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Postal News from November 2008:

November 29, 2008

The Herald has reported that "More than nine out of 10 first and second-class letters were delivered on time this summer, above the Royal Mail's target, according to figures released yesterday. A study showed that 93.4% of first-class mail was delivered the next working day after posting, ahead of the 93% target, and 98.8% of second-class mail was delivered within three working days, above the 98.5% target. Standard parcels, special delivery, international European and business bulk mail services were also all delivered ahead of target. Mark Higson, managing director of Royal Mail Letters, said: "These target-beating results are a tribute to the dedication and commitment of Royal Mail's postmen and women but we will not relax and are determined to keep doing all we can to deliver ever-better service to all our customers."

The Press has reported that "strike action by York postal workers planned during the busy run-up to Christmas has been postponed." 

November 28, 2008

As the Associated Press has noted, "If you're looking for a deal on holiday shipping, your mail carrier may be able to deliver. The U.S. Postal Service offers several boxes and envelopes at fixed prices ranging from $4.80 to $16.50, regardless of their weight or destination in the country. You can even go online to have your mail carrier drop off and pick up the boxes at your house. Print the postage at home and you'll also get a 3.5 percent discount on priority or express mail. It's just like having a post office at your fingertips."

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

  • The PRC this week issued Order No. 140 granting formal approval to the U. S. Postal Service’s proposed service performance measurement approach. The PRC made recommendations around key elements of the USPS’ measurement proposal in its 60-page order, including requiring the USPS to provide regular progress reports on Intelligent Mail barcode implementation. The PRC found the Postal Service’s proposed measurement solutions for Special Services to be inadequate, and required the USPS to put forth its proposed remedial action by June 1, 2009. The PRC also said it would initiate a separate public proceeding on service performance data reporting.
  • Butler Mailing Services’ President Todd Butler says multimedia mail delivers greater functionality at a lower cost than most search engine marketing campaigns on a cost-per-response basis.
  • USPS issues DMM Advisory on Move Update. Former New Zealand Post and Royal Mail executive Elmar Toime joins Board of Earth Class Mail. Bob Hope to star on First-Class stamp.
  • Royal Mail’s pension deficit soars to more than $6 billion. Swedish postal chief declines pay.
  • Times Printing Company joins PostCom.
  • Postal Previews
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Hellmail has reported that "Investment by mailing companies in reliable, automated letter sorting technology is critical to gaining competitive advantage in the UK’s liberalised market. In this respect TNT Post does not differ from its competitors. What seriously sets this company apart however is its forward-thinking. With a prime focus on growing its end-to-end business TNT Post hasn’t just adopted one OCR package but two. As well as the MMT Sabre™ address recognition system option with its chosen Böwe Bell +Howell Criterion letter sorter platform, it has also equipped all of its UK sorting centres with Prime Vision’s Address Reader."

Thunder Bay's Source has reported that "City postal workers set up a picket line at the Canada Post distribution centre that slowed traffic. PSAC members joined the two local members of the Union of Postal and Communications Employees in a show of support in the ongoing dispute between the postal worker’s union and Canada Post."

The Pakistan Daily Mail has reported that "Federal Minister for Postal Services, Mir Israr ullah Zehri has said that Pakistan Post will soon initiate new services to facilitate people by using modern communication technologies and this agreement is a step ahead towards this direction."

According to Associated Press Pakistan, "Mobilink Friday signed an agreement with Pakistan Post Office to introduce Mobile Money Order Service in Pakistan." 

Reuters has reported that "TNT will hold on to its partial monopoly in the Dutch postal market after the government postponed a decision on Friday to open up the sector until after more talks on workplace conditions with competitors."

According to the Financial Times, "the US Postal Service is bleeding red ink just two years after it was put on a more independent footing by Congress. The losses may revive calls to end the Post Office’s monopoly, but these miss the point and ignore its tough operating environment. The main privilege it enjoys is the sole right to deliver to mailboxes – hardly enviable given the accompanying universal service obligation requiring it to be ubiquitous. It is likely this unionised federal agency could be more efficient and fetch a high price to boot if privatised."

The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday started discussions on revising the postal privatization law, with integration of post office management and delivery service companies as an option."

The Baltic Course has reported that "In planning the 2009 revenue, the company bases its calculations on a conservative prognosis, it reported on Thursday. The total volume of next year’s budget of Estonian Post is 1.01 billion kroons."

Online Media has reported that "Publishers looking for a method to visualize their inventory and understand the constraints of selling to advertisers will soon have an application that theoretically forecasts availability and price. The application will officially become available in January through the start-up Yieldex, a San Mateo, Calif.-based Web-services company founded in 2007 that analyzes and predicts available online advertising inventory to help optimize campaigns."

FedBizOps.com has noted that "The United States Postal Service (USPS) is initiating a new acquisition program entitled “Next Generation Mail Processing Solution” to identify participants and sources of supply, capable of providing research and development, design, and in or out sourced manufacturing for a new state-of-the-art, automated, mail processing design solution. This solution will be deployed to sort and sequence the high volume of letter and flat mail currently processed within USPS facilities nationwide. This market notice and supply chain opportunity is ultimately seeking suppliers who can offer new or not previously fielded concepts or variations of existing equipment, having an achievable maturation path leading to deployable equipment commencing within the next six years."

The Postalnews Blog has reported that "At a time when postal supervisors and postmasters are being asked to forgo their performance based salary increases, the Postal Service paid its Chief Executive Officer, Jack Potter, a performance bonus of $135,041, and other compensation that more than tripled his $263,575 salary. The information on bonuses for the PMG and other officers is included in the USPS 10K Report, filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission on Wednesday. The information on the PMG’s compensation package was noted earlier today on postalmag.com. Because the Postmaster General’s pay is capped at the $263,575 figure, additional bonus payments are “deferred” until after the PMG leaves office, at which point the money will be paid to him over a ten year period. With this year’s bonuses, the PMG’s accumulated deferred compensation balance now stands at $593,648. The USPS also pays interest at the generous rate of 5% on the deferred payment balance. The $857,459 annual earnings figure is based on actual compensation received, plus the increase in the value of Potter’s deferred compensation balance and pension. In addition to the deferred compensation, when the PMG retires, he will also be the beneficiary of a supplemental retirement fund worth $1,350,318. This fund is above and beyond the CSRS pension the PMG will be entitled to." [EdNote: Sounds not unlike the kind of compensation given to many post CEOs around the world.]

The Decatur Tribune has reported that "Despite a broad coalition of support from the community, as well as local, state and federal government officials, United Parcel Service (UPS) Wednesday announced plans to discontinue daily flight operations at the Decatur Airport, effective Feb. 4, 2009."

The Wilmington News Journal has reported that "DHL Global Business Services this week notified the mayor of Wilmington and the chief of the rapid response section of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in Columbus of another round of permanent layoffs, this one involving about 130 DHL Express air park employees."

November 27, 2008

A1+ wants to know "what’s going on at “Haypost”?

The Economic Times has reported that "To expand its global coverage and speed up delivery, India's state-owned postal services company, India Posts, launched 'WorldNet Express' Thursday in partnership with German postal services company Deutsche Post."

Virgin Islands Platinum News has reported that "The BVI Post is appealing for public understanding as it works to address the delays being experienced in receiving mail from the United States of America (USA). Postmaster General Mr. Kevin C. Smith told the Department of Information and Public Relations, the delays have been created by the recent decision of American Eagle to stop carrying Caribbean-bound mail from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The decision stems from a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulation that “places a weight limit on international flights into and out of the USA. While the BVI is not the only country affected, Mr. Smith said it is one of the most affected because American Eagle is the major carrier. He noted too that the airlift problem into the Territory is not just a tourism issue but one which affects the overall transportation capacity."

According to Ynetnews, "Thousands of kilograms of citrus fruits, wines, chocolate and Israeli products are sent to destinations across the world ahead of Christian holidays despite tough financial situation."

According to Tech-On English, "Japan Post Service Co Ltd (JP) will start a field test of electric vehicles (EVs) for its postal service and other business activities."

The Sarasota Herald Tribune has reported that "The Postal Service is considering closing the plant where mail enters and leaves Sarasota and Manatee counties."

Press Release: "FKI Logistex® - a leading global supplier of end-to-end library technologies - has been awarded a contract as the supplier and project integrator of a new energy-efficient sortation/distribution system for Posten Norge’s new Østlandsterminalen mail centre near Oslo, Norway. Due to be handed over in spring 2010, the complete Automatic Tray Handling System can sort more than 10,000 mail trays an hour and sets a new benchmark for short-flow, high-accuracy mail handling, as well as creating a safer working environment for employees."

November 26, 2008

Brand Republic has reported that "Royal Mail is set to launch the first commercial version of its 'Matter Box', a new direct marketing initiative that contains free brand representations from a range of household brands."

MediaWeek has reported that "The slumping economy and ongoing reader and advertiser shift to online sources continue to impact business-to-business media, which held their revenue flat from 2005 to 2007, according to American Business Media’s “ABM Financial Trend Report, Three-Year Analysis, 2005-2007.”

The Daily News has reported that "Services provided by BotswanaPost remain an essential tool in exchange of information in the society."

The Postal Service's Form-10k has been posted on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site.

Hongkong Post announced today (November 26) that as advised by the postal administration of Thailand, due to interruption in airport operation caused by political instability in Thailand, mail delivery services (including Speedpost) are subject to delay until further notice.

DM News has reported that "With postal and production costs rising and more consumers looking to online, some say that direct mail may be nearing its end as an effective marketing tool — but others disagree."

Research and Markets has announced the addition of Javelin Strategy & Research's new report "2008 Online Banking and Bill Payment Forecast: Financial Crisis Makes It More Vital Than Ever to Target Online Channel" to their offering.

Despite the global economic slowdown, the Chinese logistics industry is still set to experience strong growth over the next five years, according to 'China Logistics', the latest report by Transport Intelligence published today (November 25). However, says the report, there will be considerable variance in rates of growth across the various segments of that industry.

China Knowledge has reported that "The U.S.-based logistics services company FedEx Corporation is charged with unfair operation by some domestic delivery services companies in China, the Caijing magazine reported. The domestic companies has appealed to the relevant government bodies and requested them to intervene with the price war that FedEx had launched in the country."

Radio Prague has noted that "The Postal Museum in Prague is celebrating its 90th anniversary. The museum, which was founded very soon after the establishment of Czechoslovakia, has just launched a special exhibition focused on some of the highlights of its history."

Canada.com has reported that "The Christmas rush will put an insupportable strain on the mail-delivery system, says the union representing 2,100 office and technical workers on strike at Canada Post."

Press Release: "Neopost, the worldwide provider of mailing and shipping solutions, introduces the Neopost AS-990, the latest addition to its line of desktop address printing systems. Quickly and easily printing addresses, barcodes and graphics anywhere on envelopes, the Neopost AS-990 is designed to increase productivity while providing a high quality, professional image aimed at increasing direct mail response rates. As a complementary product to the company’s existing desktop address printers, the AS-990 is a rugged, reliable unit that can handle up to two million duty cycles per month. The AS-990 is an ideal choice for corporations, associations or quickprinters with mid to high volume direct mailing requirements."

B2B has an interview with Postal Regulatory Commissioner Nanci Langley. Check it out.

The Coventry Telegraph has reported that "hundreds of postal workers in Coventry could be on strike during their busiest time of the year. High-level negotiations will take place tomorrow between Royal Mail bosses and union representatives to decide whether industrial action is needed over the closure of the city's Bishop Street sorting office. The dramatic steps could leave thousands of residents in Coventry without mail during the festive season."

DMM Advisory:  The U.S. Postal Service has posted a "Move Update – Reminder."

The Postal Regulatory Commission has issued Order No. 140 granting formal approval for the U.S. Postal Service to utilize both external and internal service measurement systems – including the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) – to report on service performance for market dominant postal products. The USPS had sought the Commission’s approval to utilize the IMb to measure the performance of its commercial mail lines.

The comments submitted by the Association for Postal Commerce, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Direct Marketing Association, the National Postal Policy Council, and the Parcel Shippers Association on licensing agreements (Docket No. MC2008-1) are available on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site.

November 25, 2008

Federal Register:  "The Postal Regulatory Commission is adding Priority Mail Contract 4 to the Competitive Product List. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a related Postal Service request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. Effective November 25, 2008. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov."

Business First has reported that "The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Monday approved the nationwide deployment of the NextGen satellite system, an air traffic control system that monitors aircraft by satellite rather than radar. The system, also known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, had been beta tested by Louisville-based UPS Airlines since 1996."

Florida Shipper has reported that "The world’s largest national economy is not large enough, it appears, for three private parcel carriers.  DHL’s announcement two weeks ago that it will scrap its domestic air and ground delivery business in the U.S. ended a five-year, $10 billion effort to mount a new competitive challenge to FedEx and UPS. That sent shippers looking for alternatives at the busiest period of the year and toward a new competitive landscape. Although the end of DHL’s domestic operation isn’t scheduled until Jan. 30, there is already a fight for thousands of daily parcel shipments and, according to experts, a growing chance of a bigger battle for air express business outside of the U.S."

November 24, 2008

The Ministry of Haj has reported that "The Saudi Post in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has initiated a new project to facilitate comprehensive services in marketing and sale of 'Hadiy', 'Fidyah' and 'Sadaqah' Coupons for pilgrims and Udhiya (Animal for Sacrifice) Coupons for those who are not performing Hajj."

A copy of the report from the most recent meeting of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Consultative Committee (CC) has been posted on this site.

The Royal Gazette has reported that "Bermuda will join a group of 62 countries who will reform and revitalise their postal system with the help of the Universal Postal Union. Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce, Terry Lister announced that the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which is a specialised agency of the United Nations, had completed the review. According to the Minister the UPU had completed the Integrated Postal Reform and Development Plan (IPDP) review for Bermuda as part of an international effort to modernise the postal system."

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The New York Times has reported that "The average email inbox is stuffed with spam, disguised viruses and irrelevant junk. But Goodmail Systems, provider of the CertifiedEmail platform that delivers only trusted emails, just landed $20 million in a third round of funding to help its users rise above the fray."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast 11.17.08
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and Grayhair Software vice presidents Angelo Anagnostopoulos and Everette Mills, Grayhair Software's manager, analytic services, in a discussion regarding the Intelligent Mail Barcode. This is the second in a series on IMB

According to Earth911, "The debate continues on whether or not online shopping is actually better for the environment. But regardless of how you ring in on that discussion, it is hard to argue that online shopping for the holidays is becoming increasingly popular. According to the National Retail Federation, surveys of 2007 holiday shoppers indicated that, on average, consumers planned to do 30.2 percent of their shopping online (up from 28.9 percent in 2006). Regardless of how you to choose to shop this year, here are some great tips to make shopping more convenient and environmentally friendly this holiday season: Have your products shipped using the United States Postal Service (if available through your retailer), since USPS is most likely coming to your neighborhood to deliver mail anyway."

There are times when it's hard to be green, but.... As the BBC has reported, "Councils in England should not increase the use of landfill despite a collapse in the market for recyclable waste, the Local Government Association has said. Because the value of plastic, metal and paper has fallen, commercial recycling firms are less willing to take it. The Association wants councils to make more use of incinerators and composting until the market recovers. The chairman of the LGA's environment board, Paul Bettison, told BBC Radio 5Live that "The Ministry of Defence, during the last postal strike, actually stored the country's mail and we'd like them now to assist us by storing some of our paper." 

As the Daily Courier has noted, "Mired in an uncertain economic climate, local postal service employees and residents realize how important food drives are to those having difficulty finding work, particularly during the holidays. For the 26th straight year on Saturday, postal workers in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley put on the Letter Carriers' Food Drive, which generates thousands of pounds of nonperishable items for charitable organizations. John McCaw, the Prescott post office's food drive coordinator who has assisted with these efforts biannually for 13 years, said Saturday's event will likely generate upwards of 30,000 to 50,000 pounds of food."

According to Advertising Age, "Now that Rep. Henry Waxman has been named chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, many in the media and advertising industries are wringing their hands with worry. Media and advertising groups express concern about Mr. Waxman's past efforts to curb drug and tobacco advertising. The worry is that his new post heralds an era of new advertising restrictions, especially as the House considers health legislation. Mr. Waxman, media observers suggest, could be more likely to examine product placement and consider limits on junk food and alcohol advertising."

Yahoo! Tech News has reported that "With e-book sales exploding in an otherwise sleepy market, Random House Inc. announced Monday that it was making thousands of additional books available in digital form."

Hellmail has reported that "The Austrian authorities began a “roundtable meeting“ last week to discuss the strategic reorientation of Austrian Post ahead of full market liberalisation in 2011, in particular the financing of the Austrian universal postal service."

November 23, 2008

The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "The Liberal Democratic Party is once again being rocked by feuding over postal privatization. The LDP will shortly establish a project team to discuss the issue of full postal privatization ahead of a three-yearly reexamination of related services in March required under the postal privatization law. But many believe it will prove difficult to resolve intraparty differences over the matter."

According to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, "The U.S. Postal Service recently has taken precautions against money order fraud by revamping its payment slips' security features."

"The federal government has invested billions of dollars over the past 16 years, building a fleet of 112,000 alternative-fuel vehicles to serve as a model for a national movement away from fossil fuels. But the costly effort to put more workers into vehicles powered by ethanol and other fuel alternatives has been fraught with problems, many of them caused by buying vehicles before fuel stations were in place to support them, a Washington Post analysis of federal records shows. "

As National Public Radio has noted, "This year, the U.S. Postal Service will deliver eight billion fewer letters than it did seven years ago. This sharp decline is why blue mailboxes are disappearing from America's postal landscape."

United Press International has reported that "The head of the Swedish post office has agreed to go without pay for his entire time in the position, repaying anything he has already been paid. Lars Nordstrom had come under fire after the newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that he was being paid twice as much as his predecessor as chief executive officer of Posten, The Local reported. Nordstrom, who receives more than $500,000 in an annual pension from his years as head of a state-owned bank, and other income from directorships, was being paid 900,000 kronor ($106,000) a month. That is equal to the salaries of 45 letter carriers." See also the Associated Press.

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

November 22, 2008

According to Hellmail, "Mail could be disrupted in the north-west of England in run up to Christmas if postal workers vote to strike over the closing of five sorting offices."

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

  • Mailing industry companies, publishers, mailers, labor unions and other industry groups told Congress this week that the Postal Service needs relief from its mandated retiree health-insurance payments if it is to weather the deepening worldwide financial crisis.
  • The Postal Service this week published its new retail and commercial prices November 14 for all of its Shipping Services. The price change will take effect January 18. Price change for Mailing Services still is set for May. Prices for these products increased on average between 3.9 and 5.9 percent.
  • The Postal Service hopes to reduce full-time city carrier routes by 9,200 routes in Fiscal Year 2009, and save 32.5 million workhours in city delivery. Jordan Small, USPS vice president of delivery, told this week’s MTAC meeting the Postal Service has begun the route adjustments effort that could impact more than 5,000 delivery zones, 85,000 to 90,000 carrier routes, and 50 million addresses.
  • The Postal Service this week laid out to the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee its phased plan for Intelligent Mail barcode readiness. The USPS plans three major releases of its IMB Full Service support infrastructure – to take place in May, September and late fall 2009. The Postal Service said the late fall release will be in advance of the IMB price changes. The May 2009 release will support provision of start-the-clock and address information data as well as electronic documentation exchange through Mail.dat 09.1 and Postal Wizard, but not Mail.XML, which will be supported in a later release. The May 2009 release also does not support First-Class Mail manifesting.
  • The USPS attempted to further clarify its policies for Move Update compliance verification and consequences at this week’s MTAC meeting. Pritha Mehra, USPS vice president of business mail acceptance and payment technologies, told the group the Postal Service has received a considerable amount of feedback and, as a result, has revised some processes. The Postal Service is in the process of reviewing its changes. It then plans to publish its acceptance and verification plans around Move Update compliance as well as a long list of Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Glen Walker this week updated the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee on the USPS’ FY 2008 finances. “It’s a very gloomy picture,” Walker said, adding that the USPS does not anticipate an economic recovery in 2009. “Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate is the word for 2009, whether that means consolidating operations, tours, routes, facilities, etc., ” the CFO said.
  • The USPS told this week’s MTAC meeting that its hybrid service performance measurement system will not take effect until Release 2, which the USPS said is scheduled for September 2009. The Postal Service proposed the hybrid system to measure presort First-Class Mail, Standard Mail and ultimately Periodicals. The system supplements IMB scans with externally collected data.
  • The Postal service told MTAC meeting attendees that while the significant decline in flats volume in FY 2008 does not significantly impact the USPS’ Phase 1 deployment of 100 Flats Sequencing System machines, the USPS has its eye on the volume trends and is preparing for all possible scenarios in future phases of FSS. The flats decline does impact the Phase 1 deployment in that the Postal Service has added additional zones to FSS sites to bring in additional volume. However, the USPS said it does not need to look at redeployment of any scheduled Phase 1 FSS equipment.
  • Business customers atending this week’s MTAC meeting heard two presentations that make clear why the Postal Service is moving to tighten its acceptance and verification policies and practices through initiatives like its Move Update compliance plans. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service told the MTAC group its investigations in the revenue protection arena in FY 2008 conservatively identified more than $52.5 million in losses. The USPS’ SOX management controls and integration group said the Postal Service’s Business Mail Acceptance function was identified as a significant area of deficiency last year and again this year.
  • Alan Kessler, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, told The Associated Press this week the Postal Service has hired an outside investigator to look into claims that Postmaster General Jack Potter improperly received a “sweetheart deal” on a mortgage loan from Countrywide Financial Corp.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito shares his views on whether Postmaster General Jack Potter knowingly accepted an improper VIP mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp.
  • This is the sixth and final installment in a series examining various aspects of the Intelligent Mail Barcode.
  • Postal Service executive Robert Bernstock discussed his vision for the USPS with members of the media this week. Bernstock, who serves as president of USPS Mailing and Shipping Services, talked about the Postal Service’s biggest challenges and its goal to become a “customer facing” business system.
  • Despite the economic downturn and the ever-increasing competition from new electronic products, Postal Rate Commissioner Ruth Goldway says there still is hope for the Postal Service.
  • Federal Register: PRC adds Priority Mail Contract 3 to Competitive Products List. There’s more news from MTAC. Bizzotto, MTAC bid farewell.
  • David Levy joins Venable.
  • Postal previews.
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FedEx Freight has announced that it has reduced transit times on more than 3,300 regional next-day, second-day and extended routes since Jan. 1, 2008. These service improvements enable faster delivery of freight, quicker go-to-market time and better inventory management for customers using fast-cycle logistics.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "Overwhelmed by piles of junk mail, 'Mailman Steve' quit bringing it to the people on his North Carolina route. Customers are grateful. The Direct Marketing Assn., however, is not amused."

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is vying to fill the void left by the exit of Deutsche Post AG's DHL Worldwide Express from the U.S. overnight-delivery market, Shipping and Mailing Division President Robert Bernstock said. The service will begin running ads in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, beginning Nov. 21, Bernstock said. Officials want to capture about $300 million of the market." [EdNote: Boy! Talk about a sleeping giant. UPS did this weeks ago.]

November 21, 2008

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Times Printing Company, Inc. 100 Industrial Drive Random Lake, Wisconsin 53075-0325 represented by Leanne Herman, CMN, CMDSM, GAE

Logistics Management has reported that "UPS said this week it is opening up a $26 million, 150,000 square-foot distribution center at the Calgary International Airport in an effort to meet the rising needs of the economy in the Alberta province of Canada. The DC is expected to be up and running by October 2009."

The Liverpool Echo has reported that "Liverpool post workers are holding a strike ballot over closure plans. A strike would hit Christmas postal services from five North West sorting centres, including Copperas Hill. Communication Workers Union (CWU) Liverpool branch secretary Mark Walsh said the vote on two options – for a strike and action short of a strike – by members will close on December 3."

Finextra has reported that "UK Mail, part of the Business Post Group, has introduced imail, an alternative to the first class postal service whereby letters can initially be submitted electronically for printing and posting from the recpient's closest sorting centre. This new mail solution will enable users to send physical mail direct from their computer for next-day delivery to addresses across the UK, making it ideal for businesses within the banking and financial services sectors that need to reach customers in an effective and flexible manner. Not only will imail lower the cost of producing and posting first class items by up to 60 per cent, it will also reduce the carbon footprint of a letter by more than 80 per cent."

The Royal Gazette has reported that "A "major backlog" of mail to Bermuda from the United States is causing delayed delivery to the Island. The cause of the problem or how long it might last, was yesterday unknown, however a Government spokesperson said only United States Postal Service (USPS) mail is affected. "The Bermuda Post Office would like to inform the public that the USPS has advised that there is a major backlog of mail destined for Bermuda at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). "The USPS is trying to move the mail as quickly as possible but cannot confirm a date when mail will leave JFK and arrive in Bermuda. Further updates will be issued as we receive them."

According to CRMBuyer, "Major parcel delivery services have given customers access to sophisticated online-tracking systems, making it possible to know precisely where one's goods are at any given time. But knowledge isn't always power. What can a customer do if an important package is not at the front door when it's supposed to be, other than complain?"

From PR Newswire: "In the midst of a receding economy with increasing commodity prices and high fuel costs -- and the holiday shipping season right around the corner -- many businesses are seeing rising shipping costs. A recent Endicia(R) survey of more than 500 small businesses that sell goods online reports that 84 percent have seen their annual shipping costs increase this year."

Supply Chain Analysis has reported that "DHL, the world's leading express and logistics company, today announced the completion of its first ever carbon neutral warehouse, located in the UK. The 6,500 sq ft site near Wakefield West Yorkshire is the location for the main distribution centre of U.K. communication company O2." 

The Chattanoga Times Free Press has reported that "Cutbacks at two Chattanooga facilities will eliminate more than 400 local jobs. The U.S. Postal Service's remote encoding center in Chattanooga will close in April, eliminating 391 jobs, and Aerisyn LLC, a Chattanooga company that makes towers for wind turbines, announced that officials will lay off 54 employees there." 

The Star Phoenix has reported that "Rural residents get new addresses after Canada Post shuffles routes."

The Belleville Intelligencer has reported that "Parcel volume skyrockets at postal unit."

Federal Register:

Docket Nos. MC2009-8 and CP2009-9: The Postal Regulatory Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service request to add the Canada Post--United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement for Inbound Competitive Services to the Competitive Product List. The Postal Service has also filed a related contract. This notice addresses procedural steps associated with these filings. Comments are due December 3, 2008. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov.

Docket Nos. MC2009-7and R2009-1: The Postal Regulatory Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service request to add the Canada Post--United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement for Inbound Market Dominant Services to the Market Dominant Product List. The Postal Service has also filed a related contract. This notice addresses procedural steps associated with these filings. DATES: Comments are due December 3, 2008. ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov.

KOB has reported that "The local post office union boss is lashing out at the postal service in Albuquerque, claiming employees are working odd hours and even being cheated out of restroom breaks. Arthur Prouse is the president of the American Postal Workers Union in Albuquerque. As a former postal worker, he said he has never seen conditions for workers as bad as they are now."

Spiegel Online has reported that "The German postal service has sparked outrage by producing a coin commemorating the formation of former East Germany's ruling Communist Party. Protest came from the highest echelons of the German government." [ In the U.S., that would be the equivalent of the U.S. Postal Service producing a coin commemorating the founding of the Confederate States of America.]

As one New York Times writer put it: "Need a postage stamp — not a whole book, but only one? Get in line."

2theAdvocate has reported that "The Shaw Group Inc. has announced its award of a U.S. Postal Services contract for architectural and engineering services at postal facilities in the Washington, D.C.; Virginia; and Maryland areas."

November 20, 2008

According to the Prairie Post, "Canada Post — as a crown corporation entity — is poorly-run. Take for example Canada Post’s corporate structure. There’s one chief executive officer/president, one chief operating officer, one chief sales and marketing officer, one chief financial officer, nine senior vice-presidents and 11 regular vice-presidents. Wow, that’s some finely-tuned detailed administration. Quick, how many businesses do you know that have 21 members of the managing executive board? Canada Post is no longer the only game in town. Once people catch up with technology, Canada Post is going to suffer and they will be forced to look at operations."

Bloomberg has reported that "American Express Co., Meredith Corp. and Time Warner Inc. are among almost 50 businesses, unions and industry associations asking Congress to grant the U.S. Postal Service relief from government-mandated retiree health-insurance payments to help the agency weather the global financial crisis. The request, made in a Nov. 17 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, calls for an ``adjustment to the payment schedule which would preserve the law's requirement for full funding of the benefits, but lessen the financial demand on the Postal Service for several years.''

Jim Cochrane, the Postal Service's vice president for ground shipping, gave a truly excellent presentation on the Postal Service's package business at the most recent Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. A copy of that presentation has been posted on this site.

According to Information Week, "You may soon be able to use your cell phone like a debit card, as the GSM Association called for mainstream cell phones to sport near-field communication (NFC) technology by mid-2009. Shoppers in Japan have been utilizing the technology for years to buy items, and manage bank accounts on a cell phone, but the technology has been slow to catch on in other parts of the world. The GSMA thinks it can spur adoption by using the standard single wire protocol interface, which makes communication between NFC hardware and SIM cards possible. With an NFC-equipped handset, a customer could link their phone to a bank or credit card account and then make purchases by swiping the handset near a specially-designed terminal." [EdNote: Hmmmmm. Even fewer paper checks.]

USPS Press Release: "What costs pennies to operate, turns on a dime and will save the Postal Service thousands of dollars every year — all while reducing its carbon footprint? The T3 is the new battery-powered, three-wheeled delivery vehicle the Postal Service has been unveiling in eight cities over the past few weeks. It’s estimated that the T3 costs four cents a mile to operate. And at a time when each penny increase in gas prices translates into an $8 million annual increase in fuel costs for the Postal Service, it’s no wonder USPS is seeking ways to combat soaring costs and to minimize harmful effects to the environment. “The T3 is just one step in Delivery’s broader effort to reduce fuel costs,” said Delivery Vice President Jordan Small. The vehicle being tested has a top speed of 25 mph (for safety reasons, USPS production T3s will run at half that speed). And with field-swappable batteries, it’s got unlimited range."

From today's MTAC meeting: "The USPS today at the MTAC meeting announced an unprecedented route adjustment process as a result of a joint effort between the USPS and the NALC.  The USPS said it needs to eliminate 9200 city carrier routes in FY 2009 in order to meet its budget goals.  It said the route adjustments could impact 50 million addresses, 85,000-90,000 carrier routes and 5,000 delivery units.   The USPS already has eliminated 1100 routes a change that took effect November 15.  Adjustments will begin again on January 5 and continue until early April.  The USPS urged mailers to update their address lists on a monthly basis over the next 4-5 months because a significant number of routes may be changed or eliminated.  The USPS plans to post the information on its RIBBS web site as the adjustments are made."

If you haven't seen it yet, you gotta check it out. "The Chief." "Taub Is At Your Service." A really nice feature piece on Rep. John McHugh's long-time chief of staff, Robert Taub. If he's not the father of postal reform, he certainly had a hand in the structuring of its genetic code. Then when next you see him, ask him where he got the phrase "the bean's on your nose."

From PR Newswire: "41pounds.org offers the perfect holiday gift to help you share your Green lifestyle: the gift of a junk-free mailbox. The nonprofit 41pounds.org service stops your loved one's postal junk mail -- and keeps more trees in the forest providing oxygen for us to breathe and absorbing carbon to cool the planet. Gift certificates can be purchased and sent online at http://www.41pounds.org, or by phone." [EdNote: What a crock!]

TASR has reported that "Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico met Post Office general director Libor Chrast in Bratislava on Thursday to discuss a possible appeal against the European Commission's (EC) decision to force Slovakia to open its hybrid postal-service market to competition. The EC announced a legally-binding decision on October 7 that Slovakia must open up its hybrid postal services. The Slovak Post Office said at the time that it was very disappointed with the decision, which was welcomed by alternative postal-services operators. Hybrid post is a form of electronic postal service in which the sender sends mail electronically to an operator, who prints it out, puts it in envelopes and sends it to the addressees. The service is popular with firms such as banks, insurance and telecommunications companies that regularly send out large amounts of mail."

DI-VE has reported that "MaltaPost chairman Joseph Said confirmed on Thursday that the postal operator intends to expand into financial services."

Federal Register: "The Commission is noticing a recently filed Postal Service notice of changes to rates of general applicability for competitive products and related classification changes. The price changes are scheduled to become effective January 18, 2009. Comments are due December 1, 2008. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov.

Hellmail has reported that "Ukraine Minister of Transport and Communications, Joseph Vinsky has met with the general manager of the Universal Postal Union Edouard Dayan in Bern, Switzerland, to discuss ways to improve the world postal space and support universal postal services. During the meeting, Joseph Vinsky and Edward Dayan discussed the urgent need to improve the Ukrainian mail network. As Joseph Vinsky, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has completed the development of the State Program for the Development of Postal Service in Ukraine. He also stressed the importance of and the timeliness of focusing the international community to the development of postal financial services."

The Jamestown Sun has reported that "Allen Edward Prochnow 62, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Rodney S. Webb to a charge of delay and destruction of mail, according to United States Attorney Drew Wrigley. In entering his guilty plea, Prochnow admitted that he failed to deliver approximately four tons of mail while he was employed as a rural mail carrier in Wahpeton between 1998 and April 3, 2008. The pieces of mail were seized by federal agents when they searched his home on April 3." 

The Financial Times has reported that "First-half pre-tax profit at Business Post rose 25 per cent as the parcels and postal delivery group increased its share of the mail handling market. The group's UK Mail subsidiary now collects and sorts 13 per cent of postal items before handing them on to Royal Mail for delivery."

Rural Carrier Postal News has reported that "Once heralded as a shining example of labor – management cooperation in the Postal Service, the USPS-NRLCA QWL-EI program has outlived its usefulness and the NRLCA National Board has notified the Postal Service that it will withdraw its support from QWL-EI effective January 1, 2009."

Wiener Zeitung has reported that "Anton Wais, head of the Austrian postal service Post AG, pledged the rumoured 9,000 posts job axe is "certainly not going to happen” but the workers union keeps its strike warning valid."

Fijilive has reported that "Post Fiji Limited has formalised its partnership with the Escher Group to upgrade its counter automation system at its 29 online outlets throughout Fiji."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has honored the Pacific Area of the U.S. Postal Service for its commitment to voluntarily replace all lead wheel weights for approximately 31,000 fleet delivery vehicles -- removing more than 8,000 pounds of lead from its workplace operations and potential deposition into the environment.

Hellmail has reported that "Slovenian Post (Posta Slovenije) has improved access to postal services by expanding the range of services available on petrol forecourt. Posta Slovenije already has a postal network accessible through some petrol stations in Slovenia, but is now expanding the service to allow quick, easy and convenient ways to package and send items of correspondence. The convenience of out-of-hours postal services has proved so successful, Posta Slovenije is now stepping up the range of services on offer in a joint partnership with stations."

The USPS at the MTAC meeting has laid out its phased implementation plan for Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) Full Service.  The USPS plans 3 major releases of IMb:  May 11, 2009; Sept 2009 and "late fall" 2009.  The latter will occur prior to the IMb price change, the USPS noted.  The initial IMb release in May 2009 will not include full capabilities necessary to support some Full Service features.  For instance, Mail.XML will not be fully supported in May, but will be supported in the subsequent releases scheduled for Fall 2009.  The USPS will be publishing a detailed time line of which functions will be supported in which release.  The May 2009 release will support electronic documentation using Mail.dat 09.1 (except manifesting), provision of address correction and start-the-clock data, and other core functions.   Look for a more detailed report in this week's PostCom Bulletin.

Mediaweek has reported that "In the latest contraction of the computing magazine category, Ziff Davis Media said it would fold flagship PC Magazine with the January issue and convert the brand to an all-digital format at PCMag.com. All magazines are facing a tough road these days, but computing magazines had already been particularly impacted by readers’ growing preference for the Web. This year, 27-year-old PC Magazine was forced to cut its rate base to 600,000 from 700,000 and reduce frequency to 12 issues per year from about 25; its ad pages dropped 35.8 percent to 330 for the first six months of this year, per Publishers Information Bureau. Also this year, rival monthly PC World, published by International Data Group, cut its rate base to 600,000 from 710,000, citing growing paper, postal and ink costs."

November 19, 2008

DutchNews.nl has reported that "The cabinet will decide on Friday if the Dutch postal market for letters weighing under 50 grammes is to be entirely opened up to competition, news agency ANP reports. Ministers have been reluctant to go ahead because new postal delivery firms pay their delivery workers on a piece-rate basis, rather than a regular wage. But two firms, Sandd and Selekt Mail, have now made a deal with the unions which junior economic affairs minister Frank Heemskerk has described as 'a positive step'."

According to the Financial Times, "Spend! Spend! Spend! This seems set to be the theme for next week's pre-Budget report. Yet some ministers have started sloshing the cash around already, judging by the volte-face of James Purnell, work and pensions secretary, over the Post Office card account. He has axed a £1bn tender and allowed the Post Office to renew its five-year contract to run a card account for 4.5m people, with no competition. I am told this is causing some head-scratching in parts of Whitehall."

The Associated Press has reported that "UPS Inc. expects its busiest day overall for shipping packages this year will be Dec. 18."

From Business Wire: "While you make your holiday list -- and check it twice -- UPS is revving up its fleet of Brown sleighs for its 101st holiday Peak Season."

Aktualne.centrum.cz has reported that "Czech Post is in talks with a retail chain to provide basic postal services at supermarkets in smaller municipalities. Czech Posts plans to close 178 branches in smaller municipalities and is looking for alternative ways to provide postal services there. Franchising postal services to local supermarkets is one of the options. The company is also testing mail delivery by a scheduled postal vehicle."

The Press Association has reported that "Business Post said half-year profits rose 25% after the Royal Mail rival claimed a greater slice of the collection market. The Slough-based company said its mail operation, which picks up and sorts post ahead of delivery by Royal Mail, increased its market share by volume collected to 13%, compared to 11% six months earlier." See also the Financial Times.

According to Canada.com, "Decades ago, the November postal strike was a regular event. Striking in November was an effective bargaining strategy for the unions representing Canadian men and women responsible for our mail service. Fast forward to today and we again find ourselves in the midst of a November postal strike. Yawn. Canada Post is assuring Canadians that, despite the strike of 2,000 inside workers, it's business as usual for the other 60,000 mail workers. We thank you for that assurance, but frankly, we don't really care anymore. Sure, we don't like to see people out of work right now, but long, long, long gone are the days when postal delivery was an essential service. From e-cards to courier services, navigating our mail around a postal strike during the holiday season is a piece of -- dare we say -- fruitcake."

According to Vision Systems Design, "A new firmware release is available for handheld MAH200 and MAH300 series barcode readers, featuring a decoder that allows the barcode readers to handle the new USPS four-state barcode, also known as USPS OneCode Solution. In addition to reading these barcodes, the instruments include decoders for most linear and 2-D symbologies, with more than 40 decoders included in the unit. Connectivity is achieved with USB, PS/2, serial, or Bluetooth wireless interfaces. A high-capacity battery handle is available for extended operation without the need to recharge."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast 11.17.08
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and Grayhair Software vice presidents Angelo Anagnostopoulos and Everette Mills, Grayhair Software's manager, analytic services, in a discussion regarding the Intelligent Mail Barcode. This is the second in a series on IMB

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

The first nine months of the year 2008 have progressed comparatively well for Österreichische Post.
Schweizerische Post and the negotiating committees of the trade unions Kommunikation and Transfair have agreed on a new collective agreement for 2009.
While Anton Weis, CEO of Österreichische Post, had good news for shareholders - the base dividend is set to rise in 2009 - the news for workers was less good. The post would part with 65 per cent of its post office branches in the medium term.
The British regulatory authority Postcomm has proposed to separate the British post’s branch network from the rest of Royal Mail’s business.
TNT Post has reacted with strong criticism to a basic wage agreement negotiated between the trade unions and the post’s rivals Sandd and SelektMail.
Customers and operators of thousands of post office branches in Britain can breathe a sigh of relief. The government has awarded the contract for the Post Office Card Account to Royal Mail for a further five years.
The rise in Internet shopping has left Belgium’s La Poste with an increasing number of undeliverable consignments. The cause seems to be that numerous buyers on eBay provide an assumed name. This makes it impossible for the postmen to deliver the purchased item to the recipient. In addition, many senders forget to write their own details on the parcel or envelope, which means that the undeliverable consignments cannot be returned, either. The post keeps the consignments for six months, after which paper documents are shredded. Valuable consignments are auctioned and the proceeds remain with the post.
The Federal Council of Germany has recommended to the government that it grants the current VAT exemption to all postal service providers "that provide the respective universal service across the whole country". service provider that offers shipping throughout the whole federal territory. This means that a parcel could also be made exempt from value-added tax, just like Deutsche Post. 
Poczta Polska hopes to return to the profit zone through drastic cost reductions.
Hans Boon, secretary general of the Armenian Haypost, has retired from his position under curious circumstances.
According to CEP News information Trans-o-Flex, the express subsidiary company of Österreichische Post, is being restructured.
UPS is using a newly developed printing technology by Hewlett-Packard in order to be able to print delivery data directly onto parcels rather than onto paper labels.
The EU Commission has ruled that there were no illegal subsidies during the inter-company distribution of civil service pensions between France’s La Poste and the Banque Postale in 2006.
With around 67,000 vehicles, the French La Poste owns one of the biggest vehicle fleets in France. The company now appears to have high hopes on electric vehicles in order to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 per cent by 2012.
The Polish national intelligence service ABW plans to collect and store address and sender details on all envelopes.
The association of Spanish travel agencies (FEAAV) will work with Unipost, the biggest private postal operator in the country in future.
The Magyar Posta has to pay a fine for impermissible agreements. The Hungarian antitrust authority GVH had accused the post and the newspaper distributor of entering into an agreement in the period 1998 to 2005 not to compete with each other.
The medical-pharmaceutical sector remains appealing for logistics and express companies. UPS is planning to set up a hub in Puerto Rico, which will cater to the special requirements of this area.
Ver.di has called for warning strikes against the German post’s parcel subsidiary company DHL.

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.)

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Chief Executive Scott Davis said he supports a short-term stimulus package. But the government needs to look at the problem holistically because it is a global crisis, Davis said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference.

The Postal Service's November 2008 8-K Filing is available on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site.

The Times has reported that "The Post Office is in talks with the Bank of Ireland to offer a current account that would give customers an unlimited guarantee on deposits. Ministers are under pressure to use the Post Office to create a public sector “people’s bank” that will provide basic financial services to those who most need them. Royal Mail, which runs the Post Office, is understood to be in discussions with the Bank of Ireland, which already runs a number of its existing financial services."

November 18, 2008

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Snapshots Slovak Republic Postal Services 2008" report to their offering."

An edited transcript from Commissioner Ruth Goldway’s keynote talk at Parcel Forum in Chicago last month has been posted to the Postal Regulatory Commission website.

As Parcel magazine has noted, "The recent rash of DHL announcements may have left you with more questions than answers. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." And in spite of what rumors you might have heard, DHL will maintain a presence in the US."

As AuctionBytes has noted, "The U.S. Postal Service announced that Express Mail "Hold For Pickup" is now available for online shippers. Express Mail packages can be held at Post Offices for pickup for security (convenient for residential deliveries), and customers can choose Express Mail Hold For Pickup service through Click-N-Ship on usps.com. A Hold For Pickup package is shipped directly to a Post Office, instead of being left at the recipient's address. The package is then held at the Post Office until picked up anytime during office hours."

The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703.248. 2201, or Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.  

An archive of the oversight hearing for Board of Governors Nominee Robert McGowan is now available online.

DMM Advisory:  "See usps.com/prices for all of the new shipping services prices announced last week. We have links to downloadable pricing files and links to the Federal Register notices for domestic and international services, with detailed information about the changes, and we will add other information as it becomes available."

The Azeri Press Agency has reported that "One of nine proposals Azerbaijan put forward for the amendment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Convention has been accepted. The proposal makes possible mutual debt billing among postal operators, settlement of problems in preparation of statistical reports and misunderstanding in auditing."

Puls Biznesu has reported that "The liberalization of the postal market due in 2012, will cut income of Poczta Polska, the Polish Post (PP). The financial gap should be made up by financial services."

According to Hellmail, "with TNT and other rivals taking an even greater share of the business mail market, the government seemingly unsure of quite what to do about the universal service, post offices, and exactly how to regulate the market in a way that is sustainable, Royal Mail is in no position to stand still. The group has repeatedly said that is losing money on the USO hand over fist, and has already lost a quarter of its business to competitors. Some estimates now put that figure at closer to a third."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Direct mail and print company Mail and Print Services (MPS) has created the first fully-biodegradable window envelope to be approved by Royal Mail. The MPS Envirlope features a paper-based transparent window instead of plastic film."

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, the chatter surrounding a recent Associated Press piece involving the Postmaster General and Countrywide is a disgrace. "What a wonderful way to reward good people for public service," Del Polito said. "Just think, if you have the guts to forgo millions of dollars in private sector salaries and benefits for the sake of public service, you earn for yourself to have your integrity questioned and your name dragged through every muddy puddle people can find. This is disgusting, and it shouldn't be tolerated."

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission is adding Priority Mail Contract 3 (MC2009-4 and CP2009-5) to the Competitive Product List. It is also noticing a related contract. These actions are consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a related Postal Service request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. Effective November 18, 2008.

According to the American Postal Workers Union, "As the Bush administration prepares to leave office, it is giving workers one more kick in the teeth: The Department of Labor announced last week that it would implement new regulations [PDF] governing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that will make it harder for workers who are covered by the law to use the leave."

The Guam Pacific Daily News has reported that "the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued citations at two Guam facilities for underground storage tank violations. They issued citations to the U.S. Post Office Main Facility for a $500 penalty and Triple J Motors for $600. The Post Office had release detection violations." 

The Olympian has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is losing $345,000 a year by consolidating Olympia mail services with Tacoma, said Olympia postal employees picketing Monday outside the Jefferson Street post office. But a spokesman for the post office says the Postal Service is actually saving money through the consolidation as expected. Picketers provided a written review of the merger by the federal agency that shows $345,000 in ongoing added expenses. Documents also show it cost $1.2 million to initially consolidate the mail services. "It took two years for them to do that review, and they finally admitted it was a $1.5 million loss," said John Libert, a steward with the Olympia Local of the American Postal Workers Union."

Direct has reported that "Direct Brands, the parent company of book club marketer Bookspan, has let a handful of employees go over the last few months. The company may be reducing, if not eliminating, its reliance on direct mail as a prospecting tool, sources speculated. Najafi Companies acquired Direct Group North America, which includes Bookspan, Columbia House and Book-of-the-Month Club, as well as other brands, from Bertelsmann AG in July. Najafi Companies changed its name to Direct Brands in August."

Bloomberg has reported that "Major League Baseball will hold talks with DHL about the future of its sponsorship agreements after the Deutsche Post AG unit withdrew from the U.S. express- delivery market."

The Canadian Press has reported that "Canada Post administration and technical staff went on strike early Monday in a dispute over disability and family-leave benefits. The 2,100 members of the Union of Postal Communications Employees include counter staff, technical support and other support positions. Canada Post issued a statement late Sunday saying mail delivery would not be affected by the walkout, which follows a breakdown of negotiations last week." See also The Gazette.

The Star has reported that "Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said as of Oct 31, RM16mil in commission had been paid to Pos Malaysia for handling cash, postal orders, money orders and bank transactions for petrol rebates."

As KIMT has noted, "In an ever increasing effort to save money the U.S. Postal Service is encouraging green routes. Neither the elements nor a bad economy can stop U.S. mail carriers. But to save a little green the USPS is doing a little adjusting. "Right now we are in the process of doing minor route adjustments. They'll help us eliminate using a car which will help cut costs. They call them green routes," said Mason City Postmaster Scott Pardoe."

According to The Herald, "The Post Office should be separated from the Royal Mail to give the business greater commercial freedom, the industry's regulator suggested yesterday. Postcomm said the government should consider the demerger to enable the two "very different" businesses to focus more attention on their "significant, but divergent" problems. Separation would provide an opportunity to reinforce the identity of each business, one a retail network with a social role, the other made up of communications and logistics with a commercial focus, said Postcomm."

The e-Consultancy has reported that "Mehdiward, software developers and systems integrators, have released Postcode Server Web Edition (WE) a solution to allow e-commerce and database users to validate UK postal addresses against the Royal Mail PAF file."

Here's one from Blogging Stocks. "Can companies raise prices in a recession? UPS and FedEx will." [EdNote: And you can add to that the U.S. Postal Service, paper manufacturers, ink manufacturers, and a long, long list of others.]

November 17, 2008

The Dead Tree Edition has reported that "Postal officials are hinting of another delay in implementing the Intelligent Mail Barcode, just three months after insisting the key initiative was on schedule. Information-technology issues are causing the latest delay to the ill-fated IMB program, resulting in a three-phase implementation, a source told Dead Tree Edition. A full-service option with rate incentives was supposed to be introduced in May 2009, with IMB becoming mandatory in May 2010. The U.S. Postal Service decided early this year to delay implementation because of unresolved customers concerns. The IMB will provide a unique identification to each piece and container of mail, enabling the Postal Service (and mailers) to track the flow of mail and to optimize mail handling. Mailers and their vendors, especially printers, have been complaining for years that their input has been ignored by postal officials who were developing the IMB program. For example, there have been battles over whether the specifications for the barcode itself could be met by the printers' inkjet equipment. MTAC meetings relating to IMB have reportedly become increasingly contentious in recent months, and many issues needed for implementation have yet to be resolved."

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "New standards for letter-size catalogs, aka “slim-jims,” could be released by the end of the year, says U.S. Postal Service spokesperson David Partenheimer. “We plan on publishing new standards for slim-jims in the Federal Register soon, based on the results of this year's testing,” he says. The tall skinny trim size (roughly 6-1/8" × 11-1/2" and typically up to 1/4" thick) is cheaper to mail than a full-size book, and uses less paper. But a proposed rule adjustment to slim-jim requirements by the USPS could eliminate significant savings. The Postal Service says that slim-jims are too fat under the current requirements, and the tabs required to seal the pages aren't strong enough. These factors are causing to jam the USPS's automated processing equipment. The Postal Service wants to change the size standards for slim-jims, cutting down thickness — and therefore page count — by nearly half. It also wants to beef up tabbing requirements, which could affect catalog open rates. Partenheimer says the first round of Federal Register notices will announce the changes the USPS hopes to implement. “Customers will have about 45 days to comment on our proposal and then we will retool our standards as much as operationally feasible to accommodate the concerns they express, he says."

Uni Global Union has told its members that "UNI Post & Logistics affiliate in Hong Kong, PEG (Postal & Express Workers General Union), have been organising workers in DHL Hong Kong into their union and have been seeking access to DHL workplaces so they can meet workers and discuss union membership and the issues they face as logistics workers. However DHL management have refused access to DHL workplaces to UNI and PEG claiming that this would favour one union over another."

  According to Logistics Management, "it is possible that the U.S. parcel market will return to a basic duopoly until the USPS makes major technology, pricing, and operational improvements."  

As Advertising Age has noted, "If you think you're insulated from the death rattle of Detroit, think again. General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler together accounted for 3.3% of 2007 U.S. measured ad spending, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of TNS Media Intelligence data. Big deal? Yes -- as in $4.6 billion in measured spending."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. has dropped plans to reveal how much extra business it expects during the upcoming U.S. holiday season, highlighting a weakening economy and the continuing decline in retail-sector activity. The largest U.S. package shipper by volume traditionally forecasts the volume it expects on the peak days before Christmas as personal and business-to-consumer traffic climaxes ahead of the holiday. In what has been a show of logistical prowess, the company has also revealed how many temporary workers it would hire for the seasonal surge." See also Reuters.

United Press International has reported that "Rain, sleet and hail notwithstanding, the U.S. Postal Service said it would cut service hours after losing $2.8 billion at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. With national mail volume dropping 4.5 percent in the year ending Sept. 30, the agency is offering 156,000 employees early retirement, said spokesman Gerald McKiernan, USA Today reported Monday."

According to the DM Bulletin, "Unpersonalised direct mail is more likely to be seen as harmful to the environment than mailouts that are personally addressed and delivered by the postman, new research has found. The survey found that 46% of people view unpersonalised leaflets, coupons and samples as being bad for the environment, compared with 20% of people holding the same opinion for personalised direct mail." [EdNote: This kind of thinking is not only wrong-headed, it's not particularly good for the economy or universal mail service...provided by a state operator or the private sector.]

The International Business Times has reported that "Newgistics Inc., the nation's only provider of postal-based solutions addressing the areas of small parcel delivery, returns management and mail-processing solutions, today announced a customized program specifically for small parcel residential shippers impacted by DHL Express' recent announcement that it is exiting the express and ground delivery business in the United States. Newgistics will work with DHL Express clients to gain a complete understanding of their small parcel shipping needs and develop a comprehensive solution that is tailored to address each business' specific needs. Newgistics' customized program will help businesses impacted by the recent announcement work through this critical period while fully optimizing their shipping environment."

The Saipan Tribune has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service on Saipan saw a significant drop in mails received in Fiscal Year 2008 covering the period from October 2007 to September 2008. Postmaster Hector Medina said the decreased volume amounts to about 9 percent and the biggest drop was in business mails."

Federal Register:  "The Postal Service gives notice of its intent to file a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add the Canada Post-- United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement for Inbound Competitive Services to the Competitive Products List pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642. DATES: November 17, 2008."

The Press has reported that "strike action by York postal workers during the busy run-up to Christmas got one step closer over the weekend. Members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) unanimously voted to ballot for strike action over a controversial decision to stop sorting second-class mail at the Leeman Road depot. The decision comes as the company prepares for its busiest period. Royal Mail delivers 4.1 million items in the YO postcode area on an average week, but this figure rises to 5.5 million in the week before Christmas."

The Telegraph has reported that "Almost a quarter of customers at post offices are spending ten minutes or more queuing, a survey has found."

Voxy has reported that "New Zealand Post today launched a new online service to help household customers redirect mail."

The Cambridge News has reported that "late deliveries of post are causing havoc for businesses and residents across Cambridge, it has been claimed. Since the News revealed that several postal rounds in the city have been cut, causing a massive backlog of post at the city's Henley Road delivery office, we have been inundated with reports of delivery problems. Some businesses claim they have not received any post on some days, while others say mail is arriving as late as 3pm, owing to the new, longer rounds imposed on the city's postmen and women."

The Associated Press has reported that "The Postal Service is investigating whether the nation's postmaster general improperly received a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp., the chairman of the service's governing board said. Postmaster General John E. Potter is one of several prominent current and former U.S. officials who received discounts and other benefits from the mortgage giant. The Postal Service has hired an outside investigator to review the deal, which reportedly included one shaved point and waived fees for Potter's $322,700 loan. "We're taking it seriously enough that we wanted it reviewed and we didn't want it done internally," the chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, Alan Kessler, told The Associated Press. Potter did not return an e-mail seeking comment, and a Postal Service spokesman said the postmaster general would have no comment. Potter told the magazine in August that he did not know he was getting a deal on the loan."

Asia Pulse has reported that "The Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan has considered a draft law "On the introduction of changes and amendments to the Law of Uzbekistan "On postal communication" in the second reading on 11 November. The draft law improves legal base for activity of enterprises in postal communication in Uzbekistan in line with the modern trends on development of postal and courier markets. The amendments offers new model of organization of relations in postal service market, which will also separate postal and courier services markets. Courier markets will be also regulated with the Law "On postal communication". The law guarantees rendering of universal services on affordable prices. The law also sets special authorized body, which will ensure that universal services rendered in line with the legislation."

GMA News has noted that "The trend in postal mail deliveries is decreasing with the increasing access to the Internet of the urban populace, according to regional officials of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost)."

MarketWire has reported that "Canada Post has presented a final offer to the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE), in an attempt to avert a strike that could begin as early as tomorrow. Talks between Canada Post and the UPCE, part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) broke off last week." See also CNews.

"In an effort to optimize and maximize the effectiveness of the services provided by its Postal Technology Centre (PTC), the UPU has signed an agreement with the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (PUASP), making the Montevideo Regional Support Centre a worldwide technical support centre. The UPU has five Regional Support Centres (Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, Tanzania (United Rep.) and Singapore), which are attached to the PTC in Berne.   The new worldwide technical support centre will allow the UPU to improve its service provision to operators."

Advertising Age has reported that "Satellite-TV firm Dish Network and ad-tech firm Invidi struck an agreement last week that involves "advanced receivers," "targeted advertising delivery" and "dynamic commercial insertion." The Dish-Invidi pact calls for developing of the ability to sell ads that can be sent to specific households based on geographic and demographic information."

November 16, 2008

The Federal Times has reported that "Add the U.S. Postal Service to the list of ailing businesses seeking help from Congress. The agency asked Congress last week to allow it to dip into a trust fund to pay for its retirees’ health care. The board asked Congress last week to waive the $2.3 billion contribution. Instead, the Postal Service would pay this year’s health care premiums out of the trust fund — a short-term savings, but one that leaves potential risk for future retirees. Kessler said he was confident that Congress would approve the request, possibly as soon as this week. But it will likely meet some skepticism on Capitol Hill, such as from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has spoken publicly about the importance of health care for postal retirees. Collins’ office did not respond to a request for comment."

As Hellmail put it: "The French certainly know their own minds and despite the French government deciding to call a halt (for the moment) to a partial sell-off of La Poste to raise capital ahead of full liberalisation, amidst fears it could face knock-down bids in a recession, postal workers still plan to strike on Saturday regardless. To be fair, it isn't just postal workers protesting this week. Railway and airport workers are none too happy either. With a worsening global crisis and the prospect of many jobs lost as a result, French unions are looking for positive action on the part of the government to make the best of a what looks likely to be extremely lean times. That said, once the French decide to do something." See also Reuters.

The Sunday Post has reported that "The Revenue Commissioners has collected more than €2 million in duty and Vat from over 240,000 parcels this year, including packages containing electrical goods, fashion items and medicines. Some of these were ordered online for €85, but the Revenue subsequently sought a 17 per cent duty charge, 21 per Vat charge and postal charges from their purchasers." 

November 15, 2008

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of former USPS senior assistant postmaster general and former Parcel Shippers Association executive director Jim Jellison. Our prayers are with his family.

Postalnews.com has posted a link to minutes of a meeting held November 12 between the USPS and NAPS.

Politico has reported that "Six members of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team for government operations worked in the Clinton administration, and one of them runs a consulting firm that has listed Freddie Mac as a client. The group will review the nuts and bolts of federal agencies, from managing government property to hiring government workers to handling national archives and official records. The other two members of the transition team include Stephen Crawford, a deputy director of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, who’ll work on the U.S. Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission; and Jane Woodfin, legislative director in Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s Senate office, who’ll work on the GSA review."

Uni Global Union has reported that "UNI affiliate in Austria, GPF is taking strike action to prevent further post office closures which they say are bad for the population and destroy of jobs. They are also protesting outsourcing are are demanding that there be no further outsourcing of service and sorting."

The Miami Herald has reported that "Swamped by illegal shipment of packages, the economic crisis and competition by the U.S. Postal Service, private Cuba shipping firms are witnessing an unprecedented collapse of their business, according to industry representatives in South Florida. For the first time in a long time, industry executives are seeing major decreases of up to 50 percent in their operations. Low sales have forced cutbacks in personnel, curbs on the frequency of package shipments and deep service discounts."

The Jakarta Post has reported that "The Attorney General's Office (AGO) announced Friday it was ready to bring president director of state postal company PT Pos Indonesia Hana Suryana to court for his alleged role in a graft case."

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

  • Postmaster General Jack Potter and USPS Chief Financial Officer Glen Walker this week briefed the Board of Governors about the Postal Service’s financial situation and its net loss of $2.8 billion for FY 2008. Potter addressed the Postal Service’s volume losses and the resulting increase in postal debt, and detailed current efforts to help offset the deficit.
  • The USPS will increase prices for all shipping services, beginning in early 2009. Prices will increase January 18 for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, and some international shipping products. New prices for mailing services will be announced in February 2009 and become effective 90 days later.
  • The USPS will increase prices for all shipping services, beginning in early 2009. Prices will increase January 18 for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, and some international shipping products. New prices for mailing services will be announced in February 2009 and become effective 90 days later.
  • The Quad/Graphics postal and technology forum drew a large number of attendees to Wisconsin last week despite the dismal state of the U.S. economy. Sessions included Intelligent Mail barcode implementation, move update compliance, greening the mail, co-mail, “slim jim” testing, distribution and mail delivery, and USPS pricing initiatives.
  • The Postal Service says benefits gained from Intelligent Mail barcodes will more than justify mailers’ expense and participation. Still many mailers question whether imposing an IMB requirement in the absence of any immediate recognition in postal prices will produce enough benefits to justify the necessary investments in equipment and technology. PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance examines the issues in this postal perspective.
  • Postal Service says it won’t cut 40,000 employees. USPS recognized for IT leadership. Senate to hold confirmation hearing on BOG nominee McGowan.
  • Postal previews.
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November 14, 2008

Docket No. CP2009-8:  The Postal Regulatory Commission today established Docket CP2009-8 to receive comments on price changes for competitive postal products filed by the U.S. Postal Service. The changes are scheduled to take place on January 18, 2009. This filing represents the second formal notice using the framework the Commission implemented in 2007 for changes in the prices of the competitive product lines. "Under procedures adopted last year by the Commission, interested parties will have an opportunity to review the Postal Service's filing," said Chairman Dan G. Blair. "To ensure the proposed adjustments comport with the law, our rules balance the need for the Postal Service to adopt market pricing, while assuring costs are covered and the competitive products category, as a whole, contribute a fair share toward the overhead costs of the Postal Service. " Interested persons will have until December 1, 2008, to file comments with the Commission, after which the Commission will determine whether the proposed price changes comply with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

The Courier-Journal has reported that "Approximately 300 of Louisville’s 900 traditional blue collection mail boxes will be removed from their locations starting early next week. David Walton, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said the boxes being removed have been severely underused and will be removed to cut costs. He said the removal process will have three phases and take three weeks to complete. The boxes being removed are spread throughout the city. Walton said USPS tests showed the boxes in question were handling far less than the minimum number of pieces of mail required to keep them in place. A box needs to average more than 25 pieces of mail per day, he said. “The 300 being removed were averaging five pieces of mail per day.”

According to The Street, "Millions of consumers have switched to electronic bill payment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save paper and money. Each person can save up to $100 a year by paying online, and the rewards are even better for a company that switches to e-billing. Switching to paperless billing is a great way to increase your company's commitment to the environment. Paper billing has a hefty impact on the environment. In 2006, the U.S. Postal Service delivered 19 billion paper bills to American households. That requires paper, about 533 million pounds of it, as well as lots of wood and water to make the paper in the first place. Delivering the bills requires transportation, which uses fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gases. And when customers pay bills by sending paper checks through the mail, they almost double the environmental impact of billing. According to the Pay It Green Alliance, converting 10,000 paper bills and checks to electronic transmittal would save 3,729 pounds of paper, eliminate 148,398 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and prevent 35,566 gallons of wastewater from polluting our water bodies."

Dow Jones has reported that "FedEx Corp. said it will increase standard list rates for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery by an average of 5.9% starting Jan. 5, not the 6.9% announced in September, as the shipping giant benefits from slumping fuel costs and is hampered by falling demand. The new rates compare with what rival United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) announced last month - a 5.9% increase for ground service and 4.9% for air. The weakening economy has meant consumers are spending less to ship and demand has dropped. Postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post AG (DPW.XE), which has tried challenging FedEx and UPS with its DHL operations, said this week that it will exit from its U.S. domestic air and ground business by the end of January."

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

From PR Newswire: "Smart marketers know that in challenging economic times, it's the marketing resources that often are the first to be trimmed. They also know that reduced emphasis on marketing generally leads to fewer sales, not improved revenues. Experian Marketing Services (http://www.experianmarketingservices.com/), in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association (http://www.the-dma.org/index.php), will host a virtual seminar (http://www.the-dma.org/councilevents/experianNov08/) on Nov. 19, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time, for direct marketers who often find their goals sidelined and budgets cut in the name of cost savings due to a slow economy. Featuring several analytical and data integration experts from Experian Marketing Services, the seminar will walk marketers through key steps to more effectively prove their value and produce measurable results that can transform their departments from cost centers to profit generators."

Federal Register:

  • The Commission is adding Priority Mail Contract 2 to the Competitive Product List. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a recent Postal request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. Effective November 14, 2008.
  • The Commission is adding Parcel Return Service Contract 1 to the Competitive Product List. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a recent Postal request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. DATES: Effective November 14, 2008.
  • 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. Reserved for technical conference: November 21, 2008. 2. Initial comments: December 1, 2008. 3. Reply comments: December 10, 2008. 

Federal Register:  "The Postal Service gives notice of its intent to file a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add the Canada Post-- United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement for Inbound Market-Dominant Services to the Market-Dominant Products List pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and of its exercise of its authority to adjust rates for that product pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3622. DATES: November 14, 2008."

The Kansas State Collegian has noted that "It is just as difficult to justify a monopoly now as it was in the 1800s when the USPS squeezed competitors out of the market through fiat. The government is hardly the only able body when it comes to delivering letters. FedEx and UPS already have the infrastructure built for parcel delivery; they could almost immediately expand into first-class letters — and likely with greater efficiency than shown by the government.     This begs the question, “Why is the government even in the postal business anyway?”

The Warsaw Business Journal has reported that "The management board of Polish Post (PP) will discuss its restructuring program on Friday, which should bring about savings of zł.500 million."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "TNT Post, part of Netherlands-based global mail and express group TNT, yesterday (November 13) issued a statement saying it could not accept an agreement reached earlier that day by Dutch mail service provider Sandd, Deutsche Post and a number of trade unions on terms and conditions of employment in the Dutch postal sector. It claimed the agreement, which it said neither TNT Post nor subsidiary Netwerk VSP were involved in reaching, was in no way different from an agreement in principle made on April 24, 2008, "in that it is still too soft and offers an insufficient basis for solid terms and conditions of employment". Accordingly, it continued, TNT Post and Netwerk VSP, as well as ABVAKABO, the trade union with the most members in the postal sector, did not support the agreement."

From Business Wire: "Earth Class Mail Corp., the global leader in delivering postal mail via the Internet, announces the appointment of former New Zealand Post and Royal Mail executive Elmar Toime to its Board of Advisors."

Hellmail has reported that "Around 40,000 employees at Swiss Post are to see a wage rise of 3.1% for 2009. The negotiating teams of Swiss Post and the unions Kommunikation and Transfair have reached agreement on the salary measures for 2009. An increase of 3.1% has been ageed. Moreover, 0.8% of the total salary sum will be used to compensate individual performance. The decision-making bodies of the three social partners still have to approve the outcome."

The Financial Times has reported that "The Post Office was Thursday awarded a £1bn five-year contract to retain its benefits card account, after ministers axed a procurement process that in March put the business out to competitive tender."

DM News has published a point-counter point piece on reducing the days of mail delivery by one day.

From FedBizOpps.gov: "The United States Postal Service (USPS) is seeking to obtain information on potential strategic sources for developing, acquiring, and managing a system to automate the processing of residual letter and flat volumes. These residual letter mail and flat mail volumes manifest themselves as current letter and flat automation rejects or non-automation compatible mailpieces. The new system will replace the current manual distribution processes of sorting letter and flat rejects or non-automation compatible mailpieces. Respondents to this Sources Sought Notice are requested to submit "white papers" on their approach or solution for the automation of residual letter and flat volumes."

From PR Newswire: "In response to the latest USPS Move Update requirement going into effect on November 23, 2008, VeraData unveiled FreeNCOA.com, an online tool that provides a free report to direct marketers identifying the number of moves or undeliverable records in any U.S. Business or Consumer database. The service is fast, simple to use and does not require users to download software or put the files in any specific format. There is no limit to the number of records that marketers can run, after which they will receive National Change of Address (NCOA(Link)) and Delivery Point Validation (DPV) reports."

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "USPS shipping services prices will increase an average of 5%: Express Mail will increase 5.7%; Priority Mail will increase 3.9%; Parcel Select will increase 5.9%; Parcel Return Service will increase 5.3% and International Shipping Services will increase 8.5%. This is the first time the USPS has adjusted prices for its shipping services on a different schedule from its mailing service price adjustments. Price changes for mailing services, including stamp prices, will be announced in February, and will take effect in May." See also Traffic World and the Associated Press.

Posted on this site is the latest issue of National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative and Regulatory Update. In this issue: * The Future is Now, USPS Seeks to Realign Its Retiree Health Benefit Obligations * Leadership Changes in Postal Oversight Committees * Possibly Looking for Tickets to the Inauguration? *Transition Quick Links. 

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a confirmation hearing on Monday, November 17, regarding the nomination of Robert W. McGowan to the USPS Board of Governors. The hearing will be held in Dirksen 342. This committee’s hearings are often accessible by webcast (http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/).

November 13, 2008

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that pricing for shipping services will change on Sunday, Jan. 18, the Postal Service announced today following a vote by its Board of Governors. Prices will change on Sunday, Jan. 18, for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service and some international shipping products. Overall, shipping services prices will increase an average of 5 percent. The new prices are available at www.usps.com/prices (click “New Shipping Prices” box).  

MarketWire has reported that "Canada Post wants to reassure its customers that mail delivery will be unaffected by any labour disruption by the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE). Talks between Canada Post and the UPCE, part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), have broken off and the union has filed a 72-hour notice of strike action."

The Royal Gazette has reported that "Bermuda-based data protection and e-commerce specialist QuoVadis has been appointed to provide certification technology to Liechtenstein's national postal service. Post Liechtenstein selected QuoVadis to supply the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology behinds its new LIEzertifikat offering. LIEzertifikat provides accredited digital certificates, which may be used to securely identify their users online and to create legally valid electronic signatures."

From Canada NewsWire: "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers will be at the Conservative policy convention in Winnipeg today to raise concerns about a largely unknown government review that will determine the future of universal public postal service in our country."

At today's meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors:

  • Postmaster General Jack Potter announced that the Postal Service's Competitive Products will face a price change this January 2009, and every January from this point forward. This will be consistent with USPS' competitors price changes.
  • Glenn Walker, USPS CFO, announced today that volumes were down 9.5B pieces from 2007 or 4.5%. This is the largest single year decline ever for the Postal Service. Revenue remained flat due to the annual price increase. The Postal Service had an operating income of $2.794B. It paid $5.6B into the Retiree Health Benefit Fund, making the Postal Service's net loss for 2008 was $2.806B. A copy of Mr. Walker's presentation has been posted on this site. The Postal Service site has posted a copy of the Postal Service's press release.

MediaDailyNews has reported that "Digital media, it seems, is just as vulnerable as print in the current economic downturn. After years of swearing by digital media, magazine publishers have cut their digital staffs over the last few weeks. The reason is the bottom line: Digital operations weren't making enough money."

UPS today announced it is deploying a new combination scanner and paperless printing device from HP that will print millions of sorting labels directly on packages, helping the world's largest delivery company reduce operational costs while slashing its consumption of paper.

Federal Register:  "The Postal Regulatory Commission is adding Express Mail Contract 2 (MC2009-3) to the Competitive Product List. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a related Postal Service request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. Effective November 13, 2008."

La Prensa has reported that "Correos de Mexico (formerly the Mexican Postal Service) consolidated its modernization and transformation operation, after an intensive management scheme that has become one of the best public companies in the postal world, said Purification Carpinteyro, the under secretary Communications of the SCT, who added that he has allowed 30 per cent increase their income, moreover, that the agency has reduced delivery times three, five and seven days, depending on the different areas of the country."

Dow Jones has reported that "Austrian postal service provider Oesterreichische Post AG, or Austrian Post, Thursday said its net profit for the third quarter fell 38% on the year, due mainly to negative one-off effects and the loss of its two largest corporate customers. Net profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 came to EUR17.4 million, down from EUR28.2 million a year earlier, and EUR20 million below the average estimate of seven analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. For the full year, Austrian Post said it expects to see sales rise by 5%, while earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, is predicted to come in level with 2007. The firm had previously said it expected sales to grow by up to 3%, with EBIT slightly below the 2007 level."

Postal2020 has asked: "Would 40,000 Fewer Postal Jobs Be A Good Thing? Really? I certainly am not. How is anyone helped by the loss of 40,000 postal jobs? Or 40,000 jobs in any field? How is the country made better? If 40,000 people lose their jobs that means a lot of local communities will see an increase in unemployment costs and foreclosures. A lot of households and families will suffer."

Canadian Business has reported that "Canada Post plans to cash in on online shopping with a 100-per-cent hike in postage rates for thick envelopes widely used to ship Internet purchases. The post office also intends to increase the cost of a basic letter stamp by two cents to 54 cents next January - above the limit that would otherwise be set by a regulated formula.

Gerald J. McKiernan Manager, Media Relations for the USPS has said that "a news story currently in wide circulation is reporting that the Postal Service will soon layoff 40,000 employees. This story is not accurate. Originating out of Shreveport, LA, the story does quote a Postal Service spokesperson. Unfortunately, that spokesperson was in error. The Postal Service is not laying off employees. Efforts to match our workforce to a reduced workload are focused on voluntary early retirements. Voluntary early retirement has been offered to a number of employees and to date, 3,685 employees have accepted the offer."

Brandweek has reported that:

  • According to a new @Plan report published by Nielsen Online, shopping on the Web is now mainstream behavior; the report found that 78 percent of adult consumers purchased something on the Internet over the last six months. Travel was the top online shopping category, as 38 percent of consumers made some sort of travel-related purchase. The report is based on surveys of about 36,000 U.S. Internet users, ages 18 and older.
  • We all know women are very different from men. But a new study finds that the Venus-Mars analogy extends into the digital sphere as well.

The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. has announced plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its FedEx Express aircraft fleet by 20 percent."

November 12, 2008

Press Release: "The Postal Service was recognized for exceptional leadership in information technology by national industry publications in FY 2008, earning 10 excellence awards for the use of technology to enhance business. Among the honors, USPS made Computerworld’s “100 Best Places to Work in IT” list for the fifth year in a row."

As the Journal of Commerce noted, "As Chinese manufacturers raced to fill their orders before the government shut factories to clear the air for the Beijing Olympics, their appetite for wastepaper knew no bounds. This scrap commodity helped carriers fill otherwise empty containers on westbound voyages. With Chinese demand booming, U.S. wastepaper shippers competed with exporters of scrap metal, grain and other commodities for space on vessels to Asia. Rates for westbound shipments of recycled paper were bid up to more than $1,000 per FEU. The export party ended with the Olympics. Wastepaper shipments slowed noticeably in August. Then in early October, the bottom fell out of the market."

The Saipan Tribune has reported that "The United States Postal Service experienced a huge drop in deliveries as a result of the economic slowdown, reporting a drop of about nine billion pieces in the number of mail and packages it has handled so far this year. Leo Tudela, director for Asia-Pacific Relations, Global Business, USPS based in Honolulu and Washington D.C., said this decline represents a 9-percent drop in deliveries. Tudela, who is here on Saipan for a two-day meeting of postmasters from countries belonging to the Freely-Associated States, said the USPS usually ships about 40 percent of the 212 billion pieces of mail parcels that go through the worldwide mail system every year. He said the drop is also due to the increased cost of delivering mail these days."

Easy Bourse has reported that "Croatia's state-owned postal service said Wednesday it was to cut some 700 jobs by the end of the year as part of restructuring aimed at meeting European standards. "Our strategy for the next four years includes a program to optimize the number and structure of employees according to new organization and market demands," Croatian Post (HP) said in a statement."

From SourceWire: "In the current economic downturn Bristol based ONEPOST has seen a boom in postal activity handling over 16m items in September 2008 compared with 7m in September 2007. ONEPOST, born out of the postal deregulation, is the leading independent postal advice organisation providing cost-saving solutions to mailers, utilising an increasing number of operators as well as innovative collecting, sorting and distribution techniques for mail in the UK."

Cambridge News has reported that "there are fears Cambridge's Christmas post could arrive late after a cost-cutting exercise caused chaos in Royal Mail's main delivery office. Postmen at the Henley Road sorting office say they have been swamped by mail since bosses cut a swathe of deliveries from the city's postal round in a drive to save money."

The Mindanao Examiner has reported that "House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Wednesday said that it is bad management and poor grasp of technology that is causing the financial hemorrhage of the Philippine Postal Corporation and not the franking privileges given to the executive and legislative departments."

The November 12, 2008 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative and Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.

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

This Monday, Deutsche Post CEO Frank Appel presented the results of the third quarter, which ended at the end of September.The executive board appeared satisfied with business development in the first nine months of the financial year. Due to the weakening worldwide economic environment, the post is anticipating a decrease of around 10 per cent in operating profit for the whole year (2.4bn euros).
Österreichische Post plans to enter the publishing business next year. According to CEP News information the board of directors has decided on a project to design a free paper. The post-owned, nationwide newspaper is set to launch in July 2009. Preliminary work is in the realisation phase, and the first decisions on technology providers and co-operation partners have also already been made.
According to the Swiss antitrust authority, it is strongly advisable to equate the post and private logistics companies in the competition. The antitrust commission Wettbewerbskommission (WEKO) therefore advised the Swiss Federal Council last week to abolish the post’s existing privileges when it comes to the Sunday and night driving ban.
The supervisory board of Österreichische Post is set to decide on a comprehensive restructuring package on Wednesday.
The U.S. Postal Service has conducted a study to explore what effects a reduction of service from currently six to five working days would have. The result is unambiguous: together with the closure of small post offices, this would lead to savings in the billions.Nevertheless, the USPS management advises against such a measure in the document presented to the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Luc Chatel, secretary of state and government spokesman, explained last Tuesday that the government would not announce its decision on the possible partial privatisation of La Poste until the end of December.
According to a statement from Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, postmaster general of the Nigerian post, the national assembly will decide on a redraft of the Postal Act before the end of this year. The focus of this, according to his statement, is the creation of a new regulatory authority, whose job will be to regulate post and courier services. This would put an end to the dual role of Nipost, which has been a postal operator as well as the regulator until now.
The transport and logistics sector in Germany is currently teetering on the brink of a recession.
The number of bankruptcies in the transport sector is rising in Sweden, too.
Cigarettes by post - this appears to be presenting an increasing problem in France.
The CEOs of the postal businesses in Japan, South Korea and China met for consultations on Tuesday and Wednesday last week. Besides topics such as structural changes to the post and new technical co-operations in the postal sector, a co-operation in the express and logistics segment was also discussed. The result of the meeting was a memorandum signed by all parties, which envisages an intensification of co-operation between the three countries.
The Finnish post Itella issued - by its own account - the world’s first transparent stamp last Thursday. The "Frosty Night Stamp", worth 80 eurocents, is printed on a special semi-transparent film.
Purolator Courier is set to introduce a nationwide evening delivery service in the coming year. Following successful tests during the past few months, customers across Canada will be able to choose an alternative delivery time between 5.30 and 9 p.m. from Monday to Friday in the future.

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.)

Federal Computer Week has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a software-as-a-service product to help it standardize, automate, and streamline buying supplies, services and equipment. USPS wants commercial software that provides a flexible and extensible framework, and one that helps the agency achieve its cost reduction targets, the service said . The solicitation for the eSourcing solution was announced Oct. 24 on FedBizOpps.com.

Posted on this site is a copy of the "Report on the Universal Postal Union Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB) Assembly, Bern, Switzerland, 06 November 2008."

Reuters has reported that "ABX Air, which handles packages for DHL Express in the United States, faces 6,000 or so layoffs and an uncertain financial future after the German shipping company decided it would pull out of the domestic U.S. market."

The Post has reported that "Pakistan Post is providing valuable services to the general public by making timely delivery of mails, money and material at affordable cost and its role in rural areas is laudable as it has a wide coverage in rural areas to facilitate people in delivery services, a press release said. However, there is still tremendous scope for Pakistan Post to enhance its business by introducing more innovative postal services, stated Muhammad Ijaz Abbasi, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while exchanging views with Laiq Zaman, Chief Post Master, GPO. Islamabad in a meeting with him along with a delegation of prominent businessmen. He emphasized that to keep pace with the changing communications market, Pakistan Post should strive to use the new communication and information technologies to move beyond what is traditionally regarded as its core postal business."

The Financial Times has reported that "Lord Mandelson has thrown his weight behind efforts to find a sustainable future for the post office network, suggesting it could provide a wider range of financial services to its customers. Post offices already provide a range of financial products, including savings accounts, insurance policies and foreign currency. In a letter to Gordon Brown at the end of last month, Lord Mandelson said they could offer a wider range of products within easy reach of the whole population."

The Spice Islander has reported that "The Grenada Post Office’s Map Cash Debit System has had over EC $120,000.00 dollars by an employee, the other theft and fraudulent issues involving Post Office workers (almost $80 thousand) which is under police investigation. The annual financial statement for the year ending 31st December 2007 was recently laid before the House of Representatives in Parliament, by the accounting firm W.R. Agostini, F.C.C.A Chartered Certified Accountant. The Accounting firm says the Universal Postal Union is owed EC$614,000. 00. They also say that they “have not been able to obtain direct conformation of the amount due to the Government of Grenada amounting to $719,103. This amount represents customs duties and other imposts collected by the cooperation on behalf of the Government.”

According to Todd Butler of Butler Mailing Services, "Multimedia mail is the integration of digital media (CD/DVDs/memory cards) with traditional direct mail. This cross channel marketing tool combines the functionality of web based marketing with all the advantages of direct mail. And on a cost-per-response basis, multimedia mail delivers greater functionality at a lower cost than most search engine marketing campaigns."

According to Lee Spratt, CEO of DHL Global Mail Americas, "the changes [recently announced by DHL] are limited to the DHL Express U.S. organization and will have no impact on the service we provide to you from DHL Global Mail."

According to Jeff Peoples of Window Book, "In today’s world where mail owners and mail providers need to better manage in-house resources to lower operational expenses, OneCode™ Confirm service will help you to continue to reduce costs as you implement new Postal Service tools to maintain a competitive edge."

The Earth Times has reported that "The plan by Austria's postal service Post AG to close 77 per cent of its post offices in the coming years will be put on hold by decree, Austrian Infrastructure Minister Werner Faymann announced Tuesday. As part of the restructuring plan, the state-owned Post also wants to lay off 9,000 of its 25,800 employees by 2015, according to Austrian media reports."

November 11, 2008

The Communication Workers Union has announced that "On Saturday 15th November, hundreds of postal workers and their families will join the business community, politicians and members of the public in a march through Bletchley, Milton Keynes against the closure of the mail centre, culminating in a rally."

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Minutes after DHL announced Monday it was ceding the U.S. express mail market, UPS’ sales force —- more than 3,000 strong —- swung into action. 1-800-PICK-UPS —- the call center for Sandy Springs-based UPS, the largest U.S. air and ground carrier —- lit up. And the “Welcome Center for DHL customers” on UPS’ Web site started popping."

According to Postal2020, "The check is not in the mail — at least as not as often as it used to be. Figures from the Federal Reserve show that “the number of checks paid in the United States has fallen from 42 billion in 2001, to 37 billion in 2003, and to 30 billion in 2006.” Whoops. That’s 12 billion checks that vanished in just five years. You can bet that the trend continues and that future reports will show even fewer paper-based checks in 2008 and beyond."

From Hellmail:

The Communication Workers Union said today that it endorsed the concerns raised by the BERR Select Committee report into the Post Office Card Account (POCA) and is calling for government services to be chanelled through the network.
Swiss Post has announced that some 30,000 customers are already buying and selling securities on the PostFinance e-trading platform. The financial arm of Swiss Post plans to continue increasing customer numbers by launching a new campaign. Swiss Post said new PostFinance e-trading customers will receive five free transactions (trades) if they register by 14 December 2008.

One Town-Crier writer wanted to know: "Who Really Needs The Post Office Anymore?"

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Minutes after DHL announced Monday it was ceding the U.S. express mail market, UPS’s sales force — more than 3,000 strong — swung into action. 1-800-PICK UPS — the call center for Sandy Springs-based UPS, the largest U.S. air and ground carrier — lit up. And the “Welcome Center for DHL customers” on UPS’s Web site started popping." See also Business Week.

From LIVE-PR: Companiesandmarkets.com has provided SWOT analyses for the Royal Mail, the U.S. Postal Service, and France's La Poste.

Hellmail has reported that "The Commons business and enterprise committee in a report today, said that the government's delay on announcing the future of the post office card account was both 'destabilising and disturbing'."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Blockbuster, Inc. 1201 Elm Street Dallas, TX 75270-2002, represented by Naomi Edwards USPS Supply Chain Operations 

Crain's New York Business has reported that "In another blow for retailers, mail and logistics company Deutsche Post AG, owner of DHL, announced Monday that it will close all of its U.S. DHL express service centers and cut 9,500 jobs here. Though the company is not closing its international shipping to and from the U.S., the shutdown of its domestic express shipping by land and air is part of a larger plan to limit U.S. operations amid heavy competition from FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. DHL is expected to close all of its U.S. ground hubs and end all domestic shipping by Jan. 30. The company is estimated to control about 4% of the domestic shipping market share. Retailers who signed shipping contracts with DHL will now need to turn to other large-scale providers, such as UPS and FedEx, to ship their goods, but experts say that doesn’t necessarily mean big price increases."

November 10, 2008

The Consumer Postal Council has just published its "Index Of Postal Freedom" report on the Hungarian post office (Magyar Posta).

According to the New York Times, "Long after other media joined the digital revolution, book publishers clung to the reassuringly low-tech tools of printing press, paper and ink. But now the world of books is starting to go digital, too. in the first nine months of this year, book sales in the United States fell 1.5 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers. Among the few bright spots were sales of so-called e-books, read on devices like Amazon’s Kindle, on personal computers or on mobile phones. Wholesale sales of e-books were up 55 percent from a year earlier."

The Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing (FEDMA) has reported that "On 6th November the Postal Users Group (PUG), an alliance of the most important users of postal services in Europe, held its first annual awards ceremony in Brussels. The event gathered representatives from the publishing industry, postal operators, direct marketers, distance selling companies, alternative postal operators and postal experts.The Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and MEP Markus Ferber received the first PUG Award for their continuous support and dedication to high quality standards and competitiveness in the European postal services market. The Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing (FEDMA) was created in 1997 by a merger two bodies-the European Direct Marketing Association (est. 1976) and Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing (est. 1992)."

From Business Wire: "MailExpress, the leading provider of performance mail solutions for corporate customers nationwide, today announced the opening of a next-generation Customer Processing Center (CPC) outside Chicago, Illinois. Serving much of the upper Midwest region, the new CPC replaces MailExpress’ previous Chicago area facility with greatly expanded capacity, as the company continues to demonstrate surging momentum, in terms of customer and revenue growth as well as network infrastructure operations."

Philstar has reported that "Postmaster General Hector Villanueva said yesterday the agency has been losing about P200 million a year for the franking privileges given to the executive and legislative departments. Speaking at the 110th anniversary of the Philippine Postal Corp., he called on lawmakers and officials of the executive department to stop using the mail without paying postage to prevent the Post Office from going bankrupt."

According to Bloomberg, "DHL's retreat may enable UPS and FedEx to expand their U.S. market share, estimated at a combined 80 percent of package deliveries."

As Gizmodo saw it: "DHL, a popular shipping alternative to FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service, has gone belly up in the ever more fun economic crisis. Today the company announced that it will end all domestic shipping services starting January 30th (which means 9,500 layoffs) while only international shipping to/from the US will remain. Hopefully one less competitor in the ring won't increase all of our internet shipping costs too greatly."

BtoB magazine wants you to know that you should "Consider these mailing trends to avoid postal angst."

Available from Business Week: "Susan Friedmann, a small business marketing consultant and author of Riches in Niches: How to Make it Big in a Small Market, says it's hard for a generalist to make a mark these days, but becoming an expert with a narrow focus can pay off big time."

Press Release: "DHL, the world’s number one international logistics and express service provider, today announced a repositioning of its U.S. Express business. Beginning January 30, 2009, DHL’s U.S. Express business will focus entirely on its international offerings and will discontinue its domestic-only air and ground services. However, the company will retain a strong international presence and capability in the U.S. going forward."

Online Media Daily has reported that "It looks like the sluggish economy has finally gotten its hooks into Internet sales. The growth in online shopping hasn't just slowed, "it's fallen off a cliff," says Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, which is predicting that e-commerce sales will grow between 6% and 10% this holiday season. And while any growth at all might sound like a dream come true to suffering brick-and-mortar retailers, it's shockingly low compared to recent years."

Thanks to Mailers Council exec Bob McLean, we can post here for you a list of the Senate and House postal oversight committee members and the results of the November 2008 elections.Some elections involving oversight committee members remain undecided. An updated report will be published once the results have been announced.

The Nation has reported that "Minister for Postal Services Mir Israrullah Zehri has said that government was committed to resolving problems being faced by the postal employees. He said this in a meeting of Postal Headquarters Employees Union (CBA) wherein Managing Director and the Secretary Postal Services were also present. The minister urged the employees to do hard work for the development of the Pakistan Post with dedication and devotion. Zehri said that all the employees who are working on the daily wages or working on Adhoc-basis would be regularised according to the government policy. He said that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha Post employees will receive corporate incentives and assured creation in Headquarter’s general cader one post of grade 19, two 18 to boost the performance of the organisation."

According to The Scotsman, "there are fears up to a dozen more post offices could close in Edinburgh if the company loses a vital service. The Post Office is currently bidding to renew its £1 billion Post Office Card Account contract with the Government, which expires in 2010. While a decision has yet to be announced, a number of Government sources are now suggesting that the Post Office will lose the account, a decision which will put a further 3000 post offices at risk across the UK."

Wales Online has reported that "thousands of homes will be without mail today after a fire at the Royal Mail sorting office caused Cardiff’s postal service to grind to a halt."

According to the New York Times, "As the economy rapidly deteriorates from flourishing to floundering, marketers are scrambling to remake their advertising so products seem affordable and sensible rather than indulgent and fabulous. For many big marketers, including automakers, retailers, consumer product companies and even financial services, a major shift in consumer psychology spells an end to the aspirational advertising that has dominated their campaigns for the last decade."

Crain's Detroit Business has reported that "New postal regulations that take effect Nov. 23 will require companies that do first-class mass mailings to “clean” their databases more frequently and will expand the requirement to standard mail and other categories. Under the new regulations, companies with mass mailings will be required to run their databases against the National Change of Address database every 95 days to decrease the amount of mail that must be forwarded or returned. That's up from the 185-day update requirement imposed on first-class mass mailings since July of 1997. Companies with mass mailings of standard mail, automation-rate and presort-rate first-class mail also must meet the revised requirements, while mailings that go to any resident at a given address still are exempted."

The Associated Press has reported that "Deutsche Post AG is poised to announce thousands of job cuts at its DHL Express operations in the United States, possibly as early as Monday, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person said on condition of anonymity Sunday that the Bonn-based express mail and logistics company was poised to announce that the cutbacks at its DHL operations in the United States would affect between 12,000 and 13,000 jobs. The person was not authorized to speak to the media. The cuts are part of a wider plan to curtail operations in the U.S., including ground deliveries, and would likely affect drivers, shipping clerks and warehouse workers. The express unit employs some 18,000 workers. The expected move will not signal Deutsche Post's exit from the U.S., where it faces strident competition from UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. The person told the AP that the company's U.S. logistics unit, which employs some 25,000 people, would not be affected and some staff at DHL would remain. "We're not exiting the U.S. entirely," the person said."

The Guardian has reported that "the Association of Nigeria Courier Operator (ANCO) and The Nigerian International Air Couriers Association (NIACA) have estimated the Nigerian postal industry to have worth over N100 billion, but currently generating only N5 billion from Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST)."

November 9, 2008

The Watford Observer has reported that "Royal Mail and an international publishing company are to investigate how dozens of sacks stuffed with undelivered mail ended up dumped in two remote locations in Watford. Staff at Majestic Wine, in Otterspool Way, contacted police after 37 post bags stuffed full of undelivered mail were found dumped in the warehouse’s car park last Friday morning. Royal Mail staff were then called to the scene to collect the rain-sodden bags."

The United Parcel Service Inc SEC form 10-Q, Quarterly Report is available on Yahoo!

Monsters & Critics has reported that "The majority-state-owned Austria Post mail service is planning massive layoffs in the coming years, reducing its workforce from 25,800 to 9,000, local media reported Sunday. In addition, as many as 1,000 of the country's 1,300 post offices would be closed." See also Earth Times.

Zawya has noted that "The government has agreed to offer the shares of Iran Post Company in the bourse, disclosed the company's managing director."

The Motley Fool has noted that "If my mailbox is any indication, profits will be pretty slim in the fourth quarter. Call it the junk mail-to-earnings ratio, but the proliferation of ads, coupons, and promos stuffing my mailbox these days means that retailer advertising will be consuming a larger portion of their budgets -- and narrowing their earnings. Sure, as the Christmas shopping season approaches, we can expect to see an increase in the amount of junk mail flooding our mailboxes. Bed Bath & Beyond has lifted the art of coupon distribution to a new level; sometimes two or three postcards are hitting the mails in a single day. This ad blitz has shown up in Bed Bath's financial statements. Even as the number of "events" in the latest quarter were the same as in prior years, increases in postage, paper, and productions costs caused selling, general, and administrative expense to rise to nearly 30% of revenue, a 90-basis-point increase over the prior period. With the retailer's same-store sales declining in the quarter, it was spending more, but not getting the same return for the effort."

Punch has reported that "In its bid to stop fraud from abroad before they could land in the United Kingdom , the British Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has since early this year stepped up its activities with Nigeria . The agency has worked to establish working relationship with organisations that could help them to achieve their purpose. These include the Nigerian Postal Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The purpose of establishing relationships is to ensure that fraudulent mails are not allowed to move from Nigeria to Britain. Early in the year, SOCA installed a mail scanner at the NIPOST international mail sorting centre in Ikeja, Lagos . The purpose of the mail scanning machine is to detect mails and postal packages whose senders have the intent of defrauding the recipient."

November 8, 2008

From PR Newswire: "In May, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced it was implementing quarterly Express Mail volume rebate incentives beginning in Q3 2008. At the end of third quarter, Endicia was one of the first online postage providers to compile and send Express Mail shipping information to the USPS, ensuring Endicia users would be able to reap the rewards of the USPS rebates. Now, qualifying Endicia customers are getting back hundreds of dollars from the USPS for their July 1 to Sept 30 Express Mail shipments."

The Financial Times has reported that "German prosecutors have charged Klaus Zumwinkel, former head of Deutsche Post, with tax evasion. If found guilty he could be jailed for up to five years."

The Imperial Valley News has reported that "Two current United States Postal Service employees were charged last week in federal court with conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, the German parent of delivery company DHL, is expected to announce Monday that it is pulling the plug on much of its once-ambitious effort to expand in the U.S. and break the delivery-market dominance of FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc., according to people familiar with the situation. The decision is likely to be announced during Deutsche Post's third-quarter earnings release in Bonn. DHL has sustained billions of dollars in U.S. losses since it bought Airborne Inc. in 2003 for $1.05 billion."

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "DHL's potential removal from the U.S. market could have an even more positive effect in the long term on pricing, as the reduced competition allows FedEx and UPS to potentially raise prices."

According to the Oxford Mail, "A pensioner from Oxford has been left baffled after a second class letter sent from a remote Scottish island arrived days before a first class letter was delivered from across the city."

The Yorkshire Evening Post has reported that "more post offices face the axe in West Yorkshire if the Royal Mail loses a £200million Government contract. It is feared more branches will close if the Post Office Card Account (POCA) – which processes millions of pension and benefit payments – is awarded to a rival bidder. Concerns are mounting that the contract – a major source of income for most branches – will be handed to PayPoint, which operates out of corner shops, off-licences and garage forecourts. An announcement had been expected by the Government in the summer but has been repeatedly delayed. Lindsay Hoyle MP, a member of the Commons business and enterprise select committee, fears a decision has already been taken to strip the Royal Mail of its POCA contract."

According to Merinews, "By appending email addresses to your customer database, you can expand your marketing options and receive tremendous customer communication benefits. Through our tried and tested Email Appending service, we can help you add active email address, title, telephone and fax numbers, etc. to your established clients/prospects lists. Acquirelists will allow you to build your online customer database by giving you your customers most current email address."

The Telegraph-Journal has reported that "The official announcement of the closure of the Rothesay post office on Saturdays has the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Local 105, wondering what to do next. The group has been vocal in its opposition to Canada Post's decision to close the office on Saturdays, effective Nov. 22. The decision was made official Thursday and Genevieve Latour, spokeswoman for the Crown corporation, said the new hours of service will be Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. She said there are 15 post offices similar in size to Rothesay in Atlantic Canada and none of them are open on Saturday."

According to the Washington Post, "Marketers are generally a persistent lot, but they're beginning to think that bombarding your mailbox might not be worth it. At the rate things are going, credit card companies will send a billion fewer unsolicited offers to consumers by the end of the year, dropping from 5.2 billion offers last year, according to data released yesterday by Synovate Mail Monitor, a market research firm. Home-equity credit mailings dropped 66 percent in the third quarter this year to 72.9 million, compared with 215 million in the same period last year, according to market research firm Mintel Comperemedia. Mortgage mailings dropped 44 percent to 182.4 million from 324.1 million in same period last year. Catalogue companies, already pinched by a postal rate increase last year, began scaling back earlier this year. Late last month, the Postal Service projected that it would carry 9 billion fewer pieces of all types of mail in fiscal 2008 than it did the year before. Earlier this year, a survey by the Direct Marketing Association showed a 55 percent drop in the number of companies that said a paper catalogue was their primary market channel for business."

Hellmail has noted that "it seems that even Austrian Post is trying to find its feet in a world increasingly moving away from paper-based to online mail and are soon to introduce a hybrid mail service which will allow customers to send ordinary post via their email account. All postal operators are experiencing a decline in mail volume as companies introduce savings incentives to persuade customers to switch to online billing, substantially cheaper than traditional post, but with email easily accessible to most people these days, postal operators are having to come up with imaginative ways to retain business."

AMEInfo has reported that "The final programme has been announced for PosTech 2008, the unique global postal technology conference, to be staged in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt between 16th and 18th November under the auspices of His Excellency Dr. Tarek Kamel, Minister of Information and Communication Technology and hosted by Egypt Post. The conference is themed on 'the vision of the future of postal technology' and has attracted delegates from around the globe."

From Market Wire: "Canada Post today announced it has entered into an agreement with Best Buy Canada Ltd. to offer online payroll notices to more than 22,000 Best Buy and Future Shop employees across Canada as well at its corporate headquarters in Burnaby. Using Canada Post's epost(tm) and SmartFlow(tm) services, Best Buy Canada Ltd. is encouraging its employees to move to online pay advices, reinforcing the company's commitment to environmentally accountable business practices."

Docket No. MC2008-1: The United States Postal Service has filed a notice regarding proposed mail classification schedule language for six nonpostal services pursuant To Order No. 120.

Docket No. RM2009-1: On November 4, 2008, the Postal Service filed a petition to initiate an informal rulemaking proceeding to change accepted costing methods for purposes of periodic reporting. The Postal Service should reserve November 21, 2008 for a technical conference to take place if the Commission is ultimately persuaded that a technical conference is needed to expedite evaluation of Proposal Twelve. To allow for the possibility of a technical conference and, if held, to provide time for the information gained at such a conference to be reflected in public comments, comments on Proposal Twelve are due on or before December 1, 2008. Reply comments are due on December 10, 2008.

The Business Courier of Cincinnati has reported that "The parent of DHL has scheduled a news conference for 8 a.m. Eastern time on Monday to discuss “further steps” in a previously announced restructuring of its U.S. operations. The CEO of DHL Express, its U.S. parcel delivery service headquartered in Florida, also has scheduled a teleconference for 2 p.m. the same day. The announcements come amid industry reports of further deterioration of DHL’s parcel delivery business in the United States, including the recent defection of a major parcel consolidator to rival United Parcel Service and the possible end of an alliance with Walgreen’s. That deal was to have put DHL Express kiosks in more than 6,500 retail stores by the end of the year." See also the International Herald Tribune.

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

  • The USPS's pricing vice president told attendees at a recent QUAD/Graphics postal and technology forum New pricing regulations mean the Postal Service must move from cost-based to market-driven pricing focusing on what products customer want, streamlining price changes, and predictability. "Customer communication is paramount."
  • The USPS this week at the QUAD/Graphics postal and technology forum laid out its plans for handling move update compliance verification and penalty assessment after the new requirements take effect on November 23, 2008. The Postal Service plans to identify and communicate deficiencies to Standard mailers between now and May 2009; establish an error tolerance threshold in mid-December; then beginning in May 2009, the USPS will assess a 7-cent per piece postage assessment for all pieces in the mailing if the error rate exceeds the tolerance.
  • This is the fourth in a series that examines various aspects of the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB). The series will continue for two more three weeks. Readers can submit IMB questions to be answered in upcoming issues of the PostCom Bulletin.
  • Experian's Steve Lopez says the Postal Service is finishing up its controlled testing and industry-supplied testing of self mailers and booklets. He expects the USPS will produce an early notification announcing the results and asking for feedback, probably by year's end. Expect to see something from the Postal Service regarding this within four to eight weeks.
  • USPS Board of Governors to meet. FedEx plans trade mission to India. USPS to add express mail contract. EPA recognizes Postal Service sites. Postal Service to keep Sioux City mail center open.
  • UPU to adopt simplified structure. Taiwan, China postal deal will halve delivery times for letters, express mail.
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KWCH has reported that "The United States Postal Service is cutting costs. Faced with the economic slowdown and declining mail volumes, U.S.P.S. is offering early retirement to employees who qualify."

November 7, 2008

Associated Press of Pakistan has reported that "Minister for Postal Services Mir Israrullah Zehri said on Friday that Pakistan Post would be modernized and upgraded throughout the country and brought at par with the international standards."

According to 24/7WallStreet, "The rallying cry for magazine and newspaper executives is "Cut print costs, rely on the web." It makes all the sense in the world. Printing, paper, postage, and other transportation costs keep rising. Print advertising linage keeps dropping. So far this year, most of the major business magazines and newsweeklies have lost anywhere from 15% to over 30% of their advertising pages. According to the latest numbers from media newsletter MIN, US News, which will cut its publishing frequency to monthly from weekly next year, has lost 31% of its ad pages. BusinessWeek and Forbes are both down about 16%."

News from the Universal Postal Union: Saudi Arabia has been elected as the new chair of the Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB) and the International Postal Corporation (IPC) has been elected as the new non-postal vice-chair. The following have been elected to the DMAB Steering Committee: New Zealand Post, Nigerian Post, Royal Mail (Great Britain), Swiss Post, United States Postal Service, Experian (PostCom member), Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), Quad/Graphics (PostCom member), Xplor Italia.

Austrian Times has reported that "Postal bosses are to launch on online way of sending traditional letters by email that could mean the end of the letterbox forever. Images of letters will be scanned and stored in a personal online postbox which can then be accessed remotely from customers' home computers or laptops. Swiss Post is planning to launch a trial service - the first in Europe - in Zurich by January next year. Customers will be able to view images of their sealed letters online and then decide whether to have them securely opened and scanned into a PDF document, recycled, shredded or redirected. The service is aimed at frequent travellers, people who work overseas or anyone who spends a long time away from home."

Reuters has noted that "Organized labor strongly supported Democrat Barack Obama and soon after he moves into the White House, the U.S. president-elect can expect a knock on the door from union leaders seeking to call in their chits. One high-profile target of the Teamsters union under the "card check" bill would likely be organizing contractors at FedEx Ground, a unit of package delivery giant FedEx Corp. Teamsters representatives declined to comment. A FedEx spokesman said company looks forward to "working closely with President-elect Obama and his administration." He added the company opposes the card check bill as now drafted. Unlike its main rival United Parcel Service Inc, whose workers are represented by the Teamsters, FedEx has long resisted attempts to unionize its hourly workers."

According to Direct mag editor Larry Riggs writing for the The Big Fat Marketing Blog: "First it was thinking of giving private couriers access to mailboxes. Now we hear the U.S. Postal Service might want to privatize some bulk mail centers it’s not planning to close. According to the Jersey Journal, local politicians and union leaders plan to protest the USPS’s plans to privatize the bulk mail center in Jersey City. This facility, one of the nation’s largest, employs 2,400 people and has NOT been slated for closure. I guess the USPS’s longstanding woes of declining mail volume coupled with the general economic meltdown that seems to get worse by the minute is leading postal management to grasp at straws for ways to raise money. Privatization seems like a knee-jerk reaction.

The Prague Daily Monitor has reported that "A U.S. company wanted to buy the most valuable Czech postage stamp, displayed in New York and Washington these days, for one million dollars, but its owner, famous Czech philatelist Ludvik Pytlicek, refused to sell it, he has told CTK. The four-crown green stamp with a reversed overprint saying Posta ceskoslovenska (Czechoslovak Post) 1919 originates from the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, part of which the Czech Lands were until the establishment of the first Czechoslovakia in 1918. The stamp is one of the world's rarities as its exists only in eight copies, philatelists say. Czechoslovak postage stamps have beet displayed in New York at a two-day exhibition of rarities from some 20 prestigious philatelists from all over the world, Pytlicek said. Then the display will be opened in the Postal Museum in Washington this weekend.

Joe Davidson of the Washington Post on the Postal Service:

  • The Postal Service is the only federal agency on Hispanic Business magazine's "Diversity Elite 60," a list of best companies for Latinos. The rankings are determined by more than 30 criteria, including hiring, promotion, marketing, philanthropy and supplier diversity. The magazine also placed USPS on the publication's list of "top 10 companies for workforce diversity." The ranking measures and compares the percentages of Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, Native Americans and women in the workforce, and gives increased weight to higher-level positions such as managers, according to the Postal Service.

  • Speaking of the Postal Service, whenever I write about its budget problems that are driven by sharply declining mail volumes, readers suggest stopping Saturday delivery as a way to save money. Here's what USPS spokesman Gerald J. McKiernan says about that: "The elimination of Saturday delivery would result in a saving, but it would also mean a loss of volume and the revenue that volume brings. Past surveys have indicated that many Americans would be willing to go without Saturday delivery but the sender side is less certain. Many senders of mail prefer that their deliveries arrive on Saturdays (packages, medicines and ad mail) when it's more likely that people will be at home."

According to Hellmail, "it is being reported by several sources, that Klaus Zumwinkel, former chief executive officer at Deutsche Post is to be charged with tax evasion."

November 6, 2008

The New York Times has reported that "advertising pages in all magazines have dropped 9.5 percent through the first nine months of the year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau."

Air Cargo World has reported that "Parcel industry consolidator Unishippers became the highest-profile shipper yet to abandon DHL in the United States, announcing to its customers that it has moved to UPS. UPS now is openly seeking disgruntled DHL shippers, even posting a prominent "Welcome Center for DHL Customers" on the UPS Web site."

From Canada NewsWire: "Canada Post is resorting to unfair labour practices in its contract talks with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE), the union charges."

The folks at Postal2020.com have noted that "If you’re a Postal Service executive, union leader or letter carrier you might want to look closely at the latest announcement from the Christian Science Monitor:...Newspapers need print distribution for the foreseeable future because paper-based products produce vastly higher revenues than online sites. The Postal Service needs newspapers, magazines and newsletters to continue as print publications because otherwise it will lose billions of pieces per year in volume. Everyone needs a strong Postal Service because of the jobs it represents nationwide. At the same time, declining circulation and mounting losses make print-based products increasingly difficult to justify for financial reasons."

UPDATED PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance who is attending a conference conducted by PostCom member Quad/Graphics has reported that:

  • The Move Update seven-cent penalty assessment for Standard Mail will not take place until the May 2009 price change. The Standard Mail error tolerance has not yet been set. The Postal Service says for a lower tolerance will be set and change over time based on industry performance for Standard Mail. As far as co-mailings are concerned, the Postal Service is still undecided on how to assess the penalty, whether across the entire mailing or on just the mailer within the co-mailing the fails.

    In the case of FCM, imposition of penalty assessments could occur as early as mid-December 2008. This would be just one month from the implementation of the 95-day requirement. This would allow the Postal Service time to look at industry performance and develop tolerances. Once these tolerances are established, the penalty would be assessed across the whole mailing, moving the price per-piece from the automated price to the FCM Single Piece price.
  • One of the Full-Service IMb benefits for many mailers is the free Address Correction Service (ACS) that will begin on May 2009. Timelines have been set for updating records once a notice is received. If a mailer receives subsequent notices after the timelines (30 days for Standard Mail and 60 days for Periodicals), then the mailer will be charged for those subsequent notices. USPS stated today that a mailer can opt out of using free ACS if it can not meet the timelines. [EdNote: The Full-Service IMb benefits continue to dwindle, especially to those mailers who update records later than the 30 days for Standard Mail because for one reason the Move Update requirement is 95 days.]

DMM Advisory: The November issue of the Postal Service's DMM Advisory has been posted on this site.

European Voice has noted that UNI-Europa has available a position for a European Policy Officer for its Post & Logistics Sector.. Application Deadline: 30th November 2008.

Federal Register: The following can be found in today's Federal Register.

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Express Mail & Priority Mail Contract, [TEXT] [PDF]
  • Priority Mail Contract No. 3 [TEXT] [PDF]
  • Priority Mail Contract No. 2 [TEXT] [PDF]
  • Priority Mail Contract No. 4 [TEXT] [PDF]

From the U.S. Postal Service: Board of Governors Meeting Agenda [TEXT] [PDF]

MediaDailyNews has reported that "in another testament to the rapidly declining fortunes of consumer magazines, U.S. News & World Report is switching to monthly distribution, according to The Washington Post Web site, which reported the news late Tuesday. This is the second time in less than a year that U.S. News & World Report has scaled back its frequency. In June, the magazine announced that it was switching from weekly to biweekly publication. Meanwhile, Hearst and Rodale are both cutting staff, following the lead of Time Inc. and Conde Nast."

Journal du Jura has reported that "the privileges enjoyed by La Poste in transport on Sunday night and could go by the wayside. The Competition Commission (Comco) said they are not justified and asked the Federal Council to abolish it."

Directions magazine has reported that "The United States Postal Service (USPS) Bank Service Act (BSA) Compliance Office is taking advantage of geographic information system (GIS) technology from ESRI to effectively detect suspicious activity, using sophisticated analysis and mapping to monitor millions of money order transactions across the United States. GIS maps show where suspicious activities may be occurring and link transactional data to reveal potential criminal patterns. Mapping and analysis also help USPS managers make sense of extensive transactional databases and millions of bits of data to ensure they comply with regulations."

This Day has reported that "Postmaster- General of the Federation (PMGF), Mallam Ibrahim Baba, has said that his organisation working hand in hand with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Customs and other agencies, had saved Nigeria N55billion transited through mails."

The Daily Triumph has reported that "A bill seeking the creation of a new body to regulate the activities of postal and courier services would be sent to the National Assembly before December."

November 5, 2008

The Indian Express has reported that "The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the General Post Office (GPO) in Sector 17 through the Chief Post Master General to refund Rs 1,562 paid towards a speed post consignment to London, which was never delivered. The GPO has also been directed to pay Rs 2,500 as litigation costs. No compensation was, however, awarded to the complainant as it could not be proved that the post office had willfully committed the mistake."

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site. "Presidential and Congressional Elections Have Postal Consequences."

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has long been touting the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) as a revolutionary change--one that will expand mailers' ability to track individual pieces of mail and provide greater visibility into the mail stream. But many catalogers and industry experts have more questions than answers on the IMB."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "Overnight air express traffic is in free-fall at UPS, dropping to its lowest level in six years. The nation's largest transportation company said the 9.8-percent decline in Next-Day Air volume in the third quarter was one reason net profit fell 9.9 percent in the three months ending Sept. 30, and UPS is looking to "right-size our network in 2009."

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

Following around six months of negotiations, talks between the Danish and Swedish postal businesses and the British investment company CVC have come to a surprising end. According to consistent media reports the Danish transport transport ministry - the main owner in Post Danmark - has decided to pay off CVC. At the same time Post Danmark will allegedly sell its share in Belgium’s La Poste to CVC.
With a view to the repercussions of the worldwide turbulence on the financial markets, a French government spokesman has issued a clear refusal of a partial privatisation of La Poste.
The Russian post plans to actively develop in particular its financial services area in 2009.
A postal strike in Canada in the next few weeks is becoming ever more likely.
Just days before the surprise announcement of the profit collapse at Postbank, bonuses in the millions were authorised for the nine members of the board of directors.
Sinotrans, China’s biggest logistics company, has completed the first half of 2008 with significant turnover growth and a leap in profit.
The international express companies in China - mainly DHL, FedEx, UPS and TNT - are seeing their competitive capacity threatened by the new legislation for the post.
DHL is reacting to the Hermes Logistics Group’s announced expansion in Europe with a Europe-wide standardised B2C parcel network.
DHL’s logistics sector may be suffering from the general recession, but according to CEO Hermann Ude it will hold its ground better than the industry as a whole.
The outcome of the US presidential elections could also have a significant impact on the planned cooperation between DHL and UPS in the USA.
The Canadian Courier and Logistics Association has launched a traffic study in the large metropolises.
FedEx has acquired 77 acres of land in Portland, Oregon, in order to build a new distribution centre.
The planned partnership with DHL in the USA has cost UPS a fair amount.
The Finnish post Itella has taken over the Russian company OOO Connexions.

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.)

According to Advertising Age, "Now that the election's over and Sen. Barack Obama is the president-elect, the real fighting can begin. With the Democrats riding to victory with promises of change, it's a safe bet the next Congress and administration will look to make a mark on advertising and marketing issues. A change in administrations could bring new efforts to impose privacy curbs on the profiling marketers can do, as well as heightened antitrust enforcement. There has been discussion of naming a privacy czar in a Democratic administration."

Postalnews.com has noted that the postal management associations have complained to the Board of Governors over Postal Service management's "degradation" of the consultative process.

Zawya has reported that "Pitney Bowes Inc., the leading mailstream technology company, today reiterated plans to leverage the liberalization of the postal sector and the burgeoning insurance and financial sectors to further expand its business in the Middle East region."

The Financial Times has reported that "The Post Office is to be invited to play an important role in the enrolment process for identity cards as ministers seek to encourage broad participation of both the public and private sector."

The Times of India has reported that "The Department of Posts is tying up with the state government for vending stamp papers through its counters. These are non-judicial stamp papers at present available through private vendors, especially near the Tehsil office in the city. The papers are available in denominations from Rs 10 to 100. They are used for signing various agreements and other legal formalities. Stamp papers are procured by the licensed vendors from the treasury department."

As DestinationCRM has noted, "The concept of Intelligent Mail, and the advent of the IMB, has been around for a while. Also known as OneCode and the four-state barcode, the IMB initiative was first announced by the United States Postal Service (USPS) way back in 2003. It then became available in 2006, was enhanced in 2007, and will be a requirement in 2009. The IMB is referred to as a four-state barcode simply because it consists of four different kinds of bars, instead of the two bars in the current POSTNET barcode. Once you understand the different components of the IMB, it's really pretty simple, yet remarkable."

MAILCOM 2009 will be held April 5-8 at the Atlantic City Convention Center . This is The Big Show -- the 29th Annual Global Conference & Exhibition, drawing over 5,000 mail communications executives and managers and featuring over 140 industry vendors. The Big Show is the world's largest convention for mail communications and the must-attend event of the year. Preliminary information is available at www.mailcom.org. Check out the video on the start page.

Independent.ie has reported that DHL Express confirmed that it expects to make 30 of its employees redundant as a result of a cost cutting plan. The delivery and logistics company, which employs approximately 750 people in Ireland, blamed the need for a restructuring plan on the economic downturn."

November 4, 2008

Consumer Reports puts overnight shipping to the test.

The agenda for the November 19 - 20, 2008 MTAC General Session meeting has been posted on this site.

Docket No. MC2008-1:  On October 15, 2008, Pitney Bowes filed a motion to compel the Postal Service to file a complete list and description of all of its existing and new nonpostal services that may be subject to this proceeding. It requests an opportunity for interested parties to comment on “the newly disclosed activities.” The Commission grants the motion, in part, directing the Postal Service to file supplemental information and providing an opportunity for interested persons to comment.

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service request to add Express Mail Contract 2 to the Competitive Product List. The Postal Service has also filed a related contract. The notice addresses procedural steps associated with these filings. Comments are due November 5, 2008.

The Miami Herald has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service delivers mail by car, truck, plane, boat, ferry, helicopter, bicycle, foot, and in the Grand Canyon, even mule. Now, in Key West and seven other warm-climate cities, the Postal Service is testing an economical and environmentally friendly vehicle to add to its diverse fleet: an electric three-wheeler called the T3."

JCNNetwork has reported that "Japan Post Holdings Co. will withdraw from operating a central Tokyo hotel established for use by postal insurance holders, sources familiar with the situation said Tuesday. The company is also working to sell its other 71 hotels by the end of March."

IC Publications has reported that "A top Shiite lawmaker said on Tuesday that Iraq has received "positive" signals from Washington for the changes which Baghdad proposed to the draft security deal between the two countries. The report said Washington has also agreed to allow Iraqis to inspect the incoming and outgoing American postal mail, and was also ready to make some changes in the language of the texts."

Cellular News has reported that "Based on a recent survey by Compass Intelligence, an estimated 7.2 percent of mobile phone users that are 18 or older and employed use mobile banking. These findings are based on a recent web-based survey with an opt-in panel of 20,000 consumers and business decision-makers. "The growth in smart phone adoption is expected to be a leading factor in the future adoption of mobile banking," states Stephanie Atkinson, Managing Partner of Compass Intelligence. As consumers and business users continue to adopt smart phones, mobile banking becomes easier and more user-friendly to perform because these new smart phones entering into the market look and feel very similar to computers."

The BBC has reported that "A postal union is to decide whether to ballot members on whether they want to take industrial action over the closure of a Staffordshire sorting office. Royal Mail has said work from the Weston centre in Crewe and Liverpool's Copperas Hill sorting office would move to a new regional centre in Warrington. The Communication and Workers' Union will discuss a ballot on Wednesday. Royal Mail has said it wants staff from both offices to work at the new centre which will open in phases from 2010."

As the Financial Times has noted, "Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are rediscovering these days the virtues of national ownership as they continue to mount state bail-outs of their hard-pressed banking and insurance industries. Yet barely a couple of months ago governments on both sides of the Rhine were pursuing ambitious and politically controversial privatisations involving two of continental Europe's biggest state-owned utilities."

Hellmail has reported that "Swiss Post is now offering the final version of IncaMail, the solution for sending e-mails securely and verifiably. The new IncaMail is easier to use and incorporates interfaces to Abacus and Crealogix business software solutions, enabling customers of those companies to send business items such as reminders and salary statements securely and in encrypted form. The Swiss Bar Association (SAV) recommends the solution as a way of ensuring confidentiality in communications with clients. Customers pay per item or purchase a subscription to use the service on a regular basis."

The San Antonio Express has reported that "A grassroots Democratic group in Lytle has upset voters and election officials by mailing undersize postcards that recipients had to pay to collect at the post office due to insufficient postage. “These cards have created an extreme amount of chaos,” Medina County Elections Administrator Brodie J. Koch said of the mailings, which encouraged people to vote — and advised those with questions to call her. Koch said she took heat from angry voters who, after paying up to 20 cents to get a card, mistakenly thought she was in league with the sender, the Lytle Area Democrats." [EdNote: Guess they shoulda read the DMM.]

Advertising Age has reported that "Rodale, the publisher of magazines including Men's Health and Runner's World, today joined the herd of media companies downsizing by laying off 111 employees, according to a Rodale spokeswoman. The layoffs, part of a consolidation, represent about 10% of the company. The move is a gloomy way to start the new week, particularly because last week was so atrocious. The print business last week was inundated with word of layoffs coming from companies and products such as Time Inc., Gannett, American Express Publishing, The Los Angeles Times, Conde Nast Portfolio, Men's Vogue and Radar. Media sellers of all kinds are feeling pressure from the sputtering economy and the financial meltdown, but print publishing is seeing those forces exacerbate the trends already pulling readers and advertisers toward digital media."

From PR Newswire: "Mailing with inaccurate customer data is hard on businesses' budgets. Fortunately, with help from DHL Global Mail, it's easy to prepare for a new U.S. Postal Service initiative designed to alleviate the problem. The USPS will implement revised Move Update standards effective November 23, and DHL Global Mail is taking numerous steps to educate customers and ensure they comply."

The Chicago Tribune has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has decided to keep the mail processing center in Sioux City open. The postal service announced its decision in a letter sent Monday to members of Iowa's congressional delegation. The postal service conducted a feasibility study in 2005 that looked at the option of moving the Sioux City mail processing center to Sioux Falls, S.D. Critics argued the move would result in lesser service for residents of Sioux City and surrounding areas. It also would have meant Sioux City would have lost its postmark. It also would have meant nearly 50 postal workers being reassigned."

November 3, 2008

The Sun-Sentinel has reported that "The president of the Broward County branch of the American Postal Workers Union is angry at local Republican Party allegations that the party's absentee ballots might not be safe in the hands of postal workers. In an e-mail, Carolyn Pierce also said she was disappointed that the SunSentinel reported on what she called "unsubstantiated allegations of the GOP officials that postal workers cannot be trusted with the mail. In essence the local Republican representatives have called all postal employees thieves."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast 11.03.08
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and Grayhair Software vice presidents Angelo Anagnostopoulos and Raymond Chin in a discussion on getting ready for the Intelligent Mail Barcode.

From Business Wire: "Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. has announced it recently joined the United States Postal Service program, Stamps to Go. By joining the program, customers may purchase stamps at any of the grocer's 521 stores."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) has become the latest major company to see its share price savaged by the current global economic crisis. DPWN sees the greatest effects of the economic downturn in its DHL Express parcels business. It states that the trend for the business outside the US for the first nine months has been "11% above last year's figure" with a "high single figure growth in the third quarter". This suggests that the US express business has suffered not just from the falls across the sector but also from a loss of market share. This was hinted at by Scott Davis, CEO of UPS, last week when he implied that DHL Americas' volumes were falling steeply."

From Canada NewsWire: "Transcontinental Inc. today announced that Transcontinental Direct USA Inc., its direct mail subsidiary in the U.S., will consolidate production from its Warminster, PA facility to its facility in Hamburg, PA. One of fourteen groups currently operated by Transcontinental Inc., this subsidiary represents about 10% of the Corporation's consolidated revenues."

As the Memphis Commercial Appeal has noted, "FedEx SmartPost is a low-cost option for business-to-consumer shipping that combines the efficiency and tracking features of FedEx Ground with the old-fashioned, door-to-door delivery prowess of the post office. Since FedEx bought and rebranded parcel consolidator Parcel Direct in 2004, SmartPost has accounted for a growing share of FedEx Ground's package volume and revenues. Volume was up 9 percent in the three months ending Aug. 31, compared with Ground's 4 percent increase, while revenue was up 14 percent, compared with Ground's 9 percent. "We are the low-cost alternative in difficult economic times for the catalogs and e-tailers. We're a good alternative for the price-conscious shipper," vice president of operations Mike Indresano said."

The Postal Regulatory Commission has an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated, highly skilled person with education and/or experience in regulatory issues. Position Title: Attorney-Advisor, Associate Grade: PRC - 5 Salary Range: $79,071 - $126,514. You can get forms and additional information from the Commission’s personnel office at 202- 789-6840. Submit application or resume to: Postal Regulatory Commission Attn: Personnel Officer Vacancy Number: PRC 03-16 901 New York Avenue, NW – Suite 200 Washington DC 20268-0001 Faxed applications will be accepted. Fax to 202-789-6886. Applications will also be accepted by email at personnel@prc.gov. All applications must be received no later than November 24, 2008.

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 Nov. 12-13, 2008. The public is welcome to observe the Board’s open session, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 13 in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. The Board is expected to discuss the following items: Minutes of the previous meetings, Sept. 23-24, and Oct. 20-21, 2008. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board (Alan Kessler). Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO (John Potter). Committee reports. Quarterly report on service performance (Delores Killette, Consumer Advocate and Vice President). Consideration of Fiscal Year 2008 audited financial statements and Postal Service Annual Report (Governor Katherine Tobin, H. Glen Walker, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, and Chairman Kessler). Tentative agenda for the Dec. 2-3, 2008, meeting in Washington, DC.

One writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer told her readers that "Ditch the paper all these bills are printed on. Ditch the envelopes. Ditch the checks. With a few clicks of a computer mouse, it's possible for people to do much of their financial business online. It certainly saves paper. According to a yearly U.S. Postal Service report on household mail trends, nearly 19 billion bills were delivered to American homes in 2007. The PayItGreen Alliance - a coalition of financial services companies advocating for paperless transactions - estimates that amounts to 533 million pounds of paper, not to mention 235 million gallons of fossil fuel to truck it all around. Going paperless saves money, too: I don't have to spend 42 cents on a stamp, and neither does the biller."

The Leader-Post has reported that "As the holiday season approaches, post messages but don't send Christmas parcels to our troops. That was the message from the Department of National Defence in a news release sent on Saturday. Canadians are being asked not to plan on sending gifts to Canadian Forces personnel because planes flying to places such as Afghanistan only have room for priority items that include combat supplies, vehicle parts, equipment and mail from families."

The Press has reported that "complaints about York and North Yorkshire’s postal service have rocketed by a third in 12 months, with thousands more letters being lost, damaged or delivered late."

Advertising Age has reported:

  • A new study across a broad variety of industries has found that media and entertainment companies have the worst practices and policies related to communicating with the outside world about their sustainability issues.
  • The print business was horrified enough last week when The Christian Science Monitor revealed plans to fold its 100-year-old daily print edition in favor of the web and a weekly print product. But by the end of one of the worst weeks in the history of newspapers and magazines, the Monitor was starting to look like one of the few places publishing
  • could turn for even a dim ray of hope. With Time Inc. announcing layoffs ranging from 300 to 700 positions; Gannett promising to lay off 10% of its local-newspaper staffers; Condé Nast cutting Men's Vogue down to a biannual and paring Portfolio and its website; and even Radar shutting its doors again, turning its anniversary party into a good-bye party, it was a week that needed that title's gallows humor just to get publishing types through it.
  • Macy's is giving magazines the cold shoulder. The retailer has quietly cut its entire magazine spend for the first half of 2009, according to several publishers. The development spells more bad news for publishers that had secured pieces of Macy's magazine budget, which topped $20 million in the first half of 2008 and $27 million in the first half of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But it's also a bad sign for each and every magazine, as it seems to show that a major marketer has calculated that magazines' contributions to its business are expendable in this environment.
  • This is shaping up to be the first even-numbered year to post a decline in broadcast TV spending since 1970 -- in fact, it's tracking to end up even lower. And that's before you strip out the big boost to media provided by the presidential primaries, the general election, the down-ticket races and all kinds of referenda. 

The Times has reported that "SubPostmasters will attempt to increase pressure on the Government to throw the struggling post office network a lifeline by renewing a contract to handle pension and benefit payments. Fears are growing in the National Federation of SubPostmasters that the Post Office Card Account contract, which is effectively a no-frills banking facility, will go to PayPoint, the private payment network. PayPoint, which operates in nearly 20,000 outlets, is used to pay a wide range of bills and it runs online TV licensing." See also the Daily Mail.

November 2, 2008

According to Hellmail, "The forthcoming review of Royal Mail by Richard Hooper is likely to recommend that the present restructuring of the Royal Mail sorting and delivery network continues, to reduce the costs involved in delivering the universal service which is already in a serious loss-making situation."

The Taiwan News has reported that "A postal agreement expected to be inked during this week's negotiations between Taiwan and China in Taipei will offer significant savings on postal costs and delivery time."

Reuters has reported that "plans for a partial privatisation of France's state-owned post office operator La Poste will not go ahead for the moment given the current market turmoil, a senior adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday. "There is no question in the situation we're in at the moment, of opening up the capital of La Poste," Henri Guaino, one of Sarkozy's inner circle of advisers, told Europe 1 radio."

Scotland on Sunday has reported that "the Royal Mail could cut up to 20,000 jobs and end Saturday collections and deliveries under proposals to be put to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, it was reported last night. The plans involve closing about half of the service's 69 sorting offices and will anger unions and consumers and could trigger strikes. It will also heighten fears about the future of the 'universal service' – the Royal Mail's historic duty to deliver letters to every address in Britain at the same price."

The Kane County Chronicle has reported that "Village President Patsy Smith took steps to undo the mailing address flap that developed when the village requested that the U.S. Postal Service recognize its new incorporation. Smith said Monday she asked the U.S. Postal Service to reverse Campton Hills as the preferred last line in the 60175 zip code. “It is my understanding that this will be completed [Monday] afternoon, but that it may take up to four weeks for the mailing houses to catch up with the correction,” Smith said in an e-mail to residents. “The Village requested the USPS to recognize Campton Hills as an acceptable address, but did not request it be used as the preferred last line of the address,” she wrote. “I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.” Smith said the U.S. Postal Service is in the process of updating the other four zip codes in the village to show Campton Hills as an acceptable or recognized village, but that may take several more weeks to complete."

The BBC has reported that "A Sheffield postman has been suspended amid an investigation into claims he failed to deliver mail. The inquiry will examine complaints about delayed post from as far back as 2004 in the S13 area of the city, which includes Handsworth and Woodhouse."

As the Wall Street Journal noted, "If you're still wondering why you haven't received your long-overdue economic-stimulus check, you have company. In all the years I've written about taxes, I've never received as many reader questions on any subject as this one. In many cases, though, the problem is fairly easy to fix -- at least according to the Internal Revenue Service. IRS officials say they are searching for people who are missing more than 279,000 stimulus checks and more than 104,000 regular refund checks. Those checks were returned by the U.S. Postal Service because of "mailing address errors," the IRS said. The stimulus checks totaled about $163 million, while the regular refund checks came to about $103 million."

According to the Washington Post, "D.C. election officials were assured by the U.S. Postal Service yesterday that absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day will be delivered, even with incorrect postage. Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe has notified postal managers across the country to deliver all mail sent to local election boards and to charge the boards if additional postage is required."

The Universal Postal Union has reported that "the new Postal Operations Council (POC) has formally adopted a structure focused on product lines and designated the countries that will chair the various groups within four broad committees. The POC is meeting for the first time since Congress. Four committees will oversee the work of the Union in the areas of letter-post, parcels, postal financial services and standards and technology. Groups within these committees will further deal with specific operational issues affecting members of the postal sector, such as quality of service, customs, security, standards, addressing and electronic services, to name but a few."

According to the Hartford Courant, "Sitting at a laptop, far from the factory that made the computer and the towers that transmit messages, it may seem obvious that e-mail has a smaller carbon footprint than regular mail. There are no trees to be cut down, no electric saws at lumber mills, no paper mills, no mail trucks, no trash to haul away. But when it comes to mailing a letter vs. sending e-mail, do you really know which has the smaller environmental impact?"

November 1, 2008

As Traffic World has noted, "After climbing to an unprecedented $147 a barrel this July, crude oil prices plummeted to less than $70 a barrel, even dipping below $60 a barrel briefly in late October. Diesel and gasoline prices followed, with the average national retail diesel price falling 19 cents in one week to $3.29 a gallon Oct. 27. That's a $1.47, or 31 percent, drop since July 14. Such a dramatic reduction in fuel costs normally would give shippers and carriers wracked by higher fuel prices this year reason to celebrate. So where's the party? It's been delayed for the guest everyone wants to meet: economic recovery."

Le Journal du Jura has reported that "La Poste is working on a new postal system means a client who wishes could soon receive letters or postcards by e-mail. Based on an existing model in the U.S., it is only stage of discussions."

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Premium Company Profile: United States Postal Service" company profile to their offering."

Ocala.com has noted that "Until this week, the closest Tony Caban ever got to something called a T3 was the third installment of the Terminator movie series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. That changed when the U.S. Postal Service worker in Ocala was asked to park his mail carrier truck and hop onto a new electric-powered three-wheeler to deliver his mail, called the T3. The battery-powered vehicle is one of only 12 that are being tested by the U.S. Postal Service in eight locations. One of those cities is Ocala and it is part of a trial of what might become the standard vehicle of mail delivery in residential areas."

Caribbean Net News has reported that "An investigation by the US Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General has confirmed that mail delivery in the US Virgin Islands is not what it should be. The Report found that the US Virgin Islands' complaints are valid."

Computerworld has reported that "MasterCard Inc. yesterday announced a merger with a new partner: your cell phone. The company has launched what it called its Over-the-Air Provisioning Service, which will allow MasterCard's PayPass program to work with a mobile phone equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC)."

According to Thaindian News, "as resource-rich Canada seeks closer trade ties with Europe, over a third of its citizens blame their country's overdependence on the US for its current economic troubles.In a survey by the global parcel delivery giant United Parcel Service (UPS), 36 percent Canadians blamed the current crisis on their overdependence on the US which accounts for 85 percent of its trade."