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Postal News from July 2008:

July 31, 2008

Online Media Daily has reported that "The number of American adults using online coupons rose by 39% to 36 million between 2005 and 2008, according to a new survey conducted by Simmons/Experian Research and Coupons, Inc. Online users account for nearly one-quarter (24%) of the total 148 million consumers who use coupons, compared to 22% market penetration as of last year. Meanwhile, newspaper coupon users declined from 96 million in 2005 to 92 million last year. Overall coupon usage has declined by 1 million since 2005, the survey found."

The Age has reported that "The consumer watchdog has cleared the way for Australia Post to seek government approval for a five cent increase in the cost of a basic postage stamp. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says is not objecting to the postal monopoly's plan to charge 55 cents from September 15."

The Financial Times has said that "It is time for an attack on the weight of annual reports. In the UK each year we hear a plea for sympathy for postal workers who deliver these heavy tomes, and it is not as if they weigh any less in other countries. This year was no exception. Banks, in particular, produced new required disclosures and found themselves providing still greater explanations as a result of the credit crunch. The general thinking, and not just among postmen, is that these ever-expanding reports should be made simpler and shorter."

The Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service wants to exempt its competitive products — like Priority Mail and package services — from the universal service obligation. Doing so would allow it to cut back on offerings in sparsely populated areas where business is thin."

The Lexington Herald-Leader has reported that "Local governments in Kentucky will now be able to notify news organizations about their special meetings by e-mail. The new provision in Kentucky's open meetings law took effect earlier this month, and was touted as a money and time saver. It allows local governments to send the meeting notices electronically to any agency member or media organization that asks in writing for e-mail communications. "It gives the media and the public more timely notification of the special meetings as well," Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said. "Because you never can ensure when a mailed letter is going to arrive by the postal service."

ArtVoice has noted that "the US Postal Service’s statistics on undeliverable mail indicate Buffalo has some long-term, chronic vacancies. There are 19,691 undeliverable addresses in Buffalo—14.3 percent of all addresses in the city."

The 2008 Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and the American Philatelic Society will be held in the museum's Blount conference room on September 26 and 27, 2008. This will be the third annual national conference for academic scholars, philatelists, and industry experts to discuss their research into the history of postal organizations and systems. The theme for the 2008 Symposium is war and the mail, broadly interpreted to include everything related to defense and the postal system in all countries and eras.

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Blog, "Firms that audit the bills of private sector carriers looking for refunds for missing service guarantees on overnight, second-day air, and ground services, have found that private sector carriers miss their service commitments on as many as 4% of all shipments. Comparing the Postal Service to private sector carriers suggests that it is possible for them to offer the same or better service quality."

The Postal Service has created the attached addressing fact sheets for commercial flat-size mail to help mailers and suppliers understand and visualize the new address requirements for flat-size mail that will take effect in March 2009. The USPS distributed the fact sheets to MTAC Work Group 119, whose members were encouraged to share the fact sheets with their own association members. Fact sheet for Standard Mail flats; Fact sheet for First Class Mail flats; Fact sheet for Package Services; Fact sheet for Periodicals.

CargoNewsAsia has reported that "The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), on behalf of Astar Air Cargo Holdings' pilots, is suing Deutsche Post subsidiary DHL to block it from switching its domestic air volume to United Parcel Service (UPS)."

July 30, 2008

From PR Web: "Earth Class Mail Corp., the global leader in delivering ordinary postal mail through the Internet, announced that its customers now have the ability to deposit paper checks received in their Earth Class Mail accounts directly into their bank accounts in a single step. Depositing checks online without handling any paper mail and deposit slips saves time and energy that would have been expended in trips to the bank or the post office, and prevents the loss of earned interest from checks that can sit for days or even weeks in a traditional mailbox or PO Box before being collected and processed."

One letter writer told the Rocky Mountain News: "People have the right to mail you something as long as it isn't dangerous or lewd. There are whole industries out there that rely on the post office for an affordable way to advertise. Smaller businesses want to tell you they are there because they don't have the advertising budget that the Wal-Marts and McDonald's have. In case you haven't noticed, the economy isn't doing that great. Before you want to toss 700,000 workers on the street (and the related industries that rely on us), think about the whole picture rather than a very minor personal inconvenience."

National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young told delegates at the NALC Convention in Boston last week that “very little has been decided” about the possibility the Postal Service will extend to city letter carriers its pending “Voluntary Early Retirement” program for clerks, mail handlers and their supervisors.

Click2Houston has reported that "New ZIP codes in three Houston-area communities are causing headaches for some residents, KPRC Local 2 reported Tuesday. The U.S. Postal Service said that due to population growth, three ZIP codes in the Houston area have changed. Those cities include Baytown, Richmond and Sugar Land. Some residents said the change that took affect on July 1 has brought a lot of trouble. One woman said her bank, insurance and credit card companies do not recognize the new ZIP code."

KVOA has reported that " It's your average morning at the Post Office. People filing through mail, tossing out the junk they don't need. Yet, there's something missing in the lobby: a recycling bin for all that wasted paper. Rob Soler with the Postal Service says, "We're in the process of looking at how to effectively recycle the customer discarded mail in our lobbies."

Here are two interesting stories:

Manchester Online has reported that "Town hall chiefs have met with Post Office executives over plans to run postal services from libraries and other public buildings. Five post offices in the area are earmarked for closure under the controversial national review."

The Associated Press has reported that "Two post offices were evacuated Tuesday in southeastern Ohio after the discovery of objects that appeared to be pipe bombs, authorities said. No injuries were reported."

According to China Daily, "With fuel costs continually on the rise, China's private delivery companies are among the hardest-hit sectors reporting declining profit margins and witnessing increasing pressure from major international couriers as they increase efforts to make inroads into China's domestic markets. Pushed by the dismal outlook in the delivery industry - costs have been driven up by 16 percent since fuel prices were raised in late June - private couriers in China are struggling to swallow the losses before any price hike becomes possible."

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

Despite turnover figures that had risen noticeably, the Finnish post office, Itella, had to face the collapsing of its profits in the first half-year of 2008.
Market expectations that were not met characterised the TNT’s result for the half-year.
China Post is still set on its course of growth. The express division is still the greatest generator of growth.
France is seeking solutions for the financing of the universal service. Following the conclusion, in the last week, of a new service contract between La Poste and the French state which will run from 2008 to 2012, the "hunt is now on" for the best possible means of financing the activities in question. The objective of the contract is to define La Poste’s responsibilities before the market is gradually opened up, starting in 2009.
Post Danmark is intending to heighten security following a number of raids on post offices.
Swiss Post International Germany is intending to combine its sales activities with those of primeMail GmbH, the joint venture that has been established with the Hermes Logistics Group.
In a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by the Postwatch consumer protection organisation, 43 percent said they thought the service provided by the British post office was worse than it was two years ago. In the view of 42 percent of those questioned, the standard of the service had not altered. Only 14 percent testified that Royal Mail was providing a better service.
The Belgian La Poste is not having to face an attack on the Belgian domestic mail market for the moment - at least not from TNT. Dutch postal and courier group has put its ambitions for the country actually on hold.
In contrast to a public declaration of intent made in January, Deutsche Post is not going to outsource its IT management to Hewlett Packard (HP).
Only a few days after the end of the strike, the Brazilian post office, ECT, announced the introduction of price rises.

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.)

From Business Wire: "SkyPostal Networks, Inc., an international mail distribution company specializing in hand delivery of commercial mail and periodicals to the Latin America-Caribbean region (LAC), announced today the election of four new members of the board of directors at its recent shareholders meeting. Mathijs van Houweninge, Florian M. Schuhbauer, and Jose Misrahi will join the recent addition of S. David Fineman as Independent Directors. Christian J. Weber will serve as the Director Europe Sales and Service. Mr. Klaus Knappik has been appointed Advisor to the Board of Directors. He is currently a consultant in the Postal Industry and most recently was Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Post Global Mail in Bonn, Germany. From 2004 to 2007 he developed Deutsche Post Global Mail (DHL) to become the world’s largest international mail network with over 2 billion Euros in revenues and the second largest US mail organization behind the USPS."

Media Daily News has noted that "Newspapers' Web sites continue to grow--with the number of unique visitors increasing 12.2% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America, which pegged it at 66.4 million people. That's over 40% of all Internet users in the United States. The problem? Newspapers can't monetize their online traffic near the level necessary to offset ongoing print losses."

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has told its members that "The Postal Service is unable to demonstrate that it saves money by outsourcing, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, because it has no comprehensive mechanism to measure savings."

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general Pascal Lamy has announced that after days of negotiations, ministers have failed to agree on the liberalisation of trade in agriculture and industrial products. That has led to the collapse of the whole trade negotiation process which, if successful, would have resulted in a major boost for economies in the developing and developed world.
Global integrated express service provider TNT yesterday (July 29) officially launched its newly designed and expanded Singapore country depot and enhanced customer contact centre.

Jiji Press has reported that "Japan Post Service Co., a mail delivery unit of Japan Post Holdings Co., said it will collaborate with French postal service operator La Poste in strengthening its international logistics businesses. Starting in October, the two will offer distribution services between Japan and Europe using the networks of their respective logistics units. Japan Post Service Chairman Norio Kitamura and La Poste Chairman Jean-Paul Bailly reached an agreement on the three-year tie-up, which is effective until 2011, at their meeting in Paris Tuesday."

Hellmail has reported that:

Sarah Chambers, Chief Executive at Postcomm, is to stand down in September. Her replacement is to be Tim Brown. Mr Brown joined Postcomm at the beginning of 2008 as director of market development, having worked previously at DHL Express UK and Royal Mail.
The Ministry of Interno and Poste Italiane have together established an agreement that will link Italy's main postal operator, Poste Italiane with key bodies such as Inps, Istat, and government departments to help reduce fraud.
After extensive trials, Royal Mail has finally chosen a supplier for the hand-held computers it wants to introduce to its delivery network. Postal workers across the country will soon become very familiar with the new CN3 units as Royal Mail takes one further step forward on its modernisation plan. The contract has gone to Intermec which will be providing some 25,000 units. Royal Mail said the CN3 hand-helds were easy to use and had fared well during trials. The units can scan barcodes and log digital signatures, similar to those already being used by other parcel carriers alerting the sender of items like special delivery within 15 minutes. The CN3 is also fitted with GPS. 

July 29, 2008

A copy of the revised agenda for the August 5 – 7, 2008 meeting of the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters has been posted on this site.

CNN has reported that the U.S. Department of Justice has announced it has received a seven-count indictment against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). [EdNote: The senator, as most postal observers know, has long held an intense interest in the development of postal policy in this nation.]

PostInsight has reported that "Speaking at the 24th UPU Congress held in Geneva, Murray Martin, CEO, Pitney Bowes, proposed that the UPU launch a “Partnership for Postage Revenue Protection.” Martin said this partnership would contribute to the UPU’s strategic objectives of increasing the integrity, reliability and security of postal services, and assist postal operators that have a low mail density per capita develop solutions to stop revenue leakage. Martin said the UPU is well positioned to leverage the technical expertise of the Consultative Committee members to deal with this."

According to the North-West Evening Mail, "postal outreach services due to replace axed post offices could also be under threat because of a cash shortfall."

As the Bangor Daily News has noted, "Summer residents of Sutton Island have lost their special private postal service, and there may be a moral to the story."

According to Transport Intelligence, "DHL was always going to face opposition to its plans to close the company's US air hub facility in Wilmington, Ohio. What has made the decision even more politically sensitive is the timing – during a US presidential election year."

Federal Register: "This document announces the Postal Service's filing of a notice concerning the addition of an Express Mail contract to the competitive product list. It also announces a related Commission review. DATES: Comments due July 31, 2008."

The Hindu has reported that "Important post offices in the city will function until 10 p.m., enabling customers to post registered letters without late fee. The service was launched here on Monday at the Ashok Nagar post office."

Express India has reported that "India Post will undergo a huge makeover in the coming months, with an aim to make the postal process more customer-oriented and provide better service to citizens, especially those in rural areas. MS Bali, who took over as the new Chief Postmaster General for the Maharashtra Circle last week, said that in the next month and-a-half, the department would work to make processes more efficient."

According to the Mail Online, "There has to be something seriously wrong with a business when 85 per cent of its customers think it has got no better over the past two years, while 43 per cent believe its services have got worse. Indeed, shareholders in any private company with a record like that would be demanding boardroom changes and a radical rescue plan to improve customer satisfaction. But when that company is a state-owned semi-monopoly like Royal Mail, the normal rules of business don’t apply."

According to Gizmodo, "Subscribers hoping that Netflix would get into the pay-per-view space will be slightly disappointed, as its CEO reiterates that they will always be in the subscription business."

July 28, 2008

Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA) 
President and CEO

The Mailing and Fulfillment Services Association (MFSA) is seeking a dynamic and energetic individual of impeccable character and integrity for the position of President / CEO. The successful candidate will provide the vision and leadership necessary to aggressively deal with emerging industry issues and opportunities that impact the membership. As a highly visible chief executive the President must interact with senior level government, postal and industry executives. Strategic planning and execution, membership development and team building are only part of the interesting responsibilities associated with this challenging yet rewarding position.
MFSA offers a highly competitive salary and benefits package. Applications will be accepted through August 15th. If you want a chance at a rewarding and exciting opportunity, please submit your cover letter, resume with references and salary history to: mfsa08@gmail.com

According to Advertising Age, "Magazines have seen the sputtering economy punch holes in their projected ad sales all year. Total ad pages fell 7.4% in the first half of this year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau."

According to the New York Times, "The thud of the morning newspaper landing on front porches may one day be replaced with the beep of downloads onto a cellphone."

The UN News Centre has reported that "Chile, Spain and Uruguay are today launching a new electronic money transfer service which links their countries, using technology developed by the United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU)."

Masthead Online has reported that "A delegation of representatives from Magazines Canada met with the Canada Post strategic review panel in Toronto last week to provide six recommendations on what the crown corporation should to do to strengthen its relationship with and improve services for the Canadian magazine industry."

DM News did a short interview with Postal Regulatory Commission Nanci Langley.

So....exactly where is the Postal Service regarding IMB implementation? Here's a message that was sent to the field from headquarters by Pritha Mehra VP, Business Mail Entry and Payment Technologies:

"You might have received questions around pricing and timing of the Intelligent Mail implementation scheduled for May 2009. We will be providing you talking points and further details on the implementation by next week. Please do not attempt to answer any implementation or pricing questions at this time.

"Following is the response you should provide at this time:

"The USPS has reviewed the responses to the Federal Register Notice on the Intelligent Mail barcode solution and will publish the final Federal Register Notice and Guide to Intelligent Mail shortly. The USPS is committed to deploying the Intelligent Mail barcode solution in May 2009. We are excited about this new technology and the information, visibility and value it provides. We will continue to work closely with our customers as they determine the Intelligent Mail Barcode solution that best meets their needs."

According to DM Weekly, "One respected industry analysis firm estimates that one in four UK mail order companies are now operating at a loss. Of nearly 900 mail order companies analysed, over 200 are currently rated by Plimsoll as being ‘in danger’."

The Daily Mail has noted that "Most people believe the postal service has declined or stayed the same over the past two years, according to new research today." See also This Is London.

The Financial Times has reported that "TNT, the Dutch postal group, on Monday said it was open to partnerships but was following a strategy designed for a standalone company. “We will always look into the benefits of partnerships,” Peter Bakker, chief executive, told reporters, giving a joint venture with Swiss Post for express parcel deliveries as an example. “But in general our strategy is one which can be deployed on an organic, standalone basis." While the Dutch company’s European parcel business has made it an attractive target for potential suitors, its slower-growing postal division is a potential sticking point. Its core Mail Netherlands operations saw a further drop in volumes in the quarter while wages have risen due to a new collective labour agreement that is not fully offset by cost cuts elsewhere. Mr Bakker said TNT’s dense road delivery network in Europe would prove an advantage with higher fuel costs if more of the parcel delivery business shifted from air to road." 

As Inc. magazine has noted, "The cost of producing and mailing catalogs has risen 55 percent over five years. For a company that sends 24 to 30 fat catalogs a year to tens of thousands of prospective customers, that represents a huge outlay." Consequently, a company such as "Successories would immediately scale back catalog printings and move full speed ahead on the Web initiative. There are other compelling reasons to transition from a print to an online catalog. An online catalog system will provide real-time flexibility to change inventory or pricing at any time and enable short-term promotions that are targeted and timely. This will make the company nimble and more profitable. Also, with the green movement in full throttle, the environmental benefits of reducing the number of print catalogs should be emphasized. We'll see a number of direct businesses, like catalogs, migrating toward the Web, and the smart ones will move quicker rather than slower. A lot of the challenge becomes helping customers through this change." 

Press Release: "Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Vice President of International Development Charles Prescott is attending the 24th Universal Postal Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. Prescott also is the chairman of the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) Consultative Committee (CC). During his report to the Congress on CC activities, Prescott announced that the Committee, during the next four-year cycle, would focus on address systems and change of address systems, as well as the related subject of sustainable development. “Addresses are the structural core of the postal system,” Prescott told delegates convened in Geneva. “Consequently, the availability and accuracy of addresses are critical elements in the health of both domestic systems and the international postal network."

From Business Wire: "Omega United, Inc. dba SkyPostal, an international mail distribution company specializing in hand delivery of commercial mail and periodicals to the Latin America-Caribbean region (LAC), announced today that the Company will officially change it’s corporate name to SkyPostal Networks Inc effective Monday, July 28th. SkyPostal, Inc., based in Miami, Florida, is an international wholesale mail distribution company that specializes in offering hand delivery of commercial mail, periodicals and parcel post into the LAC region. SkyPostal is one of the largest private mail networks in Latin America handling mail from European postal administrations, major publishers, mail consolidators, international mailers and financial institutions that require time-defined and reliable delivery of their mail, magazines and mail order parcels."

Computer Weekly has reported that "Royal Mail has lifted the wraps on how it plans to spend up to £1.2bn on IT-related projects over the next three to four years as it fights growing competition from rival delivery services."

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

European mail and express group TNT has released its second quarter figures for 2008. The company commented that the quarter had shown an "unusual" business mix, with continued stable trading conditions in April and May but markedly lower volume growth witnessed during June in some key domestic and international markets. According to management, the impact of the sudden volume pressure in June was aggravated by sharply increasing fuel prices during the quarter, which led to additional temporary cost pressure due to the time lag in passing on fuel surcharges. See also Bloomberg and the International Herald Tribune.
DHL has announced the launch of Global ProView, a tool that enables customers of the company's time definite international (TDI) express services to "track all their shipments quickly, easily, and simultaneously with one seamless online-application". The worldwide express delivery and logistics company, part of German group Deutsche Post World Net, said Global ProView was accessible from any point on the internet and offered a complete and automatically updated overview of a customer's global shipments.

The Edmonton Sun has reported that "Several of Edmonton's Canada Post letter carriers are seeing red after Red Friday. Postal workers wanted to wear red last Friday in a show of support for the country's Armed Forces, but they were told it was a violation of company policy. Some ended up shunning the policy and donning red shirts anyway."

EurActiv has reported that "With new EU rules requiring national postal operators to give up lucrative lingering monopolies by 2011, France is looking for new funding mechanisms to ensure that even citizens in its remotest areas continue to receive an affordable, six-days-a-week service."

GAO: According to the Government Accountability Office, the "USPS has taken steps to strengthen network realignment planning and accountability and improve communication."

UsingRFID has noted that "The global market for RFID systems including tags in the postal and courier service sector will reach some US$2.5 billion in 2018, according to the 'RFID for Postal and Courier Services 2008-2018' report available from Research and Markets."

July 27, 2008

The Fairbanks Daily-Miner has reported that "Someone emptied the fuel oil tank at the Ester post office, making off with 500 gallons of fuel worth more than $2,000 and upsetting some residents of this hamlet about eight miles west of Fairbanks."

The Press and Journal has reported that "The Royal Mail last night rejected a suggestion that millions of pounds of state aid intended to maintain vital rural post office services may be siphoned off to help pay for postal deliveries. A spokesman for the group said the suggestion in a report from the all-party Commons business and enterprise committee, which sparked outrage among north and north-east MPs, is “complete nonsense”.

According to Hellmail:

Sify has reported that "The Department of Post in the state will be upgrading facilities at nearly 8,000 post offices in the rural areas of Gujarat and will soon offer attractive interest rates on savings deposited in post offices. Currently, post offices offer interest rates of around 9%. Giving this information at a press conference on Friday in the city, Chief Post Master General of Gujarat, Vijaya Sheth, said post offices provided indispensable services in many villages of the state where there were no banks."

According to the Sunday Observer, "A new digital system for money orders to prevent frauds will be introduced shortly, said Posts and Telecommunication Minister, Mahinda Wijesekera. He said that officers who were involved in multi-million rupee money order frauds will be severely dealt with after the investigation. Post offices will have facilities to check the genuineness of money orders under the new system, he said. He said that the structure of the Postal Department should be changed to suit the present day needs."

July 23, 2008

The July 24th congressional postal oversight hearing entitled, “The Three R’s of the Postal Network Plan: Realignment, Right-Sizing, and Responsiveness” will be webcast. The hearing begins at 2 p.m. Here's the webcast URL: http://federalworkforce.oversight.house.gov. This is also where the testimony submitted by witnesses will be available after the hearing takes place.

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and the leading developer of highperformance solutions for professional mailers, has announced a new option that dramatically increases the value of NCOA Link® LSP processing purchased via BCC Data Services. Effective immediately, the LSP Unlimited service option will provide limitless access to NCOA Link LSP processing for an annually renewable fee of $1,995 for users of BCC’s Mail Manager 2010 and Mail Manager 2010 LE software products. Mailing jobs processed through the LSP Unlimited service option will also receive DPV ® , LACS Link® , Suite Link ™ and ANK Link ™ processing at no additional charge."

Postal workers play a valuable role in supporting migration, fund transfers, transport, trade, education and literacy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a message to the 24th Universal Postal Congress in Geneva. “Postal services are universal, connecting people throughout the world,” Mr. Ban said in the message, which was delivered by the Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze. “That is particularly important at a time when millions of people have migrated to seek better economic opportunities, or have been forced to flee areas afflicted by war or natural disaster, and are eager to share news and resources with loved ones.” The Secretary-General added: “I am encouraged by the way the world’s postal outlets are serving as natural gateways to the information society.”

From PRNewswire: "The U.S. Postal Service plans to identify new, more environmentally friendly vehicle technologies that are less dependent on petroleum-based fuel sources to replace the 195,000 neighborhood delivery vehicles of its total 220,000 vehicles, the world's largest civilian fleet. Today's announcement came during a ceremony in which General Motors presented a Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle to the Postal Service for testing in a mail-delivery environment."

Here's something that should fry your egg. Some phisherman has devised a way to snooker citizens to fall into their trap.

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $620.50.
Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-6 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated.

Internal Revenue Service

This is the kind of stuff that could easily be prevented if the sender could be verified through the use of an electronic postmark. What ever happened to that service?

The agenda for the August 5-7 meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has been posted on this site.

PostInsight carries a notice on the availability of "Postal Economics in Developing Countries - Posts, Infrastructure of the XXIst Century" edited by Joëlle Toledano and José Ansón (UPU). It's a good paper, well worth reading.

CNN has noted that "The email of the species is deadlier than the mail." So wrote the British actor and novelist Stephen Fry. Is the electronic age throwing sand in the face of the traditional postcard? Tell CNN Business Traveller what you think in the Sound Off box below. Yet, we book our holidays online, we check in online, and, now we even write about our travels online -- emails and blogs packed with photos, video clips and every conceivable detail of our travels. Where does this online explosion leave the humble postcard?"

According to the San Jose Business Journal, "VeriFone Holdings Inc. was awarded a multi-year dollar contract valued at up to $10 million to provide the U.S. Postal Service with electronic payment capabilities."

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/0c773b/rfid_for_postal_an) has announced the addition of the "RFID for Postal and Courier Services 2008-2018" report to their offering. Detailed ten year forecasts are given plus a full explanation of the technologies. In detail, there are 40 new case studies of RFID in action in the postal and courier service in North America, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia. The major breakthroughs that will provide future success are discussed."

From PR Web: "Earth Class Mail Corp., the global leader in delivering postal mail online, announced Chris Salvage, a 24-year veteran of FedEx, as its new vice president of operations. The experience Salvage garnered by overseeing the daily delivery of 200,000 packages for more than a decade will help Earth Class Mail scale its online postal-mail service to meet larger volumes."

Baltic Business News has reported that "State owned postal company Eesti Post announced the auction to the properties in Laulasmaa and Taevaskoda, which are popular summer vacation spots in Estonia."

Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., the world's largest package-delivery company, said second-quarter profit fell 21 percent as fuel costs rose and the cooling economy damped domestic shipments. The decline reflected customers' shift away from air shipments in favor of cheaper ground-based options. While U.S. package volume may drop 2 percent in the second half of the year, earnings will be ``modestly better'' than the first half if business conditions don't deteriorate further, UPS said."

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "FedEx founder Frederick W. Smith will be an at-large delegate at the Republican National Convention in September and Memphian John Ryder will serve on the convention’s Rules Committee, the Tennessee Republican Party."

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

The Swiss post’s international division SPI has acquired German operator Global Press Distribution GmbH (GPD).
Last week the EU Commission declared that certain subsidies received by Poste Italiane were unlawful.
Deutsche Post seems to be sticking with its plans for a weekly free paper.
Privatisation of Eesti Post seems an increasingly likely prospect.
Poste Italiane CEO Massimo Sarmi has again made a public statement in favour of an IPO.
Deutsche Post AG intends to take its time over the sale of the subsidiary Postbank.
Only a few weeks after official consultations between China Post and Emirates Post took place, the two companies have signed an agreement to intensify bilateral relations between them.
Mail as part of the marketing arsenal of British firms has lost some of its importance. According to a study by Direct Marketing, advertising mail volumes dropped by 9% last year compared to 2006. A weakening of the effect of advertising mail, growing use of digital media and environmental scruples have combined to cause the decline.
Only a few days after the Chinese government had announced the introduction of "administrative procedures for the express market" the first such measure was published. Under the decree, express firms will in future be obliged to comply with the criteria for express services published in September 2007, which stipulate that express organisations and firms must employ at least 15 members of staff in order to be recognised. City express consignments must be delivered within 24 hours and domestic express items must not exceed a transmission time of 72 hours. Parcels must not exceed 50 kilos in weight and compensation for delay or loss of a consignment is limited to five times the transport price. The new regulations demand that express firms publish not only their service guarantees but also exact transmission times and prices. Service quality is to be assessed by an independent third party.
Stratospheric oil prices together with the economic crisis have forced US airlines to cut back their staff, fleet and schedules drastically - which has affected the handling of air cargo and mail.
Deutsche Post still enjoys a monopolistic position in Germany as far as the federal government, the parliament and over 600 federal authorities and agencies are concerned.
La Poste in France and eBay have agreed on a simplified franking method for auction users.
Poczta Polska has started one of the biggest tenders in the company’s history. Market observers estimate that the purchase of mail and parcel sorting machines has a volume of around 80m euros.

Express Market Austria 2007
For quite some time, the European parcel and express market has been dominated by foreign companies. The big, internationally active express service providers DHL, UPS, FedEx and TNT are as active as the European parcel networks DPD and GLS, as well as the Hermes Logistics Group which is mainly focused on the end customer. The market position of the currently biggest provider, the Austrian Post, will become even more unstable in the parcel market than before. Nevertheless, the picture of the market is not only determined by internationally active service providers. Medium-sized companies, such as Funk Trans, Veloce and tmx have been an integral part of the market. The present study is focused on the Austrian parcel and express market 2007. That includes parcel services, express services, shipments with a time definite delivery, as well as messenger services which dispatch parcels directly from the sender to the addressee. The study shows total revenues and volumes as well as domestic and international figures. The detailed description of the market encompasses market shares and highlights the competition between the service providers. Furthermore company profiles of the most relevant market players are included. Special attention is paid thereby to the domestic parcel market. An order form for this new report has been posted on this site.

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.)

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Despite many companies' avowed commitment to 'greening' their logistics operations, it seems that most expect their sub-contractors to pick up the bill. That is one of the findings of the latest survey by Transport Intelligence which examined how companies were reacting to environmental concerns."

When the Postal Service Board of Governors comes to Washington for its end of July meeting, the sessions will be closed. Among the issues discussed will be: 1. Financial Update. 2. Strategic Issues. 3. Financial Outlook. 4. Product Pricing. 5. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 6. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance.

The transcript of the field hearing conducted in Portsmouth, NH  by the Postal Regulatory Commission on universal service is available on the PRC web site.

According to the New York Times, "most marketers readily concede it: getting rid of direct mail — or junk mail, as environmentalists and most recipients call it — would save a lot of trees. But they are not about to render bulk mailings obsolete. So a group of direct-marketing companies, along with a handful of their corporate clients, are banding together to make an inherently unsustainable practice at least a little bit greener. The group calls itself the Green Marketing Coalition, and it includes Microsoft, Washington Mutual and OptimaHealth. Not all the companies involved are big mailers, but they share the sentiment that there should be best-practices guidelines for the direct mail business."

"The United States Postal Service is on the case, too. It has taken out a trademark on the term “environMAIList” to refer to marketers that adopt greener mail practices and try to make direct marketing more eco-friendly. On its Web site — right after it notes that every dollar spent on direct mail returns almost $12 in sales — the Postal Service now lists green tips for marketers, like letting people easily opt out of mailings, using water-based inks and recycled materials, and encouraging customers to recycle the mailing after reading it. The Postal Service has also been sending press kits to reporters to spur coverage of its green push. Part of the pitch says: “Although direct-mail accounts for only 2.4 percent of landfill waste, many opportunities are available to lessen its environmental impact even more.” 

The Jakarta Post has reported that "The Attorney General's Office (AGO) has found corruption is rife in the state postal company PT Pos Indonesia, even though the company has been made to struggle to survive."

The Joplin Globe has reported that "Pittsburg State University officials announced Tuesday that they are halting a long-standing policy that allows political candidates, as members of the public, to pay for the university’s printing and postal services for producing and mailing campaign literature. Political candidates and parties will no longer be allowed to obtain the university’s printing and postal services to produce and distribute political literature, according to PSU President Tom Bryant. The action apparently was prompted by some complaints that Linda Grilz — an instructor at PSU and a candidate for the 2nd District commissioner seat in Crawford County — used the university’s metered postage stamps to send out election material by bulk mail."

The Monitor has noted that "The U.S. Postal Service is reviewing how Hurricane Dolly could affect mail service. Some post offices may have closed lobbies as the storm approaches, and if roads become impassable, delivery and pickup service could be interrupted. USPS will review the situation daily."

According to Correos de España, its "new automatic system for classifying installed packages by mail in itsTreatment Center International (CTI) Barajas, in Madrid, is already fully operational. With this new technological envelope the public postal company modernizes and strengthens its international parcel service and may offer new added value and higher quality service to customers and recipients of these international shipments."

July 22, 2008

As the BBC has noted, "The announcement that 37 post office branches across the county will shut follows a six week consultation period. There has been strong opposition to the closures, designed to save money."

The UN Information Center has reported that "a new global strategy aimed at improving and harmonizing the world’s postal services is the focus of a three-week congress in Geneva led by the United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU) which began today. “The development gaps that separate the postal services of industrialized and developing countries at a worldwide level must be reduced for citizens and businesses to better participate in international trade,” Edouard Dayan, UPU Director General, told reporters today. According to Mr. Dayan, member countries will need to firmly commit to modernizing their postal networks to meet their social and economic development objectives. “Far from being obsolete, postal services are still alive and well,” he said, adding that e-mail and the Internet had not rung the death knell for them."

The Postal Service has released details of the voluntary early retirement (VER) offer recently authorized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for USPS employees in clerk, mail handler, supervisor of distribution operations and supervisor of customer services positions.

The New York Times has reported that it "has inked a deal with LinkedIn to deliver targeted headline to members of the networking site. The deal will also allow advertisers to target "more Times readers than currently available through the NYTimes.com registration process," the companies said, but did not get into details regarding how the targeting would work. has inked a deal with LinkedIn to deliver targeted headline to members of the networking site.

Press Release: "Emirates Post's Express Mail Service (EMS) or Mumtaz Post, which offers swift delivery of documents and parcels to over 100 countries through the global postal network, has been enhanced with value additions, including free insurance, money-back guarantee and tracking facility."

The Baltic Course has reported that "Competition Board decided that the minimum number of post offices used for providing universal postal service will be decreased to 419, writes the National Broadcasting. Estonian Post requested that the minimum required number be cut from 495 to 400. The enterprise justified its application with the possibility to ensure providing service according to standards by using alternative options, hence, according to the opinion of the enterprise, there is no need for a stationary postal office in areas with low population density. AS Eesti Post will ensure provision of service with postal delivery staff who collect and deliver post in the place of residence or of business of service users." [EdNote: It should be apparent to anyone who can read that the whole world's postal services are striving to right-size their networks and personnel in the face of rapidly changing communication alternatives. Only a fool would believe right-sizing shouldn't happen in the U.S.]

Hellmail has reported that "Post Office Ltd has today announced the opening of a six-week local public consultation on its Area Plan for Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. In line with the criteria and factors set by the UK Government in its response document, DTI, The Post Office Network, Government Response to Public Consultation in May 2007 (www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/page36024.html) - the Area Plan for Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire proposes future provision of Post Office® services through a total network of 240 branches across the whole area, resulting in the closure of 44 existing branches."

The Indianapolis Star has reported that "FedEx Corp., the largest air-cargo shipper, has asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to sue ATA Airlines over a claim that ATA breached a military-supply contract by ceasing operations."

The Postal Service has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint by Capital One which is now before the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Business Daily Africa has reported that "Kenya is expected to table a proposal on e-commerce when more than 1,500 delegates converge in Geneva for the Universal Postal Union’s Congress to discuss the major challenges facing the postal sector. The proposal seeks to have the 191 members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) recognise the digital divide between developed and developing nations."

July 21, 2008

The Asbury Park Press has reported that "FedEx Corp. Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith said the U.S. economy isn't in a recession and that oil prices will "drift down for a while.'' "I don't think we're in a recession,'' Smith, 63, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview from FedEx's headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. "We're in a period of extremely low growth brought on by high fuel prices and the financial meltdown.''

Alan Robinson, editor of the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer weblog site has said that "As with all businesses, the Postal Service must react to both secular and cyclical trends. Over the past two decades, the Postal Service benefited from a major secular trend in advertising that resulted in mail advertising growing faster than any media other than the Internet. More recently, a second secular trend, the switch of one-to-one and one-to-few communication from mail to the Internet has resulted in a 25% decline in single-piece First Class mail over the past nine years. These two secular trends have made the Postal Service more vulnerable to cyclical economic trends as it is much more reliant on advertising spending than ever before."

Union Network International has reported that "La Poste and eBay have signed a partnership that will enable French Internet vendors to purchase their postage online. The new service, in the pipeline since December 2007, allows eBay users to print out their own postage labels for letters and parcels direct from the auction site. The sender simply enters the weight, the destination and the required service (standard or registered post). Once payment has been received via PayPal, the label is simply printed out and attached to the packet to be sent."

StreetInsider has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will outline its strategy for converting to an environmentally friendly, non-petroleum based alternative fuel vehicle fleet to replace 195,000 delivery vehicles and will announce an alternative fuel vehicle test on Wednesday, July 23, 2008."

Today's Zaman has reported that "As the Turkish postal system tries to implement modern technology and introduce innovative products, notorious delays and lost mail continue to be a major headache to customers, local and foreign alike."

The Daily Sun has reported that "Within a three-year period, Nigeria has received the sum $1.2 million (about N150 million) from the Universal Postal Union as grant to improve postal services in the country. Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) chief, Kola Aduloju, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Nigeria's participation at the 24th UPU Conference scheduled to hold in Geneva, Switzerland, said NIPOST is judiciously expending the grant on such projects as procurement of vehicles, as well as on track and trace system, even as it expects more support from the union."

Gulf Times has reported that "Qatar has very good chances of winning the bid to host the 25th Universal Postal Union Congress in 2012 “in view of the broad Arab and world support it enjoys and of its long and internationally-recognised experience in organising world-class gatherings and conferences”, an official source said yesterday."

The Hindu noted that "Over the past few years, the Department of Posts and subsequently India Post has been undergoing significant changes, adapting to the new market environment. It is now the turn of the young Minister of State for Communications and IT Jyotiraditya Scindia to do his bit to push this exercise forward. From a mere postal service that also did some savings banking, India Post has certainly come a long way. It has already celebrated 150 years and wants to catch up with business and technology. "

July 20, 2008

Ever wonder how to find the information you want on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site? Well, the PRC has produced a nifty guide to get you just where you want to go.

July 19, 2008

Investors Business Daily has noted that "At least half of general merchandisers above $1 billion in annual sales allow pick-up of online or catalog orders, says Jerry Sheldon, an analyst at IHL Consulting Group."

Federal Times has reported that "Eligible U.S. Postal Service employees will have until Sept. 30 to decide to accept early retirement. The Postal Service said July 17 that under its reorganization plan, as many as 20,000 mail handlers, clerks, distribution operations supervisorsand customer service supervisors who are at least 50 years old and have at least 20 years of federal service will be eligible to retire early. Employees in those positions who have at least 25 years of service at any age also will be eligible. The Postal Service will mail annuity estimates to eligible employees on Aug. 18. Retirement applications will follow four days later. Employees who apply and are approved for early retirement will leave the Postal Service Dec. 31."

Transport News Network has noted that "Logistics is not a subject that you would traditionally expect to find being taught in schools. However, with the continued support from the Road Haulage and Distribution Training Council (RHDTC)* it soon will be."

The Armenian News Network has reported that "Armenian government has announced its plans to reach an agreement about prolonging HayPost trust management term for another five years. HayPost CJSC is the national postal operator of the Republic of Armenia. The company's staff is 4,000 people. Under an agreement signed on November 30, 2006, HayPost was transferred in trust management of the Dutch HayPost Trust Management Company for five years, with a right to prolong the contract for another five years."

According to the Orleans Star, "As critics take stabs at the government, charging that a review of Canada Post operations is either a waste of time or a secretive move towards deregulation and privatization, Cumberland Coun. Rob Jellett says his only concern is the maintenance of rural service."

The Daily Journal has noted that "what we call junk mail is actually the result of direct marketing campaigns designed to get you to buy a product or service. It's called direct marketing because it attempts to match you and your buying preferences with offers that are likely to make you buy a product or service. There are a variety of strategies you can use to get off direct marketing lists: If you want off as many national mailing lists as possible, contact the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS). Junk mail is only junk when you don't want to receive it. You may want to be on some mailing lists. If you want to receive some of this mail, do not contact the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service."

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

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July 18, 2008

I&PE has reported that "The TNT postal fund has doubled its allocation to inflation-linked bonds at the expense of EMU government paper. In order to further decrease its inflation risks, the fund has also raised exposure to actively managed bonds from 40% to 50%, according to the annual report."

According to Hellmail, "The Estonian postal service may be sold. Eesti Post faces the might of full liberalisation of postal services across Europe and the Estonian government admits that without solid investment, the state-owned postal service could lose too much business to competitors. A decision on the future of Eesti Post is expected in the Autumn but Eesti Post is one of a number of state-owned postal operators across Europe that are in urgent need of investment to ride out a tide of increasing competition over the coming years."

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that "Houston based- Waste Management announced Wednesday the launch of ThinkGreenFromHome.com -- an online service for recycling household electric items such as compact fluorescent lamps and batteries. The program provides customers both in Central Florida and nationwide with prepaid-postage kits to "safely store and recycle" CFLs and batteries. The kits contain Mercury VaporLok technology, which the company said reduces the risk of environmental contamination posed by broken items that contain mercury. Boxes can be shipped from any home or United States Postal Service to the WM LampTracker processing facility in Minnesota, where the mercury is recycled. Replacement kits are then mailed to the customer, along with an e-mail confirming the transaction."

Postmaster General John E. Potter has named Pritha Mehra vice president of Business Mail Entry and Payment Technologies and Maura Robinson vice president of Pricing. These newly created positions are the latest in the Postal Service’s reorganization efforts to leverage competitive opportunities resulting from recent changes in federal law.

MediaDailyNews said you could "call it the Midsummer Massacre. The last two months have seen a bloodbath at some of America's largest newspaper publishers, with substantial job cuts hitting a number of papers, including a high proportion of newsroom positions. The scythe has visited McClatchy, Media General, the Tribune Co., the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among others."

Hemscott has reported that "TNT NV said on Friday it has signed an agreement with Dutch trade unions over a new collective labour agreement after union members backed the proposed workplace deal. The agreement in principle was reached on May 23 and includes a structural 3 percent wage rise, plus a temporary 0.5 percent rise until April 1 2009."

China Post Agreement: The Postal Regulatory Commission is adding the Postal Service's negotiated agreement (regarding outbound EMS) with China Post Group to the competitive product list. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations. Re-publication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law.

Mailers Council exec Robert McLean has told his members that:

The Postal Service has released details of the voluntary early retirement (VER) offer recently authorized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The offer comes with a substantial penalty--essentially a 2% a year reduction in the annuity for every year of service below the minimum usually required for retirement--that will discourage many employees from accepting it.

The first group of USPS employees to receive the offer are in clerk, mail handler, supervisor of distribution operations and supervisor of customer services positions. This offer is open to employees in those positions who meet the OPM conditions, and who are at least 50 years of age with 20 years of creditable federal service or any age with 25 years of creditable federal service.

On August 18, an annuity estimate will be mailed to all VER-eligible employees. Interested employees will have from August 25 to September 30 to submit their application. Following are the details of the penalty:

  • CSRS/CSRS Offset employees: If the employee is under age 55, the annuity will be computed using a voluntary optional retirement annuity calculation based on total creditable years and months of service and average high-3 salary. The annuity will be reduced at the rate of 2% for each year (or by 1/6th of one percent for each full month) that the employee are under age 55. This reduction is permanent. The annuity is not recomputed when the individual reaches age 55.
  • FERS employees with a frozen CSRS component: The portion of the annuity based on a benefit that the employee accrued and retain under CSRS frozen service is subject to the reduction mentioned above for CSRS/CSRS Offset employees.
  • FERS employees without a CSRS component: No reduction.

For more information click on this link for a VERA FAQ web page: https://liteblue.usps.gov/news/link/2008/nl_0717vera.htm

The Washington Observer-Reporter has noted that "Three former executives with FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh said Thursday they have established ETC & Associates, LLC, Pittsburgh, to aid less-than-truckload, truckload and small package transportation and logistics companies. For more information, access the company's Web site at www.etcandassociates.com."

The Greensboro News Record has reported that "Now, it's up to FedEx Ground to decide whether to bring $100 million and 259 new jobs here. On Thursday, Guilford County commissioners put in their ante: an incentives package of $952,500 over three years if the company moves here. Under the deal, FedEx would pay its annual property taxes, which would add up to $1.5 million over the first three years in operation. Then, meeting certain employment and investment requirements, the company would receive its incentives. Over those three years, Guilford County's revenue would total $585,934."

PrintWeek has reported that "The DMA's head of postal affairs Alex Walsh has said that the controversial PAS 2020 proposals concerning direct marketing are key to the future of the direct mail industry. The BSI-led proposals, which have been endorsed by the DMA, aim to set an environmental and security standard for direct marketers, but have been met with concern by the industry, which feels that they are unrealistic and too far-reaching. Walsh told PrintWeek, however, that there were some elements of the proposal that "the DMA would not be happy to see introduced", but said that it was essential the sector is seen to be self-regulating as environmental and data issues become more prominent."

NATIONAL POSTAL MUSEUM: "Rarity Revealed: The Benjamin K. Miller Collection," through Jan. 12; "Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service," through Feb. 28. Open indefinitely: "Customers and Communities"; "Airmail in America"; "Artistic License: The Duck Stamp Story"; "Binding the Nation"; "Moving the Mail"; "On the Road," a history of city mail vehicles; "Stamps and Stories"; "Victory Mail"; "What's in the Mail for You!"; "The Art of Cards and Letters." Open daily 10 to 5:30. 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE. 202-633-1000 (TDD: 202-633-9849).

The APWU filed suit [PDF] against President George W. Bush and Postmaster General John E. Potter in District Court July 16 over their failure to appoint a Postal Service Advisory Council, as required by federal law. “The Postal Service is required to ‘consult with and receive the advice of the Advisory Council regarding all aspects of postal operations,’” APWU President William Burrus wrote in an April 11, 2008, letter to the president [PDF]. That letter was a follow-up to a similar letter to Potter last September. “Despite my entreaties, the advisory panel has not been appointed,” Burrus said in announcing the July 16 lawsuit. “So, of course, no meeting or consultation with the Advisory Council has occurred.”

Hellmail has noted that "After sickness levels reached almost 6.5% of the entire workforce in 2004, Royal Mail, the UK's main postal operator, has continued to concentrate on bringing levels of absenteeism down to acceptable levels."

July 17, 2008

According to Hellmail, "The UK postal operator has already warned that jobs will be lost beyond the 50,000 already shed by Royal Mail, after workers agreed last year to a pay deal that would see the restructuring and resizing of hundreds of delivery and distribution centres across the UK. Royal Mail is losing a quarter of its letters business to competitors and is under pressure from Postcomm to slash its operating costs rather than hope to gain favourable terms under ongoing changes to the UK postal market. "

Docket No. MC2008-3: "On March 20, 2008, the Postal Service filed notice with the Commission of a change in classification that would require all Bound Printed Matter (BPM) mailings, not just those that are destination-entered, to be paid by mailing permit effective May 12, 2008. Thereafter, on March 27, 2008, the Postal Service filed a notice of amendment that would require all BPM Flats and Parcels be paid by permit imprint only....The Commission concludes that, on this record, the change was properly filed under 39 CFR §§ 3020.90 and 3020.91 and that the proposal is not inconsistent with 39 U.S.C. § 3642. Accordingly, the classification change will be accepted and allowed to go into effect." Concurring from Commissioner Langley. Dissenting from Commissioner Goldway.

DMM Advisory: 

KUAM has reported that "Village mayors are meeting with the Guam Post Master General today about the possible implementation of cluster boxes island-wide. Several villages have this current system in place including Barrigada, Yona, Chalan Pago and Santa Rita. You may remember a meeting was held a few weeks ago notifying residents in the village of Agana Heights that they could be next. The U.S. Postal Service has cancelled home delivery services for several residents citing security and safety concerns as their reasoning for terminating the service and installing cluster box units at mayor's offices."

KYIV Post has reported that "Domestic express carriers are thriving."

The National Association of Major Mail Users will be holding an important meeting on Thursday, July 24 at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre, 225 Front Street West between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 2:30p.m. (light working lunch will be served) . Topics covered will include: Session I 10:00a.m. – 12:00 noon Canada Post Strategic Vision: Paper + Electronic; Session II 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 2009 Rate Package Workshop: Transaction Mail. Advance registration is mandatory and required by July 21.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Hongkong Post this week fully launched a new service called iMail, together with two value-added facilities − insurance and online credit card payment."

According to Transport & Logistics News, "Independent research company Datamonitor says FedEx is reported to be interested in acquiring TNT, which seems to suggest that it does not want to rely on organic growth to strengthen its position in the global express market. Although combining two of the world's leading players would put strong pressure on the other two integrators, UPS and DHL, overall, the competitiveness of the industry looks set to remain intact."

News14.com has reported that "FedEx will ask commissioners Thursday night for $952,500 to build a ground shipping center. It would employ 80 full-time workers its first year, making about $40,000 annually."

Roadtransport.com has reported that "Express parcel firm FedEx is trialling 10 Iveco diesel-electric hybrid Daily vans in its Italian operation. Iveco claims the vans offer a 30% cut in fuel use and CO2 emissions over a standard diesel model, through a number of systems such as Stop & Start and regenerative braking."

According to MediaDailyNews, "The last two years have seen a proliferation of advertising targeting air travelers in transit, the ultimate captive audience. Soon, it will be hard to look anywhere on a plane without seeing an ad."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "The Post Office has appointed data analyst specialist r-cubed to improve the analysis and targeting of its customer data. The Post Office wants to improve its cross-selling capabilities using its vast customer database. It will then use direct marketing to target current customers with services they have not used."

Forbes has reported that "The European Commission said remuneration paid to Poste Italiane, the Italian post office, for distributing postal bonds, was illegal under EU state aid rules and must be paid back."

The Jamaica Observer has reported that "General Michael Gentles says private courier companies which deliver letters and small packages locally are doing so illegally, according to the Postal Services Act. Gentles said that "courier services are exploding in Jamaica" although the law gives the postmaster general the exclusive right, through the post offices, to operate in the letters and small packages category."

Brand Republic has reported that "Royal Mail has appointed EuroDirect as a member of its expert panel of data partners, which aims to improve the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns for its business customers. EuroDirect, together with Royal Mail, will help organisations with customer acquisition and retention, and cross- and up-selling, using: direct mail leaflet drops, door-to-door and digital channels."

July 16, 2008

The Postal Regulatory Commission has granted the Postal Service request to modify the Mail Classification Schedule by transferring Premium Forwarding Service to the competitive product list (Docket No. MC2008-4).

The Business Standard has noted that "The Department of Post has stepped into a high gear for a total revamp of its image. It has partnered with Ogilvy and Mather (O&M) to help design a new logo and new uniforms to keep up with its new image."

Bloomberg has reported that "Deutsche Postbank AG, Germany's biggest consumer bank by clients, dropped the most in six months in Frankfurt trading on concern the company's sale may be delayed."

Press Release: "President Bush joined the Postmaster General today in unveiling the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" stamp to celebrate the song's 100th anniversary. The First-Day-of-Issue ceremony took place on the White House South Lawn where 51 young players representing all 50 states and Washington, DC, played in the White House All-Star Tee Ball game. All 75 million "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" 42-cent first-class commemorative stamps go on sale today."

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

Private postal service providers in Spain have accused Correos of blocking the legally guaranteed network access.
In order to put pressure behind their claims, Brazilian postal workers currently on strike have turned to the country’s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
In a free beta test Schweizerische Post is currently offering a new simple solution to the sending of secure e-mails.
Royal Mail is planning to equip around 25,000 of its motorised staff with hand-held devices.
Hong Kong Post is introducing a new service that will reinforce its position in terms of cross-border handling of Internet traded small packets.
Sad holiday greetings for the US post: American market research company ComScore sees the growing photo messaging trend as a serious threat to the custom of sending holiday postcards home. In the USA, the volume of digital photos transmitted via mobile means of telecommunication has increased by 60% compared to last year.
68.6% of the total international turnover of the French La Poste is now generated in the parcel express segment, as confirmed by the post’s recently published annual report.
Germany reports the merger of special speed market courier firms IN tIME and RS Logistik AG, resulting in a Europe-orientated courier firm with almost 400 employees
Opposition is forming against plans by Österreichische Post to let an independent subsidiary handle express parcels.
The Irish post has calculated that annual subsidies of around 30m euros would be necessary in order to maintain the universal service after the opening of the postal market.
DHL has developed a new shipment software aimed especially at small and medium-sized businesses. The so-called "Easyship Connect" package - a further development of DHL’s own "Easyship" software - covers all parcel shipment aspects, from the printing of the airway bills via tracking to service reports.
Purolator Courier has reinforced its presence in the US market by opening a new branch in Buffalo.
Increasing fuel costs could jeopardise this year’s annual result planned by Posta Romana.

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.)

AMEInfo has reported that "Emirates Post and China Post have entered into an agreement to boost bilateral relations, with a focus on international electronic remittance, improvement in EMS (Express Mail Service), wider use of Dubai Transit Mail Hub and better marketing of the international postal service."

WCCO.com has reported that "United Parcel Service is warning of a computer virus circulating under the guise of an e-mail from UPS. According to a release from UPS, the virus is attached to an e-mail that warns readers they have a shipment that couldn't be delivered unless they click on the attachment. The e-mail claims the attachment contains a waybill that will allow the undelivered package to be picked up. UPS says they rarely include attachments on their notification e-mails, and anyone who has any questions about the authenticity of their messages should contact them."

The Rockford Register Star has reported that "The Illinois Department of Employment Security said some Rockford residents may be among those in several Illinois cities still awaiting their July 7 unemployment check. “We at IDES share your frustration if you are among the unemployment insurance benefit check recipients missing your check dated July 7, 2008,” said IDES Director James P. Sledge said in a news release issued Tuesday. “We are keenly aware that these funds might be needed toward monthly bills and other necessary expenses. Although the U.S. Postal Service admits that they received delivery of checks, they have not yet been able to identify the location or time of delivery to the recipients.”

The Guardian has reported that "German Economy Minister Michael Glos and Labour Minister Olaf Scholz have reached a deal that could roughly double the number of workers protected by a sectoral minimum wage, a government source said on Wednesday. A sector-specific minimum wage already applies to about 1.8 million employees in Germany across seven sectors, among them construction workers and postal delivery staff."

Lubbock Online has reported that "Because a one-cent increase in the price of fuel raises USPS costs by more than $8 million per year, the postal service is exploring options such as increasing walking routes, bicycle routes and fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce its energy consumption." [EdNote: Yup. For the short period of my life when I delivered mail, that's how we did it. We walked.]

The Economic Times has reported that "Faced with stiff competition from private courier services, India Post plans to induct four more freighter aircraft by the year-end to beef up speed post services to almost 15 major cities, a senior official said. The department is in talks with the government to ensure the leased aircraft could be pressed into service by the year-end, India Post chief general manager (operations) M.S. Bali told IANS."

According to Radio Jamaica, "Three years after a US$100,000 cheque which was made payable to the Postal Corporation of Jamaica went missing, the local postal authorities are no where near finding the whereabouts of the money. The Public Accounts Committee Tuesday learnt that the cheque which was drawn on the account of the US postal service in 2005 at the First Union Bank in Philidelphia, was fraudulently enchased without any trace and is yet to be accounted for. Post Master General, Michael Gentles reported to the PAC that police investigations have so far turned up nothing. Mr. Gentles, who was grilled by the PAC for more than 30 minutes, also told the committee that local investigators were not getting enough co-operation from personnel at the US Postal Service."

The Wetumpka Herald has reported that "Representatives from Price Publications, Inc. were among some 50 newspaper executives in Washington, D.C. Friday to discuss ongoing issues like slow delivery and rising rates with officials from the U.S. Postal Service. PPI President Kim N. Price and PPI Operations Manager Jay Goodwin were among the delegates at the National Newspaper Association’s 2008 Postal Summit held at L’Enfant Plaza, home to the USPS, July 10-11. Although the USPS is building centralized automation facilities, postal officials assured the National Newspaper Association that they are considering the continuation of entering newspapers at local post offices. Loss of local offices has not been proposed for this area, Price said. NNA has fought to prevent local post offices from closing, but the Postal Service stopped well short of a commitment due to budget issues."

Network World has reported that "Standard Chartered Bank Uganda has launched an online product to enable customers to receive their monthly bank statements by e-mail, an alternative to paper statements delivered by the postal service. E-statements will allow the bank to cut costs. "

July 15, 2008

The Dorset Echo has reported that "angry community leaders today described the proposed closure of post offices in the Weymouth and Dorchester area as appalling and short-sighted'."

The Viet Nam News Service has reported that ""Tolerance is essential to all relationships set up by human beings. The important thing is not what each person receives but what they can offer." This is an excerpt from a letter by tenth-grade student Ho Thi Que Chi to Muslim terrorist Osama Bin Laden. It won for the 15-year-old first prize in the 37th Vietnamese Universal Postal Union letter-writing competition."

From Business Wire: "Avery Dennison Corporation's Office Products Group, the leader in bringing innovative office products to the market, and Stamps.com(R) , have announced an alliance that will bring a best-in-class, co-branded service to small business users and consumers who will be able to print official postage using Stamps.com on Avery(R) self-adhesive labels."

The Dayton Daily News has reported that "U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Monday, July 14, delivered petitions opposing plans by the air cargo company DHL to ally itself with United Parcel Service."

As the Financial Times has noted, "Nothing spices up a morning like receiving an unexpected package. Possible interest in TNT from rival FedEx sent shares in the mail group up by more than a quarter yesterday. Yet the idea of consolidation has surfaced periodically since UPS, another US competitor, listed in 1999. Will FedEx actually make a bid this time? The logic behind a deal is clear. FedEx and UPS are both strong globally in express delivery services, but lack scale in Europe. For example, FedEx serves only about 2 per cent of the intra-Europe express market, compared with TNT's 17 per cent. With TNT's exposure outside Europe limited mainly to a decent Australasian business and some nascent Asian exposure, the geographic fit would be attractive. However, the chances of picking up TNT on the cheap are slim."

IRIN News has noted that "The traditional core business of the post office - sending letters, selling stamps - seems a bit of an anachronism in the era of electronic mail and cellphones, but new uses are being found for an institution with branches in some of the remotest parts of Swaziland. Post offices have long been important in facilitating financial transactions, from paying public utility bills to sending and receiving money orders. A pilot programme has taken that one step further - testing the postal service's ability to assist in dispensing humanitarian relief."

According to the Plymouth Evening Herald, "Post Office bosses will today reveal which Cornish branches are to face the axe under the latest in a series of closures which have already seen seven Plymouth counters put under threat. As many as 50 branches are expected to be on the hit list, including several in South East Cornwall. Some are likely to be closed completely, while others may be replaced by an 'outreach' service, running from facilities such as a village hall or pub."

WiganToday told its readers that "The Royal Mail once ran the best postal system in the world, provided a service second to none and was very much part of the community. However since the EU Postal Directives, which were intended to create competition in the industry (which would mainly benefit the Dutch TNT and the German DHL companies) thousands of post offices, along with jobs, have been lost, with more in the pipeline. And it now costs more to send parcels and letters."

July 14, 2008

Editor for Hellmail, Steve Lawson, said "Many Euro postal operators have been rather slow to market themselves and communicate in the wider context since Liberalisation began." he said.

From PR Newswire: "Over 8,800 letter carriers are planning to convene in Boston July 21-25 as delegates to the 66th Biennial National Convention of the National Association of Letter Carriers -- the largest convention among AFL-CIO unions. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), who the union had endorsed for president, will address delegates on Monday, July 21. The NALC was among the earliest unions to back Clinton. In addition to Senator Clinton, speakers scheduled to address the convention include: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino; Reps. John Tierney and Michael Capuano, both (D-MA), and John McHugh (R-NY); American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus; Alan Kessler, Chairman, USPS Board of Governors; Michael Critelli, executive chairman of the board, Pitney Bowes Inc.; Bill Disbrow, president and CEO, Valpak; Philip Bowyer, deputy general secretary, Union Network International; Stephen Fitzpatrick, general secretary, Communications Workers Union, Ireland; and Dean Baker, co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research."

Press Release: "BÖWE BELL + HOWELL, a leading provider of document processing and postal solutions, and CMC of Città di Castello, Italy, a producer of mail inserting systems, today announced a collaborative agreement that will strengthen the presence of CMC products throughout North America. The strategy calls for CMC to establish a direct marketing channel that complements BÖWE BELL + HOWELL’s existing distribution network for CMC products."

Spend on direct mail fell by nine per cent in 2007, according to The Top 100 Direct Mail Spenders report published by Marketing Direct today.

Catalogue/e-business has reported that "Just days after parent company Otto Group announced that the Parcelnet logistics business would no longer be part of the Otto UK division, Parcelnet acquired the courier business of rival TNT Post. As part of the deal, Parcelnet will take over TNT Post’s contract with multititle mailer JD Williams.

According to the Progress-Index, "Pending a decision by the U.S. Postal Service, hundreds of people in Petersburg will move out of the city without packing a single box."

MarketWatch has reported that "Shares in delivery group TNT surged over 25% Monday following a report that FedEx Corp. is in preliminary talks over a bid for its smaller Dutch rival."

The Business Standard has said that "The over 50 per cent increase in the price of aviation turbine fuel in the past six months could bring good news for the Indian Postal Department. As all airlines have raised carriage charges, private couriers have increased their tariffs 8-20 per cent. India Post, on the other hand, has not tinkered with its tariffs at all. As a result, India Post's tariff is 70 per cent cheaper for domestic destinations and 30 per cent cheaper for international destinations."

The New Nation has reported that "Western Union's Money Transfer Service through Bangladesh Postal Department was launched yesterday, making an easy way for the expatriates to send home money from abroad. This facility will be available initially at 450 post offices across the country enabling people to receive remittances easily and quickly. The service will be extended to other post offices of the country in phases."

July 13, 2008

According to the Bristol Herald Courier, "U.S. Rep. David Davis, R-Tenn., is among the House’s top 10 spenders when it comes to mailing thousands of glossy, self-promoting brochures on the taxpayers’ dime this election year, a Bristol Herald Courier investigation reveals. The freshman congressman racked up $69,000 in postage costs during the first quarter of 2008 by blanketing Northeast Tennessee with 180,000 mailers ranging from his stance on illegal immigration, support for the military and driving tips to save gas. His use of a little-known congressional privilege that allows spending money from taxpayer-funded Capitol Hill office budgets to cover massive postage bills ranked him as the ninth-highest spender for mass mailers in the 435-member House."

The Sunday Standard has noted that "BotswanaPost and Orange Botswana stood shoulder-to-shoulder last week as they unveiled a new world of Virtual airtime accessibility – an agreement that signifies an important milestone in the lives of many customers who will be able to recharge their prepaid mobiles at selected Post Offices across the country. Botswana Post is to use 34 Post Offices to offer the services out of its 119 offices and 75 postal agencies spread across the country. According to the plan, at least 50 postal offices are expected to offer the services by the end of this year."

According to the Sunday Mirror, "A bungle by military posties has meant hundreds of letters for troops in Iraq have been sent to Belize instead... 6,000 miles in the wrong direction. Soldiers facing daily bombardments at their base near Basra started complaining that mail was failing to get through. Their families and girlfriends were also frustrated at not getting replies to heartfelt letters - called "blueys" by squaddies. Officers investigated... and found an electronic sorting machine was diverting the post to a jungle training camp in Belize, Central America."

The St. Charles Sun has reported that "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information about who set off pipe bombs in two residential mailboxes last month in unincorporated West Dundee."

The Guardian has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV declined to comment on Saturday on a report by the Financial Times newspaper that FedEx Corp is in preliminary talks to acquire it. The newspaper reported FedEx Corp wanted to add to its European parcel delivery service and that both United Parcel Service and FedEx have "coveted" TNT's European parcel business. "As a matter of policy we do not comment on market rumours," TNT spokesman Pieter Schaffels told Reuters ."

July 12, 2008

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "After years of managing volume, the U.S. Postal Service wants to instead manage mail quality, according to Hamilton Davison, executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association. "The post office is not just making sure that mailers get stuff delivered, it's making sure that the mail is really wanted," Davison said during a session Thursday at the MeritDirect Business Mailers Co-op and Conference. Davison’s information stems from discussions with Postmaster General John E. Potter during ACMA's National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum last month. Potter suggested then that the USPS may soon become a much smaller organization that would not longer be handling more than 200 billion pieces a year, including 50 billion flats."

American Postal Workers Union president William Burrus has told his members that "as employees who meet the eligibility criteria (still to be determined) think about their choices, I ask that they forgo making a quick decision. There are compelling reasons for taking a wait-and-see attitude, including that the economy is in (or is approaching) a recession, and the opportunities for even part-time employment have diminished. In addition, energy and medical costs are escalating, which will make it extremely difficult to survive on a fixed income. I ask that eligible employees delay making a final decision on early retirement until the union concludes discussions at the national level. If we are not successful, we will announce that we have reached an impasse, and individual decisions can then be made."

The Times of Malta has reported that "Mobile phone users sent almost 500 million text messages last year, a record, according to the Malta Communications Authority's annual report. The postal services, which have 13 registered operators, also fared well in services offered and targets reached. However, there was room for improvement in this sector, the report notes as it outlined a strategy to liberalise the postal services."

Swiss Post is inviting customers to test its new and simple solution for sending secure e-mails on www.incamail.ch. Thanks to IncaMail 2.0 (beta name), e-mails can now be sent (with proof of sending), and the content encrypted so it cannot be viewed by third parties. Upon request, Swiss Post will confirm dispatch and receipt of an item to the sender in the form of a PDF file. Companies and individuals can use the web-based solution without installing additional software. The service, which will be free in the beta phase, is particularly suited to the exchange of highly confidential information of a legal, financial or health-related nature.

PRESS TV has reported that "Tehran will be home to the largest postal and telecom museum in the Middle East to chronicle the 2,500-year history of Iran's postal system."

The Cyprus Mail has reported that "personalised stamps, carrying your photograph or even the logo of an organisation and wiring money from Cyprus to other countries, are some of the new services that will be added soon by Department of Postal Services of the Ministry of Communications. The Director of the Postal Services, Andreas Gregoriou yesterday announced that these services will be available to the public before the end of 2008. “In our efforts to modernise and upgrade the services, innovative proposals have been placed,” he said."

Hemscott has reported that "FedEx Corp is in preliminary talks to buy its Dutch rival TNT NV, the Financial Times reported without citing its sources. The report said such a deal would bolster FedEx's European parcel network. It said the economic downturn and rising fuel costs have hit demand for package deliveries, and led to a revival of merger discussions that have continued in starts and stops for years." See also the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

July 11, 2008

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

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

According to GovExec, "The U.S. Postal Service has started meeting with unions to discuss the voluntary early retirements it expects to offer at least 20,000 clerks and mail handlers in response to a decreasing volume of mail, an agency spokesman said."

Mediaweek has reported that "Less than three months after The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., dropped its daily print format for a Web-based report, another Wisconsin daily is following the trend. The 5,500-daily circulation Daily Telegram in Superior announced Thursday it would move to a Web-based reporting approach, while offering a print product just two day per week."

GMANews has reported that "The Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) on Friday said it has started an investigation into the loss of several valuables, including a digital camera, shipped by an Australia-based Filipino to his family in the Philippines last June. PhilPost officials were prompted to conduct the probe after Edcel Pono, a computer solutions specialist in Australia, wrote to the Central Visayas Regional Post Office, to complain that the package he sent to Moalboal in Cebu was tampered and its contents stolen. Clifford Dasig, head of the Inspection Service at PhilPost, told GMANews.TV that the investigation could result in the possible granting of indemnity to Pono or compensation for the lost items."

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission published a document in the Federal Register on June 25, 2008 seeking comments on a plan for service performance measurement and reporting systems for market dominant products. The document contained several errors the Commission wishes to correct.

Media Daily News has reported that "Magazines have suffered a sharp reversal in fortune since 2007, when they enjoyed modest growth despite the economic slowdown. According to the Publisher's Information Bureau, total magazine ad pages fell 8.2% in the second quarter of 2008, one of the steepest industry-wide drops in years. Worse, it comes on top of an earlier decline of 6.4% in the first quarter. Altogether, in the first half of 2008, ad pages are down 7.4% compared to the same period last year."

Cayman Net News has noted that "the Cayman Islands Postal Service’s (CIPS) Express Mail Service (EMS) team continues to perform at the highest level, capturing a Gold Level Certificate in the process. According to IBM, the Cayman Islands on-time delivery measurement is 98 percent. The Gold Level certificate recognizes the team effort, from front counter to all those who handle the mail. However, it is the EMS group’s dedication that makes the difference in quality of delivery. Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow encourages the public to compare EMS with local courier services."

The President has nominated Ruth Y. Goldway, of California, to be Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission, for an additional six-year term expiring 11/22/14. Ms. Goldway currently serves as Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Prior to this, she served as Manager of Public Affairs at J. Paul Getty Trust. Earlier in her career, she served as Director of Public Affairs at California State University. Ms. Goldway received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree from Wayne State University.

TheIndian News has reported that "While Leonardo DiCaprio talks about importance of saving the planet, it turns out that he himself isn”t so vigilant when it comes to making sure his own pitches reach the public. In March, the actor hated unsolicited, paper-wasting pitches showing up in his mailbox so much that he and fellow environmentalist Adrian Grenier joined a movement to establish a national ”Do Not Mail Registry.” Spearheaded by environmental group ForestEthics, the campaign urges Americans to sign a petition demanding the government make it possible for citizens to ban junk mail. However, this week, freelance writer Philip Recchia received in the mail a big envelope with DiCaprio’’s name on the return address space, soliciting donations for the Natural Resource Defense Council’’s ”Polar Bear S.O.S.” campaign. The envelope had a one-page pitch letter from the actor and a two-page pitch letter from NRDC president Frances Beinecke; a flyer for a free ”Save the Polar Bear!” tote bag; a donation form/petition to the secretary of the interior, urging him to protect the polar bear as an endangered species; and a return envelope." And from The Daily Telegraph: "Leonardo DiCaprio has begun a campaign against his mailbox being full of junkmail, but he has been caught out by residents spreading his own message with tonnes of waste." [EdNote: Can it get any better than this? Leonardo DiCaprio getting hoisted by his own petard.]

AllAfrica.com has reported that "Post offices across the country will start selling Orange airtime and other accessories following an agreement that has been reached between the cell phone operator and Botswana Post. According to the new arrangement, Orange customers will now have the opportunity of recharging their prepaid mobiles in the selected 34 post offices across the country."

According to Dow Jones, "La Banque Postale said Thursday it entered into exclusive negotiations with Societe Generale (13080.FR) to establish a consumer credit partnership. The cooperation will take the form of a joint venture in which the postal bank will remain majority shareholder. Banque Postale expects to complete the agreement before the end of this year."

From ThaiPR.net: "Even though small and medium-sized business leaders in Asia Pacific view their Thai counterparts as less competitive than last year, Thai business leaders are confident about their own growth prospects. According to the UPS Asia Business Monitor 2008, optimism remains strong with 60 percent of Thai small-to-medium enterprises, or SMEs, expecting to do better than they did last year and 52 percent expecting an increase in their workforce."

Press Release: "Neopost, the worldwide provider of mailing and shipping solutions, introduces the Neopost AS-990, the latest addition to its line of desktop address printing systems. Quickly and easily printing addresses, barcodes and graphics anywhere on envelopes, the Neopost AS-990 is designed to increase productivity while providing a high quality, professional image aimed at increasing direct mail response rates."

Today's Zaman has reported that "As the Turkish postal system tries to implement modern technology and introduce innovative products, notorious delays and lost mail continue to be a major headache to customers, local and foreign alike."

July 10, 2008

Der Spiegel has reported that "Tomcat Janosch was just looking for a nice place to sleep when he got into a neighbor's box. Instead, he and the package were shipped halfway across Germany."

The Crewe & Nantwick Guardian has reported that "hundreds of Crewe jobs are hanging in the balance this week as talks are held to save the town’s Royal Mail sorting office from closure. Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has arranged a meeting with Royal Mail bosses in an effort to rescue the Weston Road site, which employs 600 people. The office has been earmarked for closure along with Liverpool’s Copperas Hill site, as part of a major shake-up to streamline and automate the service."

According to FinFacts, "the Irish Times reports that an post will seek annual subsidies of some €30 million to meet the cost of its universal service obligations (USOs) once the Irish postal market has been liberalised in 2011."

The president of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour has asked: "Should our public post office continue to have an exclusive privilege to handle letters so that it can provide universal service? The federal government is conducting an inquiry, the Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review, to answer questions like these. The advisory panel conducting this review has been given a very broad mandate, which includes considering deregulation. Even the hint of deregulation should outrage all Northerners."

From PRWeb: "Window Book is pleased to announce DAT-MAIL support for PostalOne! Wizard Web Services for exchanging mailing documents and making postage payments with the Postal Service. Currently, it supports the following PS forms: 3600-R, 3602-R, and 3602-N. More forms are continually being added through our one-on-one development efforts with the USPS."

The Press and Journal has reported that "the UK Government was urged last night to eases pressure on the elderly to switch from pension payments by cheque to direct transfers into bank accounts. MPs demanded changes to letters sent out by the Department of Work and Pensions, advising pensioners with bank accounts that the change will take place unless they object. They want the letters to contain a guarantee that recipients will continue to have a right to choose the payment method. The row erupted as government business manager Harriet Harman, answering questions to the prime minister in place of Gordon Brown at the G8 in Japan, refused to intervene to ensure the Post Office retains the contract to run card accounts for pension and benefit recipients."

Computing has reported that "Royal Mail is finalising contracts with a range of suppliers for the provision of handheld devices to track letter and parcel information. By the end of this summer, more than 25,000 staff handling items tracked by special and recorded delivery will use the devices, which are intended to speed up and modernise postal processes. The devices will enable Royal Mail van drivers to capture signatures at the point of delivery. The data will then be transmitted over a wireless network, allowing customers to check via the web whether or not items have arrived at their destination."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Global express delivery and logistics company DHL USA this week announced the latest version of its EasyShip PC-based shipping solution."

The National Association of Major Mail Users will be holding a meeting. When: Thursday, July 24 Where: Intercontinental Toronto Centre, 225 Front Street West Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:30p.m. (light working lunch will be served); Session I 10:00a.m. – 12:00 noon Canada Post Strategic Vision: Paper + Electronic; Session II 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 2009 Rate Package Workshop: Transaction Mail; Advance registration is mandatory and required by July 21. 

The Association for Postal Commerce, joined by the Direct Marketing Association, Inc., filed comments in response to Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Order No 83, Docket No. PI2008-1, regarding Service Performance Measurement Systems for Market-Dominant Products. They told the Commission that "we find that most of the concerns that we raised in our January Comments in this docket have not been addressed at all or, at most, have only partially been resolved: the Postal Service has not revised key aspects of its plan -- most especially relating to data reporting -- which are critically important to customers. We recognize that the Postal Service continues to formulate its service performance measurement plans, and hope that it will engage in further discussions with its customers on development of mutually beneficial measurement systems and access to measurement data. While we support the concept of measurement as an evolutionary process, we do not yet see concrete steps from the Postal Service to meet the needs of its customers in terms of access to essential visibility data." Comments filed by others can be found on the PRC web site.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "A fight is brewing over a deal to make DHL the largest airfreight customer of Sandy Springs-based UPS. DHL, one of UPS' main rivals, has proposed letting UPS fly its packages in the United States. DHL would still deliver by truck, but Big Brown would fly the packages and cargo on its planes. The deal would give UPS a $1 billion customer, its largest. Wilmington, Ohio. As the two companies work behind the scenes to ink a contract, which could take months, Ohioans and pilots are trying to stop it. They are lobbying against the deal, urging federal antitrust officials to investigate and filing a labor grievance. UPS says that the DHL deal would be similar to an arrangement the U.S. Postal Service has with UPS and FedEx. Both carriers airlift packages for the post office, which then delivers them on its trucks." 

APWU President William Burrus met with postal officials July 8 regarding USPS plans to offer early-retirement opportunities to 40,000 employees. “I conveyed our strongly-held belief that the Postal Service is required to bargain with the union over Voluntary Early Retirement opportunities,” Burrus said.

Marketing has reported that "Canada Post has appointed Stewart Bacon as its first chief sales and marketing officer. The new role is a “statement about the importance of customers and serving customers” and was created to help ensure that customer relations are properly managed, said Bacon. Canada Post employs approximately 70,000, 90% of which are involved in mail delivery, and “in the minds of many employees, the customer was not front and centre,” said Bacon, who adds that this is a problem Canada Post is attempting to rectify.

Ziarul Financiar has reported that "The Romanian Post Office, the largest player on the postal and courier services market, spent around 5.4 million RON (1.5 million euros) on fuel in the first 5 months of the year, 4% more than the budgeted expenses, although its vehicle fleet declined, by 82, to 1,039, according to company information. Most companies with sizeable vehicle fleets exceed budgets allocated for fuel acquisition, amid an over 20% increase in the price of fuel since the beginning of the year, generated by the rise in oil prices on international markets."

The Daily News has reported that "Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mahinda Wijesekera yesterday requested public servants and other workers not to join today’s strike because it had a more sinister political motive of toppling the Government other than the Rs. 5,000 salary hike demand made on the surface."

According to the Elmira Independent, "Staff at Canada Post´s Elmira office are concerned that business could be affected by a postal outlet possibly in the works for a neighbouring store."

July 9, 2008

The Postal Regulatory Commission will hold its final public hearing on Thursday, July 10, 2008, at 10 a.m., to solicit views relating to the universal service obligation of the U.S. Postal Service and the postal monopoly. The hearing will be in the Commission’s Hearing Room, 901 New York Avenue, Northwest, Washington, DC, and will be webcast via a link to the streaming audio at www.prc.gov. All hearing testimony, hearing transcriptions, and replies to the Commission’s notice for public comment will be available on the Commission’s website at www.prc.gov, under Docket No. PI2008-3.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

Panel 1: William H. Young, President, National Association of Letter Carriers; William Burrus, President, American Postal Workers Union; Don Cantriel, Vice President, National Association of Rural Letter Carriers; Dale Goff, President, National Association of Postmasters of the U.S.; Charles Mapa, President, National League of Postmasters; and Ted Keating, President, National Association of Postal Supervisors.

Panel 2: Rick Geddes, Associate Professor, Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University; Murray Comarow, Bethesda, Maryland; and Linda Sherry, Director for National Priorities, Consumer Action.

Panel 3: James Martin, President, 60 Plus Association and Robert Corn-Revere, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

Please contact Ann Fisher (202) 789-6800 or Ann.Fisher@prc.gov for further information.

The Chillichote Gazette is a little upset "with some narrow-minded people recommending we close the post office on the west side of town - the area growing at least as fast as anywhere else in the city."

From Business Wire: "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, today announced its support of Express Your Vote, an initiative of the Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring an estimated six million overseas Americans have the ability to effectively participate in the federal electoral process. With FedEx supporting this initiative, Americans abroad in 89 countries will be able to access express delivery of their absentee ballots between September 15 – October 29 of the 2008 election year."

In a letter from the Mailers Council to Postmaster General Jack Potter, the Council wrote:

"The IMB project has profound implications for the future efficiency of the Postal Ser-vice, making it the single most important long-term postal project for your customers. Preparing for the changes IMB will require is a time-consuming, costly project for both you and your customers.

"We appreciate the time your staff members have spent with mailers working on IMB. Of course, your ongoing commitment in terms of the management attention and energy given to this project is very important. That is why we were very pleased to read about your recent management changes, which will ensure that IMB has the support of your senior leadership and that these individuals have the support teams they will need."

Advertising Age has reported that:

InformationWeek has noted that "Photo messaging has risen 60% in the United States over the last year, as the camera phone for many vacationers replaces the postcard once sent to friends and family, a market research firm said Tuesday. "The camera phone could replace the postcard as the preferred mode to say 'wish you were here,' as even parents and grandparents are snapping and sending photos from their mobile devices," Mark Donovan, senior VP of ComScore mobile products, said in a statement. Photo-messaging growth in the U.S. is seen among all age groups, ComScore said. The fastest growing segments are teens and people older than 35. About two in three American owns a camera phone."[Ed Note: Oh dear....Does Hallmark know?]

Federal  Register:

The Baltic Business News has reported that "Estonian postal company Eesti Post is willing to take over some of the responsibilities of the Citizenship and Migration Board CMB."

[EdNote: The next four items show how UK network reorganization plans have created a public fuss. Expect the same when the Postal Service starts its realignment in the U.S. The only question is whether Congress will stay out of it.]

The Northampton Chronicle has reported that "A new sorting depot which will replace Royal Mail's temporary Crow Lane site could swallow up jobs from Milton Keynes.

The Chronicle has reported that "crisis talks are to be held in a bid to rescue the Royal Mail sorting office at Crewe from closure with the possible loss of hundreds of jobs. Staff at the Weston Road site say they expect to learn their fate this week, but some are fearful that the deal is already done and that their jobs will be relocated 37 miles away to Warrington."

The Coventry Telegraph has reported that "a leading Coventry businessman has criticised Royal Mail for not consulting local firms over closing Bishop Street sorting office. Darren Jones, president of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, said businesses were anxious to know if services would be affected. In particular, they want to know if mail will be delivered even later than it is now, and if there will still be a late collection from the city centre."

The Aberdeen Press and Journal has reported that "Politicians last night issued final impassioned pleas to save post offices across the north-east and Tayside from closure. MSPs urged the Post Office to listen to the views of campaigners and customers who will be badly affected by controversial plans to shut 42 branches across the regions and Fife. The organisation is also proposing to turn a further 37 branches into part-time “outreach” services."

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

A comment by French president Sarkozy’s chief of staff Claude Gueant has stirred up the French market. In an interview with French radio channel »Europe 1« (06.07), Mr Gueant said that a possible partial privatisation of La Poste is an idea "that deserves interest". He added that the status of the post would have to be altered first into e.g. a plc. Mr Gueant said the French government planned to remain the main owner of the post.
The U.S. Postal Service has undergone profound restructuring with the aim of improving its competitive position and customer service.
Germany’s former minister of justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has urged Deutsche Post to abandon lawsuits involving "small" postal agencies.
As the designated president of the Swiss post’s administrative board, Claude Béglé appears to have a clear vision for his future position, which will give him a decisive influence on the strategy of Schweizerische Post.
Britain’s Royal Mail appears to be losing ground to its competitors.
Schweizerische Post has acquired Global Business Services Plus (GBS+), a French company specialising in digital document management.
After nine years at the helm of Dutch mail service provider Sandd, CEO Bart Stomphorst has announced his resignation.
Germany’s Federal Association of Courier, Express and Postal Service Providers (BdKEP e.V.) has demanded that the postal industry should not be included in the law pertaining to the posting of workers again.
In an unexpected move German TNT Post Regioservice announced last week the conclusion of a house wage tariff with Christian trade union CGPT.
FedEx CEO Fred Smith is expecting less demand for short-haul air transport from customers and increased interlinking of international and US domestic transports over the next few years. Mr Smith is assuming, the trend will favour the door-to-door handling of international consignments, thus gradually replacing cross-border consolidation and subsequent feeding into domestic networks of consignments for delivery. FedEx would therefore increasingly turn its focus on international customers in future.
Faced with increasing wolumes of online orders, GLS Germany has announced that consignments that cannot be delivered to private households will in future be left at the next parcel shop.
DHL Global Forwarding is offering a new service concept in Austria in co-operation with Jade Cargo International.
Estonia’s Eesti Posti has failed in its attempt to acquire press distribution operator Ekspress Post.
Portugal’s CTT Correios appears to have abandoned the idea of setting up its own post bank.
Despite a 20% rise in petrol costs last month, FedEx has managed to cap its prices drastically in the highly competitive domestic market in China.
The sale of Germany’s Postbank could fall through due to the excessive price expectation of Deutsche Post as the main shareholder.
Although Switzerland still enjoys a nationwide universal postal service with a guaranteed good quality, the service is no longer at the same level as it was in 2006. This conclusion is reached by the country’s regulatory authority PostReg, which published its annual report for 2007 last week.
primeMail GmbH, a joint venture of Swiss Post International and Hermes Logistik group, plans to introduce a new online catalogue portal this autumn.
The Dutch trade union FNV has urged the country’s private postal service providers to enter into negotiations.
Japan Post Service Co. has been granted permission by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to go into the air freight business.
Strikes have seriously hampered the services provided by Brazil’s post ECT since last week.
Japan, Egypt, Jordania and the United Arab Emirates have made a public complaint over the poor service quality of the post in Kuwait.

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 Memphis Business Journal has noted that "FedEx Corp. has been named one of the "40 Best Companies for Diversity" according to Black Enterprise magazine."

Hellmail has reported that "Since 1st of July, Russian Post and the departments of State Traffic Safety Inspectorate (STSI, MIA RF) began to implement a joint project on delivery notices of traffic offence fixed by special facilities operating automatically (videocameras). Under new regulations which form part of Russian Federal Law, a photo taken by automatic cameras is now considered sufficient evidence of a traffic offence and drivers will be notified automatically. Russian Post can now send notices of penalties passed by STSI departments as registered items with notice of delivery to the owners of transport vehicles."

Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is preparing to offer voluntary early retirements to up to 20,000 clerks and mail handlers as part of a nationwide reorganization of its delivery network. But in a statement issued to Federal Times July 8, the Postal Service said it will not offer buyouts to anyone taking early retirement. The Postal Service said further details on the early retirement offer will be released later this week."

The Postal Regulatory Commission has an exciting Executive-level employment opportunity for a highly motivated, highly skilled person with extensive and varied experience in journalism, media relations, and Congressional relations.

July 8, 2008

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and a leading developer of highperformance solutions for professional mailers, will present the latest in its Postal Education and Knowledge (PEAK) Webinars this week. “PostalOne! ® and the Future of Postage Payment & Documentation,” a live, 90minute event, will be hosted by BCC Executive Vice President Chris Lien and Debbie Cooper, Postal Operations Manager for Quebecor World Logistics. The way in which mailers pay for postage and document mailings is rapidly changing. As the USPS ® demands more information about mail preparation and justification of eligibility for claimed discounts, it is effectively pushing the industry toward an electronic system for managing all things postal. This new system is called PostalOne!, and it is a core component in the future of mailing."

According to postal guru Alan Robinson, "The decline in single piece mail reflects competition from the internet and e-mail. While this answer seems trite, it needs to be stated. While most research focuses on the expansion of high speed internet access in the home, probably a more important cause of the change illustrated to date is the expansion of high speed internet access at businesses and business acceptance of the importance of websites, wiki’s, e-mail, and other electronic means of communication. The change in business use of hard copy is illustrated by how e-mail and wiki’s have become indispensible for the dissemination of documents for local printing or for collaborative editing. In 1999, many of these documents would have been mailed.

Be sure to check out the PostInsight web site, where you can find:

Press Release: "Swiss Post has acquired Global Business Services Plus, which specializes in digital document management and has offices in France, Germany and Slovakia. Swiss Post is thus enhancing its offering in the field of in-house mail. In addition to internal physical mail services, customers are increasingly coming to expect that documents can be entered electronically, processed and digitally archived – all from a single source. With Global Business Services Plus, Swiss Post is one of the leading providers in the Swiss, British, German and French markets in these areas, which are both up- and downstream from its core letters business."

Reuters has reported that "France's postal service has told unions up to 20 percent will be sold off in a partial privatisation, a union leader said on Tuesday. The move is aimed at preparing La Poste for the opening up to competition of west European markets in 2011."

The West Sussex Gazette has said that "an animal rescue officer says the lives of wild birds are being put at risk by careless postal workers. Billy Elliott, from Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service, said he had been called to Brooklands Lake, in East Worthing, six times this year to deal with ducks and birds caught up in elastic bands. He said the bands were all of the distinctive red variety used by Royal Mail to tie bundles of post together."

The Financial Times has reported that "One by one the taboos of French public service appear to be crumbling. First France Telecom, then Gaz de France and EDF were partially privatised. As if that were not heresy enough, GdF will even be merged into a private company later this month. Now it is the turn of La Poste, France's third largest employer and a potent symbol of its deeply cherished public-service ideals. Rothschild, the French bank, has been hired to lead La Poste to a partial privatisation, which could see it valued at about €10bn ($15.7bn) in a flotation within two years."

According to the BBC, "Royal Mail has pledged to find jobs within the firm for all workers affected by the closure of Coventry's main postal sorting office."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Unlike most French leaders, who have cowered before France's six-million-strong army of state-sector workers, Mr. Sarkozy is taking them on. He says the salaries and pensions of teachers, postal workers, bus drivers, television anchors, tax police and many others weigh like a ton on public finances -- even though many of the jobs are obsolete."

Baltic Business News has reported that "Estonian state postal company Eesti Post said it has cancelled negotiations with press delivery service Eesti Post that is co-owned by Ekspress Grupp and Eesti Meedia."

Reuters has reported that "The banking arm of the French postal service, La Banque Postale, is to provide consumer credit by the end of next year in partnership with Societe Generale."

The National Business Review has reported that "New Zealand Post says it is not holding up mail without new postcodes, after the introduction of its new postal address standards last week. An Auckland business association has accused NZ Post of taking up to five days to deliver a standard letter from Auckland to Wellington without a postcode, instead of about three days. NZ Post was not delaying mail without postcodes, but postcodes did ensure mail was delivered efficiently."

From Bobsguide: "Easygram telegram services provide the most unique express telegram delivery service within Southern Africa and offer flexible and reliable solutions to the retail, financial services and collections industries. Their aim is to provide the most reliable, cost effective telegram service in South Africa with a broad range of business applications such as direct marketing, debt collecting notifications and even simply staying in touch with clients. Easygram is the only dedicated telegram services company in Southern Africa. Easygram works hand in hand with various postal delivery networks worldwide including various courier companies. They provide a hand-delivered telegram service aiming to achieve express deliveries on time every time. Easygram delivers impressive results in comparison to more conventional forms of communication such as traditional mail." 

Press Release: "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has called for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enact a series of reforms to its distribution and design of internal documents, tax publications, forms and notices, as proposed by a new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The report, released late last week, looked at inefficiencies in publishing and postage programs at the IRS, which have suffered multimillion dollar deficits in recent years. In its postage budget alone, the IRS expects a $29.5 million dollar deficit in fiscal year 2008."

Digital Transactions has reported that "The share of bills consumers pay the old-fashioned way via the regular mail continues to decline, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s most recent annual study about what goes through the mails. But despite the gains of electronic bill payments, the availability of free bill-pay service at most banks may be slowing what had been a rapid run-up in the volume of electronically processed bill payments as banks dropped their fees. As a result, billers likely will continue to send many paper bills and consumers will pay them by mail for the foreseeable future."

From PR Web: "Window Book announces new Return Merchandise system in its Postal Package Partner software making USPS return service easier to use and more cost effective. e-Commerce Shippers can now use Postal Package Partner to easily print Return Merchandise labels that can be sent out with the package without prepaying for the postage. The postage is deducted from the original shipper's permit account only when the item is returned. Now shippers do not have to pay postage on items that were not returned to them, and can have preprinted return labels included in every package to make it easy for the end customer. Consumers are more likely to buy your product when it is easy and free to return if it does not meet their needs."

Scoop has reported that "One week after New Zealand Post’s introduction of new postal address standards an Auckland business association claims that posting a standard letter from Auckland to Wellington without a postcode now takes up to five days to arrive. New Zealand Post’s new standards introduced on 1 July mean that people’s mail is now being delayed by two days if it does not carry a postcode and businesses are being charged more for their bulk-mail that doesn’t carry postcodes."

According to Traffic World, "Retail diesel prices had trouble keeping up as crude oil prices broke records five times in eight days before the 4th of July holiday. But in California, diesel topped $5 for the first time ever."

The BBC has reported that "Coventry's postal sorting office is to shut and about 500 jobs relocated, it has been announced. Managers said workers at the Coventry depot will be offered the chance to relocate to other Royal Mail sites. Mick Kavanagh, from the Communication Workers Union, has said workers may strike if the move goes ahead."

July 7, 2008

So the Universal Postal Union is going to be meeting in Geneva. Postal Technology International can give an idea about what's going to happen there. [EdNote: This is an excellent postal publication. Subscribe! It's free!]

Newspapers & Technology Magazine has reported that "The Daily Review Atlas in Monmouth, Ill., said it would no longer publish a Monday edition of the paper, citing rising production costs. The newspaper said owner GateHouse Media had been considering cutting the frequency from six to five days per week for at least two years. In June, a sister paper, the Kewanee (Ill.) Star Courier, also cut its Monday edition." [EdNote: Hmmmm. Is the same thing in store for mail?]

Air Cargo World has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net's decision to outsource DHL Express' domestic U.S. airlift to UPS is drawing fire from a coalition of public officials and union forces - and the state of Ohio." [EdNote: So, which of the protesters have volunteered to cover DHL's domestic losses and debts?]

The National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative and Regulatory Update for July 7, 2008 has been posted on this site.

From Business Wire: "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has selected NCR Corporation as the exclusive provider of retail point-of-service (POS) hardware for thousands of postal counters across the United States."

According to Courier, Express, and Postal blog editor Alan Robinson, "Mailers will need to watch how the early retirement program is handled. Reducing staff too quickly may create service challenges in the next calendar year. Reducing staff too slowly could create a fiscal crisis that could cause the Postal Service to need to raise rates beyond what is permitted by the cap to remain fiscally solvent."

Press Release: "Using its account management expertise, Acxiom Dynamic Messenger clients can have their digital marketing collateral customised to target individual customer and prospects more effectively. Acxiom can make the challenge to marketers easier still by providing access to its database of over four million fully opted-in email consumer contacts. As one of the largest and most detailed files in the UK, it allows email addresses to be tied back to postal and other demographic information."

Mmegi Online has reported that "BotswanaPost last week Thursday launched Hybrid Mail at a function at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC). Hybrid Mail is a service designed for organisations that mail large quantities of invoices, statements, time-sensitive notices and business mail."

CNET has reported that "Demand for biofuels in Europe and the United States has forced up food prices 75 percent around the world, according to a World Bank report that was leaked and published in The Guardian newspaper on Friday." [EdNote: Let's hope the panicked silliness that surrounded calls for biofuels to substitute for petroleum isn't replicated in hysteria over mail and the environment.]

As Forbes put it: "Escargot Mail Seen Racing To Go Public." See also the International Herald Tribune.

Press Release: "Virtual Systems Corp., creator of Mail-Shop® and Digi-Shop™ software solutions for direct mail and printing, announced the release of a postal-data-integration solution that will facilitate the automated importing of postal paperwork. The new automation — made possible through coordination of technology with BCC Software, Inc., of Rochester, N.Y. — leverages the expertise and knowledge base of both BCC and Virtual Systems in their respective core areas of postal technology and job-shop management. The system will be available to all common customers of the two companies."

MediaPost has reported that "Virtually all the nation's major newspaper publishers--Tribune, McClatchy, PMH--are in financial trouble, stuck in a morass of debt with barely enough cash to make scheduled payments. In fact, some have already missed payments--but even for those that remain solvent, a disturbing scenario lies ahead. With revenue declines accelerating, once-serviceable levels of debt may suddenly become crushing." [EdNote: Yet another manifestation of the changed ways by which people communicate and do business.]

The Cornish Guardian has reported that "Cornwall County Council's troubled newspaper has been classified as "junk" by the Royal Mail. Householders who have asked Royal Mail not to post general, unaddressed junk mail through their letter boxes will not receive the council's new journal "Your Cornwall". The council last night said that it would launch an investigation into the matter."

Reuters has reported that "the French government declined on Monday to comment on a report that a possible partial privatisation of La Poste could raise 2 to 3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) to help prepare one of the bastions of state ownership for competition. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's chief of staff lifted a taboo on changing the ownership of the postal service, one of the country's biggest employers with 280,000 staff, on Sunday by saying the idea of a stock market listing "deserves interest". The move would form part of France's efforts to prepare itself for the liberalisation of the European postal market by 2011."

Mailers Council executive director Robert McLean has told his members that:

The Postal Service has requested Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) so that it may seek early outs for 40,000 postal employees.

A VERA allows agencies like the Postal Service that are undergoing substantial restructuring, reshaping, downsizing, transfer of function, or reorganization to temporarily lower the age and service requirements in order to increase the number of employees who are eligible for retirement. The authority encourages more voluntary separations and helps the agency complete the needed organizational change with minimal disruption to the work force. By offering these short-term opportunities, an agency can make it possible for employees to receive an immediate annuity years before they would otherwise be eligible. An agency must request VERA and receive approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) before the agency may offer early retirement to its employees. The approval from OPM will stipulate a period of time during which the option will remain available.

Early retirement offers, or “early outs,” have rules that vary from one situation to another and may vary based on whether the employees are under the older Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System. Early out rules may, as just one example, allow an employee to begin collecting retirement benefits early, but only if accepting a 2% reduction in the annual benefit for every year of service short of the minimum retirement age. The early outs offered in the early days when Marvin Runyon was postmaster general were later severely criticized because they included incentives that many deemed unnecessary to get employees to accept the offers and because the offers should have excluded certain employee categories where the individuals perform essential tasks.

Details of the VERA that the USPS requested are unknown, but it is believed that it would be conducted in two stages. The first would be eligible to clerks, mail handlers, and supervisors. The second would be open to carriers and employees in maintenance and in the motor vehicle area.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) reports on its website that APWU President Bill Burrus will meet with postal officials today on this issue. The National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) website reports that at a postal symposium last week DPMG Pat Donahoe announced the request for the VERA and stated that if OPM grants the requested authority the early outs would be open to almost all USPS employees and would be done without incentives.

A response from OPM could come as early as August.

Federal Register: A public hearing has been scheduled to receive additional testimony on the universal postal service obligation. Receipt of this testimony will assist the Commission in developing a formal report due later this year. DATES: July 10, 2008. The hearing will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.in the Commission's hearing room at 901 New York Avenue, NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268-0001.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Oil's historic ascent from $100 to nearly $150 a barrel in just six months is lending weight to a far grimmer prediction: Crude could reach $200 a barrel by the end of the year." [EdNote: Like you really needed this piece of information at the start of a new business week. Unfortunately, it's a sign of the times.]

The Miramichi Leader has reported that "Over the next few months, our Conservative federal government is conducting a review that will determine the future of universal, public postal service. This review is pretty much a secret review and it could be very bad news for rural communities. The government will look at three very basic and important questions: What postal services should people receive? Who should provide them? And should Canada Post continue to have an exclusive privilege to handle addressed letters, or should the letter market be open to competition?"

AMEInfo has reported that "Emirates Post made a strong case for amendments to Universal Postal Union's new Terminal Dues system (that fixes the postal charges to be paid by individual countries for international mail) at the recent meeting of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) in Cairo. Acting on behalf of Arab postal corporations, Emirates Post highlighted the unfair clauses in the system and introduced the delegates to the amendments suggested by Emirates Post and other like-minded postal bodies."

According to Forbes, "State-owned La Poste is considering opening up its capital in order to raise 2 billion to 3 billion euros as it prepares for the liberalisation of the European postal sector in 2011.

"Rivals to Royal Mail now handle one in every four letters and are poised to increase volumes further, The Times has learnt. Royal Mail's business could shrink further if rivals continue to grow. The loss of business to rivals comes as a review commissioned by the Government looks into the future of the state-owned group. There are growing worries from Royal Mail, Postcomm, the industry regulator, and the main postal union, that Royal Mail is facing dire financial problems."

One contributor to WhatTheyThink cautioned: "Don't Let Mailing Costs Grow Faster Than Your Business."

The New York Times has reported that "As the cost of fuel soars and the pressure mounts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, several schemes for a new generation of airship are being considered by governments and private companies. A French technology start-up, Aerospace Adour Technologies, is working with the French post office to study the feasibility of transporting parcels by dirigible. Postal officials have long searched for alternatives to trucks and planes, aiming to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2012."  Ditto for Russia.

From PRWeb: "The industry standard for exchanging postal data is Mail.dat® and the dates that mailers are required to produce and accept them for the new 08-2 format is quickly approaching. Window Book, the leader in postal mailing and shipping software, announces its mailing product DAT-MAIL has been upgraded to support the latest Mail.dat 08-2 specification and has included free support of the USPS FAST electronic drop ship scheduling system to help mailers be compliant with Intelligent Mail requirements."

July 6, 2008

Reuters has reported that "A partial privatisation of the French postal service "deserves interest," the French president's chief of staff said on Sunday. "I think it is a project that deserves interest," Claude Gueant told Europe 1 French radio. The move would require changing the status of the French postal service and turn it into a public limited company or "societe anonyme."

In comments provided to the Postal Regulatory Commission, Murray Comarow, Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and former executive director of President Johnson’s Commission on Postal Organization, said that "if the Commission recommends (and Congress adopts) changes in universal service, letter, and mailbox monopolies in such a way as to reduce revenue, it will be another body blow to a system already regarded as ungovernable by its own Board and by most members of the President’s 2003 Commission. Saddled with unprecedented constraints, fierce competition from UPS, FedEx, and electronic communication, and lacking the authority commonly vested in businesses, the Postal Service is fighting for its life."

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that "the international freight industry will face increasing pressure to cut back on flights and revert to sea and rail deliveries because of environmental concerns, the head of Australia Post predicts. "One of the challenges in international logistics is going to be greenhouse [emissions]," he said. Mr John said growth in international freight from consumer goods such as electronics had been managed on a "just in time" basis, with air travel preferred to other forms of transport because of its speed advantage. But that approach was no longer viable."

The Chiefland Citizen has reported that "Chiefland Postal Clerks Debbie Hamberger, Bonnie George and Kim Poole thought they were doing the right thing when they questioned a sudden change in policy regarding mail box late fees. Although that order was eventually reversed, Hamberger and George say they are still feeling the repercussions for their act of "whistleblowing" - in a big way. Hamberger and George are in their fifth week of serving an "emergency suspension without pay." Poole said she has escaped such status because she is officially on sick leave. Looking at the big picture, all three fear for their jobs. All U.S. Postal officials will say is that it's an ongoing internal investigation being handled within the system."

As the News & Observer noted, "Companies have long been trying to get us to "go green." That's their environmentally friendly way of saying they don't want to send paper bills and statements. Some offer cash rewards or bonus points on credit cards to those who go paperless. Citi promises to plant a tree for each of us who agrees to go online to view and pay our credit card bill. Progress Energy will simplify our lives by sending e-mail alerts that our bills are available, then drafting the payment from our bank. All of this saves paper and trees and reduces our carbon footprint. And it obviously saves the companies money and saves us postage and time. So why do their come-ons leave me cold? I want my paper."

From PR-Inside: "Express in Sweden industry profile is an essential resource for top-level data and analysis covering the express industry. It includes detailed data on market size and segmentation, plus textual and graphical analysis of the key trends and competitive landscape, leading companies and demographic information."

As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted, "as rising gas prices take their toll on the economy, mail delivery companies, which collectively clock billions of miles each year, are taking a hit."

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported that "The U. S. Postal Service is grouping all its shipping and mailing functions into one unit to take advantage of a 2006 federal law that helps the agency set prices to be more competitive with private shipping companies. Robert Bernstock, a former president of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., will lead the new Shipping and Mailing Services division, the Postal Service said last week in a statement. The unit joins product management and development and commercial sales, which is responsible for more than $ 70 billion in annual revenue. The restructuring also will unite “Intelligent Mail Barcode” activities under the agency’s chief operating officer, according to the statement. The project, which officials expect to implement by May 2009, will support mail operations such as acceptance and payment and processing and delivery."

The Kuwait Times has reported that "Reflecting its strong dissatisfaction with Kuwaiti postal services, Japan recently threatened to halt all postal exchanges with Kuwait, while three Arab countries, Egypt, Jordan and UAE, complained of these services' deterioration, reported Al-Qabas. In official correspondence with the Ministry of Telecommunications, the four countries complained of mail sent to Kuwait repeatedly being reported as lost, and expressed their dissatisfaction with Kuwait's failure to respond to inquiries made on the issue."

Postcomm, the independent regulator for postal services in the UK, has approved IDRS Ltd's application to run a redress scheme for postal services. The redress scheme will consider complaints about licensed products and services provided by licensed postal operators if a customer and a company are unable to resolve a complaint between themselves. It will provide resolution and redress for complaints while maintaining the principle that the primary responsibility for resolving consumer complaints sits with the postal operator. The new arrangements will come into effect on the 1 October 2008. It will be funded by licensed postal operators.

BruneiDirect has reported that "Brunei Postal Services and the Korea Post yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Ministry of Communications. Under the MOU, the Brunei Postal Services and Korea Post will have the opportunity to strengthen existing cooperation relations in various postal services related fields in order to develop and upgrade the quality of postal services."

Here's an interesting piece from the Quami Ekta News Service on the history of the Indian postal service.

The Nation has reported that "The Post and Telecommunication Officers Unions are set to launch a major trade union action from Thursday till their demands are met by the Government. According to the President of the Union, Navaratna Bandara, the Union would take part in the July 10 General Strike, while theirs would be a continuous one commencing Thursday."

July 5, 2008

Journal Live has reported that "a Northumberland postman failed to deliver thousands of items of mail as he struggled to cope with work and personal pressures, a court heard yesterday. Lee Regan had worked for the mail service for ten-and-a-half years when more than 10,000 postal packages from his round were found during a search of his car and home."

Economic Times has reported that "India Post is planning to increase rates of its mailing, courier and freight services across the board. The rate hike, which comes after nine years, would be applicable for services such as speed post, express parcel post and logistics post and would be in the range of 15-20%. Even rates of regular mail services including post cards, competition post card (used for participating in TV and radio programmes), envelopes and inland letters are likely to be revised."

Forbes has reported that "The German grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur said it has forced Deutsche Post World Net AG. to improve competitors' access to its letter-sorting facilities, mainly by extending their opening hours. German postal regulation allows Deutsche Post's competitors to use the former monopolist's mail distribution infrastructure for services they offer only partially themselves. This includes the collection and pre-sorting of mail that is than being processed by Deutsche Post."

One writer for the Kuwait Times has asked: "Does the postman still exist?"

Nearly two dozen post offices are facing the axe in Cambridgeshire, the Cambridge News can reveal.

According to Hellmail, "DX, the independent postal service, has opened a new sorting centre in Avonmouth. The new centre is the result of a good year for DX, which has gone from strength to strength, even during the bitter postal strike at Royal Mail last year. DX, which operates a network of pickup and collection points via solicitors and financial service companies, says the new £650,000 centre means it can improve the speed and accuracy of sorting operations and a further 30 new jobs have been created."

July 4, 2008

The DM Bulletin has reported that "The Royal Mail uses a relationship break-up as a metaphor for the breakdown of a brand's relationship with a customer in a campaign to promote the effectiveness of direct mail in driving loyalty. The two-phased direct mail campaign, created by Proximity London, is called "Mail for me" and will be sent to senior executives at advertising and marketing agencies several days apart. Both mailings take the form of a personal letter sent from a disillusioned female lover ending a relationship because of a communication breakdown."

According to the Ottawa Sun, "Canada's federal mail service has intercepted hundreds of illicit shipments of drugs, booze, weapons and cigarettes in the past 16 months, nabbing everything from ecstasy en route to Happy Valley, Nfld., to magic mushrooms and marijuana bound for the west. Documents obtained by Sun Media under Access to Information show Canada Post inspectors discovered crack cocaine, knock-off Gucci bags and bottles of rum, whiskey and vodka stuffed into parcels and illegally sent in the mail between January 2007 and May 2008."

Get familiar with this privately operated site. Here is where you can learn what you need to know to dispute
the malarkey spread by others about the alleged environmental horror of advertising mail. Give it your support.

The Telegraph-Journal has reported that "Postal workers will be holding an information picket at the main post office in Saint John this afternoon in support of rural mail carriers. Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers will gather at 4 p.m. to help educate the public about the plight of the rural carriers who are suffering financially because of rising fuel costs. Rural and suburban mail carriers, who used to be independent contractors, were absorbed into the CUPW fold during the last contract negotiations in 2003. But they weren't granted the same wages and benefits as the regular carriers."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL yesterday (June 3) announced the introduction of what it claimed were the largest two new time-definite express products in 12 countries across Latin America − DHL Express 10:30 a.m. for deliveries to the US and DHL Express 12:00 p.m. for delivery services within Latin America."

The Dayton Daily News has noted that "A cult favorite among last-minute mailers in the Dayton area, the United States Postal Service branch at Dayton International Airport is scaling back operations and may close if it doesn't see more business."

Today's Zaman has reported that "The Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate (PTT) has launched operations in the logistics business to establish a powerful rival against the industry's burgeoning private companies."

Hellmail has reported that "CEO of Poste Italiane, Massimo Sarmi, and President and CEO of Egypt Post, Alaa Fahmy, are scheduled to starts off a cooperative program for the development of Egypt’s national postal system as established by ane agreement signed last March. The agreement between Poste Italiane and Egypt Post allows for the activation of joint projects aimed at improving the quality of Egypt’s postal system and heightening innovation through the introduction of new services. It also specifies that Finmeccanica will be acting as technological partner which will provide the technological platforms with which the Egyptian postal system will operate."

The Mayo Advertiser has reported that "IFA Countryside Chairman David Wikinson today urged all rural dwellers to make a submission to the Department of Communications on the opening up to competition of the postal network."

Economic Times has reported that "India Post is planning across-the-board hike in the rates of its mailing, courier and freight services. The rate hike, which comes after nine years, would be applicable to services like speed post, express parcel post and logistics post, and would be in the range of 15-20%. 0Even the rates of normal mails including postcards, competition postcards — used for participating in TV and radio contests — envelopes and inland letters are likely to be revised. Rate hike for normal mail would be on the minimal side while it would be higher in the case of business and media posts, used mostly by the corporate world."

The Hindu has reported that "At least 22 post offices in Orissa have been closed during the past two years and another 50 are on the verge of winding up due to acute staff crunch. Not long ago, in February 2007 a middle-aged post peon hanged himself inside a local post office for he was allegedly unable to cope with the workload and pressure from his bosses. According to sources at least 5000 posts in various rank and files of the department are lying vacant in about 9000 post offices in the State as they are not filled after its occupants retired or died in recent days. More than 60 per cent of the post offices and other offices of the department are functioning from poorly maintained rental accommodations while over 16,000 postal sevaks here are working without proper service rule governing them, sources added."

July 3, 2008  

The USPS has posted to FedBizOpps.gov a Draft Request for proposals (RFP) for a Time-Definite Surface Network (TDSN), the next step in a process following last year’s RFI on the same subject. The Draft RFP provides an opportunity for industry to review and understand the Postal Service’s requirement and to provide comment and feedback on the various sections of the solicitation including the Statement of Work (SOW) and provisions and clauses. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments or questions in accordance with the Instructions to Responders as outlined in the Draft RFP cover letter posted on FedBizOpps. Primary Point of Contact.: Joyce B Randolph, Purchasing & Supply Management Specialist jrandolp@email.usps.gov Phone: 202-268-6178

Those who are interested can take a gander at the Postal Service's proposed network reorganization plan here.

Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service plans to close dozens of facilities across the country as part of a major reorganization, a move that could save millions of dollars and create a more flexible postal network. But the plan is certain to spark a fresh round of bickering with the agency’s strong labor unions."

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

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Here's a beaut. This is from CNET. "A chemical used to make LCD televisions and semiconductors could cause more global warming than coal-fired power plants, a report warns. Nitrogen trifluoride is a "missing greenhouse gas," according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on June 26. It's used in chemical vapour deposition for making liquid crystal displays, semiconductors, and synthetic diamonds. Production of the chemical could double to 8,000 metric tons in 2009, atmospheric chemist Michael Prather, who co-wrote the report, told New Scientist. Nitrogen trifluoride's globe-warming effect reportedly could be 17,000 times stronger than that of carbon dioxide."  And the Hollywood types worry about mail? See also The Register.

DMM Advisory: The latest U.S. Postal Service DMM Advisory has been posted on this site. It pertains to: (1) New Pressure-Sensitive Labels for Scheme Bundles, (2)Priority Mail Open and Distribute, (3) Express Mail Custom Designed Agreements, and (4) Express Mail and Return Receipt for Merchandise: Waiver of Signature.

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

On June 30, Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) filed comments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), as part of his contribution to the ongoing Commission deliberations on universal service. The former chairman of the House Postal Service Subcommittee prefaced his remarks by observing that:

"Congress debated the future of the Postal service for 12 years and during that time a bipartisan consensus formed that held universal service should be broadly defined to serve all Americans, rich and poor, urban and rural, nationwide. That has historically meant six-day delivery, reasonable access to retail services, as well as convenient access to collection boxes."

McHugh argued against proposals that discriminate against rural and low-mail-volume areas. Rep. McHugh acknowledged the value of small post offices, particularly in sparsely populated areas of the country.

The BBC has reported that "Royal Mail staff have said they will go on strike if plans go ahead to shut Coventry's postal sorting office. The company says it needs to shut the Bishop Street office and move the operations to Northampton because the Coventry site is no longer suitable. The move would mean 500 jobs would have to be transferred from the Bishop Street office. Mick Kavanagh from the Communication Workers Union said many staff were upset with what had happened. Mr Kavanagh met city MPs at the House of Commons on Wednesday and said he was still in talks with Royal Mail managers. However, he warned that unless matters were resolved quickly, staff would be prepared to strike."

DutchNews.nl has reported that "Trade union federation FNV has urged new postal delivery companies such as Sandd and Selektmail to come to the negotiating table as soon as possible to work on a new pay deal for delivery workers."

Hellmail has reported that "Key Note, which provides independent industry analysis, has just released an 85 page market assesment of business postal services in the UK. The assessment report examines the market as it stands, focusing on the part of the industry for which licences are required. The report looks at how the mail markets operate on an international level, and suggesting how the market will develop in the future. Extensive research was conducted using information from the regulatory body Postcomm, as well as individual companies and European and international information sources. Key Note also invited key industry practitioners to take part in a virtual roundtable, to elicit views from within the industry itself."

The Cotswold Journal has noted that "vulnerable members of society will have the most to lose if village post offices close."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its international traffic data for May, showing a significant drop in cargo growth to 1.3%. The rate is considerably down from the 4.3% recorded for the full year 2007. For the first five months of 2008, air freight volumes were up 2.8%. The biggest cause of the slow growth was a 0.5% contraction in Asian carrier traffic. According to IATA analysts, that resulted from the impact of the earthquake in China and weakness in the Japanese economy. Asian carriers also saw weakness in transpacific markets with increased competition from US carriers taking advantage of the weak US dollar. North American cargo traffic grew 4.6% as US carriers shifted capacity from domestic to international routes. Europe recorded a sluggish 1.4% increase, with the strong Euro damaging the competitiveness of both European exports and the European air cargo business."

EurActiv has reported that "A European court has dealt a blow to the EU executive by overturning its 2002 decision to confiscate "illegal" state aid received by the German postal operator. The ruling took place just one week after Brussels announced tougher action against mail operators attempting to shield their remaining monopolies."

July 2, 2008

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: American Express 200 Vesey Street, MS 01-33-03 New York, NY 10285-1000 represented by Russatta Buford, Senior Manager, Government Services, Merchant Services

The Costa Rica Daily News has reported that "Postal workers of a Brazilian state-owned company have gone on strike in a dispute over the payment of a danger allowance. The dispute centers on the state-owned company's refusal to fulfill an agreement to pay postmen a danger allowance of 30 percent of their wages, signed in Nov. 2007."

From Canada NewsWire: "MBEC Communications Inc. (MBEC), the privately held Canadian company that owns The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. master license in Canada, today announced new owners of the company. David Druker, who has been a centre owner and area franchisee in Quebec since 2005, and Larry Plotnick, a seasoned business executive, have acquired the company effective today."

World Radio Switzerland has reported that "The Swiss Postal Regulation Authority has given its seal of approval to the cabinet’s plans to open up the postal market. Post Reg says getting rid of Swiss Post’s monopoly will probably not result in cheaper services, but it says there will be some benefits. The Swiss government wants competitors to be allowed to deliver some letters from next April, with a complete market deregulation in three years’ time."

NetNews has reported that "St Thomas, USVI Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen announced on Tuesday that she has been advised by the Office of the US Postal Service’s Inspector General that it has begun its investigation into her charges that the level of mail service in the US Virgin Islands is unacceptable."

Okay, you've heard about the Postal Service's headquarters reorganization, but now you want to see how it looks on an organizational chart. Well, here it is.

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

Following a year-long preparation time, the 10th draft of China’s new postal act is due to be presented very shortly. The draft is due to be put to the People’s Congress in August this year.
"A lack of trust that has been growing for a considerable length of time", said supervisory board chairwoman Marianne Nivert in a comment on the sudden discharge of Posten’s CEO Erik Olsson. She regretted the unfavourable timing with regard to the planned fusion with the Danish post but stressed that the decision to discharge Mr Olsson, who was fired with immediate effect last week, had been inevitable.
The Swiss KEP&Mail association is opposed to the purchase of press distribution company Prevag Presse-Vertriebs AG by Schweizerische Post and has alerted Weko, Switzerland’s competition authority in the matter.
Competition authorities are currently focussing their attention on Post Danmark as well as two private service providers, media reports claim. An inquiry is apparently looking at whether the post has granted unlawful discounts.
Mail volumes in the liberalised segment of the Portuguese postal market shrunk significantly during the first quarter 2008.
In Germany, both trade unions and employers’ associations have rejected the current drafts for legislation pertaining to minimum working conditions and the posting of workers, claiming the drafts violated the collective bargaining autonomy.
DHL and New Zealand Post have extended their co-operation. On Monday the post announced the establishment of Express Couriers Australia Pty Limited (ECA) as a 50:50 joint venture with Deutsche Post World Net. The partners want to develop the Australian domestic express market with the help of the new company, similar to the activities of the already existing joint venture Express Courier in New Zealand.
TNT has introduced three new express products in the Asian market. Express Freight, Economy Freight and Freight Plus apply to time-sensitive consignments that exceed the weight and size limits for express consignments. All three services are door-to-door with clearly outlined transmission times, defined delivery date windows and consignment tracking available throughout.
Russian carrier Aeroflot seems intent on focussing entirely on its co-operation with the Russian Post
Österreichische Post acquired the remaining 23.85% of German logistics operator Trans-o-flex at the end of June.
The Postal Workers Union in the USA is preparing to fight the network restructuring plans put forward by the US Postal Service.
The antitrust commission of the Komi Republic in Russia has confirmed that the Russian Post has violated current competition legislation.
For marketing firms that deal directly with customers, electronic media have substituted conventional mail - but without any reduction in mail volumes.
New Zealand Post is selling its messaging service. The post has signed an agreement with Market Impact Ltd, which takes over the post’s e-mail and text marketing business with immediate effect for a purchase price of approx. 250,000 NZD.

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.)

July 1, 2008

The Nonprofit Times has reported that "Santa Claus might be the only jolly person this holiday season. Those involved with direct mail fundraising campaigns are feeling the heat this July as they gear up for the holiday mailing season. With an economic downturn, last year's and this year's postage hikes and a presidential election to contend with, direct mailers are planning on conservative campaigns this year."

In a dramatic realignment of several of its core functions, the Postal Service today moved to position the organization to capitalize on new competitive opportunities and significantly enhance the vision of its customer outreach. The realignment creates two new strategic focal points, the first grouping all major shipping and mailing products in one division, and the other, representing the voice of the customer, giving priority to the interests of business and individual mailers. The realignment also consolidates all Intelligent Mail Barcode activities under the chief operating officer to focus on execution in the year ahead.

CNNMoney has reported that "Stamps.com® , the intelligent alternative to a postage meter, today announced that it received a unanimous jury verdict that its NetStamps® feature and technology does not infringe any of the patents asserted by Kara Technology. The jury also found that no damages are due."

Reuters has reported that "Package delivery company FedEx Corp has lowered its rates in the fiercely competitive Chinese market despite higher fuel prices."

Air Cargo World has reported that "eutsche Post World Net's decision to outsource DHL Express' domestic U.S. airlift to UPS is drawing fire from a coalition of public officials and union forces - and the state of Ohio. The 10-year deal, which could bring some $10 billion to UPS, will face extensive antitrust scrutiny. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is calling for an investigation into whether DPWN's plans for DHL would violate U.S. antitrust laws by reducing competition in the express package delivery market."

Radio New Zealand has reported that "New Zealand Post has boosted its Australian courier business, expanding it into a nationwide joint venture with a German company it already works with in New Zealand."

According to the Dayton Daily News, "The cargo delivery company DHL has said it would consider donating its entire Wilmington freight hub operation to the community if the company concludes a business deal with United Parcel Service that could wipe out thousands of Wilmington jobs, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner and a state official said Monday, June 30."

EurActiv has reported that "Speaking to EurActiv, Dutch state secretary for economic affairs Frank Heemskerk rejected allegations that his country was "backtracking" on liberalising its postal market, saying he was committed to the fight for a level playing field across Europe."

DM News has reported that "The catalog industry has faced a number of challenges in the last couple of years, admitted Postmaster General John Potter at an American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) forum in Washington D.C. on June 27. "Quite frankly, you got hammered," Potter said in reference to last year's rate increase. Rising paper and fuel costs have also caused an impact, he added. "I want you to be aggressive with us to get us to do what we need to do to help you and your business to succeed," Potter told the ACMA members. In response, several mailers asked Potter about the possibility of a special "prospecting" rate for catalogers."

Afrique en ligne has reported that "The Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) has named Kenya's Rodah Masaviru the new secretary general."

Bloomberg has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, Europe's largest mail service, won a court bid to overturn an European Union decision that it misused 572 million euros ($900 million) in state subsidies." See also the Wall Street Journal.

The New Times has reported that "The National Post Office will soon upgrade its mail delivery service. Director General, Celestin Kayitare told the press that the institution has set goals in terms of developing and increasing the networking capacity in all Rwandan provinces. The Post Office chief revealed that some clients were complaining that their messages do not reach their destinations, adding that the inconsistency would be solved once the new facilities are in place."

As WhatTheyThink recently noted, "The recent introduction of Kindle, a wireless electronic-paper display that Amazon claims looks and reads like real paper, has resurrected the paperless debate. For print providers, this is a frightening thought as most of the value we provide is directly related to paper. While the primacy of print is being challenged, the reports of the death of paper are greatly exaggerated. With the proliferation of media outlets, there is no lack of facts and opinions on this topic. The line between them has become blurred with opinion often being presented as fact. What follows are some facts related to paper use...."

Hellmail has reported that "Parcelnet is to deliver an extra 12.5m parcels a year after acquiring Dutch-owned TNT's courier service. Last year Parcelnet took over Redcats UK, a key player in the UK home shopping sector and says the latest acquisition will help strengthen Parcelnet's network and expand it's client base."

The Telegraph has noted that "The state health department is not concerned about family planning alone. The postal department, too, is now playing an active role. The postal department of the Jharkhand circle has entered the domain with all its branches, including those based in the villages, stocking condoms for sale. Rakshak, a super deluxe condom brand, are available at post offices at one-third its price."

Comments submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission in response to its request for input regarding its study and pending report on universal mail service are available on the PRC web site.

In a paper submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission in response to its request for input regarding its study and pending report on universal mail service, Direct Communications Group CEO Alan Robinson noted that "The Postal Regulatory Commission has a particularly difficult task in writing this report. There are numerous competing interests that need to be balanced with the charge that Congress set before it. More importantly, the Commission has the challenge of dealing with both our romantic attachment to the mail and the historical role that the Postal Service has played as well as the reality that the role in the economy that the Postal Service fills today and the future no longer fits that historical image."

The Postmaster General has announced several key Headquarters organizational changes designed to “strengthen our position in an extremely competitive marketplace,” he said.

Look for additional announcements of changes, including retirements, in the days to come.

The Associated Press has reported that:

The Postal Service on Monday announced a reorganization that officials expect to streamline agency operations. The change will create two "focal points" for the agency, one to deal with shipping and mailing services and the other to work with customers and others outside the post office. Robert F. Bernstock has been hired as president of the newly created Shipping and Mailing Services Division, Postmaster General John Potter said. Bernstock has served as president and chief executive of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., senior vice president and general manager of the Dial Corp., president and chief executive of Atlas Commerce and executive vice president of Campbell Soup Co. His division is responsible for about $70 billion in annual business for the post office and consolidates portions of the agency involved in air and ground shipping.

David Shoenfeld, formerly senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Federal Express, will assist Bernstock as senior vice president for mailing services.

The second focal point, Customer Relations, will combine consumer and business customer relationships, external and internal communications and pricing under Stephen Kearney, a current postal officer. Kearney is a 28-year veteran of the Postal Service, serving most recently as vice president for pricing and classification.