November 23, 2014
The Scotsman: the newly privatised Royal Mail definitely has its work cut out. This is clear in its latest financial results. The company reported a rise in parcel volumes but the division’s revenues actually fell as competition bit. That competition now includes Amazon who, having created the modern demand for parcel deliveries, have decided they can boost profit margins by doing the delivery themselves. If its business model is in danger of imploding, what will happen to Royal Mail? More to the point, what will happen to the Universal Service Obligation (USO) under which a privatised Royal Mail is legally obliged to deliver post and packages anywhere in the UK for the same price? The immediate solution to combining the postal USO with economic efficiency is simple. Let competition take its course, cutting the cost of delivery for the bulk of the urban population. The government or local authorities could then subsidise legitimate “social” mail services in rural and island areas, as is the case with bus travel. The cost would come out of a levy on all operators. An efficient postal service, as James Ramsey McCulloch told us a nearly two centuries ago, is a basic requirement for economic prosperity.
November 22, 2014
Business Report: South African Post Office employees who are still on strike have until Monday to return to work or face dismissal. "We urge all the remaining employees to return to work immediately so we can start rebuilding the Post Office. "Failure to heed this call will result in the implementation of dismissal procedures with effect from November 24," cautioned Dr Simo Lushaba, leader of the Post Office administration team. Spokesman Lungile Lose said failure to strike a deal with Communication Workers Union (CWU) would not impact the recovery plan as most of the members of the other unions were already back at work.
YLE: The Finnish postal and logistics company Itella has teamed up with e-commerce provider Taxfree Vat Refund to offer online tax free shopping to travelers. The website will go live at the end of the year, and has been designed especially with Russian visitors in mind. The background to the new service is the decline in the number of Russian tourists visiting Finland, partly due to the weakening ruble. Itella is hoping that the new service will help attract interest from Russia's growing e-commerce market.From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Changes or Corrections to Mail Classification Schedule , 69781–69786 [2014–27589] [TEXT] NOTICES New Postal Products , 69888–69889 [2014–27677] [TEXT]
November 21, 2014
Politico: Jason Chaffetz is now the House GOP's chief inquisitor. And compared with his predecessor — the colorful and controversial Darrell Issa — he is promising not to let things get too personal as the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Not with the House GOP leadership, other GOP committee chairmen or even his Democratic colleagues — he and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland, are friendly. Chaffetz said in an interview on Wednesday that he would focus on how to fix the Secret Service, embassy security and mundane tasks like U.S. Postal Service reform.
Financial Times: Investors should have taken a closer look at Royal Mail's prospectus when it dropped through the post box just over a year ago. There, on page 13, in paragraph D. 1, bullet point 12, lies the warning that hit the postal operator's shares on Wednesday. Royal Mail, it says, "faces risks from . . . existing customers of the Group's parcel delivery businesses, establishing their own delivery capability". Moya Greene, chief executive, has done a great job whipping Britain's venerable postal group into the shape that allowed it to be privatised last year. The trouble now is the parcels growth story that fuelled huge demand for shares – and led to accusations that it had been sold on the cheap – looks about as reliable as the British weather. Sure, the postal group may be more efficient than it was. It has had to be with the letters business in structural decline. And Royal Mail still has an advantage, given its dominant share of Britain's parcels market. But not even Ms Greene can deny that its 38 per cent market share by revenue looks unsustainable unless it moves pretty quickly to win customers who somehow had previously escaped its notice.
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 theFederal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES International Mail Contract , 69539–69540 [2014–27562] [TEXT]
Gallup: While the U.S. Postal Service has recently withstood a barrage of negative attention, from getting hacked to announcing continued multibillion-dollar deficits, it enjoys the most positive image of 13 high-profile government agencies Gallup recently tested. Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to review the Postal Service favorably. All age groups give solid approval ratings to the Postal Service -- however, their ratings decline from 81% among the youngest age group to 65% among the oldest.
Attention Business Customer Gateway Users: Program Registration Release 126.96.36.199 — will be deployed to Production from 12:00 am (Midnight) to 9:00 am CST on Sunday, November 30, 2014. There will be an outage and Online Enrollment Shipping Services and Incentive Program accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during that time.
Daily Mail: Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost) is targeting to double motor vehicle sales to 1,250 valued at US$5 million per month in the next three months. Meanwhile, Zampost says the service demand has significantly grown by 500 percent as evidenced by vehicles sold per day. Under the Zampost Car buying service, customers are able to buy motor vehicles from Be Foward, Trust Company and Real Motor of Japan through any post office in Zambia. The new agreement will allow customers to buy vehicles for the United Kingdom as well.
Tshwane: The South African Post Office (Sapo) says it has reached an agreement with two of the three labour unions whose members embarked on a protracted strike over wages. "The SA Postal and Allied Workers Union (Sapawu) and the Democratic Postal and Communications Union (Depacu), which collectively represent 50% of the employees in the bargaining unit, have agreed to an increase of 6.5% for the bargaining unit, effective 1 December 2014," said Dr Simo Lushaba, leader of the Intervention Team on Friday. The agreement will be effective immediate, subject to a positive cash flow.
Post: India Post has been asked to develop a framework to facilitate local artisans sell their products online, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Friday. India Post, which has world's largest postal network of 1.55 lakh post offices, has seen multifold rise in business since the time it entered in partnership with e-commerce companies.
DSCF Standard Mail Load Leveling Updates Webinar Tuesday, November 25 at 2 p.m. (EDT)
Load leveling is the result of the USPS' goal to improve delivery efficiency and reduce traditionally heavy Monday workloads, by spreading the delivery of DSCF Standard Mail volumes across the week by making changes to the processing and dispatch of Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Standard Mail. The implementation of the Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Standard Mail load leveling service standard has allowed the load leveling of mail volumes and ensures a more balanced distribution of DSCF Standard Mail across delivery days. Please join Linda Malone, Manager Processing Operations and Steve Dearing Manager Mailing Information Systems for a webinar on the updates related to the load leveling process. We will: • Share the movement of standard mail with the introduction of load leveling • Discuss the metrics used to determine load leveling impact • Discuss the calculations for last mile impacts • Share the high level results of load leveling Registration required. Please see attendee information below. Attendee Information US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (855) 821-1290 Conference ID: 38876592 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e3bd1e5fa8ddce6c964454c50666878ea Attendee Password: 112514
November 20, 2014
Fierce Government: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Tuesday was named the new House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, set to take over from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in the new year. What he does on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee may be of particular importance to some federal workers. For instance, Issa has been ay vocal supporter of passing Postal Service reform that he says would allow the agency to become more financially stable. However, it's unclear whether Chaffetz will pursue that issue with the same determination. However, Chaffetz will work side-by-side with his Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee's ranking member who has also sought Postal Service reform. Chaffetz and Cummings appear to have a more accommodating relationship. Over the summer, the two visited each others' congressional districts, including a joint appearance at a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore.
Office of the Inspector General:
Wall Street Journal: Amazon.com Inc. ‘s robot army is finally falling into place. The Seattle online retailer has outfitted several U.S. warehouses with squat, orange, wheeled robots that move stocked shelves to workers, instead of having employees seek items amid long aisles of merchandise, according to people familiar with the matter. Now, "pickers" at the facility stand in one place and wait for robots to bring four-foot-by-six-foot shelving units to them, sparing them what amounted to as much as 20 miles a day of walking through the warehouse. Employees at some robot-equipped warehouses are expected to pick and scan at least 300 items an hour, compared with 100 under the old system, current and former workers said. At the heart of the robot rollout is Amazon's relentless drive to compete with the immediacy of shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers by improving the efficiency of its logistics. If Amazon can shrink the time it takes to sort and pack goods at its roughly 80 U.S. warehouses, it can guarantee same-day or overnight delivery for more products to more customers.
Handling and Storage Solutions: "Royal Mail and UK Mail point the way to increased automation."
Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service almost never denies requests to track suspects' mail on behalf of law-enforcement agencies through a controversial surveillance program known for having compliance problems, according to a federal auditor. USPS Deputy Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb said in testimony for a House hearing Wednesday that the Postal Service rejected only about 0.2 percent of the 6,000 outside requests last year for a practice known as mail covers.
Business Report: Frankly the Post Office should be privatised and sold to be operated by PostNet. Mail users are left with no choice as the postal service has hardly been functional for the past three months. This is a case of a state-owned company that has no immediate choices and no resolution for customers, staff and those most in need of the services that it is meant to provide. High-level resolution of the conflict between making profit and providing a service needs commercial as well as state intervention. This is a great opportunity to unlock the current stalemate and return the postal services to a full service organisation and profitability. Declining mail numbers are a factor facing many state-owned postal service providers around the world. These commercial pressures are accelerated by labour disputes. Every time a strike occurs, mail volumes drop severely and never recover to their pre-strike action levels leaving lower usage rates and falling revenues. Many in the sector are calling for a removal of the protection afforded to it by the Postal Services Act.
Silicon India: Eyeing $9 billion business opportunity in booming e-commerce business, India Post, which has the biggest network and serves the last mile, is boosting its infrastructure for real-time tracking of parcels through satellites using a new technology. The Postal Department will also soon start an SMS facility to inform customers about delivery status of their parcels. India Post, which is already in tie-ups with e-commerce majors Amazon and Snapdeal, will also have security gadgets like CCTV and access control systems to ensure safety of articles. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a meeting with officials in the Department of Posts has directed them to focus on opportunities in e-commerce and tune infrastructure to facilitate growth of the sector which has huge potential to bring investments and generate new jobs. "The Minister has asked India Post to leverage is reach to provide special facilities to local weavers, craftsmen/women, painters and artists so that they also benefit from e-commerce," a ministry official told PTI. The Minister wanted their products to be picked up from their doorsteps and delivered to end-customers, the official added. The official said that "postal department has started working on development of road transport network for parcel movement on majority routes with GPS facility. It is augmenting facility of secure area for parcels with access control and CCTV around it". As per industry estimates shared by India Posts, e-commerce business in India was about $6 billion in value in 2012 and is expected to reach $76 billion by 2021. The distribution, delivery or logistics constitutes approximately 12 percent of the total e-commerce market accounting for about $9 billion by 2021.
Dead Tree Edition: With more than $300 million spent annually on direct-mail postage, Discover Financial Services is one of the U.S. Postal Service's largest customers. And though Discover still spends most of its direct-marketing budget on mail, it is increasingly shifting those dollars to a variety of digital media. A Discover executive recently provided a peak inside the company's marketing strategy, demonstrating how digital media have become more competitive with direct mail and yet how good old snail mail endures as a marketing channel despite its high cost.
The Edge Markets: Pos Malaysia Bhd will raise postal rates following the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in April 2015 if its products do not come under the government's "zero-rated" services list. When the GST comes in and if we (postal services) are still considered as a standard-rated service, then prices will be increased accordingly, to go up 6%.
Press Release: Arandell Corporation is now owned and operated by its management team. With the new ownership structure, Arandell will be even more nimble, flexible and responsive in meeting the needs of customers and employees. It will continue to seek opportunities to expand its range of services to meet those needs, including through strategic investments.
Nextgov: U.S. Postal Service officials are revealing more about the cyber intrusion at the agency that exposed the personal data of about 800,000 USPS employees. Testifying before Congress Wednesday, Randy Miskanic, incident commander on the case and the USPS secure digital solutions vice president, laid out a nearly day-by-day timeline of the incident -- from the time the Department of Homeland Security first notified the agency of suspicious network activity to when postal officials first notified employees of the breach nearly two months later.
The Imperial Republican: At a time when businesses are doing all they can to improve customer service to keep their customers happy and help the business grow, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is doing just the opposite. For all intents and purposes, the USPS has given up its franchise. Rather than trying to improve their service, they are revising their delivery standards downward to vindicate themselves for the substandard service they have become so well known for. That's bad for rural and small-town America! Despite the ever-growing use of e-mail, many individuals and businesses still count on prompt mail service as a way of transacting business. Soon, the promise of next-day mail delivery for first-class letters could be a fading memory.
Attention Postal One! Users:
November 19, 2014
Congressional Budget Office: Changing some postal home delivery customers to cluster box delivery would save money but potentially at the cost of losing some of those customers and reducing mail volume, a Congressional Budget Office analysis has said. CBO was examining a bill (HR-467) cleared by the House Oversight and Government Reform that would require USPS to convert at least 1.5 million addresses that currently have door delivery to curbside or centralized mail receptacles each year over 10 years. The bill is considered one of the potential provisions of a wide-ranging postal reform—or a potential stand-alone measure to help the cash-strapped agency failing enactment of a wide bill. USPS currently delivers to about 38 million addresses. CBO estimated, based on costs of such specific deliveries, that making the change would save the postal agency $9 billion over 10 years—money that is off the federal budget since postal finances are kept separate. "The Postal Service anticipates that a more-aggressive schedule of conversions would result in significant customer discontent and lower mail volumes. The agency also is concerned about the capacity of vendors to manufacture enough centralized mail receptacles to meet much higher demand," CBO said.
House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, US Postal Service and Census: Examining Data Security at the United States Postal Service November 19, 2014 | 10:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building. Mr. Randy Miskanic Vice President of Secure Digital Solutions United States Postal Service; Mr. Guy Cottrell Chief Postal Inspector United States Postal Service Inspection Service; Ms. Tammy Whitcomb Deputy Inspector General United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General; Mr. Tim Edgar Visiting Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies Brown University; Captain Charles Hamby Narcotic Enforcement Division Prince George's County Police Department. A summary of this proceeding has been posted on this site.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. are gearing up for a new test of their ability to handle the surge in holiday e-commerce: The frenzy of online shopping that now comes at the beginning of Thanksgiving weekend, instead of afterward. They learned that lesson the hard way last year. In 2013, the delivery companies were caught off guard when their shipments jumped 23% the week after Thanksgiving, according to shipment-tracking software developer Shipmatrix Inc. Not only was that a big increase, it came earlier than expected.
Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service is "functioning normally" after a recent cyber breach that compromised customer and employee data, and the agency has yet to find evidence that hackers used the information for identity theft, according to the agency's head of digital security. Randy Miskanic, USPS vice president for cybersecurity, called the attack "very sophisticated" but "limited in scope" in prepared testimony for the House subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census.
National Association of Letter Carriers: NALC has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board protesting the Postal Service's failure to provide NALC advance notice of, and an opportunity to bargain over, the Postal Service's response to this breach. Pending resolution of this dispute, individual letter carriers may elect to enroll in the credit monitoring service offered by the Postal Service, with the knowledge that NALC may seek different or additional remedies.
From theFederal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 68918 [2014–27288][TEXT] 68918–68919 [2014–27291][TEXT]
BBC: Royal Mail has warned that rival firms are endangering its government-mandated Universal Service commitment, which guarantees an affordable postal service that delivers to all UK addresses. Royal Mail has long called for the regulator, Ofcom, to consider expanding the Universal Service mandate - which ensures mail is delivered nationwide, six days a week, at one fixed price - so that it includes rivals such as Whistl. That may include forcing competitors to also deliver letters to rural areas at an affordable price - a service for which companies can make little or no profit. "We believe the current regulatory framework does not fully address the problem posed by unfettered direct delivery competition," Royal Mail said in its financial statement.
Market Business News: Royal Mail plc has posted a 21% decline in half-year profits, and cites Amazon's attempts to deliver more of its own parcels as the main reason for weak growth. Royal Mail said it was halving its UK parcels growth guidance to between one and two percent following the online retail giant's new delivery focus. The British postal service, which was established in 1516 and privatized in 2013, said its pre-tax profit for the six months to September 28 fell to £218 million because of fierce competition, pension charges, and a number of other costs. During the same period last year the company made a pre-tax profit of £233 million. See also Bloomberg Businessweek.
Nextgov: A week after the U.S. Postal Service publicly revealed an online breach of Postal Service personnel files affecting as many as 800,000 workers, one of the agency's top cybersecurity officials is retiring. Charles McGann, the head of the agency's Corporate Information Security Office, is retiring after 27 years with the agency, a USPS spokesman confirmed to Nextgov. McGann spent the last four years at the agency as the head of the information security office, where he was "responsible for overseeing the information security of one of the largest technology networks maintained by any organization in the world," Dave Partenheimer, the spokesman, said in an email. "He also was a key player in the Postal Service's successful response to the recent cyber intrusion."
November 18, 2014
The Telegraph: Royal Mail is expected to report a fall in half-year profits tomorrow as its delivery operations face increasing competition. The FTSE 100-listed group is expected on Wednesday morning to show operating profits before transformation costs 29pc lower at about £252m for the first half ended September 30, down from £353m at the same stage last year, according to forecasts. The 500-year-old postal service is facing increased competition from rivals DPD and TNT and the rise of retailers setting up click-and-collect services for customers. Royal Mail is losing business to online retailer Amazon - which is also its biggest client – as the firm has established its own delivery services. Online auction website eBay has also launched its own click-and-collect service in September in association with catalogue retailer Argos.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
ThinkProgress: If Congress does not pass legislation that would save the Postal Service from financial collapse before the end of its current session, the future of the country's mail service will be in the hands of a senator who opposes government unions and thinks the Postal Service should be privatized. If some kind of legislation were to pass in the next month, it would not be the first time that a lame duck Congress passed postal reform legislation. Congress passed a bill right before the end of the 2006 session which substantially overhauled the USPS. . . . But [the NALC's] Sauber isn't as optimistic. While he doesn't think Congress will be able to move anything through before December, he said its financial situation isn't as imminent as it was during the recession when it was on "right on the knife's edge" and "ready to tip over." "We're pretty pessimistic about the ability of Congress to do this during the lame duck given the result of the election," he said. "It's hard to imagine the Congress, which doesn't seem to pass anything anymore, take on a big issue like this before the end of the year."
The Daily Caller: Recent news that federal authorities approved 49,000 instances of mail surveillance in 2013 is disturbing. Not only was this a huge jump from the usual average number of 8,000 annual approvals, but according to the Postal Service's Inspector General, more than one-fifth of the surveillance requests from law enforcement agencies were inappropriately approved. This massive expansion of the "mail covers" program, which began as a limited surveillance technique, will be the topic of a hearing Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Initially, mail covers involved postal inspectors hand-copying or photographing information from the outside of mail envelopes and packages tracks as going to or coming from a criminal suspect. As administered today, the USPS sucks the data off every piece of mail it handles, no matter who sends or receives it.
Nextgov: Following a raft of agency and retailer hacks, the federal government is weeks away from debuting a new way to securely conduct transactions online, without registering one's personal information. In an unfortunate turn of events, the U.S. Postal Service – which operates the tool – recently discovered an attack on its own networks. But the new login system is unaffected, because USPS had outsourced development to cloud provider SecureKey Technologies Inc., according to Commerce Department officials. The service, called Connect.gov, is part of a broader Commerce effort to enhance the security of personal information online. The hope is that Connect.gov will stimulate a market for so-called identity providers. This is how the tool works: An Internet user wanting to, for example, view a personal health record on a Department of Veterans Affairs site, apply for a government job or access other firewalled government sites registers personal information with a trusted third-party, such as Experian or Facebook. The trusted site then creates a sort of universal credential – such as a password or smartcard. That one credential alone tells the VA, government job site USAJobs.gov and any other dot-gov service that the user is who he or she claims. No need to give, for instance, HealthCare.gov your personal information to create an account. Just enter the already-created credential to shop for medical insurance. Once an identity-provider market exists, that same Experian ID could be used to transfer funds from Citibank or shop at Ikea.com, among other online transactions. The General Services Administration is negotiating contracts between agencies and ID companies participating in Connect.gov.
Politico: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz will be the House's top Obama administration watchdog for the last two years of his presidency, picking up the gavel that was held by California Rep. Darrell Issa. The secretive panel that selects House committee chairs tapped Chaffetz to lead the oversight panel Tuesday. The choice must be ratified by the whole House Republican Conference - a largely symbolic step which will come Wednesday.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: Examining Data Security at the United States Postal Service, November 19, 2014, 10:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Office of the Inspector General: Guiding Principles for a New Universal Service Obligation November 17, 2014 (RARC-WP-15-001) The Postal Service's universal service obligation (USO) requires the agency to provide a certain level of mail service to everyone in the country, but the current USO lacks a clear, comprehensive definition. Instead, the USO is assumed to be a hodgepodge of various legal requirements and regulations that, in most cases, provide only broad guidance. A new white paper from the Office of Inspector General proposes that the USO needs both clarity and updating, and accordingly provides six important guidelines for doing so.
DutchNews: Herna Verhagen, chief executive of postal company PostNL, has been voted the most powerful woman in the Netherlands by feminist magazine Opzij. The jury said the improvement in PostNL's financial situation is entirely due to Verhagen's efforts. ‘She is not just an outstanding leader but a builder and a binder,' the jury said. The top 100 list includes women from industry, politics and culture and includes fashion company boss Olcay Gulsen, education minister Jet Bussemaker and television presenter Linda de Mol. Former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes was awarded a lifetime achievement prize for her drive to get women into top jobs. ‘She is a role model for women and has been at the top as junior minister, minister, board chairwoman, business woman and European commissioner for nearly 50 years,' the jury said.From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Periodic Reporting , 68648 [2014–27210][TEXT]
Dallas Business Journal: Mail and parcel sorting technology company NPI announced Monday a $54.5 million contract with Brazil Post, tapping into South America's booming e-commerce sector. Based in Dallas, NPI develops machines that organize different types of mail. Its signature product, the Xstream, is used to sort flat parcels at a rate of 30,000 parcels an hour. Brazil Post will receive six automatic cross-belt parcel sorting systems over the next two years as NPI installs them at centers in São Paulo, Cajamar, São Jose, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. NPI is also providing project management, national and international transportation, documentation, warranty and technical support during the project.
NBCBayArea: Most people know to call 911 right away in an emergency. But for employees of the United States Postal Service, the rules are different. An NBC Bay Area investigation has exposed a USPS policy that some say may have contributed to critical time delays in life and death situations.
November 17, 2014
Office of the Inspector General: The OIG has published a paper on "Guiding Principles for a New Universal Service Obligation." It can be found at: https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2014/rarc-wp-15-001.pdf
Business2Community: Marketing today is largely driven by content, in the form of social media content, rich media and blog posts, and mobile has led to a huge spike in content consumption by most consumers. Today, according to an AOL-Nielsen study, over 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day. Mobile enables brands to push out content that is contextualized and crafted to meet a user's immediate needs. The possibilities are endless when it comes to mobile, and the personalized nature of the medium makes it easier for marketers to target the right message to the right person at the right time. However, it remains to be seen that marketers still have a long way to go before cracking the mobile code for their marketing strategies. Mobile is here to stay though, and it will not be long before mobile will be as vital a part of campaign budgets for all brands, as other media.
Express and Star: The Royal Mail delivered first and second class letters ahead of its target in the first half of the current financial year, according to new figures.
Time: Just a few years before, first-class mail was near 100 billion pieces, close to its peak in 2000 (last year, the post office sent 65 billion pieces). The decline in mail and the pre-retiree mandate led to yearly deficits that in 2012 ballooned to almost $16 billion. "When you've lost 30% of your volume, you've got to get your head out of the sand," Donahoe says. "That's probably been the hardest part, where you see people that just deny that obvious." Donahoe says as postmaster general, he often thought of the steel industry's collapse around Pittsburgh in the 1970s, and he found the parallels to today's postal service glaring. People back then, he says, "didn't realize you had to move quickly and change to stay ahead of problems." Donahoe's reforms have helped shrink the postal service's deficit. A bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a Republican, and Tom Carper of Delaware, a Democrat, that would rein in the pre-retiree health benefit payments and give the postal service additional ways to expand its services while cutting costs has stalled. "I think Congress has been irresponsible," Donahoe says, adding that he believes the Carper-Coburn bill is a reasonable way of fixing the postal service's problems.
KTUU: In Alaska, 161 of 200 post offices are potentially facing reduced hours of operation after Jan. 1, 2015. According to the U.S. Postal Service, some of those post offices would be limited to two hours of operation a day. The USPS said it began a plan to close the offices after it noticed a significant drop in the amount of packages delivered nationally, but later opted to reduce their hours instead. The number of parcels handled by post offices has fallen in recent years, with a 2006 total of about 213 billion decreasing to roughly 164 billion last year. USPS spokesman Ernie Swanson said the service chose to reduce the hours of operation at some of Alaska's remote post offices, rather than closing them,
Wall Street Journal: Hundreds of U.S. financial companies are ramping up spending to combat hackers following attacks this summer on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and at least a dozen other firms. Financial-services companies plan to bolster their cybersecurity budgets by about $2 billion over the next two years, according to accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Kansas City Star: The Postal Service, caught in a vortex of plummeting mail volume and brutal expenses, will close 82 more processing centers around the country, bringing the total to about one-third the number there were a decade ago. The Postal Service says it has no choice. "The Postal Service has recorded substantial losses over the last three years and continues to see steep declines in first-class mail volume and revenue," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a video message to employees. "As a result, we find ourselves with excess capacity in the network and few alternatives to reduce costs."
New York Times: The State Department on Sunday became the fourth government agency to announce a breach of its computer systems in recent weeks, after an infiltration forced the agency to temporarily shut down its unclassified email system and public websites. The breach, which the agency said did not affect any of its classified systems, follows a similar one involving the unclassified computer systems of the White House last month, which also resulted in a temporary shutdown of its communications systems. There have been similar breaches at the United States Postal Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
November 16, 2014
di-ve.com: MaltaPost's SendOn service allows clients to shop from online stores within the European Union which do not ship directly to Malta. This Christmas, it is now adding considerable updates to make the SendOn service more convenient for its clients. MaltaPost SendOn clients can now benefit from a reduced delivery rate of €6 for items weighing up to 500g. Therefore light items such as accessories and clothes can be brought from those EU online stores which do not ship directly to Malta with a minimal charge of €6 instead of €12. This is the lowest rate in the market as besides offering the delivery of such items from the EU MaltaPost also delivers the item to the clients' address. If the customer prefers, MaltaPost may also prepare the item for pick-up from one of its 35 retail outlets.
The Inquisitr: Postal workers were caught sleeping during a recent raid by investigators. According to the New York Daily News, 10 workers at the facility were fired on Friday. The employees were supposed to be repairing mail trucks, but instead were caught snoozing during their overnight shifts. "Special agents raided the 24-hour facility early Friday, took photos of sleepers and then woke them up and fired them. Investigators started working on the case in June 2013, based on an anonymous tip. The 10 employees were all hired to work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. performing mechanical and body work on damaged mail trucks," reports the New York Daily News. The postal workers were sleeping pretty much anywhere they could get comfortable. Some took naps inside the trucks that they were supposed to be working on, while others made a makeshift bedroom right on the floor of the manager's office — many even brought blankets. The workers must have had this routine down because they made sure that everything was done just right as to not get caught.
Washington Post: America's new postmaster general will face the same daunting problems as the man she will succeed: budget losses in the billions and battles with Congress over cost-cutting. The Postal Service's deteriorating financial state comes as fewer and fewer people use its biggest money-maker — first class mail — as the Internet continues to gain popularity. Some losses are offset by an increase in package deliveries — largely from online purchases — but not by enough to put the service into the black.
The Hill: Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and Joseph Corbett, USPS's chief financial officer, said the continuing improvements in the Postal Service's packaging business can't offset the decline in volume for first-class mail, which remains their most popular service. Postal officials insisted that they've essentially maximized what they can do to trim the agency's employee rolls without assistance from Congress. "We're simply running out of game-changing efficiency measures," Corbett told reporters. Lawmakers have said they'll continue to negotiate for a potential postal reform deal in the current lame-duck session. But a deal is considered unlikely, meaning that Megan Brennan — who will become the first woman postmaster general when she replaces Donahoe next year — will have to take the lead in urging Congress to enact legislation. The postmaster general said the best legislation for the Postal Service would be a measure from the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), that would open the door to five-day letter delivery and only temporarily delay the agency from further consolidating mail processing centers. But Donahoe is also cool on efforts from labor and the business mailing industry to craft narrower legislation to assist the Postal Service. Postal unions are seeking to stop USPS from shuttering processing centers early next year, and removing an annual required prepayment for future retiree healthcare official say is key to stabilizing the agency's long-term fiscal health. For his part, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blamed outside forces like the unions for blocking Donahoe's efforts at helping Congress pass legislation.
November 15, 2014
Office of the Inspector General: Contract Postal Units Audit Report Report Number DR-AR-15-001 November 13, 2014 -- What The OIG Found An average of 98 percent of CPUs reviewed either broke even or generated a positive cash flow during the past 3 fiscal years. However, an average of 2 percent of CPUs (49 of 2,337) had a negative cash flow totaling $1,257,742. Further, 469 CPUs generated less than $100,000 in annual revenue for the 3 fiscal years reviewed. Officials did not always conduct annual evaluations or assess contract type to optimize revenue performance. The Postal Service could save an estimated $2,324,403 by improving oversight and converting firm-fixed-price CPUs, where cost effective, to performance-based CPUs. We also informed management that payments were made totaling $160,425 to one CPU supplier for 1 year after the contract termination date. District and Category Management Center officials did not stop contract payments. The Postal Service and the supplier negotiated a settlement of $112,506, which the Postal Service received on June 11, 2014. What The OIG Recommended We recommended the vice president, Retail and Customer Service Operations, conduct annual evaluations and convert firm-fixed-price CPU contracts to performance-based contracts when it is cost effective.
Times Live: The ongoing postal strike could cost charities millions in donations, the South African Institute of Fundraising said on Saturday. "The postal strike action over the past six months could mean a loss of R55 million to non-profit organisations delivering essential social services across the country," said SAIF president Ann Brown in a statement. "Many organisations also highlighted the ongoing security problems with the postal services; theft, lost pieces of mail and delayed deliveries." Children's cancer charity CHOC had to cancel its August appeal mail campaign, where it normally raised millions of rands in support, due to the strike. The Leprosy Mission had to cancel a September/Spring appeal - resulting in a loss of donations of R300,000 - and was also unsure if its Christmas appeal, which usually results in half a million rand in donations, would be delivered.
Press Release: UPS®, a global logistics provider and leading advocate for global trade, welcomes the news of a breakthrough agreement to resolve differences between the United States and India. The accord ultimately allow the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement to be implemented, making it easier and less expensive to move goods across borders.
The Epoch Times: America's new postmaster general will face the same daunting problems as the man she will succeed: budget losses in the billions and battles with Congress over cost-cutting. The Postal Service's deteriorating financial state comes as fewer and fewer people use its biggest money-maker — first class mail — as the Internet continues to gain popularity. Some losses are offset by an increase in package deliveries — largely from online purchases — but not by enough to put the service into the black.
American Postal Workers Union: Today's announcement that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is stepping down is welcome news. Over the summer, delegates to the American Postal Workers Union national convention voted unanimously for his resignation. We hope that the next Postmaster General will reverse Donahoe's policies of lowering standards, reducing hours, outsourcing work and diminishing a great American institution. We call on USPS' Board of Governors to immediately freeze Donahoe's policies and to do no more harm.
National Association of Letter Carriers: Here is Rolando's statement on Donahoe's announcement and on today's financial report: "We wish Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe well in the future, and we congratulate his replacement, Megan Brennan. We look forward to working with her. We hope that in addition to a new name, this change also involves a vision for the future that will enable the Postal Service to continue to adapt and to serve Americans and their businesses. Today's annual USPS financial report reinforces the point that the postal networks are thriving—profitable this year by $1.4 billion after what USPS called its best quarterly and annual performance in many years—and that dismantling the networks is precisely the wrong thing to do. The USPS report shows that letter revenue rose as the economy improves, while package revenue skyrocketed by 9.1 percent, the biggest increase on record. That reflects growing online shopping, which makes the Internet a net positive for USPS—auguring well for the future."
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) reacted to the announcement from the U.S. Postal Service that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is retiring February 2015 and that the current USPS chief operating officer, Megan Brennan, has been chosen to become the next Postmaster General.
November 14, 2014
Government Executive: The U.S. Postal Service lost $5.5 billion in fiscal 2014, though in an operational bright spot it turned a profit of $1.4 billion in controllable costs. Postal employees took the announcement as occasion to protest planned 2015 facility closures, with all four labor groups organizing protests around the county. While the agency actually grew revenue and continued to shed costs, USPS saw a net loss for the eighth consecutive year. Still, the Postal Service finished the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, with its strongest quarter in six years.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
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.
Postmaster General Donahoe to Retire February 2015
The two Pre-MTAC Focus Session webinars listed below are now available on the MTAC page on RIBBS listed under MTAC Notes and Presentations, 2014. You can click on the links below to go directly to the presentation.
GovInfoSecurity: Did the hacker who breached the United States Postal Service computer system gain access through its virtual private network? It's unclear. A virtual private network extends a private network across the public Internet, so in itself, a VPN cannot cause a breach. But a VPN could be a means for the hacker to gain access to the USPS computer systems. In an e-mail exchange, I asked the spokesman: "To be clear, the hacker did not access USPS servers over the VPN, right? That has been ruled out by investigators, correct?" His response: "The source of the attack and the way entry was gained remains under investigation and I don't have information for you to answer this question. The FBI is leading the investigation."
Business Report: Privately-owned delivery companies say they are seeing an increase in business as the postal strike continues. The strike, now in its fourth month, has led to post offices in the province closing intermittently. About 7 900 casual postal workers across the country have been engaged in a tussle with management over their demands to be given permanent employment. Local and international courier services company 3AT1 said it had a "considerable increase in document and parcel delivery via courier since the start of the Post Office strike", and more so in international courier sales. "We have seen an increase whereby consumers use our scan and e-mail service instead of posting or faxing their documents, invoices, etc," spokeswomen Belinda Dunn said. "We are doing our very best to facilitate individual and business clients in getting their documents and packages to where they need to go on time."
From theFederal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Periodic Reporting , 68151–68152 [2014–26929] [TEXT]
Reuters: Workers at a Newark, New Jersey, FedEx Freight facility voted against joining a union on Wednesday, in a blow to a concerted drive by the Teamsters to unionize FedEx Corp. The Teamsters have scored their first ever ballot victories against FedEx in the past month, targeting its trucking unit at a time when the trucking industry is suffering from a shortage of drivers and wages are on the rise. Workers at two FedEx Freight facilities voted in October for collective bargaining, while drivers at two other facilities voted against unionization. The Teamsters have withdrawn a petition for a ballot in Pennsylvania, but have votes scheduled at four other FedEx Freight facilities this month.
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE): Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to support the critical nominations approved by the committee and waiting for consideration on the full Senate floor. His statement, as prepared for delivery, follows: "Mr. President— I rise today to discuss a number of nominations that have been considered and approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and urge the Senate to swiftly confirm them before we adjourn for the year. "I'd like to spend some time on the floor today discussing Mr. Barnett's nomination, and those of several other lower-profile nominees that we urgently need to confirm as soon as we can. Mr. Barnett is among a group of five bipartisan nominees to the Postal Board of Governors – two Republicans and three Democrats. If we don't confirm Mr. Barnett and his colleagues by December 8th, Mr. Barnett – currently the Board's chairman – would be forced the leave the Board. If that happens, the Board will no longer have enough members to achieve a quorum and won't be able to conduct business. At a time when the Postal Service is struggling to address a number of financial challenges and to adapt to the digital age, this would be an avoidable disaster. "Today, because of our inability here in Congress to come to consensus on postal reform legislation, the Postal Service is just twisting in the wind, able to do only so much to address the financial challenges it faces and transform itself for the digital age. Customers are left with uncertainty, then, about what the future holds for the Postal Service. We would make that uncertainty even worse if December 8th comes and goes and our five Postal Board nominees are still waiting for us to act. "The same goes for our nominees to fill vacancies on the Postal Regulatory Commission, Nanci Langley and Tony Hammond. They've been waiting since the spring of 2013 to be confirmed, and the Commission has been working with only three commissioners as a result.
American Banker: Bank industry representatives initially panned the concept of the Postal Service offering retail banking products. But as the government official behind the idea has made clear that he is interested in collaboration with the private sector, attitudes have begun to change.
Los Angeles Times: Congress is like a helicopter parent when it comes to the U.S. mail. It wants the Postal Service to operate independently, without federal funding, and yet it hovers overhead, dictating every move of the organization — rate increases, days of delivery, employee benefits. The time has come to let the Postal Service grow up.
USA Today: Growing numbers of retailers will push holiday delivery deadlines to the last minute possible, even after shipping companies failed last year to keep pace with record demand and left thousands of angry customers without presents under their Christmas trees. More than a quarter of retailers surveyed by Kurt Salmon, a global management consulting firm, say they will guarantee Christmas delivery for orders placed one to three days before the holiday, up from 17% last year. Half of the retailers say they will take orders up to Dec. 20 for Christmas delivery, up from 37% last year. Among the retailers offering last-minute delivery are Amazon, with one-day delivery in the continental U.S. on orders placed by Dec. 23, Macy's, with a Dec. 22 cutoff, and Toys 'R' Us, with express shipping guarantees until noon on Dec. 23. E-commerce has continued to surge and demand for holiday delivery is higher than ever. Forrester Research, which analyzes technology companies, products and services, predicts e-commerce sales will increase 13% to $89 billion this year.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. executives laid out the company's five-year plan on Thursday, highlighting aggressive cost-cutting measures, as well as ambitious growth targets. The century-old delivery giant is setting a high bar for itself. In the past two years, its earnings per share have grown less than 5%. Home delivery of e-commerce purchases has been a drag on its profitability in the U.S. But executives said they expect revenue to rise rapidly—by as much as 7% annually over the period—as the global economy grows and e-commerce continues to increase. The company plans to spend more than $2 billion to expand internationally in Asia, Europe and the Americas, and will also invest in modernizing some operations in the U.S. to automatically sort packages.
Wall Street Journal: Portugal-based Postal Service company CTT--Correios de Portugal SA--on Thursday said it would follow the sale process of PT Portugal by its Brazilian owner, telecommunication firm Oi SA, to evaluate its strategies, which could result in a bid for the assets. "CTT and PT Portugal have a set of business partnerships, and CTT, in the context of further development of its growth drivers, is discussing the possibility of various business ventures with potential partners in the telecommunications area (including PT Portugal, given the synergies between both companies)," the Portuguese company said in a statement. "In that context, CTT will follow the sale process of PT Portugal to analyze all the opportunities that make sense for the development of its businesses, that create value for its shareholders, and are with a compatible dimension," it added. CTT added that so far it hasn't made a decision about any of those opportunities. The CTT announcement came after Brazilian media speculated about a potential offer to be made by the postal company.
New York Daily News: The cremated ashes of an Ohio woman remain lost in the mail as the U.S. Postal Service scrambles to figure out what exactly happened and where she may be. Barbara Kirkendall, 80, died Nov. 5 and her husband of 61 years, Norman Kikendall, was supposed to receive the cremated remains of his wife by noon on Saturday via a Priority Mail Express 1-Day Guarantee, the Columbus Dispatch reported. "I feel like I've lost her," he said. The package was shipped from the Cleveland area after she passed away at a hospital there and then the remains were shipped to her home outside Columbus. A Postal Service spokesman said a "vigilant search" is underway to track down the package that's been missing for nearly a week as of Nov. 13.
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November 13, 2014
GlobalNewswire: Postmaster General and CFO Host Web Call on U.S. Postal Service FY 2014 End of Year Financial Results Fri., Nov. 14, 2014 11 a.m. ET
The Hill: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will examine the recent U.S. Postal Service (USPS) data breach during a hearing next Wednesday. The hearing was expected, as the committee's top members have all pressed USPS for more information since the agency revealed on Monday a cyber attack that had exposed the information of 800,000 employees. Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the Postal Service knew about the hack in September, but waited until late October to confidentially brief the committee. USPS only told employees this week their personal information was at risk.
Politico: Senate Democratic leaders are likely to name Montana Sen. Jon Tester (an active proponent of an alternative approach to postal reform) to run the party's campaign arm in the 2016 election cycle, a key position central to the party's efforts to retake the majority, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations. Tester, a farmer who won his second Senate term in 2012, seemed open to the job of running the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the next election cycle.
Ottawa Citizen: Canada Post announced Wednesday that seven more postal code areas in Ottawa will move to community mailboxes by the end of 2015.
Economic Times: India Post is interested in turning itself into a universal bank like many of its peers across the world and a committee under former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian is looking into the matter, a senior department official said today. "We still want to be a full-fledged bank.
Politico: Everyone watching the behind-the-scenes battle for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee gavel has one question in mind: Who does John Boehner want? Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is trying to leapfrog five more-senior members, and Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, who is No. 3 in seniority, have spent months furiously lobbying the members of the House Republican Steering Committee, which will meet next week to consider their cases. But all the lobbying may not matter. Boehner has five votes, his leadership team will follow him and vote in a bloc and the speaker has sway over most of the remaining votes, many of whom are his allies. He has, thus far, refused to weigh in even privately with his leadership team or closest allies. His silence is making this contest the most intense battle for power during this otherwise tame lame-duck session of Congress. The race was one to watch, even before it intensified in recent days. Chaffetz's and Turner's pitches, which the lawmakers have been delivering throughout the fall, have one common thread: distancing themselves from Issa. Chaffetz, who detailed his pitch to POLITICO, has been saying he's been in the middle of the House GOP's efforts to hold President Barack Obama accountable, is a low-risk and effective spokesman for the party on television and will break cleanly with Issa on a number of key issues. Turner is privately telling members of the powerful panel that chooses chairmen that the Oversight Committee needs to buckle down, and that Chaffetz is too junior, too interested in the spotlight and, most important, too much like Issa. Even Boehner has signaled to colleagues he would like to see change on the panel.
Cyprus Mail: The postal service on Thursday warned of delays in the arrival of mail to Cyprus that is handled through Amsterdam due to overloaded flights. The arrival of postal items from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Singapore, South Africa and Sri Lanka will be affected, it said. "The Cyprus Post expresses its regret for the inconvenience and assure their customers that every effort will be made to deliver the overdue items to the recipients immediately after their arrival in Cyprus," a written announcement said.
Mother Jones: Color me skeptical. I know this sounds like a terrific, populist idea, but I can think of several reasons to be very cautious about expansive claims that the USPS is uniquely situated to provide basic banking services. If the government wants to provide basic banking services for the poor, it's not clear to me why USPS should do it. They have literally no special competence at this, and the motivation behind it is to provide a revenue stream that offsets losses from mail services. That's just dumb. Why on earth should public banking services subsidize public mail services? They have nothing to do with each other.
Bloomberg: Deutsche Post AG (DPW)'s third-quarter profit missed analysts' predictions as the mail service increased investment in information technology and parcel infrastructure. Earnings before interest and taxes rose 4.8 percent to 677 million euros ($844 million), the Bonn-based company said in a statement today. That compares with the 688.5 million-euro average of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Capital expenditure rose 24 percent to 494 million euros. "We are investing in the group's sustainable growth for the years to come and, by taking these steps, we are today setting the course for the success of our Strategy 2020," Chief Executive Officer Frank Appel said in the statement.
Sydney Morning Herald: Australia Post disclosed confidential information to law enforcement, security and other government agencies more than 10,000 times in 2013-14, an increase of 25 per cent over the past four years. According to statistics released by the postal corporation, "specially protected" information, which includes information about letters and parcels and other private client information was provided to government agencies by Australia Post on 5635 occasions – more than twice the number four years ago. Federal government investigators accessing specially protected information include the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency. Victorian and Queensland police as well as the NSW Crime Commission and the Western Australian Corruption and Crime Commission also received such private information.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved three critical nominations to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors. The three nominees were ordered reported favorably en bloc by vote. Mickey Barnett is the nominee to be a Governor of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. Mr. Barnett was first appointed to the USPS Board of Governors in 2006 and currently serves as Chairman of the Board. "Mickey Barnett's nomination comes at a very challenging time for the Postal Service," said Chairman Carper, "but in adversity lies opportunity. Mr. Barnett knows that Americans want a Postal Service they can rely on, one that will take full advantage of the countless opportunities that lie ahead. I am confident that, if confirmed, Mr. Barnett will continue to work diligently with the other members of the Board as they work towards a brighter future for the Postal Service. Congress holds the keys to the Postal Service's future, but the Board of Governors serve a vital role in setting the direction of this large organization – I urge my colleagues in the full Senate to support Mr. Barnett's continued service on the Board." All three nominations now move to the Senate floor.
News.stv.tv: Scottish postal workers are to help search for missing people after a partnership between the Royal Mail and a UK charity. Alerts will be sent to Scotland's 10,800 posties from Missing People while the workers are out on their rounds. The alerts will also appear on Royal Mail's employee website and, where possible, on 1800 television screens across its offices, reaching all 148,000 staff.
National Association of Letter Carriers: Some people would have you believe that the Postal Service continues to incur net losses because people don't use letter mail anymore. "The Internet has replaced letter mail," so the argument goes. However, a look at the 2014 Postal Service performance data doesn't back that argument. According to the most recent monthly financial report filed on the Postal Regulatory Commission website, revenue from both First-Class and Standard Mail is up in 2014. For the first 11 months of 2014, First-Class Mail revenue increased by about 1 percent and Standard Mail revenue increased by almost 3 percent. (See the report here, pg. 2.) This compares to mid-recession revenue declines of 6.6 percent for First-Class Mail and 15.7 percent for Standard Mail. (See the report here, pg. 2.) Taken together (First-Class and Standard), letter mail revenue is up 1.6 percent in 2014 compared with a decline of almost 10 percent during the same period in 2009. The 2014 figure includes a price increase for part of the year, but it also reflects significantly less volume decline during 2014 due to overall increases in U.S. economic activity. Without an improving volume situation, raising prices alone wouldn't result in the positive revenue increase seen in 2014.
PracticalEcommerce: While ecommerce continues to take a larger share of overall retail sales in the United States and Western Europe, the biggest growth rates are occurring in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia, where both domestic and cross border sales are showing healthy increases.
Reuters: The U.S. agency that operates the National Weather Service said on Wednesday four of its websites were hacked in recent weeks, becoming the latest federal agency to fall victim to a cyber attack. Most recently, the U.S. Postal Service said on Monday it was the victim of an intrusion that may have compromised the personal information of more than 800,000 employees, as well as data on customers who contacted its call center during the first eight months of this year.
Federal Times: The Postal Service should not be allowed to consolidate more mail processing centers or reduce delivery service, a pair of lawmakers wrote in a Nov. 12 letter to members of the House Appropriations Committee. Reps. Elijah Cummings, R-Md., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., urged members of Congress to bar the Postal Service from closing an additional 82 processing facilities and from reducing service levels by using the appropriations process to add a prohibition. The agency has already closed 141 processing centers. While the Postal Service receives no federal funding Congress can place limitations on the agency.
Government Executive: U.S. Postal Service employees and retirees received a scare last month when the Office of Personnel Management reported their share of their health care premiums would skyrocket nearly 19 percent in 2015. USPS, however, said the reality is not so bad. OPM said labor-postal management negotiations were to blame for the average postal enrollee in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program encountering an increase nearly five times that of rest of the federal workforce in 2015. The government contribution, OPM said, would actually decrease 0.9 percent. The Postal Service said the increase in the employees' share will be far less dramatic, however. Bargaining-unit employees will pay an average of just 1 percent more toward their insurance premiums, according to a USPS spokeswoman, while non-bargaining workers will typically see a 3 percent increase. The overall average premium increase will be 3.4 percent.
Associated Press: A U.S. senator has asked the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider its decision to close the mail sorting facility in Minot after an inspector general's report found concerns over how facilities were chosen to be closed. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asking the postal service to reevaluate the decision to move the facility from Minot to Bismarck.
For those who may have missed the Nov. 11 PostCom webinar: USPS Scorecards Part 2: eDoc Submitters and Mail Service Providers, you can still listen to a recording as well as get access to the webinar slides. Webinar Slides | Webinar Recording
Reuters: A senior Democratic lawmaker on Wednesday asked the chief executives of five companies, including Home Depot Inc, Target Corp and Kmart , to share more information about recent cyber attacks on their companies. U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was concerned about the rising number of cyber intrusions and media reports that they originate from overseas. Cummings sent a similar letter to the postmaster general on Monday after the U.S. Postal Service revealed it was the victim of a cyber attack that may have compromised the personal information of more than 800,000 employees, as well as data on customers who contacted its call center this year.
November 12, 2014
Reuters: The German government is mulling changes to a report laying out its plans to reduce stakes in several state-owned companies after a leak of the proposals sparked a backlash from some members of the ruling coalition. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet had been expected to approve on Wednesday a finance ministry document proposing the privatisation of stakes in firms such as Deutsche Telekom , Deutsche Post and Deutsche Bahn . But after Reuters reported its contents on Tuesday, the cabinet delayed approval and a spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said changes to the text needed to be made. "What I can say overall is that there are no concrete plans for privatisation at Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bahn or Deutsche Post," a government spokeswoman said after the cabinet meeting.
Washington Post: Of all the tasks confronting the newly elected Congress, none is more basic, in terms of plain old democratic governance, than reforming the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service's only chance at a solvent future is to undertake further, more fundamental structural reform. In the Senate, Democrat Tom Carper (Del.) and Republican Tom Coburn (Okla.) gained the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's approval this year for a plan that would grant the USPS billions of dollars in relief from the retiree health prepayments in return for changes such as incentives to eliminate costly Saturday mail delivery and to increase use of more cost-effective curbside multi-residence mailboxes. The bill also calls for allowing the Postal Service's financial condition to be considered in arbitration with postal unions, which could introduce more financial realism into collective bargaining. In the House, Republican Darrell Issa (Calif.) offered a bill that moves in the same direction, though it includes even more fundamental changes, such as a financial "control board" to supervise the USPS's transition. The basic outlines of a deal — financial relief in exchange for structural reform — are clear and enjoy the support of key players on both sides of the aisle and at the White House. The biggest obstacle facing reform is not partisan politics; it's interest-group politics. Postal unions, rural states, large-scale commercial mailers and others that depend on the dysfunctional status quo lobby furiously to protect it, or at least those parts of it that favor their particular interests. The latest evidence of the lobbies' power is a push by roughly half the current Senate for a moratorium on the closure of inefficient mail-processing facilities in 2015.
The Montana Standard: Montana's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Jon Tester, will now be in the minority for the first time in his Senate career—but said this week his new role may actually create more opportunities to get things done. In an interview, Tester said he could be among moderate Democrats who join Republicans to form a 60-senator majority to break a filibuster and advance certain bills. He also said he hopes the final session of the current Congress, where Democrats still control the Senate, will pass a defense budget authorization bill, a continuing budget resolution, and perhaps a highway funding bill and U.S. Postal Service reform bill.
Dark Reading: "US Postal Service Suspends Telecommuting Following Massive Data Breach" -- Employee VPN taken down [and] will not be restored until more secure version can be installed, Postal Service says after breach exposes data on 800,000 employees and 2.9 million customers. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has suspended telecommuting for employees while it works to remediate a network intrusion that has exposed data on some 800,000 postal workers and an additional 2.9 million customers. The virtual private network (VPN) service for postal employees was taken down this weekend and will not be brought back up until a version with more robust security features can be installed, USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an emailed comment to Dark Reading. "As a result, telecommuting has been suspended until further notice," he said.
The China Post: Alibaba said US$2 billion of goods were sold in the first hour of its Singles Day shopping bonanza in China Tuesday, maintaining the day's dominance as the world's biggest retail event as it went global for the first time. Singles Day already surpassed major shopping festivals in the U.S. in terms of transaction value last year, toppling the combined online sales of US$3.7 billion recorded on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to an estimate by Internet analytics firm comScore. The day was originally marketed as an "anti-Valentine's Day" in China featuring hefty discounts to lure the country's singletons and price-sensitive buyers. It has been expanded globally this year to include overseas merchants and customers.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: The Better Business Bureau of Greater Cleveland says it's fielding noticeably more calls about the perennial sweepstakes scams, most of which borrow the Publishers Clearing House name. Postal inspectors say they, too, are receiving regular reports of sweepstakes and lottery scams that can clean out victims' bank accounts. The BBB reports the latest batch of calls seem to come from Jamaica. Sweepstakes and lottery scammers are relentless. They call often. And once someone sends money, scammers keep coming up with new expenses until they run the victim's account dry.
Nodaway News Leader: The National Rural Letter Carriers' Association and three other postal unions are organizing a National Day of Action November 14, the day the US Postal Service Board of Governors meets for its final public meeting in 2014. Danny Kemerling, Fairfax, president of the Missouri Rural Letter Carriers' Association, (MORLCA) said rallies are planned November 14, in Kansas City, St. Louis and Cape Girardeau along with more than 40 other rallies throughout the nation. Kemerling said the day of action, scheduled in response to devastating cuts the postal service is poised to make, has one simple message: Stop Delaying America's Mail. The goal of the rallies is to make the public and postal customers aware of the impact the proposed closures and consolidations will have on service and the timely delivery of mail.
Bridge River Lillooet News: Just as what it delivers is changing dramatically, Canada Post must make difficult changes to keep pace in the digital world, the head of Crown agency told a Commons committee Wednesday. In defending the corporation's proposed service cuts and price hikes, Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra told the Commons transport committee the changes are necessary in order for the carrier to survive. "If the mail is changing its shape and size, don't we think the mailbox should change its shape and size too?" Chopra asked. "So what we're trying to do is adapt (to) the changing needs of Canadians."
USA Today: The computer breach of the U.S. Postal Service, revealed Monday, could be part of the undeclared cold war in cyberspace, some experts say.
Economic Times: With over 1.6 lakh post offices throughout the country with the lion's share of 1.4 lakh in rural areas, India Post claims to have the largest postal network in the world, according to its website. On an average, a post office serves an area of 21.2 sq km and a population of 7,175 people. "Speed of the last mile delivery to a customer will be the most decisive factor in an already price competitive e-commerce landscape and Amazon wants to leverage on the well-penetrated postal network," a second executive who did not want to be identified told ET. Interestingly, Amazon's proposal comes in the wake of the special task force constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October to enhance the role of India Posts in financial inclusion and trade.
Mooresville Tribune: Amazon is opening more than a dozen "sortation centers" in the U.S. to bring their products closer to medium-sized markets, according to industry analyst Marc Wulfraat. The retail behemoth wants to expand its same-day shipping options and cut costs. As Amazon builds out its sortation network, it will have control over the products it sells for a greater portion of the shipping process, and Amazon will use the U.S. Postal Service, which ships for up to 50 percent less than private carriers, to reach local markets.
The Hill: Postal workers are taking their frustrations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after a U.S. Postal Service data breach exposed 800,000 employees' information. The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which filed the complaint, says the Postal Service didn't work with them to address the issue during the two months between the breach's discovery and the Post Office's public announcement on Monday.
November 11, 2014
Linns: Regardless of whether it was China who broke into the United States Postal Service's computers this fall, senior postal officials are certain to be grilled by Congress over their slow response to the intrusion. Both Republicans and Democrats in the House said they were puzzled by why it took the agency until the weekend of Nov. 8 to begin repairs to the computers. House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said he blamed the Obama administration for waiting "two months before making the news of this attack public and preventing victims from taking proactive measures to secure their own information." The Washington Post blamed China for the computer attacks, noting that the country had been linked to an attack on the federal agency that holds personnel records. "They are just looking for big pots of data on government employees," James A. Lewis, a cyberpolicy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Washington Post. The New York Times said the Postal Service intrusion "seemed to have the signature of Chinese hackers." But it cautioned that "attributing attacks is difficult and the first indications are frequently inaccurate." Postal officials said they had been unable to detect any use of the postal data that appeared to have been compromised. The agency announced the intrusion Nov. 10 in a news release that did not suggest who the villain was. The announcement came as Obama began a trip to China.
CRN: Attackers recently penetrated U.S. Postal Service systems, gaining access to databases containing hundreds of thousands of current and former Postal Service employees and nearly 3 million customers. While the latest incident is another in a long line of security breaches, the attention being paid to securing payment systems may cause organizations to slip when it comes to protecting sensitive customer data, solution providers tell CRN.
Federal Times: The government should be smaller, the Postal Service should go through a bankruptcy process and it is too hard to fire federal employees, according to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc. The Nov. 4 election gave Republicans control of the Senate, which means Johnson is next in line to be the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, replacing the current chair Tom Carper, D-Del., when the new Congress convenes in January. Johnson said that as chairman some of his top priorities would be beefing up border security, improving the government's cybersecurity practices and streamlining regulations, but he also sees a chance to make major changes to agency management and the federal workforce. He said the Postal Service should be put through a bankruptcy process to shed what he sees as costly union contracts and to further reduce operating expenses – although he says making that happen is a long shot.
Roll Call: Tax-free Internet shopping is safe for now thanks to Speaker John A. Boehner. A bill granting states the ability to force out-of-state websites to collect Internet sales tax is dead, according to the Ohio Republican's spokesman. "The speaker has made clear in the past he has significant concerns about the bill, and it won't move forward this year," said spokesman Kevin Smith. "The Judiciary Committee continues to examine the measure and the broader issue. In the meantime, the House and Senate should work together to extend the moratorium on internet taxation without further delay."
Politico: First we had the fiscal cliff, then the highway cliff. Now get ready for the pension cliff. The lame-duck session will determine the fate of so-called multi-employer pensions. With many of these plans skittering toward insolvency in the next decade, nervous employers want to get out while the getting is still good. Pension reform advocates fear that if Congress fails to intervene before the end of this year, employers will stampede out of the plans, costing the Treasury billions.
Post & Parcel: Deutsche Post DHL is set to increase its domestic parcel rates from January, while also rejigging its parcel sizes for private individuals. The company's DHL Parcel unit is launching a new-look packet category for shipping items under 1kg in weight, DHL Päckchen XS, from this weekend. The new category is designed for particularly light shipments in time for Christmas, and will also suit smaller e-commerce merchants and eBay shippers. A new-look category for parcels up to 5kg will be launched from January, with a weight class up to 20kg discontinued for private individuals.
Office of the Inspector General: Nonmachinable Outside Parcels Pilot Program Management Advisory Report -- Nonmachinable Outside (NMO) parcels are packages that, because of their size, weight, or other characteristics, cannot be processed through automation and must be handled through a more labor-intensive and costly manual process. The term "outside" is used for these parcels because they cannot be placed in sacks or other mailing containers for automated processing. As part of efforts to optimize the network, in December 2013, the U.S. Postal Service started a 6-month pilot program with an outside contractor in two Network Distribution Center service areas. The objective was to develop, test, and analyze alternatives to NMO processing and leverage the contractor's automated network to increase efficiencies and improve service.
From theFederal Register:
Reuters: After years of failed efforts, the Teamsters union has won a toehold in the trucking units of FedEx and Con-way and is targeting more facilities at both, potentially threatening what analysts see as a core competitive advantage for the companies. The push by the Teamsters comes as a shortage of experienced drivers in the trucking industry is prompting companies to hike pay and offer improved working conditions.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding reports of a cyber attack on the U.S. Postal Service: "This latest report of a cyber breach on the U.S. Postal Service is further proof that our federal government is targeted just as much as the private sector in cyberspace. It is my understanding that the Postal Service is taking a number of steps to help any potential victims of this cyber attack and is working with several government agencies to investigate the breach and mitigate the damage. This unfortunate incident should serve as a reminder for agencies of all kinds to shore up their cyber defenses and put stronger protections into place to become more resilient and prevent similar attacks from happening. It should also remind those of us in Congress of the very real and growing threat of cyber attacks. We must do all that we can to help agencies, industry, and consumers be better prepared. "Our Committee has approved three bills that take important steps in our effort to modernize our nation's cybersecurity programs and help the public and private sectors work together to tackle cyber threats more effectively in the future. We need to redouble our efforts when we return this week and get these bills signed into law before the end of the year. While these bills are a vital part of our effort, our work is far from finished. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the Administration, and stakeholders to pass our legislation and additional measures that address this critical issue as soon as possible."
RuralinfoNews: "Postal Union Statements on USPS Employee Data Breach"
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia: United States Postal Service, Petitioner v. Postal Regulatory Commission, Respondent; Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, et al., Intervenors -- The following times are allotted for the oral argument of this case scheduled for November 20, 2014, at 9:30 A.M.: Petitioner - 10 Minutes Respondent - 10 Minutes One counsel per side to argue. The panel considering this case will consist of Circuit Judges Tatel and Wilkins, and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards
November 10, 2014
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Washington Post: Chinese government hackers are suspected of breaching the computer networks of the United States Postal Service, compromising the data of more than 800,000 employees — including the postmaster general's. The intrusion was discovered in mid-September, said officials, who declined to comment on who was thought to be responsible. The FBI is leading the investigation into the hack. The news, announced by U.S. Postal Service, came as President Obama arrived Monday in Beijing for high-level talks with his counterpart, President Xi Jinping, as well as for an economic summit.
Washington Post: Ask Sen. Ron Johnson about federal employee priorities and the first thing he talks about is his concern that the government's deficit spending will reach $127 trillion over 30 years. His views will be important to federal workers come January when Johnson takes over as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Federal employees and their organizations, however, are sure to object to many of his positions on pay, benefits, unionization and the Postal Service.
Committee on Oversight & Government Reform: "House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and House Oversight Committee Subcommittee on Postal Service Chairman Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, today released the following statement in response to the United States Postal Service's announcement that the Chinese purportedly hacked the agency's data: "This is a serious security breach that has put the personal information of Americans at risk. The Committee is deeply concerned about this cyber attack, and will continue to press the Postal Service for answers about how hackers were able to pierce the agency's security protocols. Additionally, it underscores the dire need for information security reform, which the committee has pursued through FISMA reforms. The Postal Service must do a better job securing the information of the American public. "Furthermore, the Committee understands the Postal Service has known about this attack since September and presented this information to Congress several weeks ago, but did so as a classified matter. The Committee will also be seeking information about why the Administration waited two months before making the news of this attack public and preventing victims from taking proactive measures to secure their own information. We have not been told why the agency no longer considers the information classified."
Reason.com: As President Obama gallivants about in a Vulcan costume behind the Bamboo Curtain, his mandarin hosts have been busy spying on the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Washington Post reports that the Chinese government is suspected of breaching the computer networks of the senescent government agency charged with delivering our snail mail. The data of more than 800,000 employees have reportedly been compromised:
USPS IT performed work this past weekend to upgrade system security, which resulted in some loss of system functionality. It is also in response to a cyber-intrusion into some of our information systems. You may see this in the news today. The extent of the breach is somewhat limited. We have had some employee data compromised and some customer care data compromised. We are notifying our employees today and are providing resources for them. The compromised call center data was submitted by customers who contacted the Postal Service customer care center with inquiries via telephone or email between January 1, 2014 and August 16, 2014. The compromised data consists of names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information for customers who may have provided this information. At this time we do not believe that affected customers need to take any action as a result of this incident. It appears that no customer credit card or financial data was compromised. We are investigating the intrusion and are working closely with all the agencies you would expect – the FBI, the Department of Justice, our own Inspector General and Postal Inspection Service, and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Additionally, we have brought in outside experts who specialize in investigations and data systems to help us understand what happened and how to improve our security. We have already implemented some important security measures over the weekend and we will continue to roll out other new security measures in the coming days and weeks. As things currently stand, it is business as usual for nearly every aspect of our operations – Post Offices are functioning normally and mail and packages are being delivered as usual. We have posted Q&As and other information about this on usps.com.
Attention: The Postal Service has recently learned of a cyber security intrusion into some of our information systems. We began investigating this incident as soon as we learned of it, and we are cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing. The investigation is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and joined by other federal and postal investigatory agencies. The intrusion is limited in scope and all operations of the Postal Service are functioning normally.
Information potentially compromised in the incident may include personally identifiable information about employees, including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, beginning and end dates of employment, emergency contact information and other information. Postal Service transactional revenue systems in Post Offices as well as on usps.com where customers pay for services with credit and debit cards have not been affected by this incident. There is no evidence that any customer credit card information from retail or online purchases such as Click-N-Ship, the Postal Store, PostalOne!, change of address or other services was compromised. The intrusion also compromised call center data for customers who contacted the Postal Service Customer Care Center with an inquiry via telephone or e-mail between Jan. 1, 2014, and Aug. 16, 2014. This compromised data consists of names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information for those customers who may have provided this information. At this time, we do not believe that potentially affected customers need to take any action as a result of this incident.
KTVZ: U.S. Postal Service workers plan protests in Bend and other cities around the country Friday, opposing the planned closure of more than 80 processing centers, including Bend's, they claim will further slow mail delivery and damage the agency. But the USPS said the changes are needed as first-mail volume continues to drop and package delivery grows – both a result of the Internet. The Friday afternoon protest at the Bend Post Office by the American Postal Workers Union members is part of a "national day of action" aimed at the latest round of what mail workers call "devastating cuts" planned by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors. While union officials say the agency's "flawed strategy" has eliminated jobs . . . the reductions in workforce have been made so far without layoffs, through attrition, offering alternative jobs and a few getting early retirement packages.
9News.com.au: "For the first time in 205 years, we are actually a bigger parcels e-commerce company, than we are a postal company," Australia Post chief Ahmed Fahour said. Now Australia Post is more than doubling its capacity to sort parcels - more than 30,000 an hour. And for Australia's growing online retailers online, it's perfect timing.
Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service will be delivering packages seven days per week from next week until Christmas, as it expects double-digit volume growth during this year's peak season. The Postal Service said it is forecasting 12% growth in volumes compared to last year's festive season. That would beat the 11% forecast by private sector rivals UPS, and the 8.8% year-on-year growth predicted by FedEx this year.
Media Update: A concerned group of specialist magazine publishers has indicated its intention to lodge a formal complaint with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) against the South African Post Office (SAPO), which has been in breach of its licence conditions for several years. Chris Yelland of EE Publishers, spokesman for the group, says: "I am amazed at how long-suffering and passive the SA public and business sector is about the dysfunctional postal service in South Africa." The group of publishers will be asking ICASA to consider and review its numerous complaints against SAPO and the financial and other damage to the magazine publishing industry caused by SAPO's ongoing failure to meet its license conditions, and to sanction SAPO accordingly. This could include: punitive financial sanctions against SAPO; entertaining alternative license applications to that of SAPO; considering additional licence applications to supplement the activities of SAPO; or even the removal of SAPO's (currently exclusive) licence.
Memphis Daily News: FedEx founder, chairman and CEO Fred Smith is pretty confident that robotics, automation and perhaps drones will play an increasingly large role in the FedEx of the future. It's a future that, for example, he thinks will see more factories with a decreasing number of human workers in them as well as the transport of packages and other goods in automated cars and trucks on the road. He mentioned the possibility of more automated package-delivery trucks on the road within 10 years, something he described as "a good thing" because of the assumption they'll drive slower and make fewer mistakes as a result of human error.
November 9, 2014
FedBizOpps.Gov: Cold Packs Solicitation Number: RFI-ColdPacks Agency: United States Postal Service - The U.S. Postal Service provides packaging supplies specially designed for use with its domestic and international Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services at no additional cost to customers. Packaging items include corrugated containers and envelopes, as well as a range of pressure sensitive labels and decals. Because all items are preprinted with the logo of the corresponding U.S. Postal Service brand, the packaging is more easily identified in the mail stream, enabling improved mail processing operations. The printed graphics and logo also act as a promotional tool to build brand awareness among customers.
Politico: What can actually get done over the next two years? Even if you didn't get your hopes up, you should still lower them. But the reality is that the case for a productive two years collapses as soon as you dig into the details.
FedBizOpps.Gov: Strategies for Expanding Postal Financial Services Solicitation Number: 6HQOIG-15-A-0009 Agency: United States Postal Service Office: Supplies and Services Purchasing Location: OIG -- The purpose of this solicitation is to seek a Supplier to help assess the efficacy and financial viability of various approaches the U.S. Postal Service could consider for expanding its financial services offerings.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Recording ot the presentation at the Postal Regulatory Commission on Postal Costing.
AzerTac: Azerbaijan and Iran will sign a deal that will see the two countries cooperate in the fields of information and communication technologies and postal services.
Ulster Star: Regular postal deliveries to remote rural communities are under threat, MPs have been told. The Rural Services Network made the assertion in a written submission to an inquiry by the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee. MPs on the committee are investigating competition in the UK postal sector and the Royal Mail's universal service obligation. Under the obligation, Royal Mail must deliver to any address in the country six days a week– the same service for rural and urban areas. But the Rural Services Network argues that competition from other companies threatens to make regular daily postal deliveries to rural areas unsustainable.The rapid expansion of letter delivery competition in urban areas threatens Royal Mail's ability to provide an affordable rural postal service. The network said that is because the cost of delivering mail to more isolated rural areas is often met using revenues generated from more densely populated urban and suburban areas. Graham Biggs MBE said: "People living in rural areas value the six-day-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere service. They want to see it continue.
NBC10: Despite a persistent, chilly rain, more than 20 members and allies of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) marched outside the Germantown Avenue Staples on Thursday afternoon to protest plans to expand a recent retail agreement with the U.S. Postal Service. As part of the agreement, Staples employees will eventually staff USPS service windows at more than 1,500 supply-chain locations nationwide. Involved with the APWU are many national labor unions including the American Federation of Teachers, which is leading its own boycott-Staples campaign. In 2013, Staples announced it had begun a pilot program in which USPS products would be offered for sale at 82 retail locations in four cities. After an initial round of protests, Staples ended the pilot program while allowing the agreement with the USPS to be incorporated into its "Approved Shipper Program." Staples has since closed more than 225 stores, including some in the initial pilot program. That prompted concerns about long-term prospects.
November 8, 2014
USAToday: After running a largely agenda-less campaign focused on opposition to President Barack Obama, top Republicans are starting to outline their priorities now that their party will control both chambers of Congress. The agenda, as described by incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, is a combination of useful ideas, talking-point platitudes, political non-starters and glaring omissions. Notably absent were any mention of addressing climate change, fixing Social Security or saving the Postal Service. It would be naive to think the parties can resolve fundamental differences. The question is whether they'll let vitriol from those disagreements contaminate everything else.
MassLive: Federal agents seized more than a ton of marijuana Friday in a coordinated operation that prosecutors allege disrupted an intercontinental drug ring and its part in the flow of the drug to the Boston area. Prosecutors said that large amounts of marijuana would be shipped via Federal Express or the U.S.Postal Service to the Randolph house, then broken down and distributed to Boston area sellers. The operation produced millions of dollars in profit over the course of three years they allege.
Independent Online: The SA Post Office's (Sapo) board has resigned with immediate effect, Telecommunications and Postal Minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Friday. The board volunteered to resign to allow Cwele to implement an intervention aimed at resolving issues at Sapo following a violent, unprotected four-month-long strike, the ministry said in a statement. Their resignations were accepted.
UPU: UPU Conference on Postal Regulation Organizing the market – a new horizon for the postal sector.
CNET: Uber may soon have its drivers delivering purchased goods as well as passengers. The on-demand car service, which lets users hail a ride through its mobile app, hired away Tom Fallows, the head of Google's same-day delivery service Google Express. Uber's and Google's investments in same-day delivery reflects an increasingly competitive and complex landscape for online shopping. While Amazon remains at the head of the e-commerce pack, Google -- which also sees Amazon as a top search competitor -- has been trying to figure out a way to lure away consumers. Google Express is one of those efforts.
National Journal: Postal representatives, mobile-technology providers and international experts met at UPU headquarters this week to discuss how mobile technologies could boost greater financial inclusion. They examined key challenges and opportunities for postal operators in responding to the rapidly-growing demand for a variety of financial services and meet market expectations. The number of mobile money services worldwide rose to 241 in July 2014 from 219 in 2013, according to the International Telecommunication Union. With the range of possible business models and technologies available, participants agreed solutions should complement existing services and infrastructure, enabling Posts to create a multi-dimensional hub that brings together mobile, postal points of sale and banking. Presenters stressed that mobile technology alone is not a panacea. Posts from Burundi, Tunisia, Morocco and Indonesia provided examples of how they had used mobile technologies to successfully scale up their postal financial services, with some partnering with banks and mobile operators to launch new products and services.
November 7, 2014
Attention PostalOne! ® Users: PostalOne! ® Release 39 - The release scheduled for Sunday November 9, 2014 has been delayed until further notice. Communication containing the new release date will be provided once the new date has been identified. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
The Salt Lake Tribune: Republicans have won majorities in both houses of Congress, and both the leaders of that body and Democratic President Obama have made all the right noises about how they all want to work together to Get Things Done. As Utah's Rep. Jason Chaffetz noted Thursday, Republicans now need to show some ability to actually govern or, as he said, "they'll kick us out, too." One thing that Congress and the president should be able to agree on, and maybe even accomplish during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, would be to pass a bill that would go a long way to rescuing the United States Postal Service.
Post & Parcel: Austria Post is broadening its self-service offering to rural Austria starting with a pilot project in a newly renovated Municipal Office in Leutasch (Tyrol). The branch has been fitted with a packing table, automatic franking, shipping box and a pick-up location. Customers can order seven days a week, no matter what time, letters and packages will pack and ship independently. If a package can not be delivered to a customer, it will be left at the pick-up station and can be retrieved at any time. "The self-service store allows our customers to use the postal service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The SB-branch is a development of the highly successful self-service areas, which have been very well received in some 220 post offices as an additional offer.
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 66421–66422 [2014–26428] [TEXT]
Dead Tree Edition: A lot of ink has been spilled discussing and cussing the U.S. Postal Service's plan to close 82 mail processing centers next year. But the three images shown by David Williams, USPS' vice president of networks, shown in a recent presentation to mailers about the "Phase II" consolidations scheduled to begin in January puts everything in perspective.
Atlanta Business Chronicle: Former United Parcel Service Inc. Chairman and CEO Mike Eskew will step down from the package shipping and logistics giant's board of directors at the end of the year.
Postal Regulatory Commission: Chris Laver has been selected as a second Deputy General Counsel for the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) at the Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission). Chris began his career at the Commission in June 2008 after working in a law firm and the Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, Ohio. His work at the Court included managing dockets and performing extensive research and writing in civil matters, including drafting judicial decisions and motions. After serving for four years within OGC, Chris moved to the Row as Special Assistant to Vice-Chair Mark Acton. There he served in an essential role researching a variety of issues, including Postal Service regulations and policies, to advise the Vice-Chairman. He returned to OGC two years later in 2014, and has been involved in many aspects of the Commission's work. This includes conducting depositions and interrogatories in Commission proceedings, writing rules regarding anticompetitive principles, managing major Commission proceedings regarding the nature of service and serving in significant public representative roles. Chris' work on the Row, as well as within OGC, provides him a unique perspective of the entire Commission that will add value to OGC's work as he begins to serve in this new management role.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will hold a business meeting on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 5:30 p.m., in conjunction with the first vote, in room S-216 of The Capitol. For more information or to watch a live stream of the meeting, please click HERE. At the business meeting members will consider the following nominations Hon. Mickey D. Barnett to be a Governor, U.S. Postal Service.
Announcement: If you missed the BCC Software webinar on End of Life Isn't the End of the Road – Replacing your Address Correction Engine, you can still listen to a recording of the webinar at http://replaceace.com/webinar-replay.
November 6, 2014
The Daily Californian: The city of Berkeley filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the United States Postal Service, alleging that it took steps toward selling the Berkeley Post Office before publicly evaluating historic impacts as required under both the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Western Daily Press: Richard Hooper, who wrote reports for the coalition and Labour governments on postal services, and is currently advising Royal Mail, says the "cherry-picking" of profitable routes by rival carriers risks "irrevocably" damaging the universal six-day-a-week service. His analysis has been submitted to MPs investigating the impact on the so-called Universal Service Obligation (USO) of the sell-off of the state asset.
Consumerist: "USPS Will Deliver Some Non-Amazon Packages On Sundays"
Channel News Asia: Postal operator Singapore Post on Thursday reported fiscal second-quarter net profit rose 5.5 per cent from the corresponding period a year earlier, as revenue was boosted by e-commerce businesses even while its domestic mail operations continued to decline. For the three months ended Sept 30, SingPost booked a net profit of S$37.6 million, up from S$35.6 million in the year-ago period. Revenue jumped 8.1 per cent to S$220.3 million in the quarter. SingPost Group Chief Executive Wolfgang Baier said: "Overall, the businesses performed well in the second quarter, with growth coming from regional and e-commerce related businesses. We are also beginning to see bigger contributions from our logistics segment as we seek to rebalance our revenue portfolio and forge ahead with our aim to be the regional leader in e-commerce logistics."
FedScoop: As the United States Postal Service prepares to start another round of mail processing facility closures in the first quarter of 2015, officials said the closures and the tightening fiscal situation for the independent agency will not stifle innovation. According to Kathy Warnaar, a manager of IT performance at USPS, technology that improves operational efficiency at the Postal Service will save the agency money across the board. - See more at: http://fedscoop.com/despite-tightening-budgets-usps-uses-cut-costs/#sthash.izD2EVPx.dpuf
National Association of Letter Carriers: The issues that letter carriers hold dear and the ideologies we battle are not party-specific. Protecting six-day mail delivery, addressing the onerous pre-funding mandate, preserving existing service standards and continuing to innovate and grow by using the Postal Service's valuable infrastructure and networks—none of these things are necessarily partisan-based.
Post & Parcel: Private sector parcel carrier Hermes has teamed up with Finland's state-owned postal operator Itella to provide a "complete" cross-border e-commerce solution into Russia. The strategic cooperation between Itella and Hermes Fulfillment will aim to provide e-commerce merchants in Western Europe with an easier way to access the Russian market. The company said research suggested Russian online retail is growing at 25% year-on-year, and that sales of USD 16.5bn seen in 2013 will rise to USD 50-70bn by 2020. Online retailers have only a 2% share of the overall retail market in Russia, the firms said, suggesting there was good growth potential in the market despite the current economic difficulties related to the Ukrainian situation.
Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Postal Service will add Sunday deliveries in major metropolitan areas starting this month in anticipation of a 12% rise in packages over the holidays as online orders surge. The agency, which already partners with Amazon.com Inc. for Sunday deliveries, said it will deliver to major cities and other high-volume areas seven days a week starting on Nov. 17 and running through Christmas Day.
The Media Online: The South African Post Office strike, now in its third month, has hit publishers hard as subscribers' magazines languish in a growing mountain of undelivered mail. Now business-to-business publishers are preparing to fight back on a number of fronts. One thing is for sure, though, they won't be using the Post Office in future, which will cost the cash-strapped parastatal hundreds of thousands of rands in lost income
BusinessWire: FedEx Office® announced today a collaboration with InnerWorkings, Inc., a leading marketing execution firm, to expand the range of professional print products available for commercial enterprise customers, and small businesses and consumers through FedEx Office retail locations.
PostCom Members!! The latest issue of PostCom's Postal Executive Summary has been posted on this site.
November 5, 2014
Post & Parcel: The Universal Postal Union has said it has developed a new global e-commerce solution that will be provided by a network of Posts from July 2015. The UN-affiliated international agency said it developed the solution "in record time" after a resolution to do so was adopted back in April by member countries. Last Friday, the UPU's Postal Operations Council approved specifications for the service, which will cover items up to 30kg in weight. The service is expected to feature track-and-trace capabilities and a five-business-day transit time from the moment an item reaches its destination country. It will not come with a signature on delivery feature, but the UPU said eventually consumers will be able to choose their preferred delivery option. The UPU's Postal Operations Council also validated a product returns service that will make it easier for consumers to return unwanted goods to online merchants abroad, the Berne-based agency said yesterday.
Copenhagen Post: Privately-owned advertisement distribution firms are accusing Post Danmark of using its state subsidies for postal distribution in order to finance its own advertisement distribution operations, financial daily Børsen reports. The allegations came about as the postal service announced plans to hike the price of postage for a standard letter to 9 kroner, yet charges less than 1 krone for an advertisement weighing the same. While not ruling out the possibility that Post Denmark was more efficient than they were, the privately owned firms argued it was unlikely the state-owned monopoly's cost were lower. Post Danmark defended the lower price, saying letter carriers needed to make deliveries to homes anyway, and that the cost of delivering the advertisement reflected the additional cost of logistics.
LBR Services: Australia based technology solution provider TZ has supplied, installed and commissioned parcel lockers at nine locations in Greater Chicago area for a major logistics company in the US. The name of the logistics firm has not been disclosed due to confidentiality obligations. The initial purchase order for the lockers was received by TZ in May 2014. The contract was secured by Telezygology, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the technology firm. Under the structured multi-year umbrella supply and service agreement, TZ will also be responsible for service and maintenance of the lockers.
RTE: Sinn Féin has said there are concerns that the planned postal code system could be "another Irish Water". Sinn Féin's transport spokesman Michael Colreavy told the joint Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee that he saw no evidence of an independent trial of the postcode structure for such a fundamental piece of infrastructure. He said he was concerned about the cost and over-reliance on consultants and "quite frankly" he was worried that it might be another Irish Water. Niall McDonnell from the Freight Transport Association said Eircode was of no use to people who deliver parcels or pallets and it was only a solution for letterboxes. Tom Carr from Pallet Express said he was among 100 hauliers around the country and he did not think any were approached about the technical or day-to-day working basis of the scheme. He told the committee they simply would not use the system if it was imposed on them and he understood the system ticked boxes for other industries around the country but not for transport. Mr Carr said because there was no sequencing "you couldn't load various delivery trucks in accordance with it". Mr McDonnell told the committee that Ireland needs a postcode but not any code. He said while Eircode is an excellent address database for direct mail, utilities and revenue, it was a bad postcode because it would assign two adjacent properties different randomly assigned codes.
Wall Street Journal: Forget UPS and the Postal Service, your next Amazon.com Inc. package may arrive in a taxi. The e-commerce giant this fall tested package delivery by licensed cab in San Francisco and Los Angeles using taxi-hailing mobile app Flywheel, according to people familiar with the matter. Amazon is studying the broader use of taxis as delivery vehicles, those people said. Taxis represent Amazon's latest experiment to speed package shipments to compete more directly with brick-and-mortar retailers, and to seek alternatives to United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service after shipping delays last Christmas.
Post & Parcel: Norway Post has said its cost-cutting efforts and restructuring have helped lift revenue and profits in the third quarter of the year. The state-owned Post said its revenues rose 4.3% in the nine months up to the end of September, to NOK 17.85bn (EUR 2.07bn), with reported pre-tax earnings up 4.4% year-on-year to NOK 520m (EUR 60.5m) in the year-to-date. But after transformation costs, profit after tax so far in 2013 is down 40% to NOK 214m (EUR 24.8m). The company said acquisitions helped with revenue growth.
Channel News Asia: The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) approved the recent increase in local and international postage rates because Singapore Post (SingPost) has been facing increasing labour and operation costs in the past few years, Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann, said in Parliament on Wednesday (Nov 5). Ms Sim was responding to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Lina Chiam, after postage rates increased by about four Singapore cents in October. Ms Sim said the rates SingPost pays to overseas postal operators has increased by about 40 per cent since 2010. The rates, which are determined by an international body, are set to increase by another 30 per cent by 2017. She added SingPost has not increased postage rates in eight years or cut costs, but had increased salaries while hiring older workers. It has also committed some S$100 million in service improvement measures such as mail sorting infrastructure.
Union-Bulletin: The U.S. Postal Service can't win. Or, at least, that's how those running the federal agency probably feel. #They are now getting heat from stamp purists who are ticked the Postal Service is issuing pop culture stamps — Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Batman and Harry Potter, for example — to make money. #The idea is for collectors and others, like Harry Potter fans, to buy the stamps and never use them. That's pure profit. So what's the Postal Service to do? #Selling stamps that won't be used seems a reasonable way to keep income flowing.
November 4, 2014
Reuters: Portugal's recently privatised postal service CTT reported on Tuesday a nearly 17 percent rise in its nine-month net profit, helped by its growing financial services business, and it announced a plan to set up a postal bank.
Washington Free Beacon: The chairman of the agency that regulates the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service has been racking up tens of thousands dollars for exotic foreign trips on taxpayer dime, according to travel records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. Between 2012 and 2013, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway spent over $36,000 on official travel to hot spots such as Rio de Janeiro and Doha—despite internal criticism and prior efforts by lawmakers to reign in her spending. These trips occurred after a February 2012 Washington Post investigation into Goldway's travel expenses. The Post reported that she had spent over $70,000 on trips since 1998, prompting both public and private admonishments from Congress.
Reason: For certain, the mail-tracking controversy underscores the importance of independent inspectors general and the Freedom of Information Act. It was the USPS IG who conducted the audit and refused the Postal Service's request to keep it hidden from the public. FOIA helped the Times pry loose additional information about the mail cover program.
eCommerceBytes: eBay's doing everything it can to encourage sellers to purchase online postage on its site for their eBay orders. Today, it announced that all sellers can get its best available USPS commercial shipping rates during the holidays on domestic Priority and Priority Express shipping when using eBay labels.
Digital Journal: Shipping costs to Alaska can be prohibitive, and many people who wish to give the gift of fresh Florida citrus to family and friends living in Alaska have been hindered by the high cost of postage. However, Florida Fruit Shippers® has now made it even easier to get fresh Florida citrus to Alaska by offering lower shipping costs. For a limited time, those who wish to ship a gift pack to Alaska can do so for the same price as those shipped to the continental United States. By taking advantage of United States Postal Service fixed rate express shipping options, Florida Fruit Shippers® is now able to offer the "Alaska Pack," an economical 15-pound jumbo tray pack equivalent, for a shipping rate the same as that of states in the Lower 48.
Post & Parcel: Finland's national postal operator has seen its sales down 4.8% in its latest quarter, as it deals with a faltering economy and the "alarming" decline in mail volumes. The company said "intense" competition in the logistics market, the impact of Russia's sanctions-related economic recession and currency movements helped bring its revenue down to EUR 435.1m for the quarter. The dip helped bring the year-to-date revenue for state-owned Itella down 5.6% year-on-year to EUR 1.37bn.
WFMY: Authorities say be wary of people you meet on line especially if they start asking for favors. Provost said, "If they ask you to do things they could easily do themselves that is another red flag." Postal inspectors also warn all consumers to be wary about job opportunities and even romantic relationships found on the internet. In the case of jobs, do your research. Find out more about the company and check with the better business bureau to see if there have been any complaints. In the case of matters of the heart, be cautious of anyone asking you to send or be a part of transactions.
TruckingInfo: The Teamsters Union chalked up its second win at FedEx Freight when a group of 113 drivers at the company's South Brunswick, N.J., terminal voted Friday to join Teamsters Local 701 in a 66-to-42 decision. This victory follows the union's first win at the company, when drivers at the FedEx Freight terminal in Croydon, Pa., voted Oct. 14 to join Local 107 in Philadelphia by a vote of 26-18. However, the union lost a vote in October at the company's Cinnaminson, New Jersey, facility and canceled a vote set for last Friday at the FedEx Freight Middletown, Pa., terminal. FedEx claimed the union cancelled the vote because it knew drivers would vote against union representation. Other Teamsters organization campaigns are under way at FedEx Freight and at rival Con-way Freight, where the union has won two out of the past four organizing elections. According to the Wall Street Journal, at least another five votes are scheduled at FedEx Freight facilities in the coming weeks, including at terminals in Indianapolis and Nashville.
ITWeb: In a recent blog post, South African businessman, philanthropist and social commentator, Howard Feldman, wrote: "Imagine my surprise when I heard the South African Post Office was on strike. And to make it worse, they have downed tools for the last three months! I am appalled. How could I have missed this? The South African Post Office has been on strike for nearly three months, and I am not sure anyone has noticed. Can you imagine this sort of thing happening in the UK. Prime ministers would be asked to resign, people would have shaken their unshakable heads… But not to overstate the obvious, that is because they actually have a postal service." He continues: "It is simply because they have made themselves irrelevant. Like blacksmiths and telex operators, I wonder if there is a future in postal mail and I wonder if the strike is even worth resolving… It seems to me that the SA Post Office has manoeuvred itself into redundancy."
eCommerceBytes: The U.S. Postal Service is expecting much higher package volume this holiday season - roughly 12-14% percent more than last year. That includes packages that are delivered on Christmas Day - in fact, last year, the USPS delivered over 75,000 packages on December 25th. We checked in with Cliff Rucker, United States Postal Service Vice President of Sales, to learn more about this year's holiday shopping season. We also asked him about the Postal Service's response to changes that rival carriers are implementing next year called dim weight (dimensional weight), including a new advertising campaign. Cliff Rucker oversees the direction and management of the Sales organization, including market competitiveness, business development, and sales for all commercial mailers, including small, mid - sized and large businesses. He is also primarily responsible for meeting the Postal Service's customer acquisition and revenue goals.
From theFederal Register:
New York Times: A leading technology website, CNET, is expanding into a platform that its users praise as portable, accessible and affordable. And unlike tablets, smartphones or laptops, it is also good for squishing bugs. The platform is print periodicals, as CNET brings out on Monday a magazine, also named CNET. "The future for this brand is multiplatform," said Jim Lanzone, president and chief executive of CBS Interactive, because "we know the audience wants to experience CNET in multiple ways."
Daily News Egypt: Egypt Post will develop 400 second-class post offices under the organisation's investment plan for fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015, said Refaat Shebal, vice chairman of Egypt Post's Board of Directors. He added that Egypt Post has already developed 400 second-class post offices during FY 2013/2014. In statements to Daily News Egypt, he said post offices are divided into three classes according to profits and services offered, and the number of clients that patronise the office. A total of 400 first-class offices, 400 second class offices, and 3,200 third class offices have been developed. According to Shebal, the investment plan to develop post offices will be concluded by the end of 2017, and encompass a total of 4,000 offices.
Quad Graphics: Joe Schick responds to Sen. Tom Carper's interview with Republic 3.0 -- "While we agree with Senator Carper that Congress needs to act during the lame-duck session following the November elections, we are also adamant to make sure the reform is meaningful for mailers, rather than making the current situation worse. However, we disagree with his assumptions related to pricing. The CPI price cap has not only protected mailers from the huge price increases – which was the reality and trend through 2007 – while providing predictability, but it also moved the USPS into a cost-control mindset. Without it, there would be no price constraints and less incentive for the Postal Service to continue to manage and reduce costs going forward."
Times of India: Welcome back to the age of the snail mail. Rajesh Patel, a resident of Satellite, had sent a speed post to Chennai on October 9, but the mail has not yet reached the recipient. Officials say that the renovation work at the Rail Mail Service is delaying mails being dispatched from the city. In fact, even normal mails sent during the festival are lying on platform number 12 of the Ahmedabad railway station. The railway platform, which is a metre gauge platform, is overflowing with bags containing mails, including speed posts. An official of the Ahmedabad Post says, "The entry to Rail Mail Service near platform 1 is closed for renovation, and hence for the past 20 days, mails are being sent to platform 12." This platform does not have a lift nor access to mail platforms of broad gauge, he said. "As a result, mails are not being loaded on to the trains."
November 3, 2014
Postal Vision 2020: We know there is a lot going on in the world, but the announcement by the Postal Service that they would not be raising postage rates in January is news that has not been picked up by the media. Everybody knows the Postal Service is broke. Or is it, really? What is going on? Good economic news no longer grabs headlines. The usual story line is that the Postal Service is failing. It is not, and the commonly accepted wisdom is wrong. is this not 8Good news doesn't grab the headlines, and it's hard for many people to grasp after literally years of bad news. Nothing else seems to work right these days, but the Postal Service does.
Post & Parcel: Austria Post has launched a new service for Austrians wanting to make online orders from stores in the US and Britain who don't traditionally ship to Austria. The website www.buybuy.at provides customers from Austria with a local delivery address in the US or UK after a single free registration. Customers can immediately use the domestic address for online orders in the US and UK. The ordered goods are then sent to a local postal logistics centers in the US or the UK and kept in custody until the customs formalities are completed. The duty-free and tax-related explanation is handled simply and conveniently via www.buybuy.at, then the packet is sent and delivered to Austria. Packages are delivered usually within 8-10 business days from the USA or 4-6 business days from the UK.
Wall Street Journal: For many Beijing residents, the upcoming APEC forum means a six-day holiday and—if the government has its way—hopefully bluer skies. But the meeting of world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the Chinese capital in less than two weeks also could mean hiccups for online retail addicts, as it falls in the middle of China's e-commerce version of Black Friday. According to a State Post spokesman quoted in People's Daily this week, express deliveries in Beijing and surrounding areas "cannot be guaranteed" during the forum. Express delivery is China a massive business. As of this Oct. 20, the country's system of express delivery workers have delivered some 100 billion items, according to postal bureau data cited by the official Xinhua News Agency. In Chinese cities, delivery wagons known as kuaidi schlepping goods purchased online to homes and offices are a common sight.
SavethePostOffice: Almost every day over the past year, there's been a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new Village Post Office. There are hundreds of stories in local newspapers about these grand openings. The Postal Service clearly thinks that Village Post Offices play an important role in its vision of the future. But it's not exactly clear what function they really serve. At this point, there are over 760 VPOs in operation. Nearly all of them just sell stamps and give out flat-rate boxes. Despite the name, they're not really "post offices." The Postal Service chose to call them that because they were originally intended to replace real post offices. The Postal Service wanted small town communities to feel that while they might be losing their post office, they would be getting a good-old-fashioned "Village Post Office" instead. There would still be a warm place in town to meet and greet the neighbors. Now the Postal Service says that VPOs are not intended to replace post offices. Rather, they provide some added convenience to customers who can't get to the post office when it's open — a common problem now that POStPlan has reduced hours at nearly 13,000 post offices.
Huffington Post: The U.S. Postal Service has a reputation for being unstoppable. And while rain, snow and gloom of night can't stop the U.S. mail, the heat just might. The Council on Environmental Quality, the White House office overseeing environmental issues, released plans on Friday from 38 federal agencies that detail how they each may need to adapt to climate change. The Postal Service, however, has some worries of its own. The Postal Service's climate adaptation plan, which it completed in June, elaborates further, noting that major precipitation events and more days with temperatures that are hotter than average could pose challenges for their employees. And given that nearly 40 percent of the United States population lives in coastal areas, sea level rise driven by climate change could put many of the service's facilities and staff in risky areas. The Postal Service says in its report that it is currently reviewing its facility locations and making decisions about future leases and construction. It is also assessing how rising temperatures might affect its equipment.
Siouxland Matters: The deadline is just around the corner for those looking to mail in their absentee ballots and the postal service is doing extra to make sure every vote counts. "We started communicating early to heighten the awareness," said Jan Dorsey, a marketing manager with the U.S. Postal Service in the Hawkeye District. Dorsey said they are staffed accordingly to process all mail associated with the election.
Stuff: More than 1000 NZ Post managers and back office staff are now being guaranteed performance- based pay, despite a major redundancy programme. The move, which protects the salaries of white-collar staff from a structural decline in mail volumes, comes as it prepares to cut 2000 jobs, mainly from its frontline postal workforce over five years. On Friday, NZ Post's annual report disclosed that, since July, there had been changes to the way managers and "specialist" staff were paid. "For most managers . . . the current at-risk/incentive component of remuneration will be cashed-up and added to salary." For the past decade, NZ Post withheld a chunk of salaries, to be paid out based on individual performance and that of the group as a whole.
eCommerceBytes: Canada's postal service is preparing for the busy holiday season and will deliver packages on weekends. Starting November 2, Canada Post will be delivering parcels on weekends, which translates into approximately 200,000 delivery hours across Canada over the holiday period. Canada Post, which delivers two out of three parcels ordered online, has significantly boosted its seasonal resources and revamped its operations to ensure that retailers can meet customer expectations. Holiday preparations include operating its parcel and mail processing 24/7 inside its major facilities as of November 2 and hiring over 3,000 seasonal workers.
Finnbay: "Itella's Net Sales Decreased – Profitable Operating Result In Russia"
DutchNews: Postal company PostNL booked a slight increase in sales in the third quarter of this year following an 8% increase in parcel post. Sales reached €998m, while net profit fell from €218m to €12m. Last year's profit figure includes the proceeds from the sale of TNT Express. Excluding this, net profit rose from €2m to €8m over the year The improved performance is due to cost efficiency, more expensive stamps and lower costs for pensions and reorganisation, PostNL said. While the number of letters and cards fell by 11%, parcel post is up due to the shift towards online shopping. The cost of stamps will rise again next year.
Daily Mail: Dutch mail company PostNL reported increased profits in the third quarter but warned pension funding costs and the poor share price performance of its stake in logistics company TNT Express could delay a return to dividend payments.
Gizmodo: AusPost's ShopMate service is in a similar vein to Shipito, MyUS and ShipToMe, but rather than relying on international courier services like UPS and FedEx, ShopMate uses the United States Postal Service to get parcels to Aussie shores and then its own network of delivery centres and postal deliverers — including the excellent postal locker setup that lets you pick up your deliveries from a petrol station, convenience store or after-hours post office without waiting around at home all day. Once you've created an account at ShopMate, you're assigned a unique US postal address, to which you send the purchases that you make when shopping online at a US retailer — plenty of which offer free shipping on purchases over a certain value to their continental US customers. Once parcels arrive at your US address — actually an Australia Post-associated logistics warehouse — it's catalogued, and then forwarded onto you in Australia within 5-8 days once you make a Customs declaration and pay the associated fees.
November 2, 2014
Dead Tree Edition: Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe made a statement this week demonstrating that postal executives' views about weekend delivery of packages have changed significantly in the past four years. "The future will be a seven-day package world and a five-day mail world," a USA Today article quoted Donahoe as saying.
November 1, 2014
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the Government Accountability Office released its report on the effects of the U.S. Postal Service's changes to mail delivery standards: "Reducing mail delivery standards reduces Americans' faith in the Postal Service and jeopardizes the Service's future. This report shows what almost everyone outside the Postal Service already knows: the Service's efforts to reduce delivery standards are keeping families and businesses from getting the services they need and the effects are being felt throughout rural America. I will keep working to improve the Postal Service so that it can provide the services that Montanans and all Americans expect and deserve."
Linns: For most of his 35 years with the federal government, Stephen M. Kearney was a financial analyst for the United States Postal Services. As stamp collectors might recall, Kearney spent two of his final years (2011-12) running the agency's stamp program. For the man with a master of business administration degree from George Washington University, it was a sharp departure from minding the numbers on the financial side. Now Kearney has returned to his financial roots. As the executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, he has become one of Washington's most important postal commentators. One of his major tasks is to offer alliance members insight into the Postal Service's much-publicized money problems. Since Kearney filled most every executive job on the Postal Service's financial side, few people outside the agency are better qualified to write about postal finances. That has made Kearney's weekly "Alliance Report" must reading in Washington and, I suspect, at Postal Service headquarters.
From theFederal Register:
Memphis Business Journal: In a news release, FedEx Freight says the Teamsters union has pulled its petition at the North Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, facility. FedEx Freight has been notified by the National Labor Relations Board that the election at North Harrisburg — previously scheduled for tomorrow — has been officially cancelled. Earlier this month, the drivers of FedEx Freight's Philadelphia terminal voted to approve the formation of a Teamsters union. The vote comes after drivers rejected a similar proposal to unionize in New Jersey.
Memphis Business Journal: FedEx Express says it has requested assistance from the National Mediation Board in its ongoing pilot negotiations. The FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) subsidiary has been in a contract negotiation with its pilots for more than a year and now it's looking for some assistance. National Mediation Board oversees labor agreements for entities covered by the Railway Labor Act, which includes "airlines, railroads and express companies."
Air Cargo World: After reporting a €47 million operating income loss for the third quarter, compared to a €3 million profit for last year's Q3, Dutch express delivery firm TNT Express NV said it will roll out a new platform allowing pharmaceutical customers to track their sensitive shipments from end to end throughout the process. During Monday's earnings call, TNT also announced a four-year, €185 million initiative to beef up the courier's European road network, plus an ongoing effort to improve customer service. The new platform, called TrialDat, is a web-based data management tool designed for managing shipments in the lucrative life sciences sector. By enabling customers to see detailed views of the entire shipping process and create their own customized reports, TrialDat is expected to bring more visibility to the complex supply chain of the clinical research industry.
WLOS: The last minute push by political campaigns before Election Day is clogging up our mailboxes and putting a strain on the Postal Service. Postal workers say more political mailers are going out than ever before, and that may have an affect on how timely our mail is delivered.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Washington Post: The cloistered world of postage stamps is roiling again with a rare public airing of dissent in the ranks of the secretive committee of prominent Americans that chooses new stamp images. Cary R. Brick writes in a column in the current issue of Linn's Stamp News that new stamp subjects are being held hostage by "pie-in-the-sky marketers." "They come from the corporate world of soft drinks and Wal-Marts," Brick, a 30-year chief of staff in the House of Representatives before his appointment to the stamp panel, wrote. "They are still at the table running the show, and I'm now just another consumer…But I still care deeply about the stamp program, as do philatelists and tens of millions of Americans who use the mail." This airing of dirty laundry in the small but passionate stamp community, headlined "Let's not throw traditional stamps into the CSAC dumpster," draws another fault line in an ongoing debate over whether the cash-poor Postal Service should pursue commercial stamp subjects to lure new collectors and revenue at the expense of more enduring cultural images.
Entrepreneur: Just the other day the United States Postal Service made headlines by getting into the grocery delivery business. Yes, at a time when most people are writing off the organization as old and obsolete, it's not only saying no to that notion but continuing to reinvent itself. The side gig consists of delivering groceries from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. for Amazon. The two-year market test, called Customized Delivery, is restricted to San Francisco but could expand nationwide. What many people may not know is that the postal service also serves as a subcontractor for Federal Express and the United Parcel Service, delivering 2 million packages a day on average for the two other shipping giants. So don't count the postal service as out just yet because it's doing whatever it takes to stay innovative and relevant in an age when online messaging has overtaken the way Americans choose to communicate. The organization is embracing change. It's pivoting to stay top of mind and focusing on what it can do. Other companies as well as entrepreneurs should take note.
Reminder: There are two Pre-MTAC Focus Session webinars scheduled for MTAC members and Participants only next week: (1) Wednesday, November 5--Mail Entry Roadmap Update and the Mailer Scorecard (2) Thursday, November 6—Mail Prep and Entry Focus Session Registration required.
Roll Call: Away from the din of the campaign, House and Senate appropriations staffers are quietly laying the groundwork for an ambitious wrap-up spending package in the lame duck. The push is coming in part from Republican leaders, who are making the case that they want to clear the decks for the 114th Congress and the prospect of Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell becoming Senate majority leader. "We need to do an omnibus bill funding the entire government for the rest of the year, and get that whole business behind us, so that come January, [McConnell] will have a clean slate rather than looking backwards to old fights that we could look forward to making positive changes," House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview Thursday.
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