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Postal News from January 2004

January 31, 2004 -- Still to come on the postal reform congressional hearings circuit:

January 31, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "Singapore's postal services agency is planning to go beyond delivering letters and parcels to offer pawnbroking services, a spokeswoman for Singapore Post Ltd. (SingPost) said."

January 31, 2004 -- The Hindu Business Line has reported that "the Department of Posts (DoP) has introduced nationwide e-post service with a view to bridging the digital divide and bringing the benefit of the Internet technology to the people living in the rural and other remote areas."

January 31, 2004 -- In the latest issue of Mail Automation News, Chris Lien notes that "we've heard this many times, that a personalized mail piece will almost always get more attention than a generic one. That's what one-to-one marketing is all about. But what happens when a mail piece becomes too personal? Well, what we're now beginning to see across the mailing industry is that what was once locally accepted as Standard Mail is now being "upclassed" to First and with it comes much higher postage."

January 31, 2004 -- European sources have reported that "Royal Mail has restructured its marketing team under marketing director Paul Rich as it prepares for competition from market entrants such as Deutsche Post and TPG."

January 30, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., has reported a rise in quarterly earnings, excluding one-time items, on strong domestic and international volume increases."

January 30, 2004 -- As the Federal Times has noted, "about a quarter-million postal employees will be eligible for retirement in the next five years, Postmaster General John Potter told the House Government Reform Committee Jan. 28. And the U.S. Postal Service plans to take advantage of those impending retirements to further reduce the work force, Potter said, though he did not offer any estimates of how much the payroll might be cut."

January 30, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that:

January 30, 2004 -- Keralanext (India) has reported that "postal services including the RMS in the entire northern belt of Kerala remained paralysed as the indefinite strike by employees to protest against the alleged privatisation move entered the seventh day on Friday."

January 30, 2004 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:

Business Mailers Review is published biweekly by Sedgwick Publishing Co. This is one of the best postal newsletters you'll find published in this country. There's much more to each issue than the teaser you see here. For subscription information, check the BMR web site.

January 30, 2004 -- The International Herald Tribune has reported that "the attractive little Musee de la Poste in the Montparnasse neighborhood has for 20 years been showing objects related to the admirable French postal system - many, many stamps, of course, but also the story of mail delivery through the ages, as well as such objects as the metal pincer that until the mid-19th century held letters from plague-stricken regions while they were disinfected in boiling vinegar. The museum has recently surged into high drama with a story of unsung heroism and sacrifice: a temporary show called "Pigeon Vole!" (Fly, Pigeon!) dedicated to the carrier pigeon."

January 29, 2004 -- Deepika (India) has reported that "over 6,00,000 Indian postal employees will go on a one-day strike on February 24 in support of their demands."

January 29, 2004 -- The Derby Evening Telegraph has reported that "postal workers have voted to accept a deal aimed at ending a long running dispute over pay. Members of the Communication Workers Union voted by more than 2-1 in favour of a deal covering pay, London Weighting allowances and working practices."

January 29, 2004 -- According to the Denver Post, the city of Denver has begun recycling discarded advertising mail.

January 29, 2004 -- Led by strong volume gains both in the United States and overseas and significant margin improvement within its international operation, UPS has reported a 19% jump in adjusted net income for the fourth quarter after excluding certain items that affect the year-ago comparison. The quarter's performance capped a record year for volume. UPS delivered 3.44 billion packages in 2003, or an average 13.64 million per day.

January 29, 2004 -- Chris Mahoney, senior vice president of global transportation services, spoke at the Canada Air Transport Policy Conference in Ottawa. Mahoney emphasized the importance of air cargo services in discussions on aviation liberalization. Key elements of his address were: the significance of air cargo in the global economy; air cargo as a supply chain facilitator and the role aviation liberalization will play in meeting increasing customer demands.

January 29, 2004 -- According to the Russia Journal, "FedEx has confirmed to TRJ that it is currently facing disruptions to its delivery service from and to Russia, but stressed their causes do not have anything to do with the Russian Customs Committee or with the introduction of a newly adopted customs law in Russia."

January 29, 2004 -- According to Reuters, "U.S. lawmakers warned on Wednesday that taxpayers might need to bail out the U.S. Postal Service unless drastic legislative changes are made to allow the embattled agency to withstand attacks from the Internet and private carriers."

January 29, 2004 -- AFX has reported that "the French senate overnight passed a bill to liberalise the country's postal services. The legislation will allow rivals to establish alternative postal services, initially for letters and, from next year, the state postal monopoly to set up banking and insurance operations."

January 29, 2004 -- The New York Times has reported that "the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation yesterday that would save companies an estimated $80 billion on their pension contributions over the next two years, but it was unclear whether the Bush administration would support the measure. United Parcel Service has already backed away from a measure addressing its pension concerns, saying it does not think the political climate is right. Last year, U.P.S. had garnered considerable support on the Hill for a measure that would have limited its exposure to a type of pension obligations stemming from its participation in plans run by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But that measure was not included in the bill passed yesterday, and a U.P.S. spokesman said the company had decided the chances for such a measure in an election year were poor."

January 29, 2004 -- As GovExec.com has noted, "postal Service officials asked Congress Wednesday to overturn a provision requiring the agency to pay employees' military service pension benefits." See also the Associated Press, Forbes, Direct, and DM News.

January 29, 2004 -- InformationWeek has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is at risk as use of E-mail, wireless devices, and the Internet increase, Comptroller General David Walker said Wednesday in prepared testimony before a special House Government Reform Committee panel on postal reform and oversight. The Postal Service also faces increased competition from private delivery companies, some of which have established IT-intensive national ground-delivery systems and a national network of retail facilities. "In this new environment," Walker said, "unless the service's operating expenses can be reduced correspondingly, with a rightsizing of both its infrastructure and workforce, it is questionable whether affordable universal mail service can be sustained over the long term. Raising postal rates to offset this trend may provide an immediate boost to the service's revenues, but over the longer term will likely accelerate the transition of mailed communications and payments to electronic alternatives, including the Internet."

January 29, 2004 -- The Times of India has reported that "The services of the centralised Hyderabad Customer Care Centre functioning from the office of the chief postmaster-general, Abids will be decentralised in respective postal divisions in the city with effect from February 2, 2004 . The decentralisation will help in addressing the increasing number of grievances reported at the centre."

January 29, 2004 -- According to the Universal Postal Union's Direct Mail Advisory Board:

The Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB) is a group of postal and industry organizations, created to foster the development and stimulate the world-wide growth of Direct Mail Markets through strengthening of valued partnerships in the industry. It is part of the Universal Postal Union’s Direct Mail Markets Development Program. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact:Raquel Ferrari, Project Manager, Direct Mail, Directorate of Markets, International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union, raquel.ferrari@upu.int.

January 28, 2004 -- From the House Committee on Government Reform hearing on the Postal Service:

January 28, 2004 -- Le Monde (France) has reported that "the French government is expected to include authorisation for the creation of a fully functioning bank by La Poste, the national postal services group, in its 2003-2007 development plan for the public company."

January 28, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "SUD-PTT, the second largest trade union for La Poste, the French postal service, has criticised the French government's proposed amendment of its plans for the creation of a postal bank in 2005."

January 28, 2004 -- The Herald Sun (Australia) has reported that "parcel deliveries could be hit by a 24-hour strike at the state's parcel sorting centre today. About 250 sorters and drivers are expected to walk out this morning. The strike follows Australia Post's decision to move the parcel sorting centre from Port Melbourne to Ardeer."

January 28, 2004 -- As Congress opens debate over postal reform, a new postal advocacy group called Postal Reform in the Public Interest has been formed. The group will be represented by Bob Walker, former congressman and member of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service. Postal Reform in the Public Interest represents First Class and small volume mailers. The group supports the principles outlined in the President's Commission's report, including financial transparency, and robust regulatory oversight similar to public utilities commission regulation of other public monopolies. The organizing members include American Business Media, the Greeting Card Association, the Newspaper Association of America, and The McGraw-Hill Companies.

January 28, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has filed an appeal with the Board of Actuaries. The USPS has noted that when OPM calculated the Postal Service's share of the CSRS obligation in anticipation of PL 108-18, it used a different actuarial formula than the one OPM used for years which allocated a larger share to the USPS. The difference between the old method and the current OPM method represents $ 86 Billion! And the $ 27 Billion that was transferred for military and volunteer service time is based on the new OPM method. Under the old method the military benefits amount would be smaller. As a additional result, the projected $ 78 Billion that was identified in the CSRS legislation as over funding is actually greatly understated compared to the amount that would have resulted if OPM had used the allocation methodology that it used in the past.

January 28, 2004 -- "Reform, Liberalisation and Building Customer Relationships" will be high on the agenda for this year's World Mail & Express Americas event, taking place in Miami in December. The conference promises to be a hotbed for all the postal and express issues in both North American and Latin American markets.

January 28, 2004 -- Business Europe has reported that "Royal Mail has unveiled a new service for SMEs that allows bosses to use direct marketing more effectively. The company has re-launched its website Direct Mail (DM) Online, which offers new features and lets small businesses plan, design and send promotional mail to selected customers. It says the tool is cost-effective but can win extra sales for companies. It says companies that correspond with customers by mail see a response rate of over 10%.

January 28, 2004 -- Clarinet Systems is providing their EthIR LAN infrared (IR) wireless LAN access system for UPS drivers' DIAD III (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) handheld computers in UPS facilities around the U.S. Built specifically for UPS by Motorola, UPS uses approximately 70000 DIAD devices in the field, which mostly are DIAD IIIs.

January 28, 2004 -- The Federal Times has reported that "several large magazine publishers are seeking approval to take over more mail-processing work from the U.S. Postal Service in exchange for cheaper mailing rates. If successful, the change could mean periodical mailers will perform work now done at Postal Service facilities — sorting, applying bar codes, and other work — a process known as work sharing. And some advertising mailers reportedly are seeking similar work-sharing arrangements for standard, or advertising, mail, which makes up a much larger portion of the Postal Service’s business. If successful, these arrangements could bring additional downsizing pressures upon the Postal Service work force and processing operations."

January 28, 2004 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:

Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..

January 28, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that "Congress and the Bush administration are poised to take a hard look at the pension and retirement health care benefits that would be provided to 800,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) have asked the Postal Service and the Office of Personnel Management to study the workforce-related recommendations made by the White House commission and issue reports by March 1."

January 28, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service is working to clarify some of the gray areas of what is defined as First-Class mail in an effort to move mail into the First-Class Mail category, the agency’s most profitable product that has been experiencing declining volume, sources told DM News. See also the report by Direct.

January 28, 2004 -- According to Transport Intelligence, "Deutsche Post stated aim is to become a major player in the UK postal market as it becomes increasingly liberalised. The acquisition of a company with a licence to operate gives Deutsche Post an important foothold in the market. Deutsche Post's move may just be the start of an acquisitive strategy to build market share at the expense of Royal Mail. It is believed that both TPG and Deutsche Post have been involved in the bidding process for Hays postal business, DX Mail, which has been put up for sale by its parent company following the award of a seven year licence. Despite the competition, Royal Mail remains completely dominant, with about a 99.75% market share."

January 28, 2004 -- According to RTE News (Ireland), "An Post workers have not ruled out industrial action in a bid to force Communications Minister Dermot Ahern to establish an Employee Share Ownership Plan at the company."

January 28, 2004 -- Japan Today has reported that "a government panel in charge of postal services policy on Tuesday approved an application by Nippon Express Co to launch a special mail delivery service."

January 31, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "Singapore's postal services agency is planning to go beyond delivering letters and parcels to offer pawnbroking services, a spokeswoman for Singapore Post Ltd. (SingPost) said."

January 31, 2004 -- The Hindu Business Line has reported that "the Department of Posts (DoP) has introduced nationwide e-post service with a view to bridging the digital divide and bringing the benefit of the Internet technology to the people living in the rural and other remote areas."

January 31, 2004 -- In the latest issue of Mail Automation News, Chris Lien notes that "we've heard this many times, that a personalized mail piece will almost always get more attention than a generic one. That's what one-to-one marketing is all about. But what happens when a mail piece becomes too personal? Well, what we're now beginning to see across the mailing industry is that what was once locally accepted as Standard Mail is now being "upclassed" to First and with it comes much higher postage."

January 31, 2004 -- European sources have reported that "Royal Mail has restructured its marketing team under marketing director Paul Rich as it prepares for competition from market entrants such as Deutsche Post and TPG."

January 30, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., has reported a rise in quarterly earnings, excluding one-time items, on strong domestic and international volume increases."

January 30, 2004 -- As the Federal Times has noted, "about a quarter-million postal employees will be eligible for retirement in the next five years, Postmaster General John Potter told the House Government Reform Committee Jan. 28. And the U.S. Postal Service plans to take advantage of those impending retirements to further reduce the work force, Potter said, though he did not offer any estimates of how much the payroll might be cut."

January 30, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that:

January 30, 2004 -- Keralanext (India) has reported that "postal services including the RMS in the entire northern belt of Kerala remained paralysed as the indefinite strike by employees to protest against the alleged privatisation move entered the seventh day on Friday."

January 30, 2004 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:

Business Mailers Review is published biweekly by Sedgwick Publishing Co. This is one of the best postal newsletters you'll find published in this country. There's much more to each issue than the teaser you see here. For subscription information, check the BMR web site.

January 30, 2004 -- The International Herald Tribune has reported that "the attractive little Musee de la Poste in the Montparnasse neighborhood has for 20 years been showing objects related to the admirable French postal system - many, many stamps, of course, but also the story of mail delivery through the ages, as well as such objects as the metal pincer that until the mid-19th century held letters from plague-stricken regions while they were disinfected in boiling vinegar. The museum has recently surged into high drama with a story of unsung heroism and sacrifice: a temporary show called "Pigeon Vole!" (Fly, Pigeon!) dedicated to the carrier pigeon."

January 29, 2004 -- Deepika (India) has reported that "over 6,00,000 Indian postal employees will go on a one-day strike on February 24 in support of their demands."

January 29, 2004 -- The Derby Evening Telegraph has reported that "postal workers have voted to accept a deal aimed at ending a long running dispute over pay. Members of the Communication Workers Union voted by more than 2-1 in favour of a deal covering pay, London Weighting allowances and working practices."

January 29, 2004 -- According to the Denver Post, the city of Denver has begun recycling discarded advertising mail.

January 29, 2004 -- Led by strong volume gains both in the United States and overseas and significant margin improvement within its international operation, UPS has reported a 19% jump in adjusted net income for the fourth quarter after excluding certain items that affect the year-ago comparison. The quarter's performance capped a record year for volume. UPS delivered 3.44 billion packages in 2003, or an average 13.64 million per day.

January 29, 2004 -- Chris Mahoney, senior vice president of global transportation services, spoke at the Canada Air Transport Policy Conference in Ottawa. Mahoney emphasized the importance of air cargo services in discussions on aviation liberalization. Key elements of his address were: the significance of air cargo in the global economy; air cargo as a supply chain facilitator and the role aviation liberalization will play in meeting increasing customer demands.

January 29, 2004 -- According to the Russia Journal, "FedEx has confirmed to TRJ that it is currently facing disruptions to its delivery service from and to Russia, but stressed their causes do not have anything to do with the Russian Customs Committee or with the introduction of a newly adopted customs law in Russia."

January 29, 2004 -- According to Reuters, "U.S. lawmakers warned on Wednesday that taxpayers might need to bail out the U.S. Postal Service unless drastic legislative changes are made to allow the embattled agency to withstand attacks from the Internet and private carriers."

January 29, 2004 -- AFX has reported that "the French senate overnight passed a bill to liberalise the country's postal services. The legislation will allow rivals to establish alternative postal services, initially for letters and, from next year, the state postal monopoly to set up banking and insurance operations."

January 29, 2004 -- The New York Times has reported that "the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation yesterday that would save companies an estimated $80 billion on their pension contributions over the next two years, but it was unclear whether the Bush administration would support the measure. United Parcel Service has already backed away from a measure addressing its pension concerns, saying it does not think the political climate is right. Last year, U.P.S. had garnered considerable support on the Hill for a measure that would have limited its exposure to a type of pension obligations stemming from its participation in plans run by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. But that measure was not included in the bill passed yesterday, and a U.P.S. spokesman said the company had decided the chances for such a measure in an election year were poor."

January 29, 2004 -- As GovExec.com has noted, "postal Service officials asked Congress Wednesday to overturn a provision requiring the agency to pay employees' military service pension benefits." See also the Associated Press, Forbes, Direct, and DM News.

January 29, 2004 -- InformationWeek has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is at risk as use of E-mail, wireless devices, and the Internet increase, Comptroller General David Walker said Wednesday in prepared testimony before a special House Government Reform Committee panel on postal reform and oversight. The Postal Service also faces increased competition from private delivery companies, some of which have established IT-intensive national ground-delivery systems and a national network of retail facilities. "In this new environment," Walker said, "unless the service's operating expenses can be reduced correspondingly, with a rightsizing of both its infrastructure and workforce, it is questionable whether affordable universal mail service can be sustained over the long term. Raising postal rates to offset this trend may provide an immediate boost to the service's revenues, but over the longer term will likely accelerate the transition of mailed communications and payments to electronic alternatives, including the Internet."

January 29, 2004 -- The Times of India has reported that "The services of the centralised Hyderabad Customer Care Centre functioning from the office of the chief postmaster-general, Abids will be decentralised in respective postal divisions in the city with effect from February 2, 2004 . The decentralisation will help in addressing the increasing number of grievances reported at the centre."

January 29, 2004 -- According to the Universal Postal Union's Direct Mail Advisory Board:

The Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB) is a group of postal and industry organizations, created to foster the development and stimulate the world-wide growth of Direct Mail Markets through strengthening of valued partnerships in the industry. It is part of the Universal Postal Union’s Direct Mail Markets Development Program. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact:Raquel Ferrari, Project Manager, Direct Mail, Directorate of Markets, International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union, raquel.ferrari@upu.int.

January 28, 2004 -- From the House Committee on Government Reform hearing on the Postal Service:

January 28, 2004 -- Le Monde (France) has reported that "the French government is expected to include authorisation for the creation of a fully functioning bank by La Poste, the national postal services group, in its 2003-2007 development plan for the public company."

January 28, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "SUD-PTT, the second largest trade union for La Poste, the French postal service, has criticised the French government's proposed amendment of its plans for the creation of a postal bank in 2005."

January 28, 2004 -- The Herald Sun (Australia) has reported that "parcel deliveries could be hit by a 24-hour strike at the state's parcel sorting centre today. About 250 sorters and drivers are expected to walk out this morning. The strike follows Australia Post's decision to move the parcel sorting centre from Port Melbourne to Ardeer."

January 28, 2004 -- As Congress opens debate over postal reform, a new postal advocacy group called Postal Reform in the Public Interest has been formed. The group will be represented by Bob Walker, former congressman and member of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service. Postal Reform in the Public Interest represents First Class and small volume mailers. The group supports the principles outlined in the President's Commission's report, including financial transparency, and robust regulatory oversight similar to public utilities commission regulation of other public monopolies. The organizing members include American Business Media, the Greeting Card Association, the Newspaper Association of America, and The McGraw-Hill Companies.

January 28, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has filed an appeal with the Board of Actuaries. The USPS has noted that when OPM calculated the Postal Service's share of the CSRS obligation in anticipation of PL 108-18, it used a different actuarial formula than the one OPM used for years which allocated a larger share to the USPS. The difference between the old method and the current OPM method represents $ 86 Billion! And the $ 27 Billion that was transferred for military and volunteer service time is based on the new OPM method. Under the old method the military benefits amount would be smaller. As a additional result, the projected $ 78 Billion that was identified in the CSRS legislation as over funding is actually greatly understated compared to the amount that would have resulted if OPM had used the allocation methodology that it used in the past.

January 28, 2004 -- "Reform, Liberalisation and Building Customer Relationships" will be high on the agenda for this year's World Mail & Express Americas event, taking place in Miami in December. The conference promises to be a hotbed for all the postal and express issues in both North American and Latin American markets.

January 28, 2004 -- Business Europe has reported that "Royal Mail has unveiled a new service for SMEs that allows bosses to use direct marketing more effectively. The company has re-launched its website Direct Mail (DM) Online, which offers new features and lets small businesses plan, design and send promotional mail to selected customers. It says the tool is cost-effective but can win extra sales for companies. It says companies that correspond with customers by mail see a response rate of over 10%.

January 28, 2004 -- Clarinet Systems is providing their EthIR LAN infrared (IR) wireless LAN access system for UPS drivers' DIAD III (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) handheld computers in UPS facilities around the U.S. Built specifically for UPS by Motorola, UPS uses approximately 70000 DIAD devices in the field, which mostly are DIAD IIIs.

January 28, 2004 -- The Federal Times has reported that "several large magazine publishers are seeking approval to take over more mail-processing work from the U.S. Postal Service in exchange for cheaper mailing rates. If successful, the change could mean periodical mailers will perform work now done at Postal Service facilities — sorting, applying bar codes, and other work — a process known as work sharing. And some advertising mailers reportedly are seeking similar work-sharing arrangements for standard, or advertising, mail, which makes up a much larger portion of the Postal Service’s business. If successful, these arrangements could bring additional downsizing pressures upon the Postal Service work force and processing operations."

January 28, 2004 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:

Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..

January 28, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that "Congress and the Bush administration are poised to take a hard look at the pension and retirement health care benefits that would be provided to 800,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) have asked the Postal Service and the Office of Personnel Management to study the workforce-related recommendations made by the White House commission and issue reports by March 1."

January 28, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service is working to clarify some of the gray areas of what is defined as First-Class mail in an effort to move mail into the First-Class Mail category, the agency’s most profitable product that has been experiencing declining volume, sources told DM News. See also the report by Direct.

January 28, 2004 -- According to Transport Intelligence, "Deutsche Post stated aim is to become a major player in the UK postal market as it becomes increasingly liberalised. The acquisition of a company with a licence to operate gives Deutsche Post an important foothold in the market. Deutsche Post's move may just be the start of an acquisitive strategy to build market share at the expense of Royal Mail. It is believed that both TPG and Deutsche Post have been involved in the bidding process for Hays postal business, DX Mail, which has been put up for sale by its parent company following the award of a seven year licence. Despite the competition, Royal Mail remains completely dominant, with about a 99.75% market share."

January 28, 2004 -- According to RTE News (Ireland), "An Post workers have not ruled out industrial action in a bid to force Communications Minister Dermot Ahern to establish an Employee Share Ownership Plan at the company."

January 28, 2004 -- Japan Today has reported that "a government panel in charge of postal services policy on Tuesday approved an application by Nippon Express Co to launch a special mail delivery service."

January 27, 2004 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "mail chiefs today admitted they could be forced to pass on higher delivery costs to business customers in the Capital unless they can win an exemption from the city's planned road tolls. The Royal Mail has told city chiefs it will be among the worst hit by the introduction of road tolls, and claims it could add at least GBP 150,000 to the cost of its business delivery operation every year. The group has asked that its delivery vans be exempt from the GBP 2 toll crossing both the inner and outer cordons proposed in the Capital."

January 27, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "according to a study by JP Morgan carried out in October 2003, French post office La Poste has 12 per cent of deposits in France, ahead of private banks BNP Paribas or Societe Generale, but well behind Credit Agricole and Caisse d'Epargne. For months the private banks have complained about the planned extension of La Poste's activities to the insurance, consumer credit and mortgage segments."

January 27, 2004 -- DM News has reported that "consumers prefer mail for receiving documents, letters, new product announcements and offerings and confidential communications such as bank statements and financial reports, according to a survey released yesterday. The study by International Communications Research is the third mail preference survey commissioned since March 1999 by Pitney Bowes, Stamford, CT, a vendor of mail solutions for businesses. The study found that despite the rise in households with access to e-mail -- from 34 percent in 1999 to 62 percent in 2003 -- 66 percent of respondents prefer regular mail for documents, letters and messages, up from 62 percent in 2001. The survey asked respondents what communications method -- mail, e-mail or telemarketing -- was their least preferred. More than 60 percent chose telemarketing."

January 27, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net AG (DPW.XE) said Tuesday it is acquiring U.K. postal company Speedmail International for an undisclosed price. The acquisition will be made via Deutsche Post's U.K. subsidiary, Deutsche Post Global Mail."

January 27, 2004 -- The New York Times has an interesting story on the tiff between Japan and South Korea over the issue of a postage stamp.

January 27, 2004 -- As Marketing Sherpa has noted, the message counts, but so does the medium...and it's cost. For instance, Matthew Lesko's markeing team couldn't make any medium besides TV really pay off. They've tested postal mail, and broke even at best. Telemarketing worked, with an average 2.5% conversion rate, but only to current customer lists."

January 27, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that:

January 27, 2004 -- The Australian has reported that "Victorian postal sorters and drivers have refused to relocate to a new state mail centre and could stop work this week in protest at the move. About 250 Melbourne postal drivers and sorters could walk off the job on Thursday if Australia Post continued to refuse to negotiate job losses, pay and conditions which had arisen as a result of the relocation of the mail centre, Communications Union Victoria branch secretary Joan Doyle said."

January 27, 2004 -- The Irish Examiner has reported that "the Communications Workers Union is due to march to the Dáil today in protest at the Government's failure to implement an employee share ownership plan. The union said the Government negotiated the plan with postal workers three years ago. It said An Post employees were promised a 15% stake in the company in return for changes to their work practices, but the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats coalition has since reneged on the agreement."

January 26, 2004 -- The Russia Journal has reported that "FedEx's erstwhile strictly regular, scheduled parcels-delivery services have been disrupted in Russia for the past two weeks. This has forced several companies, which had ordered shipments of vital documents from abroad for their Russia-based offices, to put off vital operations and other important corporate decisions."

January 26, 2004 -- The Jerusalem Post has reported that "the Postal Authority is looking for a potential partner to establish a press that will compete with Be'eri Printing, which is a partner in an "illegal" bulk mail letter dispatching company that competes with the authority's postal delivery service. The new press would offer companies and organizations envelopes and dispatch of bills and other materials at a reduced price, he said."

January 26, 2004 -- Information regarding next week's House Government Reform postal task force hearing on the Postal Service has been posted on this site.

January 26, 2004 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "worksharing can be thought of as nothing more than affording customers competitive postal network access. Since many posts now (or soon will) have to contemplate giving its competitors network access, logic would dictate their asking why they shouldn't provide customers with a similar opportunity."

January 26, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service has kicked off a whale of a furor over a "blitz" by some of its mail acceptance people denying the entry of mail formerly accepted as Standard Mail. Mailers have been told that what was qualified for Standard yesterday must go as First-Class today. Anyone who has been hit by such a ruling is encouraged to contact PostCom.

January 26, 2004 -- As the Federal Times has noted, "on top of investigating crimes such as mail fraud, identity theft and child pornography, the Postal Inspection Service has a relatively new problem to contend with: bioterrorism."

January 26, 2004 -- Unstrung has reported that "Air-Q Wi-Fi Corporation, a Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) Internet access provider, announced today that it had reached an agreement in principal with MyMart, Inc., a privately-held, San Marcos, CA-based Internet access firm, to install Wi-Fi hot spots in 1,000 locations of a nationally-known chain of postal centers. MyMart currently provides wire-line Internet access in kiosks in each of the target postal center locations."

January 26, 2004 -- Global Business Services, Inc.'s subsidiary, Postal Connections of America, a rapidly growing network of franchise postal and business services stores, has awarded the area franchise for the six Chicago-area counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Postal Connections franchise stores provide shipping, packaging, copying, mail receiving, and other services needed by small office/home office businesses and busy consumers, offering them convenience and an alternative to the Post Office. Global Business Services, Inc. is headquartered in Beverly Hills; its subsidiary, Postal Connections of America, is based in San Diego, and has been franchising stores since 1999.

January 26, 2004 -- European sources have reported that:

January 26, 2004 -- The agenda for the February meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors is available on the GPO web site.

January 26, 2004 -- According to Reuters, "music downloads will render the ubiquitous compact disc all but obsolete in the next five years. By 2007 or 2008, CDs will be something only old people have."

January 25, 2004 -- The Asahi Shimbun (Japan) has reported that "government postal workers will soon find their loads a bit lighter after the posts ministry authorizes limited competition to its mail delivery service Over the weekend, the ministry finalized a plan to permit Nippon Express Co. to deliver packages in a certain size and weight class."

January 25, 2004 -- The New York Times has reported that "Vice President Dick Cheney called Saturday for greater global unity to fight terrorism, halt the spread of illicit weapons and promote democratic trends in the Middle East, in the Bush administration's most significant appeal yet to disaffected allies who opposed the Iraq war. Klaus Zumwinkel, chairman of the German postal service, Deutsche Post, said that Mr. Cheney "increased the market share of positive sentiment toward the United States."

January 24, 2004 -- USPS LinkOnline has reported that "a new centralized Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) claims investigations office will located in Tampa, FL. The office will consolidate USPS EEO investigations under one manager. It will use a staff of professional EEO analysts to monitor investigations conducted by private independent contract investigators. The new office reports to Labor Relations V.P. Tony Vegliante. The independent contractors will bring neutrality to USPS EEO investigations - a long-held goal of the Postal Service."

January 24, 2004 -- The National Association of Postmasters of the United States has reported that "the NAPUS National Office is receiving an increased number of complaints from Postmasters about the way the core requirements part of the new pay-for-performance system is being interpreted by some of their managers."

January 24, 2004 -- The Japan Times has reported that "Japan Post will begin offering an improved international express mail service next month featuring enhanced user-friendliness and lower stamp costs."

January 24, 2004 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.

January 24, 2004 -- Fox News Business has reported that "FedEx Corp., the huge express company pushing into ground deliveries, has said it was broadening tests of a low-cost parcel service using U.S. mail carriers for home deliveries. Best-known for overnight document deliveries between businesses, Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx is increasingly challenging United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) in transporting packages by ground as growth has eased in express services. UPS, which is by far the bigger player in U.S. ground deliveries, has already introduced a stripped-down service for big commercial shippers trying to inexpensively reach rural homes and other thinly populated destinations. Each service carries the packages mostly in their own transport systems and then drops them at U.S. Postal Service (search) facilities. U.S. mail carriers then deliver the FedEx and UPS packages to homes and small businesses along their routes."

January 23, 2004 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "in the hills of northeastern Cambodia, five men on motorcycles are connecting rural villages to one another, their government, medical specialists and the Internet. Using wireless Internet technology and a storage-and-transmission device strapped to their motorcycles, the deliverymen drop off and pick up e-mail and Internet-search requests by driving near solar-powered electronic outposts along their rural route. Traveling daily along five different routes throughout the province, the e-mailmen drive near the rural access points for a handoff with their onboard access point, powered by the motorcycle's battery. Back in Banlung, the deliverymen hand off their electronic mailbag to the satellite dish that relays the messages to the Internet. Named for the Hindi word for post or postal, the rural network is known as DakNet."

January 23, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "mail deliveries in parts of London are still being hit by unofficial industrial action."

January 23, 2004 -- According to The Telegraph (U.K.), "the last-minute dash to the Post Office to buy a book of stamps could be a thing of the past after Royal Mail announced an online stamp service yesterday. Customers will be able to download stamps from the internet using a desktop computer, and then post their letters in the usual way. Small businesses will be able to add their logo to the stamps."

January 23, 2004 -- Startups.co.uk has reported that "Royal Mail has launched a new service allowing small businesses to design and co-ordinate direct mail marketing campaigns to relevant customers."

January 23, 2004 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "TPG, the Netherlands' post and logistics group, yesterday protested at Dutch government plans to freeze mail prices for three years as part of a vision for market liberalisation."

January 23, 2004 -- Le Figaro (France) has reported that "the French parliament's economic affairs commission is planning to introduce an amendment to the bill concerning reforms to the French post office, La Poste, when the legislation is debated by the French senate next Wednesday. If it is adopted, the amendment will enable La Poste to set up a credit institution governed by existing law. Such a reform would effectively turn the French post office into a financial institution like any other in France, with the right to provide consumer credit."

January 23, 2004 -- Home Page Ghana has reported that "the door-to-door delivery of mails by the Ghana Post Company Limited will commence by June this year."

January 23, 2004 -- Comptroller General David Walker told the Christian Science Monitor that in his "view, the federal government is an amalgamation of...policies, programs, functions, and activities over several decades which made sense when they were enacted...but which over the decades have never been subject to a fundamental review, re-assessment, re-engineering, re-prioritization. There are a number of areas out there that cry out - for example, infrastructure. The federal government has huge excess infrastructure, it is not just in the Defense Department it is also at the Postal Service, the VA (Veterans Administration), and many civilian agencies....(another example is) disability programs."

January 23, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that "reports of Internet-related fraud now account for more than half the consumer complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission. Identity theft - stealing someone's personal information for financial gain - was the most common complaint."

January 22, 2004 -- Making email more reliable.... According to CNET, "America Online is testing an antispam filter intended to accurately trace the origin of e-mail messages, a move that could bring new accountability to the Net if it proves reliable."

January 22, 2004 -- The Center for Research in Regulated Industries-Rutgers University will be holding its 12th Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics at the Jurys Cork Hotel, Cork, Ireland on June 2-5, 2004. For more information, contact Michael A. Crew or Jeremy T. Guenter at 973-353-5049 or email Jeremy Guenter at crri@andromeda.rutgers.edu.

January 22, 2004 -- The House Committee on Government Reform will be holding a hearing on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 in Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building on "Answering the Administration’s Call for Postal Reform - Part I." Once again, Committee Chairman Tom Davis has appointed Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) to serve as Chairman of a Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) will serve as its ranking minority member. Serving also on the panel will be Reps. Dan Burton, Edward L. Schrock, Candice S. Miller, Tim Murphy, Marsha Blackburn, Major R. Owens, Edolphus Towns, Carolyn Maloney, and Wm. Lacy Clay.

January 22, 2004 -- PostCom has posted on this site a collection of papers that should serve as a primer on the upcoming discussion and debate on postal legislative reform.

January 22, 2004 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "this is the year in which Congress supposedly is finally going to get serious about and pass meaningful postal legislative reform. Still unanswered, however, is what the House and Senate will propose? On which formulation will they agree? And, finally, how will the Postal Service, the mailing industry, and postal labor respond to the proposals that will be set forth?"

January 22, 2004 -- MobileMag has reported that "Fujitsu Laboratories has succesfully made a prototype electronic paper which is comparable to regular copy paper in brightness and thickness. Fujitsu hopes to have the paper in regular production by 2006. Several characteristics of the paper have been developed; ease of reading, ease of portability, durability and improved brightness and contrast of the paper. The new developments have made the electronic paper with a white ratio of 80 or above and a contrast ratio of 15 or above. When compared with regular photo-copy paper there is very little difference. When the power is turned on and off with colour and text being added to the paper, and then subsequently turned off, the paper still retains the material that was written on it using a built-in memory function. The power function of the electronic paper is a special energy saving device suited for this application."

January 22, 2004 -- Dutch Minister Brinkhorst of Economic Affairs has released his vision on the postal market in the Netherlands. The key elements of the postal vision are:

TPG recognises that the postal vision provides clarity on the most important aspects of postal regulation and gives a long-term framework for the development of the postal market in the Netherlands. In particular, TPG is pleased with the policy regarding liberalisation as this properly addresses the pace of liberalisation in Europe and specifically in the UK and Germany, where liberalisation is also scheduled to take place in 2007.

January 22, 2004 -- EUBusiness has reported that "the Dutch government offered on Thursday to fully liberalize its postal services by 2007, two years ahead of the EU timetable, provided that Britain and Germany did so too."

January 22, 2004 -- Among the nominations sent by the White House to the U.S. Senate was "Albert Casey, of Texas, to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for a term expiring December 8, 2009, vice Tirso del Junco, term expired, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate."

January 22, 2004 -- The Daily Tribune has reported that "earlier this month, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it would be eliminating the long-running program that allowed senior citizens to purchase stamps and mail packages without having to drive to the post office. Postal officials claimed the truck, which served dozens of senior apartments and activity centers in Oakland and Macomb counties, was no longer economically efficient and should be discontinued. Shannon LaBruyere, spokeswoman for the postal service, said at the time the decision was announced that the truck was cost-intensive and since customers could utilize other services - including the Internet - the vehicle had outlived its usefulness."

January 22, 2004 -- As the New York Times has noted, "ensuring the integrity of a Microsoft Word document can be tricky. Hackers and pranksters have made a hobby of exposing security flaws in the software, often altering what appear to be protected files. But a new service shores up security with an adage that is at once novel and old-fashioned: let the post office handle it. The Postal Service, Microsoft and a technology company called Authentidate have developed a system called Electronic Postmark for verifying that a document's content is the same as when a user saved it. The service, introduced in October, is in some ways more a notary public's stamp than a postmark, intended particularly for those affixing their electronic signatures to documents relayed online."

January 22, 2004 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:

Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..

January 22, 2004 -- e.logistics magazine has reported that "users of international postal services are becoming increasingly demanding, and at the same time less likely to choose their own national carrier as a matter of course. These are two key findings emerging from a new report, International Mail Survey - Trends & Prospects, which has been produced jointly by consultancy Triangle and the Direct Marketing Association."

January 22, 2004 -- Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service, is planning to order 4,000 new vans from Adam Opel AG, the German car manufacturer, this year. The order is said to be worth tens of millions of euros."

January 22, 2004 -- Japan Today has reported that "Japan Post President Masaharu Ikuta rejected Wednesday a call from the Japanese Bankers Association for the abolition of the postal savings system, saying the system is indispensable for maintaining the nationwide postal network."

January 21, 2004 -- According to SwissInfo, "trade unions have warned of massive job cuts at the Swiss Post Office as part of plans to reorganise the country's postal services. A union leader said up to 1,500 positions were at risk over the next three years. He also accused the management of planning to reduce salary costs. However, the Post Office said it had to adapt to the market and customer needs in a bid to remain competitive. Last year, it announced restructuring plans would lead to 3,200 job being axed."

January 21, 2004 -- National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) President Vincent Palladino and Executive Vice President Ted Keating will urge Congress to move to enact postal reform legislation during dual appearances before House and Senate committees in early February. Palladiono will appear before the House Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight at a February 5 hearing in Chicago. Keating will testify before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington a day earlier on February 4.

January 21, 2004 -- The Postal Rate Commission has declined a request to initiate a proceeding to consider the jurisdictinoal status of 14 services provided to the public by the Postal Service without prior Commission approval.

January 21, 2004 -- Here you go! As one the National Association of Letter Carriers has aptly noted:

Taxpayer subsidies to the USPS were phased out between 1971, when they covered 23 percent of costs, and 1983. Today, an appropriation to the Postal Service proportional to that paid in 1971 would cost nearly $16 billion annually. The USPS is authorized to receive compensation of $460 million per year for operating unprofitable post offices, but has not requested or received this "public service" subsidy in more than 15 years. The direct savings to taxpayers: $10.6 billion through 2002.
So exactly, Treasury folks, when it comes to the Postal Service, who owes whom money?

January 21, 2004 -- According to Entrepreneur.com, "a national alliance of nearly 200 Mail Boxes Etc. stores, under the auspices of a nonprofit support and advocacy group called the Platinum Shield Association, are now locked in two California lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court with parent company United Parcel Service-Mail Boxes Etc."

January 21, 2004 -- Globes (Israel) has reported that "Power Paper Ltd. has announced that it will license Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) BiStatix technology for use in a new radio frequency identification (RFID) smart label system. The company, which develops printable microelectronic devices, said that combination of Motorola’s technology with Power Paper’s printable, micro-power source paves the way for the ultimate low-cost printable RFID label."

January 21, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "getting online is not easy in communist-run Cuba, where the state strictly controls all Web servers and recently announced plans to crack down on illegal Internet access. E-mail accounts are available at the Cuban Postal Service, but writing to friends abroad comes at price: A three-hour prepaid card costs $4.50 (2.46 pounds), one-third of the average Cuban monthly wage."

January 21, 2004 -- RR Donnelley Logistics has announced that it has earned a five-year contract from LaSalle Bank, one of the Midwest's largest banks with nearly $58 billion in assets, to manage the expedited delivery of check deposits and mail for processing between all of the bank's 140 Chicagoland area branches and three operating sites. This is the second five-year contract that LaSalle Bank has awarded to RR Donnelley Logistics since the companies first began working together in 1998.

January 21, 2004 -- CNET has reported that "America Online will launch a promotion Wednesday that lets its members download full-feature films through Movielink for 99 cents a title." It'll give Netflicks (and the Postal Service) a run for the money.

January 21, 2004 -- According to the Wall Street Journal, "consumer demand for traded goods throughout the world -- as well as the push to outsource noncore tasks -- has produced one of the strongest markets in five years for freight forwarders. These outfits make up a montage of publicly held and private global businesses that, for a fee, deal with the increasingly complex regulations and patterns of world trade. They ensure that anything coming in or out of a country is insured, legal and documented, and isn't held up at customs houses or lost in transit."

January 21, 2004 -- According to The Independent (U.K.), "Adam Crozier, the football-loving chief executive of the Royal Mail, has, by all accounts, a service contract to die for. It might not be quite in the league of a Beckham or an Owen, but it is said to have enough bells and whistles on it to make any rival chief executive as sick as a parrot. Unfortunately, none of this can be confirmed one way or the other because Mr Crozier refuses to make his contract available for public inspection. It is secret and in remaining so it becomes one more example of the double standards which Royal Mail employs."

January 21, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service has announced that "starting Feb. 1, Carrier Pickup will expand to city carrier-only ZIP Codes that are on the My Post Office system."

January 21, 2004 -- Standard & Poor's has been selected by Japan's Postal Services Agency to provide qualitative investment fund evaluation services for the agency's defined contribution pension plan. Through its financial services branch, the Postal Services Agency is the single largest holder of personal savings deposits in Japan.

January 21, 2004 -- Expatica Germany has reported that " Deutsche Post AG said Tuesday no decision had been made on moving the European hub of its DHL express package carrier from Brussels airport to a new location - but that the German city of Leipzig was in the running if it chose to quit Belgium."

January 21, 2004 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail's prospects will become clearer over the next few months as the postal market opens up to meaningful competition for the first time. Talks between Royal Mail and its rival UK Mail will set a precedent on how much private sector operators will have to pay to use the postal network. The figure for this 'access charging' will be crucial in determining how attractive the market is to new entrants. Companies such as Deutsche Post and TPG, of the Netherlands, are keen to start delivering business mail in Britain. But Royal Mail will try to hold on to some of this lucrative trade to offset losses from its universal postal service."

January 21, 2004 -- Le Monde (France) has reported that "the Paris finance ministry is postponing the publication of a report on the savings products offered by La Poste, the French post office, and Caisse d'Epargne and Credit Mutuel. The aim of the study, commissioned in the autumn of 2003, was to see if the commission paid to these groups by the state is in line with the real costs of the products."

January 21, 2004 -- As Forbes noted, "in many parts of the U.S., the old real estate axiom 'location, location, location' could also be 'ZIP code, ZIP code, ZIP code.' When they were first introduced by the U.S. Postal Service in 1963, ZIP codes were intended to make mail delivery faster and more effective. ZIP codes, an aptly coined acronym for zoning improvement plans quickly developed a different sociological meaning that its creators may never have imagined. Because they often broke down cities and towns along geographical fault lines that separated one neighborhood from another, they became instant delineators of wealth and status. Today there are tens of thousands of ZIP codes across the country. Some have become fashionable, while others have been relegated to the perimeters of prestige--or even further down the property pecking order."

January 21, 2004 -- As one writer cautioned in Directions Magazine, "don't believe that addresses are things of the past. In its zeal to create a “new economy”, the Internet (at least some sites on the Internet) has forgotten the value of an address. People have an address, and even virtual businesses need an address to be incorporated and operate."

January 21, 2004 -- One veteran postal watcher shared the following findings from his review of Checkfree's announcement of earnings:

(1) Electronic bill payment is growing rapidly. (2) Growth in users is even faster Year-to-year growth in active users is 43%. This is most likely due to more banks offering the service for free. Also, because user growth is rising faster than transaction growth, the data suggests that electronic bill payment is attracting more people who pay a limited number of bills per month (The average # of bills paid per month per user is 9.28 down from 10 a year ago. (3) Year to year growth is 33% Today 78% of all bills that are paid by a user online are paid electronically, this is up from 73% a year ago. (4) The price that outside services are paying for Checkfree's service per transaction is going down. The big banks that do some of the processing themselves are now paying $0.36 or less than the price of a stamp. (This is down from $0.46 last year) Smaller banks are now paying $0.87 which is down from $1.00 per transaction. As the price goes down, more banks will be inclined to offer electronic bill paying for free, increasing the speed at which electronic bill payment is accepted. (5) Electronic bill delivery has grown by 272%. While volume is still very small (only 18.5 million bills) its rate of growth is remarkable.

January 21, 2004 -- According to CBS MarketWatch, "there are several reasons why Americans avoid paying bills online. Many consumers fear security lapses or are put off by the lengthy registration process. If you are one of these consumers, you may want to look at online bill payment again. Banks and vendors, eager to eliminate the waste of paper checks, have made online billing safer and more convenient." There's that....And there's that the Postal Service isn't doing much to keep the mail business.

January 21, 2004 -- UPS Chairman and CEO Mike Eskew has been elected chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council, the principal organization of U.S. corporations engaged in business relations with the People's Republic of China.

January 20, 2004 -- The Postal Rate Commission is proposing (Docket No. RM2004-1)to amend its rules to define the term "postal service." A copy of the Commission's proposed rulemaking can be found on the PRC web site.

January 20, 2004 -- Global Business Services, Inc.'s, Postal Connections of America (PCA), a rapidly growing franchise network of postal and business services stores, reports record unit growth with 17 opened or sold franchises in the second quarter, ending December 31.

January 20, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) will buy Yamato Transport Co.'s (9064.TO) stake in a Japanese joint venture set up by the two companies in a bid to promote its brand image in Japan and beef up services amid fierce competition. UPS will buy the 49% stake in UPS Yamato Express Co. held by Yamato Transport, the Japanese firm said Tuesday. The venture will become wholly owned by the U.S. company as a result."

January 20, 2004 -- The Wall Street Journal has quoted one source who has said that "NASA is "a government-sheltered corporate-supported monopoly that will fight competitive enterprises with all its considerable clout and resources." He approvingly cites journalist Andrew Stuttaford's quip that NASA today is 'little more than the postal service in a space suit.' Its highest goal is not the stars but bureaucratic survival." Ooooo! That hurts!

January 20, 2004 -- According to Network World, "while many businesses are just now turning to Linux as a server platform, the technology has delivered for the U.S. Postal Service for several years. The Postal Service has used penguin power since 1999 to streamline the "snail mail" process. More than 900 Linux machines currently sort in excess of 670 million pieces of mail per day in the Postal Service's 250 mail-sorting sites around the country." Power to the penguin!

January 20, 2004 -- This Day News (Nigeria) has reported that "the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), said it has concluded plans for the computerisation of the services of all the post offices across the country, just as it claimed that it has achieved 80 per cent success of 72-hour delivery of inter-state letters. Speaking yesterday on the occasion of the commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the Pan African Postal Union (PANU), the Postmaster-General of the Federation, represented by Mr Hussaini Charity Ato, said the computerisation project when completed, would engender such services as cash transfer aimed at facilitating payment of pensions to retirees."

January 20, 2004 -- DM News has reported that "a new performance-review system for 70,000 U.S. Postal Service managers will result in improved mail operations, postmaster general John E. Potter told the Washington Post last week. 'If our people are happy, our customers will be happy because service will be up and costs will be down,' Potter said, according to the Post. 'If we have unhappy folks, the system will be sending a message that they haven't performed. To me, that is truly a breakthrough -- that we're able to get through the entitlement culture and get to people and say, 'OK, listen, there is no more mystery here. This is what your job is. These are the indicators that you are being held accountable for.' ' The system began at the start of the postal fiscal year, Oct. 1, but was not publicized by the postal service."

January 20, 2004 -- Alpine Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alpine Air Express Inc., and the third largest regional cargo airline and transportation logistics company in America, with an owned fleet of 29 airplanes and annual sales of $10M+, has announced an extensive network consolidation. Due to its multiyear contract with the U.S. Postal Service, Alpine has re-designated some of its bases of operations in the western United States."

January 20, 2004 -- As the Washington Post has noted, "Tom Davis and Rep. John M. McHugh (R-N.Y.) will begin the first of three hearings on the U.S. Postal Service this month. The goal is to come up with legislation to help it get on a steady financial footing to survive the Internet age. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) plan to work together on similar legislation. Collins, who held postal hearings last year, plans to continue them with an early February examination of the postal workforce -- about 800,000 full- and part-time employees."

January 20, 2004 -- The Marietta Daily Journal has reported that "Feed the Hungry Foundation received a grant from the UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of United Parcel Service on Dec. 16. The grant will be used to help provide over 1,000,000 meals annually to 15,000 to 18,000 families throughout Atlanta and much of north Georgia."

January 20, 2004 -- The Louisville Courier Journal has reported that "the Louisville-based Independent Pilots Association will resume contract negotiations with UPS Tuesday with a new president and negotiating committee."

January 20, 2004 -- According to Financial Times Deutschland, "Osterreichische Post, the Austrian postal service operator, is reported by a press source to be planning to end its contract with the Austrian parcel forwarder Direct Parcel Distribution (DPD), and to award the contract for parcel forwarding in Austria to DHL, a subsidiary of the German postal service operator Deutsche Post. The Deutsche Post subsidiary already carries out forwarding abroad for the Austrian state postal operator. Deutsche Post is believed to be interested in participating in the privatisation of Osterreichische Post, which is expected to take place in the medium-term future. Owing to the current value of the Austrian postal operator, estimated at 500m euros compared with the 1.5bn euros targeted by the state, and to resistance on the part of employees, privatisation is not expected to take place in the immediate future."

January 20, 2004 -- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service, has reduced its stake in GFT Technologies AG, the German internet service provider, from 12 per cent to under 5 per cent. The sale of the shares is said to form part of Deutsche Post's strategy of limiting investments to activities which form part of its core business."

January 20, 2004 -- According to Handelsblatt (Germany), "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service, may have to pay back subsidies granted by the German government for its pension schemes. The German government had provided the company's pension funds with considerable financial support during the 1990s; this was necessary as Deutsche Post had retired 25 per cent of its officials early, with the aid of expensive settlements, when the company was privatised. The competition authorities in Brussels are now planning to pass a ruling that the transfer of pension costs to the state will constitute subsidies which must be repaid."

January 20, 2004 -- Expatica (Belgium) has reported that "Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt wants international courier firm DHL to keep its European head office in Belgium, ideally at Zaventem international airport near Brussels. Speaking after this weekend's two-day government meeting near Gembloux Verhofstadt told reporters 'DHL must keep its headquarters in Belgium, preferably in Brussels.' DHL wants to expand its operations at Zaventem airport but is facing stiff opposition from local residents who fear an increase in aircraft noise, especially at night. The courier firm has warned that if it doesn't get its way it could shift its European 'hub' to another country and take thousands of jobs with it."

January 20, 2004 -- Radio Vlaanderen has reported that "the two-day cabinet meeting failed to produce binding decisions on a number of issues, and in particular on the controversial problem of night flights at Brussels International Airport in Zaventem (Brussels Brabant). A clear decision on DHL and the limit of 25,000 night flights per year has been postponed until later on this summer or autumn, until well after the regional elections on June 13. Flanders will then have a new government and everybody expects a coalition without the green party."

January 20, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Moody's Investors Service has downgraded from Aa2 to A1 the long-term senior unsecured issuer rating as well as the senior unsecured rating on the Euro 2 billion MTN of Poste Italiane S.p.A. (Poste Italiane). The rating downgrade reflects the fact that Poste Italiane's future debt holders will no longer enjoy an implicit guarantee from the State of Italy. Due to the importance of the services provided by Poste Italiane, Moody's expects continued financial compensation from the government, as Poste Italiane has been designated as the universal postal service provider until at least 2014. The Italian market for mail delivery has been partially opened up to competition following EU directives. Nevertheless, Poste Italiane still has a monopoly on the delivery of addressed mail items weighing up to 100 grams and will do so for over 50 grams in 2006. Over 80% of Poste Italiane's mail volume is generated by letters weighing less than 50g, which means that the bulk of revenues will continue to enjoy exclusivity until at least 2009. The market for unaddressed advertising mail has been fully liberalised, and addressed direct mail is liberalised for mailings exceeding 10,000 items. Further liberalisation in the Italian market is likely to follow EU guidelines."

January 19, 2004 -- NewIndPress (India) has reported that "the surreptitious move by the Department of Posts to introduce privatisation in Speed Post has run into trouble in the face of stiff resistance from the employees."

January 19, 2004 -- The Washington Business Journal has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is going back to Lockheed Martin for machines that automatically put lids on containers used in transporting mail. The contract extension is worth $6.2 million to Lockheed."

January 19, 2004 -- Congressman John Kline (R-MN) recently visited The Instant Web Companies (IWCO), an integrated direct mail services company, to demonstrate his support of IWCO's position on PL108-18, the Postal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Funding Reform Act of 2003. The purpose of his visit was to see first-hand the industry and its workers who would be impacted if the issue was left unresolved.

January 19, 2004 -- According to Dow Jones, "DHL currently has its European headquarters in Brussels and operates a big hub at Zaventem airport. The express package carrier, 51%-owned by Deutsche Post, has drawn up an expansion plan and changed its strategic course: Instead of five or six smaller hubs, DHL would like to create one super-hub per continent. Instead of 1,000 tons per night, capacity should be driven up toward 5,000 tons per night. At the end of this month, the board will formally decide where the super-hub will be located."

January 19, 2004 -- B2B has reported that "with President Bush's support, direct marketers and publishers may finally see postal reform legislation pass this year, after years of political wrangling. Advocates say failure to bring about postal reform could result in significant rate increases, an end to so-called universal service and a taxpayer bailout."

January 18, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that "five months after DHL sealed the deal to buy Airborne Express, DHL and Airborne are morphing into one cohesive company - all but the combined company's two air hubs. The company insists there is no immediate plan to merge Airborne's hub in Wilmington, Ohio, with DHL's air base in Cincinnati, although combining hubs that are less than an hour's drive apart would save money and streamline network operations, making DHL more competitive against FedEx and UPS."

January 18, 2004 -- According to U.S. News, "UPS provides good jobs and benefits for our members, there's no doubt about that. In return, they expect a lot from their employees. It's a very tough job. It may only get tougher. In addition to increasing heat from FedEx, Germany's Deutsche Post AG is pushing into the $47 billion-a-year U.S. delivery market. And though its presence is still tiny compared with UPS and FedEx, its majority owner, the German government, has very deep pockets. Ironically, UPS's first move outside North America was into Germany, way back in 1976, though the company's informal culture didn't sit well with a German love of titles."

January 18, 2004 -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "UPS' $191 million purchase of Mail Boxes Etc. gave the company 3,500 U.S. stores and immediately raised its retail profile. Last year, the company renamed them UPS Stores and spent millions of dollars in ads aimed at drawing home-office workers, telecommuters and mobile sales forces. Such customers are vital because, unlike high-volume clients who command steep discounts, infrequent shippers pay full fare. The problem for UPS Store owners, however, is that UPS capped store shipping rates --- a boon for consumers who get lower prices but a hardship for store owners accustomed to steep markups. UPS Stores also lost their ability to ship via FedEx because the Memphis-based company won't offer its products in stores displaying the rival UPS brand. FedEx is attempting to come up with its own retail answer by buying Kinko's, the copy store chain, and its 1,500 stores for $2.4 billion."

January 18, 2004 -- Hoovers has asked: "What next for TPG, the Dutch mail, parcels and logistics giant, now that industry fixture Alan Jones has quit as managing director of the TNT Express division? Although the surprise announcement in December spoke of an 'amicable' agreement, it is an open secret that the root cause of Mr Jones' departure, after 23 years with TNT, was a difference of opinion over future strategy. Industry insiders suggest that straight-talking Mr Jones wanted to keep the express parcel and logistics businesses as two distinct entities. Opposite him was Peter Bakker, chief executive of parent group TPG, who wan-ted closer and seamless co-operation between the two. Mr Bakker, it is suggested, wants TPG to follow the template of German-owned DHL, which is busy re-engineering to present a one-stop shop for every type of logistics service from sea freight containers to business post."

January 18, 2004 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "unions representing workers at An Post [the Irish post office] are expected to examine the accounts of the postal company over the next two weeks to investigate management’s claim that it is unable to pay the 3% increase due under the Sustaining Progress agreement. Under the terms of the national partnership deal negotiated by the government, employers and trade unions, companies that decline to make agreed increases have to demonstrate their inability to pay."

January 18, 2004 -- The Malta Independent has reported that "the government kept the Maltapost management from implementing any of its restructuring plans prior to the European Union referendum and election last year to avert any controversies, senior government sources told The Malta Independent on Sunday. This meant that the company did not have enough time to introduce its wide-ranging reforms smoothly in time for Christmas, leading to a disastrous delivery service in the busiest month of the year and exposing Malta’s post office to the harshest public criticism it ever received in its history. New Zealand Post has a 35 per cent shareholding in the company and took over the management in 2002. The company had to introduce sweeping reforms early last year but the Finance Ministry kept dragging its feet on the new collective agreement, delaying the process by months."

January 17, 2004 -- The Voice of America has reported that "nine months after major combat operations in Iraq came to an end, most Iraqis still complain bitterly about the lack of security, electricity, jobs and proper infrastructure, to name but a few of the frustrations of life in the country. But, there has been some rare upbeat news over the past week. New currency notes are now in full circulation in hopes of building confidence in the economy. And Iraq postal system is slowly getting back up and running."

January 17, 2004 -- The Daily Herald has reported that "Thousands of pieces of junk mail recovered from the home of a U.S. Postal Service employee may still find their way to their intended recipients, a postal inspector said. In a federal indictment made public this week, Gordon Richardson Jr. of Downers Grove was charged with stealing about 26,000 pieces of advertising mailings over several years."

January 17, 2004 -- The agenda for the February meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has been posted on the Postal Service's RIBBS web site.

January 16, 2004 -- The Ottawa Sun (Canada) has reported that "neither rain, nor wind, nor sleet, nor snow can keep the postal delivery person from his or her appointed rounds -- except maybe January temperatures in the capital region. It was too cold to deliver the mail, according to 10 letter carriers in Hull who are facing possible disciplinary action from Canada Post."

January 16, 2004 -- The U.S. Department of State has posted its 21 draft proposals which it will carry into the UPU Bucharest Congress on the State Department web site.

January 16, 2004 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:

Business Mailers Review is published biweekly by Sedgwick Publishing Co. This is one of the best postal newsletters you'll find published in this country. There's much more to each issue than the teaser you see here. For subscription information, check the BMR web site.

January 16, 2004 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.

January 16, 2004 -- According to European sources, "Royal Mail deputy managing director and marketing director Paul Rich is restructuring the company's marketing department as it sheds up to 50% of its marketing jobs. The overhaul is designed to align the marketing team more closely with Royal Mail's sales force and develop the sort of products and services that customers want, as the market opens up to greater competition. Royal Mail is reducing the number of marketing roles by between 40% and 50% as part of a round of voluntary redundancies announced last month by group chief executive Adam Crozier."

January 16, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "post offices in South Korea began selling stamps depicting a cluster of islets disputed with Japan as scheduled on Friday despite protests from Tokyo. Earlier this week, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi urged South Korea not to issue the stamps, arguing that Tokyo's ownership claim is acknowledged under international laws. Japan said it will protest the move to Seoul through diplomatic channels. Japan will also appeal its case to the Universal Postal Union, which aims for international cooperation with 189 member countries worldwide." See also CNN.

January 16, 2004 -- The Irish Independent has reported that "An Post unions plan to meet next week in response to a managementdecision to withhold the 3pc national pay round due to have been paid three months agoas part of a pay-freeze and jobs cuts programme."

January 16, 2004 -- The National Postal Mail Handlers Union has noted that "the voluntary early retirement (VER) for eligible mail handlers will be implemented starting on January 15, 2004."

January 16, 2004 -- This Is London has reported that "the Post Office calls it urban rejuvenation - most call it closing post offices. London too has been hit by Post Office restructuring, with a swathe of sites currently facing the axe and more announcements expected in coming weeks."

January 16, 2004 -- DM News has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has asked President Bush to include $779 million for its emergency preparedness plan in the 2005 fiscal year federal budget he will send to Congress Feb. 2. The postal service last received emergency preparedness funding in the 2002 fiscal year, when it got $762 million. The USPS said that part of $779 million already has been spent, with the remainder to be spent in 2005."

January 16, 2004 -- Globes (Israel) has reported that "outgoing Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein has instructed Ministry of Finance Accountant General Dr. Yaron Zalika to delay signing agreements with the Israel Railways Authority and Israel Postal Authority. The agreements would convert the two authorities to government companies as a first step towards privatization. Rubinstein instructed Zalika to wait until the state had complted its valuations of lands belonging to the two authorities."

January 16, 2004 -- According to the Periodical Publishers Association, "following consultation, postal regulator Postcomm has issued a long term licence to Speedmail International to provide bulk mail, consolidated mail and tracked business-to-business mail services. At the same time, Postcomm has made changes to Speedmail’s existing interim licence to enable the company to continue to provide mailroom services. Postcomm has recently consulted on whether mailroom services should be totally exempt from licensing and will shortly be making a recommendation to the Secretary of State. If mailroom services are exempted, Speedmail’s interim licence will cease at that point."

January 16, 2004 -- The Association for Postal Commerce has filed comments with the U.S. Postal Service concerning proposed changes to the required number of pieces for 5-digit and 5-digit scheme packages of low-weight standard mail flats.

January 16, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "an Argentine commercial appeals court has suspended the bankruptcy of national postal concessionaire Correo Argentino SA after a successful appeal by the company."

January 16, 2004 -- The Melbourne Herald Sun (Australia) has reported that "hundreds of Melbourne posties are expected to walk off the job tonight to attend a stop work meeting rallying against proposed wage cuts. Communications Union Victorian branch secretary Joan Doyle said about 80 postal sorters at Australia Post's state mail centre at Port Melbourne would face massive wage cuts when the facility moved to a new site at Ardeer from Australia Day."

January 15, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "the French post office (La Poste) and the French industry ministry yesterday signed La Poste's 2003-2007 development plan, which involves a contribution from the state. More specifically, the plan aims to modernise La Poste and, to that end, will necessitate a thorough overhaul of its partnership with the French deposit and consignment office, CDC, in the area of savings for home-ownership."

January 15, 2004 -- Computing (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail has purchased software from supplier Yantra to improve the efficiency of its internal distribution operations. The system will streamline the distribution of consumables, spare parts and other products to Royal Mail offices and 16,500 Post Office branches."

January 15, 2004 -- According to Hoovers, "online sales and package carriers are being eyed for illegal purchases."

January 15, 2004 -- Amateur and professional artists across the nation were invited by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) to submit uniquely designed envelopes in a competition for the 10th Annual "Graceful Envelope Contest," co-sponsored by the Washington, D.C. Calligraphers Guild.

January 15, 2004 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail today enters the digital era by introducing Britain's first digital postage stamp."

January 15, 2004 BruneiDirect has reported that "the administration of Indonesian Post recently reported that their authority has been receiving several valuable items such as foreign currency, cheques and coins in the registered mails, EMS and packages from Brunei. These costly items are prohibited from being delivered through the post in accordance to the World Post Regulation Article 25 Part 5."

January 15, 2004 -- The Valetta Times has reported that "the time was when a letter posted at seven in the morning used to be delivered at least by four in the afternoon. No longer so. Today, it takes three and sometimes even four or five days for a letter posted in Malta to be delivered. Judging by our own standard, that is, the standard we had been used to for so many years when mail was still handled by a government department, the postal service has deteriorated sharply."

January 15, 2004 -- The Independent (Malta) has reported that "investment minister Austin Gatt yesterday agreed with Opposition spokesmen that the way that Maltapost had acted over the Christmas days was bad."

January 15, 2004 -- According to the Washington Post, Postmaster General John E. Potter, working with Postal Service employee groups, has launched an innovative pay system for 70,000 management employees that uses goals and performance indicators to determine the size of their annual raises. Potter is betting the pay-for-performance system will spur most postmasters, managers and supervisors to continually improve mail operations because they will have a chance to earn bigger raises than in the past."

January 15, 2004 -- In a letter published by the Charleston Post and Courier, PostCom President Gene Del Polito asked: "Do you think there is a conflict of interest when a newspaper runs an article that repeatedly devalues a rival medium with a biased and disparaging term -- and, whoops, forgets to plainly mention that newspapers and the mailstream compete for advertising dollars?"

January 15, 2004 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:

Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..

January 14, 2004 -- According to Small Business Computing, "when you think about UPS, you probably think about two things — big brown tucks and the packages they deliver. While UPS certainly is a big company, and package delivery clearly is its primary service offering, you might not realize that UPS specializes in providing expanded services to small- and medium-sized businesses — namely, financial services."

January 14, 2004 -- "What Can Yellow Do for You?" According to Fortune, "that slogan might now be saturating the advertising landscape if United Parcel Service co-founder James Casey had gotten his way in 1915. The fledgling Seattle-based company, then known as Merchants Parcel Delivery, had expanded its delivery fleet to four cars and five motorcycles--big enough to merit a consistent color scheme. Casey, citing the advice of a local advertising man, advocated yellow. But one of his partners, Charlie Soderstrom, protested that yellow vehicles would be impossible to keep clean and noted that Pullman railroad cars were brown for precisely that reason. Soderstrom won the argument, and now, nearly nine decades later, brown is synonymous with UPS. But if Casey was wrong about yellow, he was right about virtually everything else for the half-century he ran UPS--during which he turned a neighborhood messenger service into the world's foremost delivery company.

January 14, 2004 -- The Rocky Mountain News has reported that "United Airlines and other carriers were paid $284 million to ship international mail last year, five times higher than actual costs, the Postal Service said in seeking to freeze the rates and negotiate lower fees. Rates should be based on the market, without adding costs such as maintenance and salaries the government considers in setting fees, the service said in a Department of Transportation filing last month. A fair rate would cut international mail costs to $50 million, the filing said. Paul Takemoto, a Transportation Department spokesman, said the department will consider the Postal Service's request. The agency said Dec. 31 it would set 2004 rates by Feb. 1." See also the New York Post.

January 14, 2004 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "the Liberal Democratic Party will establish late this month a task force to study plans for privatizing the state-run postal services."

January 14, 2004 -- NewsMax has reported that "identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. One of the primary methods these ID thieves use to obtain personal information is stealing mail. Believe it or not, your personal mail can be a gold mine to these determined and heartless criminals. Crooks from identity thieves to “check washers” see your mail as a virtually bottomless treasure chest from which to pilfer. How safe is your mail?"

January 14, 2004 -- According to Federal Computer Week, "a few $1.5 million ideas here and there all added up to $480 million in savings for the U.S. Postal Service last year. But Craig Partridge, the Postal Service's chief supply-chain thinker and strategist, said $480 million is not enough. In a speech today to a business audience in Falls Church, Va., Partridge said his goal for the postal Service is continuous cost reduction."

January 14, 2004 -- The Parcel Shipping & Distribution Forum is issuing an open Call for Speakers for its upcoming forum, October 4-6, 2004 at the Radisson O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. To submit a session(s), please click on www.psdmag.com/call.html and complete the online submission form.

January 13, 2004 -- Time Warner Inc., Conde Nast Publications, Newsweek, Inc., the Reader's Digest Association, Inc. and TV Guide Magazine Group, Inc. have filed a complaint before the Postal Rate Commission (Docket No. C2004-1) concerning the costing and pricing of periodicals rates.

January 13, 2004 -- The Army News Service has reported that "the 3rd PERSCOM manages postal operations in the Central Command theater. It has issued mail guidance procedures to be followed by Soldiers, mail clerks and commanders to ensure that mail is properly channeled."

January 13, 2004 -- Francotyp-Postalia (FP Mailing Solutions), a world-class mailroom solutions provider, today announced that it continues to see growing demand for its ultimail system, FP's newest line of digital information-based indicia program (IBIP) compliant postage meters.

January 13, 2004 -- Newgistics, Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with CommercialWare(TM), a developer of software solutions, that offers cross-channel functionality to retailers and direct marketers. The partnership will integrate Newgistics' SmartLabel(TM) returns solution into CommercialWare's CWDirect(TM) 7.5 allowing CommercialWare customers to offer best practices in returns management -- from customer order to efficient product disposition -- with minimal information technology implementation effort. Newgistics' Intelligent Returns Management(SM) solution will enable CommercialWare's retail clients to enhance customer service, increase customer loyalty and generate additional revenue.

January 13, 2004 -- InfoWorld has reported that "Google Inc. added more weapons to its query cache this week, rolling out tools that allow users to access travel updates and search by numbers for information on shipment tracking, patents and vehicle identification. Using the new search by number feature, Net users looking to track packages can now enter a United Parcel Service of America Inc. (UPS), FedEX Corp. or U.S. Postal Service tracking number into the Google query bar to locate their goods."

January 13, 2004 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail is state-owned despite some abortive attempts at privatising it, but the management team of Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier has tried to introduce a private sector ethos at the loss-making postal operator."

January 13, 2004 -- According to Transport Intelligence, "DHL, the express subsidiary of DPWN, has threatened to move its European hub from Brussels if plans for its growth are not approved by the Belgian authorities. Such a move would bring about the loss of 3,000 existing and up to 9,000 future jobs making the decision politically explosive."

January 13, 2004 -- A summary of the recent Canadian postal changes is available for review. Thanks go to the National Association of Major Mail Users for making this available.

January 13, 2004 -- According to CPU Review, "Kurant Corporation, a leading provider of e-business software for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), today announced that it has integrated UPS OnLine® Tools into StoreSense, its award-winning e-business platform."

January 13, 2004 -- Information Week has reported that "the pursuit of business-technology optimization, a survival tactic for many companies during the three-year economic downturn, will remain standard operating procedure at FedEx. The company is gambling that, by dramatically changing how its IT people work, it can maintain its heritage of technology innovation, deepen its ties to customers, and move into new markets, all without increasing tech spending."

January 13, 2004 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "higher postal prices were in prospect yesterday after the industry regulator Postcomm called for Royal Mail to start charging value-added tax. In a consultative document the regulator said that Royal Mail's VAT-exempt status distorted competition with private postal operators, who are required to charge VAT at 17.5 per cent, and should be "reviewed as a priority, with the aim of levelling the playing field". Rival operators welcomed the announcement but cautioned that any change to Royal Mail's VAT status would have to be approved by the Treasury and would require primary legislation."

January 12, 2004 -- International Truck and Engine Corporation has reached an agreement to deliver more than 1,700 International(R) 4000 Series medium-duty trucks to the United States Postal Service, it was announced today.

January 12, 2004 -- Le Figaro (France) has reported that "the French post office, La Poste, has unveiled plans to invest 3.4bn euros over the next six years in a programme to restructure its mail-processing activities. The scheme includes the investment of hundreds of millions of euros in automating the procedure. To that end, La Poste has already ordered a total of 100 new sorting machines which can process more than 40,000 letters per hour, compared with 35,000-38,000 letters with existing equipment."

January 12, 2004 -- Wolfgang Flick, a veteran UPS manager who began his career by helping establish the company's first international operation outside North America in Germany, was named to replace the retiring John Warrick as president of UPS Europe.

January 12, 2004 -- Zawya has reported that the "Emirates Post has announced 'Bharat Parcel Guaranteed', a value-added parcel service to India, offering to refund the parcel charges if the parcel is not delivered within two weeks. The new service is being launched in collaboration with XPS Cargo Services, an Indian courier company."

January 12, 2004 -- The New York Post has reported that "this past week, the head of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation - the government agency that insures the pensions of millions of Americans - announced he will be leaving in February. His resignation letter was less a fond farewell than a dire warning. The situation may only get worse in 2004, as the United Parcel Service is pushing for the PBGC to pick up some of its pension liabilities. UPS claims that it is unfairly saddled with the pensions of defunct companies under a 'multiple-employer plan.'"

January 12, 2004 -- AZ Central has reported that "scam artists have picked a famous name to use as a way to take your money: Western Union. Western Union does say that it has become the innocent middleman in a lot of scams. Crooks involved in everything from advance-fee loan scams to Internet rip-offs are using the service. They do it for two reasons: It's a quick and easy way to get money anywhere in the world. Sometimes it can be picked up with an answer to a security question and no ID. It also avoids the U.S. Postal Service, which means no postal regulations are broken."

January 12, 2004 -- According to the Chicago Tribune, "in an era of instant messaging, electronic mail, wireless connections and faxes, "snail mail" might seem hopelessly passe. But even plain old postal service is getting its face lifted by new technology. Years ago, someone would have to take the postal meter to the post office periodically and plunk down money to get the meter recharged, just like buying a book of stamps. Those days are long gone now that high-tech postal meters are connected electronically to the U.S. Postal Service so money can be withdrawn automatically from a bank account to keep the meters operating."

January 12, 2004 -- Globes has reported that "the Israel Postal Authority has bought a NIS 10 million IBM mainframe computer. The purchase is one of the Postal Authority's measures prior to its pending conversion into a government company, under the ongoing reform of Israel's postal market. Upgrading the Postal Authority's computer system is intended to expand the banking services offered at post offices. The system will improve post offices' response time, improve data transmission security, and allow the Postal Authority to provide Internet services."

January 12, 2004 -- The China Post has reported that "postal workers in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan will bring modern technology to remote villages by carrying an Indian-designed hand-held computer on their rounds, the gadget's maker said Monday. The project is part of an International Telecommunication Union plan to use the Simputer to spread the benefits of computer use in poor countries, said Vinay Deshpande, founder and chairman of Encore Technologies."

January 12, 2004 -- The Czech News Agency has reported that "Czech IT Minister Vladimir Mlynar said today he would propose to the cabinet in the first half of 2004 to transform state-owned postal services operator Ceska posta (CP) into a joint-stock company."

January 12, 2004 -- The mailing industry--public Posts and private carriers--is in transition. Email and ecommerce are displacing letter mail, but Internet shopping is pushing up parcel delivery volumes and the Internet is enabling sophisticated supply chain integration. Advances in bar code and chip technology are making it practical to track mail items at every stage as they move through the network. Finally, deregulation is in the air, particularly in Europe. This paper by Andy Matthews describes the mailing industry today, explores emerging changes and makes a number of predictions about the smaller, more dynamic industry of the future.

January 11, 2004 -- CTV.ca has reported that "effective Monday, Canadians will have to dig a little deeper when sending their mail. For the first time in two years, postal rates are going up. The cost of mailing a first-class letter within Canada will rise from 48 cents to 49. Letters, cards and postcards bound for the United States will cost 80 cents, a 23 per cent increase from the former 65-cent rate last increased in 2002. The rate for letters under 30 grams destined to all other foreign destinations will jump from $1.25 to $1.40."

January 11, 2004 -- The New Zealand Herald has reported that "the Dominion Post has been bought - the postal logistics company, that is. Kapiti entrepreneur Gregg Nelson bought it - and a registered trademark for Dominion Post and web addresses dominionpost.co.nz and thedominionpost.co.nz."

January 11, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "in his policy speech to be given on the opening day of the regular parliamentary session Jan. 19, Koizumi will say that assisting the reconstruction of Iraq and privatizing the postal services are the two major tasks for his cabinet."

January 11, 2004 -- According to the Bend Bulletin, "with airplanes grounded over recent bad-weather days and some Oregon highways closed to heavy trucks due to winter storms, much of the mail flowing in and out of Oregon has been backed up by at least a day. The U.S. Postal Service, the United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx have all experienced temporary service delays, according to those companies' officials."

January 10, 2004 -- If you follow logistics news (and we do) you sometimes find some interesting tidbits such as the following from American Shipper: "U.S. military transportation officials want their U.S.-flag commercial liner carrier service providers to prepare for the next big wave of equipment headed for Iraq, the biggest since World War II. Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, director of operations and deputy commanding general for the Military Traffic Management Command (recently renamed the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command), informed U.S.-flag carrier executives at a meeting in Alexandria, Va., Dec. 11 that the military would require 299 vessel moves of combat equipment between the United States and Iraq from December to June 2004. During the next six months, the military plans to move fresh Army division troops and equipment for the second phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, while bringing home those divisions that have been in Iraq since the start of operations in March. Scheid said the 'surge deployment' of equipment headed for Iraq will occur Jan. 15-30, with 42 percent of the cargo loading in East Coast ports and 44 percent loading in Gulf ports, with the remainder loading at other U.S. ports."

January 10, 2004 -- According to Air Cargo World, "a new American law relaxing cabotage restrictions on freight transferred in Alaska could be a boon for Anchorage International Airport, already North America's second-busiest cargo airport. Shepherded through Congress by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the provision marks a departure from the U.S.'s strict prohibition against non-U.S. carriers operating between two points within the country. 'It is intended to cement Anchorage's role as an international cargo hub,' said Stevens, whose name adorns the Anchorage airport. He added that the measure will 'encourage foreign airlines to relocate their cargo hubs to Alaska.'"

January 10, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that "air cargo operators gird for more delays as anti-terror measures reach into airline business Heightened security around airline operations is heightening concern among cargo businesses about the direction of timely air service. Airlines and forwarders redirected tons of belly-borne freight shipments over the holidays as flights, most of them across the Atlantic, were canceled, delayed and subjected to greater scrutiny amid raised warnings about potential terrorism."

January 10, 2004 -- The Irish Independent has reported that "management at An Post have revealed a radical plan to save the ailing semi-state company from bankruptcy and to bring the postal service back into profitability by 2008. The planconcentrates on bringing the company from its current serious loss-making position into profit within five years, and will see the sale of all non-core assets, including property, in an attempt to generate cash. Management believe the plan will deliver significant savings, but will include a radical restructuring with job losses and overtime cuts."

January 10, 2004 -- The BBC Monitoring Service (U.K.) has reported that "German security authorities anticipate a continuation of the letter bomb attacks against the European Union [EU]. 'A series of primed letters' may be feared, it says in an internal "situation report" by the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation."

January 10, 2004 -- AMEInfo has reported that "Emirates Post has announced a partnership with Air Miles, a leading customer loyalty programme, to offer rewards to customers on purchase of postal and non-postal items, excluding stamps and P.O. Box payments."

January 10, 2004 -- The Star (Malaysia) has reported that "neither rain, nor sleet, nor war is keeping Iraqi postal couriers from their appointed rounds. The Iraqi Governing Council unveiled the first set of post-Saddam Hussein stamps Saturday, highlighting one of the few communications success stories in Iraq since the dictator's regime crumbled in April -- a working postal system. The system is operating nowhere near 100 percent -- only about half the country's 320 postal offices are up and running. But there has been increasingly regular mail service between cities inside Iraq and to points overseas since the early summer."

January 9, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that "acquisition of Kinko's puts FedEx in new business; FedEx sees opportunity, analysts see 'distraction' The cargo carrier search for shippers is breaking boundaries with FedEx's buy of Kinko's. Looking to go beyond kiosks and drop boxes in the bid to build retail volume, FedEx Corp. will buy office services giant Kinko's in a $2.4 billion purchase that one-ups UPS in its storefront strategy. It also puts the express giant in a new and potentially risky business outside of its core cargo transport discipline, one with 1,200 storefronts that come with thousands of shippers along with a different culture and new concerns."

January 9, 2004 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.

January 9, 2004 -- Telecom.paper has reported that "Philips Electronics and Visa International are showcasing the latest contactless technology in the field of distribution of digital content and services. Among the partners working with Philips and Visa is global entertainment company Universal Music France. The organizations are highlighting the unique value derived from combining the latest consumer electronics, wireless connectivity and secure, universal payment. In one scenario, music lovers can download the right to listen to a song to their PDA or their Visa payment card either by holding the PDA near a smart poster of their favorite Universal Music pop star or by holding their contactless Visa card near a store kiosk selling songs." Two trends to watch here. First, the distribution of music other than through the distribution of discs in the mail. The second, the use of everyday electronic devices to provide secure electronic payments. Neither one portends good news for the Postal Service. It begs the question as to whether the USPS is interested in doing anything to keep its share of the music distributon market.

January 9, 2004 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. told lawmakers that they are taking steps to crack down on illicit Internet pharmacies that send drugs using the trucks and planes of the delivery companies, including refusing to carry shipments from some drug sellers. The push to root out illegal drugs by the two companies, which carry about 75% of all air and ground packages in the U.S., comes amid growing scrutiny of the delivery industry's role as a middleman in the drug-supply chain. Some lawmakers and regulators are worried that FedEx and UPS are irresistible targets for sellers of controlled substances and importers of large amounts of prescription drugs."

January 9, 2004 -- According to Fife Now (Scotland), "St Andrews posties' jobs could be on the line in a Royal Mail cost-cutting exercise, which will see only one postal delivery a day being rolled out across the country."

January 9, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "Japan's economic and fiscal policy minister Heizo Takenaka met with Deutsche Post AG President and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel on Thursday to discuss Germany's experience in postal privatization as Japan seeks to privatize its own postal service."

January 9, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service has told its postmasters that "the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued its decision in Initiative and Referendum Institute v. United States Postal Service. The case challenged the constitutionality of the Postal Service's prohibition against solicitation of signatures for petitions, polls, and surveys on Postal Service property. The court found that the prohibition was constitutional. Therefore the prohibition is in full force and effect."

January 9, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that:

January 9, 2004 -- The Vietnam News Agency has reported that "TNT Vietrans Express Worldwide Limited Company, a joint venture between the TNT group and the Ministry of Trade, opened an office the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho."

January 9, 2004 -- DM News has reported that "a U.S. Postal Service official said last week that the agency has started reclaiming postage discounts from First-Class mailers who do not comply with its Move Update rules. Angelo Wider, USPS manager of finance administration, said that for much of last year the USPS reviewed mailings but usually gave mailers a chance to make the correction before reclaiming any discounts."

January 9, 2004 -- The Chosen Ilbo (Korea) has reported that "the Dokdo Island dispute shows signs of heating up, as a Japanese cabinet minister suggested that Japan study plans to print its own 'Takeshima Island' (the Japanese name for Dokdo) stamps. Japanese media reported that during a cabinet meeting on Friday, Aso Taro, the Japanese Minister for Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, said that he wanted to know what other ministers would think if Japan printed its own Dokdo Island stamps in response to Korea's printing of stamps with the island's picture. Aso caused controversy not long ago when he said that the forced adoption of Japanese names during the colonial period was the Koreans' choice. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo said that he would discuss this issue with Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko as soon as she returns from abroad. by publishing its Dokdo stamps, it was impossible to say that Korea was conforming to the spirit of promoting international amity called for in the Universal Postal Union charter. When asked if Japan could reject mail to which the Dokdo stamp had been affixed, he answered that as a practical issue, one needs great skill in handling it."

January 8, 2004 -- The Periodical Publishers Association (U.K.) has reported that "at a recent European Parliament Session in Strasbourg, members voted to reject the proposal to impose VAT on postal services by national carriers. The vote was very tight, with 270 MEPs voting against, 253 voting in favour, and 12 abstaining. The Commission, however, intends to stand firm and has announced that it will not be formally withdrawing its proposal."

January 8, 2004 -- The Mainichi Daily News (Japan) has reported that "two postal workers who embezzled tens of thousands of yen from post offices by stealing cash and taking advantage of a scheme that allows damaged postcards to be exchanged for money face charges."

January 8, 2004 -- According to the BBC (U.K.), "the end of an era will be marked on Friday when the country's postal sorting trains make their final journeys."

January 8, 2004 -- Business World (Ireland) has reported that "An Post is to sell off parts of its business and some of its properties in a bid to ease its dire financial situation, according to chief executive Donal Curtin."

January 8, 2004 -- The United States Postal Service has authorized the striking of all 12 Lunar New Year Stamp designs as solid silver ingots, layered with pure gold. These popular stamps, featuring the 12 animals of the Chinese lunar cycle, have been designed by celebrated Chinese- American artist Clarence Lee over a 12-year period. The final one, the Year of the Monkey, will be unveiled by the USPS in San Francisco on January 13, 2004.

January 8, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that the "FBI has offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to an arrest of anyone responsible for leaving a package containing the deadly poison ricin at a post office in October. No suspects have been arrested and no illnesses have been reported since the package was found Oct. 15 at the facility serving Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport."

January 8, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "South Korea on Thursday rebuffed a Japanese request to scrub plans to put out postage stamps featuring a disputed island in the Sea of Japan that has been claimed by the two countries."

January 8, 2004 -- European sources have reported that "the mail division of Deutsche Post has selected to implement the framework security solution of French information technology infrastructure company Bull SA, called Evidian AccessMaster. Bull's solution to optimise its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and improve the business process."

January 8, 2004 -- Dutch postal and logistics company TPG N.V. has said that its TNT Express division has plans to introduce a further five Boeing 737-300 aircraft to its European air network.

January 8, 2004 -- Yonhap News (Korea) has reported that "South Korea's postal service agency said Thursday it is reinforcing security checks on mail sent from overseas ahead of the troop dispatch to Iraq. The decision was the latest in a series of measures Korea Post has taken to increase security after the government decided to send combat troops to Iraq."

January 8, 2004 -- The Times (Malta) has reported that "Maltapost was caught on the wrong foot by a combination of factors, including insufficient time to settle down to changes launched in September, which resulted in a large backlog of mail in the festive season, chief executive Robert Lake admitted yesterday."

January 8, 2004 -- Daily Times (Nigeria) has reported that "staff of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) have been urged to gird their loins for the Federal Government's 48-hour mail delivery directive as the establishment has evolved strategies to achieve the target. Addressing NIPOST staff in Abuja on the corporation's 2004 Action Plan, the Post-Master General, Malam Abubakar Musa Argungu, said though NIPOST achieved 80 per cent success in its 72-hour delivery target last year for letters posted to any part of the country, the aim this year was to surpass that record."

January 8, 2004 -- DM News has reported that "Rep. John M. McHugh, R-NY, who leads a special panel on postal reform and oversight, will hold three hearings in the next two months focusing on postal reform. The first hearing will take place Jan. 28 in Washington. Representatives from the U.S. Postal Service and the General Accounting Office will testify. The second hearing, which takes place Feb. 5 in Chicago, will hear from USPS employee organizations. The third hearing, which will take place on Feb. 11, will hear comments from mailers, postal-reliant businesses and competitors. A spokeswoman for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday also said it will hold two postal reform hearings the first week of February that will focus on reccomendations from the president's commission."

January 8, 2004 -- According to Dow Jones, "Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a pact Monday with Amir Peretz, head of the powerful Histadrut labor federation, bringing an end to Israel's longest-ever bout of public-sector labor unrest. Shlomo Shani, a high-ranking Histadrut official, said outstanding issues remained, such as Netanyahu's plans to privatize the country's ports, postal system and water utility."

January 8, 2004 -- Le Figaro (France) has reported that "employees of the French post office (La Poste) have been urged to stop work on January 27 in protest against what the French postal unions Sud-PTT and CGT-PTT call the merchandisation of public services. On the job front, moreover, the unions claim that La Poste is no longer recruiting civil-servant status employees. January 27 is the day on which the French senate is due to debate the bill on the regulation of postal services."

January 8, 2004 -- Stamps.com has announced that Kyle Huebner, current Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. In his new role, Mr. Huebner takes over the CFO position from Ken McBride, who had formerly held the title of both CEO and CFO."

January 8, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "Japan has urged South Korea to abandon a plan to put out stamps featuring Takeshima Island, a small island in the Sea of Japan over which the two countries claim sovereignty."

January 8, 2004 -- The Angola Press has reported that "the Angolan Government has recently promulgated the statute of the National Postal Services Company, in compliance with the new juridical regulation for the State Institutions, which are now being designated Public Firms, says an official source that Angop had access, em Luanda. According to one of the latest editions of the Government Gazette, the National Postal and Telegraphs Company, named briefly as the Angolan Postal Sevices, is a public institution of great dimension, endowed with juridical personality and managing, financial and patrimonial autonomy."

January 8, 2004 -- Agenzia Giornalistica Italia has reported that "Poste Italiane's target is to increase its revenue from 8,100 million euro (2003) to around 9,700 million in 2006: the target is part of the 2004-2006 plan presented by its CEO,Massimo Sarmi, to the unions."

January 8, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "a Florida inventor has patented a germicidal mailbox that would let consumers sterilize their incoming letters through irradiation, as the Postal Service has done for White House and congressional mail since the anthrax scare of 2001. John Cunningham's prototype invention uses the standard metal mailbox commonly found on suburban driveways. It is fitted inside with an ultraviolet light like those used in laboratory sterilizers and a wire basket, where mail is placed. When the door is shut and a switch activated, a lamp zaps the mail with ultraviolet light at a wavelength of 254 nanometers for about 15 minutes while the basket spins to expose all the mail surfaces to the light. The ultraviolet light "has a germicidal effect" that renders anthrax spores and microbes harmless, according to the U.S. patent Cunningham was awarded in November."

January 8, 2004 -- According to the Free Internet Press, "the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 grants the FBI unprecedented power to obtain records from financial institutions without requiring permission from a judge. The law broadens the definition of "financial institution" to include such businesses as insurance companies, travel agencies, real estate agents, stockbrokers, the U.S. Postal Service and even jewelry stores, casinos and car dealerships."

January 8, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx Corp. is considering plans to make South Korea's Incheon International Airport into one of its critical operations hubs in Asia. The move follows published reports Tuesday in China that said FedEx could shift its Asian hub from Subic Bay, the Philippines to Guangzhou." See also the Korea Herald.

January 8, 2004 -- Morgan Stanley has announced that Dr. Klaus Zumwinkel, chairman of the board of management of Deutsche Post AG, has been elected to its board of directors."

January 7, 2004 -- According to UPS, its small- and medium-size customers increasingly are saying, "Show me the money." It says it offers solutions beyond package delivery and all three now are relying on UPS Capital, a key part of an expanded UPS capability that includes financial and insurance services, supply chain management and e-commerce support."

January 7, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry informed other ministries the same day of its plan to submit the bill during the upcoming Diet session to convene Jan. 19, the officials said. But the actual submission of the bill could be delayed as the posts ministry needs to negotiate with the Financial Services Agency, which has sided with the banking industry in criticizing the plan as further enlarging Japan Post's financial operations."

January 7, 2004 -- The latest issue of the Postal Service's Memo to Mailers has been posted on the USPS web site.

January 7, 2004 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:

Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..

January 7, 2004 -- Globes (Israel) has reported that "Israel Postal Authority chairman and director-general Yossi Shelli has initiated a plan to set up an independent printer, or to merge with an existing printer, at an investment of $20-25 million. The press will compete directly against Beeri Printing, which is working for the new Postal Authority venture. The measure will probably affect the entire Israeli publishing industry and the competition for enterprise mailing business. The Postal Authority's intention is to ready itself for the opening of the market to competition, and to save the mark-up it pays to external printers. The Postal Authority pays at least an estimated NIS 10 million a year to external printers for its internal needs alone."

January 7, 2004 -- News from the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors meeting: David S. Fineman and John Walsh were elected for another year as chairman and vice chairman respectively. Also, press releases from this meeting have been posted on this site.

January 7, 2004 -- AllAfrica.Com has reported that "the Angolan Government has recently promulgated the statute of the National Postal Services Company, in compliance with the new juridical regulation for the State Institutions, which are now being designated Public Firms."

January 6, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "a series of new appointments are planned at La Poste, the French national postal services group. They include Marc-Andre Feffer, the former vice-chairman of Canal+ (Vivendi Universal), who will reportedly replace Nicolas Routier in January as managing director in charge of strategy. Mr Routier is expected to become chairman of the group's subsidiary Mediapost, replacing Philippe Grangeon, who is leaving."

January 6, 2004 -- Die Welt (Germany) has reported that "Herlitz, the German stationary group, has stopped ordering paper from Finish-based company Stora Enso, Europe's largest paper group, after Deutsche Post, Germany's postal service operator, urged the company to change its paper supplier. Stora Enso is responsible for the felling of trees in northern Finland. The trees in the region provide a home for many rare animals and plants and a livelihood for the indigenous population. Greenpeace has welcomed Deutsche Post's pressure on Herlitz. The organisation claims that the felling of trees in the region puts at risk more than 500 different animals and plants.

January 6, 2004 -- SinoCast has reported that "according to the State Post Bureau (China Post), the special service fees of international mails, post cards, presswork and domestic registered mails have been calculated in terms of the new charging methods since January 1, 2004. The new charging standards say that the overall fees of the international mails reduced by about 5%-8% on average. China Post launched the SAL (Surface Air Lifted) services to over 60 countries such as the US, Canada, Japan and South Korea. The service is between the airmail and waterway mail in terms of speed and postal charges, and it is a new choice for the customers. Besides, the airmail and SAL mail will be no longer charged additional fees, which will be included in the new postal charges."

January 6, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that "The Federal Communications Commission slapped a California-based company, Fax.com Inc., with a record-breaking $5.4 million fine for sending hundreds of faxes in violation of the agency's junk-fax rules. The FCC said the company had committed 489 violations of regulations that bar the transmission of unsolicited faxes. The agency fined the company $11,000 for each violation -- the maximum allowed under law."

January 6, 2004 -- Another move to the "checkless" society? The Washington Post has reported that more and more workers are deciding "to take advantage of an innovation that is growing in popularity with companies and workers: the payroll card."

And yet another trend....Take a look at the latest from the Washington Post. Expect more and more periodicals to go a similar route.

January 6, 2004 -- According to Air Cargo World, "FedEx appears to be giving back some of the gains in market share it has made over the last year, if the express giant's results from the last quarter are any indication."

January 6, 2004 -- Kyodo News Service has reported that "Heizo Takenaka, Japanese state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, said Tuesday he will make a five-day visit to Germany and Sweden from Wednesday for talks with top officials there on postal privatization and financial revitalization. Takenaka said he will meet in Germany with Klaus Zumwinkel, chief of Deutsche Post AG, to discuss issues related to the privatization of postal services. He noted that postal privatization will be key theme for Japan's economy in 2004, especially with a view to "integrating the (state-run) postal system into Japan's market economy." Takenaka told reporters after this year's first cabinet meeting that he wants to ask Zumwinkel about how Deutsche Post has launched internationally competitive business models."

January 6, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "the postal and telecommunications division of French union CGT has called on postal workers to take part in a national day of strike action in the second half of January. The union is protesting against what it calls "political refocusing" by the management of La Poste, the French national postal services group."

January 6, 2004 -- The Postal Service's 2003 annual report is available on the USPS web site.

January 6, 2004 -- The Federal Times has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is working on an early retirement offer for postmasters, according to two postmasters associations. The Postal Service is expected to ask the Office of Personnel Management this month or next for permission to offer early retirements."

January 6, 2004 -- According to Catalog Age, "some consumer catalogers no doubt feel that United Parcel Service is pricing itself out of the residential ground delivery market. After all, UPS in November announced rate hikes effective Jan. 5 that average 5% for residential Ground service. Plus, UPS's per-package surcharge for delivery to a residential address is increasing nearly 22%, from $1.15 to $1.40. In contrast, the Atlanta-based parcel carrier is raising its overall Ground service base rates an average of just 1.9%. (UPS is also eliminating its three-year-old per-package Ground fuel surcharge and introducing a fuel surcharge on all air and express services.)"

January 6, 2004 -- The Xinhua news agency has reported that "European Parliament (EP) President Pat Cox condemned Monday the mail attacks against the EP after three separate letter bombs addressed to the EP members were found on Monday."

January 6, 2004 -- The CBC News (Canada) has reported that "the explosion of two more letter bombs on Monday left European Union officials seeking immediate security improvements and the head of the EU legislature warned legislators to be on the alert, even in their homes." See also Agence France Presse.

January 6, 2004 -- The London Free Press (Canada) has reported that "fraudsters are using the mail to smuggle guns and drugs into Canada from the U.S. and around the world, documents obtained by Sun Media Newspapers show. Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) seizure reports from its five mail inspection centres across Canada show between January 2001 and October 2003 guns, tear gas and thousands of grams of drugs -- including cocaine and heroin -- were mailed into the country."

January 6, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the Japanese prime minister reiterated his commitment to economic reforms such as privatizing postal services and scaling back public spending."

January 6, 2004 -- According to Donna Hanbery, Executive Director of the Saturation Mailers Coalition, a recent study proves that postal service customers are subsidizing the federal Treasury. A complete copy of the SMC pension and benefit study is available on this site.

January 5, 2004 -- IntelliCare, a provider of medical contact center services and technology, today announced an agreement to deliver nurseline services to the APWU Health Plan.

January 5, 2004 -- CBS News has reported that "a letter bomb addressed to the head of the European Parliament's Christian Democrat group burst into flames on Monday without causing injury in the latest mail attack on European Union targets. A second suspicious package addressed to a conservative member of the legislature was being investigated by bomb disposal experts at the EU's legislature. The attack against German parliament member Hans-Gert Poettering was the fifth on EU institutions in the past two weeks."

January 5, 2004 -- American Shipper has reported that "four months after express carrier DHL Worldwide Express acquired Airborne Express, the company's U.S. division has a new leader. Uwe Doerken, Worldwide's chief executive officer and a member of DHL parent company Deutsche Post World Net's board, will replace Carl Donaway as executive chairman of DHL USA, the company said Tuesday. Donaway headed Airborne Express and was responsible for executing the merger with DHL. John Fellows will continue to implement the merger of the two companies as CEO of DHL's U.S. operation."

January 5, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that "the latest financial results suggest UPS is turning the tables on FedEx and taking away domestic traffic. FedEx Express reported a second quarter drop in its core U.S. domestic express air volume. That loss compares to rosy domestic air results from prime competitor UPS in its most recent reports."

January 5, 2004 -- The People's Daily (China) has reported that "Federal Express (FedEx) inked a frame deal Wednesday to move its Asia-Pacific transport and distribution center to Guangzhou from the Philippines. China's express mail market reached 139 million units in 2002, up from 1.5 million in 1998, and FedEx wants a bigger slice of the pie. Rivals DHL and United Parcel Services operate Asia hubs in Hong Kong and the Philippines, respectively."

January 5, 2004 -- PostalWatch's Rick Merritt takes the Postal Service to task over "rip-off" sales practices.

January 4, 2004 -- IT.Business.ca has reported that "Canada Post recently announced it has integrated its Electronic Postmark service with Microsoft Office Word and Microsoft Office InfoPath. The Electronic Postmark (EPM) is akin to registered mail, said Ottawa-based Simon Ely, Canada Post's acting director of EPM. It allows electronic documents to be legally recognized, making it possible to leave the world of paper trails behind for an electronic one. The Electronic Postmark is compliant with the Universal Postal Union's global EPM standard and is a Web service built on top of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)."

January 4, 2004 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "in contemplating its plan to privatize postal services, the government hopes to make the plan acceptable to many Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who are opposed to the sell-off. The idea of maintaining the state-run Japan Post's mail-delivery operations as a single entity operating nationwide, for example, is one of the government's efforts aimed at quieting opposition to the plan."

January 4, 2004 -- The Akron Beacon Journal has reported that "Congress is expected to consider a proposal early next year that would shift responsibility for billions of dollars in future pension promises to the federal government from United Parcel Service. UPS is chafing at its legal requirement to cover retirees of other companies through its participation in multiemployer plans, in which many employers pool the cost of providing pensions for union members. While the prospects for the proposal are unclear, UPS has gained support from several lawmakers, including some in Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio."

January 4, 2004 -- The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service and FedEx have gotten another 11 days to make their argument for a review of a recommendation to allow rival Astar Air Cargo to fly as a U.S. airline. The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday gave the airlines until Jan. 23 to file their petitions and allowed them to use 50 pages to make the argument instead of 20."

January 4, 2004 -- The Scotsman has reported that "three postal workers were treated in hospital after a white powder was found at a Royal Mail sorting office."

January 4, 2004 -- According to Public Citizen, "the GATS contains a weasely clause excluding from its coverage government services that are "supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers." However, most government services (like health care, education and utilities) involve some public/private mix or fee structure, fall outside of this exception and thus are covered by GATS. Leaked documents show that Europe has demanded access for its corporations to U.S. postal service....

January 4, 2004 -- According to the Daily Yomiuri, "the state-run Japan Post will likely be transformed into a special joint-stock corporation in which the government would have a 100 percent stake, government sources said Saturday. The planned corporation would operate subsidiaries to provide nationwide mail-delivery services and regionally-based postal savings and insurance services, according to the sources."

January 4, 2004 -- The Times of Oman has reported that "as part of the government's plan to privatise Oman's postal services, the government is proposing a comprehensive postal law. The plan is to introduce commercialisation ahead of privatisation. Privatisation is expected to improve efficiency and help the sector remain competitive."

January 3, 2004 -- Lu's News and Views has reported that the USPS has settled a $12 million claim stemming from an Arkansas grievance over the use of casual employees. What the hey....It's only ratepayers' money....

January 3, 2004 -- According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "sixty-eight-year-old Tom Cox grew up in an era when the post office was the king communicator, mail involved a tangible paper product and people appreciated the beauty of postcards as much as their postage stamps. Virtual communication has since conducted a coup in the age of high-speed this and digital that in which mail is preceded by a vowel. Cox, though, prefers to continue the ways of his boyhood by collecting postcards and using them."

January 3, 2004 -- Business Line (India) "the express and courier industry has had a good year with corporates adopting logistics solutions in a big way. At the same time, the common man is accessing express and courier services on a daily basis, according to Mr Tushar Jani, Chairman, Blue Dart Express Ltd. The demand for express and courier services has spurred around 20 per cent growth in the segment over the year, he said."

January 3, 2004 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "customers at Britain's 18,000 sub post offices will be able to surf the web and pay their bills online at a series of hi-tech touch-screen kiosks, under plans announced yesterday. The Federation of Sub Postmasters said it hoped providing the public with internet access would help give the network of branches a new lease of life."

January 3, 2004 -- The Peninsula has reported that "the Qatar General Postal Corporation (Q-Post) is planning to expand the branch-to-branch delivery service it recently launched for the Commercialbank (CBQ)."

January 3, 2004 -- William Aloysius Irvine, 85, a former governor of the U.S. Postal Service and congressional staff member, died Dec. 27 at Wellington Regional Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., of congestive heart failure. Mr. Irvine served as staff director of the House Post Office Civil Service Committee from 1961 until 1972. In 1975, he was appointed a governor of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by President Gerald R. Ford. He also served for three years as the Executive Director of Associated Third Class Mail Users (the founding name of the Association for Postal Commerce).

January 3, 2004 -- As the Atlantic City Press has noted, "that unreceived holiday card from an ex-best friend might be sitting in a morgue in St. Paul, Minn. Not the kind where they embalm, but the kind where they open and inspect: the 'Dead Letter Center.'"

January 3, 2004 -- The News-Press has reported that "Southwest Florida letter carriers may not have to contend with sleet and snow. But they do have another challenge: getting the mail delivered in one of the nation's fastest growing areas. As the volume of mail drops across the country 600 million fewer pieces last year alone the mail here is stacked even higher due to the exploding population."

January 2, 2004 -- According to the Daily News (Sri Lanka), the Sri Lankan "Postal Department which is now a privatized institution is being run as a profit earning concern without burdening the Treasury even by one cent. It has fulfilled 90 per cent of the employees' demands.Its service to the masses has improved owing to the regular and punctual attendance of its employees who are now satisfied with their lot in the department."

January 1, 2004 -- According to the Toronto Star (Canada), "there's still time to mail a letter for 48 cents but it's too late for you to donate more than $10,000 to candidates in a federal election. Lower corporate taxes, higher postal rates and new political donation rules top the list of federal fiscal changes for the New Year. Most of the changes went into effect today although the hikes in postal rates don't take place until Jan. 14.

January 1, 2004 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:

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