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Postal News from September 2008:

September 30, 2008

Self-Service has reported that "Wincor Nixdorf has expanded its software-solutions portfolio for postal-services providers. The PC/E Postal Solution Suite covers primary postal processes, ensuring effective processing of classic postal services and financial services, as well as those of sales processes that resemble retail sales."

In a letter to the editor of Newsweek, in response to a piece published by the magazine on advertising mail and the Postal Service (see first item reported here on September 27), Linda Woolley, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs Direct Marketing Association wrote:

"Caitlin McDevitt’s October 6th article, “To Postal Workers, No Mail Is ‘Junk,” did a disservice to your readers by downplaying direct mail’s value, both in the economy and for consumers. What is important for readers to understand is that:

  • Direct mail is crucial to jobs and the U.S. economy – both of which are threatened by Do Not Mail legislation. Last year, direct mail represented more than $686 billion in sales, supporting jobs at more than 300,000 small businesses across the country.
  • Direct mailers believe in honoring consumer choices; in fact, it is in their interest to target their mailings to consumers who will respond. Similarly, consumers do have choices when it comes to managing their mail. In 1971, DMA created a service, www.dmachoice.org, to help consumers control what they receive in their mailboxes. DMAchoice.org is a free portal which enables consumers to express their preferences directly to the merchants themselves.
  • Most paper produced in America today comes from trees that are grown as managed crops for that specific purpose. Indeed, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), forest land in the U.S. has increased by 5.3 million acres in the last 30 years.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that:

The chief executives from nineteen of the companies from what is known as the CEO Council have written to the chairmen of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission:

"to urge you to encourage the broad-based adoption of the full-service Intelligent Mail®barcode ("IMb") by offering a meaningful price incentive in May 2009.

"Broad-based adoption of the full-service IMb is good for the Postal Service. Broad based adoption ofthe full-serviCe IMb will allow the Postal Service to better manage its costs — through reduced mailacceptance and verification and reduced UAA mail -- improve network efficiency, and enhance thevalue of mail via improved service performance and new value-added services. Mailers will also benefit from the adoption of the full-service IMb.

"These benefits, however, must be weighed against the substantial costs to the mailing industry associated with adoption of full-service IMb. Successful implementation of the full-service IMb impacts more than just the mail production environment, it affects legacy communications systems, disrupts existing business operations, and imposes a significant burden on IT resources. Current mailing industry estimates of the costs associated with IMb implementation exceed $250 million —exclusive of anticipated operational costs associated with supporting full-service IMb which may increase the cost of business by as much as 15 percent for some mailers."

A European Commission report on "Main Developments In The Postal Sector (2006-2008)" has been posted on the Commission's web site.

The Galveston Daily News has reported that "Some mail delivery begins on the island."

The Port Huron Times Herald has asked: "How close an eye do you keep on your mailbox? A Javelin Strategy and Research survey on ID theft estimates 8.1 million Americans became victims in 2007. Nearly a half-million cases occurred as the result of stolen mail. Bank statements, credit card and loan invoices, utility bills, checks, and healthcare records all contain a wealth of information for identity thieves and are regularly delivered in the mail to all our homes."

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service Global Expedited Package Service negotiated service agreement. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations. Comments are due October 2, 2008. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. For further information contact Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, 202-789-6820 and stephen.sharfman@prc.gov.

Transport Intelligence has announced the further enhancement of its Asia Pacific intelligence portfolio with the publication of Asia Pacific Transport and Logistics 2008.

According to China Knowledge, "Postal Savings Bank of China is to issue the first credit card as early as this October or November, sources reported. At the China International Financial Exhibition on Friday, the Postal Savings Bank, which was established in March 2007, revealed its six core business models, including credit banking, corporate banking, wealth management, international banking and credit card services. The credit card service has been put into internal trial operations since June before it is available to the public. The establishment of Postal Savings Bank marks huge progress in China's financial reform and is expected to improve financial services in the country's rural area due to the comprehensive post office network in the countryside."

From PR Newswire: "CSC has signed a new information technology (IT) services contract with the UK's Royal Mail to deliver a national mobile service to 25,000 delivery vehicles in its letters and parcels operation. The CSC-led team includes Blackbay, a provider of mobile workforce solutions. The service will enable Royal Mail to provide increased quality of service to customers by allowing them to view the status of their tracked deliveries in near real time via the Web. It will also enable replacement of current paper-based systems for the majority of tracked items, including Special Delivery(TM), by capturing signatures on mobile handheld devices provided by Intermec. The solution integrates numerous legacy systems and provides confirmation of delivery."

The News has reported that "The constant features of unreliability and uncertainty marring the regular postal service have become compelling factors for people to use modern methods of communications for sending Eid greetings whose quality and service have proven their worth with greater speed and cheaper costs."

September 29, 2008

The Senate has passed a bill (S. 3536) offered by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) "to amend section 5402 of title 39, United States Code, to modify the authority relating to United States Postal Service air transportation contracts, and for other purposes." The bill has been sent to the House.

From Business Wire: "GrayHair Software, Inc., a leader in the mail industry, has announced that it has become the first licensed processing partner of UAA Clearinghouse. The company will support both the UAA Suppression and the UAA Re-Direct address hygiene offerings at GrayHair's facility and incorporated into GrayHair product lines."

DMM Advisory:  "Effective Sept. 30, the U.S. Census Bureau is requiring mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) or through AESDirect for all international shipments, where a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) was previously required. The electronic filing requirement applies when any type of goods (per Schedule B Export Codes at www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/) is valued at more than $2,500 or requires an export license under U.S. law. The Electronic Export Information (EEI) must be filed through the Census Bureau’s AES or AESDirect website by the mailer or an authorized agent. The Postal Service never acts as an authorized agent. Export information filed in hardcopy on Commerce Form 7525-V, Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED), will no longer be accepted. To file through AESDirect, customers can go to www.aesdirect.gov. More information on electronic filing is available at the Census Bureau’s website www.census.gov/foreign-trade/aes, or by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-800-549-0595."

Postal commentator Gene Del Polito has asked: "As the late Vince Palladino used to put it: "Who'da thunk?" That's right. Who'da thunk that after seven successful years of cost-cutting and after the enactment of a new postal law, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) once would again find itself stuck between a fiscal rock and hard place? Of course, this time, it's different. This time, no one can blame the leadership of the USPS for not doing their mightiest to trim postal costs to reflect rapidly changing postal realities. So what's the cause of the current fix?"

According to Lehigh Valley Live, "Members of the American Postal Workers Union are planning a demonstration this afternoon in Allentown to protest last week's layoff at DHL."

As the Wichita Business Journal has noted, "Carolyn Tschetter has been busy making sure her clients know how the U.S. Postal Service’s new standard for bulk-mail lists will affect them. As owner of Office Aide Inc. Total Mailing Service in Wichita, she and her staff have been preparing for new bulk-mail regulations, which carry a stiff penalty for noncompliant businesses. Beginning Nov. 23, businesses will be required to update their bulk-mail list every 95 days instead of the current 185 days. The change pertains to all addresses appearing on mailings that claim first-class, presorted or automation rates. The penalty to the company is 7 cents for each piece of mail." [EdNote: If you're old enough, you probably can remember your mother taking you to shop at what was called "The Five and Ten," stores such as W.T. Grant, Woolworth, and Kresge--inexpensive but value-filled places to shop. The Postal Service, these days, is running it's own version of the five and dime. That is, with each new change in its pricing policies it nickels and dimes its customers to death. Now, I know saying this is going to ruffle some postal feathers. So here's my challenge. Prove me wrong. Prove me wrong when your next pricing opportunity comes along. Heck, I don't mind eating humble pie.]

According to one writer for DM News, "Who doesn't like presents? The best ones are those that we really want or need — even if we don't know it yet. Similarly, dimensional mailers have to be relevant, engaging and open the door to your offer — even if the recipient doesn't know they need it yet. Product sampling is a great example. Take that small box of cereal and dis count coupons inside the polybag with your morning newspaper — it's simple, immediate and unexpected. You try the cereal in the morning and use the coupon later. Brilliant." [EdNote: Sure....Until you take into account the Postal Service's pricing policies for those goodies.]

ThisIsWiltshire has reported that "The Royal Mail sorting office in Corsham has been put on the market as the operation prepares to move to Chippenham." [EdNote: In the UK, they not only close redundant postal facilities....they SELL them. Here in the U.S....well, let's just say it's a different story.]

According to WisInfo.com, "Handling the fulfillment responsibilities on your own if you are a small-business owner may seem like a good, cost-saving idea when you're just starting out. But as demand for your products grows, so too will your fulfillment backlog. Unless you stay on top of it, your sales will suffer along with your company's reputation for quality and responsiveness. This may be a good time to consider using an outside order shipping and fulfillment service. Outsourcing fulfillment can save you time."

The Indian Press Information Bureau has reported that "India Post is now poised to disburse micro-credit to Women Self Help Groups in 8 states and the NorthEast in a tie-up with NABARD. The states are Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. The scheme was so far operational in five districts in Tamil Nadu on a pilot basis. Post Offices in Tamil Nadu have successfully disbursed credit to the tune of Rs. 1.35 crores to 165 Women SHGs. No default has been noticed in the repayment."

Federal Register:  "In this final rule, the Postal Service is revising mailing standards for all Bound Printed Matter (BPM). In March we filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission for a classification change requiring all mailings of Bound Printed Matter be paid by permit only. The Commission agreed, and we are moving forward with the change. Postage payment for BPM mailings: carrier route, presorted, and nonpresorted (single-piece) flats and parcels, regardless of volume, are limited to permit imprint. Mailers can no longer affix postage by adhesive stamps, postage meter, or PC Postage[supreg]. BPM will not be accepted at retail counters, in collection boxes, or by carriers and must be deposited and accepted at the Post OfficeTM facility that issued the permit. Merchandise Return Service (MRS) permit holders may continue to pay nonpresorted BPM prices on eligible items returned with a MRS label. This rule is effective September 29, 2008."

According to the Courier, Express, & Postal Observer,  "at the Board of Governor’s meeting on Wednesday, September 24, Postal Service’s CFO Harold Glen Walker provided only a limited picture of the Postal Service’s current and near term and financial condition. He did not present as expected either a forecast of a projected loss for the remainder of the fiscal year, nor did he present an integrated financial plan for FY 2009 as was expected from the agenda e-mailed to the press. His only clear statement on finances was that the “4th quarter decline has occurred at an accelerating rate.” The postal community needs more information than that, and this post will provide an analysis that hopes to fill in the gap in public information that was left behind at the conclusion of the meeting."

September 28, 2008

Business Daily Africa has reported that "Competition in the money transfer business has kicked off a downward spiral in fees charged for the service with international firm, MoneyGram International, revising its rates. Players in the local money transfer business have started revising their rate cards as Safaricom’s M-pesa services — a mobile phone money transfer service gains a stranglehold of the cash business. Among the international money transfer schemes in Kenya, the government-owned Postal Corporation of Kenya operates Postapay, an electronic money transfer and boasts a considerable lower rate in the domestic market."

The Financial Times has noted that "We all appreciate the risks of things being lost in the post and most of us think twice about posting anything valuable. Yet a vast number of us are still sending highly sensitive information via e-mail and a variety of other antiquated methods that might have been state of the art 20 or 30 years ago but today are less secure than the good old postal service."

September 27, 2008

Newsweek has reported that "These are tough times for the U.S. Postal Service. It's being pummeled by high fuel costs. The soft economy is crimping the overall volume of mail, which fell 5.5 percent in the past year. Its business is also falling as Americans opt for e-mail over birthday cards and thank-you notes. Now comes another threat: consumers like Colleen Plimpton of Bethel, Conn. Earlier this year Plimpton became tired of the credit-card offers, catalogs and advertising fliers that clogged her mailbox. So in February she paid $20 to GreenDimes, a firm that helps consumers reduce their inflow of "junk mail" by contacting businesses on their behalf. "[Junk mailers] are cutting down trees willy-nilly, and that has got to stop," says Plimpton. To the post office, consumers like her are a serious threat. "Efforts to convince people not to receive mail are really going to hurt," says Steve Kearney, a Postal Service senior vice president."

Today's Zaman has reported that "One of the administrators of the Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate (PTT) has encouraged people to send greeting cards this year for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday following Ramadan, instead of conveying their holiday greetings through cell phone text messages or emails."

The New York Times has reported that "Prompted by an article in a tiny weekly newspaper in Shelter Island, N.Y., the Postal Service on Friday reversed a national policy prohibiting post offices from distributing applications for absentee ballots. The ban had outraged the League of Women Voters and members of Congress. Postal Service officials said the policy had been in effect for more than a decade, though it had not been universally followed and had attracted little attention."

According to Yahoo, "in the not-too-distant future, Visa credit cards may merge with cell phones. The card giant announced Friday that it is developing applications for Google's Android operating system and upcoming Nokia smartphones. Visa's Android application will allow the holders of Chase Visa cards to make mobile payments and receive real-time financial information. Actual phone-based payments may have to wait until the release next year of Nokia phones equipped with Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips, wireless smart cards that communicate with compatible readers over short distances (about four inches). Similar technology is already in use in Mobil's EZPay and Visa's payWave programs. The first NFC-equipped phone, the 6212 Classic, is scheduled for release in October 2009."

But PC Magazine doesn't necessarily agree. One of its writers said: "This week, Visa announced plans to bank and pay for things with your mobile phone. With NFC (Near Field Communications), the idea goes, you'll be able to use your cell phone as a Visa card at thousands of participating retailers that take Visa's PayWave system. The problem is that the U.S. landscape is littered with failed NFC pay-by-phone efforts."

According to 7thSpace, "ShipGooder.com has announced the launch of ShipGooder Mobile, a new mobile phone service that provides rate comparisons from all of the key courier companies, including FedEx, UPS, DHL, the U.S. Postal Service, Purolator and Canada Post. ShipGooder Mobile can be used from any mobile phone with web access at the address: m.shipgooder.com."

Tax-News.com has reported that "in a long-awaited revision of its VAT Act, the German cabinet has this week confirmed its decision to deprive monopoly giant, Deutsche Post, of a tax advantage bestowed until now, by extending the benefit to the mail carriers' competitors from January 1, 2010. Under a draft law, Germany’s biggest mail delivery company will cease to enjoy current privileges in VAT exemption, in a bid to appease the European Commission’s demands and bring Germany into line with European Union efforts to liberalise the bloc’s postal markets. Amendments to the Act would force the company to impose the full 19% VAT charge across the majority of its business and to key clients from 2010. Under the government’s proposal, the charge will be applied to individual and special services. Addressed books, catalogues, newspapers and magazines weighing more than 2kg each, as well as parcels of 10kg or more will incur the charge. Smaller parcels and letters under the stipulated weight will remain exempt."

PostCom often gets asked for information on mail volumes and revenues. You should know that this information is readily available on the Postal Regulatory Commission website. Here are two such instances:

September 26, 2008

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

Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

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According to the latest from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the "U.S. Postal Service has made progress  toward implementing GAO’s recommendations to strengthen network realignment planning and accountability and improve communication."

According to the Baltic Business News, "The Estonian new state budget draft act tightens state companies’ chubby dividends and the state isn’t ashamed to take dividends even form companies in loss. According to the draft act, all state companies have to pay dividends. The postal company Eesti Post has to give the state EEK 10 mln next year even despite the fact that the company has been in loss for the last years. Chairman of the supervisory board, Meelis Atonen, said that such plan came for him as a surprise. “Eesti post is a company that is fighting with loss,” he said. “Taking dividends in such situation is very wrong. A proper owner wouldn’t do that.”

As one writer to the Yorkshire Evening Post correctly noted, "the 'blame everything on Brussels brigade' would have us believe that post office closures have all been caused by the EU's insistence on competition. Perhaps a few facts are in order? The postal market in the UK was liberalised in the early 1990s by the then Conservative government. The recent EU regulations on the liberalisation of the postal sector therefore has no effect on the UK postal services whatsoever except to put others across Europe on a level footing with the UK."

One of the Wall Street Journal blogs has reported that "In a new development, the U.S. Postal Service is farming out its teams of employees around the country to serve as consultants to small businesses. It’s a way to get new customers to familiarize themselves with postal-service offerings, but small businesses also get help with customizing their mailing and shipping needs."

Forbes has reported that "The Justice Department should block a proposed deal between package delivery companies UPS Inc. and DHL Express because it would violate antitrust laws and eliminate thousands of jobs, a pair of Democratic senators said Thursday. The deal "will substantially diminish, if not eliminate, the competition between DHL and UPS by rendering DHL a captive of UPS rather than an independent competitor," Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in the letter. Kohl chairs a Senate antitrust subcommittee. Norman Black, a spokesman for UPS, said the agreement is a "straight vendor contract" and not subject to antitrust oversight."

Press Releases:

September 25, 2008

From PR-Inside: "An exciting opportunity has become available for businesses and corporate partners to fundraise for WRVS by helping in the official and independent measurement of Royal Mail's delivery performance by taking part in an on-going postal survey."

CIO Today has noted that "One of the world's largest active RFID networks is used by the International Postal Corporation, an organization composed of the 23 largest postal operations around the globe. The network employs about 15,000 active RFID readers that track the speed of international mail. The technology has resulted in improved delivery time."

Press Release: "Pitney Bowes MapInfo, the leading global provider of location intelligence, today announced Maponics Carrier Routes™ as the new source of carrier route and ZIP code boundaries for its location intelligence solutions. With postal rate increases, it is more important than ever to optimize direct mailing campaigns. Organizations with access to carrier route boundary data are able to target at the sub-ZIP code level, and qualify for the lowest postal rates on high-volume mailings."

According to the Washington City Paper, "The Washington Post burns through its share of paper. Its Sunday edition alone, bulked up by a sheath of advertising inserts and classified ads, can tip the scales at around 2½ pounds. That, of course, is just for the people who want it. The Post Co. also distributes its brand to people who don’t request it. Logan Circle resident Michael Sirvet says he’s been getting something called the Washington Post Shopping Guide “forever.” When he finds the weekly promotional piece in his mailbox, he follows a simple routine that involves throwing it away....After repeated pleas to the Post, Sirvet even called the U.S. Postal Service to ask whether it could stop a particular piece of mail from ending up in his box. The answer was no."

TechJournal South has reported that "Ryan Allis, founder and CEO of Triangle-based email marketing firm, iContact, says there is plenty of room for growth in providing email marketing services for small and medium-sized businesses, since only “one in 20 use it today.” He’s not talking about large corporations or organizations, but rather businesses such as restaurants and boutique shops, many of which have only recently begun using email to communicate with customers and employees. Allis says that he not only expects email use to continue growing, but he also thinks the U.S. Postal Service will have to move to digital delivery or become “completely irrelevant in ten years.”

The U.S. Postal Service and the Air Transport Association are petitioning Congress to "replace the anachronistic DOT international rate-setting function with a system of rates determined by the market economy." The Postal Service believes that the change would best serve postal customers and the nation.

Federal Register:  Under a new law, the Postal Service must file an annual compliance report with the Postal Regulatory Commission on costs, revenues, rates, and quality of service associated with its products. It has filed documents with the Commission to change some of the methods it uses to compile the fiscal year 2008 report. In the Commission's view, these documents constitute a rulemaking petition. Therefore, this document provides an opportunity for the public to comment on potential changes in periodic reporting rules. DATES: 1. Initial comments: September 26, 2008. 2. Reply comments: October 3, 2008. ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov.

DMM Advisory:  The latest U.S. Postal Service DMM Advisory pertaining to international packages and Priority Mail commercial pricing has been posted on this site.

Korea Times has reported that "The state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) Thursday announced the development of a new RFID application that could ``revolutionize’’ efficiency in the tracking of postal packages. The role of barcodes isn’t completely eliminated, however, as they will still be used to relay the information of each postal item to the electronic chips on the pallets."

From PR Inside: "Mail order industry is the earliest form in the non-store purchasing field, with more than a hundred years' history in developed countries and more than a decade in China. The market scale reached over one hundred billon Yuan in 2007. With the rapid development of Chinese logistics industry, the delivery time of mail order has been shortened greatly and the customer satisfactory degree is stably increasing. Meanwhile, with the advancement of telecommunications technology, mail order providers are able to offer customers better after-sale services. Nowadays, with the prevalence of the Internet, mail order holds several advantages including an even clearer destination and a much higher rate of delivery compared to other non-store purchasing means such as online shopping. Certainly, mail order itself is still unrelentingly creating new marketing pattern and takes the Internet as another promotion channel."

BizBox believes that "Paper Is The New Papyrus."

According to the Shelter Island Reporter, "Absentee ballot applications are no longer available at local post offices due to a “directive” from the U.S. Postal Service prohibiting the presence of the election forms in post office lobbies. This change in access to voter materials caught Shelter Island postal workers, the Suffolk County Board of Elections and the League of Women Voters by surprise."

Advertising Age has reported that "No matter which way you slice it, the first six months of 2008 have been a disappointing two quarters for everyone. Total measured ad spending declined by 1.6% in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The second quarter alone was down 3.7% over last year, marking the biggest quarterly drop since 2001."

From DM News:

The Statesman has reported that "With receivers still in troubled waters, the local postal department here is flooded with thousands of undelivered letters, that have been piling on since 20 September when the flood severed Garadpur, Patkura and Mahakalpada blocks from rest of the World. "

September 24, 2008

As Traffic World has noted, "the U.S. Postal Service will ask for a 23 percent increase in its federal appropriation in the next fiscal year as it copes with a dramatic decline in mail shipping this year. The USPS says mail volume will be down some 9 billion pieces in the current fiscal year from last year, partly because of the downturn in the American economy. The USPS says it is cutting costs by reducing work hours for its employees because it must "take steps now to shore up its business."

The Tampa Tribune has reported that "Thousands of pieces of mail destined for homes across the Tampa Bay area have not been delivered. The letters, cards and magazines have instead been hidden in storage units, stuffed into garbage bags and dumped in rural areas of Hillsborough County. Many were emptied of gift cards, cash, checks and credit cards. The people responsible for the thefts have been letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service, entrusted to handle and deliver the mail. Some of them were motivated by greed, taking gift cards, checks and cash and using them to buy personal items, including power tools and beer."

Check out the Consumer Postal Council web site for its "Index of Postal Freedom - Israel Post."

Press Release: "USPS is taking a page from its own playbook to advertise our new “Rethink Your Shipping” campaign. On Sept. 30, the Postal Service will target 600,000 small- to medium-sized businesses with a direct mail campaign of its own. Aimed at document and package shippers, the direct mail campaign touts the benefits of using USPS over the competition, and then provides information on getting a free shipping kit that includes Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes and envelopes, labels and special offers from our partners Stamps.com and Endicia. With the free kit customers can easily start shipping with us right away. A smaller campaign earlier in the year resulted in more than 3,000 replies. Look for this direct mail campaign in the mailstream next week."

Posted on this site is a Congressional Research Service report to Congress on "Do Not Mail Initiatives and Their Potential Effects: Possible Issues for Congress."

According to the BBC, "The Post Office is to close 43 branches across the west of Scotland."

Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Glen Walker provided the Board of Governors (BOG) an update on postal finances through the third quarter of the fiscal year at its open meeting today. As he reported to MTAC last month, the Postal Service experienced a year-to-date net loss through the first three quarters of the year of $1.1 billion. Walker gave no year-end projections and did not provide the Postal Service’s financial plan for FY 2009, as many in the audience expected. Walker did note that the decline in the fourth quarter has been at “an accelerating rate.” 


Recent filings with the Postal Regulatory Commission indicate that the Postal Service saw a net loss of nearly $1 billion in August. If September is even a break-even month, the USPS will end the year with a loss of about $2 billion.


The Postal Service is expected to unveil its FY 2009 financial plan at the November 13 open meeting of the BOG. The recent events in the financial markets and the overall economy may have delayed the Postal Service’s release of an FY 2009 financial plan, as the USPS considers the effects of a government bailout of the financial services industry and what it might mean to the larger economy and postal volumes.


Also at today’s BOG meeting, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Transition Linda Kingsley provided an overview of the Postal Service’s upcoming five-year strategic plan, known as Vision 2013. Kingsley said the new plan, which will be posted on the USPS’ website on Oct. 1, will be unlike previous strategic plans in that it will provide a vision, not tactics. The focus of the plan will be on the customer and service.


Read more on the BOG’s open meeting in this week’s issue of the PostCom Bulletin.

U.S. Postal Service Press Release: "As the current economic climate continues to contribute to a decrease in mail volume, and with no reversal in the trend in sight, the Postal Service reported today it expects to end the current fiscal year with a volume decline of nine billion pieces. The end-of-year financial results will be released in November. At today’s Board of Governors meeting, Postmaster General John Potter said the magnitude of the loss in mail requires the Postal Service to take steps now to shore up its business, which it is doing by reducing work hours. “While we deal with the economic challenges, customers and service to our customers will always be number one on our agenda, it is why we exist, it is our franchise,” said Potter."

The following have been posted on this site:

The F. Curtis Barry & Company's Multichannel Operations & Fulfillment Blog has posted "some of the more important issues ACMA is currently following and intervening in on behalf of its members." ACMA is a member of PostCom and its chief staff executive serves on PostCom's Board of Directors.

From Business Wire: "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, today announced it had launched a new Airbus A310 flight service to Vietnam to meet the country’s increasing demand for reliable time-definite express services. The new service increases FedEx capacity into and out of the country fivefold, to more than 30,000kg per day."

MediaDailyNews has reported that:

Bob McLean of the Mailers Council has reported that the Postal Service's chief financial officer did not give an estimate regarding the USPS' probable year-end financial position. Through quarter three, volume is down 5.5%, revenue is up 1.4%, and expenses are up 0.4%. The year-to-date loss through Q3 is $1.1 billion.

From Canada NewsWire: "Two large billboards that are critical of Lawrence Cannon's position on postal deregulation are going up today. One in downtown Gatineau and another in his riding."

GovExec.com has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has been using the technology just as long. One of the world's largest active RFID networks is used by the International Postal Corporation, an organization composed of the 23 largest postal operations around the globe.The network employs about 15,000 active RFID readers provided by Lyngsoe Systems of Denmark at international mail hubs such as John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The readers track 500,000 RFID tags inserted in test letters mailed to track the speed of international mail. Clayton Bonnell, the Postal Service's program manager for intelligent mail, says the technology and the metrics it provides has resulted in a tremendous improvement in the delivery of international mail."

According to The Scotsman, "just 30 people turned up to two meetings held in the city last night to discuss the future of two under-threat post offices. The meetings were called as part of a consultation process to discuss the future of the branches on Gorgie Road and Shandon Place, both of which are facing the axe. But despite assurances from Post Office bosses that the closures are not a done deal, the two meetings attracted a poor turnout."

Federal Register: The Commission is adding the Postal Service's negotiated agreements with China Post Group and Hong Kong Post to the competitive product list. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. DATES: Effective September 24, 2008.

The Chicago Sun Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who sent out a series of threatening letters containing white powder earlier this month."

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

In response to yesterday’s nationwide postal strike the French President’s office has announced a review of the partial privatisation planned by La Poste’s CEO Jean-Paul Bailly.
U.S. Postal Service is facing a growing financial gap. The figures are seriously limiting the scope for the management and make further cost-cutting exercises inevitable.
Royal Mail has officially confirmed that a recruitment campaign to find a successor for chairman Allan Leighton begins this week.
The German Treasury wants to abolish Deutsche Post AG’s VAT exemption in part.
The Russian Ministry for Post, Telephone and Telecommunications has confirmed plans to modernise the Russian Post. Three targets have been established for this year: the opening of two regional sorting centres and a uniform design for all post offices in the country. The post’s vehicle fleet is also to undergo important modernisation.
The Romanian government wants to apply a double strategy in order to make Posta Romana more competitive. First, the post will become more active in market segments with growth potential, and new products will be developed for this purpose. Second, the operative side of Posta Romana will be restructured in order to run more efficiently and in a more cost-effective way. First measures will be implemented this year and the entire programme put in place by 2012.
Opposition within Germany’s Federal Council to a draft bill on minimum wages presented by the Ministry for Social Affairs was unexpectedly strong last Friday. The plenary assembly demanded a crucial amendment to the drafts in order to prevent government interference with collective bargaining rights.
The days are numbered for the Nigerian post’s (Nipost) dual role as service provider and regulator. Postmaster General Mallam Ibrahim Baba stated that the country’s government was about to set up a committee for the regulation of postal and courier services. Here, the government was following the advice of the independent advisors it had commissioned to carry out a study for the purpose of a postal system reform.
As expected, figures for the first quarter ended on 31 August gave the management of Federal Express little reason to rejoice.
Korean department store chain Shinsegae has sold its loss-making parcel delivery service Shinsegae Dream Express.
DHL Express and Pos Malaysia have jointly launched an international premium express product.
UPS is allegedly already involved in enticing US customers away from DHL. In a written declaration on the planned co-operation between UPS and DHL submitted to the US House of Representatives, Astar’s COO Gary Hammes quotes a UPS sales agent, who apparently told him that DHL’s US service would become "substandard" under the new alliance.
DHL has stepped up competition with TNT in Finland by introducing a new additional flight between Turku and the European hub in Leipzig.
According to unconfirmed rumours, the Russian post’s managing director Andrei Kazmin is due to resign. Having assumed his post only late in 2007. Mr Kazmin is apparently set to move to the Ministry of Finance as deputy to Minister Kudrin.
On Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the congress of the German Association of Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) in Berlin that she was opposed to Deutsche Post’s plans to offer free newspapers.
Last Thursday French La Poste announced the acquisition of Portuguese direct mail operator Baam.
On Monday TNT introduced the market to its new advertising slogan and web design. The express service provider has given its worldwide online appearance a makeover. The web site reflects the new slogan "Sure we can".

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 National Business Review has reported that "New Zealand Post lifted annual net profit 26.9 percent to $110.2 million, but its dividend payment to the Government will be 23.7 percent down at $23.5 million." See also Stuff.co.nz and Radio New Zealand.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc.’s slogan “What Can Brown Do For You” has delivered a major award. The slogan has landed on The Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame between 42nd and 50th streets in New York. This year’s Advertising Week is from Sept. 22-26."

According to Northumberland Today, "Elections Canada doesn't recognize rural areas as part of its online service. Rural residents entering their postal code will quickly discover a message stating, "Your postal code information did not identify a valid electoral district," asking you to enter your street address. Entering your address results in the same response, directing you to begin a new search. This time you must search by province, and then electoral district."

Fox24News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has established a temporary mail pickup location in La Marque for residential and business customers who were served by the two main post offices on Galveston Island before Hurricane Ike struck the area."

Gulf Times has reported that "members of the quality steering committee of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) yesterday expressed confidence that the radio frequency identification project (RFID), aimed at improving the quality of postal delivery, would be successfully implemented in several countries across the world, most probably by early next year."

The Express Buzz has reported that "the Indian Postal Department will issue identity cards (ID), carrying the home address, to city residents from the second week of October."

Daily News & Analysis India has reported that "In an image makeover that befits the corporate sector, the government-owned India Post unveiled a new brand identity on Tuesday. The organisation launched its new logo in red and yellow, designed by Oglivy & Mather, to give the postal service a corporate look." See also the Calcutta Telegraph and the Indian Express.

According to the Deccan Herald, "Alarmed by complaints that the post office savings deposits are losing sheen blame the low interest rates the Centre plans to refurbish the schemes and offer higher interest rates."

Indian Express has reported that "Telecom Minister A Raja today said efforts are on to introduce the Post Office Act Amendment Bill, that brings courier companies under the ambit of its regulation, in the forthcoming session of Parliament.

The Postal Regulatory Commission has an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated, highly skilled person with experience in field of economics. Position Title: Economist Grade: Prc-3 Salary Range: $52,296 - $83,673 Location: Postal Regulatory Commission Office Of Accountability And Compliance Analysis And Pricing Division 901 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 200 Washington, Dc 20268-0001.

September 23, 2008

The United States Postal Service will announce a $2.5 billion dollar yearly loss tomorrow, ABCNews.com has learned. Postal service officials say the loss this year, and the year before, was due largely to a Congressional mandate requiring the Postal Service to pre-pay $5 billion in retirement benefits for postal workers. But for that requirement, say officials, the Postal Service would have posted a $2.5 billion profit this year.

GovExec.com has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has indefinitely frozen all hiring, promotions and other personnel changes in its latest response to a worsening financial position."

From Business Wire: "MailExpress Inc., the leading provider of performance mail solutions for corporate customers nationwide, today announced the appointment of two new board members: Andy S. Bodea, SVP of Global Operations for Equifax, and Linwood A. "Chip" Lacy, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Ingram Micro Inc. Bringing strong operational and strategic leadership experience working with a range of successful companies, the new board members are poised to help MailExpress reach aggressive revenue targets as the company rides strong momentum into the next stage of growth."

According to Royal Mail, "Almost two thirds of young consumers use a catalogue to shop, new Royal Mail research revealed today. Royal Mail’s Home Shopping Tracker Study 2008 revealed that 54 per cent of all adults use catalogues, either for buying directly or helping them with online or in store purchases. But for the 16 to 34-year-old age group this figure is even greater at 62 per cent - demonstrating that the ‘tech generation’ of young shoppers is embracing catalogues in the greatest numbers. The annual study also revealed that the 37 per cent of shoppers who consulted a catalogue before making purchases online in the past year spent 13 per cent more than those who did not. Online shoppers spent £1,502 on average but the figure rose to £1,694 for those who used catalogues first."

Advertising Age has reported that "The fifth annual Advertising Week in New York and the opening session of the United Nations' General Assembly intertwined for a short while Monday morning. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited a small group of the ad industry's top executives to U.N. headquarters for a chat. He wants the world's largest advertising holding companies to assist the U.N. in mounting a sustained advertising campaign about the dangers of global warming." [EdNote: Catalogers....Are you encouraging your correspondents to recycle their catalogs? They really ARE recyclable, you know.]

Okay, on the lighter side....Here's an item from Information Week:

First, the bad news. Men making a lot of hands-free calls from a mobile phone stored in a pants pocket could damage their reproductive chances, a research group said. Researchers at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic found that radio-frequency energy from mobile phones decreased sperm quality. The study of 361 men, posted on the clinic's Web site, found the greatest impact on those who used their phones for more than four hours a day.

Now, the good news. This doesn't happen when you communicate by mail. [We will now return to our regular programming.]

The Washington Post has reported that:

From PR-Inside: "In 2007, companies spent more than $6 billion on direct mail marketing(1), generating an average response rate of less than 3 percent. As costs continue to spiral upward and consumers increasingly disregard direct mail, companies are looking for cost-effective customer communication strategies that actually generate an acceptable ROI. In this complimentary, one-hour Webinar, Forrester Vice President Bruce Temkin will discuss the importance of delivering an exceptional customer experience, especially during an economic downturn. Attendees will also learn how two leading companies dramatically improved response rates at a fraction of the cost of traditional direct mail. WHEN: Tuesday, September 23, 2 - 3 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. - noon PDT."

The OC Register has reported that "An offer by Aliso Viejo City Council to purchase property slated for a controversial 350,000-square-foot mail processing plant was rebuffed Friday by the U.S. Postal Service officials, who said the deal was "not prudent," as "no viable alternative [is]available" for construction. City officials have criticized the Postal Service's vetting process and operational criteria for an alternative site, maintaining the agency's conditions are so narrowly defined that it necessarily excludes all other alternatives."

The News & Observer has reported that "A new contract post office that can cater to Spanish-speaking customers opened Monday in East Durham, U.S. Postal Service officials said."

According to the Star Herald, "UPS is delivering more than packages in the region. When it comes to community service, the company is delivering hope. Earlier this year, the United Parcel Service was recognized nationally by the United Way for its giving. For the eighth straight year, UPS employees - active and retired - were No. 1 with contributions, pledging $60.8 million during the 2007 United Way campaign."

USPS News Link has reported that "Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe’s latest edition of Field Updates takes a look at several cost-reduction strategies for fiscal year 2009, with a focus on removing some of the fixed costs in deliveries. Donahoe discusses two main strategies — maintaining the current hours per route through Quarter 1 and right-sizing route structures. “Our hours per route are between 7.5 and 7.75 — that’s great! We need to maintain that performance through December. “Based on projected workload in city delivery, there’s over a billion dollars in savings associated with route reduction and route structure potential,” Donahoe said. Included in that $1 billion is a full-time street concept worth $424 million in savings. Overall, the plan is expected to save $1.4 billion. And with mail volume down and an uncertain economy tightening everyone’s purse strings, Donahoe’s plan will help the Postal Service survive the challenging financial times ahead."

Canadian Business Online has published an interview with Pitney Bowes CEO Murray Martin.

MediaDailyNews has reported that "A distinguished group of panelists at an Advertising Week event Monday looked into their crystal balls and offered a range of forecasts about the future of the industry."

Federal Register "The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM[supreg]) to reflect changes to the marking requirements of our Shipping Services product, Parcel Select[supreg]. On May 21, 2008, we published in the Federal Register (Volume 73, Number 99) the proposed rule describing Parcel Select marking changes. This final rule revises the effective date to October 9, 2008 (proposed rule date was September 30, 2008) when Parcel Select shippers must use one of the following markings, as appropriate, on each Parcel Select package: For all destination entry packages, use ``Parcel Select''. For BMC presort entry packages, use ``Parcel Select BMC Presort'' or ``Parcel Select BMC PRSRT''. For OBMC presort entry packages (Inter-BMC) packages, use ``Parcel Select OBMC Presort'' or ``Parcel Select OBMC PRSRT''. For barcoded Intra-BMC and barcoded Inter-BMC packages, use ``Parcel Select Barcoded'' or ``Parcel Select BC''. DATES: Effective Date: October 9, 2008."

WZZM13 has reported that "Kent County Road Commission crews discovered a mess along the highway that turned out to be mail on its way to a recycling facility. It happened Monday afternoon along Westbound I-196, just past Market Street, in Grand Rapids. The Kent County Road Commission found the mail scattered along the expressway and immediately notified Michigan State Police, who in turn, notified the United States Postal Inspection Service. Several workers from the road commission, along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were sent to retrieve any pieces they could find along the highway. The mail turned out to be mail that was on its way to be recycled. U.S.P.S. Spokesperson, Gina Haisma, says, "It's not returnable, it's not deliverable as addressed. It could also include mail that was refused at point of delivery. So, all of that goes to be recycled. The company that does the recycling apparently lost part of the load." The postal service says it would most likely know if "live" mail was missing. It has processes in place to make sure it gets delivered or returned. In this case, it was past that point and on its way, to be recycled."

LaunchLab.co.uk has reported that "The Forum of Private Business (FPB) says Royal Mail is pushing up prices for collecting post from small businesses but at the same time reducing the UK’s stock of Post Office branches by 2,500 as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Until April 2008, small businesses could opt to pay £280 a year for morning collections. Now there is a standard collection priced at £450. Businesses needing post to be collected at a specific time must pay a further annual fee of £750 for the privilege. The Post Office is selecting branches for closure using the government's ‘National Access Criteria', which stipulates that 95% of a postcode district's population is within six miles of a branch."

The African Press Agency has reported that "The Malawi Post Corporation (MPC)’s Postmaster General, Joseph Chiusiwa, on Tuesday said that the country\’s traditional mail volume has declined by two percent annually due to, among other things, the use of advanced communication technology. He told APA in Lilongwe that this was due to uses of electronic modes of communication like the internet, fax and mobile phones where short messages are used for to transmit information. In addition, increasing competition from other players like the DHL, Fedex, Skynet and TNT where clients are able to choose among the firms which one to use to send their mail."

Newstrack India has reported that "India Post today launched a new logo that will now be seen across all post offices and postal services of the country. The changed corporate logo for the Department of Posts was launched by Union Minister of Communications and IT, A Raja. Raja announced that India Post will very soon acquire a number of aircrafts to carry letters, parcels and logistic consignments for making overnight delivery in major towns of the country. He also announced a host of new customer services to be launched by India Post very soon. These will include express parcel post retail service, gift parcel post service, logistics post air service, sale of gold coins through retail post, express money order service, speed post call centres and a range of new international services." See also ITExaminer.

France24 has reported that "French postal unions called for a strike to protest the decision to privatise the state-run company, demanding a public debate on the subject. More than half of the French population opposes the privatisation." See also Hemscott and The Connexion.

Hellmail has reported that:

Postmaster General, Jack Potter met today with the leadership of the three management associations and craft unions representing all craft employees and EAS employees of the Postal Service. The meeting was scheduled to brief the leadership of the employee organizations on the current situation in the Postal Service and to request the cooperation from all of the representative organizations in working together to get through this difficult period.

From PRWeb: "WhitePages, the leader in online people search that provides people a simple way to find others and connect with confidence, today announced it is powering the popular "Post Office Locator" on usps.com for the U.S. Postal Service. Known for its extensive, industry-leading database of more than 200 million U.S. adults, this new WhitePages' solution enables users to search and navigate the nearly thirty-seven thousand (37,000) Post Office Locations and prospective postal services on the U.S. Postal Service site."

September 22, 2008

Business Daily has reported that "The Government has called in forensic auditors to probe the integrity of the Postal Corporation of Kenya’s electronic money transfer service, Postapay, following reports of loss of millions of shillings to fraudsters. In a letter to the corporation’s board of directors dated September 3, Information and Communications permanent secretary, Bitange Ndemo says the partnership as crafted had left the supplier of software with undue control over Postapay operations, exposing the company to heavy losses of revenue." See also ITNews Africa.

As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "As transportation costs continue to skyrocket, so too does the cost of shipping your business inventory and ordering supplies."

Congrats to PostCom board member and Experian postal affairs vice president Steve Lopez who will be presenting a paper at Post-Expo 2008. The Expo will be held this year in London, England. The conference is co-sponsored by the Universal Postal Union. Lopez has been active in PostCom's behalf at the UPU's Consultative Committee.

  The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has reported that "Over 800 Royal Mail engineers and security staff will take three days of strike action starting tomorrow, Tuesday, in a dispute over changes to attendance times." See also the Dorsett Echo.

The minutes of the July 10 meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services have been posted on the State Department website.

VNUnet has reported that "Royal Mail has attracted fierce criticism after it attempted to promote its direct mail services using a direct mail campaign that prompted one recipient to describe it as the "worst example of junk mail I have ever seen". The company's Direct Mail Seed Box campaign saw a cardboard box resembling a seed box and containing nine pamphlets each styled as seed packets and containing information on how to formulate a direct mail strategy sent to potential customers of Royal Mail's direct mail services. However, the 23cm x 12cm x 13cm box infuriated one BusinessGreen.com reader who contacted the site to complain at what she regarded as a " ridiculously wasteful" example of junk mail. "The box doesn't fit the purpose, and environmentally it is an insult," she said. "It illustrates very clearly precisely how seriously Royal Mail takes its environmental responsibilities."

According to TheNews.pl, "Poland's state-owned postal service intends to make up to 15,000 redundancies in an attempt to cut costs. The biggest cuts are to be made in the company's extensive administration - clerical workers, accountants, inspectors and mail sorters in big cities are facing the cut. So are some of the employees of small post offices in towns and villages."

The PostalNewsBlog has reported that "A posting on the NAPS member forum by NAPS Secretary Treasurer Jay Killackey verifies what most readers probably assumed from yesterday’s NAPUS hotline article. The article said that NAPUS President Dale Goff would be meeting with PMG Jack Potter tomorrow. The NAPS posting confirms that the PMG will be meeting with the heads of all of the postal unions and management associations. Speculation on possible outcomes from the meeting center on a restructuring of the organization, and other cost cutting initiatives. The USPS Board of Governors is scheduled to hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday and Thursday."

Media Daily News has reported that "Ad revenues continued to decline at leading newspaper publishers in August, in some cases by double digits."

Online Media Daily has reported that "In the short term at least, Web publishers can expect the continued growth of targeted advertising to hurt their bottom lines, according to Dave Yovanno, chief operating officer of U.S. Media at online ad network ValueClick, Inc."

The Manchester Evening News has reported that "hundreds of postal workers were expected to deliver an angry message to the Labour conference when they marched on Manchester today to protest against post office closures. Members of the Communication Workers Union were gathering at Castlefield before marching through the city to demonstrate their fury at 'drastic changes' in the postal industry. They were expected to be joined by pensioners and community activists concerned about the closure of Post Office branches in towns and villages across the region. Billy Hayes, the union's general secretary, said: "There are huge changes taking place in the mail industry, which are damaging jobs and services. Royal Mail's plans to close large numbers of mail centres and ongoing post office closures will cause thousands of job losses across the country. "This will undoubtedly have an effect on the quality of mail services."

According to Mailers Council exec Bob McLean, "Last week USPS SVP for Labor Relations Tony Vigilante notified the employee organizations that that due to the current financial situation a more controlled approach in managing the complement is needed. Therefore, a freeze on all organizational structure changes is effective immediately. The freeze includes position upgrades, additions to complement, position neutral exchanges, and requests for new positions and their related position evaluations."

Advertising Age has reported that "Retailers counting on online shopping to buoy sales in a tight economy are wrestling with a big problem: free shipping. Shipping discounts, which have become a mainstay of the holiday season, are being carefully analyzed by retailers as they weigh the benefits against the mounting costs. Transportation costs have skyrocketed in the last year, with diesel prices rising 50% year over year. In response, fuel surcharges applied by UPS and FedEx have more than doubled to 10.5% for ground packages and 34.5% for air packages. Those increases will likely cause retailers to make over their promotional offers this holiday season."

According to the Daily Express, "Royal Mail bosses came under fire yesterday after a new computer system caused a massive backlog of post for thousands of households. The firm’s new Pegasus computerised delivery system was criticised as a “shambles” by business owners and private customers awaiting delayed letters, bills and cheques."

September 21, 2008

ePolitix.com has reported that "Royal Mail's regulatory framework "isn't working", business secretary John Hutton has said. Speaking at Labour Party conference on Saturday, Hutton said it was impossible to build support for the future of the postal service by "constantly lowering levels of service"."

The Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail will this week start a formal process to find a successor to its chairman, Allan Leighton, who will step down from the role early next year." See also The Times and the Financial Times.

The Consumerist has reported that "Postal employees have been ordered to upsell pricey express or priority mail services to anyone sending anything more than a letter, according to an anonymous tipster. The directive comes straight from Washington to help combat the Post Office's $1.1 billion operating deficit."

As the editor of Hellmail noted, "From a purely profit-based point of view, if you put all the UK operators in one room and asked which one would fancy taking on the universal service, chances are no one would put up their hand - including Royal Mail. The universal service loses too much money. As a business idea, its a non-starter. The problem with making an artery service like mail delivery a wholly commercial one, is that unless there is a strong and supportive structure to ensure basic standards are maintained, it all starts to go down the pan very quickly."

The New Nation has reported that "as the post office department is failing to render prompt services as per the growing demand, private courier services have captured a big share of the market. The situation has reached such a point that some 100 post offices are now considered not necessary and await closure. A highly placed official attributed this to shortage of manpower and necessary equipment. It is learnt that 250 posts of postmasters are lying vacant. At present a total of 16,000 officers and employees are running the department. At least another 4,000 officials and employees are needed to run it smoothly. According to postal service laws, receipt and delivery of letters by any private organisation is illegal. But the department has no effective control over such unlawful activities of courier services. Besides, corruption, inefficiency of the officers and employees and negligence of duty are believed to have contributed to the loss of market by this once successful service provider. The postal service is slow compared to the prompt and efficient work of the private courier services. Indifference to the people's demand has made it unable to retain the market."

September 20, 2008

The Kiplinger Business Resource Center has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is going digital on bulk mail service. Unique scannable bar codes will start to show up in May 2009 on business- and first-class mail and packages. The codes should speed up processing of that mail and will allow businesses as well as post offices to track the movement and delivery of each piece sent. Businesses can expect the bar codes to bring the same kinds of efficiencies in data mining and management found online to snail-mail billing and direct marketing. The digital mail revolution, named "Intelligent Mail" by the USPS, will help companies zero in on their best sales prospects by much more quickly gauging response rates to mail offers and tweaking pitches if they flub. It'll be a huge improvement over today's system of not knowing for weeks whether an ad or promotion was a hit or a dud."

The Philippine Information Agency has reported that "The Philippine Postal Corporation in Eastern Visayas Region under the leadership of Regional Director Fabiolita P. Ferraris, ranks No. 1 nationwide in terms of revenue increase in the first semester of 2008. Mr. Oscar E. Bioco, AdFin Director and Information Officer disclosed that Philpost 8 posted a 12% revenue increase in the first half of 2008."

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September 19, 2008

The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "Post offices of Azerbaijan to get the right to render financial services after fulfilling special requirements."

Hellmail has reported that "Concerns over faked performance figures and alleged lack of care within Royal Mail delivery offices will be sobering news, particularly with the abolition of postal watchdog, Postwatch, just 12 days away. The Scotsman reports that two Royal Mail managers at the Edinburgh Mail Centre have been suspended after Royal Mail discovered that tens of thousands of undelivered letters were found dumped inside a lorry trailer. It is thought that the letters had been hidden away to make delivery figures look better. A similar enquiry is underway at the Bishop Street sorting office in Coventry (pictured above), over reports that delivery figures had been 'massaged' to meet national quality of service targets."

Government Computer News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plans to deploy an IPv6-capable video surveillance system to 40,000 postal sites across the country. In addition to providing high-quality video, the system is expected to provide the USPS with enhanced mobility, security and network management capabilities. The new video platform will be integrated into the existing USPS network. Video surveillance is critical for USPS to prevent and investigate burglaries and other security incidents that occur inside and around USPS facilities. An IP-based system offers features unavailable in traditional closed circuit television (CCTV) systems, such as the ability to view live video from remote locations through an Internet connection."

Are you a woman involved on the postal/logistics industry? Then check out http://shedelivers.org. It's the Women in Logistics and Delivery Services (WILDS) web site. Check also its events page. Are you a member of a Postal Customer Council? Then you might want to check out the Postal Service's PCC Blog.

The folks at Parcel magazine have reported that "FedEx has announced their 2009 Annual Rate Increase. Last year they announced in late-October, the year before the announcement was made in early-November, so the timing of this years announcement is a little surprising. Traditionally, UPS had been the leader in announcing annual increases. Starting in 2006, FedEx broke with tradition and was the first to announce their changes in express pricing. UPS then made public their intentions on both ground and air, followed by FedEx matching UPS ground increase. This has been the pattern for the past three years and it looks like it will happen again for 2009. The announced rate increase of 6.9%, less a 2% reduction in the fuel surcharge is to yield a net increase of 4.9%. Recent history shows us that in 2006, the announced net increase was 3.5%, in 2007 it was 3.5%, while last year it jumped to 4.9%, the same as this years announced net increase. However, the actual increase in standard list rates for select weight levels can vary from 2.0% up to 9.5% depending on service level and the weight/zone combination. The January 1st reindexing of the fuel surcharge may provide temporary rate relief, yet as fuel rises the surcharges continue to increase as well; on top of the increased list rate. FedEx New Rates Effective January 5, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast 09.19.08
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and Rich Bobic, Postal Services Manager for Kable Fulfillment Services, Inc. in a discussion on how a major mail service provider gets ready to comply with the Postal Service's new rules concerning mailer use of the Intelligent Mail Barcode.

Docket No. RM2008-5:  The Commission is proposing rules affecting accounting practices, an assumed Federal income tax, and periodic reporting for the Postal Service's competitive products enterprise. The rules are intended to promote transparency and accountability without imposing undue burden on the Postal Service. Issuance of this proposal responds to a recent law that revised the Postal Service's business model and gave the Commission new oversight responsibilities. Comments will assist the Commission in developing final rules. DATES: Initial comments due October 20, 2008; reply comments due November 3, 2008.

The Vancouver Sun has reported that "Manitoba Hells Angels used snowmobiles, boats and even a corrupt American postal worker to smuggle high-powered guns across the Canada-U.S. border."

Research-Live has reported that "Royal Mail Group is dissolving its centralised research and insight function in favour of dedicated teams for each of its main brands: Royal Mail, Post Office and Parcelforce. Crispin Beale, who led the Centre for Customer Insight & Competitor Intelligence as director of insight, intelligence and analysis, is to leave the company at the end of the month."

From PR Newswire: "Pitney Bowes Inc., the world's leading mailstream technology company, will host its annual 2008 Business Solutions Forum on September 23rd at its world headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The Forum will offer an opportunity for customers to gain insight on new ways to manage their mailstream and transportation more efficiently, reduce mail and shipping costs, and manage growth in challenging times. For additional information on the event, please visit https:// www.pbforum2008.com/."

Continuing its implementation of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), the Postal Regulatory Commission this week approved seven competitive negotiated service agreements requested by the United States Postal Service. Approval was contained in Commission Order No. 107. To date, the Commission has approved seventeen competitive negotiated service agreements since the new rules governing these agreements became effective last year. Two proposed agreements are under review at this time.

The Postal Regulatory Commission this week appointed Ann Fisher as Director, Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations (PAGR). Fisher has been the acting director in this position following the confirmation of the former director of the office, Nanci E. Langley, as a Postal Regulatory Commissioner in June 2008.

Docket No. RM2008-1. A "Notice Of Filing Illustrative Protective Conditions" has been posted in the Postal Regulatory Commission web site.

September 18, 2008

The latest issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative and Regulatory Update - September 18, 2008 has been posted on this site.

From PR Newswire: "Five letter carriers who helped rescue nearly 100 people from a three-alarm fire at a senior citizens' apartment building in Oakland, California were presented today with the 2008 "Hero of the Year" Award by the National Association of Letter Carriers. William H. Young, president of the 302,000-member postal union, handed the Hero of the Year award jointly to five California letter carriers -- Alan Girard of Fremont, Rick Quinonez of Hayward, Gilbert Rangel of Vacaville, Tonya Joseph of El Sobrante, and Karen Hill of America Canyon -- all members of Oakland-area NALC Greater East Bay Branch 1111, at a special luncheon ceremony at the Washington Court Hotel."

The BBC has reported that "A postman who complained his Christmas delivery bags were too heavy has been jailed for three months for hoarding thousands of items of mail."

As Traffic World has noted, "FedEx saw its net profit fall 22 percent in the fiscal quarter ending Aug. 31, to $384 million, as an accelerating decline in domestic express traffic cut into operating margins at the delivery giant. FedEx said it was taking "strong, proactive actions" to cope with declining business, and the company coupled its report on earnings with an announcement that it will raise express shipping rates 6.9 percent in 2009, the same increase the carrier sought this year. FedEx said it was cutting its fuel surcharge two percentage points, leaving the effective average increase in list rates at 4.9 percent. FedEx officials said Thursday they are seeing express yield grow about 1 percent this year, excluding fuel surcharges."

DMM Advisory:  "An advance copy of the Federal Register notice announcing new marking requirements for Parcel Select packages is available on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com. Beginning October 9, Parcel Select shippers must use one of the following markings:

"These changes will be published in the Domestic Mail Manual on October 9."

According to This Day, "Postmaster- General of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, has said on- going postal reforms objective is to prepare NIPOST for commercialisation. Baba said, "the need to strenghten the revenue base of the organisation cannot be over- emphasised. The challenge of financial independence now stares us in the face more than ever before. The main objective of the reform of NIPOST is to prepare it for commercialisation. This cannot be possible with a weak financial base."

Zawya has reported that "Soon citizens will be able to obtain driver's licences at Jordan Post Company (JPC) offices, the JPC announced on Tuesday. JPC media consultant Zuhair Al Azzeh said they expect to finalise an agreement with the Public Security Department to implement the plan within the next two weeks. "The new service will allow citizens to get their private driver's licences as well as renew their car registration from any of our JPC branches," Azzeh said."

According to Tax-News.com, "Deutsche Post, Germany's largest postal delivery service, may lose a key competitive advantage that it has over its smaller rivals as a result of a draft law under consideration by the Finance Ministry. Under current rules, Deutsche Post, which delivers the bulk of Germany's letters and parcels, enjoys an exemption from Germany's 19% VAT on certain basic items which subsidizes the cost of delivering mail to remote areas of Germany. However, the company, which will lose its monopoly under a reorganisation of Germany's postal sector in 2009, could lose this tax break from 2010 as the government attempts to level the playing field in this market. It is understood that the draft law, put before the cabinet earlier this week, calls for VAT to be added to bulk deliveries and packages over a certain weight, although letters and smaller parcels will remain exempt."

As MediaDailyNews reported, "Market woes hit the industry--again. Newspapers took another round of blows this week with tandem announcements of more job cuts at McClatchy, an employee lawsuit at Tribune and the likely closure of the Newark, N.J.-based Star-Ledger in January. the Star-Ledger may close this January, leaving Newark--a city of almost 300,000--without a daily newspaper. (The newspaper is distributed statewide.) That's according to publisher George Arwady, who warned in July that the paper needed to cut a total of 200 employees, plus extract concessions from various unions responsible for printing and distributing the paper. This week, Arwady said he got concessions from everyone except the drivers' union--and therefore would be forced to close or sell the newspaper by Jan. 5th, per instructions from the owners, the Newhouse family, who also own Conde Nast, if the union did not ratify an agreement by Oct. 1." [EdNote: This item is strictly personal. As a former Star-Ledger newspaper delivery boy, the idea of a New Jersey without a Star-Ledger is inconcievable. My...how the times have changed.]

Federal Register: Board of Governors Meeting Date and Time: Tuesday, September 23, 2008, at 12:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, September 24, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Place: Washington, DC, at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., in the Benjamin Franklin Room. Status: September 23--12:30 p.m.--Closed; September 24--8:30 a.m.-- Open; September 24--11 a.m.--Closed.

EdNote: Here's the heading from yesterday's press release from the Postal Service regarding the PMG's PCC Day address: "Postmaster General cautions the mailing industry on the "perfect economic storm," urges mailers to create new growth opportunities." Here's a thought. How 'bout doing the same at USPS headquarters? And remember, pricing flexibility is intended to be used as much for stimulating volume growth as much as it is for ensuring fiscal solvency. End of lecture 467b.

The AFL-CIO Now Blog has reported that "More than 50 Postal Workers (APWU), community activists and other members of the “Save the Jobs, Save the Community” coalition from Wilmington, Ohio—where DHL is threatening to shut down its air delivery hub and eliminate more than 8,000 jobs—protested at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., yesterday."

September 17, 2008

Postmaster General John E. Potter challenged the mailing industry today, cautioning mailers about the severity of the current economic climate and urging them to create new growth opportunities. Citing fluctuating oil prices, inflation in paper prices and the strife in the financial markets, Potter described challenging economic conditions as the most difficult time since the 1960s. The additional move of hardcopy messages to the Internet and questions about mail’s environmental impact have led to a volume decline of 9 billion pieces this year.

Reuters has reported that "A commission will look at the future of the French post office, which is aiming for partial privatisation in 2010, government spokesman Luc Chatel said on Wednesday. State-owned La Poste has announced plans for a partial sell-off of its activities ahead of the full liberalisation of the European postal services market from 2011."

Internet Retailer has noted that "Now there is a better shipping option for companies that send parcels heavier than a pound. DHL Global Mail, the leading provider of mail and parcel solutions, today announced the expansion of its Smartmail Parcel Plus® service to include packages weighing up to 10 lbs. With this new weight limit, Parcel Plus now offers e-tailers and other high-volume mailers a more cost-effective alternative to traditional courier options for residential delivery. That means more companies can save without sacrificing speed, since Parcel Plus transit times remain highly competitive (2-5 day average for Expedited service, or 5-10 days for Budget). And Parcel Plus continues to provide the dependability businesses demand, thanks to DHL Global Mail’s powerful network and Workshare partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, which handles final-mile delivery."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "As the chief executive of the world’s largest package carrier, one would think Scott Davis would want to talk a lot about little brown packages. But in an interview Tuesday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editorial board, top of mind for Big Brown’s chief was the economy: from consumer confidence and oil prices to opening markets abroad."

OnlineMediaDaily has reported that "U.S. newspaper Web sites are the most lucrative of local media sites, with valuations of the largest newspaper sites reaching between $300 million and $450 million, according to a new study. But local television, radio and "pure-play" sites are poised for the biggest gains as newspapers' online growth is slowed by the faltering economy and a reliance on traditional Web ads, the analysis by BIA Financial Network and Borrell Associates concluded."

The PostalNewsBlog has reported that "The US Postal Service reported a net loss of about $960 million in August, according to reports filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission. That brings the year to date deficit to $2.3 billion with one month left in the fiscal year. While year to date revenue is still slightly above the same period last year, revenue for the month of August was about ten percent below August 2007 in spite of a 2.9% price increase implemented in May. More details on the postal service’s financial situation will likely be released during next week’s meeting of the USPS Board of Governors."

Press Release: "Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software has announced MAIL360™, the most comprehensive solution in the industry to leverage the value of the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Intelligent Mail® technology. MAIL360 increases business efficiency while ensuring maximum postal discounts. Coupled with USPS ACS and Confirm® data, MAIL360 provides users with a 360-degree view of their mailstream, both in outgoing and remittance mail. MAIL360 also incorporates data management capabilities, making individual mail piece delivery data available to business departments across the enterprise, including billing, marketing and customer call centers."

The Dayton Daily News has noted that "Dayton-area postal carriers are giving credence to their unofficial motto about “swift completion of their annointed rounds amid rain and other adversity.” “It didn’t say without power,” said Bonni Manies, U.S. Postal Service communications specialist for the Cincinnati district. “God bless our carriers. Many don’t have electricity at home, either.” Manies said 60 out of 225 stations have no power. In the Dayton area, those stations include Paul Lawrence Dunbar in west Dayton, Centerville, Washington Twp. and the Wright Brothers station on Brown Street in Oakwood."

Steve Lawson, editor for Hellmail the postal industry news site says there urgently needs to be a fundamental change in the law that could put an end to, or reduce postal mail scam tactics used on vulnerable or elderly people.

WTOP has reported that "Postal workers heard scratching inside a package, so they had it X-rayed. The X-ray indicated an "undetermined animal," The Examiner reports. Postal inspectors took the box to Wenxiao Jiang's apartment in Arlington. He let them see what he had mail-ordered: several large, exotic beetles individually packaged in plastic containers. They included a Hercules beetle that can grow to half a foot long, the paper reports. Jiang, who said he wanted to breed them, has been charged with smuggling."

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

According to unconfirmed Greek media reports, Belgium’s La Poste is interested in taking over Tachimetafores ELTA, the express subsidiary of the Greek post Elta.
The decline in mail volumes in Norway appears to have come to a halt, while parcel volumes are clearly on the increase.
The German Association of Courier, Express and Postal Service Providers (BdKEP e.V.) has urged the president of the Federal Council and the economics ministers of the federal states to reject the draft bills concerning minimum working conditions and the posting of employees abroad or to at least recommend an amendment by parliament.
Three Bavarian newspaper publishers intend to bundle their postal services in one new company from 1 October."
German Christian trade union Christliche Gewerkschaft Postservice und Telekommunikation (CGPT) has demanded a reduced VAT rate for mail services.
Schweizerische Post customers who order books and CD’s from EU countries will have to fork out more money for their foreign orders from October. Customs regulations change in October, when payment of customs duty for parcels is transferred to the post. The post claims it will incur additional costs of around 30m CHF through this procedure.
French La Poste is acquiring a majority stake in Spanish CEP operator Seur.
Last week Sweden’s Posten AB announced the expansion of its presence in the Finnish parcel market. Through partnership with Finnish travel and freight service operator Matkahuolto the Swedish post has gained access to a nationwide delivery network for parcels in Finland. With the expansion of the so-called MyPack concept the post says it is taking another step toward the implementation of its Nordic strategy.
In extending its service network, Japan Post Service Co. does not intend to stop at the co-operation with retail chain JP Lawson. On Thursday, the post announced the opening in October of its first drop-off counter in Bic Camera, a nationwide electrical retail chain, where customers will be able to drop off parcels between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
A new service offer for return parcels is aimed at extending the presence of GLS in the German mail order market. Mail order firms using the ShopReturn service simply add the return label to the parcel; private customers can then use the label to return a parcel from any of around 5,000 GLS shops in Germany free of charge.
The Ethiopian post aims to raise the level of its services through co-operation with a number of international carriers. The Department for Transport and Communication announced that DHL, UPS and other well-known operators would become service partners for the delivery of international consignments.
A consortium spearheaded by FedEx rejoices after receiving an order worth over a billion USD from the US Department of Defence. The group surrounding the integrator consists of carriers Air Transport, Atlas Air, Northwest Airlines, Omni Air International, Polar Air Cargo Worldwide and Tradewinds Airlines and has been awarded the transport contract with a volume of 1.37bn USD. FedEx will reportedly receive a minimum turnover of 151m USD.
DHL Express has launched a next-day service between the Arab Emirate of Qatar and India.
More than 31,000 U.S. Postal Service workers failed to pay their income tax in 2007.

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 "US-based global package delivery and logistics provider UPS has published the results of a new survey, entitled 'Pain in the (Supply) Chain', which targeted top supply chain decision makers in the pharmaceutical, medical/surgical device and biotech industries. When asked about supply chain-specific concerns, companies ranked managing and containing supply chain costs as the number one concern. In fact, 60% of companies reported they were "very concerned" or "extremely concerned" about the potential impact of supply chain costs on their business."

Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. is using its planned collaboration with Deutsche Post AG's DHL unit to snatch customers from DHL, Astar Air Cargo Inc. alleged. Astar, a DHL vendor and shipping customer, made the assertion to a U.S. House panel in written testimony by Chief Operating Officer Gary Hammes, citing a comment by a UPS salesperson that DHL service would become ``substandard'' under the new alliance. Questions about the future of DHL's money-losing U.S. operations have hurt volumes this year, which is why the company wants to conclude the UPS agreement, DHL Express Chief Executive Officer John Mullen said in an interview."

The Punch has reported that "A new body that will regulate the activities of postal and courier services in the country is under way, the Postmaster General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Postal Services, Mallam Ibrahim Baba, has said."

Catalog Success has reported that "No doubt, catalog paper prices will continue to rise each quarter well into 2009. So catalogers need to build future paper price increases into their cost budgeting and break-even planning. Here’s why we can assume the price of paper will continue to climb."

Hellmail has reported that "Despite investment in handheld scanners (PDAs) for Royal Mail's workforce, a row has now broken out over the possible use of their in-built tracking technology. CWU members in north lonndon are presently refusing to use them. The row is thought to centre around the ability of Royal Mail to be able to pinpoint the location of workers at any time and the Union is concerned that without adequate safeguards in terms of how that information might be used, PDAs could be used for disciplinary proceedings or for purposes outside their normal intended use."

According to WKRC, "no power... no problem for a local post office. We found workers at the Saint Bernard Branch sorting the mail using everything from lanterns to sunlight."

Air Cargo World has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net, Germany's global mail and logistics group, today denied reports it might sell or close its unprofitable DHL Express business in the United States. Deutsche Post Chief Executive Frank Appel will quit the United States if the situation does not improve "soon" Handelsblatt, the German financial newspaper, reported Monday, citing people close to the company's management board. The exit strategy has been prompted by concern the weakening U.S. economy and sagging demand for express shipments will undermine Deutsche Post's $2 billion restructuring program, according to German press reports. Deutsche Post today rejected the reports and said it is not mulling further restructuring in the U.S. The company has repeatedly said it needs to be present in the U.S. market because it is key to DHL's global network."

The IT Examiner notes that "Computers never delivered on the promise of the “paperless office” and, similarly, email has so far failed to deal a killer blow to the established postal system, affectionately known as “snail mail”. Undoubtedly, creating an email message—plus adding a file attachment—still costs a fraction of the price of an equivalent posted document. Hence the question—why hasn't email totally replaced snail mail yet?"

The Louisville Business Journal has noted that "The United States Postal Service continues to re-open more of its offices in the wake of Sunday’s storm damage."

The Universal Postal Union, on behalf of Posts worldwide and associated industry bodies, is looking to enhance access to universal postal service in the electronic world by establishing a top-level domain on the Internet – .post. For the UPU, .post is the ideal way to create a universal electronic postal service that fulfils the expectations of citizens and governments worldwide in terms of security and stability. .post would allow the UPU to create a global electronic postal network establishing more than 660,000 post offices via the Internet, alongside the single territory for the exchange of international physical mail."

September 16, 2008

The Washington Post has reported that:

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The Internal Revenue Service has asked private, tax-software companies to find a way to let all taxpayers file their online forms at no extra charge. Currently, many people file electronically, but often must pay a fee to actually submit their forms."

There are those who are bucking modern trends. As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "The Musalman, the oldest Urdu-language daily paper in India, has been handwritten by Urdu calligraphers since it was founded."

As Hellmail has noted, "E-invoicing as well as E-mail, has had an enormous impact on European postal operators in more recent years with operators becoming even more reliant on the delivery of advertising to help fund the cost of the Universal Service and the trend in stamped mail volume is still downward as more businesses persuade customers to change over to internet billing."

The Telegraph has reported that "Hundreds of workers who maintain Royal Mail buildings are to stage a three-day strike after union leaders complained of "draconian" changes to attendance patterns."

FijiLive has reported that "The country’s sole postal services provider, Post Fiji Limited has temporarily put a freeze on its mailing franking machine in a bid to promote Fiji through the usage of stamps. he company in a paid advertisement last week said the removal of these machines was part of its initiative to personalise letters and parcels by placing stamps on them to give it more value."

The Orange County Register has noted that "As residents prepare to discuss the impact of a proposed Postal Service facility from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight at Don Juan Avila Elementary, many will rely on summarized accounts of the service's Environmental Impact Statement. The publication also inaugurated a self-described public relations "war" led by city officials' intent on preventing its construction, with efforts including a mass mailing to residents, a media campaign and small speaking tour by Mayor Bill Phillips. In some of these cases, a closer look reveals that the city's arguments stretched or otherwise misconstrued the report's findings to residents."

The National Postal Mail Handlers Union has told its members that "the National Office of the NPMHU has been informed that USPS management plans to modify the AFSM-100 with an Ink Jet Canceller. This modification will eventually replace all of the existing flat cancellation operations within the 010 operations nationwide."

The Salisbury Journal has reported that "The Salisbury & District Talking Newspaper Association is to produce the 1,500th cassette edition of the Salisbury Journal on September 25. Over 200 blind, partially sighted and other disabled people in the Salisbury area now receive the Journal in this way, free of charge. The Salisbury Talking Newspaper is amongst the oldest in the country and for the past 20 years has been recorded and delivered for 51 weeks of the year."

According to Transport Intelligence, "At first glance, the collapse of major US-based global investment banks on Wall Street might seem to have very little to do with the logistics business. The most immediate effect must be a continuing re-assessment of the pattern of global economic activity and related requirements for logistics services. There has already been a clear downturn of demand in air, sea and road freight since the end of last year. Further job losses and caution in the banking system can only have a dampening effect in the US and many other parts of the world. Despite what is said to be emerging stabilisation in the US housing market, high profile job losses and bank collapses will affect sentiment, delaying recovery."

The Victoria Advocate has reported that "Post Offices in the Victoria and Corpus Christi areas (ZIP Codes 779 and 783, respectively) resumed services this morning. All post offices are open. Post offices in the city of Houston (ZIP Code area 770) are also set to reopen today, with the exception of Nassau Bay Station and Albert Thomas Station, where mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect."

The National Association of Major Mail Users wants you to know: When: September 26, 2008 Where: Intercontinental Toronto Centre, 225 Front Street West Time: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (light working lunch will be served) Session I: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30a.m. Transaction Mail Rate Package Follow-ups; Session II: 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Priorities: Admail, Publications Mail, VAM Council, Enviro Committee. Advance registration is mandatory by September 19th. Click here to register for both sessions now!

Shipping Digest has reported that a "UN group has agreed to reform cargo-liability rules."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: UAA Clearinghouse 9366 G Court Omaha, NE 68127-1229 represented by Matthew C. Newman, Managing Director.

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and a leading developer of highperformance mailing technology solutions, will participate in the National PCC Day through appearances at the St. Louis and Denver PCC events on Wednesday, September 17. For additional details about BCC Software, call (800) 3370442 or visit bccsoftware.com."

According to the Beaumont Enterprise, "Postal service in Jefferson and Orange counties will resume after the mandatory evacuation order is lifted, according to a U.S. Postal Service release posted on the Internet. Floodwaters have made the Cameron, La., and Hackberry, La., post offices inaccessible. Postal patrons there can pickup of mail at the Lake Charles, La., Drew Station. Lake Charles stations opened Monday Liimited service is avaialble in Vinton, Westlake and Sulphur."

The Fort Mill Times has reported that "Federal prosecutors say 10 Alaskans are charged with various violations involving the U.S. Postal Service. Prosecutors say the cases range from misuse of postal funds and mailing unmailable items such as alcohol throughout the state. Prosecutors say the charges against some of the defendants follow investigations by special agents of the Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Others were investigated by postal inspectors of the Postal Inspection Service."

From Business Wire: "ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, helped its 40,000th victim in its four years of operation, winning praise from law enforcement and financial services companies for its innovative approach to fighting identity theft. ITAC, a nonprofit coalition of financial services companies united in their commitment to protect customers from identity theft, provides the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Postal Inspection Service with victim information used to investigate identity crime. “ITAC provides a vital exchange of intelligence that helps Postal Inspectors aggressively pursue and catch these thieves,” said Alexander Lazaroff, Chief Postal Inspector, United States Postal Inspection Service. “The evidence we receive from ITAC is shared with prosecutors so that justice is served.”

September 15, 2008

According to Federal Computer Week, "The U.S. Postal Service has redesigned its Web site to make it simpler and easier to navigate. The new site, designed to improve customers' ease of use, was launched today."

Business First has reported that "some United States Postal Service offices in the Louisville area will be closed today because of a lack of power and phone service. Letter carriers will continue to deliver mail, but some carriers will be delayed because of power outages and street closures, the postal service said in a news release."

Courier, Express, and Postal Observer editor Alan Robinson has noted that "The seriousness of today's financial news is broadcast across the top of all of the world's newspapers, at the top of Internet news sites and is the lead story on all broadcast newscasts....So, what does this mean the courier, express and postal industry?"

Reuters has reported that "A deal by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc to share some advertising revenue will mean less money for newspapers and weaken Yahoo in the long run, the World Association of Newspapers said on Monday." [EdNote: Remember yesteryear when the newspapers claimed it was direct mail that was undercutting their fiscal viability. Guess they had their eyes on the wrong suspect.]

Business Credit Management has reported that "Experian®, the global information services company, today announces the launch of Universal ID Check, a multi-channel authentication system that will enable organisations to verify the identities of residents from 24 countries around the world. Countries covered by Universal ID Check are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States."

AuctionBytes has noted that "Sellers upset with eBay's new ban on paper payments such as checks and money orders wondered what the US Postal Service (USPS) thought about the policy, since the ban extends to USPS postal money orders. So we asked. A USPS spokesperson provided AuctionBytes with a statement that it has been releasing to customers who ask about the change. 'This is an eBay adopted policy that the U.S. Postal Service has no commitment, or control of, from eBay.'"

From IndiaPRWire: "India Post, with 150 years of service behind it,has an unmatched network of 6 lakh staffand 1.55 lakh Post Offices around the country. So far, India Post has 5000 Internet-enabled Post Offices with 511 in Karnataka Postal Circle. Towards its aim of social commitment, Karnataka Postal Circle offers customers their own personal travel assistant with the facility of booking bus tickets at their nearest neighborhood Post Office. The customer can walk-in to any of the 160 selected Post Offices in Karnataka and make bus reservation. This service is an addition to the already existing services of: Speed Post, Business Post, Bill Mail Service, Express Parcel Post, Retail Post, Logistics Post andDirect Post."

The Star has reported that "postal workers have accused Royal Mail of not doing enough to protect staff from dog attacks - despite assurances from bosses."

CNNMoney has reported that "German logistics company Deutsche Post AG (DPW.XE) said Monday it is not considering a complete pull out from its U.S. operations, denying a weekend press report. The U.S. is a definitive part of the global postal network and therefore a necessary market for Deutsche Post, a spokesman said. Over the weekend, Handelsblatt newspaper reported the company could pull out if business doesn't improve. Deutsche Post also said it still aims to begin a planned cooperation with United Parcel Service (UPS) in 2009."

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission is proposing a set of rules to address a continuing and expanded need, under a new law, for periodic reports from the Postal Service. The proposal describes the scope of reporting and the level of detail the Commission believes is needed to provide accountability and transparency with respect to Postal Service operations. Comments will assist the Commission in developing a final set of reporting rules. DATES: Initial comments due October 16, 2008. Reply comments due November 14, 2008.

Southwest Daily News has reported that "The United States Postal Service (USPS) is ready to resume operations in most impacted areas by Monday, September 15, 2008."

September 14, 2008

The Times Daily has reported that "A letter from the U.S. Postal Service asking people in nearly 1,400 residences in and near Muscle Shoals about their interest in having a Muscle Shoals mailing address has officials in Tuscumbia and Leighton agitated. The letter states the city of Muscle Shoals asked the postal service to modify its ZIP code boundaries - a move that could change some Tuscumbia and Leighton mailing addresses and ZIP codes to Muscle Shoals addresses and ZIP codes. It states the service is surveying customers in the areas that would be affected to determine whether they support the change. If the majority of respondents reply yes, all of the nearly 1,400 residences would have Muscle Shoals addresses. "The final decision will be made based on the responses received," the letter states. The area mainly is in or near the southern and eastern parts of Muscle Shoals city limits. A number of those addresses also are in or near Tuscumbia or Leighton."

The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "With many small post offices being forced to close in rural regions due to lack of business, Japan Post is pinning its hopes on teaming up with other companies to improve access to the postal network. On Friday, Japan Post Network Co. of the Japan Post group and Lawson Inc., a major convenience store chain, opened a post office in a Lawson outlet in Sakakimachi, Nagano Prefecture, as part of this effort. As it is likely that calls will mount for a review of postal privatization depending on the result of the next general election, post offices also hope the move toward such partnerships could head off public criticisms about falling levels of service, business analysts said."

WFMZ has reported that "Postal workers in Philadelphia say they don't want their jobs outsourced. Those words caught the attention of U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy from Bucks County. He stood with local postal workers today outside of the Philadelphia Bulk Mail Facility. Workers and their families joined in on the demonstration today to protest the possible privatization of Bulk Mail postal service jobs."

The Party for Socialism and Liberation has noted that "six trade union federations representing French postal workers have announced they would be organizing a national one-day strike and demonstration for Sept. 23 to oppose the privatization of the French postal service, La Poste."

September 13, 2008

The Victoria Advocate has reported that "In anticipation of Hurricane Ike, the United States Postal Service is complying with federal, state and local officials and law enforcement honoring mandatory evacuations and is temporarily suspending mail service. Offices located in the Texas Coastal Bend 779 and 783 ZIP code areas will be closed throughout the weekend and open on Monday." Check the USPS web site regularly for Hurricane Ike updates.

The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service will meet in Washington, DC, at Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, on Sept. 23-24, 2008. The public is welcome to observe the Board’s open session, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 24 in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. The Board is expected to discuss: Minutes of the previous meetings, May 6-7, and July 28-29, 2008. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board (Alan Kessler). Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO (John Potter). Committee reports. Financial update (Glen Walker, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President). Preliminary fiscal year 2010 appropriation request (Mr. Walker). Capital investments. Distribution Quality Improvement (DQI) program (Walt O’Tormey, Vice President, Engineering). San Francisco, CA, Townsend Carrier Annex (Tom Samra, Vice President, Facilities). Vision 2013 – Five-Year Strategic Plan (Linda Kingsley, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transition). Board of Governors bylaw amendments. National Identity Crimes Law Enforcement Network (Alexander Lazaroff, Chief Postal Inspector, and Pat Meehan, former U.S. Attorney). Tentative agenda for the Nov. 12-13, 2008 meeting in Washington, DC.

The firm of Ackerman-Senterfitt on October 23, 2008 will be holding its advanced postal contracting seminar on "Changes, Modification, and Claims under U.S. Postal Service Contracts." The seminar will help postal contractors properly identify and respond to changes; deal with contract modifications; and prepare, price and present claims. The seminar will be held at the Westin Hotel in Tysons Corner, VA. The early bird price (registration by October 1, 2008) is $395. Those interested can download the brochure or sign up for the course at www.akerman.com/events. Anyone having questions can contact the course director, David Hendel, at (703) 790-8750.

September 12, 2008

Postmaster General Jack Potter today announced the appointment of Jim Cochrane as Vice President of Ground Shipping and Mitzi Betman as Vice President of Corporate Communications.

 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.

Government Executive has reported that "Federal employees have fewer political restrictions than state and local government workers, witnesses at a Thursday hearing told lawmakers who are considering whether to amend the Hatch Act to allow some public employees in small cities and towns to run for partisan political office."

Logistics Management has said that "A report published by the Financial Times Deutschland indicated that Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN), the parent company of express and logistics services provider DHL, will have to delay its restructuring schedule for DHL Express USA by approximately eight weeks."

According to the BBC, "Deutsche Bank has confirmed it is buying a 29.75% stake in Germany's biggest retail bank Postbank for 2.79bn euros ($3.9bn; £2.2bn). Worth 57.25 euros a share - the offer is greater than the firm's share price, which ended at 47.51 euros on Thursday."

The Intelligent Mail Barcode begins implementation in May of 2009. To aid your transition, MAILCOM is offering the Intelligent Mail Barcode Certificate Program. Ten seminars will be offered October 5-7, 2008 at the Riviera Royale Pavilion. In addition Tom Day, the U.S. Postal Service Senior Vice President of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality, will present a keynote address on Monday, October 6 at 10:45 am and Francis Ruggiero, Chief Editor of MAIL Magazine, will head up an executive roundtable on IMB on Tuesday, October 7 at 8:30 am. You need to attend at least five of the IMB seminars and one of the keynote sessions to receive your certificate. MAILCOM Las Vegas will also be offering seminars on the Standard Mail Move Update Requirement (which takes effect November 23, 2008) as well as nine other certificate programs -- 120 seminars and workshops in all. Plus you can meet with vendors like Satori Software, Eastman Kodak, Hasler, DHL, EAM-Mosca, SCLogic, Charnstrom, WINN Solutions, IOPC, InfoUSA, Label Source, Buskro, RISO, Virtual Systems, OPEX, Tension Envelope, StraPack and more. To register go to www.mailcom.org.

As CNET News has noted, "Contactless payment systems use near field communication (NFC), an extension of the ISO 14443 proximity-card standard that allows mobile devices to use short-range high-frequency wireless communication between devices. A consumer might, for example, hold an NFC-enabled mobile device near an NFC-enabled point of sale (POS) to wirelessly debit a person's bank account to complete a sales transaction. Or a person might hold an NFC-enabled mobile device near a smart tag embedded in a poster to gain additional information about a product or a service. In SouthEast Asia and Europe, mobile devices are already being used as electronic wallets. Adoption of mobile payments in the United States has so far been hampered, other members of panel agreed, by a lack of retail adoption. They did, however, cite increasing use with public transit systems and within Quick Service Restaurants." [EdNote: Why is this reported here? Because with each step toward full public acceptance of electronic payment methods, so also is there a step by financial institutions out of the mail. It's important to follow.]

InformationWeek has reported that:

According to Yahoo! News, "Despite a doubling of the cost to send a mobile-device text message, users are still thumbing messages at record rates. Wireless data is changing, and consumers are making it clear that texting is a favorite way to communicate, according to CTIA, a wireless association based in Washington, D.C. There were 75 billion messages recorded in June alone, about 2.5 billion messages per day, according to CTIA's Semi-Annual Wireless Survey. That's a 160 percent increase from the 28.8 billion messages sent in June 2007." [EdNote: Boy, if only mail could expand at that rate today.]

As the MyPostalMail blog has noted, "Social networking is all the rage these days. You connect with your friends through facebook, create music collaboratively with musicians around the world with BoJam, and share your photos with Flick or Picasa. But interestingly, one thing that has not changed is how we share our postal mail."

"APWU President William Burrus has notified the Postal Service of significant errors in information the USPS provided to employees eligible for Voluntary Early Retirement (VER), and has requested management’s “immediate attention to these matters” so that employees do not suffer irrevocable harm as a result. The letters offering eligible employees early retirement notified them that VER applications must be received no later than 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Sept. 30, and said their retirement would become effective Dec. 31, 2008. However, employees were incorrectly informed that the decision to retire also would become irrevocable at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 30, Burrus said. “An agency must permit an employee to withdraw his or her retirement application before the effective date of retirement,” he wrote. “In this VER, the effective retirement date is Dec. 31, 2008; therefore, eligible employees have the right to withdraw their retirement application no later than Dec. 31, 2008."

Reuters has reported that "Japan Post, which controls 328 trillion yen ($3.06 trillion) in assets, should diversify its investments, possibly into real estate, an executive said on Friday. "A significant portion of Japan Post's investments is in Japanese government bonds, but real estate is an attractive investment target," Takashi Saito, deputy senior general manager of the corporate real estate department at Japan Post, told a real estate investment forum in Tokyo."

As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "Getting a message from New York to San Francisco these days is as easy as a click of a mouse. But nearly a century ago, sending a missive across the country was an ordeal that often placed mail carriers in mortal danger in experimental flying machines. It's a piece of aviation history being celebrated this week with a flight that will replicate those harrowing cross-country journeys."

The Appeal-Democrat noted that "Usually, when Jenna Ponder of Yuba City opens a birthday card from her grandmother or aunt, she finds money. Not last month when she turned 9. "I asked her how much she got and she said nothing," her mother, Liz Ponder, said Thursday. "I was sad — and kind of surprised," said Jenna, who was counting on adding to her Littlest Pet Shop collection and maybe put aside some money for the TV her family has done without for the past year. Turns out Jenna didn't just open a couple of cards — she opened a door on an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service into the theft of cash from mail."

AllmediaScotland has reported that "Following a competitive tender, leading Chartered Surveyors J&E Shepherd has retained the contract as Estates Management Consultants for Royal Mail’s Scottish portfolio of more than 300 properties. Having acted as Estates Management Consultants to Royal Mail’s Scottish portfolio for the last four years, Shepherd’s contract retention means that it will continue to manage the postal group’s estate for the next two years, with an option for a further two years beyond that."

According to Transport Intelligence, "Press reports are suggesting German mail and logistics group Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) has finally agreed to a sale of its Deutsche Postbank subsidiary in a deal with Deutsche Bank rumoured to be worth €2.5bn-3bn. Deutsche Bank's offer is said to be for 30% of Postbank, with an agreement to buy a controlling stake some time in the future."

From PR Web: "Effective September 11, 2008, the Postal Service will require all mailings of Bound Printed Matter to be paid using permit only regardless of volume or whether they are presorted or nonpresorted. See Federal Register Notice for more information. This means mailers will not be able to use stamps, postage meters, or PC Postage. They will have to apply for a permit at their designated post office where they will be dropping off their mailings. Window Book's shipping software, Postal Package Partner, offers a perfect solution for mailers handling Bound Printed Matter (BPM). Postal Package Partner is a complete USPS shipping system that uses permit and provides manifesting, automated email notification, Delivery Confirmation, shipping reports, and permit balances. In addition to Bound Printed Matter, Postal Package Partner also supports First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, Express Mail, Parcel Post, Media Mail, Library Mail and optional International manifesting."

Air Cargo World has reported that "The U.S. Homeland Security Department will launch a test of its 100 percent scanning operation this week at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC. All incoming air cargo will pass through radiation detectors as the agency implements laws designed to avert what the 9/11 Commission's final report called a major security vulnerability - cargo on airplanes as a potential avenue for terrorism. In the test at Dulles, every piece will be scanned, but the emphasis is on international cargo, DHS said. By the end of the year, four more airports will be equipped with Radiation Portal Monitors, at a cost of $450,000 each, installed. DHS plans eventually to install the detectors at 30 of the nation's largest airports."

According to The Standard, "Despite a gloomy outlook, Hongkong Post has no plans to increase charges."

September 11, 2008

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will be conducting classes for its "Intelligent Mail University" in the Ben Franklin room (11th floor) of the Postal Service Headquarters’ building located at 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington DC, 20260. You may choose to attend on one of the following dates: Friday 10/3/08, Monday 10/6/08, or Thursday 10/9/08, from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. To register for the date of your choice, please complete the information fields below and forward to deborah.c.cumbo@usps.gov. RSVP by Monday, 9/22/08. For questions regarding this training please call Deborah Cumbo at 202-268-6393; Ana Cikowski at 202-268-8081; Richard Daigle at 202-268-6392; or Veleana Hurd-Whitaker at 202-268-8988.

Docket No. RM2008-5. The Postal Regulatory Commission has issued an "Order Proposing Accounting Practices And Tax Rules For Competitive Products."

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission has announced the filing of three Postal Service notices regarding Global Expedited Package Service (GEPS) contracts and related Commission review. Publication of this document satisfies procedural requirements. It also allows interested persons an opportunity to comment. DATES: Postal Service filings are due August 15, 2008. Public comments are due August 20, 2008.

Casa Grande Valley Newspapers has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is asking residents if they want curbside mail delivery after years of going to the post office to pick it up. The survey is a result of recent meetings between postal officials at the state level and a group called Arizona City Postal Committee. A majority of those responding will determine the outcome."

Hellmail has reported that "Postcomm, the UK postal regulator, has announced new complaint handling regulations which will come into effect on 1 October 2008 and apply to UK licenced postal operators. The new regulations follow consultations in January and July 2008 on complaint handling standards. October also marks the abolition of Postwatch, the industry watchdog and the new regulations are aimed at sharpening up complaint handling procedures within the industry."

DMM Advisory: The Postal Service's September Domestic Mail Manual Advisory has been posted on this site.

As David Pogue reported on his New York Times blog, "Two weeks ago, I reviewed Earth Class Mail. It’s a service that scans your postal mail so that you can read it online, even overseas or during any stretch of extended travel. To give it a decent test, I posted a note on my blog, asking readers to send me some mail–any mail–at my special Earth Class Mail address."

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

The Transport Commission of Switzerland’s National Council argued against the planned reduction of the mail monopoly to 50 grams from 1 April 2009. The Swiss Council of States had previously also voted against the reduction.
By broadcasting its own TV programme, Britain’s Communication Workers Union (CWU) has opened a new chapter in the history of its external communication.
Deutsche Post is planning to tighten up its IT division radically.
Schweizerische Post is currently carrying out a pilot project involving the separation of deliveries to business customers and private customers.
The Chinese government has quickly begun with the implementation of its "Administrative Regulation for the Express Market".
In view of dynamic changes in CEP markets, Germany’s Federal Network Agency has commissioned a study with the aim of obtaining a clear picture of the current CEP market in Germany. Hamburg based CEP market specialists MRU GmbH have been commissioned to carry out the survey.
Finland’s post Itella has confirmed the conclusion of a takeover deal for Russian National Logistic Company
In Italy, the postal workers’ union SLP/CISL has joined forces with two other postal workers’ unions (FAILP and UGL) in calling for an overtime boycott among Poste Italiane employees.
In a bid to retain customers and spare them financial straits, UPS has introduced a credit system for international import deals.
Post Danmark reports that customers in Copenhagen have welcomed the opportunity to collect parcels from parcel machines 24/7 with enthusiasm.

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.)

GAO:  In its most recent report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has said that "As USPS implements requirements of the postal reform law for measuring delivery performance, it will have opportunities to incorporate new indicators into its PFP program, notably for timely delivery of Standard Mail (49 percent of mail volume in fiscal year 2007) and bulk First-Class Mail (25 percent of volume). Once new delivery performance measurement systems are fully implemented and mailers’ participation is sufficient to generate representative data, USPS will be able to incorporate new delivery performance indicators into its PFP program. These new indicators would create a more “balanced scorecard” that uses service performance metrics for the mail that is measured to support personal and unit accountability."

The Associated Press has reported that "The House on Wednesday moved to crack down on the contraband cigarette sales that drain federal, state and local treasuries of billions while providing a lucrative source of income for criminals. The bill, passed 379-12, would impose shipping and record-keeping requirements on those selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco over the phone or through the mail or Internet, and make failure to comply with state tax laws a felony. It is currently a misdemeanor. It would also require Internet and other remote sellers to verify the age and identity of purchasers to cut down on sales to minors. Delivery of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through the U.S. Postal Service would be ended." See also Newzjunky.

From PR-Inside: "Members of the city's Planning Commission on Tuesday said that the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) plan to build a colossal mail-processing center in town is 'bad' for Aliso Viejo - agreeing with the City Council, which is vehemently opposed to the project."

Do business in Canada? Then you might want to attend the September 26 meeting of the National Association of Major Mail Users which will be held in Toronto.

Press Release: "Franklin, the eagle, and his sidekick bird friend, Benny, spent their summer making public service announcements on television stations across the country, warning children to stay away from Postal Service delivery vehicles. The two animated characters are now ready to head back to school with postal employees to help teachers spread the word that injuries and death can result when children get too close to delivery vehicles. Materials targeting pre-kindergarten through second-grade school children are being distributed nationwide this month to more than 9,000 postal facilities as part of a child safety awareness program from the Postal Service and two of its unions, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carrier's Association."

September 10, 2008

In an article written for the PostCom Bulletin, Mike Yapuncich, Vice President of Product Management for PotCom Board member company EXPERIAN discusses the "confusion" stemming from the USPS' communication of its latest Move-Update requirements.

Θ The World Environment Center will hold a strategic discussion on integrating sustainable development into the mailing industry from sourcing the material to mail delivery and, ultimately, recycling or disposal of mail. This Roundtable, sponsored by WEC member Pitney Bowes, will take place on October 30, from 8am to 2:30pm at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and is an invitation-only event. The objective of this Roundtable is to discuss the environmental impacts of mail versus other activities or products and review strategies for advancing environmental stewardship within the industry and among its principal stakeholders. Roundtable participants will include senior executives of the US Postal Service, the Direct Marketing Association, Pitney Bowes, and The Rainforest Alliance.

Docket No. MC2008-1. In comments submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission in behalf of the Association for Postal Commerce, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Mail Order Association of America, PostCom general counsel Ian Volner wrote:

"The Commission’s tentative assertion that it has plenary jurisdiction over the terms and conditions and the revenues and prices that the Postal Service is entitled to charge for non-postal services and the cost it incurs in providing these services is without merit....The Postal Service’s claim that certain non-postal services do not admit of classification as market dominant or competitive and are therefore unreviewable is equally without merit....neither the statute nor its legislative history permits the Commission to convert non-postal into postal products and to thereby confer upon the Commission plenary and exclusive jurisdiction over these services....Address Management Services and other services as to which the Postal Service claims exclusive ownership of intellectual property and licenses such information to third parties must be classified as market dominant non-postal services."

According to the New York Times, "The European Union on Wednesday sharply cut its 2008 growth forecasts, saying that inflation would be worse than expected as financial market turmoil, high commodity prices and housing market shocks undermine the region’s economy. [According to one economist,] the euro zone “is facing a toxic mix of weak growth and high inflation.”

The Miami Herald has reported that "United Parcel Service said its plan to take over U.S. air shipments for Plantation-based DHL Express will preserve competition and 40,000 U.S. jobs." [EdNote: A copy of the statement given by John Mullen CEO of DHL before the Express House Committee On The Judiciary has been posted on this site.]

The Gazette has reported that "Mail delivery will resume Friday to about 250 homes in flooded Cedar Rapids neighborhoods. Cedar Rapids Postmaster Paula Prochazka said the residential customers are the first to regain service after deliveries to about 6,100 addresses were suspended after June's floods. Deliveries were shifted to "cluster boxes" set up at outlying locations."

The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that "The U.S. Postmaster is encouraging voters to mail completed absentee ballots early this fall because 31 million ballots are expected to be mailed throughout election season. The absentee ballots sent by mail can occur in 28 states, with three additional states that have counties whom offer voting by mail. Voters who chose this mail option are asked to send absentee ballots five days prior to the election to ensure a safe and timely delivery. For the Armed Services overseas or any Americans living abraod, the U.S. Postal Service recommends sending ballots at least two weeks before the general election."

From PR Newswire: "Five letter carriers who helped rescue nearly 100 people from a three-alarm fire at a senior citizens' apartment building in Oakland, California have been selected as winners of the 2008 "Hero of the Year" Award of the National Association of Letter Carriers, the 302,000-member postal union announced today. NALC President William H. Young will present the National Hero of the Year award jointly to five California letter carriers - Alan Girard of Fremont, Rick Quinonez of Hayward, Gilbert Rangel of Vacaville, Tanya Joseph of El Sobrante, and Karen Hill of America Canyon, all members of Oakland-area NALC Greater East Bay Branch 1111, at a special luncheon ceremony September 18 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC."

From Business Wire: "Newgistics, an approved third-party reverse logistics provider for Parcel Return Service, today announced that its clients can now offer consumers free Carrier Pickup™ service by the Postal Service™ for any Parcel Return Service package. Newgistics’ clients can now offer consumers the option to go online and request Carrier Pickup service (also known as Free Package Pickup). This allows consumers to request a free pickup for return packages without ever having to leave their homes or offices."

The BBC has reported that "Nearly 900 posts are to go with the closure of three postal sorting offices in Greater Manchester. Royal Mail has confirmed the offices in Stockport, Oldham and Bolton are to shut in the next two years. The closures are part of plans to create a new regional distribution centre in Warrington and four delivery offices in Liverpool and Manchester. Unions have said they will fight the closures, which Royal Mail said will not come into force before 2009."

According to The Oklahoman, "Small business pushes growth of Postal Service."

From Business Wire: "Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software today introduced EngageOne™ Interactive Communications, a new solution that expands the capabilities of the Company’s Customer Communications Management (CCM) Suite. EngageOne Interactive enables business users to easily create, deliver, and manage real-time personalized, interactive customer communications, such as correspondence, new business applications and negotiated documents, across the enterprise."

According to The Guardian, "There's a new whiff of privatisation in the air. Two of mainland Europe's biggest state-owned utilities, La Poste in France and Deutsche Bahn in Germany, have signalled they are planning for an injection of private capital as they gear up for liberalisation of EU markets in the post and on the railways."

Bloomberg has reported that "Experian Group Ltd., the world's largest credit-checking company, said it's in ``advanced'' talks about a sale of its transaction processing activities in France. Discussions are taking place with Doc@Post, a unit of French postal service operator La Poste, and private-equity firm Advent International, Dublin-based Experian said today in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service."

Federal Register: "As required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Public Law 92-463, the Department of State gives notice of the third meeting of the Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services. This Committee has been formed in fulfillment of the provisions of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (Pub. L. 109-435) and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The agenda of the meeting will include a review of the results of the 24th UPU Congress held in Geneva from 23 July to 12 August 2008 and other subjects of interest to Advisory Committee members and the public. Date: October 8, 2008 from 3 p.m. to about 6 p.m. (open to the public). Location: The American Institute of Architects (Boardroom), 1735 New York Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20006. For further information, please contact Christopher Wood, Office of Technical Specialized Agencies (IO/T), Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at (202) 647-1044, woodcs@state.gov.

Realdeal.hu has reported that "The Hungarian Postal Service (Magyar Posta) will refresh its database containing information about the lifestyles of clients, and consequently they are currently sending out millions of questionnaires to Hungarian households, reports Napi.hu (subscriber only). The questionnaires will be addressed to those clients who are currently included in the database, in addition to being sent to another two million residents. The questions can also be answered online."

According to Transport Intelligence, "Data released over the last couple of weeks by a range of organisations representing airlines and airports around the world provides a good indicator of the extent of the slowdown now being experienced in the global air cargo sector."

Logistics Management has noted that "The 17th annual Masters of Logistics study confirms that there are indeed two distinct groups of shippers—those that have reconfigured transportation fundamentals and those that are seeking to make this transition. And this year we find that the true Masters are only increasing their lead over the smaller, less sophisticated players."

Yesterday, Postal Regulatory Commission Ruth Goldway appeared before the Senate Committee on
Homeland Security and Government Affairs as part of the reappointment process for another term on the Commission. Posted on this site is a copy of her remarks.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "DHL and United Parcel Service officials Tuesday disputed claims by Ohio lawmakers that a pending deal between the two package delivery services amounted to a “de facto merger” that would devastate southwestern Ohio’s economy and drive up prices for customers. Burt Wallace, president of corporate transportation for UPS, said at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee that under the agreement, “UPS will act as a vendor to DHL.” It “is not a merger or a joint venture; it is not an acquisition; it is not a consolidation,” he said. The two companies will “continue to compete independently. We will each price and market our own brands and services. We will not share profits, costs or information about pricing of services to each other’s customers.” “This is in no way a merger or an alliance,” agreed John Mullen, CEO of DHL Express Global. “It’s purely a capacity-sharing and outsourcing proposal.” But Ohio officials weren’t having it."

From Business Wire: "The Board of Directors of Pitney Bowes Inc. has announced that effective January 1, 2009 Pitney Bowes Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Murray D. Martin will become Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Martin has been CEO since May 2007 and he will retain these responsibilities when this new appointment becomes effective. The company previously announced Michael J. Critelli’s decision to retire as Executive Chairman and Director at the end of 2008."

Hellmail has reported that "Next month will see the release of a new report which will assess the impact of postal liberalisation in the UK. It is widely being speculated that it could see the beginning of the sale of Royal Mail to private companies in an effort to establish more secure funding for the Universal Service."

According to the USPS' Margot Myers writing for Self Service World, "One of our challenges is to improve the customer experience in more than 32,000 retail locations. Digital signage can have a positive impact on the retail environment in several ways. One opportunity is to increase the range of information available to customers while they are waiting to be served. The Post Office Channel features product and service messages to educate and inform retail customers."

The Associated Press has reported that "Mexico's notoriously unreliable postal service is getting the shock treatment — shocking pink, that is. Infamous for lost packages and tardy delivery, the postal service is getting a hot-pink makeover to try to brighten up its image, win back customers — and pull it out of the red. Changes include a new logo, new uniforms and pink-and-lime-green painted post offices. Some will also sell cut-rate rice, beans and powdered milk alongside stamps. Coffee mugs and envelopes — something the post office didn't sell before — will also be available, but only in hot pink and lime green. The service's new symbol — a white carrier pigeon holding a letter in its beak — hit the streets Tuesday, a day after President Felipe Calderon unveiled the new look at a gala ceremony. The government hopes the new image and services will help the post office break even next year, after annual losses of up to $50 million. Officials promise high-speed Internet access at post offices where clerks still struggle with manual typewriters and sort mail by hand."

From Business Wire: "FedEx Corporation has announced that it expects to report earnings of $1.23 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31. Previous earnings guidance was $0.80 to $1.00 per diluted share. For fiscal 2009, the company reaffirmed its earnings guidance of $4.75 to $5.25 per diluted share, as weaker macroeconomic conditions offset better-than-expected first quarter results. This outlook assumes current fuel prices."

September 9, 2008

PoliticalAffairs.net has reported that "The six trade union federations are organizing a joint day of action against the planned privatization of the postal service."

South Florida Business Journal has reported that "SMF Energy Corp. said on Tuesday that it has been awarded a new, two-year agreement to provide fueling services to about 10,000 postal vehicles at more than 350 locations nationwide."

Infoworld has reported that the "US Postal Service leverages optimization tech to save millions on gas."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Norwegian postal service provider and logistics company Norway Post has announced an extension of its Nordic strategy for growth and a gathering together of the group under one unified brand. "The group will market itself towards the Norwegian and Nordic business markets with a new name, 'Bring'," it stated. "Private customers, the post office network and daily postal delivery in Norway will keep the 'Post' name and get a new and modernised Post logo." The post and logistics activities covered by the Bring brand are: Norway Post's business offer, including Nor-Cargo, Frigoscandia, Transflex, Box, CityMail, Talk2Me and Customer:view. Norway Post's IT entity, ErgoGroup, is not included in the brand name transformation."

The Visayan Daily Star has reported that "The electronic mail may have practically killed the “snail mail,” once the main preoccupation of the country’s postal service, but life goes on for the Philippine Postal Corporation. Postmaster General Hector Villanueva said PhilPost is thriving in money orders, which is now its major source of income."

Brand Republic has reported that "Royal Mail is to unveil a multi-million-pound ad campaign in an attempt to fend off competition from rivals. The marketing drive, which is called 'Partners for Growth' and showcases how Royal Mail has helped business customers, breaks in October across TV, digital and press. The ads will explain how businesses such as gift provider Hotel Chocolat and online lingerie retailer Figleaves.com have successfully used the mailer's services."

The Daily Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to remove 350 boxes across the state, with 51 from the Eastern Shore and close to 10 from Salisbury. In the last 10 years, more than 800 collection boxes have been removed, but large cities, like Baltimore, may still have as many as 2,300."

From PR Newswire: "ILOG has announced that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has realized over $5 million in annual savings through a strategic transportation management initiative. Developed by USPS and IBM using ILOG CPLEX(R) optimization software, the Highway Corridor Analytic Program (HCAP) uses advanced technology to analyze USPS highway transportation scenarios and identify cost saving opportunities. The HCAP model examines routing and scheduling options to minimize costs while meeting business goals -- leading to a savings of over $10 million in the two years since the model was deployed in 2006."

The BBC has reported that "The Royal Mail is trying out a new uniform for its postal staff which includes polo shirts, fleece tops, summer hats and cycle helmets. The red outfit also has new lightweight cagoules, all-weather jackets and trousers with specially-designed pockets to hold new handheld computers."

The Irish Times has reported that "the introduction of a postal code system could lead to substantial savings for Government departments and agencies and more effective data collection and sharing, a new report suggests."

To assist in providing an international perspective on universal service obligations and postal monopolies, the Postal Service contracted with Accenture, a management consulting firm with expertise in global postal markets, to conduct a structured and objective study of international liberalization. Accenture's paper: International Postal Liberalization – Comparative Study of U.S. and Key Countries states that “it is challenging to make one-to-one comparisons of the various liberalized or liberalizing developed countries…each country is in a unique situation…” The report finds that liberalizing countries employ various “flanking measures” to mitigate challenges and risks. Accenture concluded that liberalization in the U.S. would offer “lower potential upside and higher exposure” (risk) relative to other nations.

According to Hellmail, the "leader of the Communication Workers Union, Billy Hayes, accuses Postcomm of failure and for creating a financial crisis that is driving Royal Mail closer to privatisation."

September 8, 2008

CNET News has reported that "Google is making searchable, digital copies of old newspapers available online through partnerships with their publishers, the company said Monday. Under the effort, Google will digitize millions of pages of news archives, including photos, articles, headlines, and advertisements, Google said. "Around the globe, we estimate that there are billions of news pages containing every story ever written. And it's our goal to help readers find all of them, from the smallest local weekly paper up to the largest national daily," said product manager Punit Soni. "The problem is that most of these newspapers are not available online. We want to change that."

Air Cargo World has reported that "Alitalia was facing a shutdown today after unions rejected new job contracts in a rescue plan to save Italy's bankrupt national airline. Five unions representing pilots, ground employees and attendants dismissed the contracts as "unacceptable" after three hours of talks this morning with an investor group seeking to create a slimmed down "new" Alitalia. The carrier filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 29 to set in motion a government-sponsored rescue after it failed to attract a buyer."

Nazret.com has reported that "As part of a reform program, the Ethiopian Postal Service (EPS) office is set to sign agreements with international carriers, with the view of boosting the postal services, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC)of Ethiopia disclosed."

The Wilmington News Journal has reported that "The chairmen of two U.S. House of Representatives committees said Friday their committees will hold separate hearings related to the proposed DHL-UPS pact. The House Judiciary Committee plans hearings on competition in the air shipping industry. The hearings will include, among other things, testimony on the proposed deal between United Parcel Service (UPS) and DHL Worldwide Express, as well as the impact of the previous consolidation of UPS and Emery Worldwide, according to a press release from the House." Competition in the Package Delivery Industry Tuesday 09/09/2008 - 2:00 PM 2141 Rayburn House Office Building Full Committee.

At its annual meeting this weekend, the Continuity Shippers Association granted its Lifetime Achievement Award to PostCom president Gene Del Polito.

Have a son or daughter considering a career in logistics? Be sure to have them check out the 2008-2009 Logistics Career Guide put out by Commonwealth Business Media, the publishers of Traffic World, the Journal of Commerce, and Air Cargo World.

The Associated Press has reported that "Although readers keep shifting to the Internet, Esquire magazine's editor is sure print isn't dying, and he aims to prove it Monday by unveiling a 75th-anniversary issue with a cover that features electronic ink."

From Corsavoo: "Why An Online Postcard Mailing System Is More Practical."

From PR Newswire: "The Mail-Gard(R) division of Transcontinental Direct, the nation's leading provider of print-to-mail continuity and recovery services, announced today that it has opened a second print-to-mail recovery facility in Forth Worth, TX."

Press Release: "BCC Software Announces Release of FSP Unlimited Service Option; LSP Unlimited Product Now Available at New Price Each product provides one year of unlimited access to NCOALink processing, to satisfy USPS Move Update requirements for First-Class™ and Standard Mail."

As the New York Times has noted, "The electronic newspaper, a large portable screen that is constantly updated with the latest news, has been a prop in science fiction for ages. It also figures in the dreams of newspaper publishers struggling with rising production and delivery costs, lower circulation and decreased ad revenue from their paper product. If e-newspapers take off, the savings could be hefty. At the The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, print and delivery amount to 65 percent of the paper’s fixed expenses"

The Financial Times has reported that "European antitrust regulators are to bring formal proceedings against Slovakia, accusing the country of re-monopolising part of its postal service. The EU has fought a long battle to persuade and eventually force member states to open their postal services to competition – but already there are some concerns in Brussels that countries are backsliding."

Federal Register:  "Under a new law, the Postal Service must file an annual compliance report with the Postal Regulatory Commission on costs, revenues, rates, and quality of service associated with its products. It has filed documents with the Commission to change some of the methods it uses to compile the fiscal year 2008 report. In the Commission's view, these documents constitute a rulemaking petition. Therefore, it has established a rulemaking docket to allow the public to comment on potential changes in periodic reporting rules."

According to The Herald, "as regulators try to encourage investment in the postal service, giants such as TNT are licking their lips at the idea of further liberalisation of the service. Unions worry that private sector players will be given an unfair advantage over the Royal Mail."

September 7, 2008

Federal Times has reported that "Fred Jones, a data collection clerk in Houston, has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for nearly 26 years. Last month, the 49-year-old divorced father of two grown daughters got a letter from the agency asking him to consider retiring six years ahead of schedule. He did the math: Taking the early-out offer would cost Jones 12 percent of his annuity — 2 percent for every year he’s under 55, under Civil Service Retirement System rules. And since the calculation also would be based on a lower salary and fewer years of service, Jones figured he would be left with a monthly annuity that amounts to roughly 42 percent of his base salary — instead of 62 percent if he waited until he was 55. Jones’ response: Thanks, but no thanks. “To ask someone to leave with 40 percent of their salary after the minimum of 25 years, it’s like a slap in the face,” he said."

UTalkMarketing has reported that "Royal Mail is launching a new advertising and communications solution which aims to put brands into consumers’ hands. Matter is a box that fits the standard dimensions of a UK household letterbox, containing a range of physical brand representations enabling advertisers to get their products and services into the homes of their target customers. More than 30,000 people have registered to receive a box of brand representations after a test mailing prompted comment on more than 100 blogs and websites, as well as on YouTube."

The Nation has reported that "Trade unions attached to the Postal Department are up in arms against a proposal by the government to convert the department into an authority. The unions have warned of serious consequences, if the government decides to go ahead with the proposal. They said that this move, if implemented, would only make matters worse because it would open up more avenues for the higher authorities to interfere into the administration of the postal services."

September 6, 2008

Hellmail has reported that:

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September 5, 2008

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a public hearing to consider the nomination of: Ruth Y. Goldway to be Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission on September 9 at 3:15 PM in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rm. 342

The Postal Service and the Department of Defense (DoD) will combine efforts and expertise again to delivery absentee ballots to members of the armed forces serving abroad during this election season.

Personnel Today has reported that "Royal Mail has been forced to pay dozens of postal workers who had their pay stopped "without good reason" last August. The Communications Workers Union (CWU) secured pay-outs for 27 postal workers who had their wages frozen for two days following a union campaign called 'Doing the Job Properly' in 2007. Workers were told to attend work on time and not come in early, take their proper meal breaks, not to carry bags heavier than agreed health and safety weight limits and not to use their private cars for delivering mail."

TMCNet has reported that "CipherLab, a supplier of Automated Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) for the retail, warehouse, healthcare, government and distribution markets, announced that its 9400 Industrial Mobile Computer will be deployed throughout the 3,000-plus regional branches of the Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telegrafos (Brazilian Post and Telegraph Corp., or ECT), the national postal service of Brazil."

According to Multichannel Merchant, "If you think the print catalog is a dying channel, you better think again. Of 106 merchants polled by the Direct Marketing Association, 62% consider catalogs their primary sales channel. In contrast, only 20% cited the Web and 6% indicated retail. “Most of our respondents continue to use catalogs as their dominant or secondary channel of marketing and sales,” said Anna Chernis, senior research manager for the DMA, in a statement. “And our data suggests a consensus among successful marketers that there are consistent and integrated standards across all channels, as virtually all use some form of Internet marketing to supplement their catalog channel.” The survey also reveals that the print catalog is still the largest revenue generator among all channels, accounting for nearly 50% of all multichannel merchant sales in both 2007 and 2008. (The report notes, however, that Web sales are expected to continue to grow.)"

According to the Senior Journal, "The check is in the mail – your Social Security check, that is. But for nearly two million recipients in a dozen Western states it may be about their last to be delivered by the postal service. Since June, the U.S. Treasury has been rolling out the Direct Express Debit MasterCard card as a new way for senior citizens and other recipients to receive their benefits. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS) announced on June 10 that the prepaid debit card for Social Security payments and other federal benefits was available."

China Post has reported that "Taiwanese and Chinese mail operators on Wednesday called on their governments to allow di rect mail delivery across the Taiwan Strait soon. "It takes five days to send an ordinary piece of mail from Taipei to Beijing because the mail has to go through Japan or Kong Kong, " aid Huang Shu-chien, chairman of the Taiwan Postal Association and vice president of Taiwan's state-run Chunghwa Post Co. Huang, along with other senior postal officials and company executives from the two sides, made the appeal at a seminar during his visit to Beijing. Taiwan and China, which split during a Chinese civil war in 1949, began allowing mail to be delivered between the two sides through a third place in 1979."

The Borneo Bulletin has reported that "The Speed Post service and Expediated Mail Service (EMS) promotional campaign was yesterday launched at the Premium Service Centre, Mail Processing Centre in Berakas Old Airport, ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations. Speed Post and EMS, fronted by the Postal Service Department, provide customers with safety, efficiency and fast services in sending letters, documents and parcels both domestically and internationally. During the promotional period, boxes and packing services will be offered to the public for free."

From PR Web: "Take 5 Solutions, a national leader of multi-channel marketing solutions, specializing in direct mail, email and telemarketing data, including cell phones, is pleased to announce the grand opening on September 2, 2008 of a new office in Manhattan, New York. Take 5 Solutions' cell phone database is completely 100% opt-in, and generated through product and warranty registrations, online and online lifestyle surveys, ring tone downloads (wallpapers, music, ring tones), online and offline sweepstakes, and daily opt-ins. All data is further surveyed to obtain additional lifestyle information and confirm opt-in. All data is CASS certified, NCOA'd and cleansed through our proprietary management platform. This is one of a kind database, overlaid with full postal information, email information and current cell phone numbers."

The Hamilton Advertiser has told its readers that "the proposed closure of Post Offices in Lanark and NewLanark are simply not acceptable, according to local MP Jim Hood. The MP has now written to Royal Mail criticising their closure proposals for Westport and New Lanark Post Offices."

The Times-Picayune has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service resumed normal delivery and post office operations Thursday in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes."

Business Week has reported that "Package delivery giants United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) are making aggressive moves to pare back rising fuel costs. But UPS is also taking a more unusual step: trying to boost customer demand by loaning money to small businesses. On Sept. 9 the Atlanta company plans to unveil Cargo Finance, aimed at helping small customers that need funds to keep their product orders flowing. "We found that entrepreneurs would love to have someone provide them with working capital," says UPS Capital Senior Managing Director Chris Vukas. Given that the lending business has long been an albatross for nonfinancial companies—and isn't exactly a sweet spot for anyone these days—UPS's move reflects the lengths to which shippers are willing to go to get out of a bind. Having already watched their stocks drop 12% and 23%."

USA Today has reported that "Over the past few years, retailers have increasingly discovered a powerful way to entice shoppers to buy during the crucial Christmas season: slash shipping costs. Much higher fuel costs this season raised fears that free or cut-rate shipping would go the way of $2.50-a-gallon gas. But as retailers grapple with the shaky U.S. economy, many have calculated that they can't afford to put off shoppers with hefty shipping costs, even if it means eating higher fuel costs."

September 4, 2008

According to the Consumer Postal Council, "Russian Post (Pochta Rossii or PR) is a sleeping giant, which has only recently begun to stir with the emergence of a new consumer economy in Russia. PR is in many ways a relic of the vast, inefficient state bureaucracies of the Soviet area. However, with vigorous new management, infusions of investment capital, and the rapid introduction of electronic communications, the system is showing signs of new life. There are no indications that PR will be privatized; it is, and for the foreseeable future will remain, a state-owned enterprise."

Forbes has reported that "UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, said Wednesday it has restored package delivery service to most geographic areas affected by Hurricane Gustav."

Hellmail has reported that "Romanian Post announces that this week sees the start of the ACTIN project with session communications focusing on quality of service. ACTIN stands for Acquis Communautaire Training Initiative. The project aims to help prepare eastern european postal operators for the changes to internal markets as a result of postal liberalisation and in particular, competition. ACTIN is supported by the European Commission under its BSP2 Business Support Programme, a part of the PHARE initiative, and is coordinated by PostEurop (the Association of European Public Postal Operators), in cooperation with FEDMA and IPALMO (an Italian Research Institute). The main beneficiaries are said to be Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey."

The Postal Service has formed a new MTAC work group that has been tasked to "Define outreach strategies for ensuring optimal education and awareness of Intelligent Mail solutions across the industry." If you are interested in participating on this work group, please contact the PostCom office.

From the U.S. Postal Service: "“PO Boxes Online” is a quick, easy and convenient online service that lets customers find, apply for and rent an available Post Office Box – simply by going online to usps.com/poboxes instead of making a trip to a Post Office."

The Advertising Specialty Institute has told its members that "The United States Postal Service has proposed new standards that could cost businesses dearly in penalties for mass mailings. The new requirements for the USPS' Move Update program would require businesses to update their bulk-mailing lists every 95 days, instead of every 185 days. Companies that fail to comply can be charged seven cents for every piece of mail in a mailing, not just the undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) pieces."

DMM Advisory:  Check out the new USPS Flats Sequencing Strategy Web page on http://ribbs.usps.gov. You’ll find all of our presentations, resources, and FAQs related to the flats vision and the new Flats Sequencing System (FSS). Included are a scripted presentation and fact sheets on the new address standards for commercial flat-size mail. We will update the page with new information and materials as soon as they become available. From the RIBBS homepage, just click on “Flats Sequencing Strategy – All Things FSS” in the center of the page.

On Nov. 23, 2008, the US Postal Service’s Move Update standards will expand from First-Class Mail automation and presort-price mailings to include all Standard Mail mailings. DMA will host a virtual seminar on Thursday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. (EDT). The briefing will feature experts from the USPS, who will be able to explain these standards and answer participants’ questions. To register, click here http://www.the-dma.org/government/moveupdate.shtml [EdNote: Mark this one on your calendar.]

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail has successfully piloted an offering that delivers selected consumers a box of assorted branded objects on a Saturday, and is to send out the next mailing to 30,000 opted-in consumers in October."

Media Daily News has reported that "The New York Sun may close at the end of September unless its publishers are able to raise more money. But the newspaper has had mounting financial problems - even though it was "one of the few newspapers in America to see substantial increases in print advertising revenues not only last year and the year before but also so far this year," as Lipsky wrote in his note to readers. The main problem, he explained, is that "the expense of producing and distributing the paper exceeds our revenues." The costs of paper and ink have risen in part because of increasing foreign demand for both products, while the cost of distribution grew with the unprecedented jump in oil prices since 2003."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Logistics and mailing company Deutsche Post AG denies a report of a delay in its North American restructuring program and still plans to cooperate with United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) in 2009, a company spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday. A report in the Financial Times Deutschland's Thursday edition that talks with UPS were taking longer than planned is untrue, the spokesman said. Deutsche Post never had a firm timeplan for the negotiations on an air-shipping cooperation for its U.S. DHL unit, he added. The talks are continuing but the company doesn't see itself under pressure, the spokesman said. In addition to the UPS cooperation, Deutsche Post continues to investigate what other changes are needed in the U.S. business, the spokesman said."

According to Pharmalot, "Here’s one way to increase market share - strike a deal with the government postal service to sell your over-the-counter meds alongside stamps and envelopes. To validate the concept, a half dozen drugmakers will soon begin a pilot project. Among the drugs to be sold next quarter will be painkillers, diarrhea treatments, cold and cough meds and contraceptives in three regions - Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra - according to Ranjit Shahani, a Novartis managing director."

The Dubbo Daily Liberal has said that "Rural mail services are a “lifeline” linking country people to the outside world and they must be maintained. Former mail contractor Fay Newman, along with Toongi resident Lesley Morgan, last week expounded on the need for rural mail services. Their views come on top of Parkes MP Mark Coulton warning that postal services are being threatened by rising fuel costs."

According to Hours.ca, "A battle is stirring surrounding Canada Post as the current Conservative government begins to make serious efforts to open Canada's national postal service to the corporate sector. A unilateral decision from Canada Post to close a Pointe St-Charles post office has ignited a grassroots campaign, led by local residents and supported by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, to demand that the local post office remain open. Critics of the Tory efforts to open Canada's letter mail services to the private sector say that a deregulated market will disturb the current national fixed price for mail delivery across Canada in both rural and urban regions."

The New York Times has discovered Earth Class Mail.

The Connexion has reported that "A petition against a law to privatise La Poste has been launched by a coalition of left-wing parties."

According to Transport Intelligence, "The Teamsters Union in the US is putting pressure on FedEx chairman, president and CEO Fred Smith as part of a struggle with that company over union recognition which has seen the two sides line up behind opposing US presidential candidates."

As Hellmail has reported, "Whilst the whole world notes a decline in mail volume, there are certainly some UK postal workers who refute the evidence. Whether its because they will always deny it or because the effects of single day delivery are only just taking root, I have no idea, but apparently a good proportion are convinced that the figures are wrong and they're actually delivering more than ever. That theory however, would indicate that Royal Mail was somehow managing to defy the trend for business to switch to faster and often more reliable means compared to every other operator in the world. It seemed wise therefore to take advice from someone who was at least recently employed by Royal Mail in a relatively senior position, and as luck would have it, I found one."

September 3, 2008

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

The economic downturn, higher costs and shrinking mail volumes caused the French La Poste an approx. 11% drop in profit during the first half.
Current fuel costs and higher payroll costs have caused a definite drop in first-half profits for Schweizerische Post despite a slight increase in turnover.
Growing volumes in the logistics segment combined with acquisitions have provided Posten Norge AS with a 7.3% increase in turnover (14,370m NOK or 1.795bn euros). The mail segment suffered a 21%+ drop in profit (34.5m euros) despite larger volumes (+3.9%; including CityMail +22.9%).
The German ministry of finance has decided to partly cancel Deutsche Post AG’s exemption from VAT. A new draft bill proposes that letters from major consignors should be liable for VAT in future, »Capital« magazine reported (28.08). Parcels dropped off at a branch counter are to remain exempt from VAT, however.
Following liberalisation of the Austrian postal market, the post’s subsidiary Feibra shall act as a low-cost service provider with a mission of curbing potential competition from foreign rivals.
Cost cuttings and an increase in profit for Belgian La Poste have led to a considerable improvement in Post Danmark’s half-year result.
Belgium’s La Poste achieved a definite leap in profit on a slight increase in turnover (1.12bn euros; +1.4%) during this year’s first half.
"It is imperative that La Poste be given additional funds for development." Thus, CEO Jean-Paul Bailly has clearly outlined the basis for the restructuring he is aiming for. "If we stick with our present form we shall remain extremely restricted", said Mr Bailly. As expected he took the opportunity of a press conference last week to present plans, according to which La Poste would be transformed into a plc and its capital opened up by 2010.
Emirates Post (Empost) could fail to go public after all. In a telephone interview with »Emirates Business« (01.09), Emirates Post Holding Group president Abdullah AlDaboos said that "we were planning to go public this year but our plans have been postponed and we are currently looking into prevailing market conditions". Mr AlDaboos said the market development over the next two quarters would be decisive and a scheduling decision would be reached at the end of that period. A business consultancy firm would carry out a review of the group’s overall strategy. Depending on the strategy review, Empost would decide "whether to go public or not", according to Mr AlDaboos.
Nippon Express Co. and Japan Post have announced a further step toward the pooling of their respective domestic parcel operations.
British express parcel service Amtrak (2006 turnover: approx. 122m euros) has declared bankruptcy.
On Monday the French La Poste announced the sale of domestic courier and express service Taxicolis.
Parcel courier service franchise Fastway Global has opened its new headquarters in Napier, New Zealand.
TNT wants to expand further in Poland.

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.)

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: InfoPrint Solutions 91 Benthaven Place Boulder, CO 80305-6200 represented by Brian Doyle, Consulting IT Architect, ITAC Certified .

Traffic World has reported that "The International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Sept. 2 asked FedEx shareholders to support the union's proposal for an independent board chairman at FedEx's annual meeting later this month."

DMM Advisory:  "In March we (the USPS) filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission for a classification change requiring all Bound Printed Matter (BPM) mailings to be paid by permit imprint only. The Commission agreed, and we are moving forward with the change. Effective September 11, postage payment for all BPM mailings — carrier route, presorted, and nonpresorted (single-piece) flats and parcels, regardless of volume — will be limited to permit imprint. Mailers cannot pay postage with adhesive stamps, customer-generated postage meter, or PC Postage. In addition, nonpresorted BPM will not be accepted at retail counters, in collection boxes, or by carriers. All BPM must be deposited and accepted at the Post Office facility that issued the permit. Merchandise return service permit holders may continue to pay nonpresorted BPM prices on eligible items returned with a merchandise return service label. We posted an advance copy of the Federal Register notice on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com. These changes also will be published in the Domestic Mail Manual and the Postal Bulletin on September 11."

Hellmail has reported that "The British Disabled Flying Association (BDFA) has recruited 50 disabled individuals to set a Guinness World Record by pulling a 65 tonne aeroplane this Saturday, 6th September. Each seated in a manual wheelchair, the 50 disabled participants will attempt to pull a 65 tonne DHL 757 airliner 100 metres along the main runway at Lasham Airfield in Hampshire." [EdNote: You know. Life's a hoot. There are days when you just can't make up stuff like this. By the way, sign me up.]

SourceWire has reported that "Situated in the middle of the Irish Sea, Isle of Man Post Office is the largest postal and courier service on the Isle of Man. It has selected a full track and trace managed service from Skillweb, a leading supplier of innovative mobile computing solutions for the logistics industry. The service enables the Post Office to capture customer signatures and delivery information in near real-time for deliveries throughout the Island. Using the new system has enabled the Post Office to offer an improved customer delivery service and more accurate data collection for third party business parcel carriers."

From Business Wire: "Smiths Detection, part of the global technology business Smiths Group, today announced that a number of its security technologies have been included in the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Mobile Mail Screening Station (MMSS). The Postal Inspection Service will debut the MMSS at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions."

The Bangor Daily News has reported that "For the two dozen employees at the U.S. Postal Service’s Eastern Maine Processing and Distribution Facility, things have slowed a little in recent weeks. “We’ve got guys standing around not doing anything; that’s a bad sign,” said Richard J. Reed, president of the Bangor Area Local 536 of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents 21 of those workers. Work has leveled off since the USPS decision last month to shift some of its processing from the plant in Hampden to a newer, more technologically impressive facility in southern Maine, Reed said. Aside from that decreased workload, the union president said he thinks the shift has resulted in poorer standards of quality."

According to the Vancouver Sun, "Canada Post is able to provide universal postal rates and service because of the profits that are generated from its exclusive privilege to deliver first-class letters. Without that exclusive privilege, Canada's universal postal service would be compromised. If fully deregulated, the service of Canada's lucrative urban areas might well present an appealing proposition to American-based corporations such as UPS, but what would be the fate of Canada's rural communities? Without its exclusive privilege, how would Canada Post be able to provide those Canadians who live in rural communities with the same universal postal service? Canada Post's 12 straight years of profits are proof of its continued viability as a federal undertaking. However, even partial deregulation could have serious ramifications."

From Canada NewsWire: "Canada Post Corporation has taken an unreasonable approach to bargaining during the late stages of negotiations and employees will take a strike vote over the coming weeks to protect their rights. The negotiations started in the spring of 2008, and the union says the employer is refusing to address the workers' demands. Richard Des Lauriers, national president of Union of Postal Communications employees (UPCE), a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) noted "we are disappointed with CPC's stance regarding negotiations. We have always been prepared to reach a fair agreement with Canada Post, one that ensures a strong and vibrant public postal service." The main issues at the bargaining table continue to be: protections against unreasonable measurements and surveillance of individual employees, workload-management issues, a fair benefits package, fair wages and bargaining unit protection. Canada Post has previously negotiated similar settlements with other unions. The PSAC bargaining team tabled a thoughtful and comprehensive offer of settlement last week, but Canada Post remains reluctant to commit to any proposal of substance. The union will not agree to concessions for its members and says only a substantial improvement in Canada Post's offer could prevent a strike."

As one writer for DC Velocity put it, "Without a clear vision and clearly stated goals, we simply cannot formulate infrastructure or energy strategies, develop tactics for executing those strategies, or intelligently discuss how the necessary improvements will be funded."

The Sowetan has reported that "The SA Post Office has warned the public of a scam in which potential victims receive an SMS informing them that they have won a car."

September 2, 2008

Have you heard about the "Postal Affairs Blog?" It's maintained by a company called Intelisent and is part of the Data-Mail family of mail-related enterprises. Check it out!

From Canada NewsWire: "A new Ipsos Reid poll shows 69 per cent of the public oppose allowing private companies to deliver letters in Canada. The release of this poll coincides with the final day for submissions to the Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review, a government-appointed panel which is considering postal deregulation. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) delivered its submission, which includes the poll results, and over 10,000 post cards to the review's advisory panel today. "The public is overwhelmingly against postal deregulation and supports a strong universal public postal system," said Denis Lemelin, CUPW National President. "Hopefully, the review panel will remember these results when making their recommendations." See also UPI.

From Business Wire: "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, has upgraded its next-business-day delivery service FedEx International Priority® from Europe to major U.S. East Coast cities. Customers who had two-business-day service can now reach more than 3,500 zip codes in key markets along the U.S. East Coast overnight. Customers already enjoying next-business-day delivery service to this region benefit from later pick-up times of up to six hours. With this service enhancement, FedEx now offers the broadest coverage for next-business-day service from Europe to the Eastern United States."

Check the Postal Service's Hurricane Gustav web page for the latest on services that may have been affected by the passing storm.

Courier, Express and Postal Blog editor Alan Robinson says that "The more that I read about Royal Mail, the more I wonder whether it is following the fate of the Penn Central Railroad. I bring up the Penn Central, not to talk about ancient history but to focus on how bad management, government policy, and overbearing and misguided industry regulation can cause a business to fail and fail rather quickly. Furthermore, the possibility of the break-up of Royal mail between the letter mail and parcel businesses seems to follow the break-up of the Penn Central between a for profit, freight railroad, Conrail, and a subsidized universal service provider of passenger commuter and inter-city passenger service (Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and SEPTA commuter rail among others)."

According to Brand Republic, "Direct mail may not be quite as sexy as digital, but the proof is in the response. Recent studies have found that digital campaigns supported by direct mail drives 40% more traffic online."

ThisIsMoney has noted that "When you send an item through the post using Royal Mail's recorded delivery service you expect it to arrive at its intended destination, guaranteed. But there are NO guarantees with recorded delivery and the confusion around this service has led Postwatch to call for an overhaul of how it is sold."

Zawya has noted that "On February 2007 Empost - UAE's national courier company - diversified to create a subsidiary division for cargo and logistics in order to offer integrated transport and logistics services covering more than 200 destinations. The new entity, Empost Cargo and Logistics, has specialised infrastructure and operates out of dedicated locations, with its hub at one of the most important locations for the logistics sector - the Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafza)Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafza)Loading.... Sultan Al Midfa, CEO of EmpostEmpostLoading..., spoke to Emirates Business about the performance of the company's logistics division."

Data Collection Online has reported that "CipherLab, a leading innovator in Automated Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) for the retail, warehouse, healthcare, government and distribution markets, recently announced that its 9400 Industrial Mobile Computer will be deployed throughout the 3,000+ regional branches of the Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telegrafos (Brazilian Post and Telegraph Corporation, or ECT), the national postal service of Brazil. Compex Tecnologia, CipherLab's official reseller in Brazil, won the contract to upgrade ECT's logistics infrastructure to improve shipment accuracy and efficiency."

As the editors at Hellmail have noted, ""The postal service has reached usefulness as a business and must return to a service for communication for all citizens. Major changes may have to take place, such as three day delivery of many routes, self management of all routes much like the rural routes of old. Time restraints reduced for many classes of mail. The postal service is headed in the wrong direction."

Hellmail has reported that:

Press Release: The "Media Reference Guide CEP and Logistics" is the result of months of detailed research undertaken by the editorial team of the CEP News, presenting you with up-to-date facts and information on the most important express and postal markets and their key players. Relevant information concerning this global industry has been compiled in comprehensive country and company profiles. Our Reference Guide offers journalists, analysts, market observers and others interested in this rapidly growing international market a unique and well-founded overview of relevant market partners as well as an insight into the connections linking domestic and international players. Each country profile features quantitative data on that country's 20 biggest service providers, concentrated information on specific postal market regulations for each country as well as an address list for authorities, companies and specialised and business publications." [EdNote: You gotta get one.]

Press Release: "The next edition of World Mail Review focuses on the big issues that concern all senior postal executives when considering their future strategies in the context of developing technologies. With a readership comprising a ‘who’s who’ of the global postal industry, WMR is a fantastic read, and a must have for anyone looking to the future of the industry. If you currently don’t receive a copy but would like to, please e-mail your details to varoujan.tekerian@triangle.eu.com."

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Guide to Worldwide Postal-Code and Address Formats" report to their offering. The Guide to Worldwide Postal Codes and Address Formats provides not only the "official" information from the postal authorities but also what mailers are seeing and experiencing day-to-day. As in previous editions, the 2008 Guide includes sample addresses for each country, information on addressing, and changes in postal and addressing formats that have occurred since the previous edition, along with a review of what is expected in the near future. 230 countries and territories are covered by the report.

September 1, 2008

As the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted, "EcoEnvelopes -- reusable and made largely of recycled paper -- got off to a rocky start, but the owners stuck to it."

Hellmail has reported that "It looks likely that Royal Mail could be split up and areas of the business sold to private investors in an attempt to secure the future of the UK's universal service. Despite previous rejections by Postcomm of Royal Mail's request to introduce zonal pricing to cover the cost of delivering to more expensive areas, Postcomm now appears to have warmed to the idea. It says that zonal pricing on business mail would be a way to help shore-up the universal service which showed a loss of £100m. Even Royal Mail's overall price controlled business showed a loss of around £200m which is giving cause for concern. Postcomm is keen to see private investment which could entail the service being split up, particularly if the government can provide assurances that the pension deficit can be removed from the equation. The pension deficit is presently seen as a barrier to outside investment."