arising from discussions that are underway in the UPU and elsewhere on ways to increase the volume of ecommerce shipments in international mail. Among the issues to be considered are current constraints on the use of the mail for international merchandise shipment and possible competiveness concerns arising from the customs treatment of mail and other aspects of the prevailing international postal regime. A full agenda and meeting documents will be posted on the Committee Web site at www.state.gov/p/ io/ipp/mtgs/index.htm as they become available. For further information, please contact Ms. Shereece Robinson of the Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies (IO/STA), Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at tel. (202) 647– 1044, FAX (202) 647–8902, by email at RobinsonSA2@state.gov or by mail at IO/STA, Room 5333 HST; U.S. Department of State; Washington, DC 20520–6319.

Canada NewsWire: On the day that the Canadian Postal Service Charter opens up for review, representatives from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and other concerned groups are rallying at Minister Lisa Raitt's office in Milton to send a strong message to the federal Conservatives that they should be talking to the public about postal service.

Recruiter: Logistics group DHL has teamed up with the Military of Defence to offer work placements to members of the armed forces shortly before they end their careers in military service. The programme, which will run across the firm's 400 operations in the UK, will include commercial driver training and developing employability skills. It will target members of the forces who have six months or less service to run.

Spend Matters: Over the last five years, the USPS has grown its parcel business by 20 percent, earning status as a viable option. While UPS and FedEx continue to increase margins with price increases and high fuel surcharges, the USPS is playing the game differently. It will continue to price by weight, rather than dimension, and forgo fuel surcharges altogether. While UPS and FedEx do offer a wide range of discounts to volume customers, the carriers' long lists of accessorial fees and complicated contractual terms have made it more difficult to predict and control costs. USPS customers can expect to see the highest savings on heavier parcels, which have historically been overpriced compared to UPS and FedEx pricing. The USPS continues to surprise the industry. Taking market share away from large players is no small feat. Still, a few questions remain: How will these changes impact the long-term partnerships between the USPS and FedEx and UPS for last mile delivery? Is this strategy sustainable for the USPS, which has operated at a loss for the last 21 out of 23 quarters? Finally, how will this impact capacity and service? Is the USPS prepared to handle the volume given a $10 billion need for new trucks and sorting equipment?

American Postal Workers Union: If Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe thought his speech to a group of business mailers in Salt Lake City on Sept. 10 was going to be a quiet, uneventful affair, he was mistaken. A coalition of unions and postal customers showed up outside the Grand America Hotel, the site of the speech, to protest the PMG's plans to privatize postal operations and cut service to the people.

Banking Services Review: The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, extended its exclusive agreement with Eurogiro, with scope to allow its members greater access to the full range of Western Union Money Transfer services including digital offerings.

News AsiaOne: From 2013 to 2014, it is reported that customer satisfaction for the Transport and Logistics sector fell 0.6 per cent to 72.1 per cent (on a 0 to 100 scale) while the Public Education sector's score has no significant change from last year. The Transport & Logistics sector consists of eight measured sub-sectors. In Logistics, the Courier Services sub-sector posted a lower score of 71.2 per cent, a 1.7 per cent decrease from 2013. However, the Postal Services sub-sector, essentially SingPost, marked the only significant improvement in the Transport & Logistics sector, increasing 3.8 per cent from last year to also score 71.2 per cent, according to ISES.

The Wall Street Journal: When United Parcel Service Inc. Chief Executive David Abney bought his first book from Amazon.com Inc. about 15 years ago, e-commerce seemed no more complicated than ordering from a catalog. "Pretty basic," he says. Online sales have mushroomed since then into a huge business for the package-delivery company—and a big problem. Because of the ubiquity of free shipping, fierce competition from other delivery services and Amazon's power to drive down shipping costs as it gets even more enormous, UPS's average revenue on each Internet-related package it handles is dropping. According to shipment-tracking software developer ShipMatrix Inc., UPS delivers about 42% of e-commerce goods, down from the company's estimate of 55% in 1999.

September 11, 2014 

Simplifying volume requirements for USPS™ Return Services. The United States Postal Service® continues to take steps to make it easier to ship return packages. Effective Sept. 15, 2014, USPS™ introduces a single annual volume threshold for USPS Return Services products to qualify for Commercial Plus® pricing (CPP). In a Federal Register Notice published Sept. 11, 2014, the Postal Service aligns the minimum volume of 50,000 pieces annually, for USPS Return Services products across the board, to minimize confusion and provide consistency for customers. Currently there are different annual volume threshold requirements to qualify for CPP for products under the USPS Return Services umbrella. These products are Priority Mail® Return Service, First-Class Package Return® Service and Ground Return Service. Additionally, this change better aligns with the current 50,000 piece thresholds for Priority Mail CPP-Cubic and outbound Priority Mail CPP. Look here for more details or contact your USPS sales representative.

 PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is 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. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
Markets Tests of Experimental Products ,
54552–54565 [2014–21689] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
54305–54306 [2014–21588] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
RULES
Simplifying Threshold Volume Requirements for USPS Return Services ,
54188–54190 [2014–21510] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Post Register: Rep. Richard Stallings -- "Leave it to Congress to botch the operation of a government entity that seeks no federal funds or taxpayer dollars. And leave it to members of Congress to ignore a solution that is right in front of them. "Nutty" is the new normal in our nation's capital and Exhibit A is how Republicans in Congress - with their zest for privatization at any cost - helped create a financial disaster with the U.S. Postal Service. That's what is behind the scenes as the Postal Service continues to displace workers, cut operations to the bone and provide lesser quality service to rural customers in Idaho. Meanwhile, Congress refuses to enact legislation that can provide a fix. We're seeing the effects in Pocatello with the announcement that the mail processing center will be closed in April of next year and operations will be moved to Salt Lake City. It's one more step on the path to privatization of the Postal Service, which appears to be a litmus test for the Republican Party."

: A Virginia federal judge has agreed to dismiss a False Claims Act suit accusing Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. of misleading the U.S. Postal Service and failing to meet benchmarks in delivering mail-sorting machines worth $874 million. U.S. Judge T. S. Ellis III agreed with Northrop's memorandum that no evidence exists that the company made false statements or omitted material facts, had any intention to mislead the federal government or caused the USPS to pay improper or false invoices.

Direct Marketing News: "It doesn't really matter if you're the chief marketing officer of a national retailer or the owner of a pizza shop in a college town—you're a marketer who is making decisions about how to reach customers and drive traffic to your business. And every marketer should be taking a fresh look at mail." The name of the man who delivered that remark today at the National Postal Customer Council (PCC) conference in Salt Lake City won't surprise you. It was none other than Postmaster General Pat Donahoe (above), the Don Draper of the United States Postal Service, whose job it is to question the sanity of anyone who questions the continuing value of direct mail campaigns. But Donahoe's remark brought back to mind a conversation I had just yesterday with a Silicon Valley veteran who let on to me that the seeders of the marketing clouds, the progenitors of programmatic buying, the machine-learned masters of data analytics had themselves discovered a new marketing tool. Yes, direct mail, among other quaint offline methods.

Office of the Inspector General: Revenue Plan and Sales Targets

  • What the OIG Found Based on our review and research of best practices, the Postal Service can improve how it determines, distributes, and monitors its revenue plan and sales targets to drive greater revenue performance and promote a focus on revenue generation. Specifically: ■ The Postal Service revenue plan could be more aggressive to better promote growth and reflect increases in sales targets. While the FY 2014 revenue plan reflected higher revenue growth, the revenue plans for FYs 2012 and 2013 were below the prior year's actual revenue. The Postal Service has aggressively cut expenses, but continuing to set bolder and more aggressive revenue plans could improve revenue performance. ■ Not all Postal Service employees have a specific revenue goal in their individual pay for performance measures. Leading organizations distribute revenue goals to all operational employees. ■ Targets for individual sales staff do not reflect local conditions such as the type of customers and local economy. Instead, the Postal Service's sales targets are distributed equally based on the position held by the salesperson. For example, the FY 2014 sales target for all shipping solutions specialists is , regardless of any other factors — either internal or external — that might affect sales opportunities. Best practices of leading organizations include a robust account management and territory segmentation process that considers a variety of internal and external factors. ■ The Postal Service does not have a system to reconcile the estimated revenues recorded by the Sales organization with actual realized revenues. Best-in-class organizations have information systems that allow them to track revenue associated with customer accounts from initiation of the sales cycle to realization of revenue.
  • What the OIG Recommended We recommended the Postal Service develop a strategy that emphasizes revenue generation throughout the organization by creating more aggressive revenue plans that integrate forecasted sales growth. We also recommended management establish individual revenue-related performance measure for operational employees covered by the pay for performance program. Finally, we recommended management develop strategies for determining and distributing customized sales targets as well as reconciling estimated sales revenue with actual realized revenue.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Recording of the September 10 public meeting of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service will maintain overnight delivery for about 66% of the current overnight delivery volumes following the next phase of its network consolidation. That's according to chief operating officer and executive vice president Megan Brennan, who was speaking to major customers in Salt Lake City this week at the annual National Postal Customer Council Week event. USPS is planning to consolidate processing operations from 82 mail plants across the United States from January 2015, with plant closures due to be completed by the autumn.

Businessweek: The U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will deliver groceries on a test basis for Amazon. In doing so, the world's largest mail delivery service is deepening its relationship with the influential e-commerce provider. So much for drone delivery. Amazon's Jeff Bezos has the USPS, which handles 40 percent of the world's mail and visits every address in America six days a week, now delivering packages for the Everything Store on Sundays, too. The news comes just as the USPS is entering a new period of tension with its chief competitors in the parcel space, UPS and FedEx . The USPS is lowering its parcel delivery prices at a time when the private guys are preparing to raise theirs. Clearly, UPS and FedEx fear that the USPS will siphon away their customers. The deepening relationship with Amazon virtually guarantees that. The e-commerce giant was miffed last December when UPS and FedEx misjudged the volume of holiday packages and ended up getting many of them to customers after Christmas.

Financial Post: To avoid dealing with mountains of paper and in some cases paying $2 to $3 every month to receive bills and statements in the mail, more Canadians are opting for online statements. But what are we giving up when the paper stops coming to our homes? Even though Chi-Hung Ta pays all of his bills electronically, he still prefers to receive paper statements. "You get it in the mail," says Mr. Ta, a 36-year-old web developer and quality assurance analyst at a Toronto information services company. "You know how much you owe. You don't have to remember any account passwords. You don't have to find your way through clunky [websites]." He once signed up to receive online statements with his credit card company. "I couldn't figure out how much I owed for that month. It was a bit of a nightmare. In the end, I switched back to paper." He opens his mail in the evenings and looks over the statements with his wife before filing them in marked folders in a blue bin. He also keeps a calendar of payment due dates.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   PostalOne!® Release 38 Known Issue Identified Incentive Programs **Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion also Affected** An issue has been identified affecting Mail.dat submitted mailings which claim the incentive programs, Emerging Technology 2014, Color Print in First-Class Mail and Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion. Specifically, the PostalOne! system is not receiving the incentive discount for CAPS accounts since the Release 38 deployment on August 24, 2014. Customers are not receiving the discount which is causing them to be overcharged.

Final Status:
The code change for defect 4985 was implemented as part of Sunday, September 7th deployment. The code fix is applied for any Mail.dat postage statement submitted/created after the 9/7/201deployment. For any statement finalized or submitted prior to the 9/7 deployment will require the data repair to refund the incentive amount to the customer. The data repair on September 12th will automatically credit customer accounts for a one-time electronic refund to the customer permit accounts. If a statement is in UPD status when the data repair runs the total postage will be recalculated to provide the customer the correct incentive amount.

(1) The postage statements which display on the Business Mail Acceptance Unit dashboard reflect that the incentive discount was applied correctly. However, when the PostalOne! system attempts to perform the transaction to the customer's CAPS account, the transaction for the incentive amount does not transmit to CAPS. The total postage minus the incentive is transacted to the CAPS account and the customer is overcharged for the postage by the amount of the incentive discount. (2) This issue will be resolved on September 7, 2014 in the PostalOne! Release 38.1.1. Workaround (3) Immediate Workaround: Acceptance employees should process postage statements for impacted eDoc mailings/CAPSs accounts even though it will put the account in a negative balance. (4) Refund Process: A refund procedure through an IT data repair has been established to automatically credit customer accounts for a one-time electronic refund to the customer permit accounts on September 9, 2014. Refunds will automatically be generated by the PostalOne! system and reflected in customer CAPS accounts using a Refund to Trust (USPS Error), automated procedure. For each PostalOne! transaction a corresponding transaction will occur in the CAPS customer account.

Refunds will be granted to customers who meet the following criteria: (1) Mailpiece meets all promotion requirements (2) Mailer is enrolled in the Incentive Programs Services during the outage period (3 Reason for discount not applied due to ALM 4985 (4) Customers are not required to contact the Postal Service during this process. If customers do not receive a refund by September 12, 2014, and believe they were entitled to one, they are instructed to contact the Program Office at mobile.Barcode@usps.gov. The Program Office will assist such customers for resolution.

New York Daily News: U.S. Postal Service officials agreed to resume delivery in the Brooklyn neighborhood, where dozens of residents were threatened with the permanent loss of home delivery and ordered to install mail boxes that were easier for the carrier to reach, Assemblyman Dov Hikind said.

Press Release: In a state of the business address to postal customers, Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe gave an upbeat assessment of the opportunities facing the mailing industry. (To view the Postmaster General's PCC Day video, or read a transcript, go to about.usps.com/what-we-are-doing/pcc-week/.)

Congratulations to Lucie Jameson, Assistant Director of Direct Marketing Programs at The Hartford, on her receiving the Gold Award for being PCC Member of the Year. Jameson also serves as a member of the PostCom Board of Directors.

September 10, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:


Need a succinct write-up of the recent oral argument on the USPS exigency case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia? Then ask Steve Kearney, Executive Director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, for a courtesy copy of the one he just distributed to his members. Yes . . . the very same Steve Kearney you once knew as one of the officers of the Postal Service.

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs: Hearing on the nomination of the Hon. Mickey D. Barnett to be a Governor, U.S. Postal Service, September 16, 2014 10:30AM SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

KUTV: Patrick R. Donahoe, the 73rd Postmaster General of the United States, is the Chief Executive Officer of the world's largest postal organization and a lifelong postal employee. Working closely with the organization's stakeholders, Mr. Donahoe is reshaping the U.S. Postal Service to better meet the evolving mailing and shipping needs of its customers. Shortly after he became PMG, Mr. Donahoe announced his vision for USPS - to strengthen the business-to-consumer channel, improve the customer experience, compete for the package business and become a leaner, faster and smarter organization. Mr. Donahoe is implementing a comprehensive plan that will ensure a responsive and self-sufficient organization that continues to offer secure, reliable and universal mailing and shipping services. He has mobilized the public and the organization's employees - a key element of his plan - to help him improve the organization's management, technology and operations. Under PMG Donahoe's leadership, USPS has increased its presence in the fast-growing international shipping market and is offering innovative solutions to small and large businesses that improve the value of the mail. USPS also is exploring ways to more closely integrate the mail with digital communications.

The Cap Times: The USPS is a treasure. That treasure needs to be preserved, and ultimately extended. Fighting Bob La Follette knew that, and so do Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin. We should join this fight for the future of the Postal Service.

News7Jax: The parents of 14-year-old Dakota Dyer said their son's suicide is connected to synthetic marijuana, and U.S. Postal Inspectors warn that children are buying the drug online. The so-called fake pot is created with various chemical compounds and is designed to mimic the effects of marijuana. Officials said it is commonly marketed under names like K2 or Bob's Bud. Authorities warn the drugs, marketed over the Internet and social media, come in colorful packaging adorned with cartoons and sometime labeled as incense. Many parents have no idea what their kids are buying. Postal inspectors said they are seeing more of these cases as children purchase the drugs over the Internet and receive them in the mail.

The Cherokee Ledger-News: Carolyn Cosby's alleged method of distributing campaign mailers is now the subject of an open investigation by the Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service (USPS). "They are investigating," said Michael Miles, communications manager for the Atlanta district of the USPS, on Monday. "Putting flyers on or in a mailbox is illegal." Several Cherokee County residents have contacted both local and federal postal officials to complain about unstamped Cosby push cards attached to mailboxes, enclosing photographs of the violations with their complaints. The fliers advocate the election of Cosby as county commission chair on Nov. 4.

Compass Cayman: The potential sale of $65 million worth of government land and the outsourcing of all public sector medical operations were among the recommendations made for the short-to-medium term in a government consultant's report released Tuesday afternoon. The report, completed by "big four" accounting firm Ernst & Young at the request of the Cayman Islands government, generally seeks to trim public sector costs through a variety of means – not only sale of assets or outsourcing, but by way of management reviews, public-private partnerships and department restructuring. The EY report recommends exploration of a joint partnership with a private sector vendor to allow the postal service to reduce its government subsidy and provide more parcel-related services than it does currently. This would be a significant "cultural change" in the postal service and would require government to "up skill" its operations and employees, the EY report noted.

Zawya: The National Postal Authority - Egypt Post will discuss in its upcoming board meeting this week the size of investments planned to buy the Suez Canal Certificates, dedicated to fund the new waterway along the Suez Canal. The sources also told Amwal Al Ghad that the certificates are good investment opportunities for the private economic entities with a high interest rate by value of 12%, which is higher than the rate of all saving pools existing in the local market. Egypt post's investments reached around EGP 135 billion, including EGP90 billion in the National Investment bank and EGP45 billion in other instruments with 13.8% average return.

Arutz Sheva: Authority leaders in the periphery turned to Finance Minister Yair Lapid in a request to end the striking of the mobile postal service. The leaders maintained that due to the strike, bills are not being paid, important summonses are not reaching the locals, and more, causing residents of the periphery to collapse in the face of the burden of the strike.

The Guardian: People of America, unite your phones! Why Apple Pay should be for everyone Apple's new payments system seems promising, but why is it limited only to the elite? The postal service can serve everyone. There are compelling public policy reasons to open up this kind of mobile payment to everyone. Mobile payments can and should be universal. At their best, they increase access to the banking system for everyone by making payments easier. They improve commerce by making transactions quicker and more efficient, lowering costs. Countries like Kenya have integrated systems that allow consumers to pay for virtually anything by mobile phone, leaping past the US in offering that technological promise to virtually everyone. What's the best way? Don't look to Apple's rivals. Look to using the US postal service as a financial services provider with mobile payment options. It may sound far-fetched to choose the postal service, but it's not as strange as you may think. The postal service has something most companies don't: access to almost every American. That includes those who don't have bank accounts

Office of the Inspector General: Equipment Transfer From the Lansing, MI, Processing and Distribution Center to the Grand Rapids, MI, Processing and Distribution Center -- What The OIG Found A business case exists to support moving the APBS from the Lansing P&DC to the Grand Rapids P&DC. The overall cost savings will be about $1.8 million in the first year, and about $1.9 million annually in subsequent years. The Lansing P&DC is not fully utilizing the APBS and transferring it will give the Grand Rapids P&DC more machine capacity to process the large volume of mail being processed manually. In addition, the Grand Rapids P&DC needs an additional APBS due to increased volume. For the period October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, the Lansing P&DC APBS mail volume declined 20 percent compared to the same period last year. Conversely, the APBS mail volume at the Grand Rapids P&DC increased 54 percent compared to the same period last year. In addition, if the APBS is transferred, the Lansing P&DC plans to reassign the 25 employees working on the APBS to other mail processing operations within its facility.

WINK News: A Lee County man has been indicted on federal charges related to tampering with hundreds of articles of mail. The former United States Postal Service employee, indentified in court records as Michael Marquez, appeared in court last week and was released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors allege he "destroyed, detained, and delayed" more than 400 pieces of first class mail on at least two occasions in February.

CBSNew York: Some Brooklyn residents with mail slots in their doors are not getting their mail. Hundreds of Borough Park residents were first told by their local carrier that their mail slots are too low and later received letters from their local post office saying that their mailboxes are not in compliance and need to be relocated. Residents were told their mail won't be delivered until the mailboxes are fixed. Many residents said they've had to wait in hour-long lines at the post office and some were warned that if they don't correct the doors, their mail will be returned to the sender.

September 9, 2014 

  Audio recording of proceedings before the DC Court of Appeals in the case of the USPS exigency case.

Attention PostalOne!® Users Release 38.1.1 Price Change Statement Mailing Date Reminder. For all Postage Statements submitted for all submission types, an error message will occur when the Statement Mailing Dates within a job cross the price change date when the mailing dates are not all before or not all after the Price Change date. For example, with the September 7, 2014 Price Change,  the Postage Statement Mailing date for each postage statement within the job must all be before or after the price change of September 7, 2014. When an error is observed: 1)      For a Mail.dat or Mail.XML user, the mailer must send an update to their EST or UPD  job to change the mailing date 2)      For a Postal Wizard user, the mailer or the BMEU acceptance employee must cancel the original job and the mailer must resubmit a new job with a mailing date of before or after September 7, 2014. 

              

Political and Election Mailing Information Resources. Leading up to 2014 elections, millions will use the mail to vote for their chosen elected officials. From digitally optimized campaign mailers to voter mobilization leaflets or sample ballots and registration cards — the mail plays an increasingly important part in our democratic electoral process. The Postal Service is committed to generating additional awareness and educating the public about the use of mail in elections. In order to inform the public on proper mail preparation, key dates, and general election mailing tips, we have developed resources to provide complete mailing information. For information on Political Mail, please go to our Political Mailing Webpage at: https://www.usps.com/business/political-mail.htm To find information related to Election Mail, please view our Election Mail Webpage at: https://www.usps.com/gov-services/election-mail.htm

Postalnews.com: "One Map to Show Where USPS Will Cut 7,000 Jobs"

L'Express: Current abroad, postcode comes to our shores. But do you know what it is and why you need to use it?  IT is useless to put you in mind Martel, the ZIP code is neither more nor less than a "complement to your address." Composed of five figures, the ZIP code is an identifier used to locate you more precision. This system is implemented by the Mauritius Post since last year. "However, this has been a long process. We decided to put this system already exists abroad up because we have received many requests from the public, " argues Jayraj Ittoo, Sales and Marketing Manager at the Mauritius Post. In fact this code is required, among other transactions via the Internet, including online purchases.

Lloyds Loading List: E-commerce is giving a spectacular boost to exports from one of the world's most isolated markets, according to a new report from DHL. A survey by the logistics giant found that online commerce had boosted business for 73% of exporters in New Zealand. 27% of exporters generated at least 50% of their orders through online channels, while 40% of exporters said an enhanced website/online presence had successfully been used to increase export orders in the last 12 months.

BikeBiz: EU study says half of goods shipments made in European cities could be carried out by cargo bike While they're still relatively thin on the ground here in the UK, Eurobike had a sizable selection of cargo bikes on show, a category for which the electric drive is particularly well suited, with some bikes capable of holding a thigh-shattering load of 200kg. According to the team behind Eurobike, electric drives are being installed to increasing numbers of cargo bikes, including the Bullit model from the Danish cult brand Larry vs. Harry in an e-bike version with a powerful Bronx drive system. Meanwhile the Dutch cargo bike specialists at Urban Arrow use a Bosch system and the Loan Hybrid model from Riese und Müller, the Darmstadt manufacturer of folding bikes and e-bikes.

Arutz Shiva: As part of the protest by postal workers against the lay-offs of 1,500 employees, today (Tuesday) Jerusalem branches will be closed between the hours of 9:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. The stoppage of mobile post delivery throughout the country will also be continue to be in place, excepting in the Gaza periphery communities. This morning postal workers will be demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem. They are protesting the Ministry's plans to fire 1,500 workers and to replace them with temps in order to save money.

Empire State News: First class mail processed and delivered by the US Postal Service in the last 10 years is down more than 50 percent, because more and more people are paying their bills and corresponding by e-mail. Conversely, package shipments by the post office are up by double-digits. Those figures come from USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan on Monday. She was flying to New York for a meeting with postal service commercial customer in White Plains on Tuesday. She told MidHudsonNews.com by phone that they are trying to reinvent themselves, to develop "a more adaptive business model. "The postal service needs congressional approval, though, and to date, lawmakers have been unwilling to allow it to reduce first class mail delivery from six to five days per week. Brennan said the post office need that ability to change with the times. "To give us the flexibility in terms of to determine the delivery frequency, to move to a five-day mail delivery environment, and six, and in some locations, seven-day package delivery market," she said. As for the downsizing of mail services at the regional sorting center at Stewart Airport a few years ago, Brennan said that is part of the effort to reinvent the post office and in the long haul, take it from a deep deficit operation to one of profitability. She said the Stewart sorting center has been transformed into a transfer port while the retail operation and mailbox center have remained intact.

Business Review: The first franchise of the Romanian Post was opened by Domino Plaza, the national postal services operator announced in a press release. The estimated investment made by Domino Servicii Diverse into the franchise was approximately RON 40,000 (EUR 9,000).The unit, which offers all the products and services of the Romanian Post with the exception of pension delivery, will employ 3 people, and has program with the public Monday to Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., and Sunday between 9 am and 5.30 pm. "With this partnership, the Romanian Post as franchisor, will optimize its portfolio of products and services, but also the operational costs, reported to their added value," said Alexandru Petrescu, general manager of the Romanian Post.

The Motley Fool: The coming rate hikes at UPS and FedEx represent a threat to the free shipping policies we've seen retailers expand exponentially, but a rate cut the U.S. Postal Service just won might give it a competitive advantage the delivery giants won't be able to overcome. The postal service will drop rates between 30% and 50% in weight categories that are used the most by e-commerce sites, a move FedEx called a bald-face attempt to aggressively gain market share among Internet retailers, and the Postal Rate Commission's acquiescence means it can no longer be trusted to ensure equity. "The time has come to reinforce, indeed to rethink, the Commission's role in protecting fair competition in package distribution services," FedEx said in its comments to the PRC on the USPS's proposal. UPS essentially agreed, saying the post office was hiking rates where it had a monopoly on delivery -- namely, first-class mail -- to be able to cut them where there was competition, effectively using the one to subsidize the other.

Daily Journal: A Gulfport father and son have admitted stealing aluminum carts from the U.S. Postal Service and selling them as scrap for a period of two years.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • Calling All Revenue-Generation Ideas You can't cut your way to prosperity. That seems to be the message coming out of many of the comments we received on our recent blog about the next phase of network consolidation. So, if cutting alone isn't the answer, what are your ideas for revenue growth? Five years ago, we ran a blog post asking stakeholders for their best brainstorming ideas to help the U.S. Postal Service improve its net income. Interestingly, the suggestions seemed split about evenly between cutting costs and generating revenue. So, this time, we want to ask just about revenue-generation ideas. Of course, we welcome any thoughts you have on ensuring a viable Postal Service. That's what this forum for stakeholder feedback is all about.
     
  • Management of Cloud Computing Contracts and Environment What the OIG Found The Postal Service's cloud computing contracts did not comply with all applicable Postal Service's standards. Specifically, the Postal Service has not defined "cloud computing" and "hosted services," established an enterprise-wide inventory of cloud computing services, required suppliers and their employees to sign non-disclosure agreements, or included all required information security clauses in its contracts. In addition, management did not appropriately monitor applications to ensure system availability. Management also did not complete the required security analysis process for three cloud services reviewed and did not follow Postal Service policy requiring cloud service providers to meet federal government guidelines. This occurred because no group is responsible for managing cloud services, and personnel were not aware of all policy and contractual obligations. Without proper knowledge of and control over applications in the cloud environment, the Postal Service cannot properly secure cloud computing technologies and is at increased risk of unauthorized access and disclosure of sensitive data. We claimed $33,517,151 in contractual costs for the Postal Service not following their policy and contract requirements.

The Hill: There's no "fiscal cliff" or global financial crisis for this year's post-election lame-duck session, but that doesn't mean it will be easy. Lawmakers will be faced with a couple of old favorites: another extension of government funding and the menagerie of lapsed tax breaks that comprise the "extenders" package. A continuing resolution that will need to be adopted before Sept. 30 is widely expected to run until around Dec. 11. And just about everyone in Washington has a favorite bill they'd like to get across the desk after the most do-nothingest Congress ever. But should the election winds blow in favor of Republicans on both sides of the Rotunda, they would likely be eager to punt to 2015, when a GOP-led Senate could work together with its House counterparts on advancing an agenda designed to blunt the effects of the last two years of President Barack Obama's administration. Regardless of which party has the gavels in 2015, the lame duck will be the last chance for a handful of retiring Democratic chairmen to advance their priorities.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Program Registration 11.0.0.3 Known Issue. Some mailers are experiencing performance degradation when accessing the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) to utilize the Incentives and Online Enrollment functions. Users with a large number of CRIDs associated to their BCG login account are frequently experiencing a time-out due to latency while the system makes API calls to process each individual CRID. We have identified the root cause of the performance issue and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. Updates will be provided periodically as we make progress in addressing this important performance issue. For further support on this and all other issues related to Online Enrollment, please contact the Confirmation Services Help Desk at 1-877-264-9693 option 1. For all Incentives performance issues and questions, please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 option 3 then option 6 RIBBS Known Issues Reference For a comprehensive list of "Known Issues" please refer to RIBBS at the link below: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2014/releases/aug_sept2014/issues.cfm

Press Release: Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Coburn Call on Senate Appropriations Committee to Oppose Proposed Moratorium; Support Comprehensive Postal Reform  --

"Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee late Friday to caution the Members about implementing a moratorium on postal facility closures and urge support for the bipartisan, comprehensive the Postal Reform Act of 2014, which was passed out of committee earlier this year.

"We understand that a number of senators have asked that you include language in appropriations legislation this fall that would prevent the U. S. Postal Service from closing or consolidating any mail processing facilities in 2015. We strongly disagree with that request and urge you to reject it. Instead of actually fixing the problem and providing a roadmap to a strong and vital Postal Service in the 21st Century, that approach will further undermine customer confidence and ensure that the Postal Service continues to twist in the wind, facing an uncertain future that could ultimately hasten its demise."

"This is not the time for more kicking the can down the road. This is not the time for more wing and a prayer. Instead, we urge you to work with us to pass the thoughtful and comprehensive reforms that are embodied in S. 1486. They will not only preserve mail delivery standards and delay or prevent plant closures, they will serve to modernize the Postal Service and ensure that it has the tools and resources to thrive in the Digital Age of this 21st Century."

In the letter, Senators Carper and Coburn urge their colleagues to support the bipartisan Postal Reform Act in order to ensure a better future for the United States Postal Service (USPS), which has been struggling financially for years and will continue to do so without comprehensive reform from Congress. The Postal Reform Act is a balanced solution to the Postal Service's financial crisis that would keep postal operations and service standards, protect millions of mailing industry jobs, and enable USPS to serve the American public for years to come"

September 8, 2014 

usps logo DMM Advisory: September DMM Update.  Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Today we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes:

  • Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes We revised various sections of the DMM to reflect changes to some of the prices for Priority Mail® and the mailing standards for Premium Forwarding Service Commercial™ competitive products. We published this information in the August 7, 2014, Postal Bulletin.
  • eDoc Volume Criteria for Single-Piece First-Class Mail We revised 604.5.1 to correct the DMM language permitting less than the current minimum volume for permit imprint mailings when mailers submit electronic postage statements and piece-level barcode information for single-piece First-Class Mail® letters. We published this information in the August 21, 2014, Postal Bulletin.
  • New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products We revised various sections to introduce new or enhanced service features. We published this information in the August 21, 2014, Postal Bulletin.

DC Velocity: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will face various tests on its path toward true parcel delivery legitimacy. One of its most important tests has already commenced. On Aug. 15, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the body that rules on the agency's pricing actions, approved a USPS proposal to radically reduce rates on two of its "Priority Mail" one- to three-day delivery products for high-volume customers. The program rolled out on Sept. 7. The rate cuts affect two Priority Mail services: Commercial Base, which carries no volume requirements and is available to customers that give parcels to USPS using specific methods of tender, and Commercial Plus, which requires that users have shipped at least 50,000 Priority Mail pieces in the prior year. The latter service is geared toward high-volume users like e-tailers, big business-to-business (B2B) shippers, and parcel consolidators that aggregate packages from multiple shippers and induct them deep into the USPS distribution network to get sizable bulk discounts. At the same time it was rolling back rates, USPS said it would not implement any new dimensional weight pricing on its parcel shipments. By contrast, UPS and FedEx will soon begin assessing so-called dim weight charges on ground parcels measuring less than three cubic feet.

Dynamic Business: Australia Post is seeking to charge customers extra to deliver letters within a designated time, such as the next day. The government-owned corporation money struggles have been well documented, and AusPost says its losses in its letter business could well overwhelm the entire company if changes aren't made. A tiered postal system is being considered, which would involve customers paying a premium based on the delivery time. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government is yet to approve the changes, but is reviewing the request.

Post & Parcel: UKP Worldwide has launched a Global Direct Entry (GDE) service – helping businesses deliver eCommerce goods to their U.S. customers. As an approved Global Direct Entry Wholesaler for the United States Postal Service (USPS), it allows companies to ship directly to their U.S. customers' from many destinations around the world quickly. Specialising in international mailing, distribution and eCommerce logistics, UKP Worldwide has been sending goods to the U.S. on behalf of its customers for more than 14 years. In 2010, the company set up a subsidiary in New Jersey, where the company has been working directly with the United States Postal Service. As a result, the company has been providing parcel and address sortation services to their customers, allowing them to benefit from postal sortation discounts.

Washington Post: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Republicans that they would make a "closing argument" to midterm election voters in the session of Congress that begins today. It's shaping up to be a lousy one. On the other hand, the Democrat-controlled Senate is not likely to do much better. Operating on the notion that the public prefers political theater to authentic accomplishments, the House and Senate are preparing to achieve almost nothing when they reconvene. Instead of passing bills into law and allowing voters to judge their work, the legislators appear to be pushing hopes of any serious lawmaking off into the safety of a post-election, lame-duck session — and that's if they move relatively quickly.

September 7, 2014 

Sydney Morning Herald: We must have some wonderful gurus in charge at Australia Post. They are predicting future losses in mail delivery. These financial wizards morphed our postal service into some form of corporate animal but need to be reminded that post is an essential service. If they make a profit well and good, if not, tough luck. Sure, there are changes in communications but they have strayed from their core business. Nowadays a post office is like some sort of supermarket, two-dollar shop, electrical retailer plus government office. The queues are mind-boggling, especially if all you want is a stamp. You can get everything from a birthday card to a beauty treatment at the front counter. If all Australia Post did was to deliver a few letters and the occasional parcel the way it did previously, albeit in its own clumsy and maybe inefficient way, then the world might be a better and more profitable place.

Twin Falls Times-News: Leave it to Congress to botch the operation of a government entity that seeks no federal funds or taxpayer dollars. And leave it to members of Congress to ignore a solution that is right in front of them. "Nutty" is the new normal in our nation's capital and Exhibit A is how Congress — with its union-busting mentality — helped create a financial disaster with the U.S. Postal Service and refuses to enact legislation that can provide a fix. Instead, Congress allows the post office to displace workers, cut operations to the bone and provide a lesser quality service to rural customers in Idaho and other states.

Independent: The volume of small parcels - most commonly associated with online purchases - had been rising by a steady 14pc per year until 2013. Parcel volumes spiked in 2013, rising 22pc, with the increase continuing in 2014. An Post now handles 2.5m items of mail per day, split between letters and parcels. Core letter mail has dropped by 30pc since the 2007 peak. Faced with this change in demand, An Post has been retooling its business with new technology and distribution centres. There are now 800 collections points around the country, with 400 in post offices.

September 6, 2014 

Financial Times: The growth in internet banking is a "seismic change" in the way we manage our finances, help people keep track of their money and save them the time and hassle of queuing in their local branch. Yet fears are growing that some sections of society are at a serious disadvantage by the relentless migration of financial services to the internet. Some 6.4m adults in the UK have never used the internet and only 37 per cent of elderly people have used the web, according to the Office for National Statistics. Just over a year ago, the misgivings about the loss of paper-based access to financial services were brought together under the aegis of a new campaign, Keep Me Posted. The campaigning organisation presses companies to commit to providing paper statements and bills to customers – and never to charge them for the privilege.

Internet Retailer: The leading shipping service for top online retailers in North America plans to introduce a service that will allow consumers to pick up their online orders from lockers in retail locations. United Parcel Service of North America Inc. began testing the service, called the UPS Access Point network, in July in New York City and Chicago, and plans to roll it out early next year, Alan Gershenhorn, chief commercial officer, told reporters today at a briefing in Louisville, KY. "Consumers don't want to wait around for a delivery," Gershenhorn said. "It's easier to go to access points to pick up an item or make a return." 26% of U.S. online shoppers say they want to receive deliveries somewhere other than their home, Gershenhorn added, citing data from a comScore Inc. study. The tests are taking place in highly populated areas, including neighborhoods with many apartment buildings, a spokeswoman says. Consumers who live in multi-unit buildings without doormen frequently do not feel it is secure to have an online order left in the building lobby. The locations in Chicago are in the north and western sections of the city and nearby suburbs; in New York, they are in Bronx, with the test moving into Brooklyn, the spokeswoman says. She says the lockers are located in stores that are open early in the morning, late at night or on weekends.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
Product Lists; Updates ,
53139–53143 [2014–21228] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
53222 [2014–21200] [TEXT]  [PDF]

BBC: Costa Rica has begun to reform its postal address system, which uses landmarks and directions instead of street names and numbers. According to a study from the Inter-American Development Bank, the country loses an estimated $720m (Ł440m) a year in revenue associated with lost and undelivered mail. The current system also causes problems for delivery workers.

Washington Times: Membership in labor unions continues a steady decline. Right-to-work laws in many states guarantee Americans the right to choose whether to join a union or not. The latest strategem by the American Postal Workers Union offers a perfect example of why so many want so little to do with the vanishing few. The postal union could be working to improve mail-delivery service or find other ways to make the postman relevant in the digital age, but it's less tiring to promote a boycott of Staples for exploring the idea of working with the U.S. Postal Service to sell stamps and collect packages for shipping. This would make it more convenient for customers to do business with the post office. Customers rarely look forward to waiting in line at the post office only to get service ranging from indifferent to lousy. The union would better serve its members by finding ways to make a trip to the post office pleasant and productive.

September 5, 2014  

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Microstrategy/Mailer Scorecard Reports System issues that impact the data in the Microstrategy/Mailer Scorecard Reports have been identified since the PostalOne! Release 38.0 was completed on August 24, 2014. We are working to address these issues as soon as possible. We will advise you when these have been deployed and when the reports have been fixed to the point that you can use them. · Metrics on all tabs of the Mailer Scorecard may be inflated. Drilling to job reports will show correct data at the job level. · The Mailer Scorecard provides a dashboard view of the results of the letter and flat mailing activity with the Postal Service over a calendar month. The customer provided mailing date, provided in the electronic documentation is used to determine which monthly report the data should be displayed. In cases where the mailer supplied mailing date is in one month (Example: August) and the Postal mailing date is in another (Example: September) the system is incorrectly assigning the data to the monthly report associated to the Postal mailing date (Example: September) · Undocumented mail pieces identified through the manual sampling process and collected after 8/24 are not being reported on the Mailer Scorecard or Undocumented Summary Report. In the interim, please report any issues to the PostalOne! Help Desk.

Press Release: UPS gas announced intentions to establish two new facilities in Poland representing a combined 25 million (USD) investment. The first is a new parcel sorting hub and center in the town of Strykow. The investment in this facility is the largest of its kind for the company in Poland and construction is scheduled to begin this September. The second facility will house a UPS Global Business Services (GBS) center in the city of Lodz - the second of its kind in the country. Both are scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2015 and will create more than 300 new UPS jobs in Poland.

Quad Graphics: Since the Postal Service announced their plan to move forward with Phase II of Network Consolidation, how will it impact the delivery of mail (Market Dominant Products)?  Depending on what you mail and how time critical the delivery is, this could be a non-issue as long as there is predictability and consistency. On the other hand, if delivery is time/day critical, it could lead you to consider non-mail alternatives.

Postallnews.com: The Postal Service on Sept. 7, 2014, will expand the range of products eligible for free Package Pickup, which enables customers to request that USPS carriers pick up shipments during regular delivery when the request is made by 2 a.m. CT.

BaltimoreCBSLocal: A Baltimore man pleaded guilty in federal court Friday for a money scheme involving the U.S. Postal Service. Richard Lewis Wright III, 47, formerly the Waverly station manager for USPS, pleaded guilty to bribery for his involvement in a contract scheme. Two others from Baltimore — USPS Station Manager Kimberly A. Parnell, 43, and contractor Shane Anderson, 37, — were previously charged for the same scheme. According to their plea agreements, Wright and Parnell were authorized to contract landscapers, snow removers and cleaning services for the post offices they managed in Baltimore and Pikesville, respectively. They admitted to creating, approving and submitting false invoices with inflated totals for maintenance work and taking a cut of the profits — splitting them with contractors like Anderson. Wright started falsifying invoices in 2007 and Parnell began in 2010 until July 2013. In total, Wright submitted $591,791 in invoices, while Parnell submitted a total of $50,470.

Williston Herald: The U.S. Postal Service has confirmed it will maintain current service hours at 30 post offices, adhering to an earlier commitment. Thirty post offices in the Bakken region were facing reduced hours. North Dakota's congressional delegation pressed USPS after data released last week suggested some of the largely rural post offices warranted such action. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven said he received a confirmation from Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman on the matter, following up on a strong letter from U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp blasting USPS for backing out of an agreement not to cut hours.

Businessweek: Undeterred by snow, rain, heat, gloom of night—and cheaper than ever. The U.S. Postal Service is slashing prices for big retailers in a bid to wrest a pile of holiday shipments from FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS). For customers shipping at least 50,000 packages a year, Uncle Sam's mailing service will charge up to 58 percent less for its accelerating "Priority" service, in some cases undercutting its for-profit rivals. The Wall Street Journal has a nifty graphic showing how the new prices will stack up. FedEx and UPS are none too happy about this. The Postal Service has a monopoly on letters, they argue, and is raising prices on some customers unfairly to subsidize big retailers. The Postal Service, however, has another huge advantage they are past griping about: It doesn't have to pay traffic tickets.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   This release repairs known issues in PostalOne!® and also includes database maintenance activities. The deployment will occur during the scheduled maintenance window of 4:00 a.m. CT through 8:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, September 7, 2014.  There will be an outage during the maintenance release, i.e. the application will be unavailable. There is no mandatory Mail.dat® client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 38.1.1 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2014/releaseoverview2014.cfm.  PostalOne!® Release 38.1.1 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur also on Sunday, September 7, 2014, TEM will be unavailable from 4:00 a.m. CT thru 10:00 a.m. CT. 

Dear MTAC Membership, Just a gentle reminder ~ Don't forget…you still have time to complete the Member survey! Thank you to everyone who has participated so far. Your feedback is extremely important to us and will be used to design a better MTAC experience for you. If you haven't responded yet, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K5S3FBL and give us your feedback on MTAC and how you would like us to make these meetings more rewarding for you. The survey will close on Tuesday, September 9 at midnight ET.

Wall Street Journal: Now the letter carrier will deliver groceries. Amazon.com Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service, already partners in Sunday deliveries, have launched a trial to shuttle insulated containers of meat, dairy, produce and other groceries to San Francisco customers' doorsteps. The test could presage a broader national rollout, giving Amazon's grocery drop-off service a much wider reach.

Macauhub: The Portuguese government plans to sell the 31.5 percent stake that the state still holds in Portuguese postal company CTT – Correios de Portugal, state shareholdings company Parpública said in a statement issued via the market regulator.

Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Postal Service is aggressively slashing prices to attract big e-commerce companies in time for the holidays, aiming to steal business from both FedEx Corp.  and United Parcel Service Inc. Over loud protests from its rival delivery giants, the Postal Service won approval from its regulators in August to lower prices by as much as 58% on certain Priority Mail packages for customers shipping at least 50,000 parcels a year. The Postal Service says its prices were too high to be competitive. But in documents filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission, both UPS and FedEx say the agency is taking advantage of its status as a near monopoly to unfairly snag a bigger piece of the e-commerce pie.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
53088–53089 [2014–21105] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreements ,
  53089 [2014–21196] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  Priority Mail Express Negotiated Service Agreements ,
  53089 [2014–21199] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Republic: Thirty post offices in North Dakota's oil country that were scheduled to have their workdays reduced will maintain their hours of operation. U.S. Sen. John Hoven on Thursday said the U.S. Postal Service has formally agreed to not disrupt service at the 30 locations in the growing region.

September 4, 2014 

Roll Call: A bill to fund the government, a resolution condemning the president for not notifying Congress about a prisoner swap and a package of jobs and energy bills are all on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's latest memo to House Republicans. But notably absent is word on whether the House will vote to authorize military actions in the Middle East or extend the Export-Import Bank. McCarthy also put together a list of 14 bills that will comprise a jobs package and another 13 bills intended to lower energy costs. In his memo, McCarthy also mentions a bill that would allow health insurers to continue to offer health care plans that were cancelled because they do not meet minimum health coverage criteria under Obamacare, and a bill that would authorize the treasury secretary to disclose information about investigations regarding leaked taxpayer information.

Ballard Spahr: In a precedential opinion rendered last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the disclosure of a consumer's account number through the transparent window of a debt collector's envelope violates Section 1692f(8) of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. In so holding, the Third Circuit initially concluded that information visible through the window of a debt collector's envelope is covered by Section 1692f(8), and the court then rejected the contention that the account number that could be seen through the window fell within any "benign language" exception to Section 1692f(8).

Bernews: The Bermuda Post Office has announced that Bermuda will host the 17th Annual Caribbean Postal Union [CPU] Conference which will take place at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute from the September 8th to 11th, 2014.

 PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is 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. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

Bookseller Association: Many saw Print On Demand (POD) as the ultimate ‘just in time' production solution to book publishing, which would wipe out all the inefficiencies of the ‘just in case' approach that plagues the book supply chain. So why didn't it happen, or did it happen for some and not for others? Is there a new dawn, or just a new set of people who have been sold a pup and not looked hard at the facts? The challenge is not the technology, it's with its adaption and adoption, subsequent return on investment for all and perceived added consumer value.

usps logo DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update. PostalOne! ® Release 38.0.0 Webinar – An additional webinar has been scheduled to review the new changes from PostalOne!® Release 38.0.0 related to Full-Service Intelligent Mail and Seamless Acceptance. This session will provide a review of the programs, the timeline of upcoming enhancements and Release 38 enhancements to program elements such as the Mailer Scorecard. When: Friday, September 5, 2014, from 3 to 5 pm EDT Meeting Number: 747 170 710 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=747170710

Reuters: U.S. companies hired fewer workers than expected in August, but an acceleration in services sector activity to a nine-year high offered assurance that the economy remained on track for a sturdy rate of growth in the third quarter.

Politico: Some $400 million has already been spent in the battle for the Senate. Yet the record-shattering early money has hardly budged the half-dozen races that will decide the fate of the upper chamber, and two months out from Election Day, top officials from both parties say the election truly could go either way.

Korea JoongAng Daily: Korea Post and post officials from nine other nations that are part of the Kahala Posts Group yesterday at a CEO board meeting in Xian, China, agreed to improve their delivery notification systems and to ship to more countries. The CEOs discussed better ways to deliver packages ordered online in China due to its burgeoning e-commerce market. Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce website and a parent company of Tabao, a Chinese online shopping company, saw explosive growth in recent years as the country's middle class has grown. The website accounts for about 80 percent of China's e-commerce market with about 50,000 items traded per minute.

Bernama: Pos Malaysia Bhd is expected to maintain its growth momentum this year on strong courier and transhipment businesses. "We are on track to sustain the growth we achieved in the financial year 2014 (FY14)," said group chief executive officer, Datuk Iskandar Mizal. Pos Malaysia posted a 4.2 per cent growth in net profit to RM157.7 million for FY14 ended March 31, 2014. Revenue jumped 12.4 per cent to RM1.43 billion. Iskandar said the courier and transhipment businesses would drive the postal service provider's growth for FY15.

Novinite: Stanislav Dochev, CEO of State-owned postal operator Bulgarian Posts, has vowed that there will be no staff cuts at the company. In a Thursday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, he said that the total headcount of the company amounted to slightly over 11 000 people. Dochev suggested that the efforts of the management of Bulgarian Posts had to focus on improving the efficiency of its financial management and its administrative staff. He said that the main ambition of the company's management was to improve its economic performance.

eContent: The results of a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Conversant were announced. The study, entitled "The Personalization Imperative," found that marketers have great belief in the power and benefits of personalized marketing but need additional help to overcome internal challenges as they work to deliver on their visions.

The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has joined an effort to block the U.S. Postal Service from closing dozens of processing centers, increasing the odds of a congressional debate over postal operations this month.

Postal Technology International: Customs procedures differ greatly around the world and trying to understand the many rules and regulations in place can often be confusing. Add to this the different types of parcels, packets and goods being transported and delivered, and the whole process of collecting taxes and duties becomes a complicated and time-consuming task. A more transparent approach to customs will help improve cross-border trade, with postal operators in the European Union (EU) already expecting new legislation demanding greater transparency in just a few years time.

Postal Technology International: A white paper released by international market research and consulting firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) on behalf of Wincor Nixdorf has revealed that postal operators will invest €20bn (US$27bn) globally in IT systems in 2015. According to the report, entitled Upheaval in the global postal market: Managing a substantial shift in business models, privatization, the internet, new market players and customer demands for greater convenience and innovative services are forcing posts to diversify into new fields and invest in IT, with a total of €3.1bn (US$4.1bn) expected to be spent on transforming branch operations next year. The white paper suggests that traditional posts will need to create new services in areas such as finance and retail to generate additional revenue streams, and invest in new technology channels such as mobile and self-service to interface with customers more conveniently and cost-effectively. Operators will also invest in transforming their branch operations to expand the scope of their overall activities and enhance the customer experience these outlets provide.

Postal Technology International: They used to exist as totally separate entities, but increasingly postal operators and e-retailers are partnering and reaping the benefits that such collaborations can bring. If you look at the current state of the market it seems to be an increasingly popular trend, so is this truly the way forward? Must postal operators partner with large e-retailers to survive and thrive in an otherwise declining market of traditional postal services? "There are great benefits to e-retailer/postal partnerships," says Brody Buhler, global postal industry lead at Accenture. "Posts get tighter integration with key partners and better insight into volumes and workload. This insight drives efficiencies and the ability to communicate with consumers to create a seamless experience. To truly grow market share, posts will have to continue to evolve their offerings to address the demands of e-retailers. This type of collaboration accelerates that evolution as they develop tailored solutions that can then be applied to other customers."

eCommerceBytes: Amazon told its third-party merchants, "We want sellers to think seriously about offering free shipping for all their products" - but is it feasible?

Economic Times: Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said India Post with the world's largest postal network is best suited to offer delivery services to e-commerce firms. Prasad, who today met Probationers of the 2013 batch of the Indian Postal Service here, said there is a need to expose young officers to the latest developments and emerging trends in the postal and logistics sectors.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • Issue: Manually entering permit number and type into Postal Wizard account search on the permit entry page, yields an error message stating that permit number in question is not found within finance number. Workaround: Use the search link to search for the permit. The error is not presented when the search link is used to select a permit. This issue is scheduled for R 38.1.1, September 7. 2014
  • Program Registration Release 11.0.0.3 will be deployed to Production on Sunday, September 7, 2014 during the scheduled maintenance window from 4:00 am to 8:00 am CDT. There will be an outage and the Online Enrollment and Incentives Program accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during that time. The Program Registration Release 11.0.0.3 implements the following enhancements. Incentives: · Fixes a defect due to which a released amount for a transaction is displayed in two programs Shipping: · Performance enhancements for View/Edit functionality for the MID Certification task on Internal module · Data updates to correct the data in the new MID User CRID field · Data updates to support data previously updated manually in PTR · Update MQ triggers so that only updated MIDs with all valid data are sent to downstream systems.

Foster's Daily Democrat: Should Republicans win control of the U.S. Senate in November, we expect Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to play a substantive roll in returning that group of elected officials to what it once was: the world's greatest deliberative body. Under Democratic control, the Senate has become as childish as the House. Collins tells us that Reid has even made life miserable for some from his own party. With the inability to offer amendments to Reid-favored bills, freshman senators from both parties find themselves unable to brag of legislative accomplishments to voters back home as Election Day in November nears. Collins, on the other hand, has worked hard to forge bipartisan cooperation. Time and time again, she has pulled together coalitions in an attempt to advance bipartisan legislation. It was one of these efforts that has been credited with helping to end last fall's government shutdown. Should Republicans be put in charge, Collins says that she will push for rule changes to protect the Democratic minority, that she will urge her party to take the high road and to not retaliate as Reid has done. This means a Senate that will seek solutions, not confrontation — and a return to greatness.

Hispanic Business: Rep. Jose E. Serrano, D-N.Y. (15th CD), issued the following news release: "The United States Postal Service has sold one of the Bronx's most important community and historic treasures in a completely irresponsible manner-- ignoring historic preservation law, without considering other options, and without properly consulting the community and listening to its concerns. The USPS has disregarded the voices of the Bronx community, elected officials, historic preservationists, and their own employees- all of whom opposed this process and this sale. Moreover, they have failed to formally announce the sale and provide details to the community. "The leadership of the Postal Service has clearly lost all perspective regarding their responsibility to the public that they are supposed to serve, and their efforts to sell the Bronx GPO are emblematic of their flawed attitude."

ZDNet: Australia Post has said it will continue to focus on providing e-commerce-driven logistics and delivery solutions to cope with the decrease in traditional letter deliveries. Australia Post said despite the company seeing a brief three month benefit from its AU$0.10 increase to the basic postage rate, the profits from its parcels businesses were overwhelmed by losses in its reserved mail business. The pressure has been so great for the government-owned business that during the financial year it was confirmed that up to 900 jobs will go over the next 12 months as part of the company's plans to restructure. The roles expected to be affected include managerial, administrative, and support from its Melbourne head office and a number of smaller offices in other states. The union representing postal workers said the losses from Australia Post's letter delivery business should not be used as a reason to sack more Australia Post employees.

Herald Sun: Australia Post says its existing letter delivery service is losing so much money that it could eventually overwhelm the entire group, so it needs to be overhauled. Until now, Australia Post's growing parcel delivery service has been able to cover the losses in the mail business, but that may have happened for the last time. To help stem mail's losses, chief executive Ahmed Fahour is advocating a "priority" letter delivery service to be introduced alongside "regular" deliveries. Under the priority service, customers would pay extra to ensure their letter is delivered within a set time, in a similar fashion to Britain's Royal Mail which offers a "first" and "second" class delivery service. The price of the priority stamp has not been determined yet. Under the regular service, mail would still be delivered five days a week, but letters may take longer to get to their destination.

Merced Sun-Star: The U.S. Postal Service will start Sunday home deliveries this week throughout Northern California, thanks to a special deal with Amazon. The online retailer, which has massive distribution centers in Patterson and Tracy, began testing Sunday deliveries in several big cities earlier this year. Apparently Amazon liked the result, because it's expanding the service to most of California. At least that's what Postal Service spokesman Augustine Ruiz revealed Wednesday. Amazon is staying mum on the deal.

Yale Daily News: Recent changes in the postal system at Yale will likely have mixed results for students. In an effort to improve the campus-wide system for picking up mail, Yale Station — the central post office for most students — has opened up delivery truck stations outside of Old Campus. Yale Station's new delivery trucks outside of Old Campus are being used to process the purchasing of stamps, rent out P.O. boxes and to hand out keys for those who purchased their P.O. boxes online. The United States Postal Service (USPS) station offered two delivery trucks during the move-in period when new freshmen were arriving on campus, but is now offering only one truck since the initial rush for P.O. box service is over. With the addition of the delivery truck, Dugas said that the station hopes to cut down on the time it takes for students to rent a P.O. box by providing extra personnel to help with the applications. According to Dugas, the P.O. box renting process this year is more organized than it was before, and the extra personnel at the station have made the process more efficient. But not all students have felt the effects of these changes. Many still described their experiences at Yale Station as lengthy and confusing. In past years, students have experienced delays in parcel-sorting at the station, which has led to long lines waiting for package pick-up. This is especially the case during the busy opening weeks of school as students receive a spiked number of packages with course materials.

IOL News: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has completed her investigation into alleged corruption at the SA Post Office (Sapo). Her office did not, however, say when the report would be released. At the same time, The Star has reliably learnt that Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele had summoned the Post Office board to a meeting scheduled for Thursday to account for the string of alleged irregularities and corruption, and the ongoing strike.

The Age: Australian Post has refused to reveal how much managing director Ahmed Fahour was paid last financial year, as it reported a 35 per cent slide profit from its crumbling letters delivery sector. Mr Fahour was last year paid $4.8 million, which is believed to be a record for an Australia public servant. In comparison, the chief of the US Postal Service earned $384,229 in 2012.

The Rakyat Post: Pos Malaysia Bhd expects to spend more than RM150 million in capital expenditure (capex) for its financial year ending March 31, 2015 (FY175), said group chief executive officer Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood. The FY15 capex will be partly used to launch parcel lockers later this year, he said. Parcel recipients will be able to use a quick response code on their smartphones to open the locker to retrieve their parcel, making it a 24-hour service. The lockers will be placed in selected shopping malls and post offices, said Iskandar Mizal. .

Business Recorder: Pakistan Post is providing an extensive range of postal services to cater 7personals 7business needs of various segments of society. An official of Pakistan Post told APP here on Thursday that these traditional services constitute the core business of the department.

Herald Sun: Australia Post chief Ahmed Fahour has vowed the postal authority "will not be the next Kodak" and says he can increase its burgeoning parcel business further still. But Mr Fahour has warned the parcel -division, which raked in $337.5 million in the past year, can no longer paper over the huge losses in the declining letter -business. The venerable institution revealed yesterday it had suffered a 34.5 per cent slump in its profit to $116.2 million for the year to June.

Office of the Inspector General: "Toledo, OH, Processing and Distribution Center Mail Consolidation" -- What the OIG Found A business case existed to support mail consolidation from the Toledo P&DC into the Columbus and Michigan Metroplex P&DCs. The overall cost savings was $9.3 million annually, which was about $100,000 more than the Postal Service estimated. Following the consolidations productivity increased at both receiving plants, delayed mail decreased at the Michigan Metroplex P&DC but increased at the Columbus P&DC, and service scores initially decreased at both plants but have begun to rebound. Also, no career employees were laid off. The consolidations did have a negative impact on carriers, with about 28 percent more carriers returning after 5 p.m. This resulted in customers receiving their mail later, as well as an increased risk to carriers' safety. While the Postal Service generally followed AMP guidelines, the AMP worksheets had errors because maintenance and transportation costs were underestimated.

Northumberland View: NDP Canada Post critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie) has called on the Conservative government to place a moratorium on building post office boxes that are set to replace home mail delivery across the country. Over the last several months, New Democrats have visited several communities to get a sense of where citizens stand on the cuts to Canada Post and the Conservative government's decision to end home mail delivery. The response has been clear: people are committed to maintaining their postal services and concerns quickly turn to anger when informed about the Conservatives' plan.

September 3, 2014 

Direct Marketing News: The U.S. Postal Service has installed 17 "Gopost" postal lockers at 17 locations—mostly Post Offices—in New York and Washington, D.C. The urban area program is currently in pilot phase and no further national roll out is currently planned.

The Jamestown Sun: U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp accused the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday of backtracking on its promise not to cut hours at 30 rural post offices in central and western North Dakota.

The Motley Fool: When Royal Mail went public at the end of last year, a key selling point of the company was the group's exposure to the UK parcel delivery market. As more and more consumers do their shopping online, Royal Mail boasted that it was set to benefit from the rising number of parcels being sent around the UK. However, nearly twelve months on from Royal Mail's IPO, the company is struggling as growth in the key parcel delivery business has failed to materialise. As Royal Mail struggles, UK Mail has reported a solid start to the current financial year. This growth was driven by, you guessed it, an increasing number of parcel deliveries.

Post & Parcel: Itella reveals plans to restructure domestic mail and parcels business Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 Finland's national postal operator Itella has revealed plans to restructure its domestic business to make the company more customer-focussed. The move follows existing measures announced earlier this year to help the business adapt to the rapidly declining letter volumes in Finland and a "difficult" logistics market. Itella is already preparing to change its branding back to the more traditional Posti name as part of its effort to build a more sustainable business model. Now, it has said it will structure operations in Finland with a single production division, Operations, handling the sorting and transport activities for mail, parcels and freight. On the customer-facing side of the business, two divisions will be created to handle the marketing and delivery of services — the Postal Services unit will handle letters, publications and direct mail, while the Parcel and Logistics Services unit will operate parcel, transport and warehouse logistics activities.

Office of the Inspector General: Paper With That Statement? The Social Security Administration (SSA) is going back to the mail, bucking the digital trend it embraced just 3 years ago. This month, SSA will again start mailing paper benefit statements to people at 5-year intervals.

The Hill: With just a handful of big economic reports left before Election Day, the economic picture is largely in place. And while the outlook is bright, voters continue to hold a dim view of their own financial prospects. Broadly speaking, the economy has made gains in the last several months. The unemployment rate has held steady or dropped every month for over a year, and new data show the economy grew this spring at its fastest rate in more than 12 months. But the good news isn't resonating with the public. Roughly half of voters believe the economy is still in a recession, even though the economic decline ended in June 2009. Some researchers argue the economic recovery has not been felt widely, with the majority of the gains going to people on the top of the income scale.

Politico: Tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand are threatening to deprive House Republicans of the sweeping 2014 gains that some top party officials have been predicting this year. POLITICO interviewed more than a dozen top strategists from both parties about their outlook for the House in the midterms, and their assessment was nearly unanimous: Republicans are on track to expand their majority by only five or six seats, or roughly half their goal. The conversations covered everything from advertising strategies to fundraising to polling. A small gain would again leave Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) largely beholden to the tea party wing of the party, with little room to maneuver on a governing agenda.

The Independent: Many of the "priority investors" in Royal Mail, brought in supposedly to remain long term, stable holders of the privatised service, quietly sold millions of their shares over the summer. The 16 investors caused controversy for the Business Secretary Vince Cable earlier this year, as many of them were precisely the kind of short-termist hedge funds the minister had pledged would not make a fast profit from the sale of the public-owned postal system. All priority shareholders were given big stakes in the company at the flotation price of 330p a share – a valuation that came under huge criticism as the share price rocketed from the first day they began trading. Since their peak at 618p, they have come down to about 440p amid concerns about competition eating away at its lucrative urban deliveries business and a regulatory inquiry in France.

NWLaborPress: Deputy Postmaster General (DPMG) Ron Stroman drew the ire of dozens of postal workers and community allies when he visited Vancouver, Wash., Aug. 21. Carrying signs and chanting, the protesters massed at the entrance to the 2014 Mailers Conference at the Vancouver Convention Center Hilton. "No closures, no cuts, no contracting-out" blared from a bullhorn heard inside by conference-goers, gathered to hear Stroman speak. A flier with "Nine Questions" for the DPMG was distributed to attendees. Stroman is the second-highest ranking postal executive. He serves on the Postal Service Board of Governors. According to promotional materials, he "also has the lead role in working with Congress to …adjust delivery frequency and gain greater flexibility in aligning the Postal Service processing, distribution and retail networks…" In plain language, the Deputy PMG is pushing to eliminate Saturday and at-the-door delivery, as well as continue the massive cuts and closures to mail processing plants and post offices across the nation. In addition, Stroman is a leader in the outsourcing of postal work to private corporations such as Staples, Pitney Bowes, Amazon, and Dill's Star Route trucking. Of immediate concern to the protesters is the projected closure of 82 mail processing facilities — including those in Bend, Pendleton, and Eugene, Oregon, and Tacoma and Wenatchee, Wash., beginning in January. "Fifteen thousand family wage, union jobs will be lost and delivery standards will be relaxed to delay mail two to three days," protesters said.

September 2, 2014 

Target Marketing Magazine: Marketers put hours, weeks and years into direct mail programs. Elaborate arrangements with the U.S. Postal Service are the norm. Questions arise based on an Aug. 28 article in FedScoop titled, "USPS Loses Database and Backup in Hardware Failure." How worried should marketers be about USPS losing necessary data? What contingency plans do marketers have in case this happens?

CBROnline: Royal Mail has launched a new parcels shipping and tracking platform, which it claims will help e-retailers to improve integration between their IT systems and Royal Mail's software. E-retailers and other parcel customers using the postal service's latest application programming interface (API) are set to have access to all of its parcel services both for UK and international destinations. They'll also be able to track the process of their orders, check the track status of an item and retrieve the tracking history of their shipment.

The Straits Times: Both local and international postage rates are set to rise from October, SingPost said on Tuesday. Local rates will increase between four cents and 20 cents while international rates will move up between five cents and 25 cents depending on the weight. The revised rates come amid a challenging postal business environment, said group chief executive Dr Wolfgang Baier, where domestic mail volumes are on a decline for the second consecutive year and costs are escalating. SingPost's postage rates have not seen any adjustments since eight years ago.

Post & Parcel: Royal Mail launches its new trial Sunday delivery service this weekend, for addresses in and around London. The move aims to make it easier for online shoppers to receive their parcels if they're working during the week. The privatised postal service will also be piloting new Sunday opening hours for 100 of its delivery offices across the UK, allowing customers to pick up undelivered parcels seven days per week. Last month, Royal Mail revealed plans to make its click and collect service, Local Collect, available through Post Offices for its 20,000 SME contract customers. This will see customers shopping from small and medium-sized e-retailers able to collect items from and of the 10,500 Post Office branches taking part.

Philadelphia CBSLocal: When the US Senate returns for its fall session, a Delaware senator plans to press legislation to reform the Postal Service. The Postal Reform Act of 2014 co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper and Republican colleague, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, already has been passed out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. But, Carper says the Senate's leadership has failed to schedule it for a debate and a floor vote. Carper says if nothing is done before year's end, postal management already has told Congress it will be forced to close another 80 to 85 mail processing centers across the country.

Outlook India: World's largest postal service, India Post has tied up with online marketplace major Snapdeal to sell stamps to reach out to larger audiences. Under the partnership, targeted especially at philately enthusiasts, Snapdeal will sell stamps and collections priced between Rs 300-5,500. "While stamp collection has been a popular hobby, we found consumers who said they found it difficult to buy stamps. India Post has an amazing collection of stamps that we feel we our consumers will be delighted to have," Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal told PTI. Also, with Snapdeal's extensive reach, India Post will be able to reach a large number of customers, he added.

Portugal News: Packages made up a record 4.6% of total postal traffic in the second quarter of this year even while overall deliveries fell, the sector's regulator ANACOM has announced. Parcels and packages not only hit a peak with their 4.6% of total traffic but were also the only portion of postal traffic to register growth, up 5.6% on the first quarter and 7.2% year-on-year. Total traffic in the second quarter slipped by 7.3% on the first and was 3.8% lower than the same period of last year with the three-month average of 20.6 objects per person "the lowest level ever registered" explained the ANACOM statement. In overall, terms 80% of postal traffic is made up of correspondence, 7.8% personally addressed publicity with a further 7.5% involving the delivery of magazines and other publications. The revenues generated by the postal sector in this quarter amounted to €171.4 million, down 1.2% on the first quarter and down 2.4% year-on-year with the recently privatised CTT holding a 94.5% market share. Of the post handled, 96.2% was addressed to national destinations with the remainder heading off internationally.

Dead Tree Edition: After years of massive downsizing, the U.S. Postal Service's workforce has stopped shrinking, at least temporarily. USPS recently reported having 616,025 active employees, just 362 fewer than a year ago. The number of full-timers actually inched up by 1,464, to 467,844. That's a far cry from the previous six years, when the annual workforce reductions ranged from 13,000 to nearly 53,000. Automation, facility closures, declining mail volumes, and a series of early-retirement offers reduced the number of postal workers by 183,000 from 2005 to 2013.

September 1, 2014 

Evening Echo: The EU says it cannot intervene to stop Ireland from closing rural post offices. Authorities in Brussels say it is entirely up to individual countries to decide how to run their postal systems, as long as they run for five days a week.

Tribune242: A Bahamian freight forwarding start-up is aiming to differentiate itself from a crowded market by offering value-added services and prices it says are almost one-third below the industry average. #Jurelle Nairn, managing director of MrShipIt.com, which opens its doors today on Palmdale's Rosetta Street, said the inspiration for the business came from her five-year personal experience in trying to ship goods from the US to the Bahamas. Consolidated shipping, allowing goods to be shipped together at a lower rate, will also be offered. And MrShipIt.com clients will also be given a free US postal address, with charges only levied when goods are bought or shipped.

Philadelphia Inquirer: The T-shirted battalions of union members showed up, as usual, for the annual Labor Day parade along the Delaware River waterfront. The chartreuse shirts belonged to the American Postal Workers Union, U.S. Postal Service employees who work inside post offices. Their beef is a move by the post office to offer some postal services, such as certified mail and stamp purchases, at Staples.

Jerusalem Post: Workers from the Israel Postal Service will expand a strike covering the country's periphery to include Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning from 8:00-11:00, as negotiations between management and workers collapsed. The latest issue is anger at the Finance Ministry for refusing to absorb 1,500 workers who have worked for five years or more on a temporary basis. The union accuses the ministry of trying to oust permanent workers and hire the temporary ones for lower wages.

Radio Prague: The state-owned postal firm Czech Post is seeking 1.7 billion crowns in state compensation for losses incurred through unprofitable services it is required to provide by law, the daily Hospodářské noviny reports. Part of the compensation should be covered with contributions from Czech Post's competitors according to existing law. But they complain the sum is exaggerated, and say the payments would put their businesses at risk.

Daily Republic: Like most modern folk, I sometimes communicate via text, email and other digital methods. However, lately I have been reminded about how important the good ol' fashioned United States Postal Service is.

Smart Company: The Post Office Agents Association, which represents LPO franchisees, noted in its inquiry submission the steady decline in traditional revenue from the sale of stamps and post office boxes, and the steady increase in packages ordered online. The growth in e-commerce and online auction purchasing in outer urban and regional areas has been strong, in part because of the lack of traditional retail and department store options in these areas. Importantly, the remuneration paid to LPOs for delivering and managing these packages is scant, often not reflecting the significant costs involved in attempting delivery and then storing goods for later collection when addressees are not home. Franchisees also feel the deal for non-postal retail goods sourced from Post is low – especially compared with what would be available from other wholesalers. The move to internet banking, and away from paying bills in LPOs, is also squeezing incomes. While Post has promised, in the shadow of the inquiry, to increase remuneration to LPOs, this is seen by many as too little, too late.

PrintWeek: On the face of it, last month's annual Ofcom Communications Market Report would have made pretty grim reading for the print industry: volumes are down, direct mail spend is down and the CWU is issuing dire predictions about the future of the universal service. However, on closer inspection things may not be as bad as they first appear. Part of the problem is that there is a tendency to oversimplify the decline of DM as being purely the result of the rise of cheaper electronic communications and by extension to view the massive decline in addressed DM volumes (down almost a third since 2008) as a death knell for the sector.

Linn's: The news appearing on Indian websites over the Labor Day weekend surely must have excited many of Bollywood's fans, although the rumor turned out to be false. According to the website, the United States Postal Service was to issue a stamp honoring the late Indian film star Akkineni Nageswarara Rao by issuing a postage stamp on the his birthday. Unfortunately for the son and Indian movie fans, A Postal Service spokesman told Linn's that USPS has no plans for any such stamp. Worse still, the USPS is having difficulty trying to contact the American foundation that apparently triggered the news with a press release.

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