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Postal News from April 2004

April 30, 2004 -- Be sure to read " ;Mail.dat - A Bridge to the Postal Future"

April 30, 2004 -- As the Postal Service has noted, "being direct means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. For the world's largest delivery service, that means taking the action to the street. In this case, launching a Direct Mail campaign on what else? Direct Mail. We believe so strongly in the power of Direct Mail, that we are initiating a new ad campaign to remind customers about all the benefits that they receive."

April 30, 2004 -- House Governmental Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) has told mailers that on schedule to see a bill next week, will then move to mark-up. He reported that a few issues were now being addressed, including a proposed worksharing amendment, and some "scoring" or "budget issues." He said a markup could still occur on May 6, or it could slip a week, but that even if it slipped it could still get a week of floor time, and it could go to conference. According to our reporter, Davis looks like "Harrison Ford." Let's hope our pursuit of postal reform won't be as ephemeral as Ford's (Indiana Jones) pursuit of the Holy Grail.

April 30, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that "lawyers for 2,300 employees at the Brentwood mail facility urged a federal judge yesterday to let them move forward with a lawsuit accusing the U.S. Postal Service of lying to the workforce after discovering deadly anthrax contamination in the plant, saying officials must be punished for exposing so many people to harm."

April 30, 2004 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that:

April 30, 2004 -- According to The Telegraph (U.K.), "the Royal Mail will miss the target it has been set for delivering First Class letters when official figures are published next month. The findings will be a further embarrassment to the embattled company after complaints about a slump in service standards and allegations on channel 4's Dispatches programme last night that millions of letters are going missing every year due to incompetence and corruption."

April 30, 2004 -- According to the News Journal, "in response to the United States Postal Service's announcement that it is looking into moving first-class mail processing from the Mansfield main post office to another regional location such as Akron, community and business leaders are banding together in what will amount to a letter-writing campaign to try to sway the decision. The loss of first-class mail processing could mean the loss of 20 to 25 non-career jobs in the Mansfield post office, according to Greg See, president of the American Postal Workers Union Mansfield local. See said the union also is ready to fight the change."

April 30, 2004 -- Bus iness World (Ireland) has reported that "beleaguered State postal company An Post is to seek a 14.5pc hike in the price of a stamp in an attempt to stem the financial losses that are threatening its future. An Post chief executive Donal Curtin said the company would submit the application for the increase to communications regulator ComReg in early summer. He described a hike from 48c to 55c as 'realistic'. But ComReg will be reluctant to grant An Post another price hike unless it meets targets for next day delivery, which it so far has failed to to do."

April 30, 2004 -- Eircom.net (Ireland) has reported that "the prospect of a further dispute between An Post and the Communications Workers' Union was raised yesterday at the union's biennial conference in Galway."

April 30, 2004 -- Asia Pulse has reported that "Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has extended its contract with postal services company PT Pos Indonesia to transport mail inside and outside the country, an officail report said."

April 30, 2004 -- The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) has reported that "Canada Post has successfully accomplished a major step toward improving businesses' ability to continue uninterrupted relationships with clients who have moved. Effective July 2004, the COAN (Change of Address Notification) wording and format will change to better reflect a balanced approach of privacy concerns and business needs. The new COAN format will have a single checkbox to "opt out", wording is clear and explains mail sent to the old address after the service expires will be returned to sender or destroyed. There will be a quantum gain right at the outset: due to the format of the current two checkboxes, if no box is checked, it is considered an "opt out". On average 1.7 million households move to a new address each year, NAMMU estimates 70-80% of these movers file a change of address with Canada Post.

April 30, 2004 -- Several U.S. airlines are working with AT&T Wireless to track millions of pieces of mail on thousands of flights every day to ensure they maintain - if not increase - their shares of federal postal business. America West Airlines, United Airlines and numbers of other carriers use AT&T Wireless' nationwide GSM/GPRS network to deliver tracking information every step of the way of a mail container's trip from one city to another. The data ultimately is used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to verify whether an airline is adhering to USPS' strict on-time performance standards stipulated in its air mail contracts. Depending on the results, a carrier could lose, maintain or gain additional postal business. 'The transporting of mail is a highly competitive business in which delays in the transmission of tracking data to the United States Postal Service could impact our relationship with them,' explained Joseph Beery, Senior Vice President and CIO, America West Airlines. 'The AT&T Wireless network allows us to quickly and reliably transmit critical mail departure and arrival information to the USPS from any of the nearly 50 airports America West serves throughout the United States. This allows the USPS to accurately evaluate our performance against its rigorous standards and help maintain our highly valued business association with them.'"

April 30, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that:

April 30, 2004 -- Packing up an airfreight shipment is more complicated than you might think. Logistics Management has provided its readers with guidelines to make better packaging decisions.

April 30, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that:

April 30, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Cepheid (CPHD) said it is working with Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and the U.S. Postal Service, after the postal service temporarily delayed further deployment of a biohazard detection system. The postal services attributed the deployment delay to an increase in non-determinate results on several machines. This non-determinant result doesn't indicate a threat is suspected. Rather, it means the test was inconclusive."

April 30, 2004 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "the Royal Mail tonight pledged to 'root out' any postal workers found guilty of theft or fraud as the Government was pressed to make a statement on allegations of criminal interference by staff. Chief executive Adam Crozier said he would act quickly if he was given evidence of wrongdoing anywhere in the postal service."

April 29, 2004 -- The Cleveland Plain-Dealer has noted that "the question comes with virtually every package set on a Postal Service counter for mailing: 'Do you want insurance on that?' Don't take the bait, watchdog groups warn. The offer, they say, is a sucker's bet with little chance of paying off. Only 14.6 percent of the money paid to the Postal Service for insured mail last year made its way back to customers through honored claims, according to financial documents. In 2002, the payout rate was a tad higher at 16 percent. Both numbers seem low, industry experts said."

April 29, 2004 -- Ireland Online has reported that "An Post has unveiled losses of just under €43m for last year at the launch of the company's annual report. It is the highest operating loss since the postal service was established as a state-owned company in 1984. It has also anticipated that losses for this year will be massive. The evidence for urgent change is stark and An Post management has said that key changes in work practices and price increases will have to be implemented. Staff reductions are also on the cards."

April 29, 2004 -- GovExec.com has reported that "House and Senate sources said Wednesday postal restructuring bills probably would not be introduced until next week. House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., and Senate Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, originally had planned to introduce postal legislation by the end of April. But Collins acknowledged she would wait until next week to introduce her bill with Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del. Collins said the legislation is 'still on track' and added Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had told her postal change is a priority for the remainder of the session."

April 29, 2004 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:

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April 29, 2004 -- Human Resources-Centre (U.K.) has reported that "the Government has rejected demands from a postal workers' union to halt changes that are currently causing disruption in the postal service. Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, backed the Royal Mail's decision to end the second post and to update working practices."

April 29, 2004 -- News.com.au has reported that "a multi-million dollar international mail scam has been cracked and its mastermind indicted by United States authorities after an investigation aided by an Australian consumer watchdog."

April 29, 2004 -- The Sun (U.K.) has reported that "millions of pounds is being stolen from mail, a shock TV investigation reveals tonight. An undercover reporter for Channel Four's Dispatches infiltrated a gang that targeted credit cards, chequebooks and passports sent through the post. And one former postal worker claims he stole ú350,000 of goods and money from mail."

April 29, 2004 -- As one writer for CNBC noted, "if you haven't started paying your bills online, now is the time to start. The technology makes it simple to pay any bill to anyone from anywhere. It saves time, money -- and it's safe."

April 28, 2004 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "the Government was today urged to convene a top level meeting over the future of the Royal Mail after claims of a concerted attempt to 'run down' the industry. The Communication Workers Union has written to Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt calling for urgent talks to hit back at attempts to 'smear' postal workers. Deputy general secretary Dave Ward said the industry was currently a 'mass' of competing interests, pulling in opposite directions and 'getting nowhere.'"

April 28, 2004 -- Pitney Bowes Inc. has introduced Business Manager, a user-friendly information management system that links mailing systems across an enterprise into a centrally controlled server. This powerful new system enables organizations to better manage their mailing operations and increase the value of each mailpiece by instantaneously consolidating information from local and remote site mailing systems into a centralized server that can monitor and track postal costs, analyze expenditures and identify potential cost reductions.

April 28, 2004 -- The Cameroon Tribune has reported that "just hours after his commissioning as the General Manager of the Cameroon Postal Services (CAMPOST) last April 26, Bayemi Maurice started work immediately . He issued a release suspending all financial transactions in the newly created corporation. Payment will only resume tomorrow, Thursday ,April 29. Bayemi Maurice in a press briefing after his installation told journalists that he intends to suspend work on the pay counters in order to seek rapid solutions to the problems of the clients. He further declared that the team he heads 'will take the bull by the horns so as to restore confidence in clients of the postal services, put an end to unlawful opening of mails in post offices and reinstate discipline within the corporation'."

April 28, 2004 -- Posted on this site is a report that presents a postal service and mailing industry jobs database that has been developed by Transformation Strategy and SLS Consulting. The accompanying spread sheets present pull together analyses of jobs and the mailing industry that have been developed by the Mailing Industry Task Force (a joint enterprise of the USPS and major mailing industry private enterprises), the USPS and the Direct Marketing Association.

April 28, 2004 -- UPS Mail Innovations, the business mail services unit of UPS, has deployed an advanced technology system that represents a significant innovation in the processing of business mail. The system, known as the Automated Processing System (APS), reduces the manual handling of flat business mail, a major advance from current industry practices. APS streamlines the processing of "flats," which includes items such as annual reports, brochures and calendars, by handling the weighing, sorting, application of proper postage and the verification of addresses.

April 28, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that "with an improving economy and strong profits, UPS chief executive Mike Eskew says his company's greatest challenge is to avoid complacency amid growing competition to deliver goods and services."

April 28, 2004 -- According to Brand Republic (U.K.), "in response to Royal Mail's announcement of a three-month consultation between it and postal regulator Postcomm over plans to price mail by size rather than weight, the Direct Marketing Association (U.K.) has stressed that it remains opposed to the changes."

April 28, 2004 -- The Bath Chronicle (U.K.) has reported that "a Museum that celebrates Bath's role in postal history has unveiled plans for a £300,000 revamp as it battles to stay in business."

April 28, 2004 -- Media Week (U.K.) has reported that "the Periodical Publishers Association said it had deep concerns over the Royal Mail's plans for 'subjectivity' when establishing a price for individual items. Although negotiations have been taking place with the Royal Mail for two years on its size-based pricing proposals, the PPA has yet to have fears allayed over pricing decided by 'flatness' of a mailed product or the extent to which it can be folded into a letterbox."

April 28, 2004 -- According to the Korea Herald, "since the crippling currency crisis in the late 1990s, Korean companies have been notably cutting down on corporate orgies, mostly due to thinner wallets, but also because of new foreign company entrants that have introduced relatively alcohol-free entertainment cultures. UPS, a world leading delivery company, is one."

April 28, 2004 -- Le Monde (France) has reported that "the 20,000 employees of the regional financial services branches of the French post office, La Poste, were urged by the trade unions to stop work yesterday in protest against La Poste's plans to set up a postal bank. The unions allege that the new venture, which is due to be launched in 2005, will result in the loss of 2,800 jobs by 2007."

April 28, 2004 -- AFX-Asia has reported that "Japan Post, the newly created public corporation operating postal services, will team up with Nippon Express Co Ltd to handle parcel delivery services via convenience store operators Daily Yamazaki Co Ltd and am/pm Japan Co Ltd beginning June 1, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, without citing sources. Nippon Express, which already handles home delivery packages through the two chains, will oversee transport operations, while Japan Post will be in charge of deliveries."

April 28, 2004 -- The Asahi Shimbun has noted that "there might be fewer of them in the future, but at least the privatized post office of tomorrow might double as a convenience store Such are a couple of the suggestions floated in an interim report on postal system reform finalized Monday by a key government economic policy panel. There are nearly 25,000 post offices nationwide. The report envisages post offices that would offer a variety of services not currently available to make them more profitable and privatization easier."

April 27, 2004 -- Forbes has asked: "What can Brown do for you? How about fix your laptop? Japanese electronics company Toshiba and delivery and logistics giant United Parcel Service today are expected to announce a curious pairing which will have UPS employees repairing and servicing Toshiba-built notebook computers. As part of the deal, UPS will handle not only shipping and handling of Toshiba-made laptops for service, but also the repair and service itself. Owners of Toshiba notebooks will be able to drop the machines off at UPS retail shipping locations, from which they will be shipped to a UPS facility in Louisville, Ky. UPS employees who have been certified by Toshiba will perform the service and repairs as needed."

April 27, 2004 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy released an interim report Monday that called for post offices to continue mail delivery and savings and kampo life insurance services as well as sharing premises with businesses such as convenience stores after the postal services are privatized. The report focused on balancing efficient management with maintenance costs for the 24,700 post offices nationwide, reviewing savings and insurance services, which have been criticized for having an unfair advantage over competitors."

April 27, 2004 -- The Japan Times has reported that "a key policy-setting panel on Monday finalized an interim report proposing that Japan Post be fully privatized in 2012 at the earliest and maintain its nationwide network of post offices." See also Kyodo News.

April 27, 2004 -- Le Monde (France) has reported that "Jean-Paul Bailly, chairman of the French post office, La Poste, said that it is impossible for his organisation to reveal the number of jobs which it plans to cut, given that the issue has yet to be discussed with staff and local political figures. La Poste's unions, on the other hand, claim that it could shed 60,000 posts by 2012 if it refills only half of those vacated between now and then."

April 27, 2004 -- ITV News (U.K.) has reported that "the Royal Mail wants to change the way we customers pay for postage with prices based on the size of items rather than weight. The company said its proposed new system would be 'fairer and simpler' but regulators warn it could be disastrous for industries that send out large, lightweight goods." See also The Times and The Telegraph.

April 27, 2004 -- The Business Wire has reported that "FedEx Corp. has unveiled the new brand identity for recently acquired Kinko's retail locations--FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Center. FedEx also announced a timetable for the rollout of services at the newly-named stores. During the third quarter of calendar year 2004, the full range of FedEx day-definite ground and time-definite global express services will be available at all U.S. locations. In addition, during the fourth quarter of calendar year 2004, FedEx will offer customers' access to FedEx Consolidated Returns(TM) service, a powerful resource that helps e-tailers cost-effectively handle returns. Finally, the company said that stores are planning to offer complete 'pack-and-ship' capabilities to customers in time for the peak holiday season." According to Fedex CEO Fred Smith, the FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Center brand will serve as a beacon to businesses large and small searching for 'a total business solutions center.' FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Centers create a 'one-stop' resource offering the industry's broadest range of business services including copying and printing services, the full range of FedEx day-definite ground shipping and time-definite global express shipping services, video conferencing, high-speed wireless and wired Internet access, and computer usage."

April 27, 2004 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "TPG has become the latest company to release its results for the first quarter of 2004. TPG's mail division recorded another fall in revenues as volumes for addressed post in both the domestic and cross-border markets decreased for the 6th quarter in succession. However TPG's European Mail Networks proved an exception and expansion of UK, German and Italian operations saw the unit rise by 18.3%. Cost cutting initiatives and increased flexibility in working practices brought about an 8.3% increase in profits in the division as a whole to €236m."

April 27, 2004 -- Brand Republic has reported that "Royal Mail could face fines of up to £50m as next month's annual performance figures are expected to show a sharp deterioration in the punctuality of its deliveries. Penalties are being imposed by regulatory body Postcomm after it introduced a tough regulatory regime designed to compensate business customers. Royal Mail has missed its delivery targets for the past three years and the situation is said to be worsening. Performance has been affected by strike action and a radical shake-up within the organisation."

April 27, 2004 -- Bloomberg has reported that "Japan will privatize the three postal services in phases starting April 2007 and end its guarantees on new postal-savings deposits and insurance policies."

April 26, 2004 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.

April 26, 2004 -- Kurt Kuehn, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing UPS contributed to a panel discussion with business leaders at the National Small Shipments Traffic Conference (NASSTRAC) in Naples, FL. Kuehn described the future of parcel shipment and its century of service to multiple industries through advancements in transportation, global politics, supply chain, the Internet, and customers' demand for tailored service. Read more.

April 26, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has published in the Federal Register:

April 26, 2004 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail has delivered a damming verdict on plans to open up the postal market to competition, claiming that it will lead to an increase in the price of stamps. The comments are directed at the regulator, Postcomm, which is thinking of levying VAT on postal companies." See also Accountancy Age.

April 26, 2004 -- According to Datamonitor, "La Poste has declared a sharp jump in net profit and sales in 2003 compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, the group must continue the modernization process, which invariably will mean more redundancies, as well as expanding its non-mail services as deregulation and increasing competition in the market gather momentum. State-owned La Poste reported on Thursday that its net profit surged to E202 million from E34 million in 2002, while operating profit more than trebled to E310 million from E100 million. Sales during the period also rose although more modestly, 3.9% to E18 billion, slightly below the company's expectations. Sales at its core business, the mail service, went up 3.5% but mail volume declined for the first time by 0.9%. While this is seemingly good news for the company, a closer look at the results as well as the current and future direction of the market invites a more cautious assessment."

April 26, 2004 -- According to the Liverpool Daily Post, "nearly 200 postal workers walked out on strike today, saying their office was too hot. The unofficial action brought mail deliveries in Liverpool to a standstill and left thousands of homes and businesses without post."

April 26, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Pos Malaysia & Services Holdings Bhd. has said as part of a group revamp it may sell its noncore businesses, such as its 30% stake in a unit, in exchange for shares in Transmile Group Bhd. (7000.KU). Transmile is an air cargo operator and its biggest client is Pos Malaysia, the national postal company."

April 26, 2004 -- Business Day (Thailand) has reported that "Information and Communications Technology Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, pictured right, said over the weekend that Thailand Post was able to reduce its net operating loss by about 49 percent in 2003 as a result of the ministry's effort to revamp the company's performance. It is estimated that the state-owned firm loses up to one billion baht each year due to subsidised prices for mail services."

April 26, 2004 -- AFX Europe has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net AG's Global Mail unit said it has agreed to deliver bulk mail from several Western European countries to Austria for the Oesterreichischer Post AG, the Austrian national postal company. Financial terms of the agreement, which concerns mail from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Spain, Denmark and Switzerland were not disclosed."

April 26, 2004 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "as regular mail business drops, Hongkong Post thinks it has found an Internet-era way out of the dilemma: electronic identification services." See also TDC Trade Hong Kong Business News.

April 26, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal and logistics firm TPG NV has said the overall outlook for its 2004 performance has improved, but stopped short of issuing a fresh profit target."

April 26, 2004 -- EUPolitix has reported that "Brussels has warned Deutsche Post to make changes or face investigation over its monopoly in sorting letters under 100 grammes. As reported in FT Deutschland, EU competition chief Mario Monti has sent the German postal giant a warning letter requesting Deustche Post come into line with EU law and open up its market. Currently, the collection, sorting and franking of all letters under 100 grammes is the reserve of Deutsche Post."

April 26, 2004 -- The folks who make mailboxes will be happy with this news -- and so will a lot of other people: MailandJobs.com reports that more than 10 million delivery points have been added to the nation's mail system since 1997. "Every time the system grows it means there are more jobs related to the mailstream, more opportunities for mailers and more choices for consumers," says Peter G. Miller of the Mail & Jobs Coalition.

April 26, 2004 -- Chandigarh Newsline has reported that "the postal department has termed sending of Panjab University roll number cards through courier services as illegal."

April 25, 2004 -- The Belleville News-Democrat has reported that "for the third time in less than a year, city sewer bills apparently have been lost in the mail. Last May, the city complained to the U.S. Postal Service that 1,200 sewer bills that were mailed to residents never showed up. Replacement bills were sent, and they didn't show up, either. The Postal Service investigated the problem but never determined what happened to the bills. Postal officials at the time said the city didn't produce evidence they dropped the bills off at the post office. This time, Lundy said, workers in his office were careful to make sure they got a receipt."

April 25, 2004 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "The postal service has descended into chaos with millions of letters lying undelivered for weeks. Hospital operations have been missed, business orders cancelled and birthdays unmarked as sorting offices struggle to switch from a morning and afternoon service to a single delivery. Postmen complain that the move - designed to save the Royal Mail £350 million a year - has been implemented badly, with some staff having to carry heavy sackloads of mail on trolleys. Delivery rounds that used to take two to four hours now last up to eight hours, and some postmen have given up on the new arrangements. There are reports of mail being thrown away and postbags being dumped. Times of deliveries are also unpredictable and backlogs of unsorted mail are growing."

April 25, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "movie rental service Netflix Inc. plans to do next year what its name has always promised: deliver a movie via the Internet. Netflix built a good business on the back of postal workers, collecting $272 million in revenue last year by delivering DVDs to 1.5 million subscribers. But next year Netflix plans to begin offering movies for download via the Internet."

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

April 24, 2004 -- GovExec.com has reported that "the Postal Service produced a list of provisions this week it would like to see in postal overhaul bills that lawmakers plan to introduce next week. Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's special postal panel, said this week he wished the Postal Service had submitted them earlier. 'I don't want to rule it out of hand, but it's a late entry, to say the least,' McHugh said, adding that he had not yet seen the amendments. 'It won't get the kind of attention it would have had we received it 18 months ago, rather than 18 hours ago," he said."

April 24, 2004 -- According to the USNewsire , "Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today urged the United States Postal Service (USPS) to abstain from future sports sponsorships following the agency's announcement that it will end its relationship with the U.S. Pro Cycling Team. The USPS has sponsored the team for eight years. When asked about the possibility of future sports sponsorships, spokesman Gerry McKiernan said 'it's possible.' 'The decision to disengage from the U.S. Pro Cycling Team is a sensible one, though largely symbolic,' CAGW Director of Special Projects Leslie Paige said. 'Dropping the cycling team may only shift resources to more wasteful spending.'"

April 24, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "the bidding process for state-managed postal service Correo Argentino will start on May 17 and shares of the new company will be floated on the local stock exchange."

April 24, 2004 -- Bloomberg has reported that "pilots of cargo airlines including FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. may start carrying guns as early as May 1, expanding U.S. efforts to prevent a repeat of the 2001 terrorist attacks."

April 24, 2004 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Nigel Stapleton looks slightly too large for his modest office in a civil service building behind Waterloo station. The government-issue chairs are hardly commodious, the walls are a little thin and his salary is distinctly public sector at £76,500 a year for his three-day a week job as chairman of the Postal Services Commission. Like Allan Leighton, the chairman of Royal Mail who is now one of his adversaries, Mr Stapleton seems to enjoy the "plural" lifestyle. Although 57, he looks youthful, with few grey hairs, and he seems to relish juggling several jobs."

April 23, 2004 -- According to the Akron Beacon Journal, "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night may stop carriers from delivering the mail. But a robin might."

April 23, 2004 -- ESPN has reported that "the Postal Service is ending its sponsorship of celebrated cyclist Lance Armstrong, winner of five consecutive Tour de France races. The agency has sponsored Armstrong's pro cycling team for eight years and will continue to do so through the end of 2004. Spokesman Gerry McKiernan said the agency has decided to go "in another direction" with its advertising."

April 23, 2004 -- According to the U.S. Marines, "for Marines in Iraq there is no more waiting weeks, or sometimes months for their letters or care packages, even amidst combat operations throughout the Al Anbar province. Mail delivery was a challenge during the last deployment to Iraq because units moved so quickly and so often. But now the wait for a letter or package is down to approximately ten days. The only hurdle with getting the mail delivered on time these days is the delay in convoys due to the threat of improvised explosive devices on the roads."

April 23, 2004 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:

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April 23, 2004 -- DMNews has reported that:

April 23, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service has announced that "a new threshold for machine read barcodes on flat-size mail will be crossed on July 31. That's the date the United States Postal Service begins to require a 90 percent rate of readability of barcodes in order to qualify for lower rates. This read rate increased from the current 80 percent is evaluated by the Postal Service's MERLIN (Mailing Evaluation and Readability Lookup Instrument) system. Letter-sized mailing rates remain at 90 percent, the threshold set when MERLIN was deployed in 2001."

April 22, 2004 -- PostCom to the Postal Service: "Your revised contracting rules stink!!"

April 23, 2004 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "As the candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe prepare to join the European Union, TNT Express has announced new investment in the region to capitalize on the forecast growth in exports and imports. Plans include new linehaul connections, a new 2.7m international road hub in Warsaw, additional sortation facilities and more vehicles and drivers. These will add to TNT's existing 1,800 staff, 900 vehicles and 67 depots throughout the region. Although the investment is relatively modest - 11m the company has already built up a significant presence in the region in preparation for the enlargement. In addition to the enhancement of the road network, air express operations have also been improved with additional air stations brought on line."

April 22, 2004 -- With some regularity you can still see "junk mail" in the news, used as a substitute for direct mail, ad mail or advertising mail. Mailers have always maintained that the term "junk mail" in news reports prejudices any discussion of the mailstream because it presumes that mail lacks value and utility. We are now beginning to see something else: The term "junk mail" seems decidedly less popular in journalism circles than in past years. Read more about it.

April 23, 2004 -- According to NetGram CEO Peter Jacobson writing in Association Trends, "the 'solution' to rising costs for assn communications was supposed to be e-mail, a technology which requires no postage, paper, envelopes or labels. E-mail is not only cheap, it's quick and can be personalized. Newsletters, invoices and messages can all be sent at great speed and with little cost on the Internet. But, alas, the promised land of electronic communication has not been reached. Rather than being a replacement technology, e-mail has evolved into a choice rather than a requirement, a medium that has yet to find its place as a reliable delivery option."

April 22, 2004 -- In a recent report, "Postal Service's Funding of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS),"the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General concluded that the Postal Service overpayments, being held in escrow, should be released to the Postal Service and that requiring the Postal Service, and no other federal agency, to pay pension costs for military service constitutes a hidden tax on Postal Service customers. Additionally, the report supported an actuarial review of OPM's calculation of CSRS retirement costs, such as reevaluating whether the costs associated with postal employees' prior government service should be included in the calculation."

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April 23, 2004 -- The Independent (Zimbabwe) has reported that "the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional two sections of the Post & Telecommunications Services Act which authorised President Robert Mugabe to give orders to intercept postal articles and messages. In a delayed ruling, the Supreme Court last month said sections of the Act that allowed Mugabe to authorise the interception of postal articles and telecommunications were unlawful and thus 'null and void'."

April 23, 2004 -- The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "Japan Post plans to draw up a management program for life as a privatized corporation after the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy approved in principle on Wednesday its draft of an interim report on privatization. The public corporation will set up a team of executives, drawn from its three operations-mail delivery, postal savings and insurance-to study the functions and organizations of privatized postal corporations. Japan Post hopes the government's preparatory office for postal services privatization to incorporate the results of the studies in its privatization framework. The draft interim report called for Japan Post to be privatized in five to 10 years after state guarantees are abolished for postal savings and insurance products in 2007."

April 23, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "the french postal service, La Poste, yesterday called a meeting of its administrators in an attempt to quell doubts over the creation of a postal banking service, which is due to be launched in the next year. Trade unions have expressed doubts over the plan, saying that they would prefer to see the post office create a partnership with a public-interest bank which has no retail branches, such as state-owned French bank CDC or Dexia, the Franco-Belgian banking group specialised in public finance."

April 23, 2004 -- AFX Europe has reported that "Deutsche Post AG said it is in talks with the Belgian post office La Poste over cooperation, but has not as yet formulated any concrete plans."

April 22, 2004 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "a government panel Wednesday unofficially endorsed a draft interim report on privatizing Japan Post, stressing the bright side of privatization. In the draft report approved by the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy the government went to great lengths to contain criticism from those opposed to privatizing the postal services."

April 22, 2004 -- According to The Motley Fool, "FedEx and United Parcel Service are two companies worth considering for your portfolio. Each is trying to steal market share from the other, but they may well both win out."

April 22, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that "a German postal worker admitted to putting packages up for auction over the Internet after a search of his apartment turned up a hoard of missing deliveries."

April 22, 2004 -- The MarketWire has reported that "IBM has announced that its consulting division, Business Consulting Services, has been awarded a contract by International Post Corporation (IPC) to help them transform and manage UNEX, an Internet-based quality measurement system for the international postal organization. The new measurement system will allow postal operators to be more responsive and react quickly to deteriorating delivery times, and facilitates the speedy settling of accounts between the countries' postal operators. IBM and IPC aim to have the system fully operational by 2005. In order to achieve this, more than a half-million test letters will be sent between 36 countries every year." See also Washington Technology.

April 22, 2004 -- Le Monde (France) has reported that:

April 22, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "China agreed to drop a proposed standard that would bar foreign firms from delivering mail in China weighing less than 500 grams, compared to the current threshold of 350 grams." See also Dow Jones.

April 22, 2004 -- UPS has reported an 11.3% increase in revenue and a 24% gain in net income for the first quarter, reflecting strong results in all three business segments. Scott Davis, UPS's chief financial officer, pointed to three highlights for the quarter including an increase in average U.S. ground and air volume of nearly 600,000 packages a day, or 5%; a doubling of international profit to US$269 million, and double-digit revenue growth in the UPS Supply Chain Solutions unit."

April 22, 2004 -- News10Now has reported that "Cornell Professor of Policy Analysis Rick Geddes has spent his life teaching and writing about how policy-making affects the economy. Now he'll get to put his money where his mouth is. Geddes will be at the White House for a year as one of ten senior economists working with the President's Council of Economic Advisers. 'One of the things, oddly enough, I've become an expert in over the years is the economics of postal services. Right now, as we speak, the US Postal Service is undergoing a major threat, I guess, from alternative sources of communication,' said Geddes. But he plans to do more in Washington than save the Postal Service from the growing threats of email and fax machines."

April 22, 2004 -- The Newswire has reported that "the U.S. government is causing economic harm through its ownership or support of firms and services that compete with private enterprise, such as the U.S. Post Office, Fannie Mae and Amtrak, says a new book edited by a Cornell University professor. The government-affiliated and quasi-government services benefit from competitive advantages over private firms that foster a wide range of potentially harmful effects to the economy and taxpayers, says the book, Competing with the Government: Anticompetitive Behavior and Public Enterprises (Hoover Institution Press, 2004). The editor and author of two of the four chapters is R. Richard Geddes, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell. The other chapter authors are David E. M. Sappington of the University of Florida and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and J. Gregory Sidak and Peter J. Wallison, both of the American Enterprise Institute."

April 22, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "the [British] Post Office is to more than double the number of branches which offer on-demand Bureau de Change services."

April 22, 2004 -- The Nation has reported that "Thailand Post Co will launch a parcel-tracking service by the third quarter as part of its plan to modernise its service. Thailand Post's senior executive vice president Ormsin Chivapruk said yesterday that the state agency had already set up the system using technology from Hewlett-Packard."

April 22, 2004 -- Stamps.com has announced financial results for the first quarter of 2004. First quarter revenue was an all time quarterly high of $7.6 million, up 66% versus the first quarter of 2003 and up 19% versus the fourth quarter of 2003.

April 22, 2004 -- The PR Newswire has reported that "Firstlogic, Inc., a global provider of advanced information quality and postal automation solutions, today announced the general availability of the latest release of the firm's Directory Retrieval System (DRS) software solution. DRS is Firstlogic's high performance addressing technology for use on Multi-Line Optical Character Recognition (MLOCR) automation equipment. The solution enables organizations to consolidate and assign 11-digit barcodes to mail pieces in compliance with USPS guidelines to gain postage discounts."

April 22, 2004 -- Direct has reported that:

April 22, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that "with an economic recovery taking hold, newspapers have a chance to spur their transformation from traditional 'ink on paper' companies to more broad-based media that lure readers in new ways, said John Sturm, president of the Newspaper Association of America. 'People want to consume their media where, how and when they choose,' Sturm said. 'They want to look only at the ads that interest them. Until someone comes up with TiVo for newspapers ... we are the quintessential pull media.' He said the group continues to push for changes on the legislative front, including reform of the U.S. Postal Service. Any move that puts smaller mailers at a disadvantage to large volume mailers will be challenged, he said. And the group will continue in its efforts to thwart any penalties that result from special deals for large direct mailers."

April 22, 2004 -- The PR Newswire has reported that "tens of thousands of Postal Service customers from around the country will hear Postmaster General John E. Potter on May 26, National Postal Customer Council (PCC) Day, when he delivers his first-ever national satellite broadcast on the state of the United States Postal Service. It is anticipated that Potter will address a range of topics that fall under the organization's Transformation Plan, the Postal blueprint for the future he submitted to Congress two years ago."

Congressman John McHughApril 22, 2004 -- DMNews has noted that "it's critical that Congress pass a postal reform bill before it's too late, Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) told attendees at the Direct Marketing Association's Government Affairs Conference yesterday. "We are closer today than ever before of making a difference and finding a bipartisan, bicameral solution," he said. "If this bill is to be passed -- and if we are going to get to the core challenge of providing flexibility and modernization of the postal service ... broad-based changes to the employee worker situation -- they are probably not going to be in the bill, because you can't pass a bill with them," he said."

April 22, 2004 -- At the same time, Direct that when "asked whether postal reform be considered by Congress this year, the chiefs of staff for both House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Montana replied with one-word 'no's."

April 22, 2004 -- Harrogate Today (U.K.) has reported that "postal disruption is set to continue as Royal Mail implement the next "phase" of the controversial transition to one single daily delivery."

April 22, 2004 -- According to Transport Intelligence, "DHL Solutions, DPWN's contract logistics division, has been named as Europe's most 'pan-European' provider. The findings, contained in its recent publication, European Logistics Leaders 2004, are based on an objective, weighted scorecard model which rated logistics companies on their position in the German, UK, French, Italian, Spanish, Benelux, and Nordics markets."

April 22, 2004 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, in Russia, "the package delivery business has grown by between 25 percent and 40 percent annually over the past three years, and the big four western operators -- TNT, DHL Worldwide, United Parcel Service and FedEx -- account for the bulk of the market. International deliveries currently account for most of the volume but future growth will be driven by domestic shipments as Russia's economy expands, prompting western operators to build up their domestic networks. DHL has more than 100 offices and TNT has doubled its domestic business over the past year. FedEx plans to add 25 new offices around the country this year to link with sorting depots in Moscow and St. Petersburg. State-owned Russian Post, which has more than 40,000 outlets, has moved into the domestic market and recently took over the international operations of another state company, EMS Garantpost."

Russian Post will be holding an International Congress that will take place in Moscow from 25 to 26 May 2004. The Congress is organized by the Russian Post, the Russian Association of Direct Marketing and the Union of Mail-Order Trade Enterprises. Two International Conferences combined in the Congress is a unique practice in Russia. The Congress gives all participants of the Russian DM market an opportunity to discuss current development trends, the challenges the market faces and ways to meet them, to share experience with experts in this field, to establish business contacts. 

The 4th International Conference "Direct Marketing. XXI Century" collects annually more than 200 participants -- Russian and international experts in DM business. The purpose is to promote cooperation between postal administrations, courier service agencies, mail-order trade companies, direct marketing agencies and companies interested in effective sales with the use of modern postal and DM technologies. Great attention will be paid to the questions of legislation in DM-sphere. The Conference programme includes seminars and "round-table" discussions related to the problems of direct marketing development in Russia and direct marketing campaigning strategy. Russian and English will be the working languages of the Congress.

 For more information, contact:. Irina.Skopintseva@russianpost.ru

As you probably have figured out by now, we've been promoting the Direct Mail Congress that's noted above...and for good reason. Among those presenting will be PostCom President Gene Del Polito and Draft Worldwide Executive Vice President (and PostCom director) John Minnec. Their topic will be: "PostCom's experience in direct mail market development, interaction with state structures, making work rules and regulations on the market." It's part of PostCom's way of reaching out to help foster the growth of direct mail as a means of furthering economic development.

April 22, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that "NATO and its 26 member countries will pilot test RFID technology along the route used to get supplies and goods from Europe to Kabul. The route stretches from the Netherlands and Germany through Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, and apparently there are weak links in the supply chain. Material is shipped in, and they can't find it." And you thought you had problems....

April 21, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service has provided a set of proposed amendments to the House Committee on Government Reform and the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, as requested by those committees. A copy of the USPS' comments have been posted on this site.

April 21, 2004 -- According to Die Welt, "Deutsche Post, the German postal service, has been accused by competitors of abusing its dominant position on the market. PIN, the company's largest competitor in the field of the licensed delivery of letters in Germany, says that it uses Deutsche Post to deliver letters that are to be sent to addresses outside the area in which it operates. According to PIN, some of these letters are delivered only after a delay of several weeks. At present, only 4 per cent of letters delivered in Germany are delivered by private mail companies."

April 21, 2004 -- Manufacturing & Logistic IT has reported that "as a worldwide supplier of tracking and diagnostic monitoring systems to the postal industry, Lyngsoe Systems biannual Postal Tracking & Diagnostic Monitoring Conference is held in Copenhagen on 25-27 May 2004. Also this year Lyngsoe Systems brings together the world's leading postal managers, executives and users from the more than 40 countries using the AMQM platform. The programme has been arranged with prominent speakers sharing their latest experiences and prospects for the future within postal quality of service. Because many postal operators are preparing for increased liberalisation, Lyngsoe has included a workshop on how to integrate operations and Quality of Service. The workshop will focus on how Quality of Service can be optimised by integrating transport management, roll cage tracking, mail volume forecasting and load control."

April 21, 2004 -- The Inverness Courier (U.K.) has reported that "senior Royal Mail officials yesterday denied that consultation process on the proposed closure of four city post offices was a sham."

April 21, 2004 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "the one essential ingredient without which true postal reform simply will not happen is the provision of flexibility to allow the Postal Service to eliminate whatever unnecessary redundancies circumstances may create."

April 21, 2004 -- When they do well, they should be congratulated. So..."Kudos" for the Postal Service on the performance of its Automated Package Processing System (APPS). This next generation small parcel and bundle sorting system includes automated in-feed and induction stations, optical character recognition, and video coding systems for increased throughput and operational efficiency. Recent performance tests have shown that the APPS machines can handle the lion's share of the parcels the USPS must process including those whose dimensions rage from a minimum of 3 inches in width, 3.5 inches in length, 0.05 inches in height, and as little as 0.1 pounds weight to a maximum of 22 inches in width, 18 inches in length, 15 inches in height, and 25 pounds weight.

April 21, 2004 -- While the news is filled with daily stories about the Internet and new technologies, mail remains one of the nation's largest sources of domestic employment, according to a new website, MailandJobs.com. "There are 9 million jobs associated with mail but you never hear about it," says Peter G. Miller, executive director of the Mail and Jobs Coalition. "Few people realize that more than 200 billion pieces of mail were distributed last year, that all major environmental and consumer groups use the mails, or that advertisers will spend more than $50 billion on mail this year -- more than will be spent on newspapers and far more than the $7.3 billion spent for online ads in 2003." "In a nation where jobs are always a core concern, mail represents income and stability for millions of households," Miller says. "Simply put, mail equals jobs, more mail equals more jobs, more jobs are good for everyone." The group's site, www.mailandjobs.com, includes news and information regarding the mails, employment and related topics. The site is expected to become a major information resource for consumers, schools, non-profit organizations, local businesses and the media. [PostCom is one of the founding members of this coalition.]

April 21, 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..

April 21, 2004 -- As Computerworld has noted, "automation at the Worldport hub speeds up package sorting, cuts manual labor and helps UPS compete with rival FedEx."

April 21, 2004 -- In a letter to the editor of the Washington Times, USPS communications vice president Azeezaly Jaffer wrote: "The April 1 Insight article "Ricin Attack Was Ignored by USPS" was so riddled with errors and inconsistencies that it's hard to know where to begin with a response. But one point stands out and I think it's important to set the record straight on how we approach employee safety."

April 21, 2004 -- Les Echos has reported that "Solystic, the French producer of postal sorting machines, has won a 62m-euro contract within a consortium to supply four new sorting centres and reorganise a fifth one for the Belgian postal service. The contract also includes a five-year maintenance service for a further 36m euros. Solystic, a subsidiary of US aerospace and defence group Northrop Grumman, registered sales of 90m euros in 2003."

April 21, 2004 -- The Kyodo news service (Japan) has reported that "the government should maintain the current universal postal services throughout the nation even after the privatization of Japan Post, according to a draft proposal by a government panel made available Tuesday."

April 21, 2004 -- According to the Polish Bulletin"

April 21, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "more than 1,000 staff are expected to walk out for 24 hours from a depot in Aston, Birmingham, on Friday morning. The strike will affect the city centre in particular and people are being advised to send any mail early."

Be sure to check out Mail & Jobs.Com

April 21, 2004 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "a key government panel plans to propose the allocation of an independent accounting system for each postal-related service--mail delivery, postal savings and kanpo life insurance services--to come into effect after the services are privatized, according to the panel's draft interim report on postal privatization."

April 21, 2004 -- The DMA's Nonprofit Federation will present Rep. John M. McHugh with its Public Service Award for his efforts on postal matters impacting nonprofit mailers. This is the first time an elected official will receive this award. Following the presentation, the Congressman will address conference attendees on the urgent need for comprehensive postal reform. Rep. McHugh serves as Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight.

April 20, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "a branch of Britain's biggest postal workers union has sparked a row by breaking Labour Party rules and affiliating to another party."

April 20, 2004 -- Pitney Bowes Inc. has introduced a browser-based online postage option for its DeliverAbility(tm) enterprise package management software, which allows customers to purchase and print postage from their computer. This new and exclusive online postage option simplifies the process of calculating and paying for postage and accessing shipping services offered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

April 20, 2004 -- What's all this CSRS stuff about? It can be confusing. To help make the issue a bit more comprehensible, we've posted a piece on this site entitled: "Everything (And More) That You Ever Wanted to Know about the Postal/csrs Funding Crisis but Were Afraid to Ask"

April 20, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch Wegener NV has said it's selling the remaining 30% share in its Interlanden joint venture to Deutsche Post AG. Interlanden is one of the players in the field of distributing unaddressed advertising materials in the Netherlands. Each week, the deliverers of Interlanden deliver approximately nine million free local papers and 70 million leaflets. Interlanden is located in Apeldoorn and employs 500 people. Approximately 24,000 deliverers are active for this company."

April 20, 2004 -- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service, is planning to introduce the role of floor manager, at least in its 250 largest branches. The new role is to be introduced on May 1 and is expected to be filled by branch managers, as the company does not wish to take on new staff. The company says that the aim of the plan is to improve its service; it is hoped that queues will become shorter and that customers will be happier. In future, the floor manager will be able to deal with customers' requests immediately if they are simple, such as collecting a package."

April 20, 2004 -- According to Le Figaro (France), "La Poste, the French public postal services group, is expected to announce satisfactory results for 2003 on Thursday, despite the industrial action in the spring of the year. The group will reportedly post group net profit of 202m euros, compared with 34m in 2002."

April 20, 2004 -- Hoovers has reported that "the courier company United Parcel Service is launching a global brand advertising campaign through McCann-Erickson London to promote how its service can help businesses."

April 20, 2004 -- Into stamps? Then check out Gibbons Stamp Monthly.

April 20, 2004 -- The Battle Creek Enquirer has noted that some in the town are in a battle of their own with the Postal Service over curb-side delivery.

April 20, 2004 -- According to DM News, "mailers gave their support to a rule proposal from the U.S. Postal Service published in the Federal Register yesterday that seeks to clarify when mail containing personal information may be eligible for Standard-mail rather than First-Class rates." Of course, Direct has a bit of a different take.

April 20, 2004 -- The PR Newswire has reported that "direct mail is the focal point of a new advertising campaign the U.S. Postal Service launched today, April 19. The campaign demonstrates just how influential mail can be in a multi-channel marketing campaign and will appear in major marketing and business publications. Created by Campbell-Ewald and Draft, the program features three levels of the classic consumer-purchase-behavior path -- awareness, consideration and purchase. The first level of the purchase path, 'Awareness,' opened the campaign on April 19 and will be followed by 'Consideration' on May 3 and 'Purchase' on June 7."

April 20, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx Corp. and its 4,100 pilots have started talks over new work rules, but both sides hope to avoid the strike threats that marked talks over the company's first union contract four years ago."

April 19, 2004 -- Business Europe has reported that "the deal means that Deutsche Post will collect mail from Royal Mail's business customers and transport it to one of the company's 72 mail centres around the UK for sorting. Royal Mail will then take the mail to its delivery offices, from where it will be delivered by postal workers. It also means that, from August, businesses will be offered a new two-day mail delivery services. Under the deal, Royal Mail will be paid between 13p and £3.65, depending on the heaviness of parcels and packages. The company said the new deal would safeguard its principle of 'one-price-goes-anywhere' within the UK."

April 19, 2004 -- The U.S. Postal Service has published in the Federal Register "a proposed rule [that] would amend the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) standards concerning material eligible for mailing at Standard Mail postage rates. Specifically, it would clarify the circumstances in which mail containing 'personal' information may be eligible for Standard Mail rather than First-Class Mail rates. The proposal also reorganizes and renumbers other provisions for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail to better describe the service provided under each class. Written comments must be received on or before June 18, 2004."

April 19, 2004 -- In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young wrote: "Far from being out of control, labor costs are falling. The Postal Service has reduced its workforce by 70,000 employees during the past five years. Labor costs as a share of total costs have declined from 86 percent in 1976 to 76 percent in 2003. Contrary to Mr. Ryan's claim, postal employees earn wages and benefits that are comparable to workers doing similar jobs for national delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS. In inflation-adjusted terms, postal wages or overall postage rates have not increased significantly since 1971. Congress can do many things to help secure the long-term viability of the Postal Service. Attacking the middle-class pay and benefits of postal workers is not among them."

April 19, 2004 -- Federal Computing Week has reported that "in Philadelphia, 2,500 U.S. Postal Service employees work in a mail-processing facility that stretches across five floors. Three floors in an adjacent truck terminal and a nearby rail yard hum with other mail-sorting activities day and night. The Philadelphia facility and others like it present a challenge for USPS workforce managers: how to assign the right workers to the right place at the right time. To deal with the problem, managers have begun using optimization software, dubbed 'the solver' but more formally known as the Labor Force Schedule Optimizer System."

April 19, 2004 -- As Poste Italiane's Mario Macaro noted in Direct magazine, "in the late 1990s, the Italian post office found itself in a situation that many of its European counterparts knew all too well: The Internet and private couriers had transformed many postal activities into fully contestable markets. To make matters worse, the quality of Italian postal services was poor, public confidence in mail had suffered, and operating losses were nothing unusual. If the post office was to remain an important part of Italy's and Europe's economic and communications landscape, a radical transformation clearly would be needed. Cost-cutting alone wouldn't be enough. The quality, scope and cost-efficiency of mailing services had to improve."

PostCom President Gene Del Polito worked closely with the teams at Poste Italiane and Direct magazine to get this story published. It's another facet of PostCom's work to further the growth of direct mail as a means of fostering economic growth.

April 19, 2004 -- According to the Plattsburgh Press Republican, "some of the small post offices in the region have had to adjust the hours they are open, and the patrons are not happy. The post offices aren't, either, but it appears there are circumstances no one is able to control. The Postal Service nationwide is under the gun to cut expenses. It has few options when that directive becomes necessary. It could ask for a postal-rate increase, which certainly would not be embraced by the customers. In the end, the only viable alternative is to cut employee hours. That is what post offices have been forced to do. At big offices, that may not be noticed. At small ones, it certainly is."

April 19, 2004 -- The Sun-Sentinel has noted that "when Scott Silver acquired the former Burger King corporate headquarters on Old Cutler Road in South Miami-Dade County, he knew what wouldn't be central to his marketing campaign: the 80-acre campus overlooking Biscayne Bay, the 306,000 square feet of Class A office space, or the high-tech amenities. Instead, his campaign would focus on one concept: The 'anti-commute.' It would target executives, small business owners and corporate decision makers who face long daily drives to work. But instead of just another direct mail campaign, the campaign thought big, said Silver, president of the project, called Palmetto Bay Village Center. The $50,000 effort takes advantage of a new postal classification that allows odd- and over-sized direct mail pieces. Using over-sized, die-cut, cardboard-stock images of a Boston terrier, binoculars and an alarm clock, the art and copy targeted by ZIP code nearby affluent residents who commute to traditional business centers like downtown Miami, Datran and Doral."

April 19, 2004 -- Bloomberg has reported that "the committee discussing privatization of Japan's postal service will meet on April 26, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told reporters in Tokyo. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has promised to reveal a preliminary proposal for the sale of Japan's postal service, which holds about a fifth of Japanese household financial assets. The full privatization of Japan Post, the biggest buyer of Japanese government bonds, may take until 2017, the government has said. The sale of Japan Post is part of Koizumi's plan to reduce public spending through reforming state-owned corporations."

April 19, 2004 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "Scotland's rural post offices look set to receive a major boost as Patricia Hewitt extends their subsidies until 2008 - contradicting a recommendation by the postal watchdog. The Post Office regulator, PostCom, has advised the DTI secretary to terminate the £150 million per year of payments that the UK-wide rural network receives, from the start of 2006. But Hewitt is understood to have rebuffed the proposal outright. It is believed that her decision will be announced in June. PostCom's recommendation came after it completed a study that found the Post Office makes a 90 per cent loss on its rural network. The smallest branches receive only 20 customers per week, it discovered, and they make a loss of around £18 per visit. The Post Office is closing hundreds of branches around the country in an effort to stem the red ink. But the potentially devastating impact on rural communities - especially in Scotland - has aroused howls of protest. In response, the government introduced the £150m subsidy last year." See also the Financial Times (U.K.)

April 19, 2004 -- The Bangkok Post has reported that "Krung Thai Bank and four other private companies are interested in doing business in Thailand Post's post offices and are willing to help renovate and turn them into new business outlets."

April 19, 2004 -- TechNewsWorld has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service would like to add a new word to the mix of adjectives like 'slow' and 'inefficient' that have been used to describe it in the past. That new word is 'intelligent,' and it symbolizes the high-tech spark that is energizing this old-line government agency. A confluence of factors is pushing the Postal Service to expand its services so it can track not only individual packages, but also individual letters, from the starting point where they enter the system to their ultimate destination."

April 19, 2004 -- According to the Economist, "if you are a senior executive at a media company, you may feel that your industry is built on shaky ground. First, there was digital piracy, which could yet wipe out great chunks of revenue. Now there is the personal video recorder (PVR), which allows people to watch TV programmes whenever they like more easily and, crucially, to skip rapidly through all the commercials."

April 19, 2004 -- As Ad Age has noted, "Commercial messages have seeped into the plots of movies, the very fabric of TV shows and video games, and even into the plots of novels. But that may have been just the beachhead. Now a growing number of marketers want to persuade the nation's print magazines to open the text of their editorial pages to product placements."

April 19, 2004 -- And, as Adweek has reported, "a new study from MindShare shows that 'clutter' is still on the rise. Despite widespread concerns about clutter's negative effects on both commercials and programs, over-commercialization continues to be a problem."

April 19, 2004 -- The Kyodo news service (Japan) has reported that "the Japanese government on Monday unveiled a lineup of key members of a preparatory office in charge of privatizing Japan's postal services, naming Financial Services Agency (FSA) Commissioner Shokichi Takagi as one of two deputy heads. The other deputy head of the office, to be set up April 26 under the Cabinet Secretariat, is Shinichi Nabekura, a former vice chief for policy coordination of the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said at a news conference."

April 18, 2004 -- Traffic World has reported that "U. S. express companies say a new government study detailing the costs of anti-competitive postal protections and archaic customs systems provides important ammunition to open international markets to expedited air services. The U.S. International Trade Commission found that in addition to postal competition, U.S. express delivery companies are impeded abroad by unfair postal competition, inefficient customs practices, costly restrictions and tough barriers against entering new markets in the first place."

April 18, 2004 -- The Chosen Ilbo has reported that "the North Korea Stamp Corporation issued two sorts of Dokdo Islet postage stamps emphasizing that the Dokdo Islet is a territory of the Korean peninsula."

April 18, 2004 -- AGI Online has reported that "the Italian government has announced that it will allocate 860 million euro to guarantee worldwide postal service in the 2003-2005 period. These allocations are provided for by the 2003-2005 agreement signed by the Communications and Finance Ministers and Poste Italiane, the Italian mail joint-stock company. Poste Italiane have pledged to supply a quality-oriented service and to comply with the guidelines set out by its company plan. Poste Italiane pledges to gradually reduce worldwide postal expenses over the next three years, in accordance with its company plan. The company is also committed to increase revenues by adopting price caps and increasing fares for confidential services."

April 17, 2004 -- As the Washington Post has noted, "Netflix -- essentially alone in the movie-through-the-mail business since its 1999 launch -- now feels the heat of competition. Wal-Mart established a similar DVD-by-mail system last June and Blockbuster is about to start one. In an interview with Bloomberg television yesterday, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said his company's first-quarter loss is attributable largely to increased advertising and marketing costs designed to grab new subscribers. Netflix's through-the-mail lifespan may be shortened by the continued rollout of "video-on-demand" services offered by cable and satellite companies."

April 17, 2004 -- According to Hoovers, "FedEx ground hopes automation will deliver more growth in Tampa, FL."

April 17, 2004 -- PC World has reported that "a team of researchers at Xerox has discovered a way to print plastic transistors using a semiconductive ink. The discovery could pave the way for flexible displays and low-cost RFID radio frequency identification chips, Xerox says. Other companies are working on ways to print chips using inkjet printing technology or other methods of depositing liquid on a surface."

April 17, 2004 -- KETV asks: "Think your mail is safe at the curb? Thieves are stealing mail from curbside mailboxes in two Omaha neighborhoods, according to the U.S. Postal Inspector."

April 17, 2004 -- According to the Arizona Daily Star, "the family of Tucson Army Sgt. Aaron Garcia didn't need a congressional report to tell them how messed up the military mail system is. The proof is piled up on their dining room table. The Northwest Side family is outraged that four care packages they recently sent to Iraq were all returned to them as undeliverable this week. It's the same week that the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, released a 38-page report that revealed a raft of problems with mail delivery in Iraq including poor planning, inadequate staff training and bureaucratic inertia that has left problems unresolved for years."

April 17, 2004 -- Japan Times has reported that "privatize post offices and you may risk damaging the most trusted financial vehicle in Japan: the government bond. That's a concern being pointed out by an increasing number of economists and Finance Ministry officials in response to the reform initiatives of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi."

April 16, 2004 -- USA Today has reported that "Netflix on Thursday posted a wider quarterly net loss hurt by higher marketing costs, but the online DVD renter raised its earnings forecast, predicting better service would draw subscribers willing to pay 10% higher fees. Netflix shares dropped some 11% in after-hours trading, however, as investors reacted to a mixed outlook including an indication the planned price hike would cause a jump in a key measure of cancellations in the second quarter before a recovery later in the year. Netflix uses the Postal Service for outbound fulfillments and returns.

April 16, 2004 -- The Association for Postal Commerce has told the Postal Rate Commission:

April 16, 2004 -- Mail doesn't mean much, eh? Think again. Then check out the latest web site sponsored by a consortium of companies and organizations (including PostCom) with a focus on explaining the importance of mail to the American economy.

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

April 16, 2004 -- As part of his presentation on USPS finances, Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Richard Strasser shared information on the costs and revenues per piece and contributions to overhead per piece for fiscal year 2003. They are as follows:

FY2003 CRA:            Rev/Pc.        Cost/Pc.        Con./Pc.
 Express                       $15.90            $7.53               $8.37
 Priority                        $ 5.22             $3.35               $1.87
 Package Svc               $1.96             $1.59                $0.37
 International               $1.75             $1.31                $0.44
 First-Class                  $0.37             $0.17                $0.20
 Periodicals                  $0.24             $0.23                $0.01
 Standard                     $0.19             $0.11                $0.08

April 16, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that "if you looked closely enough yesterday, you could almost see the tumbleweeds blowing through the post office across from Internal Revenue Service headquarters at Massachusetts Avenue and North Capitol Street. The Information Age has finally caught up with the medieval custom of levying taxes on the citizenry. For the first time since the government started offering electronic filing in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there is a chance that more than half the country's taxpayers will file their returns over the Internet. The arithmetic wasn't so great for the U.S. Postal Service, which would have gotten at least 37 cents from each of those 51.8 million federal returns that were instead sent over the Internet. That's a total of at least $14 million."

April 16, 2004 -- The Washington Times has reported that "General Accounting Office chief David M. Walker, who has raised the profile of his agency by warning about the dire consequences of spiraling government debt, said yesterday that the public and Congress remain oblivious to the serious financial crunch that is looming with the retirement of the baby boomers. Mr. Walker expects House and Senate conferences on the budget to agree to reinstate "pay-go" rules requiring any new spending programs or tax cuts be offset with spending cuts or tax increases. Nothing should be exempt from the budget axes, he said, suggesting that Congress also revisit whether the government needs to be providing electricity in rural areas anymore, or postal services that are now provided quite profitably by the private sector."

April 16, 2004 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "The Royal Mail today signed a deal giving access to its sorting and delivery network to German postal giant Deutsche Post. Under the agreement, Deutsche Post will collect mail from its business customers and transport it to one of Royal Mail's 72 mail centres for final sorting before being delivered by postal workers. Royal Mail will be paid between 13p and ú3.65 per item, depending on the weight of the mail."

April 16, 2004 -- Direct magazine has reported that "Observers expect that postal reform bills will be introduced this month to address the U.S. Postal Service's financial needs and give it some of the freedoms it's long sought. Less certain, however, are suggested changes in the USPS' governance structure and in its relationship with labor unions."

April 16, 2004 -- According to the Ottawa Citizen (Canada), "when Canadians think of 'snail mail,' they probably don't think of technology. Luckily for Canada Post, Philippe Lemay does. He's the executive vice-president for business development for Canada Post Corporation, and he knows letter mail is decreasing every year because of technology. But he has a plan: integrate technology into the postal service, and the postal service won't lose customers. In fact, that's what Canada Post has been doing, under his leadership, for the last five years. Not only can you now track that gift for Grandma online. You can forgo paper mail altogether, and still use Canada Post. It created the world's first electronic post office, and the world's first electronic postmark. These services are still unused by most Canadians. But with each year, as the services improve, the customer base grows. And the fact is, if Canada Post doesn't snap up the growing online business, someone else will."

April 16, 2004 -- DMNews has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service's Carrier Pickup program expands next week for a total of 204,000 city and rural carrier routes, Postmaster General John E. Potter told the postal service's Board of Governors at its monthly meeting yesterday. Carrier Pickup lets customers go online to request next-day package pickups. There is no pickup fee because packages are picked up from customers as part of the carrier's normal delivery route. Packages must be prepared with the appropriate postage and ready to go before they are picked up. Potter also praised the recent success of Click-N-Ship Week, which took place at post offices nationwide March 22-26."

April 16, 2004 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that British "postal workers who have been on unofficial strike for almost three weeks are set to clear a huge mail backlog after they voted to return to work."

April 16, 2004 -- NALC President William H. Young was elected as a vice president of the American Federation of Labor, Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) at the labor federation's annual mid-winter Executive Council meeting in Bal Harbour, Florida. Young fills the unexpired term of NALC President Emeritus Vince Sombrotto, who resigned his post at the same meeting. Sombrotto, who had been an AFL-CIO vice president since 1981, had the longest seniority of any of the current vice presidents. Young's term will run until the next AFL-CIO Convention in Chicago in July, 2005."

April 16, 2004 -- NALC President William H. Young is encouraging every NALC branch in the nation to get involved in the 12th annual NALC National Food Drive on Saturday May 8 the second Saturday in May.

April 16, 2004 -- The Tri-Valley Herald has reported that "three years ago, two East Bay high-tech-type guys got just one too many of those throwaway promotional CDs that come in everything from the mail to cereal boxes. Their counterattack on what they call an annoying and wasteful problem began with an Internet quest to amass the discs and hit a benchmark Thursday when they dumped nearly 300,000 of the CDs outside the Capitol -- to the applause of lawmakers. Inspired by John Lieberman and James McKenna of El Cerrito, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, has introduced an only-in-California style bill that would require a postage-paid return envelope be included whenever America Online or other firms send unsolicited CDs."

April 16, 2004 -- AFX Asia has reported that "China plans to use "tens of billions" of yuan from postal savings to recapitalize debt-ridden rural credit co-operatives, the International Finance News reported, citing an official with the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)."

April 16, 2004 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "the annual survey by Transport Intelligence on the state of the European logistics industry, European Logistics Leaders 2004, has shown that TNT Logistics remains the region's biggest contract logistics player. The growth of the market shows no sign of slowing although operating margins as a whole have shrunk as the sector struggles to come to terms with the harsh economic environment."

April 16, 2004 -- KOTV has reported that "the Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority group in Oklahoma. Businesses providing services to Hispanics are hard pressed to keep up. News on 6 reporter Rick Wells says the US Postal Service in Tulsa is way ahead of the curve with Oklahoma's first bi-lingual post office."

April 16, 2004 -- According to ADWEEK, "the U.S. Postal Service will promote the benefits of direct mail through a print campaign launching next week. The campaign, dubbed 'Be here,' was created by USPS agencies Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., and Draft in Chicago. The Interpublic Group owns both shops. The first ad, 'Awareness,' breaks Monday. The second ad, 'Consideration,' launches May 3 and the third, 'Purchase,' appears June 7. A direct-mail component touting the benefits of direct mail will be implemented at the same time."

April 16, 2004 -- Computerworld has asked: "How is United Parcel Service, one of the world's largest logistics companies, approaching RFID? Like many companies, it's launching pilot deployments to better understand the business case for a wider rollout."

April 16, 2004 -- Handelsblatt has reported that "according to reports, the EU Commission is expected to approve a grant worth 70.8m euros that is to be awarded to DHL Airways, the express division of Deutsche Post, the German postal service. The funds are to be used for the construction of a logistics centre at Leipzig airport, Germany."

April 16, 2004 -- The Miami Herald has reported that "the Salina Post Office installed two special collection boxes outside for state and federal returns. There won't be a customer service window open after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, but workers will see to it the lobby stamp machine is completely stocked and returns will be accepted until midnight, postmaster Richard Brake said. Electronic filing has had a huge effect on the volume of mail generated by tax season, he said. 'April 15 isn't what it was five years ago,' Brake said. 'Even Monday prior to April 15 was a big day. I did not notice that today. Brake said Christmas remains the number one mail-generator, followed closely by Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. Tax day used to rank along the same lines, but no longer. And the difference, he said, is that while mail on other holidays goes all over the nation and the world, local tax returns are only heading to one or two destinations."

April 15, 2004 -- New Zealand Post has announced that "Datamail will acquire, through parent company New Zealand Post, a 75% share of the business processing organisation Outsource Australia Limited. The deal is the result of several months of discussion and will see Datamail and OSA strengthen their positions in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) market across New Zealand and Australia."

April 15, 2004 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "postal workers who have been on unofficial strike for almost three weeks in a row over allegations of bullying have voted to return to work."

April 15, 2004 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "reform is necessary and most definitely would be helpful, but we can't lose sight of the fact that there are other postal venues that desperately need to be explored if our goal is to truly re-engineer America's postal system."

April 15, 2004 -- The Pitney Bowes PostInsight web site is carrying a summary of research recently concluded by Kari Elkela, Development Manager, Finland Post, on "Invoices and the Consumer."

April 15, 2004 -- El Pais (Spain) has reported that "Correos, the Spanish post office, doubled its profit before tax in 2003, to 186m euros."

April 15, 2004 -- The Warsaw Voice has reported that "one of the largest state-owned enterprises, Poczta Polska, is looking for new areas of activity and is ready to operate according to European Union rules. Accelerated liberalization of the postal market, higher quality standards and transparent methods for settling costs and revenues from monopoly services. These factors are essential, though not decisive, for the postal business. 'We primarily take into account the social and technological changes that have revolutionized our business over the past 15 years,' said Dominik Czajewski, director of the strategic management office at Poczta Polska."

April 15, 2004 -- The Times of India has reported that "landline subscribers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Pune, can now look forward to shorter queues and more relaxed payment schedules at post-offices. The state-owned telecom giant has tied up with the postal department to introduce 'eBill Post'. The scheme will allow even cheques presented on the last day of payment to be taken into account, without waiting for clearance."

April 15, 2004 -- The Miami Herald has noted that "CardSmart Retail Corp. likes warm relationships, and that's the main reason the company expanded into Arizona this month. CardSmart, a division of Pawtucket greeting-card maker Paramount Cards Inc., will reach that position when it has 500 stores, a mark it plans to hit before the end of the decade. CardSmart's growth is a way to fuel Paramount, the nation's third-largest card maker, according to Greetings Etc., an industry trade publication. It also is testing a freestanding mailing station in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service. Customers can package their gifts and cards in the store and pay the postage. The store clerks handle the mailing."

April 15, 2004 -- The Los Angeles Times has reported that "U.S. troop morale in Iraq is suffering because of slow mail deliveries caused by poor training, equipment shortages and bureaucratic inefficiencies, a congressional report said Wednesday. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the Military Postal Service Agency was not doing a good enough job in Iraq, where U.S. troops are facing the highest level of violence since Saddam Hussein was toppled more than a year ago."

April 15, 2004 -- The Mirror (U.K.) has reported that "the child porn crackdown Operation Ore has already rescued 102 children, including babies, from sexual abuse, shocking statistics revealed yesterday. Many had been repeatedly raped by their own fathers, brothers or uncles so that sick pictures could be put on the internet. Operation Ore started after an investigation by the US Postal Service in Texas found a company supplying child porn worldwide on the internet. And the FBI handed over credit card details of British people who had used the site." Kudos to the Inspection Service.

April 15, 2004 -- The Edmonton Journal (Canada) has a story on how stolen mail have been used by "meth addicts" to create false IDs.

April 15, 2004 -- The PR Newswire carries news on "an historic agreement between package-delivery company DHL and Teamster local unions provides job security and pay protections for more than 6,000 union members who previously worked for Airborne Express."

April 15, 2004 -- European sources have reported that "enlargement will mean significant change for the postal sector in the ten countries entering the EU on 1 May. To appraise the challenges involved, and to describe what some posts are already doing to adapt to the changes, La Poste (France), together with La Poste/De Post (Belgium) and PostEurop staged a two-day seminar for high-level representatives from the post offices of the ten accession countries. The seminar was one of the actions being taken by PostEurop under Target 5 of its Accord II, an agreement that facilitates collaborative action between postal services in accession countries and in Western Europe as they adapt to EU requirements."

April 15, 2004 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that it "has released its annual rankings of the largest contract logistics companies in Europe, contained in its report European Logistics Leaders 2004. Overall the top three contract logistics companies remained the same in 2003 as the previous year when TNT Logistics took over as the largest logistics company in Europe from Exel."

April 15, 2004 -- As the Asahi News Service has noted, "any switch from the public to the private sector sounds good. But let us never forget the most fundamental question: What is the purpose of privatization?"

April 14, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "TNT has announced the appointment of Michael Drake as regional general manager for TNT Express in South East Asia, responsible for the company's business in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia as well as agent operations in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar."

April 14, 2004 -- In a meeting with members of the Financial Roundtable, Marlene Colucci, Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, said the Bush Administration is definitely interested in a congressional bill that offers a "long-term fix" for the challenges the U.S. Postal Service is facing, and not just a short-term, let's avoid a rate case CSRS fix.

April 14, 2004 --The Virgin Island Daily News has noted that the "U.S. Postal Service has announced its preferred address formats for Virgin Islands mail as part of its initiative to improve processing and delivery. The guidelines are: (1) The valid last line for Charlotte Amalie is St. Thomas; (2) The valid last line for Cruz Bay is St. John; (3) St. Croix has three main cities that are used as valid last lines: Christiansted, Frederiksted and Kingshill; (4) The correct abbreviation for the Virgin Islands is VI; and (5) Do not use USVI, VIS, VI USA or USA VI or V.I."

April 14, 2004 -- The Globe and Mail has reported that "the Canadian federal government told Canada Post to hire Liberal-connected advertising agency Lafleur Communication, which was chosen without competitive bids, as one of its regular ad firms, the suspended president of the Crown corporation, Andre Ouellet, testified yesterday. At the same time, Mr. Ouellet, who said his life has been a "living hell" since Prime Minister Paul Martin made an 'arbitrary' decision to suspend him, attacked Auditor-General Sheila Fraser's report on the sponsorship scandal, insisting that her auditors got the facts wrong."

April 14, 2004 -- AMEInfo has reported that "TNT has signed an import service agreement with Somal Post, the country's postal network which means the integrator can access all of Somalia. TNT's entire Somalia operation will be co-ordinated out of its Middle East, Africa and India hub in Dubai."

April 14, 2004 -- According to the PR Newswire:

April 14, 2004 -- The latest Congressional Research Service report on "Pension Issues Cloud Postal Reform Debate" has been posted on this site.

April 14, 2004 -- The APWU is preparing to finance a large-scale media campaign to battle anti-worker, anti-consumer "reform" aspects of proposed legislation should it become necessary, President William Burrus said recently.

April 14, 2004 -- The Japan Times has reported that "Japan Post aims to beef up its international business to survive intensifying global competition ahead of its planned privatization beginning in 2007, according to Masaharu Ikuta, president of the government-owned entity."

April 14, 2004 -- According to The Scotsman (U.K.), "transport firms are in talks with postal leaders to put mail back on the railways, it was revealed yesterday. Royal Mail said it was in talks with several firms about the move, which could see trains moving post between London and Scotland." See also The Telegraph.

April 14, 2004 -- DMNews has reported that "Digital Connexxions Corp., a provider of e-mail and data services for publishers and direct marketers, announced yesterday the launch of an e-mail service that works with the U.S. Postal Service's Confirm tracking service to boost direct mail response rates. Digital Connexxions' online tools, called SubscriberWorx, handle all aspects of subscriber data management and communications including campaign offerings, online and offline deployment, real-time reporting, data management and subscriber intelligence technology, the Oakville, Ontario, company said. When using Confirm with SubscriberWorx, Digital Connexxions said, targeted e-mails can be deployed to direct mail recipients on an individual or campaign level."

April 14, 2004 -- The Daily Times of Nigeria has reported that "cost of postage stamps will soon rise as the Federal Government on Tuesday approved 150 per cent increase in charges of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) with domestic tariff shooting up from N20 to N50. NIPOST spokesperson, Hussaina Charity Ato, said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday that President Olusegun Obasanjo had approved the take off of new tariff with effect from April."

April 14, 2004 -- HoldTheFrontPage (U.K.) has reported that "Postal workers union the CWU has attacked Royal Mail plans to dispense with the Newspaper Registration Service. The service is a cut-price method to send newspapers through the post at a reduced rate. It was set up in the mid-1800s to enable publishers to reach readers living in remote areas. By registering their newspapers with the Royal Mail, users get first class deliveries for second class rates."

April 14, 2004 -- WorldCargoNews has reported that "Netherlands-based transport operator De Rijke, has acquired Danzas Chemicals from the DHL Freight organisation."

April 13, 2004 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.

April 13, 2004 -- The Washington Business Journal has reported that "Pitney Bowes is offering a hefty $321 million to acquire Lanham-based Group 1 Software. The offer, valued at $23 per share, is a nearly 40 percent premium over Group 1's closing share price Monday. Under the deal, Group 1 would become a wholly owned subsidiary and still run by its current management. It would be folded in to Pitney Bowes' Global Enterprise Solutions segment."

April 13, 2004 -- TMCNet has reported that "UPS ranks highest in business customer satisfaction for domestic air, ground and international delivery, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Small-Package Delivery Service Business Customer Satisfaction Study(SM) released today."

April 13, 2004 -- Directions magazine has an interested piece on "Geocoding Challenges: Why Accuracy Matters."

April 13, 2004 -- The Toronto Star (Canada) has reported that "the suspended president of Canada Post says the Crown corporation was not involved in a program to promote Canadian unity, but was promoting itself with a film about hockey great Maurice Richard." See also CBC News.

April 13, 2004 -- According to AllAfrica.com, "at least 250 jobs will be lost as government moves to restructure Posta Uganda in order to improve its competitiveness. Formerly Uganda Posts Limited, one of the successor companies of Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation Limited, Posta Uganda will have its regional offices reduced from 12 to just four in the restructuring process that started in February."

April 13, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "the costs to businesses of a postal strike in Oxford is spiralling towards £1m after just two weeks, according to the county's chamber of commerce. Royal Mail says it is already dealing with a backlog of four million items of post due to the unofficial action."

April 13, 2004 -- According to the Associated Press, "the National Postal Museum plans to sell or destroy millions of stamps once used to prove that taxes had been paid on whiskey, cigarettes and playing cards. The idea is not sitting well with collectors. The museum says it was given the stamps so they could be sold to raise money, but selling all the stamps could cause chaos in the stamp-collecting market. Some collectors insist all the stamps should go on sale. Others disagree and argue that flooding the market would destroy the value of many rare stamps owned by collectors."

April 13, 2004 -- People are asking: "Why is the Washington Post on a thing about advertising mail?" Simple....They don't like the competition they get from the mail for the distribution of printed advertising. The ads you get in the Washington Post are never referred to ask "junk news," but that won't stop the Post in calling ads in the mail "junk mail." Fair and balanced reporting....Right?...Not on your life! It's time to let the Post know you're mad as hell, and you won't take it anymore. Take a look at some of the responses received at PostalNews.com .

April 13, 2004 -- The MarketWire has reported that "Alpine Aviation, Inc., a subsidiary of Alpine Air Express, Inc., the third largest regional cargo airline and transportation logistics company in the U.S., with a fleet of 29 airplanes and annual sales of $10M+, has been awarded a new multi-year contract by the U.S. Postal Service. The new contract will begin service on April 24, 2004. The service, including routes throughout the Hawaiian Islands, marks a new region of operation for Alpine Air."

April 13, 2004 -- The Delphos Herald has asked: "Did you ever hear of a tax on postage? Sounds ludicrous doesn't it. Well, not if the White House gets its way. According to the administration and the Secretary of the Treasury, their take on some of the funds collected from rate payers is to use them to offset some of the deficit."

April 12, 2004 -- According to one writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "service" is more than just the USPS' last name.

April 12, 2004 -- According to The Guardian (U.K.), "the British Post Office is preparing to offer free phone calls to residential customers, with a trial in September ahead of a national launch at the end of the year."

April 12, 2004 -- Yonhap News has reported that "South Korea's state postal agency, Korea Post, said Monday it will begin operation of Internet-based savings from July as part of efforts to strengthen its financial services. To expand its Internet banking services including ordinary deposits, the state mail service monopoly plans to offer higher interest rates than the market rates, said Koo Yung-bo, president of Korea Post, in a press conference."

April 11, 2004 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "citing an improving US economy and growing demand for freight and ground delivery services, FedEx raised its quarterly profit forecast and predicted next fiscal year's earnings largely above Wall Street expectations."

April 10, 2004 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service wants to prequalify software companies that could supply a Microsoft Corp. Windows-based program to replace specialized software used at postal retail counters. Preference will be given to commercial mailing software with the greatest flexibility for incorporating USPS business rules, according to postal officials."

April 10, 2004 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "more than 1,600 rural post offices could face closure under recommendations from the Post Office regulator. They are set out in a review by the Postal Services Commission, PostComm, of the £150 million-a-year subsidy that sustains the rural network of post offices. The review is now being considered by the Government. The report by the independent regulator into the long term future of the post offices has been with the government since July last year, but the DTI says there are no immediate plans to publish it." See also The Guardian (U.K.)

April 10, 2004 -- Arab News has reported that "local business owners vented their frustration at the lack of customer service and basic infrastructure support at a seminar on applied technology in business held in Jeddah. Participating in the event at Dar Al-Hekma private college for girls were various institutions that focused on the role of information technology in business. Presentations were given by representatives from the US commercial service department at the US Consulate General in Jeddah, 2-The-Point computer-service solution company, SAMBA, and FedEx. Rushdi Damanhouri, FedEx regional manager, faced the most critical questions on its services in Saudi Arabia after speaking about transporting goods safely and punctually."

April 10, 2004 -- The Chicago Tribune has reported that "The discovery of bags of undelivered mail in a trash bin has led to the arrests of three people accused of fitting ingenious devices in street-corner postal collection boxes to snare victims' mail. Fitting snugly in the collection boxes' openings, the "mail stops" intercepted more than 180 pieces of mail from people in seven Lake County, Ind., cities, federal investigators said."

April 9, 2004 -- So, how many jobs are there that are connected with postal-related businesses? Well, a report by the Envelope Manufacturers Foundation indicates there are many. A copy of the spreadsheet showing a breakdown by state has been posted on this site.

April 9, 2004 -- The Asia News Network has reported that "As things stand now, the government cannot avoid criticism for failing to present a clear picture of what Japan Post will be like when fully privatized, mainly due to concern over the House of Councillors election slated for this summer. The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, a key economic policy panel, unveiled Wednesday a draft of its interim report on the full privatization of Japan Post. The full report will be formally adopted later in the month. The draft does not go any further than sorting out points discussed earlier by the panel. It is still impossible to envision the future form Japan Post will take after it is fully privatized following a 10-year transition Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said would start in 2007. The privatization of the government-backed postal services is the centerpiece of the structural reforms championed by Koizumi."

April 9, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "French banks are redoubling efforts to fight planned legislation that would expand the range of financial services offered by the country's state-owned postal service. Established banks say La Poste's (F.PST) 17,000-strong branch network equals the distribution size of France's top four banks and would severely skew competition."

April 9, 2004 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:

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April 9, 2004 -- The Linux Journal has reported that "the porting of established applications to Linux is growing as the use of the Linux grows in the server market. Vendors are positioning themselves as OS neutral in the pitching of their software and hardware products. Melissa Data, based in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, will be showcasing their recently ported Linux-based address verification tool at Real World Linux in Toronto April 13-15."

April 9, 2004 -- Japan Today has reported that "Japan Post said Thursday it and its predecessor failed to collect a total of 15.16 billion yen in withholding tax on interest on postal savings in the three years through fiscal 2003 by illicitly applying its tax-exempt small savings system for the elderly and handicapped to non-eligible customers. Japan Post said there were some 97,700 cases where the tax-exempt system was illicitly applied during the three-year period 2,900 cases worth 480 million yen in fiscal 2001, 17,000 cases worth 2.72 billion yen in fiscal 2002 and 77,800 cases worth 11.96 billion yen in fiscal 2003."

April 9, 2004 -- According to Transport Intelligence, "DHL is to lose more jobs as the company continues to make cutbacks as apart of its STAR integration programme. Following on from the announcement last month that up to 1,200 jobs were threatened in France, it has been reported in the Belgian media that the company's Global and European Co-ordination Centre in Brussels would be undergoing re-structuring."

April 9, 2004 -- icCroydon.co.uk has reported that "it's a red letter day for Croydon with the arrival of almost 200 new postal jobs and the prospect of many more to come. Deutsche Post Global Mail (UK) Ltd, part of the German post office, looked at a number of sites before deciding that Croydon was the best place to concentrate its international operations in the United Kingdom. It has created a purpose-built headquarters in Queensway, off Purley Way, where it now houses 160 staff in a state-of-the-art sorting and distribution facility that can handle up to 7.5 million items a month.

April 9, 2004 -- The ITC report on "Express Delivery Services: Competitive Conditions Facing U.S.-based Firms in Foreign Markets" is available on the International Trade Commission web site.

April 8, 2004 -- According to Michael Schuyler, Senior Economist at the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, "the Postal Service has long argued that current price regulation is too burdensome and should be loosened. A natural concern, however, is that less regulation of core products would increase the danger that the Service would abuse its monopoly power. It might seem at first glance, though, that little pricing supervision is needed in markets where competition protects customers against excessively high prices. In fact, careful regulatory oversight is also needed there. The danger in competitive markets is that the Service will cause damage by setting prices that are too low."

April 8, 2004 -- TMCnet has reported that:

April 8, 2004 -- According to the BBC (U.K.), "an unofficial postal strike that is badly affecting mail services in Oxford is continuing to spread. Workers from a third Royal Mail premises walked out on Thursday, in support of striking colleagues at the main Cowley sorting office. Industrial action began at the sorting office more than a week ago over claims of bullying and harassment."

April 8, 2004 -- You can read more about yesterday's testimony by the chairmen of the Postal Rate Commission and the Board of Governors in Direct magazine and DM News.

April 8, 2004 -- Online.ie (Ireland) has reported that "postal services are expected to return to normal in the coming days following agreement between An Post and the Communications Workers Union about how to clear the mail backlog caused by recent staff suspensions."

April 8, 2004 -- The Trentonian has reported that "claiming workers were denied proper wages following the 2001 anthrax attack, the American Postal Workers Union filed suit in federal court yesterday in an attempt to compel the U.S. postal service to negotiate the matter."

April 8, 2004 -- According to the DM Bulletin (U.K.), "TPG Post UK has confirmed that it has signed an access agreement with Royal Mail and will trade as TNT Mail, as the Dutch company sets to become the main challenger in the postal market." See also The Telegraph, The Independent, and the Financial Times (U.K.).

April 8, 2004 -- Bloomberg has reported that "Japan's government said it may keep a stake in state-owned Japan Post, which holds about a fifth of the nation's household financial assets, for 10 years after a planned sale in 2007. The full privatization of Japan Post, the biggest buyer of Japanese government bonds, may take until 2017, the Council on Economic Fiscal Policy said."

April 8, 2004 -- The NorthWest Indiana Times has reported that "the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has commended a Lansing detective for uncovering a postal scam involving more than $57,000 in mail fraud."

April 8, 2004 -- The agenda for the April 15, 2004 meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has been published in the Federal Register. Among the topics to be discussed: "Financing the Postal System, Revenue and Cost Analysis, 2003.

April 8, 2004 -- Financial Times Deutschland has reported that "Deutsche Bank, Germany's leading bank, and Deutsche Postbank, the banking subsidiary of German national postal operator Deutsche Post, are to co-operate in payment transactions. It is reported that, with effect from July, Postbank will process domestic payment transactions on behalf of Deutsche Bank through its specialist subsidiary Betriebscenter fur Banken (BCB)."

April 8, 2004 -- Reuters has reported that "United Parcel Service (UPS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , the world's largest package deliverer, on Tuesday said shipping volume at its UPS Stores has more than doubled since it launched a campaign a year ago to rebrand its Mail Boxes Etc. shipping and copying chain. The Atlanta company, which acquired Mail Boxes Etc. in 2001, said it aims to expand the chain to 5,000 locations in the United States by 2007. The transportation giant currently has 3,300 stores."

April 8, 2004 -- GovExec.com has reported that "Senate Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, laid out an "aggressive timetable" Wenesday for a Postal Service overhaul bill, saying she plans to introduce bipartisan legislation with Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., by the end of the month. A committee aide said Collins hoped to mark up the bill in May."

April 8, 2004 -- The Murray County News has reported that "the 12th annual National Association of Letter Carriers' (NALC) National Food Drive will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2004 -- the second Saturday in May. Once again the Food Drive will have the enthusiastic support of the Campbell Soup Company and the United States Postal Service in an effort to help 'Stamp Out Hunger'. This year Val-Pak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc. joins the drive as a major national supporter of the largest one-day food drive in the world. The Campbell Soup and the Postal Service will jointly provide 105 million postcards for delivery to postal customers a few days before the drive to remind them to place non-perishable food by their mailboxes on May 8. Val-Pak will remind 40 million households this April about the upcoming food drive."

April 8, 2004 -- "What effect does the USPS' status as a monopoly have on the Virginia economy? Plenty," said the Thomas Jefferson Institute. "This report inventories the government-granted competitive advantages enjoyed by the Postal Service, allowing it to unfairly compete with private, taxpaying Virginia firms. It illustrates the impact of the USPS tax exemption on state and local government -- from corporate income to property and BPOL taxes -- during a time of budgetary constraints."

April 7, 2004 -- From today's hearing before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs concerning "Postal Reform: The Chairmenís Perspectives on Governance and Rate-Setting." Witnesses included:

Omas said that while he agreed that attribution of postal costs needs to be improved, he said it would be inappropriate to set a target percentage for attributable costs. He noted that as worksharing continues to grow it will reduce Postal Service attributable costs and thus the percentage of total costs that are attributed. He said that in a multi-product firm such as the Postal Service, it can be extremely difficult to differentiate the cost of one product from another. Finding the volume variable costs of an activity is not sufficient. A necessary second step is to associate the volume variable costs with the appropriate category of mail. He noted that It is understandable that businesses that compete with the Postal Service are concerned that competitive products cover their attributable costs and make adequate contributions to Postal Service overhead. The best way to assure that proper contributions to overhead are collected from each product is to directly address the size of the contribution that competitive products should make in the legislation. Arbitrarily legislating that a set proportion of total costs are ďattributableĒ will only undermine captive mailersí faith that their rates are fairly cost-based.

Omas criticized the Postal Service's view of what would constitute an appropriate rate cap. He said it would fail to impose any meaningful fiscal discipline on the Serviceís operations. It it is undeniable, he said, that the current statute does not provide an effective incentive to motivate the Postal Service to reduce costs or improve efficiency. Any proposed pricing regime establishing such a generous permanent price cap would, I believe, do little more than perpetuate this system, one devoid of any consequential means to impose fiscal discipline on the Postal Service concerning its market-dominant products and services. Furthermore, he said, " the keen edge of incentive ratemaking should not be dulled by lax benchmarks of cost escalation or by easily available escapes from price caps on the ground of 'exigent circumstances.'" On the other hand, he said that "the flexibility inherent in the previously proposed provisions should be retained, including a ďsafety valveĒ opportunity for the Postal Service to recoup costs resulting from extraordinary, unforeseeable expenses that would otherwise drive rates above the price caps. The mechanism for doing so would be an extraordinary or 'exigent' rate request by the Postal Service."

On the matter of post-hoc rate review, Omas said that the objectives identified previously introduced postal reform  bills can be better met by a system where the regulator is left the option of conducting limited and expeditious prior review rather than post-rate implementation review.

April 7, 2004 -- According to Die Welt, "Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, has sent a letter to Germany's minister of economy and all regional prime ministers in which it outlines plans to open up to 1,500 new outlets in order to improve services in villages and small towns. The group intends to start its expansion programme next year, but will not increase its total number of outlets of around 13,000."

April 7, 2004 -- The Kyodo news service (Japan) has reported that "the government should aim to fully privatize Japan Post around 2017 after a 10-year transitional period to start in 2007, according to a draft of an advisory panel's interim report released Wednesday."

April 7, 2004 -- PostalNews.com has reported that "label maker Avery Dennison has 'quietly' introduced what it calls 'Creative Postage Labels', which are virtually identical in appearance to the personalized stamps offered by several countries. (Earlier this year the USPS rejected a recommendation from the Presidential Commission that would have had the agency market personalized stamps.)"

April 7, 2004 -- National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young told his members that "the decision last week (see April 2, 2004 Bulletin) to impose a moratorium on all pending route inspections and minor adjustments was an historic leap by the NALC and the Postal Service toward resolution of a nagging source of stress and conflict. The freeze gives us time to conduct tests to determine just what the cased mail volume really looks like in today's delivery units. Getting a firm idea of cased volume is essential because there have been too many disagreements over the figures entered in the DOIS to place any confidence in those numbers. For the next two months letter carriers, with branch designees backing them up, will have the right to agree to the figures before they are being entered into DOIS."

April 7, 2004 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail postal workers are to deliver letters for TPG after the Dutch postal operator, which also owns TNT, became the second company to negotiate an access deal. TPG, based in Amsterdam, said it had signed an agreement which will see it pay Royal Mail from 13p a letter for handling and delivering partially sorted mail." See also The Scotsman.

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

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April 7, 2004 -- AMEInfo has reported that "His Excellency Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, UAE Minister of Communications and Chairman of Emirates Post, today inaugurated the state-of-the-art Training and Development Centre of Emirates Post, which has been set up to fulfill the training needs of Emirates Post and other postal organizations in the region. The Centre is equipped with advanced equipment and facilities to deliver high-value training, such as an auditorium, a meeting room, three training halls, two training cubicles, projectors, latest Smart boards, shared network and AMX system. The Centre provided training for 536 employees of Emirates Post during 2003."

April 7, 2004 -- The Irish Examiner has reported that "as Labour Relations Commission talks between An Post Management and the CWU faltered last night, a union spokesman accused An Post of trying to deliberately derail the talks process. An Post in turn blamed the CWU for delaying a complete service resumption by refusing to agree to its plan to clear a backlog of mail built up since the dispute began two weeks ago."

April 7, 2004 -- TMCNet has reported that "Drexler Technology Corporation has announced a purchase order valued at $140,000 for LaserCard products for a secure banking project under the auspices of Sanfro, the national Post Office of Senegal, Africa. The order includes LaserCard optical memory cards and secure card encoders and readers, to facilitate consumer banking transactions at post office branches."

April 7, 2004 -- Ireland Online has reported that "Talks between the Communications Workers Union and An Post have broken down at the Labour Relations Commission. Discussions were being held in a bid to sort out a dispute, which resulted in the suspension of over 500 staff at An Post. The breakdown in discussions at the LRC, has raised concerns about a delay in getting postal services back to normal."

April 6, 2004 -- The National Postal Museum's new exhibition, "The Queen's Own: Stamps That Changed the World" opened this morning. You can view the online exhibition at this URL: http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu. The exhibit will be on display from April 6, 2004 to January 11, 2005.

April 6, 2004 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to hear opinions from members of the public on postal privatization by creating an expert advisory panel to a government office planned to be set up with the Cabinet Secretariat later this month. Koizumi aims to have the office lead the privatization of postal-related services, which he has initiated."

April 6, 2004 -- The Glasgow Evening Times (U.K.) has reported that "small firms in and around Glasgow are bearing the brunt of the controversial scrapping of the second post, it was claimed today. Timber firm boss Vincent McHugh said his mail had been arriving as late as 3pm since the switch to single deliveries last month and it was affecting his business. Royal Mail said there were "teething problems" with the system."

April 6, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that "federal investigators have examined about 20,000 pieces of mail in hopes of finding the source of the ricin that was discovered Feb. 2 on Capitol Hill but have turned up nothing to lead them to a suspect in the case."

April 6, 2004 -- According to Traffic World:

April 6, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "posts minister Taro Aso on Tuesday backed Japan Post's plan to expand its business operations before it is privatized in 2007."

April 6, 2004 -- Zawya has noted that "the Yemeni General Post Authority has several responsibilities beyond just delivering the mail. For instance, it offers the postal savings service and also distributes retired people's pensions through its branches all over the country. We spoke with Mr. Mohammed Murghem, General Manager of the Post Authority, who spoke about the achievements and plans of Yemen's modern postal service."

April 6, 2004 -- The Las Vegas Sun has reported that "homeowners and renters who need keys or lock changes for their mailboxes soon will have to get them from their home builder or homeowners association instead of a post office, if the U.S. Postal Service has its way. The Postal Service says it is making that change to save money. But critics say it will lead to less privacy and security in an age where mail theft is an easy route to identity theft."

April 6, 2004 -- As Direct Newsline has noted, "the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold its final hearing on postal reform on Wed. Apr. 7 to review proposed changes to the Postal Service's rate-setting process and governance structure. Postal Rate Commission Chairman George Omas and Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman David Fineman will testify at the hearing. This hearing is the last the Committee is holding on the findings of the Presidential Commission on the U.S. Postal Service, which was completed last July. Committee Chairman Sen. Susan Chairman Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) are planning to introduce legislation to reform the postal service as early this month."

April 6, 2004 -- The Times of India has reported that "the traditional postman is now going to have a new job profile with the introduction of a fresh high-tech service product 'e-post' by the department of post. Under e-post, handwritten letters, typed and printed documents, photographs etc are copied by post office computer with the help of scanner and then sent by e-mail to concerned post offices in India and abroad. Printouts of the email matters are taken out at these post offices and put in envelopes. Then they are delivered to the addressees by postmen. Postmen also collect e-post mail from senders' place.

April 6, 2004 -- According to one senior fellow at the Lexington Institute, "postal employees receive a 28.4 percent pay increase, on average, upon hire. Labor accounts for nearly 80 percent of Postal Service costs, compared with roughly 50 percent for private delivery firms. The exorbitant pay premium is a contradiction of federal law stating that postal pay should be comparable to private-sector pay. If the Postal Service reduced its compensation premium, it could save over $8 billion per year. That would allow it to operate in the black while lowering postal rates."

April 6, 2004 -- The Miami Herald has reported that "a U.S. life insurance industry group urged a key Japanese government economic panel Friday to reflect its concerns in setting principles for the privatization of the state-run 'kampo' life insurance services."

April 6, 2004 -- Over 700 delegates to the NAPS Legislative Training Seminar fanned across Capitol Hill last week during meetings with House and Senate lawmakers in support of postal reform. NAPS representatives met with over ninety percent of all Congressional offices. NAPS delegates educated Congress on the nuts-and-bolts of postal reform. They focused on five issues: (1) Preserving universal service, six-day delivery and the letter and mailbox monopoly (2) Giving the Postal Service greater commercial flexibility to set prices (3) Modernizing the postal plant and post office network (4) Eliminating the "escrow requirement" that denies the Postal Service use of billions of dollars in CSRS pension reform "savings." (5) Relieving the Postal Service of the burden of funding retirement benefits of its employees that are attributable to their military service and returning that responsibility to the Department of the Treasury.

April 6, 2004 -- According to the DM Bulletin (U.K.), "Royal Mail is close to signing its third business-to-business contract with Dutch postal operator TPG, just days after German delivery firm Deutsche Post also agreed to use the network. The deal, which is expected to be signed in the next couple of weeks, will see Royal Mail sort post for TPG to deliver. The terms of the deal are expected to be the same as those agreed with Deutsche Post and UK Mail, where TPG will pay 13p for every letter sorted by Royal Mail."

April 6, 2004 -- The Postal Service discussed its "retail strategy" in LinkOnline.

April 6, 2004 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "La Poste, the French state postal service operator, is reported to have been beaten in the race to acquire a stake in SEUR, Spain's leading express parcel forwarder. JPMorgan Partners and Bridgepoint, the US venture capital funds, will acquire the share package, amounting to a 21.2 per cent stake in the company, from founder Justo Yufera, for a sum estimated by analysts at around 120m euros."

April 5, 2004 -- Stuff.co.nz has reported that "some letter writers who attempted to buy five cent stamps from the New Zealand Post Shop on Manners St, central Wellington, were told it had run out yesterday the day postal charges increased by five cents to 45 cents."

April 5, 2004 -- The East African Standard has reported that "the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) is planning to raise Sh1.7 billion to fund its recovery strategy over the next four years. Mr Dan Ameyo, the Post-Master General, says the aim is to return the giant parastatal to profitability. The strategy, he says, is to raise the funds through new product rollout and the opening of new postal facilities countrywide. According to Ameyo the corporation has been awoken from slumber by a Government decision to stop funding parastatals through the exchequer."

April 5, 2004 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Ireland's cash-strapped postal service, An Post, began to return to normal Monday following two weeks of confrontations between managers and union leaders."

April 5, 2004 -- Three senior executives from leading U.S. companies and associations have joined the Mailing Industry CEO Council: William Novelli, CEO, AARP; William Nuti, CEO, Symbol Technologies; and Richard Srednicki, Executive VP and CEO, Card Services, J P Morgan Chase.

April 5, 2004 -- The Postal Employees Network has reported that "the NALC (www.nalc.org) and USPS (www.usps.com) have agreed to a temporary moratorium on ALL route inspections from April 3 through August 31, 2004. This agreement also outlines guidelines for the counting of cased mail volumes for city carriers during this period."

April 5, 2004 -- According to European sources, "De Post/La Poste of Belgium has sold its 50 per cent stake in postal insurance business to its joint venture partner, AXA. Under an agreement that expires in February 2005, AXA will continue to sell postal insurance products in post offices.

April 5, 2004 -- Australian consumers prefer the post to e-mail or SMS for promotional messages and essential communications such as bills, according to research conducted by TNS and sponsored by Australia Post.

April 5, 2004 -- Die Welt (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, has cancelled its contracts with around 2,000 postal agencies after they refused to accept major changes to their contracts and their remuneration packages. The group, which has until now co-operated with around 8,000 postal agencies, has announced, however, that the cancellation of the contracts does not mean that it will close many of its post offices."

April 5, 2004 -- Associated Press has reported that "Britain and France are jointly releasing a set of postage stamps to mark the hundredth anniversary of the pact that ended centuries of hostility between the two nations, the Royal Mail said. The Royal Mail and the French Post Office, La Poste, will begin selling the stamps marking the centenary of the Entente Cordiale on Tuesday, two days ahead of the anniversary. The landmark treaty was signed in London on April 8, 1904. But the friendship between the neighbors has often been prickly, and they disagreed bitterly over the war in Iraq."

April 5, 2004 -- Dutch postal and logistics company TPG NV, Sandd and Selekt Mail Nederland - the three largest players in the Dutch postal market - signed Monday an in-principle agreement that should resolve the problem of return items, TPG said. With the growing competition in the postal market, the new players Sandd and Selekt Mail Nederland experienced handling of return items as a barrier.

April 5, 2004 -- According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "for what seems like the fiftieth time, dire warnings are coming from Washington about the financial shape of the Postal Service. Congressional hearings, a high-powered commission, and the General Accounting Office agree that the future looks bleak. Whatever Washington decides, it cannot let the agency drift endlessly along without reform. On that point everyone agrees. It would be refreshing - if not miraculous - to see Congress take action before the next dire report about the Postal Service is published two, three, or five years from now - as one almost surely will be."

April 5, 2004 -- The Associated Press has reported that "Janet Steiger, a congressman's widow appointed by four presidents to several posts including head of the Federal Trade Commission, [and Chairman of the Postal Rate Commission] died after a brief illness, her sister said. She was 64."

April 5, 2004 -- According to Transport Intelligence, "DPWN's effort to break into the UK market is part of a wider strategy to develop a European network which could even involve the acquisition of national postal operators. Preliminary talks have already been held with Austrian Post and senior figures at Deutsche Post believe that eventually there could be as few as six national operators in the enlarged 25 member EU."

April 5, 2004 -- According to Ireland Online, "The postal dispute has taken another twist, with the Communications Workers Union objecting to An Post's decision to hire 200 casual workers to clear a backlog caused by recent staff suspensions. The dispute appeared to have been resolved when both sides agreed to resume talks last week. An Post subsequently reinstated all suspended workers at its Dublin mail centre and said it was planning to hire 200 more temporary staff to clear the backlog caused by the suspensions. However, the CWU has claimed this breaches existing agreements stipulating that any casual or temporary staff must be hired for a minimum of seven months, except over the Christmas period. The two sides are due to meet this morning to discuss the matter."

April 5, 2004 -- The Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. will soon be giving away tens of millions of dollars in free shipping as part of its settlement of a class-action lawsuit that alleged the company overcharged for package insurance over the past two decades."

April 5, 2004 -- DMNews has reported that:

April 4, 2004 -- Check out the audio teleconference with PostCom Postal Operations Committee chairman Joe Lubenow on The Universal Postal Union's international address standard, "International Postal Address Components and Templates."

April 4, 2004 -- AuctionBytes has noted that "the U.S. Postal Service is testing a program for its small-business customers called USPS Business Line. The program allows small businesses to sign up at no charge and allows them access to a special line when they visit their local post office. The goal of the program is to improve access, and the hope is that it will also speed up residential lines."

April 4, 2004 -- The Saskatoon Star Phoenix has reported that "Canada Post delivered a higher profit than expected for 2003, sending some of it back to its only shareholder -- the federal government. The corporation reported net income of $253 million for the last year -- about four times the $58 million it expected, Canada Post said Friday in its annual report."

April 3, 2004 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "Rolf Buettner offered the advice when he met Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Taro Aso and Japan Post President Masaharu Ikuta. Deutsche Post, which is regarded as a model for the Japanese government's plan to privatize its postal services, earns one-third of post-office revenues from its postal savings subsidiary, according to Buettner. Buettner also recommended that the privatization of postal services in Japan be implemented gradually, involving a legal requirement to maintain a uniform service network nationwide and a labor-management accord to maintain employment."

April 3, 2004 -- Got mail? In your blood, that is? Then check out the Florida Times-Union for its piece on The National Postal Museum and other mail-related places of interest.

April 3, 2004 -- Napa News has reported that "The lower house of Mexico's Congress passed a nonbinding resolution demanding authorities investigate the theft of what they described as millions of dollars in U.S. benefit checks from the Mexican postal service. The checks were mainly Social Security and other pension and benefit payments sent to thousands of Mexicans who worked in the United States or Americans who retired here."

April 3, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "talks have resumed in an attempt to resolve an unoffical strike affecting the delivery of hundreds of thousands of letters across the Oxford area. The wildcat industrial action by workers from Oxford's main Royal Mail sorting office began on Tuesday night. The dispute is over a number of claims of bullying made by workers at the office in Cowley. Talks between workers and Royal Mail bosses took place throughout Friday evening but no deal was reached."

April 3, 2004 -- According to the Irish Examiner, "An Post is still asking customers not to begin posting letters until Monday by which time a complete postal service is expected to be restored."

April 3, 2004 -- In an article prepared for the PostCom Bulletin, long-time USPS contracting specialist David Hendel said that "when Congress created the Postal Service 34 years ago, it exempted the agency from most but not all federal purchasing laws. Initially, the Postal Service did not take full advantage of this exemption, and issued purchasing rules nearly identical to those of other federal agencies. In a startling departure from this practice, the Postal Service now seeks to abolish its purchasing rules."

April 3, 2004 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.

April 3, 2004 -- According to Federal Computer Week, "charging the administration is shortchanging homeland security, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) called for almost $14 billion more than President Bush's fiscal 2005 Homeland Security Department budget proposal, with nearly half going to first responders, including $780 million for the U.S. Postal Service to help them purchase and install equipment that can detect chemical or biological agents transmitted through the mail and new ventilation and filtration systems in such facilities."

April 3, 2004 -- Ireland Online has reported that "the Labour Relations Commission has put forward new proposals aimed at bringing an end to the ongoing dispute between An Post and the Communications Workers Union."

April 3, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "DHL will cut 1,000 jobs of former Airborne Express workers in Seattle over the next 12 months as it concentrates operations at its headquarters in South Florida."

April 2, 2004 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded UPS the authority to operate six additional flights between Hong Kong and its intra-Asia air hub in the Philippines via Singapore, expanding capacity between three important trade markets. The new authority will enable UPS to provide twice daily service between Hong Kong and the Philippines, as well as direct air service between the key markets of Hong Kong and Singapore. The new flights will begin in October.

April 2, 2004 -- The Montreal Gazette has reported that "Montreal's daredevil bike couriers and independent messengers are trying to unionize in a campaign that threatens to change forever the local rush delivery business. If they succeed, grungy bicycle couriers and uniformed Canada Post carriers will be part of the same union."

April 2, 2004 -- Business World (Ireland) has reported that "the management of An Post has agreed to rehire all staff suspended and let go in its dispute with the unions, opening the way towards a resolution of the dispute, according to reports today. An Post said it would invite all 92 temporary staff it let go during the two-week old dispute after it last night reinstated more than 500 postal workers it had removed from the payroll." See also Online.ie and the Irish Examiner.

April 2, 2004 -- TMC Net has reported that "Applied Digital Solutions, Inc., an advanced technology development company, has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Government Telecommunications, Inc., (GTI) is on schedule to complete telecommunications network upgrades at United States Postal Service (USPS) mail processing facilities under a $15 million contract."

April 2, 2004 -- Postal commentator Gene Del Polito has asked: "Is mail still worth the investment?" That, he said is "a question more and more advertisers and marketers are asking themselves these days. With the proliferation of ways by which you can communicate and do business with customers, cost-conscious executives are beginning to wonder whether maintaining a mail-centricity to their method of doing business still makes sense."

April 2, 2004 -- The Washington Post has reported that:

April 2, 2004 -- According to the Evening Standard (U.K.), "on a day when the cost of a second class stamp went up 1p to 21p, it's worth noting that various businesses up North have been complaining that they don't get any mail until very late morning under the new Royal Mail delivery schedules. Royal Mail's continued inadequacy is just playing into the hands of Business Post. Business Post's subsidiary UK Mail yesterday began its attack on Royal Mail's monopoly. It will undercut the Royal Mail on price and offer the guarantees of delivery within two days."

April 2, 2004 -- As one writer for The Independent (U.K.) put it: "ppening my e-mail account this morning, I found 19 new messages waiting for me. That adds up to 52 in the last 24 hours, which is not at all unusual. Of those 52, 12 were from people known to me, who had some reason to send me an e-mail. The others were unfamiliar names....Almost all unsolicited communications are a nuisance and a waste of time. Probably half my morning post goes straight into the bin. ...That sort of thing is an incredibly tiresome invasion of your time and privacy. Spam, on the whole, doesn't strike us as so offensive, because it appears and you delete it without a second look. But it is becoming a serious problem....Something, however, must be done. If not, we might start to think with wry amusement of the days when the boffins referred to that convenient and useful object, the letter on paper, as 'snail-mail.'" I can hear Royal Mail executives saying: "From your mouth to God's ear."

April 2, 2004 -- According to WorldNet Daily, "U.S. Postal Service workers thought to have processed tainted mail were told to keep working long after tests confirmed the presence of ricin in the Capitol."

April 2, 2004 -- The San Francisco Chronicle notes that the U.S. Postal Service maintains "postal special units that reunite people with everything from lost keys to dentures."

April 2, 2004 -- The DM Bulletin (U.K.) has reported that "Postcomm has published its observations on the access agreement under which Royal Mail will deliver mail for UK Mail to assist other interested parties expecting a similar deal."

April 2, 2004 -- According to the Malta Independent, "the Maltapost employees from Gozo who were transferred from Gozo to Malta have been certified as 'not fit' for work as a result of the psychological stress the decision to transfer them has brought about. Doctors said the employees were suffering from anxiety, stress and depression."

April 2, 2004 -- The Business Gazette (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail cost-cutting has lead to some homes and businesses in Workington waiting until lunchtime for their post. The scrapping of the second delivery from the Derwent Howe sorting office, means postal workers now take out all the dayís mail in one go. And the larger postbag means rounds are often not completed until 1pm. In the past, postal workers had set out on their round at 7am, returning at 9.30am for a break, then going out again to deliver the second batch of mail. They now take their break while out on the round. The late deliveries have lead to a loss of public confidence in the Royal Mail and even threats to postal workers in some areas."

April 2, 2004 -- Ireland Online has reported that "another difficulty in the postal dispute could threaten the resumption of services. A deal worked out at the Labour Relations Comission was to see all suspended staff return to work. However, the company is refusing to reinstate 91 delivery drivers. An Post is claiming that the drivers were not part of the compromise deal worked out at the LRC. It is feared the difficulty could delay the resumption of postal services unless a resolution is found when both sides meet at the LRC today. Sean McDonagh from the Communications Workers Union says if the postal service does not return to normal, it will not be the fault of the workers."

April 2, 2004 -- INQ7Money has reported that "United Parcel Service (UPS) is concerned that a recently announced plan to transfer the Asia-Pacific hub of Federal Express Corp. to a government site in the Clark Special Economic Zone, north of Manila, will cause air traffic congestion and adversely affect UPS' operations there, UPS Philippines managing director Hidenori Aritake said."

April 2, 2004 -- The BBC has reported that "three letter bombs addressed to media outlets in Madrid have been intercepted at a postal sorting office in northern Spain."

April 2, 2004 -- The Business Times (Singapore) has reported that "FedEx Corp, the biggest overnight package-delivery company, said it hopes to solve a dispute between overseas express carriers and China's postal regulator without resorting to the World Trade Organization. The Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers, a lobby group that includes Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx, United Parcel, Deutsche Post AG's DHL unit and TNT Express Worldwide, argues that the tax would amount to unfair support of a rival. State-owned China Post has its own affiliated express delivery service, EMS. The group also wants wider market access and is contesting the dual role of China Post as industry regulator and competitor."

April 2, 2004 -- And from National Public Radio:

Today on All Things Considered, NPR's Andrea Seabrook reported that the U.S. Postal Service plans to launch next month a national "Portable Zip Codes" program. Under the program, Americans would be able to keep their current zip codes no matter where they moved, whether across the country or across town. The portable zip codes program is entirely fictitous, an April Fools' joke from All Things Considered. Zip codes will remain fixed to specific geographic locations; the post office has no plans to allow Americans to take their zip codes with them, wherever they go.

April 2, 2004 -- Postmaster General Jack Potter has submitted the Postal Service's appropriations requests for the coming fiscal year. They include: (1) $29 million for revenue forgone reimbursements. In accordance with the Revenue Forgone Reform Act of 1993, the Postal Service is to receive $29 million annually through 2035. This payment covers the cost of services we provided in Fiscal Years 1991 through 1993, but for which there were insufficient amounts appropriated. It also covers payment for services provided from Fiscal Year 1994 through 1998; (2) $75.9 million for free mail for the blind and for overseas voting materials, and (3) $779 million for emergency preparedness costs.

April 2, 2004 -- The USPS has updated its customer support ruling PS-026, Pay to Order/Pay to Bearer Checks.

Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) E110.4, prescribes that matter having the character of actual and personal correspondence may only be mailed as First-Class Mail or as Express Mail. A check which is made payable only to the addressee or a specific individual(s) is personal correspondence and is mailable only at the First-Class rates of postage. See DMM E110.1.4 and E610.2.2. A printed (computer-generated) bearer check that may be negotiated by anyone who presents it for payment would be acceptable at the Standard Mail rates. Examples of bearer checks include those styled to "Pay to John Doe or Bearer," "Pay to Bearer," "Pay to Addressee or Bearer," "Pay to the Order of John Doe or Bearer," "Pay to Cash," "Pay to the Order of Bearer," or "Pay to the Order of Bearer or John Doe Addressee". Finally, on occasion a "hybrid check" will be encountered. The item is a "Pay to Order" check to a retailer, e.g., "Pay to the order of Any Retailer of Brand X." While the item is a Pay to Order Check to the retailer, it is a "coupon" to the addressee that anyone can submit to any retailer where Brand X may be purchased. Such mailpieces are eligible as Standard Mail.
This is a clarification that PostCom has sought.

April 2, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "United Parcel Service has thrown its support behind controversial pension legislation in Washington. Republicans presented to Congressional negotiators this morning a proposal that would allow businesses to use a more generous benchmark when calculating their pension liabilities and could save them $80 billion in pension contributions over the next two years. But the proposal also includes a White House opposed proposal to give a temporary reprieve from pension contributions to some union-sponsored pension plans. It is the fight over this provision that threatens to derail the entire bill." See also Dow Jones

April 1, 2004 -- Le Monde has reported that "the plan drawn up by DHL, the German courier company, to minimise its job losses in France, is a model plan, the CFDT union said on Tuesday. DHL, which is planning to cut its workforce by 1,200 or 10 per cent, signed an agreement last month with the unions on how to proceed with the reduction."

April 1, 2004 -- Politics.ie has reported that "Sinn Fein spokesperson on Communications SeŠn Crowe TD today raised in the Dail the ongoing dispute at An Post, questioning Communications Minister Dermot Ahern on the manner in which postal workers were treated by management and what progress had been made in resolving the 12 day-old dispute."

April 1, 2004 -- The Universal Postal Union Direct Mail Advisory Board has announced two new members: India Post and Saudi Post. The representative of Saudi Arabia at the DMAB will be Saudi Post's Director General, Dr Khaled Ben Fares Al-Otaibi. India Post has appointed Mr M.S.Bali, General Manager for Business Development, as the contact person. Mr Bali is part of the four-member Project Team constituted to devise strategy and to monitor implementation of Direct Mail as a product by India Post. PostCom President Gene Del Polito serves on the DMAB and is a member of the DMAB Steering Committee as well.

April 1, 2004 -- The Universal Postal Union's international address standard, "International Postal Address Components and Templates" has been approved by the UPU Standards Board (SB) in Brussels in February 2004. The standard is the outcome of a process that began with resolutions submitted to the SB by the UPU POST*Code group, the UPU Direct Mail Advisory Board and the United States Postal Service (USPS). It was developed in the UPU POST*Code group and in its technical committee led by the USPS. The address standard will make it possible for different users of posts worldwide to identify whether a given address is properly formatted or not, according to the address rules of each specific country of destination. For more information, see the article by Joe Lubenow at http://www.upu.int/dir ect_mail/en/articles.shtml. Joe Lubenow is one of the representatives of the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) at the DMAB and has been our main link with this project. Information on both the POST*Code project and UPU standards are available at the UPU website, www.upu.int Lubenow also serves as the Chairman of PostCom's Postal Operations Commmitee and is a member of the PostCom Board of Directors.

April 1, 2004 -- Ireland Online has reported that "An Post staff are expected to return to work tonight after both sides involved in a two-week dispute agreed to enter into talks."

April 1, 2004 -- The are two candidates who are running for the position of Industry Vice Chair of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. They are: has reported that: Aaron Horowitz from the Continuity Shippers Association (and PostCom's Executive Vice Chairman) and Joyce McGarvy from Red Tag News Publications.

April 1, 2004 -- The Irish Examiner has reported that "An Post has accepted the Labour Relations Commission's proposals for resolving the ongoing postal dispute. The LRC submitted the recommendations last night in an effort to get the company and the Communications Workers Union to begin face-to-face talks. An Post said today that it was happy with the recommendations and was prepared to begin talks with the CWU on Monday."

April 1, 2004 -- As Traffic World has asked, "When you ship cargo by air within the United States, do you want the opportunity to use a non-U.S. airline? Will that help keep prices down while improving service? Would the market be more competitive if foreign interests were allowed to own more than 25 percent of a U.S. airline (and vice versa)? Would you mind if your cargo rode aboard a plane leased from abroad along with its crew? Is all this an outsourcing-of-American-jobs issue that should be shelved until after the national elections? This week in Brussels, United States and European Union negotiators reconvene for a fourth round of aviation talks at which they are expected to debate whether to take incremental steps toward these goals or to hold out for a more substantial pact incorporating all of these changes."

April 1, 2004 -- Kudos to Lockheed-Martin for the fine advertisement it's been running on the value of mail and the American postal system.

April 1, 2004 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Deutsche Post, the part-privatised German postal group, yesterday set its sights on becoming Britain's second-largest operator after securing access to Royal Mail's delivery network." See also Die Welt.

April 1, 2004 -- According to MarketWire, "Firstlogic, Inc., a global provider of advanced information quality and postal automation solutions today announced the general availability of FirstKey -- the firm's next-generation Video Coding Solution (VCS). FirstKey is the latest addition to a complete product line of software and services offerings directed specifically to the world's public and private postal authorities, courier companies, and systems integrators that serve these markets. Firstlogic offered organizations an advanced preview of the solution as part of the Denmark Post International Postal Workshop, held March 22-23 in Copenhagen."

April 1, 2004 -- PostalReporter.com has reported that "the American Postal Workers Union has initiated a Step 4 dispute concerning the Postal Service's unilateral implementation of an Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) System/enterprise Resource Management System (eRIVIS) and related leave policies and practices affecting wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment."

April 1, 2004 -- The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has announced that "a timeline for voluntary early retirement has been established for eligible APWU-represented employees who were denied opportunities last year, employees who were offered but declined early retirement last year, as well as newly eligible employees. Management has identified approximately 8,100 workers as eligible. Statement of Interest packages will be mailed April 16 to eligible, full-time employees, the USPS announced March 30. The packages will be sent to eligible part-time employees May 24."

April 1, 2004 -- DM News has reported that "annual credit card mail volume for 2003 decreased 12 percent compared with volume in 2002, market researcher Synovate announced this week. The findings, compiled using Synovate's Mail Monitor, a service of Synovate's financial services practice, showed that 4.29 billion credit card offers were received by U.S. households in 2003, down from 4.89 billion in 2002. Consumer response was 0.6 percent. The drop follows a record 5.01 billion mailed offers in 2001."

April 1, 2004 -- The Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and General Government will hold a hearing on Future Challenges Facing the United States Postal Service at 10a.m. in Room 138 of the Dirksen Building. The scheduled witness is The Honorable John Potter, Post Master General and CEO, United States Postal Service.

April 1, 2004 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail is raising the price of a basic second class stamp from 20p to 21p on 1 April. The price rises come just as its German competitor Deutsche Post World Net enters the UK. It is the first time Royal Mail has raised stamp prices since May last year when prices went up by a penny. The price of a basic first class stamp will remain unchanged at 28p while other first class post will be cheaper." The last time U.S. postage was raised was 2002..

April 1, 2004 -- According to the Ilkley Gazette (U.K.), "people in Ilkley were angered this week when their morning mail began arriving late after the Post Office merged the first and second daily deliveries. In line with national policy, the postal service scrapped the second daily delivery in the town and surrounding area on Monday - but some people were incensed to find that their morning post was arriving as late as the afternoon. At the same time it was revealed that residential addresses and small businesses might have to put up with mid-morning deliveries for the foreseeable future."

April 1, 2004 -- eLogistics.com has reported that "businesses mailing out at least 4,000 letters a day now have an alternative to the standard Royal Mail service. UK Mail, a subsidiary of home delivery specialist Business Post, made history in February when it launched a public/private mail service that is said to be the first of its kind in Europe."

April 1, 2004 -- AFP Asia has reported that "CJ Home Shopping, South Korea's second-largest home shopping company, has started broadcasting home shopping programming in Shanghai, one of the richest cities in China. The move marks the latest efforts by South Korean home shopping companies to tap into the world's most populous country as a way of turning their red ink to black. Delivery will be handled by Shanghai Sagawa Express, a China-Japan joint venture, the company said."

April 1, 2004 -- DI-VE News has reported that "Maltapost plc stated that although it adopts a "clear floor" policy (clearing incoming foreign mail on a daily basis), it is still receiving foreign mail bearing Christmas dates. All incoming foreign mail is now being backstamped by Maltapost."

April 1, 2004 -- Ireland Online has reported that "the Labour Relations Commission has put forward new proposals aimed at bringing an end to the ongoing dispute between An Post and the Communications Workers Union. The proposals, which were delivered to both sides last night, recommend that the hundreds of staff suspended by the company be reinstated before talks begin and that the status quo at the Dublin mail centre prior to the suspensions be restored. The plan also calls for speedy and comprehensive negotiations on all the issues in the dispute and on a recovery plan for An Post. The company is losing hundreds of thousands of euro weekly." See also RTE, Business World, and the Irish Independent.

April 1, 2004 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger looking on, FedEx Corp. rolled out its first low-emission hybrid electric-powered delivery vehicle Tuesday in Sacramento. The new truck is designed to decrease particulate emissions by 90 percent and smog-causing emissions by 75 percent."