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Postal News from June 2007:

June 30, 2007

The Hindu has reported that "Chennai is one of the cities identified for the launch of a new system of six-digit PIN (postal index number) code, aimed at serving bulk recipients of mail. As the new PIN codes will be customer specific, it would suffice if senders of mail or articles wrote the respective PIN code. There will be no need for writing the detailed postal address. Under the proposed system, the first three digits will indicate the existing sorting district."

The Belfast Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail will today begin to clear almost two million letters and parcels which were not delivered to customers because of yesterday's postal strike. And while people will receive some mail today, it has been estimated that it could take up to a week for the backlog to be cleared."

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, "United Parcel Service Inc. again has received tax breaks from Kentucky to help offset some of the costs of the $1 billion expansion project under way at its Worldport air cargo hub at Louisville International Airport."

The Financial Times has reported that "Business leaders warned yesterday that customers would desert Royal Mail for other service providers if an industrial dispute over pay and jobs continued to fester. One Royal Mail rival claimed to have won 30 per cent more business in the past week as businesses have moved to beat yesterday's 24-hour stoppage. DX, the only postal operator which does not rely on Royal Mail to make final door to door delivery, said that sales of its guaranteed 24-hour delivery service were 30 per cent higher this week."

The Telegraph has reported that "The UK postal strike was ostensibly over a pay dispute but it is evidence of a former monopoly struggling to keep up in a deregulated industry, as management fights the unions to keep costs down. A few smaller companies have grabbed the opportunity presented by deregulation with both hands. Business Post Group is one such company. Its largest division is a parcel delivery service, which competes against the likes of DHL. But the fastest growing part of the business is UK Mail. This goes head to head with Royal Mail in tendering for contracts to pick up mail from large organisations, sort the mail, and deliver it to a Royal Mail shed that arranges for the final delivery to people's homes."

Hell Mail has noted that "As Royal Mail cleans up after the event, and postal workers brace themselves for yet another strike, Billy Hayes (CWU) comes under much closer scrutiny. Damian Reece of the Telegraph compares Hayes to the infamous Scargill in trying to reverse the commercial realties faced by Royal Mail. Hayes is indeed on his own - as Scargill was, and experts are saying that unless Hayes finally comes up and smells the coffee, postal workers are on a hiding to nothing. Neither the government or Royal Mail will budge an inch on the modernisation of Royal Mail and ultimately the CWU has to accept the changes or effectively pull the rug out from under postal workers feet, chasing a dream. Despite the cries by the CWU that the public support this strike, evidence suggests that this is simply not the case. The BBC letters response indicates a distaste for the postal workers strike and as the weeks roll on, this will only get worse. A one day strike matters little to the public but what they don't like is a country being held to ransom over pay deals."

The Daily Express has reported that "Another postal strike – this time for 48 hours – was being threatened after yesterday’s stoppage cost the country an estimated £25million. Thousands of mail workers picketed or stayed at home as the dispute over pay and jobs left millions of homes and businesses without deliveries. With union leaders and management both refusing to back down, more damaging stoppages seem inevitable."

The House has passed HR 2829, the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. The Postal Service's $29 million revenue forgone reimbursement appropriations was not included in the bill. The Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee (Chair - Richard Durbin) is expected to mark up the Senate version of the bill after the July 4th recess.

June 29, 2007

From the U.S. Postal Service: "We published a DMM revision in the June 21 Postal Bulletin titled, “Determining Letter-Size Mailability” to clarify the impact of address orientation on letter-size mailpieces. This information should help answer questions on mailability and nonmachinability for letter-size mailpieces. The “letter” processing category is dependent on the physical dimensions of the mailpiece, without regard to placement of the address. Once a mailpiece is determined to be a letter, placement of the address then determines whether the piece is mailable and whether the mailpiece is a machinable or nonmachinable letter."

From Marketwire: "Canada Post Corporation today announced that there will be no increase in the domestic basic letter rate in 2008. Under the price-cap formula approved by the federal government in 2000, basic letter rate increases, when warranted, will not exceed 66.67 per cent of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index from May prior to the last increase to May of the current year. Increases will be implemented no more than once a year, in January, and announced no later than July 1 in the year before the increase goes into effect in the Canada Gazette Part I. The Consumer Price Index from May 2006 to May 2007 shows an increase of 2.2 per cent negating an increase in the domestic letter rate next year. Price changes for the remaining regulated domestic Lettermail and USA and International letter-post products continue to be market-based and proposed increases are scheduled for implementation on January 14, 2008. Canada Post announced in the Canada Gazette Part 1 the following proposed rate adjustments. - $0.03 increase to $0.96 for letters, cards and postcards up to 30g destined for the USA; - $0.05 increase to $1.60 for letters, cards and postcards up to 30g to foreign destinations. Canada Post's proposed rates for a 30-gram letter to the USA and other International destinations compare favourably to the rates other countries charge to send a similar piece of mail to Canada. It costs $2.64 from Great Britain, $3.05 from Germany and $1.80 from Australia to send a 30-gram letter to Canada. The cost to mail a 30-gram letter from the USA to Canada is $1.15."

According to the Daily Star, "Union leaders have clashed with the Royal Mail about the scale of support for the first national postal strike in over a decade, which crippled deliveries across the country. The Royal Mail said backing for the walkout was "patchy", claiming that up to 60% of its staff were working nationally and up to 22% in London. But the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said 95% of its members joined the stoppage, making it the best-ever supported strike." See also The Guardian.

The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:

  • Witnesses representing the business mailer community explained their economic, regulatory and mail viability concerns about potential new rules for the Postal Service to the Postal Regulatory Commission at its first field hearing. The hearing, which addressed the new postal system as established by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, was held in Kansas City.

  • The National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association wrote every U.S. Senator this week urging them to disregard Postmaster General Jack Potter’s recent plea to oppose a Senate bill that would restrict the Postal Service’s ability to increase outsourcing of mail delivery. The unions support S. 1457, the Mail Delivery Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin last month.

  • Saturday mail deliveries soon might be a thing of the past in the U.K. The CEO of Royal Mail’s government regulatory agency said in a white paper that rural areas throughout the country could be given a five-day-a week postal service in the future as an possible cost-cutting way to deliver “...service to customers in far-flung areas.”

  • In this article, Maynard Benjamin of the Envelope Manufacturers Association looks at some of the ways new technologies could transform envelopes as we know them.

  • Federal News Radio commentator Mike Causey explains what a difference a postal union makes, at least when it comes to health care benefits.

  • Letter carriers picket in Florida to protest USPS policies to oursource mail delivery. Federal Register: Electronic Verification System for Parcel Select Mailings. UPU working with standards group to develop digital signature technology.

  • U.K. postal strike due today. La Poste, SNCF TGV deal delayed. German mail network creation race continues. Australia Post subsidies blessed. La Poste to close 150 more post offices. German lobby wants Deutsche Post to pay VAT. An Post’s woes analogous to Royal Mail’s? An Post claims high direct mail readership. Professor champions CWU position on Royal Mail strike. DHL, Lufthansa to operate joint airline?

  • A list of upcoming postal-related events.

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The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a measure that could threaten FedEx Corp.'s success at locking out union organizers, a strategy critical to preserving its cost advantage over rivals. The amendment to a funding bill for federal air-traffic control operations would remove truck drivers, couriers and other employees at FedEx's Express unit from the federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, which restricts the organizing activities of transportation unions. FedEx, of Memphis, Tenn., was founded as an airline, and the act's strict provisions regarding unionization were intended to prevent governing rail or airline strikes that might cripple commerce. Workers at Atlanta's United Parcel Service Inc., which is classified as a trucking company, are governed by regulations of the National Labor Relations Act."

According to Reuters, "An expected amendment to aviation legislation on Thursday could make it easier for unions to organize ground workers at the express operations of FedEx Corp., congressional and industry sources said. The anticipated bid by Democrats to amend a bill funding air traffic operations at the Federal Aviation Administration would effectively remove truck drivers, couriers and other workers at FedEx Express and other smaller companies from the federal Railway Labor Act."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "FedEx Express has launched a next-business-day service to customers in China."

The BBC has posted a Q&A on the UK postal strike.

The Cumberland News has reported that "many small businesses in Cumbria could stop using Royal Mail altogether and fear today’s planned postal strike will be the first in a summer of walk-outs, according to the county’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The chamber said the Communication Workers’ Union’s 24-hour national dispute over pay and conditions will turn small businesses away from the postal service in favour of using email and the internet."

Forbes has reported that "British postal staff went on their first national strike in more than a decade today in a row over pay and government plans to cut thousands of jobs at the semi-privatised Royal Mail. The walk-out, which union bosses said would be carried out by up to 130,000 workers, could be followed by further strike action against the Royal Mail in July if workers' demands are not met, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said." See also the BBC, The Guardian, and the Daily Express.

June 28, 2007

The latest DMM Advisory from the U.S. Postal Service has been posted on this site. This advisory pertains to "Drop Shipment Periodicals Mailings."

The Guardian has reported that "One of the private delivery firms competing with the Royal Mail predicted tonight that it already stood to make at least £10m out of the postal service's 24-hour strike which gets under way in the morning."

The Jerusalem Post has reported that "The Israel Postal Company workers union decided at the last moment to postpone a general strike planned for Thursday morning after the government decided to delay the July 1 new rate schedule for bulk mailings. Nevertheless, sanctions continue, with mail delivery slowed, post offices closing at 3 p.m. and postal clerks refusing to accept payments to the government, register vehicle ownership or dispatch diplomatic mail."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx Corp. says it will refuse to negotiate with FedEx Home Delivery drivers represented by the Teamsters despite a National Labor Relations Board ruling certifying the union election at two facilities. A FedEx spokesman said Tuesday the company already plans to file an appeal of the NLRB ruling last week."

The Times has reported that "The Italian government plans to sell stakes in the Poste Italiane-run post office, and in Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato SpA in the next few years, the Radiocor wire agency reported, citing a draft copy of the government's 2008-2011 economic and financial planning program (DPEF). The DPEF, which sets the country's medium-term objectives and the broad ways to achieve them, is due to be approved later today. Technology is allowing companies to use online payment methods instead of relying on the post for payment and increasing costs are likely to further increase the move away from the postal service. British Gas is poised to use the strike to mount a sweeping offensive to switch more of its customers to paperless billing. The power company, which has about 16 million customers, is aiming for a ninefold increase in the number of people who pay online or by direct debit to take the total to 4.5 million by 2010. "

According to DM News, "The U.S. Postal Service used a bit of history to make history when it debuted its first infomercial on June 16. The thundering hooves of the Pony Express led viewers through a series of modern-day business success stories in a 28-minute video that will run throughout the summer on 20 different channels, including CNBC, ABC Family and The Discovery Channel.:

As CBS News has noted, "This summer, “Brown” is marking a major birthday. Yes, UPS is 100 years old."

KFOX has reported that "New Mexico Senators say the post office has hired permanent employees to help alleviate the problems post offices have been having for more than a year." See also the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Thompson-Financial has reported that "The Italian government plans to sell stakes in the Poste Italiane-run post office, and in Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato SpA in the next few years, the Radiocor wire agency reported, citing a draft copy of the government's 2008-2011 economic and financial planning program (DPEF). The DPEF, which sets the country's medium-term objectives and the broad ways to achieve them, is due to be approved later today."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "The Nigerian Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) disclosed Tuesday that it was reviewing the draft postal sector bill that would usher in the Postal Commission, in collaboration with the stakeholders in the Communications sector." See also ThisDay.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal has reported that "Letter carriers delivered an angry message to the U.S. Postal Service: Don't outsource their jobs. They oppose a trend toward hiring private firms and individuals to deliver the mail."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL has announced that Scott Price will become CEO of DHL Express Europe on July 1, 2007, assuming responsibility for the European business of the express operator. In this position, he will report directly to John Mullen, Member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Post World Net who is in charge of the Express business. The American-born Price succeeds Ad Ebus who has decided to retire, however will continue his work with the company in a consultancy capacity."

From eMediawire: "Webplus, Inc., a leading provider of small business solutions, announced today the release of Shipping Sidekick v2.1 (www.shippingsidekick.com). Shipping Sidekick v2.1 offers a side-by-side display of the cost and estimated delivery time of each delivery service offered by all four major US shipping companies. Access to UPS and FedEx rates was previously reserved for paid users. All rates for all companies will now be displayed free of charge."

June 27, 2007

From the Federal Register: "This final rule delays the date set for the required use of electronic data and automated processes of the Electronic Verification System (eVS) for permit imprint Parcel Select[reg] manifest mailings, which currently are paper-driven and rely on manual processes for handling verification and postage reconciliations. The delay in required use also extends to Standard Mail[reg] machinable parcels and parcels from other Package Services subclasses (Bound Printed Matter, Library Mail, or Media Mail[reg]) that are authorized to be commingled with permit imprint Parcel Select parcels. Parcel mailers and shippers may continue to use eVS as an option if they meet the required business standards and technical specifications in the Domestic Mail Manual."

The Gazette & Herald has told its readers that "Postwatch is issuing warnings and guidance to customers ahead of Friday's planned 24-hour postal strike. The industrial action begins at 3am and there will also be two six-hour strikes in Crown post offices starting at 6am on Friday and Monday. Postwatch has stated the vast majority of post offices - the sub-post offices - will not be affected and will be open as normal. The Royal Mail will also use managers to keep the Special Delivery service running as best they can."

PrintWeek has reported that "UK mail regulator Postcomm has denied reports of proposals for a five-day-week postal service."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail has told Postcomm it does not want to cut the number of deliveries from six days a week to five, a change to the universal service obligation mooted by the postal regulator on Monday."

Media Daily News has reported that "For the first time since the bubble burst, ad spending by so-called dot-com brands is expected to decline this year. The decline--a drop of about 4% to $4 billion--isn't nearly as severe as the 52% drop that occurred in 2001 when the dot-com market crashed, or even the 19% reduction that happened the following year in 2002, but it reverses a four-year upswing that has made dot-com advertisers' brands, products and services that are marketed primarily via an online destination one of the fastest-growing and most significant advertising categories for the overall media marketplace in recent years."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

Ireland with its 4-million population has 1,900 post offices. Compared to the rest of Europe, the green island has the largest number of post offices per capita. With 8,500 employees, An Post is the single biggest employer in Ireland. An Post, a government-owned company, has financial worries.
British postal workers intend to carry out their threat of holding the first nationwide postal strike in 11 years this Friday.
In Germany, the race to create nationwide mail networks continues.
Australia Post does not receive subsidies for either reserved service or services subject to competition.
La Poste in Belgium intends to close 150 post offices before the end of the year, bringing up the number of post offices closures this year to 280.
One year into its existence, BanCorreos reports 17 per cent more customers and 26 per cent more turnover. An association of the Spanish post Correos and Deutsche Bank, BanCorreos began offering financial services, private loans and mortgages in over 2,100 Correos branches last summer.
The German Federal Association of Courier, Express and Postal Service Providers (BdKEP e.V.) believes that the VAT exemption of Deutsche Post contravenes EU legislation.
DHL and Lufthansa Cargo are planning to set up a joint international freight airline.
Plans by the French La Poste and national railway company SNCF for a 50/50 joint venture have so far failed to materialise.
DHL is making another attempt at getting its Europe business off the ground.
By June next year, TNT Swiss Post AG will have reduced the weekly working hours for its drivers to 44 hours - without reducing their pay.
FedEx wants to expand its air fleet for business in Europe and Asia considerably.

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

The Postal Regulatory Commission has posted on its web site the testimony it received at its field hearing in Kansas City on the development of new rules governing postal ratemaking.

From PR Newswire: "A Florida company today pleaded guilty to conspiring to rig bids on merchandise offered at a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) auction in Atlanta, the Department of Justice announced. According to the one-count felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Denny's Pay-Less Grocery Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., participated in a conspiracy to rig bids on merchandise offered for sale at auction by the USPS at its Atlanta mail recovery center from approximately August 2002 to October 2002. The Department said that the purpose of the conspiracy was to lower the price Denny's Pay-Less Grocery and its major competitor paid for auction lots and to divide those lots between them. Denny's Pay-Less Grocery buys and sells closeout, salvage and surplus merchandise."

According to one writer for The Guardian, "Royal Mail doesn't need the tension of full competition. The upcoming industrial action is essential for preserving our postal service."

The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that "U.S. Sens. Pete V. Domenici and Jeff Bingaman said they will meet with officials from the U.S. Postal Service tomorrow to discuss staffing concerns and persistent service problems throughout New Mexico. "We've had a hard time getting straight answers at times in the past, and I'm hoping this meeting will help us get those answers and start working toward permanent solutions to the problems," Bingaman said. USPS Southwest Area Vice President Ellis Burgoyne requested the meeting in response to the lawmakers' concerns over service delays in southern New Mexico and their call for permanent staffing solutions to address the delays."

National Public Radio has reported that "A discounted mail program in Alaska ensures that basic supplies arrive regularly in villages that can't be reached by road. But a recent 13 percent increase in postage rates is having a substantial effect on life in Alaska's remote villages."

June 26, 2007

The Florida Times-Union has reported that "Suburban growth is generating thousands of new addresses in bedroom communities around Jacksonville. But the U.S. Postal Service hasn't built a new post office in the metropolitan area since 2001. Instead, the U.S. Postal Service is leasing space in shopping centers for post offices or installing postal counters inside other businesses, such as pharmacies and convenience stores."

The Postal Regulatory Commission will hold its second of three public hearings on June 28, 2007, as part of its development of regulations for a modern postal rate making system. The Los Angeles hearing will be on Thursday, June 28, 2007 in Los Angeles, California, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at City Hall, Room 1010, 200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.

Reuters has reported that "Time magazine publisher Time Inc. said on Monday that it is using technology developed by online advertising company Quigo to provide text-based advertising on its magazines' Web sites. Time will use Quigo's AdSonar technology on Web sites such as Time.com, CNNMoney.com and People.com, as well as on the Sports Illustrated and Southern Living Web sites."

Advertising Age has noted that "The exploration of those magazine-website hybrids sometimes called digi-mags is taking a big step toward mass reach this week with the introduction of People magazine's first entry in the field. Some 1.2 million subscribers to Time Inc. magazines will receive e-mails pointing them to People's "Best Summer Ever" issue online. The print magazine, which reaches 42 million adults, according to Mediamark Research Inc., will also promote the online effort."

The latest update from the Universal Postal Union Direct Mail Advisory Board has been posted on this site. Also, the presentations from the April 2007 DMAB forum are available on the DMAB-UPU web site.

From MarketWire:

  • Pitney Bowes and RPost®, the leader in managed outbound messaging with its flagship Registered E-mail® services, today announced that they have entered into a global alliance. Under terms of the agreement, Pitney Bowes will offer RPost Registered E-mail services to its mailstream customers. By adding RPost services, Pitney Bowes can now provide its customers with a full set of high-value outbound messaging tools for client records management, compliance, e-discovery, paper reduction and cost reduction initiatives. RPost Registered E-mail messages provide e-mail senders with verifiable proof of message delivery, content and time stamp for e-mails sent to any Internet address.

  • Unite (Amicus/CMA section) is extremely concerned that both the Royal Mail Group (RMG) and CWU seem to be locked into a conflict that in a short while could destroy the public postal service and the livelihood of the entire RMG workforce. All parties agree that RMG needs to change, modernise and develop automated processes. Paul Reuter, Unite National Officer said: "Unite are calling for both sides to urgently get together to seek a resolution to this dispute. "We also call upon the parties, including the Government as the principle shareholder, to develop jointly a strategy that ensures Royal Mail will secure the public postal service, provide jobs for workers and for the service to be provided at an affordable price."

The Sioux City Journal has reported that "Congressman Steve King Monday urged the U.S. Postal Service to carefully consider a forthcoming study on the Area Mail Processing process. The AMP process is used by the Postal Service to identify mail processing centers across the country, like the one in Sioux City, for possible consolidation, a press release issued by King explained."

According to the Financial Times, "Postcomm, the regulator created in 2000 to oversee the postal market's opening up to competition, has two tasks to balance. The first is to develop a competitive market and ensure that Royal Mail, the former monopoly, does not stifle rivals. The second is to preserve the universal service obligation, allowing anyone in the UK to post letters and parcels to any other part of the country at the same affordable rates. So far, it has managed to meet both these targets."

The letter carriers have sent letters to every U.S. senator disputing the PMG's arguments against S. 1457, the Mail Delivery Protection Act.

The Kansas City Kansan has reported that "United States Postal Service officials are holding a public hearing at 7 p.m. this Wednesday at the Jack Reardon Convention Center to receive public comment about the potential closing of a Kansas City, Kan., USPS facility. The Kansas City Processing and Distribution Center, at 5215 Richland Ave., might be shut down and its operations transferred to a new USPS facility in Kansas City, Mo. A press release about the public hearing says that a 2005 study indicated the potential that “consolidating some mail processing operations that are currently being performed at the Kansas City, KS P&DC by taking advantage of available processing capacity at the Kansas City, MO P&DC, would increase efficiency and improve productivity.”

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL Express has introduced a service for urgent next day documents from New York City to major European destinations. Available for shipments originating from lower Manhattan, DHL's next day delivery service includes the transfer by courier to a helicopter pad in New York City. Shipments are then flown by helicopter directly to John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport and from there they move on flights bound for nine cities in Europe."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail could be allowed to cut deliveries from six to five days a week following a review by the postal regulator into the need for a six-day service in a competitive mail market. The state-owned postal operator was allowed to end second daily deliveries three years ago to help restore profitability. Now Postcomm, as part of a sweeping review of the future of regulation, is considering reducing compulsory deliveries to every home and workplace to five days a week. The regulator is also sympathetic to a request from Royal Mail to limit this universal service obligation to stamped letters and packages.

The Daily Mail has reported that "Remote areas of the country could in future be given a five-day-a week postal service, the chief executive of the postal regulator has suggested. Sarah Chambers, of Postcomm, told a conference in London , organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs, that the UK's current service, with deliveries on Saturdays as well as weekdays, is akin to a "Rolls-Royce" car compared to the rest of Europe, where five days a week is standard. " See also The Telegraph.

The BBC has reported that "Fresh talks aimed at halting Friday's national postal strike have ended without any progress, according to the Communication Workers' Union (CWU). A union spokesman said: "There was no new offer from Royal Mail, and no meaningful discussions." He said the stoppage, the first in 11 years, would go ahead."

James Edward Orlando, 68, who spent 30 years working for the U.S. Postal Service before retiring in 1997 as director of the transportation and international services office, died June 7 at the University of Maryland hospital in Baltimore after a stroke. Mr. Orlando had responsibility for worldwide movement of U.S. mail by all methods of transportation. He had a leading logistical role determining what happens to mail after bomb threats aboard aircraft and other air disasters.

According to Investors Business Daily, "Analysts give lots of reasons why millions of consumers are switching to broadband Internet service from slower but cheaper dial-up. A new study by eMarketer points to one factor that many might overlook: More people are banking and paying their bills online. Online bill payers are starting to generate more revenue for banks and other financial firms than people who just do banking online. Electronic bill payers tend to buy more financial products, such as loans, than others. And they're fast to recommend their bank to friends if they approve of its service. EMarketer says nearly 51 million people paid some bills online in 2006. It says another 4 million will sign on in 2007, spurred in part by the recent increase in postal rates and efforts being made by banks to move more of their business online."

According to Billing World, "As of Aug. 1, the U.S. Postal Service's Delivery Point Validation (DPV) requirements will impact service providers' mailing budgets. This change to a more stringent set of rules will increase telecom service providers' mailing expenses significantly if their mailing processes cannot conform to the DPV requirements. Using addresses the USPS deems invalid will also slow invoice delivery and payment."

The latest Legislative Update from the National Association of Postal Supervisors has been posted on this site. In this issue: NAPS Endorses Harkin Bill to Ban Contracting Out of Delivery Services; House Prepares to Avoid Its Obligation to Repay the Postal Service (Again); NAPS and Others Protest Triple-Play Postal Hearings Set for July Legislative; Update on Bills Supported by NAPS.

The Postal Service has published its latest DMM Advisory, this one concerning "Periodicals Pricing Change."

Ha'aretz has reported that "Israel Postal Company workers will continue sanctions today after a meeting between Postal Workers Union and Communications Minister Ariel Atias ended yesterday inconclusively. As a result, mail will not be distributed in certain regions of the country, and postal branches will close earlier than usual."

June 25, 2007

New on PostInsight: "Consumers as Marketing Recipients - Results from Finland."

BrandRepublic has reported that "The Postal Users Group has criticised a delay in the European Commission's timetable for liberalisation of the continent's postal markets."

MarketingWeek has reported that "The direct mail industry is expected to be hit by months of postal chaos following the Communications Workers Union's decision to stage the first national strike in more than a decade. Many of the UK's top brands, including those operating in home shopping, financial services and charities, as well as heavyweight campaigns by TV rivals BSkyB and Virgin Media, are reliant on Royal Mail, not only for direct mail but also for transactional post."

The East African has reported that "The Kenya government is launching a Digital Village Project to establish information and communications technology centres throughout the country. Each of the digital villages will provide e-mail and Internet services, electronic banking and money transfer services, electronic governance such as access to police abstracts, P3 forms, national identification applications."

According to the New Orleans CityBusiness, "The U.S. Postal Service has an inaptly named Office of Consumer Advocates office in Washington, D.C. Oddly, the Office of Consumer Advocates does not want any of its U.S. Postal Service customers in New Orleans to know just how badly our mail carriers are misfiring on the challenging routes that remain post-Katrina. It required me to file a Freedom of Information Act request to simply find out how many complaints have been filed in the New Orleans region in the past five years."

Got some time on your hands? Then check out the "movie" made by Tim Knowles who put a digital camera inside a cardboard box and rigged it so that it would snap a photo every ten seconds through a small hole in the box. Then he sent the box through the mail."

Here's a letter from a reader of the Washington Post that makes sense: "Why doesn't the U.S. Postal Service offer the service of delivery to the homeowner's house but for a fee? Tell Us E-mail the Site's Editor Submit an Op-Ed Send a Letter to the Editor E-mail the Ombudsman Ombudsman Column Newspaper Masthead Newspaper E-mail Addresses Web Site FAQ/Help Save & Share Article What's This? DiggGoogle del.icio.usYahoo! RedditFacebook I am sure the builders or owners of half-million-dollar houses would pay for this service. That way the Postal Service would bring in much-needed additional revenue, and the residents of new homes get their wish of door-to-door service."

Workers Liberty believes that "The impending battle between the postal workers and Royal Mail management is a political as well as an industrial battle. It is not only a fight over wages, in defiance of Gordon Brown’s public sector pay policy, it is also about the future of the post office and the entire parcels and letter delivery sector. The outcome of the dispute will shape the future of trade unionism in the crucial communications and logistics sector, and impact on the relationship between the trade unions and the Labour Party."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "TNT Post, the Süddeutscher Verlag and the Munich-based Ippen Publishing Group are entering into a strategic partnership in the German mail delivery market.TNT Post has also taken a 25.1 percent share in ecoflash Briefservice GmbH, a regional mail delivery specialist jointly owned by the Süddeutscher Verlag and the Ippen Publishing Group. The partnership will provide TNT Post access to 1.6 million households and secure the "final mile" delivery in the Greater Munich Area. The new partners are also aiming to cooperate more closely in other areas of Germany where these publishers have interest in local mail delivery companies."

June 24, 2007

The Observer has reported that "Royal Mail executives are preparing for months of strikes as the company refuses to bow to union demands for an increased pay deal and changes to its five-year modernisation plan."

June 23, 2007

The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "The two unions of Japan Post have agreed to join forces in a pact that will produce the nation's largest private-sector labor union and increase pressure on the soon-to-be privatized postal giant. The landmark move, to take effect in October, will end 42 years of discord between the pair, and create a vast new alliance of 220,000 members."

June 22, 2007

The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:

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Now, on PostInsight: "The European Postal Market of The Future" by Tim Walsh.

The Times Record News has reported that "On Monday, a small box arrived at a Freeport home from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., addressed to the homeowner. Inside was a cigarette lighter and coupons. The package was unsolicited and received by an adult and the lighter had no butane in it. Still, anti-smoking activists decried the marketing technique as irresponsible and dangerous because it could accidentally put a lighter in the hands of a child."

The Hammond Star has reported that "Moving more mail-sorting operations off the North Shore and into New Orleans is about better service and practical efficiency, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. But post-Katrina memories make some people leery about centralizing more vital mail operations in storm-vulnerable New Orleans."

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

From the Federal Register: "Recent legislation alters the postal ratemaking process, and tasks the Postal Regulatory Commission with developing regulations to implement this process. This document invites public comment, in advance of formulating substantive rule proposals, on establishing service standards and performance measurement for market dominant products. Initial comments are due July 16, 2007; reply comments are due July 30, 2007.

KSWO has reported that "The postal service says hundreds of post office boxes may have been broken into at a Tulsa post office. The break-in at the post office in southeast Tulsa occurred last week but wasn't reported until yesterday when a Tulsa woman reported her bank checks are missing."

Logistics Management has reported that "The good news for shippers following two separate current Teamsters union negotiations with UPS and a handful of less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers is there is scant chance of a national strike as happened 10 years ago when Teamsters walked out for 15 days against UPS and when they struck the LTL sector in 1994."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The European Union doesn't lack for grand ideas of dubious merit, such as the expansive new "mini-constitution" that national leaders hope to agree on at their summit today. The problem comes with worthy projects that have real-life benefits. Consider the longstanding efforts to dismantle postal monopolies."

The Financial Times has reported that "Small business leaders have called on Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, to step in to avert the first national strike by postal workers for 11 years. The Federation of Small Businesses sought his intervention after the Communication Workers Union, representing 130,000 Royal Mail staff announced a 24-hour stoppage on Friday June 29. The union warned that another strike would follow within two weeks if the dispute over pay and modernisation plans were not settled."

The Washington Business Journal has reported that "Two labor unions are planning pickets at 16 locations across Florida, including Tampa and St. Petersburg, to protest the U.S. Postal Service's outsourcing policies. Members of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association chose June 27 to demonstrate against the policies that the unions say will diminish service to postal customers and endanger the future viability of the Postal Service."

June 21, 2007

Direct has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors chose not to implement a proposed temporary cut in the new rates for flats (catalogs). Industry groups were disappointed and several warned this would lead to reductions in mail volume."

PrintWeek has reported that "Royal Mail has applied to suspend the bulk mail compensation scheme in the light of the first national postal strike in the UK for 11 years. The industrial action, announced today by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) deputy general secretary Dave Ward is to be held Friday 29 June. A spokesperson from watchdog Postcomm told printweek.com that while consumer post will not be affected by Royal Mail’s bid, for bulk mailers, a successful application will result in the mail service having two years before having to compensate companies’ losses caused by the strike."

Reuters has reported that "the National Labor Relations B Board has certified an election by some drivers at a FedEx Corp. unit at two facilities in Massachusetts to seek union representation, the Teamsters union said on Thursday. In the vote last October, drivers at two FedEx Home Delivery locations in Wilmington, Mass., voted 24 to 8 in favor of representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. FedEx Home Delivery is part of FedEx ground package delivery unit FedEx Ground."

The Jerusalem Post has reported that "The national union of Israel Postal Company workers has decided to distribute National Insurance Institute (NII) allotments in all postal branches, starting Friday, despite sanctions that began this week. The union said it acceded to a request by Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini, who said failure to hand out the allotments would hurt the needy."

From PR Newswire: "Members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association will engage in informational picketing at 16 locations across Florida on Wednesday, June 27 to protest a growing policy of the U.S. Postal Service to contract out to private firms and individuals the delivery of mail in urban and suburban areas, the NALC announced."

WhatTheyThink has reported that "Arandell Corporation, one of North America’s largest catalog printers, is pleased to announce the addition of Tom Murray to their executive staff as Vice President of Catalog Strategies."

Reps. Danny K. Davis and Kenny Marchant have written in support of the Postal Service's revenue forgone request.

InTheNews.co.uk has reported that "Postal workers have announced plans to hold a 24-hour strike later this month in response to job and pay cuts at Royal Mail. The first national postal strike will be held on June 29th, with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) saying it is prepared for further industrial action a fortnight after this date." See also Bloomberg, The Times, CWU, and The Guardian.

According to eWeek, "Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, said on June 20 that it will let customers use their cell phones to send each other money using a service from privately held Obopay."

The eSnailer website allows you to type a letter to a friend or relative and will print, envelope, stamp, and send your letter via regular US postal mail free of charge.

Reuters has reported that "package delivery company FedEx Corp. on Wednesday reported a profit and gave a quarterly forecast that missed expectations, citing slowing U.S. economic growth." See also Air Cargo World and Financial Times.

As Multichannel Merchant put it: "Catalog mailers can kiss any dreams of a postal rake hike reprieve goodbye. The U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors (BOG) on June 19 rejected the Postal Regulatory Commission’s temporary rate reduction. That means catalogers, who were hit hardest when the new pricing structure took effect May 14, will have to live with the postage increases of 20%-25%, and as high as 40%."

The Guardian has reported that "A national postal workers strike looks inevitable after talks aimed at resolving a row over pay ended without agreement."

Vnunet has reported that "Royal Mail is planning to consolidate and transform its telecoms infrastructure to cut costs and improve flexibility."

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal has reported that "Mark de Naray last day was Monday, the company confirmed Wednesday. Tim Hoffmann, MDI's board chairman, is acting as a temporary CEO without pay until a replacement is hired. MDI, a plastics manufacturer and fulfillment, packaging and assembly services provider, employs disabled and disadvantaged workers receives contracts for work under a government set-aside program. As work orders have declined for the company, it has had to lay off some workers. The layoffs were attributed to a decline in orders for plastic mail totes from the U.S. Postal Service."

The National Association of Home Builders has told the Postal Regulatory Commission that "Receiving mail is as much a right as sending it, and both the recipient and the sender are equally postal patrons. Yet in recent years, the Postal Service has degraded delivery service to the point that it no longer delivers mail at all to homes in densely occupied new subdivisions, preferring instead to deposit the mail in some locked receptacles under the euphemism “centralized delivery.” NAHB contends that this system is a discrimination against new housing that is not based on the cost of serving such housing; rather it is an attempt to lower total costs by degrading service to an arbitrarily chosen group. The Postal Service must resume curbside service to all homes that meet the safety criteria in the Domestic Mail Manual."

June 20, 2007

From the U.S. Postal Service: "The U.S. Postal Service Governors yesterday decided that the current Standard Mail Flat prices will remain in effect and approved a pricing structure for Premium Stamped Stationery and Cards. The Governors decided not to implement a temporary change to Standard Mail Regular and Nonprofit Flat prices recommended in the latest Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) decision on reconsideration. The Governors asked the Commission to reconsider some of the prices originally recommended on February 26, 2007, and implemented on May 14, 2007. The Governors also approved a PRC recommendation on the price structure for Premium Stamped Stationery and Premium Stamped Cards. The stationery (sold in pads consisting of 12 sheets of quality stock paper and imprinted with postage) can be priced between three and four times the First-Class Mail Letters first-ounce single-piece rate – currently 41 cents – times the number of sheets. The total price for the cards (sold in packets 10 to 20 and imprinted with postage and matching designs) can be priced between two and three times the First-Class Mail Cards Regular single-piece rate – currently 26 cents – times the number of cards."

The BBC has reported that "Talks between Royal Mail officials and union leaders to avert a series of strikes have ended without agreement."

According to the Daily Express, "A national postal workers strike looks inevitable after talks aimed at resolving a row over pay ended without agreement."

Finance Week has reported that "Few businesses will suffer serious communication interruption from the threatened national postal strike – reflecting the declining share in a dematerialising market which Royal Mail hopes will force a union climbdown at tomorrow’s crisis talks."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

As expected, the Transport Committee of the European Parliament has voted in favour of postponing the postal market liberalisation by two years.
The abolition of VAT on all postal services is becoming increasingly likely in Germany.
Posta Slovenije enjoyed considerable turnover and profit growth during the financial year 2006.
The Bulgarian post is to undergo privatisation by 2009.
According to a report in German news magazine »Focus« (17.06), PIN Group has become one of the biggest suppliers of mail delivery services following a double acquisition. The magazine stated that PIN, which strives for the 2nd place in the German mail market, had acquired Ulm-based mail service Direkt-Express.
A study published last week reveals the need for productivity improvements within the Dutch TNT.
Britain’s Royal Mail cannot afford to increase wages by more than 2.5 percent.
Austria’s Österreichische Post seems to be seriously considering the introduction of so-called B or second class mail.
Excessive postage rates charged by Deutsche Post have been described as a "penalty tax" by Gerhard Handke, managing director of the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade in the legal internet forum »Juraforum«.
The introduction of a new express service is meant to reverse the drastic drop in consignments volumes experienced by the post in Pakistan.
A decision reached by a court in Terni, Italy, could have severe financial consequences for Poste Italiane.
Purificación Carpinteyro, the new CEO of Servicio Postal Mexicano (Sepomex), is looking for a new name for her company.
DPD appears to have had a successful start to its express business in Germany. DPD is set to expand in the German B2C business, too.
DHL has gained further air freight capacity in the USA by buying into freight airline Astar.
UPS CEO Mike Eskew has demanded a radical reform of current customs regulations in the USA, Canada and South America.
Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, Ambrose Linn of TNT Hong Kong and Tam Wing- Pong, Postmaster General of Hong Kong Post, have signed a letter of intent, according to which TNT and Hong Kong Post will be able to engage more with Hong Kong’s booming retail sector.
Logistics operator Agility - formerly PWC Logistics - has bought two Singapore logistics firms and thusosition in the south-east Asian energy industry.
On Sunday 10 June several hundred Correos postmen and women took to the streets of Madrid, demanding 300 euros more per month.
DHL is obviously planning the complete take-over of the Chinese service provider Exel-Sinotrans Freight Forwarding Co. Ltd.
CityMail Danmark has set a new reord with the help of an advertising ploy.


The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

eGov Monitor has reported that "The European Parliament Transport Committee (TRAN) adopted a report on the proposed directive on liberalising postal services yesterday evening."

From PR Newswire: "Members of Paterson Branch 120 of the National Association of Letter Carriers will engage in informational picketing on Sunday, July 1, at the Paterson Post Office to protest a growing policy of the U.S. Postal Service to contract out to private firms and individuals the delivery of mail in urban and suburban areas, the postal union announced. NALC National President William H. Young said letter carriers in the Paterson area "have witnessed first hand this destructive policy of the Postal Service to outsource the delivery of mail to low-wage, no-benefit, part-time contractors instead of career government employees who have gained the trust and respect of American families for the past 118 years."

CNET News has reported that "Adobe has announced the release of Adobe Digital Editions 1.0 available for free download to Windows and Mac users. The application provides a very basic and easy-to-navigate interface for storing, sorting, viewing and annotating digital text files along the lines of what Apple's iTunes does for audio and Google's Picasa for pictures."

According to Ha'aretz, "Severe postal service disruptions are expected as Israel Postal Company employees go on strike. There will be no mail distribution in most areas of the country, and income tax, V.A.T., National Insurance Institute payments and other bills will not be processed. Vehicle ownership transfers and HMO memberships will not be processed, and diplomatic post will not be handled. Post office branches will close down tomorrow afternoon, and all services will be suspended for an unlimited period starting next week."

The Gulf Times has reported that "Q-POST has expressed its willingness to provide expertise to Botswana Post. Chairman of Q-Post Ali Mohamed Ali was talking to a three-member official delegation from Botswana Post at his office yesterday."

As NineO'Clock has noted, "Monopolies in the European postal service market must be eliminated by December 2010, two years later than the deadline proposed by the European Commission, and Romania and Bulgaria will be able to align to the new terms by December 2012, according to the European Parliament (EP)."

The Scotsman has reported that "DX, the postal business bought last year by private equity firm Candover Partners, is confident it can double in size over the next few years as deregulation of the postal industry gathers pace."

The Communication Workers Union has accepted Royal Mail’s invitation to hold discussions with ACAS acting as facilitators in order to find a resolution to the dispute.

The Washington Post has reported that "President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes. Bush has been criticized for his use of "signing statements," in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill."

June 19, 2007

From Marketwire: "Harte-Hanks, Inc., a worldwide direct and targeted marketing company, announced today that it has been awarded "Supply Chain Provider of the Year" honors by its client and leading retailer J. C. Penney Company, Inc., for 2007."

Union Network International has reported that "UNI-Europa Post and Logistics is taking its fight to defend the universal postal service to the political groupings and members of the European Parliament. This follows a setback decision on 18 June by the Transport Committee of the Parliament to support a compromise proposal, which would see the European Commission achieving its goal of a completely de-regulated postal market but over a longer period."

According to Forbes, "The Communications Workers Union has agreed to meet Royal Mail for talks tomorrow aimed at averting a national postal strike."

The Daily Echo has reported that "The Royal Mail has lost a contract worth £8 million a year to deliver goods for online trader Amazon." See also the BBC.

According to postal analytical guru Alan Robinson, "FedEx announces its earnings on Wednesday. Already, analysts are reducing earnings estimates due to a slower US domestic economy and a need to make investments overseas. While the USPS is not making many investments overseas, it is affected by the domestic economy. Mailers may expect that the USPS will report revenue below plan in the third quarter, as the economy is slower now than any economic forecast would have made last fall. Furthermore going forward, the slower than expected economy may result in revenue projections made during the rate case to be optimistic as they now are nearly a year old and based on year old economic data. To the extent the Postal Service is beginning to spend more to improve service, operating results will also suffer." See also the report in Forbes.

The Financial Mirror has reported that "Citigroup has initiated coverage on Greek Postal and Savings Bank (PSB) with a Hold/Speculative Risk (2S) rating and €17 target price, which is slightly lower than current price, but Citigroup analysts note that the Bank is a potential consolidation candidate."

The Association for Postal Commerce (“PostCom”) has offered its comments on the Second Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Regulations Establishing a System of Ratemaking issued by the Commission on May 17, 2007 ("Second Advance Notice").

In its comments to the Postal Regulatory Commission, the National Association of Home Builders said that "No justification has ever been offered that homes in new subdivisions are more costly to serve on a curbside basis than equivalent homes existing in an equal density in existing subdivisions or neighborhoods. If the only reason for the discrimination is that it will save money, and not that there is any causal relationship between the age of a home and the cost of serving it then [the new postal law] has been violated. The discrimination is undue, and it is an example of the kind of monopolistic practice that the PRC is charged to curtail."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail has dismissed a postman who neglected to deliver direct mail. Steve Rowbotham had been suspended after the company investigated evidence that he was not delivering direct mail. Royal Mail revealed Rowbotham, who worked in Burton Joyce in Nottinghamshire, had been dismissed in a statement on Friday. He has the right to appeal."

The St. Petersburg Times has reported that "The growing competition that traditional postal services face against new information technologies, the liberalization of the industry and its survival in the internet era are all topics set to be discussed in St. Petersburg starting Tuesday, when postal industry professionals from around the world gather at the Pochtovaya Troika event. The postal industry forum, which ends Thursday, is held every two years and this year, organizers say, the event will be particularly significant for the industry as it is held between two important international events — the Strategic Conference in Dubai of the year 2006 and the Nairobi Congress — scheduled for 2008. Sergei Grigorenko, the public director of the Russian national postal service Russian Post, which organized the event, said: “We still hear opinions that given the development of the new communication technologies, post will die soon. But this judgment is wrong.” “The post today is an essential addition to electronic services. Take online shopping, for example. In any case the delivery goes through the post service,” Grigorenko told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday. “They say people have stopped writing letters to each other. Maybe so, but, on the other hand, the post is still in high demand. Through delivering various bills, notifications and other official papers and business correspondence our business grows every year,” he said."

Reuters has reported that "A European Parliament committee voted overwhelmingly on Monday to allow full competition in postal services across the European Union from 2011, two years later than originally planned. The postal package voted through in committee comprised: -- The final date for full liberalisation on Dec. 31, 2010, two years later than the Commission had proposed. -- New member states and those with specific topography, such as many islands, a reference to Greece, could have until the end of 2012. -- States would be given until Jan. 1, 2010 to notify the Commission about how they would fund nationwide universal services, such as minimum collection and deliveries of mail. -- States would be allowed to maintain national collective bargaining and other agreements to safeguard employment. -- Countries that have already fully liberalised their sector, such as Britain and Sweden, could in the meantime refuse to authorise competitors from EU states that won't open their own mail sectors until 2011 or later. Germany and the Netherlands plan to liberalise their markets fully from next January but may reconsider." See also the European Parliament press release.

eGov Monitor has reported that "Speaking on a Lib Dem motion of the Universal Service Obligation in Westminster Hall, MP Alistair Carmichael pointed out the importance of a debate on Universal Service Obligation “following the recent application by the Royal Mail for zonal pricing for bulk mail, on which consultation with Postcomm has just concluded.” Mr Carmichael expressed his concern that if Royal Mail’s application for zonal charging for bulk mail is approved, bulk mail will be removed from the universal service. He suggested: “What is left will hardly be worth the name. It will hardly be universal and it will barely be a service.”

As Anorak has noed, "Royal Mail’s dodgy reputation can come in handy sometimes. Birthday cards that you forget to send or cheques that you have yet to post can all be explained away by claiming that they’ve been “lost in the post”. And now you can buy them back. The Royal Mail is auctioning off a huge number of items that really do go missing in transit. The contents of an estimated 75,000 packages which failed to reach their destination are finding their way onto internet auction sites each year with even customers who have paid for the Royal Mails ‘secure’ postal services discovering that their goods are ending up on eBay."

June 18, 2007

ARCEP has launched a public consultation on what information postal service users need and expect about universal service quality

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Reports from the Xinhua news agency suggest that Deutsche Post World Net is moving to buy out Sinotrans from its Exel-Sinotrans Freight Forwarding joint venture. The reports cite the CEO of Sinotrans indicating in April that he would be interested in selling the Chinese logistics company's stake in the joint venture."

Uni-Postal has reported that "As decision time is fast approaching over the future for Europe’s postal system, postal unions will be lobbying a key committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg tonight (18 June). The Transport Committee is bringing together reactions and amendments to the European Commission’s draft directive to remove all remaining protections from traditional postal operators from 1 January 2009. UNI-Europa Post and Logistics is urging parliamentarians to oppose both the draft directive and to vote down an amendment that would simply defer the implementation of the directive for two to four years."

The European Parliament has noted that in its June 18-21 plenary session, the issues that will be discussed include: pensions, EU Summit, and postal services.

The Irish Examiner has reported that "The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for the postal industry in Ireland, today published the results of its quarterly independent eport on the Quality of Service performance of An Post." See also the Sunday Business Post.

The Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail has insisted it will not raise its pay offer despite having called in conciliation service Acas to try to avert a potentially devastating national strike. The postal carrier confirmed that it will use the third-party negotiators to try to get an agreement with the Communication Workers Union, which is threatening the first national walkout in 11 years over pay conditions."

The Times has reported that "Royal Mail faces a crisis in staff morale amid last-ditch attempts to avert the first national postal strike in 11 years, leaked internal documents have revealed. The organisation’s monthly barometer of staff satisfaction levels found that just 29 per cent of staff believe that they are valued by management. About 21 per cent of Royal Mail workers say that they have witnessed bullying and harrassment."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail has offered to meet the postal workers' union through the conciliation service Acas in an attempt to avert a crippling strike over pay and the company's modernisation plan." See also Personnel Today.

Sify Finance News has reported that "The Indian Post Office is likely to hive off its postal life insurance business into a separate entity by next year, following which it could come under Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority purview."

June 17, 2007

The BBC has reported that "Royal Mail has written to conciliation service Acas, offering to meet the Communication Workers Union (CWU) ahead of a proposed strike. The company insisted it was not making any concessions, but was seeking to again explain its position. Last week Royal Mail insisted that the organisation could not afford to improve its 2.5% pay offer, despite staff voting for strike action. The CWU is due to set dates for a series of national walkouts."

As the Economist has noted, "Ink on paper has evolved over the millennia to become the easiest medium to read and the most efficient means for conveying information. And despite all the talk about paperless offices, computers have contributed mightily to today’s deluge of printed material instead of helping diminish it. But that hasn’t stopped researchers around the world from trying to replicate print on paper electronically."

As the Bloomberg News put it: "Buy them now, use them forever. That's the promise of the U.S. Postal Service's Forever stamp, which went on sale April 14. I confess I hadn't paid much attention to the new stamp or the concept behind it until I was confronted with a choice at my local post office: To buy a regular first-class stamp for 41 cents, or to buy a Forever stamp, the equivalent of a first-class stamp even when postal rates go up, also for 41 cents. Why would anyone buy a first-class stamp instead of taking a free option on a Forever stamp? A Forever stamp retains its value. Every few years, a first-class stamp requires additional postage to keep it current. For the consumer, this has an opportunity cost as well as an actual one: standing in line at the post office to buy the 2- or 3-cent stamps needed for additional postage."

The Washington Post has observed that "The personal mailbox is the latest casualty of suburban sprawl. Across the nation, the U.S. Postal Service increasingly is delivering mail to communal cluster boxes as a way to keep pace with booming residential growth while controlling labor costs. But many residents and developers say cluster boxes -- traditionally reserved for apartments and townhouses, not single-family homes -- are impersonal, inconvenient and downright ugly."

As the Wall Street Journal noted, "When Virginia-based vintner Juanita Swedenburg discovered Prohibition-vintage laws prevented her from mailing cases of wine to customers in New York, she decided to make a federal case of it. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Swedenburg v. Kelly that a New York law preventing wine sales across state lines was unconstitutional. Now 72% of Americans can order wine for home delivery."

Air Cargo World has reported that "Despite widespread concern among shippers that full inspection of belly cargo is too costly, the U.S. Congress could pass an air cargo security bill before the July 4th recess, sources in both houses said."

As Mike Causey put it, "If you are looking for one of the best health insurance deals in the nation join the U.S. Postal Service. It's workers get the same coverage, at about half the cost, as most other feds."

The Telegraph has reported that "The Royal Mail has offered to meet postal unions through the conciliation service Acas in a last-ditch effort to avert a crippling national strike."

The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail has admitted selling off thousands of items that got 'lost in the post' to help meet its running costs. The troubled company sells the contents of about 75,000 undelivered packages every year, at the risk of enraging hordes of customers already frustrated that their post has gone astray. Even customers who paid over the odds for premium 'secure' services to cover valuable items have been shocked to find their goods put up for auction, in an operation that could be netting the postal giant millions of pounds a year."

According to the Financial Express, "While the government is yet to take a decision on whether the Department of Post (DoP) will have a banking arm under the name of Post Bank of India, the post office life insurance business may become a separate corporate entity next year."

June 16, 2007

NewKerala.com has reported that "In its bid to diversify the varied financial services and helping the common people, India Post is considering to launch a full-fledged banking system-'' Post Bank of India'' in the country." See also Hindustan Times.

USA Today has reported that "Army officials scrambled to deliver thousands of undelivered letters and packages — some with postal dates from May 2006 — addressed to soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center."

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June 15, 2007

Postmaster General John Potter has sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Members of the House Appropriations Committee regarding the elimination of the Postal Service's annual $29 million for revenue foregone in the House bill. Failure to fund the revenue forgone, Potter said, could have significant consequences for postal finances. The appropriations bill is pending Committee action and is expected to go to the House floor next week.

Forbes has reported that "FirstGroup-owned rail freight company FirstGBRf said it has extended its contract with Royal Mail to transport post until 2010."

PrintWeek has reported that "Royal Mail's bid to introduce zonal pricing for bulk mailers has come under fire during industry body Postcomm's fourth annual industry forum this week (12 June). The company's proposal would affect the cost of sending bulk mail depending on which of five zones it is sent to. In some areas, such as within the M25, the charge increase could be as great as 12%. Around 140 representatives attended the debate on Royal Mail's proposals, which, if approved, could come into effect as early as April next year."

The Postal Service will be using a bit of history to make history when it launches its first-ever infomercial this weekend. The thundering hooves of the Pony Express lead viewers through a series of modern day business success stories. Each story highlights an online service available at usps.com that has made shopping and shipping easier than ever for the customer. The 28-minute video premieres this weekend and will be seen on a variety of stations at various times throughout the week.

Dawn has reported that "The Pakistan post office is planning to introduce a new express service having an internet-based track and trace facility, allowing people to check the status of their posted articles through a website."

Asia Pulse has reported that "Korean Post has agreed to help develop and modernise IT systems for Vietnam's postal service under a memorandum of understanding signed by VNPT and the South Korean postal service."

The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved the Postal Service's request for an extension of the period to test the market desirability of repositionable notes.

Eastbusiness.org has reported that "The boss of Posta Slovenije told the press on Friday the national postal company generated EUR 20.88 million in net profit in 2006, or some EUR 5.8 million more than a year before. Operating revenues increased nearly 10 per cent to EUR 229.78 million. The results have never been better, Ales Hauc told the press in Ljubljana, upbeat about the future of the company that employed 6,723 people at the end of 2006."

According to Maynard Benjamin, President of the Envelope Manufacturers Association, "When it comes to envelopes and technology, most past innovations were limited to the manufacturing process. These advancements helped create a plentiful and affordable supply of a trusted product that millions of Americans use every day, but they did not change the basic structure and power of the envelope. New technologies are emerging, though, that could transform envelopes as we know them."

The Associated Press has noted that "A foul-smelling package that led to the evacuation of a post office next to the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum contained two cans of spinach and a dirty diaper." [Oh, pooh!]

AllAfrica.com has reported that "From June 14 to 16, 2007 the sea side resort of Yasmine Hammamet will host "Technopost Africa 2007" an international conference jointly organized by the Tunisian Postal services, the Universal Postal Union, and the pan African Union of Posts. The main items on the agenda will touch on electronic commerce, hybrid mail, safe mail, electronic registered mail, E-banking, global banking, M-post and mobile telephony, E-learning, as well as E-management."

From Business Wire: "FedEx Freight Canada, the newly-formed subsidiary of FedEx Freight that provides seamless intra-Canada and transborder less-than-truckload (LTL) service, officially unveiled its new combined national headquarters and 48 dock-door service center, located on Wilson Avenue in Toronto."

June 14, 2007

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which Senator Susan Collins is the Ranking Member, today approved a resolution that she and Senator Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) coauthored to reaffirm the constitutional protections of sealed domestic mail. This approval paves the way for the legislation to be considered by the full Senate. The measure is also cosponsored by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

From Business Wire: "Direct Group, a fully integrated direct marketing solutions provider, announced today that Chris Ryan has been promoted to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Focused on the direct mail, postal and logistics side of the business, Ryan will oversee the company's 800-plus employee production facility in Swedesboro, NJ, one of the largest-volume, single-site commercial mailing operations in the world. Ryan, a founding partner and shareholder of Direct Group, previously held the position of Executive Vice President responsible for service, quality, sales and marketing."

According to Personnel Today, "The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused Royal Mail of attempting to provoke strike action rather than looking to negotiate."

The Financial Times has reported that "Alliance & Leicester, a banking group, is benefiting from a more than £10m cut in its Post Office costs after signing a new contract in April."

According to Sustainable Industries, "Avoiding left turns is helping United Parcel Service Inc. save loads on gasoline. Using electronic processing technology to plan delivery routes around right-hand turns, the company is taking full advantage of a U.S. traffic law that was first implemented in the 1970s as a way to save gas."

MaltaMedia has reported that "A dispute between Unjoni Ħaddiema Magħqudin (UĦM) and Maltapost management, which led to postal operators striking at end of May, came to an end on Wednesday with the signing of their collective agreement." See also the Times of Malta.

According to DutchNews, "Postal unions say they accept that over 6,000 jobs will have to go at TNT. 'Otherwise the risk is too great that the company will run into trouble,' Abvakabo spokeswoman Anneke Stevens told ANP."

The Guardian has reported that:

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

In a letter to every member of the Senate, Postmaster General John Potter said that "the Postal Service strongly opposes S.1457, the "Mail Delivery and Protection Act." This bill would override current collective bargaining agreements and effectively eliminate an important tool needed by the Postal Service to continually introduce greater efficiencies into its operation. If enacted, with an exception of a very limited use, no new contracts for mail delivery could be initiated. The ability of the Postal Service to effectively manage its vast delivery operations would be largely eliminated, and new opportunities for small businesses to carry contracts for transporting and delivering mail would be eliminated. Currently 99 percent of our contract delivery services are performed by small, minority- or women-owned businesses. This use of private-sector services is not new. The Postal Service has used contractors to transport and deliver mai! since 1785, when Congress first authorized the Post Office Department to contract with stagecoach companies."

The Postal Regulatory Commission is seeking comments from the public on service standards and performance measurements for market-dominant postal products announced Commission Chairman Dan G. Blair today. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments and suggestions on what the service standards should be and what system or systems of performance measures should be used to evaluate whether those service standards are met. The Commission’s request for public comments has been posted on its website, www.prc.gov and will be published in the Federal Register. Initial comments will be due on July 16, 2007, and all comments and suggestions received by the Commission will be available for review on the website. Interested persons are invited to provide followup comments and suggestions by July 30, 2007. Commenters are asked to tie their suggestions to the applicable statutory objectives and factors listed in section 3691 and on the Commission’s website under Docket No. PI2007-1.

Reuters has reported that "The European Parliament's three main parties have agreed to the full opening of the European Union's postal market from the end of 2010, two years later than originally proposed, an EU source said on Wednesday. Members of the Socialist and Liberal blocs and the centre-right European People's Party gave informal blessing to a cross-party deal on Tuesday evening, the source said. "The compromise is that the final date for liberalisation is 31 December, 2010," the source said."

According to TransWorldNews, "With the increase in postage rates in effect for nearly a month, some businesses are feeling the heat more than others. While many companies that mainly use catalogs as marketing are being scorched by the new restrictions and costs, companies who use postcards haven’t been affected enough to feel singed. Indeed, all postage prices went up, including the inexpensive postcard that went up from $0.24 to $0.26 per card. The postcard, however, isn’t nearly as affected due to the weight and size of a postcard being consistent, whereas catalogs are of varying weights and sizes. Joy Gendusa, postcard marketing guru and CEO of PostcardMania, is letting the solution out to help those businesses burning alive. “The trick is not to send out catalogs to mailing lists in order to get prospects, but to instead send postcards to get people to request a catalog from your business. The point is to get them interested and curious enough to call or email your company for the rest of the information.” For years PostcardMania has been doing mailings for catalogers who send postcards out as their first line of promotion in order to get their prospects to request one of their catalogues. The end result for these catalogers is more qualified leads and less money procuring them."

Logistics Management has reported that "Express delivery and logistics services provider DHL said today it has opened a new international gateway in Hermosillo, Mexico, which will offer international next-day service and enable the company to meet the growing needs of companies shipping freight between Northwest Mexico and the United States."

From Business Wire: "Group 1 Software, Inc., a Pitney Bowes Company, has announced that the latest release of its MailStream Plus® mail preparation and presort software has received U.S. Postal Service® PAVE certification for PAVE Cycle I."

The Malta Star has reported that "An envelope mailed from England to Malta in 1841, with eight stamps - five Penny Blacks and three Two-penny Blues – was auctioned for charity for $650,000 (Lm240,877). A British individual managed to win the auction for this item after offering “the highest amount ever bid over the Internet for a philatelic item”, said the International Herald Tribune on Tuesday. The envelope was sent to ‘Lady Louis’ in Malta from Falmouth. It is considered as a “one of the most important postal history rarities of Great Britain”.

Japan Today has reported that "The All Japan Postal Labor Union launched its national assembly Wednesday with a view to voting Friday on whether to merge with the Japan Postal Workers' Union, or JPU, upon the planned privatization of the postal system in October."

June 13, 2007

Reuters has reported that "The European Parliament's main parties have agreed to allow full competition in postal services throughout the European Union from 2011, an EU source said on Wednesday. The European Commission had proposed the completion of the freeing up of postal services to full competition from the start of 2009 to include the collection and delivery of letters weighing up to 50 grams. Heavier mail is already liberalised. The plan met with opposition from many EU states that say operators were not yet ready for more competition in a 90 billion euro ($120 billion) sector that employs 2 million people."

From MarketWire:  "Did you know that Canada Post handled more than 290,000 change of address requests for Quebec in 2005 and more than 302,000 in 2006? With more than 116 million items a year redirected throughout Canada, Canada Post, through its change of address service, provides an affordable service that is among the most reliable. It is well known that the months of June and July are a feverish period punctuated by many moves for people in Quebec. Between boxes, moving out, renovations, decorating and moving in, you want to make sure that your regular mail and even your occasional mail (financial statements, license renewals, memberships or subscriptions, annual reports and product recall notices) are delivered to you without worry. By acting without delay, at least two weeks before your move, you can protect your mail and your identity and move with peace of mind of no interruption in postal service."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

At the end of a 15-year long period of postal market liberalisation in Europe, the EU member states’ ministers of economic affairs have reached a mere compromise. Despite severe consequences for private operators, the binding final date for market liberalisation has been postponed until 2011. East European member states and Greece are entitled to prolong this deadline by another two years.
Britons have been asked by Postwatch, Postcomm and Royal Mail how they feel about earlier mail collection times and other issues concerning the post. Most of the poll participants said clearly that they wanted to be able to post their letters as late as possible in the day. At the same time, they expect to receive mail as early in the morning as possible.
British regulator Postcomm has ordered Royal Mail to abandon its system of last mail collection from post boxes at 9 a.m. which is practised in many locations. Postcomm says the last collection must be in the afternoon.
Swedish property owners do not intend to take over costs for collective letterbox installation.
Germany’s PIN Group is aiming to set up "a branch network at least as big as that of Deutsche Post", claims company chairman Günter Thiel in an interview with »Euro am Sonntag« magazine.
The State Bank of India (SBI) plans to offer selected financial services at India Post counters.
Business will apparently continue at the private German postal service provider Jurex. The company announced this Tuesday that "a group of experienced investors from the postal market has taken over the business subject to agreement of the Federal Cartel Office".
The discussion surrounding the planned privatisation of the Kuwaiti post has regained momentum.
FedEx intends to reinforce its co-operation with Adobe. Last week, the companies confirmed that FedEx Kinko’s Print Online Service would shortly be integrated into the Adobe programmes "Reader" and "Acrobat", offering software users "an easy and convenient way of sending their printing jobs to any FedEx Kinko shop in the USA".
Pakistan’s post has experienced a dramatic 20% drop in annual mail volumes recently. E-mail communication in particular is said to have caused the slump.
Following the example of West European post companies, the Vietnamese post is now splitting its activities into postal and telecommunications operations.
German mail order company Otto Group’s plans for the development of a European distribution and parcel network are increasingly taking shape.
Through intensified cooperation with Swiss railway company Schweizerische Bundesbahn (SBB), DHL Schweiz plans to increase its number of private clients and SMEs.
German express service Trans-o-flex is reinforcing its European network EURODIS. As has been expected, the subsidiary of Austria’s Österreichische Post has integrated Slovakian sister company In Time Logistics as a network partner.
FedEx founder and CEO Fred W Smith could be in line for an important political position. Presidential candidate Senator John McCain told media representatives that Mr Smith would be "a valuable addition to his cabinet, should he be elected in 2008".

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP. To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

The Financial Times has reported that "In the past six years, the mail systems pioneer Pitney Bowes has acquired more than 65 companies, all on the watch of Michael Critelli, chief executive at the time and now executive chairman. He has been systematically refocusing the business, transforming it from the collection of diverse businesses he found when he joined the legal department 28 years ago. His goal is to make the Connecticut-based group a leader in the “mailstream” marketplace – everything connected with the creation and distribution of letters and packages. Non-core activities have been cut away; the acquisitions are only in areas where Pitney Bowes, inventor of the postage stamping machine, intends to vie for market leadership. Now the intention is to integrate the new businesses seamlessly into Pitney Bowes’ central systems. Over the past decade, the company has installed SAP enterprise software to handle the back office, and Siebel’s customer relationship management software for customer-facing functions."

As the Los Angeles Times has noted, "The men in yellow shirts are competing with your mail carrier. They wend their way through quiet, residential neighborhoods, dropping off mail at every house, delivering it not to mailboxes, but by hanging it on doorknobs, no postage stamps needed. They're employees of Newport Beach-based PowerDirect, which is trying to capitalize on rising postal rates and an aversion to junk mail by delivering advertisements to homes themselves. His new delivery business is sophisticated: He tracks his workers with global positioning systems to make sure the door hangers are delivered to the right places and on time, and he uses direct-mail targeting strategies to make sure the ads are reaching people who might respond to them. Bill Borneman's, chief executive of PowerDirect, company has 45 employees and revenue of around $20 million. Borneman, who came from the direct-mail business, sees his door hangers as a less-expensive alternative to mail — 5 cents a unit cheaper, to be exact.

Bursa has reported that "The EBRD is providing Posta Romana with a 50 million EUR loan to finance the construction in Bucharest of the country"s first fully automated sorting centre and the modernisation of an existing sorting centre in Cluj. Up to 20 million EUR of the loan will be syndicated to commercial banks. Posta Romana will also contribute to this project with 10 million EUR of its own cash flow. The construction of an automated sorting centre is a key element in the modernisation of Posta Romana, which is facing increasing competition following the liberalisation of the market in line with EU regulations

The Los Angeles Daily News has noted that "With cargo becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to ship across the Southland, state officials are wrestling with ways to ease the jam before it jeopardizes the region's economy. With thousands of local jobs and billions of dollars in international trade at stake, experts say California needs to quickly expand its infrastructure or risk losing its reputation as the nation's gateway to international trade."

Forbes has reported that "TNT NV said in a statement that an independent study by the Boston Consulting Group has shown that its cost-cutting plans for its TNT Post Dutch mail operations are 'sound and necessary.'"

According to The Times, "The dispute between the main postal union and Royal Mail worsened yesterday after the postal group warned that it would not increase a pay offer despite a vote by postal workers for strike action."

CityWire has reported that "The Royal Mail, which operates a fleet of more than 33,000 commercial delivery vehicles across the UK, has ordered two zero-emission delivery vehicles from UK maker Tanfield Group to try on routes in central London."

The Calgary Sun has reported that "Canada Post has defeated a NAFTA challenge from United Parcel Service of America Inc., that alleged the Crown corporation engaged in unfair competition, bringing an end to a seven year-old dispute between the two delivery companies. UPS, the world’s largest package delivery firm, launched a claim for US$160 million against the Canadian government in April 2000 under the North American Free Trade Agreement. UPS contended Canada Post has an unfair advantage because its services such as Express Post and Priority Courier draw on an infrastructure of sorting facilities, mailboxes and post offices that private companies must provide for themselves. But Canada Post CEO Moya Greene told the company’s annual meeting Tuesday that the NAFTA tribunal hearing the challenge had dismissed it." See also the Chronicle Herald and the Canada NewsWire.

June 12, 2007

IBN has reported that "The ‘Rocket Raja’ ad for Zapak mail promoted by the Reliance Anil Ambani Group has antagonised postmen all over the country. They say it portrays them as slow and inefficient and is a false portrayal. "They did not ask us before they went ahead with the ad. And they have depicted postal service providers in a wrong way,” says Post Master General, Mumbai, A P Shrivastava. The postal department reportedly made its objections known to the ADA Group, and there was quick damage control from Zapak mail."

The United States, Canada and Latin America can form the world's next great trading bloc, but only if the various nations move quickly to improve their transportation infrastructures and simplify customs requirements, the chief executive of UPS said today. "I believe that Latin America, home to half-a-billion people south of the U.S.-Mexico border, has the potential to be the next hotbed of trade and economic growth," UPS Chairman and CEO Mike Eskew told participants at the U.S. Commerce Department's inaugural Americas Competitiveness Forum.

On Monday, June 11, the House Appropriations Committee ordered reported the Fiscal Year 2008, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, after amending the measure to eliminate a $29 million Postal Service revenue forgone reimbursement. These funds were transferred to the Small Business Administration account.

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and a leading developer of highperformance solutions for professional mailers, is one of the first companies to be recognized by the United States Postal Service ® as a Suite Link ™ Certified Software Distributor. Because of this certification, and thanks to BCC’s status as a USPS ® NCOA Link® Full Service Provider (FSP) Licensee, mailers now can enjoy the benefits of Suite Link processing added to any mailing lists that are submitted to BCC for NCOA Link FSP processing."

Dan G. Blair, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, announced today the appointment of the Commission’s first inspector general, as required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. Jack Callender, minority counsel to Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA) on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has been selected as the first Inspector General of the Postal Regulatory Commission, effective June 25, 2007. Callender has served on the Government Reform Committee since 1999, and assisted the Committee in the drafting and enactment of the Act.

From the Federal Register: "The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors will be holding a closed meeting on Tuesday, June 19 at 12 p.m. Among the issues to be discussed:  1. Strategic Issues. 2. Postal Regulatory Commission Second Opinion and Recommended Decision on Reconsideration in Docket No. R2006-1, Postal Rate and Fee Changes. 3. Rate Case Update. 4. Labor Negotiations Update. 5. Financial Update. 6. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 7. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance.

The U.S. Postal Service has won two prestigious environmental awards — one for a revenue-generating recycling program and another for an E-85 alternative fuel project. The White House Closing the Circle awards recognize federal agencies for outstanding achievements that result in significant contributions to the environment. These two awards represent the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh Closing the Circle awards the Postal Service has won since 1995. In 2006, the total solid waste management program recycled 8.6 million pounds of undeliverable mail, plastic film and cardboard. This program also generated more than $203,000 in revenue. And, the E-85 alternative-fuel usage project put 584 ethanol-capable vehicles on the road in Minnesota, resulting in a 65 percent increase in ethanol fuel use from 2003 to 2006.

As DM News has noted, "A new study claims that, despite today's digital world, consumers clearly prefer mail over other communications vehicles such as e-mail for receiving new product information and offerings as well as confidential business communications including bank statements and financial reports. This was a key finding from a survey released June 11 by International Communications Research. The study, the fourth mail preference survey commissioned by Stamford, CT-based Pitney Bowes since March 1999, found that the majority of consumers (73 percent) prefer mail for receiving new product announcements or offers from companies they do business with, as compared to 18 percent for e-mail. Mail was also preferred by 70 percent of respondents for receiving unsolicited information on products and services from companies with which they are not currently doing business."

The Guardian has reported that "The Communication Workers Union is poised to call a series of one-day strikes unless Royal Mail reopens talks over its pay and modernisation proposals. The union's postal executive will meet tomorrow to discuss its tactics after a ballot of 127,000 members voted overwhelmingly last week in favour of industrial action. If a strike does go ahead it will be Royal Mail's first national stoppage for more than a decade. The union will have to give seven days' warning of any action. Yesterday Royal Mail said it was prepared to talk but held out little prospect of an improved offer."

IT-Director.com has reported that "The Post Office last week launched ‘Payout', an electronic version of a postal order which allows companies to send a barcode to a mobile phone. Although the service offers participating companies savings (both in terms of cost and time) on sending out cheques or printed barcodes, mobile payments specialist Upaid doesn't believe ‘Payout' offers similar benefits to the general public."

As Business Week put it, "The result is more important than the speed of the liberalisation, the German EU presidency has said, signalling that some EU member states will get more time to open up the postal services market than the 2009 deadline proposed by the European Commission."

Press Release: "U.S. Postal Service employees are experiencing fewer ergonomic injuries as a result of a 2003 partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NMHU) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The organizations have released Examples of Good Ergonomics Practices at the U.S. Postal Service which outlines the achievements of the partnership and the steps taken to help prevent ergonomic-related injuries in the workplace."

The Hindu has reported that "The Department of Posts on Monday reduced local Speed Post charges for letters weighing up to 50 gm from Rs. 20 to 12 (including service tax). The service will be available in 1,200 towns across the country. However, it has increased tariffs for parcels."

Arab News has reported that "Saudi Post President Dr. Muhammad Bantan signed an agreement yesterday with Jeddah Mayor Adel Fakieh to unify postal addresses in Jeddah."

Gulf Times has reported that "Q-POST and Doha Bank yesterday signed an agreement under which the post office would print, develop and envelop the bank’s monthly statement to be delivered to its customers."

June 11, 2007

The Associated Press has reported that "Two leading children's publishers, Scholastic, Inc., and Disney, will soon discover whether the laptop compares to the lap in the hearts of young readers. Scholastic is officially launching BookFlix, an educational Web site pairing short films based on popular picture books along with nonfiction e-books that allow early readers to follow the text online."

From Business Wire: "Pitney Bowes Inc. is sponsoring a DM News’ Webcast on “Navigating the Postal Increase” on June 12th. The Webcast will offer valuable information and tips on how companies can manage the recent postal rate increases that went into effect in May. The recent postal rate increase has affected mailers of all classes. Many have already adapted to this new environment. But questions linger about the overall effects of the rate hike on marketers who use the U.S. Postal Service for their direct mail campaign and catalog efforts. When: Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., EST Who: Panelists Elizabeth Lombard, USPS rate specialist, Pitney Bowes; and Mike Plunkett, acting vice president of pricing and classification, USPS Moderator: Melissa Campanelli, deputy editor, DM News Where: Participants can register for the event at www.dmnews.com

According to Air Cargo World, "a slowing American economy, high fuel prices, too much capacity and slackening demand may collectively account for why UPS's first quarter results and FedEx's fiscal third-quarter earnings were relatively flat, particularly in the domestic business."

"What Does Postal Reform Do?" is the latest in a series of papers by National Academy of Public Administration fellow Murray B. Comarow.

Caribbean Net News has reported that "Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen has asked US Postmaster General John Potter to institute a new mailing system for the US Virgin Islands as the current system is failing Virgin Islanders. In a letter to Potter, Christensen requested that the territory "return to its former status of having its own postal station, with its identity designated and visibly shown through our own postal cancellation."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail, which is rapidly losing contracts for handling mail since the market was opened to competition, should follow BT's example by splitting its postal operation into two independent businesses."

Eyefortransport.com has reported that "Trans-O-Flex is further reinforcing its European network EURODIS, with Slovakian company In Time becoming a EURODIS partner at the beginning of this month. According to Trans-O-Flex CEO Klaus Heinz, apart from the state-run postal service, In Time Logistics is the second-biggest courier/express/parcels service in Slovakia. Founded in 1990 in Bratislava, In Time Logistics has belonged to the Austrian Post since 2002. The company’s ability to handle combi-freight and hazardous goods makes it an attractive partner for Trans-O-Flex."

The Times of India has reported that "Overtime strike by around 500 group C and D employees of Railway Mail Service (RMS) in the ‘F’ division of Nagpur has badly affected the delivery of mail. The employees, affiliated to National Federation Postal Employees (NFPE), are up in arms against the management for going back on its assurances to fulfill the genuine demands."

The People's Daily has reported that "The Zambian government advised Sunday the parastatal Zambia Telecommunications Limited (ZAMTEL) and Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) to be independent and generate funds for their operations."

From NewsReleaseWire: "Stopthejunkmail.com has announced the launch of their new brand and web site for consumers this week. The Boulder, CO-based company, founded in 2001, provides a convenient and cost-effective way for subscribers to opt out of receiving unsolicited postal junk mail. For a nominal fee, stopthejunkmail.com removes subscriber information from mailing lists; and through a partnership with American Forests Organization, plants a tree in an effort to regenerate forests being depleted by junk mail production. Stopthejunkmail.com’s mission is to help consumers eliminate unwanted postal junk mail for the entire household or small business, to reduce consumer frustration levels with the amount of unwanted junk mail they receive, and to protect consumers’ privacy by reducing the number of times their name and address is shared without their knowledge."

The BBC has reported that "The main postal workers' union is writing to Royal Mail to call for fresh talks in an attempt to avoid the first national strike in more than a decade. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) wants an improved pay offer, and for Royal Mail to rethink its modernisation plans, which the union claims will cost 40,000 jobs."

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

TNT Express has launched what it claims to be the industry's fastest express delivery service in South East Asia. Termed the 'Emergency Express' service, it ensures that a customer's urgent overseas shipment gets out on the first available flight, with 24X7 immediate response and pick-up. That service is available in all major cities across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan.
DHL has inaugurated a new five billion yen (US$41 million) expanded facility at the Kansai International Airport.

The Boston Globe has called it "one of the last relics of pre-Internet life -- that little purgatory known as the line at the post office. Most just endure the inconvenience, wondering why it often seems to take so long, but sometimes frustrations spill over."

KOB.com has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service could alleviate problems with mail service in New Mexico by building a new postal plant on land it owns in Albuquerque. So says the American Postal Workers Union."

According to The Scotsman, "lost letters, delayed deliveries, personal mail left in public areas. Are these the problems experienced by those living in remote, rural areas where mail deliveries are a daily logistical challenge for Royal Mail? No, they are the everyday woes of Royal Mail customers in one of Scotland's most well-connected commercial centres."

The World Advertising Research Center has reported that "Britain's direct mail industry is readying itself for a summer of disruption. Although a national stoppage is unlikely, many mailers expect a series of short-term strikes."

According to the Exeter Express & Echo, "Postal staff are dedicated and hard-working. New staff wonder what they have walked into and long-serving staff feel genuinely upset and demoralised at the continual cost-cutting. Some wonderfully dedicated people in the Post Office are struggling to cope right now. The last three years have seen Mr Leighton's aspirations to make Royal Mail "a great place to work" turn sour. Morale is at rock bottom. Some two years ago, postal staff were told they were losing the business £1m a day. The following year, everything was fine and dandy and now this year the company is in dire straits again. But the mail keeps on coming. More and more of it with less and less people to do the work. Deliveries are affected and managers are having to perform deliveries due to staff shortages. The other part of this problem is the regulator. Set up to allow competition, it has put all postal services under threat."

The Canadian Press has reported that "Collectible hand grenades and other suspicious munitions are still popping up at Canada's mail-processing centres, months after they were banned by Canada Post. Mail-sorting facilities have been evacuated at least eight times this year because of these suspicious packages, putting staff in potential danger while costing the postal system time and money."

June 10, 2007

PostInsight has made available "Selected Presentations from CRRI (15th Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics), 31 May–2 June 2007, Semmering, Austria - June 5, 2007." See also (1) Two New PTS Reports: "The Liberalized Swedish Postal Market" and "Presentation of Posten AB's New Service Network" - June 7, 2007, (2) The Needs of Postal Users – Customer Survey 2006 (Postwatch, Postcomm & Royal Mail) - June 6, 2007, (3) Group La Poste 2006 Company Highlights - June 6, 2007, and (4) U.S. Flat Mail Market 2002-2006.

According to the Examiner, "As a freshman congressman, Daniel Lipinski wanted to ensure constituents knew what he was doing, but he rarely got mentioned in Chicago news stories. So he spent $230,000 in taxpayers' money to get his message across. The Illinois Democrat spent more than any other member of the state's congressional delegation on mailings to constituents during 2005-2006 through the use of "franking" privileges." See also the Chicago Sun-Times.

WZZM13 has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service says as many as 28 Battle Creek postal carriers were suspended without pay Wednesday over allegations of improprieties at the local post office."

Mail & Guardian has reported that "From dating services to stock-market listings, cellphones are changing the face of Kenya and this newest service is forcing banks to re-evaluate their approach to inhabitants of traditionally overlooked rural areas. More than 60% of Kenyans have access to banks or microfinance institutions, but a staggering 38% -– mostly living in rural areas -- are entirely unbanked, according to data collected by Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSDK). However, more than half the population either owns or has access to a cellphone, generating a new means by which banking and financial services could be provided, according to Safaricom's chief financial officer Les Baillie. Even before the advent of M-Pesa, traditional service providers -- such as banks, Western Union or the Kenyan postal corporation's homegrown Postbank -- were often shrugged off in favour of cheaper, informal means."

The Vietnam News Agency has reported that "The nation’s postal service will be reorganised under a plan approved by the Prime Minister earlier this month. Under the plan, the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) would spin off the new Viet Nam Postal Corporation with a total equity of over VND8 trillion (US$500 million), according to Deputy Minister of Post and Telematics Nguyen Thanh Hung. The change would be effected July 1. The move effects a larger strategy of separating two sectors, postal services and telecommunications, which are now both assumed by VNPT, said Hung."

June 9, 2007

Scripps News Service has reported that "Rising postal costs and changes in what package shippers allow are causing business owners to whittle down their mailing lists, find cheaper ways to send products and rely more on communicating electronically."

From Business Wire: "Scott Cole & Associates announces on Friday, June 8, 2007, thousands of California United Parcel Service delivery drivers will be excited when they open their mailboxes to see their portion of the tens of millions of dollars paid out in settlement checks, checks which represent payment for previously-uncompensated meal and rest breaks they missed while working at UPS. Ending four years of intense litigation, Scott Cole & Associates and its co-counsel negotiated the unprecedented $87 million settlement which awards compensation to well over ten thousand current and former UPS delivery employees as well as extra "enhancement" awards to the lead plaintiffs in recognition of their efforts in bringing this and the related case."

In his latest to his members, National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young said that "As pleased as I was to hear NAPUS President Dale Goff tell the subcommittee that “with contractors, you get what you pay for,” and as thrilled as I was to hear NAPS President Ted Keating declare that contracting out letter carrier work “will be the death of the Postal Service,” I was flabbergasted by the President of the APWU. He repeatedly— and hypocritically—lobbied the subcommittee not to take legislative action, calling contracting out a “bargaining issue” best left to the parties and to arbitration. That’s the same disingenuous line being peddled by the USPS on Capitol Hill."

China Daily has reported that "China Post Group Corp sold 11 of its star-rated hotels to a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based VXL Capital Ltd on Friday, a major step toward getting rid of its non-core businesses."

The Daily Post has reported that "Rotorua posties are refusing to collect information about people who don't want junk mail. Like junk mail hater Peter Wilson, they are concerned that New Zealand Post could be collecting information to sell to its commercial partners. Postal workers nationwide have been asked to record the addresses of NZ Post customers who display "no junk mail" on their letterboxes to pass on to its subsidiary circular distribution company The Letterbox Channel. Posties suspect those customers will instead start receiving junk mail via addressed envelopes."

The Times has reported that British "MPs condemned Royal Mail yesterday for lacking imagination and entrepreneurial flair in the way in which it manages its loss-making post office network. The Trade and Industry Select Committee criticised the Government for not taking more responsibility for looking after the network rather than leaving it to Royal Mail." See also the Financial Times Reuters, The Guardian and the BBC.

According to The Mirror, "IT'S always good for a laugh when the bosses say they'll do the workers' jobs if they go on strike. What they mean is - for 10 minutes while the TV cameras are rolling. So I'm still smiling at the threat by Allan Leighton, chairman of Royal Mail, to abandon his desk for an early morning walk in the rain with a heavy bag over his shoulder. To add insult to injury, Leighton is giving himself pounds 100,000 bonus on top of his monster salary, while his sidekick chief executive Adam Crozier trousers an extra pounds 370,000, taking his earnings to pounds 1 million."

The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:

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The Association for Postal Commerce welcomes its newest member:

Outlook Graphics, 1180 America Drive, Neenah, WI 54956-1385 represented by Jim Zeman

June 8, 2007

The Postal Regulatory Commission has issued a "Notice And Order On Field Hearings To Receive Testimony On Implementation Of Modern System Of Ratemaking" in Docket No. RM2007-1.

From Business Wire: "With the introduction of Postal Accountant, Hasler offers an easy-to-use, cost-effective mail accounting software package that enables users to instantly collect, account for and report mailing information from a variety of mailing systems. Postal Accountant allows users to better understand and manage their mailroom activities and accurately chargeback and recover their mailing costs.

As EUPolitix has noted, "EU ministers agreed on Thursday to delay plans to open up the postal sector to full competition from 1 January 2009 amid fierce opposition from several member states. Each country will now be allowed to open up the last remaining postal monopoly – for letters under 50g, by far the largest sector of the market – at its own pace."

The Postal Regulatory Commission has issued its recommended decision in the matter of Docket No. MC2006-7 "Stamped Stationery and Stamped Cards Classifications"

USAToday has reported that "A standards group has completed work on digital signature technology designed to ensure data authenticity between interacting Web servers. Version 1.0 of the Digital Signature Services standard provides a tamper-proof mechanism to provide electronic timestamps, postmarks or official corporate imprimaturs. Members of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) gave the digital signature standard its highest level of ratification....One organization that has an interest in digital signatures and that worked with OASIS to develop the standard is the Universal Postal Union, a United Nations agency. It's working to incorporate the digital signature standard into its Electronic Post Mark system (UPU EPM), OASIS said."

PostInsight has reported that "Pitney Bowes Chairman Michael J. Critelli was recently honored with the distinguished Global Achievement Award from the Global Envelope Alliance (GEA). The award was given during the GEA conference held this week in Berlin."

Other news posted at Postalnews.com:

ForUM has reported that "The Ukrainian State Enterprise of Posts UkrPoshta (USEP) in June introduced MoneyGram Transference Payment Service (an international payment system)."

According to RuralInfo.net, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the U.S. Postal Service are on their way to binding arbitration over their contract dispute.

Outlook India has reported that "Meghalaya government could avail different facilities of the postal department to promote its schemes for mass awareness, an officer of the department said. Facilities like Meghdoot Post Card, Direct Post and Media Post could be used by the Meghalaya government for carring out messages on its various schemes, Post Master General of North East, Mildred Iawphniaw told Chief Minister D D Lapang yesterday. She also expressed the need of effective functioning of small savings schemes, disbursement of widow pension and financial assistance through the post offices for the general public."

From PR Newswire: "Following a long competition between the key players in the postal Automation market, SOLYSTIC has signed a contract to modernise the Finnish Postal service. The French company, a subsidiary of the Northrop Grumman Group, is one of the leading manufacturers in this field. For SOLYSTIC, this Ambitious nationwide systems integration project is a continuation of its Earlier successes with the largest operators in the world, the latest of these being the renovation of Belgium's postal sorting network."

In an editorial, the Columbia Journalism Review said that "From the first days of the Republic, the founders believed that the mails were the circulatory system of our democracy....It is therefore particularly disturbing that recently the board of governors of the postal service announced dramatic rate increases in periodicals-class mail that will hit small journals and magazines–left, right, and center–hardest."

The Financial Times has reported that "Some European Union countries may be allowed to restrict competition in the postal services market for longer than others, in an attempt to secure backing for a controversial plan to liberalise the €90bn market. According to a European Commission proposal, all EU countries are supposed to open their postal services markets to full competition from 2009. At present, former monopolists such as Deutsche Post or France’s La Poste still have the exclusive right to carry mail weighing less than 50g – a vast and lucrative market which many operators are reluctant to share with their rivals."

The Financial Express has reported that "State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest state-run bank will shortly make available some of its products across the counters of postal office windows. The products, chiefly term deposit certificates, will soon be available in post offices of five states, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, chief post master general of Maharashtra, K Noorjehan told reporters on Wednesday."

The Daily Times has reported that "The number of mails received by the Pakistan Post is decreasing by 20 percent annually and if the situation persists, the department will become useless in the next five years, said Communications Minister Muhammad Shamim Siddiqui on Thursday. He was addressing the launching ceremony of the ‘New Corporate Identity of Pakistan’ and ‘Collection of Utility Bill Payments from Your Doorstep’ schemes at the Postal Staff College on Thursday. He said that emails were more popular than formal letters. He said the Pakistan Post must improve its money order and life insurance services because “it could not depend on the posting of letters now”. He also asked the department to introduce banking services by coordinating with commercials banks. He urged Pakistan Post employees to work more diligently to ensure its survival in this era of competition."

From the June 7 USPS DMM Advisory:

"Detached Address Labels. We revised 602.4.0 to allow advertising on the front of detached address labels (DALs) that are barcoded and meet automation letter standards. This change will allow mailers to place advertising on the front of DALs in addition to advertising that is already allowed on the reverse side.

"Labeling Lists. We revised the labeling lists to reflect changes in mail processing operations.

"Our next DMM update is scheduled for July 15 to capture the new prices and mailing standards for Periodicals mail resulting from the R2006-1 pricing change. You can find more information about the new Periodicals prices at usps.com/ratecase."

The text of the APWU lawsuit against MTAC has been posted on this site.

June 7, 2007

As The Times has noted, "In the era of electronic mail, striking posties have the potential to irritate – but not incapacitate – Britain's businesses."

According to the Postal Record,  a letter "carrier's cosmopolitan pitch wins over a specialty grocer....Through Customer Connect, letter carriers are taking advantage of their special relationships to encourage business patrons to use USPS instead of private delivery services. Since the startup in mid-2003, letter carriers have generated more than $300 million in new annual revenue."

In a reprise of an earlier piece, American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus told his members that "In direct contradiction to the clear intent of the U.S. Constitution and later laws, postal management has now shifted the focus and purpose of postal services, replacing service “to the people” with service “to the business community.” Decisions, including network redesign and plant consolidations, are not based on their impact on the people, but on their effect on the large mailers....Through the creation of organizations that are closed to the general public and their representatives, large mailers act in concert with postal management to develop processes and plans to reconfigure the Postal Service to better serve their corporate interest....Advertising mailers use the Postal Service to effectuate delivery of commercial messages, but, because of the USPS’ governmental status, they avoid paying the taxes on postal services that are levied by private advertising media. When businesses advertise on TV, radio, or in newspapers, in addition to the hefty fees for air time or print space, they must pay taxes. FedEx and UPS collect taxes on the services they offer, but the USPS is tax-free. This is just one more benefit mailing industry moguls enjoy, courtesy of the USPS."

Royal Mail Group has said that it "would continue its drive to modernise the business to allow it to compete and thrive in the competitive market. Commenting on the outcome of a strike ballot held by the Communication Workers Union on pay, conditions and the business plan, the company said that the union had balloted 127,000 people and that 66,064 people had voted for strike action. That’s around half of the number balloted and excludes more than 20,000 people who aren’t union members." It said: "One in five letters will be handled by our rivals this year. Royal Mail has already lost 40% of the Bulk Mail business to the competition. The UK mails market is declining overall at the rate of 2.5% per annum. Our competitors are 40% more efficient than we are."

Conservatives.com has "warned of the damaging consequences of a postal strike, and called on the Communication Workers Union to face up to the prospect of increased competition in the mail delivery market."

Business High Street has reported that "Any strike by Royal Mail staff could be disastrous for small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, a business group has warned."

EU communications ministers failed to break a deadlock over further liberalisation of postal services in Europe, pushing back a decision until the second half of the year, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the German EU presidency. See also Hemscott.

Azom.com has reported that "Retreaded tires are one of the most environmentally friendly of all recycled products, containing one of the highest post consumer contents since the actual tire is being recycled. Every time a tire is retreaded there is one less tire to go to our already overcrowded landfills. The safety, performance and handling of quality retreaded tires has been proven beyond doubt, which is why thousands of major fleets, including the U.S. Postal Service, Fed Ex, UPS, already routinely use retreads."

According to The Times, "Royal Mail faces its first national strike for 11 years after the main postal union today backed a walkout in a dispute over pay. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted 77.5 per cent in favour of a strike."

PR-Inside has reported that "European Union ministers were debating Thursday how to guarantee a basic standard of mail delivery when the union's postal market is liberalized. Several countries, led by France and Italy, have been pressuring the EU to ensure national postal monopolies won't lose out as rivals move into the lucrative parts of the sector."

Forbes has reported that "German economy minister Michael Glos said he wants to adhere to ending the virtual monopoly Deutsche Post AG holds over mail delivery in 2008. He also plans to discuss the dispute, between several EU member states over Europe-wide postal market liberalisation, at the upcoming EU summit in late June. Opening the domestic mail delivery markets is in the interest of all EU member states, Glos said."

ABCMoney has reported that "French finance minister Jean-Louis Borloo said he is favour of the liberalisation of the letter mail market in the EU, but before going any further he would like further clarification on the various means of financing the service. Speaking in Luxembourg, Borloo said 'we would like the different means of financing for the letter mail service, which is an essential element of the social fabric, to be defined in readable and sustainable terms'." See also the International Herald Tribune.

From Sourcewire: "Whilst a ballot of postal workers has revealed strong support for a national postal strike by Royal Mail, online letter service L-Mail.com is looking forward to the extra business industrial action will generate. L-Mail.com is an online post office that accepts letters in an electronic format from its clients, either through its web site or via its automated integration account (an API for the more computer literate). The innovative service then prints and posts the letters on behalf of its clients via 24 global locations – all without any assistance from Royal Mail."

Bloomberg has reported that "European Union countries clashed over postal competition as France opposed a plan to end local monopolies by 2009 and let companies such as Deutsche Post AG challenge incumbents including the French mail service La Poste."

Mark you calendar. MAILCOM 2007 LAS VEGAS The 14th Annual Fall Conference & Exhibition, October 8-10, 2007, Riviera Royale Pavilion Convention Center. Registration is now open at www.mailcom.org.

The APWU, together with an organization representing a coalition of consumers and nonprofit mailers, has filed a suit challenging secret policy-making by a Postal Service advisory committee. The panel, the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, is made up of trade associations that represent large business mailers. Co-chaired by major mailer representatives and postal officials, MTAC — acting through “work groups” — commissions studies and makes recommendations to senior USPS management on postal operations, postal rates, and postal regulations....MTAC has refused to admit to its membership the Consumers Alliance for Postal Services (CAPS), which is made up of nonprofit associations, small mailers, and individual consumers that rely on the Postal Service to communicate with their members. CAPS is chaired by William Clay Sr., the former Chairman of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee."

From DM News: The recent postal rate increase has affected mailers of all classes. Many have already adapted to this new environment. But questions linger about the overall effects of the rate case hike on marketers who use the U.S. Postal Service for their direct mail campaign and catalog efforts. DM News’ free Webcast, “Navigating the postal rate increase,” will offer valuable information and tips to mitigate the postal rate hike. It will run on Tuesday, June 12, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. EST. Mike Plunkett, acting vice president of pricing and classification at the USPS, will discuss the new rates and ways to reduce the burden on mailers. Elizabeth Lombard, USPS rate specialist at the Webcast’s sponsor, Pitney Bowes, will offer key tips as well. DM News deputy editor Melissa Campanelli will moderate. Please register here for this Webcast or visit dmnews.webex.com.

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers have voted strongly in favour of taking industrial action over pay, in what would be the first national postal strike since 1996." See also the Financial Times and The Guardian.

PrintWeek has reported that "The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is to meet environment minister Ben Bradshaw in a bid to clarify the government’s plans to create an ‘opt-in’ scheme for direct mail. A meeting has been scheduled for July in which the DM industry will attempt to better understand what the scheme, which was hinted at in last week’s government Waste Strategy for England, would entail. There was fury from DM printers last week following publication of the strategy. Firms in the sector believe that by making consumers opt in to receive unaddressed mailings, the industry would be unable to collect data effectively, which would be “catastrophic” for the sector."

The Belfast Telegraph has reported that "Many small firms believe they could face severe financial problems if postal workers declare a national strike today."

The Irish Independent has noted that "European plans to open up mail markets to full competition could lead to the "destruction" of the Irish postal service and 1,000 job losses, unions warned yesterday." See also the Financial Times.

Nhan Dan has reported that "Ho Bao Duy, a 9th grader from Ho Chi Minh City, beat nearly 2 million peers nationwide to win the first prize of the 36th UPU Letter Writing Contest – Vietnam 2007. In his letter addressed to US President George W. Bush, Duy expressed his concern and desire to protect the environment. The letter will be sent to the UPU International Letter Writing Contest, an annual event held by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to help children develop their writing abilities and cognitive skills, as well as help strengthen the friendship among nations."

Forbes has reported that "The United States raised concern about the transparency of the privatization of Japan Post, the giant postal service that also provides banking and insurance services."

June 6, 2007

The International Herald Tribune has reported that "Postal workers held scattered strikes across Europe on Wednesday to protest a 2009 deadline to liberalize mail delivery that may lead to job losses. UNI-Europa Post and the Logistics trade union said the strikes should affect at least 300 European cities and called on EU ministers meeting Thursday to reject a plan that would scrap a legal monopoly on mail under 50 grams (1.76 ounces) and end a uniform price for bulk mail." See also UNI-Postal, France24, Turkish Press and Highland Radio.

The Financial Mirror noted that "Post offices in Cyprus were closed for half an hour at 12.30 local time Wednesday as part of a European-wide protest against Commission plans to liberalise the European Union’s postal services by January 1, 2009. The strike action was planned to coincide with the transport and postal ministers’ meeting on June 7-8 and prior to the European Parliament vote on the matter in July. Even though some two million postal workers joined the hour-long strike across the EU, organised by the UNI Europa Postal union, postal workers in Cyprus seemed undisturbed with the stoppage and were eager to resume work."

From Market Wire: "In April 2007, the Atlantic Region of Canada Post reclaimed the #1 spot in the country for lettermail service. The region achieved an amazing 100% score on two-day lettermail, 99.9% on three-day, and 97.4% on four-day, giving a combined score of 99.5% for the month, and a year-to-date score of 97.1%.

A Call for Papers has been issued for the fifth conference on “Regulation, Competition and Universal Service in the Postal Sector” to be held in Toulouse on March 13-14, 2008.

One blogger has asked: "What Would Happen If the Post Office Had Competition?"

Ohgizmo! has reported that "It seems the latest trend in being environmentally friendly is to embed seeds in everything from business cards to stamps now thanks to the Dutch postal service. The seeds are actually embedded in the stamp under a thin layer of plastic. The idea is that the recipient of your letter simply has to peel back the plastic and then plant the stamps and seeds for an instant garden."

Vnunet has reported that "EBay and Royal Mail have teamed up to allow online sellers to pay for and print postage stamps direct from the auction site."

According to Tulsa World, "Gasoline prices cost rural carriers and their maintenance allowance rate has been deemed low."

As AMEInfo has noted, "A conference on electronic transfer through the postal network in Arab countries held in Damascus recently highlighted the need for greater coordination among Arab countries to tap the potential for growing the market in the region and rest of the world." See also Zawya.

Arab Times has reported that "Kuwati Minister of Communications and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Sharida Al-Moasherji has refuted reports that the postal sector will be privatized soon, reports Al-Anba daily."

KGO-TV has reported that "We all get those offers for discounts and credit cards in our mailboxes, but there's one unlikely recipient of some direct mail offers, and it may be a little disturbing. Junk mail accounts for an astounding one-third of the postal service mail. Now it's reaching a whole new demographic, and families might take warning. Gabriella Bush of Walnut Creek has been getting junk mail offers in her mailbox lately. One of them urged her to "call immediately" because she might have just won $2.1 million. Another one offered her vouchers for $400 each to buy things like gold watches, stereos, camcorders and laptop computers."

The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that "Officials with the U.S. Postal Service called the hiring of temporary employees to handle Las Cruces mail at the El Paso Processing and Distribution Center "a misunderstanding" on Wednesday, but New Mexico's congressional delegation still wants to know the rationale for that decision. Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. want Postmaster General John E. Potter to clarify a postal service announcement May 18 of its intent to hire the additional workers to help process mail for Las Cruces. Contrary to information in the announcement, the senators have since learned that the new employees have been hired on a temporary basis."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

Bulgaria is a postal and express market with potential. Bulgarian Post remains clearly dominant in the mail market. Yet, there were 32 registered competitors operating in the mail market in 2003. The complete opening of the postal market to competition from 1.1.2009 has already been decided. However, the Postal Act of August 2000 remains in force, defining a monopoly for all domestic and cross-border letters under 350 grams. The post continues to receive government subsidies, albeit declining payments, for the provision of universal services.
Just days before the 7 June meeting of the ministers in charge of the postal sector, twelve post companies have called for a "careful, responsible and constructive" procedure. Besides France, Belgium and Austria, this view is shared by post companies in Italy, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Cyprus.
In the last year TNT has been able to claim an 88% share of the addressed mail market in the Netherlands.
The net profit of the Czech post caved in by almost two thirds last year.
Sweden’s regulatory authority for postal services PTS published its report on the current Swedish mail market this Tuesday.
The value of Australia Post amounts to 7bn Australian dollars, equivalent to approximately 4.33bn euros. This was reported by the news agency »Bloomberg« (4.6) in reference to a report by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
While the EU Commission is currently investigating the VAT exemption of the post companies in Germany, Sweden and Britain, TNT Post intends to take legal action against Royal Mail’s exemption from VAT.
The postal reform introduced in Japan could fail and leave behind a "ruined market". At an international conference of postal market experts, James E Campbell spoke in critical terms of the reform’s current stage. Mr Campbell said the Japanese government had taken the privatisation step - usually the final step when modernising the postal sector - without first going through the essential moves deemed necessary by all other industrialised countries.
The head of the Belgian post, Johnny Thijs, has apologised to his clients for last Friday’s nationwide postal strike.
According to a report in the Polish daily »Gazeta Wyborcza«, the Polish post’s quality of service has worsened considerably.
The Spanish post Correos is to increase the non-tariff wage payment to its employees.
Spanish medium-sized operator Halcourier is on a course of strong expansion.
Malaysian Transmile Group has come to appear under an unfavourable light due to false accounting.
China remains an interesting market for DHL.
Since May, Dominican Republic post Instituto Postal Dominicano (IMPOSDOM) has offered an international parcel service in New York. Aimed at Dominicans living in the US and wanting to send parcels home, the service is based on a co-operation with US logistics firm Laparkan, which takes care of carrying the parcels from the States to the Dominican Republic. Previously, such services were only available from big firms like FedEx, DHL and others.
A letter is nicer and more personal than an e-mail, according to 75% of Swiss citizens. Still, e-mails and SMS have become a perfectly common means of communication for most people, a survey commissioned by Schweizerische Post reveals.
The Finnish post’s rebranding came into legal force last Friday. With effect from 1 June, the post company was renamed Itella Corporation and the group Itella Group. Private customers will continue to be served by Posti in Finland.
DHL Express Hungary is building a new hub.
TNT is planning to invest 8m USD or approx. 5.9m euros in the development of the road network into Vietnam.

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

DM News has reported that "The Direct Marketing Association is calling on the U.S. Postal Service’s Governors to quickly implement the rate reductions recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission for Standard Mail flats. The DMA is also asking that the temporary rate relief be extended beyond the Sept. 29 deadline recommended by the PRC. The DMA cautioned that the temporary discounts offered to flat mailers would only postpone substantial cuts in mailing volumes and a further decrease in revenues for the USPS. "

The Mail Order Association of America (MOAA) has asked the Governors to grant the temporary rate relief for Standard Mail regular and nonprofit flats recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

June 5, 2007

According to the Daily Mail, "The Royal Mail will review its final morning collection times after research showed they were as early as 9am in some rural areas. Independent regulator Postcomm said customers' needs weren't being met by the early last collection time. It wants them to be made more "acceptable" to rural customers."

Press Release: "Publisher’s Mail Service, Inc. today announces the combining of its company with Diversified Mail & Fulfillment Specialists, LLC (formerly Duffy & Associates), bringing together two of the oldest, most established direct marketing services companies in Wisconsin."

Traffic World has reported that "The Supreme Court said Monday that it will consider the right of a group of workers to sue FedEx for age discrimination. A group of 14 FedEx employees filed suit in April 2002 alleging discrimination. FedEx challenged the suit saying the group should first have gone through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before filing suit. Federal law requires that plaintiffs file an EEOC complaint and wait 60 days before suing an employer. During the 60-day period, EEOC is expected to notify the company, investigate the charges and attempt to resolve the problem."

Check out PostInsight.com where you can find (1)"Creating a Future For Direct Mail in Central and Eastern Europe: A Recipient-based and Industry-wide Perspective” by Tim Walsh, Chairman FEDMA Postal Affairs Committee and VP Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, Pitney Bowes presented at the European Envelope Manufacturers Association, Belgrade, Serbia, 15th May 2007 and (2) “Beyond the Barcode - Building Blocks for Future Paper-Based Communications” by Maynard Benjamin, CAE. President & CEO, Envelope Manufacturers Association, and (3) "The Canadian Mail and Jobs Database" Study. This study was commissioned by the Foundation for Paper Based Communications of the Envelope Manufacturers Association. The purpose of this analysis is to provide a fact-based economic database that would identify the industries and jobs associated with the Canadian mailing industry. A similar analysis of the U.S. Mailing Industry was conducted for the Institute for Postal Studies in 2004.  

Yahoo News has reported that "Newspapers hoping to retain their readers and survive in the technological age must venture into the online and mobile phone spheres, a World Association of Newspapers (WAN) meeting heard Tuesday. Speakers at a workshop said the newspaper was a dying breed but could avoid extinction by modernising its approach and extending its digital reach."

9News.com has reported that "The Postal Service has agreed to pay $61 million to resolve a set of claims involving workplace disability discrimination."

KOB-TV has reported that "U.S. Senator Pete Domenici says the U.S. Postal Service hired only temporary workers to help improve mail delivery in southern New Mexico. The New Mexico Republican said Friday the decision is shortsighted." See also the El Paso Times.

Forbes has reported that "Express parcels and mail company Business Post Group PLC said its subsidiary UK Mail has won a contract from Prudential Distribution Ltd, a subsidiary of Prudential PLC for providing postal services."

Reuters has reported that:

The Dutch parliament passed the country's new postal law on Tuesday, scrapping the remaining monopoly of mail company TNT NV.
Neopost, Europe's largest mailroom equipment company, posted a 1.3 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Tuesday, driven by demand in Germany and Britain and a strong underlying performance in the United States.

The Irish Times has reported that "Post offices around the country will be closed for an hour tomorrow as part of an EU-wide protest agains the liberalisation of the postal market. A statement issued by An Post this morning apologised to customers and said the closure would last one hour from 1pm. Normal counter services will resume as normal from 2.00pm on Wednesday."

From Business Wire: "Harte-Hanks, Inc. has announced that it plans to reduce circulation of its weekly PennySaver shoppers publication in California by approximately 593,000, effective this month. The circulation reduction affects three areas: Fresno/Visalia (circulation, 379,000, with last date of publication June 27, 2007), Oakland (circulation, 181,500, with last date of publication June 13, 2007) and Davis (circulation, 32,500, with last date of publication June 13, 2007).

In the Los Angeles Times, Postal Regulatory Commission chairman Dan Blair wrote:

Teresa Stack and Jack Fowler correctly note that small magazines "have an outsized effect on public discourse," yet their commentary ignores the substantial editorial discounts enjoyed by all magazines. The Postal Regulatory Commission's recent recommendation preserves and fosters the continued widespread dissemination of political and cultural thought by increasing the editorial discount available to all magazine mailers. As a result of our approach, the smallest publications, those with circulations of 15,000 or less, will see lower increases than under proposals made by large publishers or the Postal Service.

However, in the face of rapidly declining magazine mail volume and rising postal-handling costs despite rate incentives, the commission sought to encourage better operational practices. Whether some or all magazines should qualify for public subsidy to pay for their dissemination via the U.S. mail is a policy issue beyond the scope of the commission's ratemaking authority.

The 11th International Postal Technology Exhibition and Congress will be held on 2, 3, 4 October at the Fira Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Post-Expo is universally recognised as the world’s premier event for the postal, mailing and parcel industry. The three-day event annually attracts more than 4,000 top-level personnel from approximately 100 countries and suppliers from every aspect of the sector.

Reuters has reported that "Some workers at a unit of FedEx Corp. in Windsor, Connecticut, have voted in favor of a proposal to be represented by the Teamsters."

As the Korea Herald has noted, "Postal service has been traditionally regarded as a deficit-ridden business, largely due to its enormous labor costs. The president of Korea Post does not agree. "Korea Post has strived to stay afloat by reducing unnecessary costs, increasing productivity and expanding businesses," said president Jung Kyung-won, who took the helm of Korea Post in April this year."

TheParliament.com has reported that "The EU's governments are divided over whether to liberalise the postal sector ahead of a key meeting on 7 June in Luxembourg, FT Deutschland reports. The paper says several countries including France, Belgium and Poland have spoken out strongly against the plans; Gazeta Wyborcza adds that socialist MEP Alain Hutchinson has collected almost 100,000 online signatures against the EU proposals. Meanwhile EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy has described the move as a test case for EU's willingness to boost competition."

Eyewitness News Everywhere uncovers a mail mix-up! A Whitehaven woman says she hasn't received mail in her married name for months. Ulanda Smith says she complained to the U.S. Postal Service several times. However, Smith says no one has fixed her postal problem.

As the Winston-Salem Journal has noted, "Franking just another way for politicians to campaign."

From 24-7: "A two cent postage increase and other postal restrictions now in effect, coupled with pending do-not-mail bills in state legislatures, probably has some businesses wondering about their future ability to promote. http://www.postcardmania.com is not one of them, however, as its owner and CEO Joy Gendusa staunchly refuses to be intimidated by negative forecasts and instead peers over the heads of worriers toward the real issue—getting her clients to continue running through the economic gauntlet with their direct mail postcard campaigns."

DM News has reported that "Postal software vendors expressed dismay last week over a recommended decision by the Postal Regulatory Commission that offered rate relief for Standard mailers and implied that the changes would not be difficult. The vendors were particularly concerned that the PRC said additional computer hardware or software would not be needed to accommodate the temporary change and recommended mailers simply multiply the number of flats mailed by either 3 cents or 2 cents depending on the mail type. It’s not as simple as it sounds, however."

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that "U.S. Postal Service letter carriers are protesting what they see as a disturbing new trend: the use of private contractors to deliver the mail. The Postal Service says contractors handle just 1.9 percent of all deliveries. But Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is leading an effort to prevent further outsourcing. In a recent speech on the Senate floor, Harkin said everything from ballots to financial statements are sent through the mail. ''We cannot afford to allow the safe delivery of these personal, private documents to be granted to the lowest bidder,'' he said. The Postal Service says contracting is cost-effective and as old as the Pony Express -- riders were contract carriers. Contractors always have handled some routes in very rural areas." See also the Daily Journal.

The Banffshire Journal has noted that "the Post Office network plays a vital part in the life of our communities – and so last week's announcement by the UK Government that it supports plans to close 2,500 locations is a real blow. Post offices can provide the social glue in rural areas and much needed social support in deprived areas. They also have a crucial role to play in supporting small businesses, which rely on their proximity to enable them to serve markets throughout the country and beyond. There is little point in having access to high speed broadband and Internet provision if the orders placed online cannot be fulfilled quickly and efficiently. The provision of postal services lies within the province of the UK Government under the current terms of the devolution settlement."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail staff are expected to vote on Thursday for the first national strike by postal workers for 11 years as Gordon Brown faces the pros-pect of his first few months as prime minister being marred by public sector strife. Union leaders representing more than 2m health workers, local government staff, civil servants, postal workers and teachers are considering calls for industrial action over pay, job cuts and privatisation of services."

The Independent has reported that "Blood on the lino at Bournemouth's International conference centre, where the wannabe-DPM Alan Johnson took a knife between the 'blades from his former union brethren. The steaming postmen of the Communication Workers Union stunningly overturned a decision by their executive to back Johnson (their former general secretary) in the deputy leader contest."

Union Network International has told its members that "Postal workers across Europe will tomorrow (June 6) be taking part in a day of action - including work stoppages - to force a change of heart in the European Union and save a universal postal service. The action has been called by UNI-Europa Post and Logistics and is expected to affect at least 300 European cities as unions step up their resistance to postal liberalisation plans from the European Commission." See also EUbusiness.

Newspost India has reported that "The Jharkhand postal department has decided to step into the family planning programme and has started delivering condoms and contraceptives to people, especially in remote areas. The department has tied up with Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust in this initiative, which helps those hesitant to buy condoms from shops to get them at home. The move was initiated last week."

As Transport Intelligence has noted, "One of the biggest challenges that the global logistics industry faces over the next few years is from environmental legislation."

June 4, 2007

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail has asked the postal regulator to suspend rules that force it to compensate customers if it is unable to meet service targets because of industrial action by staff."

According to Precision Marketing, "Royal Mail is risking the wrath of direct marketers by planning to suspend compensation payments for late or undelivered mail for up to two years."

YLE has reported that "Most corporate enterprises in Finland have outsourced postal handing services. The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman believes that outsourcing could include risks related to privacy issues. More and more often, clients send mail to a company using its corporate address, but the letters are actually opened at the premises of a subcontracted mail processor and forwarded to the recipient in electronic form. One-fifth of the mail addressed to companies first goes through the hands of a contracted service provider. Two-thirds of outgoing mail from companies does the same."

The Des Moines Register has reported that "U.S. Postal Service carriers are protesting what they see as a disturbing new trend in Iowa and across the United States: the use of private contractors to deliver the U.S. mail. Mail carriers in their traditional blue uniforms, trudging door to door through snow, rain, heat and gloom of night, are not yet on the verge of extinction. But Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., is leading a congressional effort to prevent the Postal Service from further outsourcing mail delivery to homes and businesses. Harkin said decisions by Postal Service leaders "have put the success and reliability of mail delivery in jeopardy" because service managers are being encouraged to hire private contractors for the 1.8 million new deliveries every year."

Mission Network News has noted that "Rising fuel costs in the United States have been linked to the second postage increase in 17 months. Such increases have hit Bible Pathway Ministries hard, increasing their shipping costs three and a half times."

According to MarketWatch, "The Australian government could raise up to A$7 billion through the sale of Australia Post, and there is a solid case for a disposal, CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said Monday. "Australia Post is the last major commercial business remaining in government hands," James said in a research report. "But with the monopoly letter delivery agency increasingly relying on other services such as promotional mail and parcel handling to boost revenue, the relevance of government ownership is continuing to diminish," he said. He said although there would need to be significant public debate on the merits of a sale, other markets such as Japan are preparing to privatize postal services, while Germany has floated Deutsche Post." See also the Courier Mail and the Australian Business News.

The Courier Mail has reported, though, that "Australia Post is not about to follow the long line of privatisations such as Telstra, Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Government says. Responding to a Commonwealth Securities research note on the benefits of selling off the mail delivery organisation, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan said: "The Government has no plans to sell Australia Post." See also The Age.

The mail delivery business to be launched in October through the privatization of Japan Post is expected to handle comprehensive distribution services on behalf of corporations, including packaging and deliveries, The Nikkei learned Sunday.

AME Info has reoprted that:

According to the Glasgow Daily Record, "a Royal Mail director has warned the looming postal strike will be "bloody" - and could last up to three months."

The Times has noted that "Royal Mail has awarded its chief executive hundreds of thousands of pounds in bonuses in a move that is likely to increase the prospect of an all-out strike over pay, The Times has learnt. Adam Crozier is understood to have received a bonus of up to £370,000 and further benefits, taking his total package to more than £1 million. His award comes as the Communication Workers Union is holding a strike ballot over a pay offer of 2.5 per cent or a £600 lump sum."

Medical News has reported that "Scientists have captured on video the intracellular version of a postal delivery service."

 June 3, 2007

The Telegraph has noted that "Royal Mail has drawn up secret contingency plans for 6,000 of its senior managers to deliver the post as it digs in for a summer of crippling strike action."

Arab News has reported that "Saudi Post (SP) through its Express Mail and Parcels Administration has launched a new service called “Indian Par Ex,” which is dedicated to the Indian expatriate community who will now be able to send parcels to India at SR6 a kilo. SP also guarantees parcel will be delivered in a maximum of 12 days and in case of delay, the corporation will refund people’s money along with the cost of parcel’s contents. In addition, parcels costing less than SR800 do not need to pay custom fees."

The Observer has reported that "Royal Mail has privately warned that a national postal strike could cost up to £300m in penalty payments and lost income, according to senior industry figures."

The Allegheny Times has reported that "You've got mail. Advertisement But much of it will have to find new ways into and out of the Pittsburgh area this summer. US Airways and its regional carriers will reduce their average daily flights at Pittsburgh International Airport by 14 percent, from 148 to 127, early next month. Daily flights to Buffalo, Baltimore and Altoona will be eliminated, as will seasonal service to San Diego and Seattle, and the number of flights to nine other cities will be cut in half. Those cuts won't affect just passengers. US Airways shipped 875 tons of mail into and out of Pittsburgh during the first four months of the year, more than twice what it did during the same period a year ago, along with 433 tons of commercial cargo."

WKYT has reported that "Registered sex offenders who work for the U.S. Postal Service are facing a Monday deadline to fess up. The postal service says workers with past convictions must notify their human resources manager or lose their jobs. The postal service is the first federal agency to take this step. It will also start checking all employees against sex offender registries. This comes after officials found three Texas postal workers had past convictions, including a mail carrier."

June 2, 2007

DM News has reported that "The theme of interconnectedness runs through so many areas of our industry, from how pervasive multichannel direct marketing is today, to the need for direct marketers to work together to influence legislation in Washington, to the different meanings “environment” has for different people. What’s driving it all is the evolution of new customer-focused actions and processes that are replacing the separate marketing silos of old. Mr. Greco calls this “marketing directly” as opposed to “direct marketing.”

CIOL has reported that "The inception of e-post service has helped the Karnataka postal circle rake in revenues to the tune of Rs 5,34,440 till April 30, 2007. Terming the response towards the service as “encouraging,” Meera Datta, postmaster general, the Karnataka circle said, “There are 27 identified e-post centers in Karnataka. These identified e-post centers are equipped with computers, Internet and flatbed scanners to receive and send e-posts.”

The Seattle Times has reported that "Parts of downtown Bellevue have been experiencing mail problems for several weeks, but postal authorities think the worst may be over. The cause is too much mail, leading to longer hours, and route changes that caused delivery complications, said Ernie Swanson, Postal Service spokesman in Seattle. Union contracts require that delivery routes be periodically re-evaluated to ensure that they can be completed in eight hours, and that was done in Bellevue about a month ago, Swanson said. "It's resulted in some later deliveries than they're used to," Swanson said. "The worst of the problem should be over."

As DM News has noted, "Acquiring new customers cost-effectively to grow business was the leading concern of business-to-business catalogers, according to a new survey by MeritDirect and DMinSite. Ninety-one percent of those responding to the 2007 Anonymous Survey of B2B Business Conditions ranked that issue as No. 1. The new postal rates for Standard Mail flats was cited by 73 percent, having reliable metrics by 60 percent and new growth strategies by 51 percent. “Overall, in general, the greatest challenge multichannel marketers have is overwhelmingly related to adding customers cost-effectively and a lot of that is exacerbated by the postal rate increases,” said Ralph Drybrough, CEO of MeritDirect, White Plains, NY."

The National Association of Postal Supervisors has reported that "NAPS Chicago Branch 14 President Charles May told a Congressional field hearing in Chicago on Thursday that widespread postal service problems in Chicago – currently rated the worst in service quality in the nation -- were aggravated by USPS pay incentives that encourage managers and supervisors to avoid filling vacancies and to trim costs, even at the expense of service."

The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that "A new labor group that wants to replace the Teamsters in representing UPS drivers and package handlers visited the Worldport sorting hub in Louisville yesterday campaigning for a national union-selection vote. The Association of Parcel Workers of America hopes to collect about 73,000 signatures -- representing about 30 percent of the eligible UPS workers nationwide -- to prompt the vote under federal labor laws."

The Lancashire Telegraph has reported that "postal deliveries could be pushed back to a 10.30am start time following a major overhaul of working practices by Royal Mail. Residents and businesses across Lancashire could face later deliveries after Royal Mail announced they were looking at a more efficient way of working. Unions chiefs have hit out at the change and said it could bring chaos to the delivery service."

The Washington Post has reported that "Last month, the cost of mailing a letter rose 2 cents, to 41 cents for first class. That's an increase of more than 5 percent, a cost many Americans chalk up to the price of doing business. But on July 15, religious-oriented publications will face increases of at least 11 percent, and some as high as 20 percent or more. That's a cost many small magazines say could put them out of business."

According to ExpressCities India, the V-SAT system, introduced by the Haryana Postal Circle to streamline the working of money orders (MO), has failed to work. The high cost infrastructure installed at six different stations in Haryana is lying out of order. The department had spent lakhs of rupees on the new system. In the process, it went out of order; an equal amount was spent on its repair, which didn’t prove of any worth.

According to Forbes, "The U.S. Postal Service quietly is trying to wean retail customers off dirt-cheap mailing rates for bound printed matter such as books--$2.87 for two pounds coast-to-coast versus $6.15 for parcel post. BPM recently disappeared as a pricing option from the post office's official postage-rate-calculator Web page reachable via www.usps.com. On a still posted BPM information page, the link to "find out how much Bound Printed Matter costs" simply won't go there at all. "We're phasing it out," a postal flack says."

The Association for Postal Commerce welcomes its newest member:

Lane Press, 87 Meadowland Drive, South Burlington, VT 05401-4401 represented by Lynda Hurley Distribution Manager

The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:

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The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General 2007 Spring Semiannual Report to Congress (SARC) has now been posted to the USPS IG website. The report chronicles the activities of the OIG from October 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007. "The report provides a look at the state of the Postal Service though our eyes and explains how our work adds value," said Inspector General David C. Williams. During the period, the Office of Audit produced 201 reports with 58 significant recommendations and a total monetary impact of $441,189,917. Investigations by Special Agents resulted in 412 arrests and indictments; 1,776 administrative actions; and returned more than $22 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries to the Postal Service.. If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. 

June 1, 2007

The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website. If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

According to Linn's Bill McAlllister, "In a May 24 statement, United States Postal Service officials created an opening to resolve a dispute over the bound printed matter rate. They declared that postal clerks would sell postage for nonpresorted bound printed matter, but "only when customers specifically request this service." Clerks still will not volunteer the service, officials said. Customers must specifically request it."

SmartMoney.com has reported that "International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said the union is making "tremendous progress" in its contract negotiations with United Parcel Service Inc.'s (UPS) UPS Freight unit, a part of the union's strategy to keep adding members in the logistics business."

The Postalnews Blog has reported that "Under a class action settlement announced today, the United States Postal Service will pay $61 million to resolve the workplace disability discrimination claims of over 7500 current and former postal workers. Over $53 million will be distributed directly to the workers, the balance represents attorneys fees and expenses of the attorneys who have been litigating the case over the last 14 years."

According to DM News postal commentator Cary Baer, "One has to wonder how the postal world would change if someone with knowledge and experience in postal matters would be nominated for a seat on either the Postal Service’s Board of Governors or the Postal Regulatory Commission. A typical private-sector board of directors has a member that has some familiarity with that corporation’s industry, while a typical public-sector regulatory commission has a member with some regulatory experience. As best as I can determine the Board of Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission have neither."

Marketing Daily has reported that "of the 100 largest companies rated in the U.S. by the general public, Kraft Foods earned the highest Reputation Pulse of 81.07, as computed by the Reputation Institute. UPS and FedEx, the two delivery and transportation giants, earn high praise from the public and come in second and third respectively. The U.S. Postal Service came in at number 21.

Union Network International has reported that "An increasing number of European postal operators express their support for a cautious approach in the debate on the liberalisation of the postal market."

Press Release: "Last week saw hundreds of leading postal executives from all over Europe and the rest of the world come together for three days to debate the major issues they face in the next ten years. The annual World Mail & Express Europe conference, this year hosted in London, provided the platform for postal operators to publicly air their agendas, their concerns and listen to solutions from those who have experienced new competition."

Steve Barr of the Washington Post has reported that "Postmaster General John E. Potter has chided a major bank for running a television commercial that he said portrays the mail as a source of identity theft. The postmaster general did not identify the bank in his remarks, but during a question-and-answer session a member of the audience cited Wachovia as the sponsor. Potter then faulted Wachovia for "really doing a disservice to the American public." Alison Rice, a spokeswoman for Wachovia, said the company "is a significant customer of the services provided by the U.S. Postal Service. In fact, this ad reflects a commitment we share with the Postal Service to protecting and informing customers about identity theft."

From CNW Telbec: "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) picked up two awards at the annual Canadian Association of Labour Media conference in Halifax. Geoff Bickerton, CUPW Research Director, won the "Muckraking award" for his paper: "Postal deregulation: Its impact on postal workers and the response of a postal union." The "Muckraking award" is awarded for a communications initiative that exposes an antiunion or antisocial practice."

Today Online has reported that "Shares of Malaysian air cargo firm Transmile fell steeply Friday after the well-connected company announced its last two years of profits may have to be restated as losses."

Personnel Today has reported that "European postal workers join hunt for kidnap victim Madeleine McCann."

WBBM has reported that "The U.S. Postmaster General says a misguided management incentive plan led to problems with Chicago's mail delivery, now ranked worst in the nation according to postal committee chairman Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL). Potter says the management bonus plan is being reviewed and revised to service improvement efforts will weigh more heavily than beating the budget."

The Chicago Tribune has reported that "Records that Chicago postal workers use to deliver the mail contain more than 84,000 errors—one of the major reasons mail delivery in the city is such a mess, postal officials told a congressional subcommittee Thursday. Faulty records, outdated equipment, poor supervision and the "overall work culture" were among the explanations provided for the decline of Chicago's mail operation, which U.S. Postmaster General John Potter dubbed the worst in the nation when he visited in April."

Reuters has reported that "European Union ministers meeting next week will avoid deciding on key aspects of opening the bloc's postal markets to full competition as labour unrest over the measure mounts."

The Malaysia Star has reported that "Pos Malaysia & Services Holdings Bhd has warned that its earnings for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2006 (FY06) may be affected by the reported overstatement of Transmile Group Bhd's sales revenue. The postal group owns 15.3% of Transmile."