[PostCom logo]


Association for Postal Commerce

1901 N. Fort Myer Dr., Ste 401 * Arlington, VA 22209-1609 * USA * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 524 1871

Postal News from April 2009:

April 30, 2009

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "According to Direct Media’s numbers, Catalog Tracker received 144 books in the mail this past February, down from 325 in February 2008. That’s a 226% decline in catalogs mailed."

According to The Economist, "engraved magnificently above the columns of the main post office in Manhattan is a promise of the postal service’s resilience. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night”, runs the motto, “stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Inclement weather is one thing, but the downturn is posing a greater challenge. This recession has been particularly cruel to the postal service, already battered by the popularity of e-mail. Last year saw the biggest decline in mail since the Depression: volume fell by 4.5%, or about 9 billion pieces. The postal service ended the 2008 fiscal year with a $2.8 billion loss, and the next two years may well be worse. “No one knows at what point mail volume will bottom out,” said the postmaster-general, John Potter, in his testimony before the Senate in January. In spite of these cost-cutting measures, Mr Potter knows that, without help, the service could run out of cash by the end of the year."

From Canada NewsWire: "The Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), today shared the report of the independent review of the Canada Post Corporation. "Canada Post provides a fundamental public service to Canadians. I am pleased to make the review report available to the public," said Minister Merrifield. "The advisory panel that undertook the review has provided a thoughtful and comprehensive report to the government and it is being carefully analyzed." The independent review was conducted in 2008. Its purpose was to make sure Canada Post has the tools and means to continue to fulfill its mandate, which is to provide affordable, universal postal service to Canadians. During the course of its review, the advisory panel met with stakeholders, associations, unions and other interested parties. It also received thousands of submissions from Canadians. The report is now available online, in both official languages, at www.cpcstrategicreview.gc.ca. It can also be ordered by visiting www.publications.gc.ca or by calling 1-800-635-7943." The Executive Summary noted that:

Over the course of the strategic review, the Advisory Panel became concerned that:

  • Canadians are generally of the opinion that Canada Post is profitable and financially sound, whereas it is apparent to the Advisory Panel that Canada Post’s financial sustainability is uncertain at best.

  • Canada Post’s plants and facilities are in urgent need of upgrading and modernization as a result of inadequate capital investment over the past several years.

  • There is misunderstanding and misconception at Canada Post and in the government about Canada Post’s core responsibilities and the government’s concrete postal expectations, particularly in key areas like the universal service obligation and rural mail services.
  • The roles, responsibilities and authority of the Government of Canada, as shareholder, the corporation’s Board of Directors, and Canada Post management need clarification and must be better understood by all involved.
  • These realities present a pressing need for postal policy action, as they combine to limit Canada Post’s capacity to continue to deliver a universal postal service of a quality and at price levels that Canadians expect and deserve.
This is a situation made more urgent by the recent economic and financial downturn. The Advisory Panel aims to contribute constructively to the ongoing evolution of Canada Post by making recommendations and by providing advice to ensure that Canada Post has the corporate and commercial capacity it needs to maintain its financial self-sustainability, while presenting new ways and approaches for the shareholder (the government) to articulate and communicate its public policy expectations of Canada Post.

Business & Leadership has reported that "An Post has reported a record operating profit of €31.2m for 2008, despite a fall in mail volumes in the second half of the year. Profit after tax for the group was €33.2m in 2008, which marks its fifth consecutive profitable year. However, mail volumes fell 2pc in 2008 compared to the year previous, which was reflected in a 2.9pc fall in turnover (€26m) to €850m."

The EUObserver has reported that "The European Commission denied on Thursday (30 April) it was launching an investigation into a new Chinese law that would prevent international companies from accessing China's lucrative domestic postal market. "This is an issue that we have been discussing with the Chinese for quite some time," commission spokesman Lutz Gullner told EUobserver. Chinese vice-premier Wang Qishan is in Brussels next week meeting trade commissioner Catherine Ashton and ten other commissioners (Photo: European Commission) Print Comment article "We have received the law. We are now analysing it and we are looking at all aspects, including its World Trade Organisation compatibility," he added. "

MediaPost has reported that "Time Warner is anticipating that ad dollars at its Turner networks will fall in a mid-single-digit percentage range for the current April-June period, a top company executive said Wednesday. At the Time Inc. magazine group, a decline in the 30% range is possible."

Here are two important links for those seeking more on the Postal Service's Intelligent Mail program:

According to TechDirt, "The Newspaper Association of America, who just recently has been out pushing the value of a print product as opposed to an online-only product, seems to not be taking its own advice. According to Romenesko, the NAA has not only laid off nearly 50% of its staff, but it's also switching its own print magazine to an online-only production."

WEBINAR ON USPS NETWORK REALIGNMENT

The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) will be joining with the DMA, Parcel Shippers Association, National Postal Policy Council, Magazine Publishers of America, Continuity Shippers Association and the DMA Nonprofit Federation in sponsoring a webinar focusing on changes in the Postal Service’s mail acceptance, processing network and distribution network at 2:00 p.m. eastern on Tuesday, May 5th. William Galligan, Senior Vice President for Operations at the U.S. Postal Service will be discussing the Service’s actions to date and changes that will soon be coming off of the drawing board. There will be an opportunity to ask question so that participants may better gauge the potential impact of these changes on their own operations. The webinar is free to members of sponsoring groups: DMA, Association for Postal Commerce, Parcel Shippers Association, National Postal Policy Council, Magazine Publishers of America, Continuity Shippers Association and the DMA Nonprofit Federation. To register, please email government@the-dma.org with a subject line ‘Realignment

Posted on this site are several of the powerpoint presentations used by speakers at yesterday's meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. [EdNote: Our thanks go to the USPS and the speakers for making these presentations publicly available so quickly.]

The Staten Island Advance has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service last night pledged no layoffs in a plan to move some operations from its Manor Road office to Brooklyn, but those promises did little to reassure workers waiting for the other shoe to drop. About two dozen mail sorters here would have to become carriers or clerks but would not have to take a pay cut. Mail that would lose the Staten Island postmark would instead be marked "BKLYN-QNS-STATEN ISL." "We have equipment sitting idle because we don't have the volume to keep it running," said the director, Vito Cetta. "We cannot afford to keep our machines running at less than capacity, and we cannot continue to run trucks that are not full."

European Voice has reported that "The European Commission's backing for a merger between the postal services of Sweden and Denmark raises questions about the future of the sector. The decision, announced on 21 April, permits the first merger between two incumbent postal services in the EU and suggests that the landscape is changing for Europe's postal services. Although both companies are Scandinavian, they are very different. While Sweden has one of the most liberalised postal systems in the EU, Denmark has one of the least liberalised. Although member states had established independent regulators to police their postal markets, there were “justified doubts” about whether all of them were up to the job. Member states have promised to liberalise, but this is no guarantee that competition will thrive. The Nordic market will be an important testing-ground for the Commission's powers of regulation."

The Financial has reported that "The operator of mobile cellular communication, Astelit company, which renders services under the life:) brand, has introduced new service called life:) Post for reception and sending of e-mails, the press service of the operator said. Having connected to the service, the subscribers obtain WAP-push messages with e-mails. Life:) Post service gives an opportunity to read letters and look through the attached information, write letters to e-mail addresses from mobile phones, and connect up to five e-mail addresses to the service. Those, who have no e-mail address, this service allows creation of new personalized postal account in the form of ХХХ@life.ua (where ХХХ - is a phone number), with the capacity of 7 GB."

Hellmail has noted that "According to Deutsche Post DHL, the price of a letter in Germany compares well against other European countries. A new letter price survey confirms an inflation-adjusted 16 percent drop in the past ten years. Deutsche Post DHL said that German mail customers are benefiting more than almost any other country from the stable price of a standard letter. This is the result of Deutsche Post's latest European letter price survey for 2009."

The Telegraph has reported that "Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on consultants who are advising on plans to part-privatise Royal Mail."

PostCom Members!!  The latest PostCom Postal Policy Report is now available on this site. In this issue: "A Snapshot Of Current Regulatory Activity."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
A PostCom Postal Podcast

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito,
NPF executive director Mike Genick, and the Postal Service's Alixe Johnson in a discussion of  this year's National Postal Forum.

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Complaint of Capital One Services, Inc. Docket No. C2008-3 "Order On Capital One Motion To Compel And Extension Of Deadlines Certified To The Commission By Presiding Officer’S Ruling No. C2008-3/38"

In preparation for the launch of Intelligent Mail® services in May 2009, the Postal Service™ is conducting a series of Webinars to answer technical questions about Intelligent Mail barcode implementation. The next webinar is Friday, May 1 from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time.

To join the Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinar on your computer:
1. Go to:
https://uspostal.webex.com/
2. Click on the Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinar URL next to the date.
3. Input your First and Last name, and email address.
4. Click Submit.
5. The audio for this presentation is going to stream through your computer speakers rather than through the phone line. Please make sure the volume is turned up on your computer and test your speakers prior to the meeting.

NOTE: For those who do not have access to a computer for this Webinar or do not have computer speakers, you can listen to audio only by dialing this teleconference number: 1-866-699-3239, please submit the event id number 667 256 006 and press ## For online technical assistance, please contact WebEx Technical Support at 1-866-229-3239 (U.S. and Canada toll-free)

DMM Advisory: May 11 Pricing Change – Reminder. Our Mailing Services prices change on May 11. Highlights of the price change include: 

  • The price of a First-Class Mail stamp increases 2¢, to 44¢. No changes to the additional-ounce price or the nonmachinable surcharge.
  • New options for preparing First-Class Mail automation letters and Standard Mail automation and machinable letters.
  • Aligned machinable and automation letter characteristics for First-Class Mail (commercial) and Standard Mail.
  • New Standard Mail saturation mail initiatives to encourage growth.
  • Parcel Post simplified to one price list.
  • Added a new Bronze tier for small-volume Confirm users.

Mailers may use plant-verified drop shipment (PVDS) during the price change as follows:

  • Current Prices — Mailers may use the current prices for PVDS mailings verified and paid before May 11. We will accept these mailings at destination entry postal facilities up to May 26 when presented with appropriate verification and payment documentation.

  • New Prices — Mailers may use the new prices for PVDS mailings verified and paid beginning April 13 for deposit on or after May 11. We will accept these mailings at destination entry postal facilities beginning May 11 when presented with appropriate verification and payment documentation.

  • Resources - We have resources and tools at usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm to help you prepare for the mailing services pricing change. You will find many helpful materials, including the updated Price List with new prices for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Special Services. We’ve also posted our Federal Register notices, downloadable price files, new postage statements, links to Postal Explorer, and more.

  • In addition, check out our March/April MailPro [HTML] | [PDF] on usps.com/mailpro for extensive information on the price change, including FAQs. We encourage everyone to review the MailPro to prepare for the pricing change.

  • Full-Service Intelligent Mail® We will continue to provide updates from the Intelligent Mail team as the May 18 implementation approaches. Access the many Intelligent Mail resources and guides at ribbs.usps.gov.

\ The Staten Island Advance has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service will sponsor a public meeting tonight about shifting some of the mail processing work currently done at the Manor Road Post Office to Brooklyn, as a cost-cutting measure."

April 29, 2009

PostCom Members!!  A summary of news from today's meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee  has been posted on this site. See also the most recent Postal Service headquarters organizational chart.

The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has authorized postal management to move on with the filing of its proposed Standard Mail "summer sale" experiment.

PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance has reported that in a media briefing conducted at USPS headquarters, the Postal Service's executive in charge of the intelligent mail program, Tom Day noted tht the IMb is moving forward. He noted that there were issues that required attention, and the USPS is dealing with them as they are identified by mailers. Systems Integration testing is complete. There were identified defects that have been fixed. Customer Acceptance Testing (CAT) is underway. One of the major issues with CAT is that Mailers can not produce mail.dat 9.1 files to run through postal system. Pritha said that all vendors are updating and creating new software. 2 mailers have the capability of converting mail.dat 8.1 or 8.2 files into 9.1. One recently was able to just create 9.1 files. During testing, USPS would have like to test every different type of mailer profile to make sure the system was ready, but mailers were not ready. Need to open up system, so other mailers can participate outside of 6 CAT testers. More information will be reported in this week's bulletin.

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union today accused the UK government of 'misusing' public funds to pay for specialist advice in the run-up to a partial sale of state-owned postal operator, the Royal Mail."

The USPS will start a daily webinar on May 4th from 2 to 4pm on using the new Business Customer Gateway. Dial-in information will be made available on RIBBS. Additional information will be in this week's DMM Advirsory.

Eyefortransport has reported that "DHL has added a Boeing 747-400F to service its Singapore - Hong Kong route through Air Hong Kong, the Cathay Pacific - DHL joint venture."

Jean-Claude Mallet has resigned for health reasons as chairman of ARCEP, the French telecommunications and postal regulator.

The DM Bulletin has reported that "There has been a marked rise in complaints about direct mail and against database companies, according to DM watchdog the Direct Marketing Commission. The home shopping sector was the biggest offender, the DMC said. The DMC's quarterly complaints index between December 2008 and March 2009, a report and analysis of complaints received, reveals that direct mail is the second biggest cause of grievance (14%) after financial accounts/invoicing issues (15%), and that complaints against database companies have risen from 6% to 9% of the total. However the DMC said that the report also showed a continued trend for high industry compliance with self-regulatory rules. Of the 88 complaints received by the DMC in this period the majority (54) were investigated and resolved swiftly and informally."

From PR Newswire: "MasterCard Worldwide today announced that the U.S. Postal Service(R), the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation -- including residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes(TM), and Dunkin' Donuts, the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world, have joined the growing list of merchants to provide small businesses with automatic discounts and savings through the MasterCard Easy Savings Program. Eligible MasterCard business credit and signature debit, U.S. cardholders enrolled in the program will now receive an automatic 5 percent rebate on Click 'N Ship purchases made with the United States Postal Service (USPS(R)) at usps.com, and an automatic 5 percent rebate on purchases at Dunkin' Donuts."

Korea IT Times has reported that "Nam-gung Min, the former Director General for Electronics & IT Industries of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, has become the President of the Korea Post. The Korea Post is a huge organization with forty-three thousand public officials and three thousand seven hundred post offices all around Korea. Through them, it offers postal services and financial services. Also, it holds over 60 trillion won [US$45 billion] in deposit and insurance assets. Nam-hung announced: “As a national agency, the Korea Post will find its niche for overcoming the economic crisis and creating green growth, and then do its best to overcome.” His statement is understood to mean that he is going to use the biggest public agency – Korea Post - as an engine to overcome the national crisis."

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

At the beginning of July, the French La Poste will be putting two of its eight mail TGVs (high-speed rail mail service trains) out of service. This is the organisation’s response to the decreasing number of consignments sent within France.
The Swiss postal monopoly will be reduced on 1 July from 100 grams to 50 grams.
At Royal Mail, a fresh conflict has arisen between the management and the trade union. The trigger was a letter from the Human Resources Director, Jon Millidge, in which the union, CWU, was informed that the 180,000 employees at Royal Mail, Parcelforce and the Post Office, as well as the group’s headquarters, could not be awarded a pay rise this year. He said the reason was the "very tight financial position".
The Belgian La Poste has opened its new international mail centre at Brussels Airport.
The Handelsverband and the Verband Österreichischer Zeitungen (VÖZ) have criticised the amended Austrian Postal Act bill (CW 17/09). Only 50 percent of it is good, and the remainder should undergo a further review, according to the associations. Inter alia, the focus of the criticism is the requirement that the controversial letter boxes should not be abolished until 2013. According to the associations the draft bill has turned into a "post office protection act".
TNT is strengthening its presence in Brazil by making another acquisition. As was announced on Tuesday of this week, the Expresso Araçatuba Transportes e Logística S.A., which was founded in 1952.
The American logistics group, Con-Way, which recently concluded a transatlantic partnership with TNT, has had to record a loss of 154m Dollar - the equivalent of 117.9m euros - in the first quarter.
YRC Worldwide Inc., one of the biggest US trucking companies with 60,000 employees, has had to combat falls in turnover and profit in the first quarter of this financial year.
According to the most recent estimates from the BGL association (Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung e. V.), because of the economic crisis, as many as 80,000 jobs could be at risk this year in the German road haulage sector.
The proposed sale of Tachimetafores ELTA, the express subsidiary of the Greek post office, to the Belgian La Poste has clearly come to nothing. The Greek government is now looking for another solution.
Ver.di trade union rejects re-negotiations of the current collective bargaining with Deutsche Post.
The introduction of a minimum wage in mail services at the beginning of 2008 has cost 19,000 jobs in Germany, according to Post rivals.
This year, the U.S. Postal Service is intending to reduce its own fleet by 10,000 vehicles.
On account of the universal economic downturn, the Thai post office will not be able to increase its net profit this year.
Only a few days after his announcement Ivars Krauklis, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian post office, resigned. It was his response to the salary reductions the government was planning to introduce for post office employees on 1 May. In his case, his salary was to be cut by 60 percent.

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

The Guardian has reported that "The European Commission said on Wednesday it was investigating whether China broke world trade rules with a new postal law that allows only a state monopoly to deliver domestic letters and documents. The probe by the European Union executive, which oversees trade policy for the 27-nation bloc, could further damage brittle trade relations between Brussels and Beijing ahead of high-level talks between the trading partners next month."

Hellmail has reported that "The new hybrid mail service, Docmail, has pledged to hold down its postal prices despite the recent rise of First and Second class stamps. Managing director of CFH Total Document Management, Dave Broadway, who runs the Docmail service, has said that he will continue hold his prices for at least three months, resulting in increased savings for customers. From 6 April 2009 Royal Mail announced the price of posting a standard letter weighing up to 100g was to rise by 3p to 39p for First class and to 30p for Second class."

The Virgin Island Daily News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service on Monday rewrapped and shipped out most of the mail that was on an airplane that burst into flames early Sunday morning on an airport runway in San Juan. The fire consumed the cockpit and damaged more than 3,000 pounds of priority and Express and First Class mail bound for the territory, Monica Hand, Postal Service spokeswoman said on Monday. The aircraft - which was built in 1942 - was carrying 6,000 pounds of mail. While the Postal Service was able to salvage most of the mail, which was re-wrapped and shipped out on another aircraft, about 1,500 pounds of mail could not be saved, she said."

KTVB has reported that "The Boise Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team was called to a downtown Boise building just before noon today to investigate a white powdery substance found on an unopenend envelope. That investigation last more than three and a half hours and led to the delay of mail delivery to some downtown businesses. This after a mail carrier was detained as a safety precaution while experts determined if the substance posed a danger to humans."

April 28, 2009

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has announced that the nation’s largest food drive to combat hunger will be conducted this year on Saturday, May 9. On that day, letter carriers will collect non-perishable donations from homes as they deliver mail along their postal routes. [EdNote: This is the kind of public service that deserves the nation's recognition and thanks.]

The latest issue of the PostEurop newsletter is now available. Take advantage of the opportunity to subscribe to this newsletter. In that newsletter, PostEurop reported that the European Commission has launched a study to "assess the role of the regulators in a more competitive postal market."

PostCom Members! Consider this a gentle reminder of the upcoming price change and the dates for plant-verfied drop shipment (PVDS). Current prices: Mailers may use the current prices for PVDS mailings verified and paid before May 11. USPS will accept these mailings at destination entry postal facilities up to May 26 when presented with appropriate verification and payment documentation. New prices: Mailers may use the new prices for PVDS mailings verified and paid beginning April 13 for deposit on or after May 11. The USPS will accept these mailings at destination entry postal facilities beginning May 11 when presented with appropriate verification and payment documentation. PLEASE NOTE: Mailers will have up until May 26th to enter dropshipment mailings (paid for before May 11th) at destination facilities.

The Palm Beach Daily News has reported that "Despite past denials that the island's main post office is for sale, confirmation from the mayor has led the U.S. Postal Service to finally own up to its plans for the landmark building."

Dead Tree Edition has told its readers that "With the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) program veering off the tracks, prominent mailers called for the U.S. Postal Service to hit the brakes today on the much-delayed program. “There is a general consensus that even if the USPS stays with their commitment of May 18 it will be almost impossible for the program to begin in a successful manner,” says a memo written by Jack Widener, a respected industry consultant, that Idealliance released today to its members. Widener, a former Newsweek executive, chairs the IMb users group for the major trade association."

As PC World is trying to tell its readers, "Online Postage Tools Can Save You Time and Money."

WBGH has reported that "The workforce reduction at Lockheed Martin in Owego is here. At 3 o'clock Monday afternoon, systems integration president Marillyn Hewson sent out a memo, saying that a reduction of approximately 225 positions is needed now, and that a further reduction will likely be necessary in the months ahead. Hewson cited uncertainty about defense spending in the coming federal budget year, and the call by defense secretary Gates to cancel the presidential helicopter program, and the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue choppers. She also mentioned a slowdown in work for the postal service."

This Day has reported that "The Federal Government yesterday formally launched a new national Postal Code otherwise known as ZIP Code. It also decided to put up a committee and appoint consultants who will fashion out modalities for a new national addressing system in the country."

April 27, 2009

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Postal systems the world over are notorious for being bloated, inefficient bureaucracies that eat up public funds and resist reform. (See: Postal Service, United States.) China's postal system is no different, and the State Council has just missed a great opportunity to open up the sector to competition. China's new Postal Law, approved on Friday, will limit competition in the 40.8 billion yuan ($6 billion) per year industry. The law imposes new regulations on private domestic and foreign courier services, and raises the barriers for new firms to enter the courier market. The law explicitly codifies a ban on foreign companies delivering documents domestically -- in what may contravene China's WTO commitments. There's even a clause about "a universal postal service fund" that could give the government room to levy a tax on private couriers in order to help pay for the universal service run by China Post. These are steps backward for a sector that in the past has amply demonstrated the benefits of liberalization."

The latest blog has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. The OIG Wants to Know How You Feel about Sick Leave. The Postal Service’s sick leave absence rate (absenteeism) was 4.3 percent in 2008. This seems high compared to the 1.1 percent rate the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports for employees in the private sector and 1.7 percent rate for employees in the federal sector. So why was the Postal Service’s rate higher? That means 5 percent of its employees have nearly one absence for every paycheck! What is the impact on morale to the other 640,026 career employees? Is there something the Postal Service can do to reduce the number of unscheduled absences? The OIG would like to know how you feel about these issues. You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

DM News has reported that "The second annual National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum is slated for May 20-21, with the postage rate increase and the proposed “summer sale” among the topics of discussion. The event, to be held in Washington D.C., will feature panel discussions of challenges facing catalogers during these economic times, as well as positive developments made by the U.S. Postal Service to help the mailing industry, said Hamilton Davison, president of the American Catalog Mailers Association."

Logistics Manager has reported that "DHL Express is launching an upgraded internet tracking service, designed to provide customers with enhanced tracking options for their shipments. The improvements are based on customer feedback captured in extensive online surveys. One of the main enhancements is the ability to switch from a summary view of all results to a detailed view of a specific shipment without having to reload the page, using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML techonology."

The Grantham Journal has reported that "postal protesters campaigning to keep the Royal Mail public were delighted with the support they received in Grantham. Post Office staff joined union members in Grantham High Street on Friday morning to ask people to support their campaign against part privatisation."

The News-Journal has reported that "Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement and U.S. Postal Service investigators on Friday found 12 pounds of suspected marijuana in 100 block of Arthur Street, the release said. The search led authorities to search another home in the 100 block of Cherie Lane, where they found a half-pound of suspected marijuana."

According to Air Force Link, "Postal workers deliver pieces of home through mail."

The New York Times has reported that "The rate of decline in circulation at the nation’s newspapers has accelerated since last fall, as industry figures released Monday show a more than 7 percent drop compared with the prior year. While newspaper circulation has long been in decline, the latest figures show the drop is accelerating."

From PR Newswire: "The U.S. Postal Service has earned the R. Gene Richter Award for "Leadership and Innovation" for optimizing the use of bidding software that resulted in savings of more than $57 million from 2005 to 2008."

According to Advertising Age, "Several players, from ambitious software developers to arcane auditing bodies, are suddenly converging this spring to hasten the arrival of a long-awaited "iPod for print." It might just be the iPhone. So far magazines and newspapers have built applications chiefly for the iPhone -- and the surprisingly popular iPod Touch -- that riff on their core editorial missions. Many publishers would also like to turn iTunes into a virtual newsstand and subscription hub."

Personnel Today has noted that "All Royal Mail staff will see their pay frozen this year as the postal service attempts to cut costs during the recession."

The Daily Record has reported that "postal services could be thrown into chaos by crippling strikes over Royal Mail plans for 1600 job cuts. Union leaders accuse bosses trying to "bulldoze" through changes which would devastate services across the country. The threat emerged just 48 hours after mail chiefs warned they were planning to impose a pay freeze on their 180,000 workers. This is despite doubling halfyear profits to £177million. The first walkout is likely to hit services across London next month but others will follow nationwide. The Communication Workers Union will start balloting members next week over the sacking plans." See also CityWire.

DMA will host a webinar focusing on changes in the Postal Service’s mail acceptance, processing network and distribution network at 2:00 p.m. eastern on Tuesday, May 5th. William Galligan, Senior Vice President for Operations at the U.S. Postal Service will be discussing the Service’s actions to date and changes that will soon be coming off of the drawing board. There will be an opportunity to ask question so that participants may better gauge the potential impact of these changes on their own operations. The webinar is free to members of sponsoring groups: DMA, Association for Postal Commerce, Parcel Shippers Association, National Postal Policy Council, Magazine Publishers of America, Continuity Shippers Association and the DMA Nonprofit Federation. To register, please email government@the-dma.org with a subject line ‘Realignment’

Dominican Today has reported that "the Dominican Postal Institution (Inposdom) is taking a great leap forward in the direction of competitiveness and profitability by implementing a basic tool for the improvement and optimization of its services: a National Postal Code system."

April 26, 2009

According to A. Lee Fritschler, Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University (and former Chairman of the Postal Rate Commission), in an article entitled Liberating the Postal Service, "Government bailouts of high profile private corporations have obscured the fact that one of the largest government enterprises, the U.S. Postal Service, is also in dire financial straits. Its requests for immediate relief, however, should be turned into long term, and long overdue, reforms that will strengthen a great national institution for the future."

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that "a postal bank official in southern China was sentenced to death for siphoning more than 1.3 billion yuan ($265 million) to pay her gambling debts. State media reported yesterday that He Liqiong, 45, was given the death penalty by a court in Guangdong province. She was convicted of siphoning deposits from a post office bank in Foshan city to pay off debts incurred whilegambling in casinos in neighbouring Macau."

April 25, 2009

The Bellingham Herald has reported that "Several loose dogs have caused the U.S. Postal Service to stop door-to-door mail delivery in the 2500 block of Toledo Street. The 30 affected residences are now getting mail from two cluster boxes that have been installed on the block. Each cluster box has 16 mailboxes. "Folks in that area have been repeatedly warned to keep dogs under control," said Ernie Swanson, spokesman for the Seattle District of the Postal Service. "We have to protect the welfare of our carriers."

The Finanical has reported that "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressed regret over China’s decision to pass a postal law on April 24 that does not allow Chinese companies and consumers full access to international express delivery service providers."

The Mirror has reported that "The Royal Mail's 180,000 staff face a pay freeze - despite profits doubling to £177million in just six months. The company has scrapped this year's wage rise even though all its sections made a profit for the first time in nearly 20 years."

POSTAL SERVICE. Board of Governors; Meeting Date and Time: Monday, May 4, 2009, at 6 p.m.; Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at 10 a.m.; Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. Place: Washington, DC, at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., in the Benjamin Franklin Room. Status: May 4 at 6 p.m.--Closed; May 5 at 10 a.m.--Closed; May 6 at 8:30 a.m.--Open. Matters To Be Considered Monday, May 4 at 6 p.m. (Closed) 1. Financial Matters. 2. Strategic Issues. 3. Pricing. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance. Tuesday, May 5 at 10 a.m. (Closed) 1. Continuation of Monday's closed session agenda. Wednesday, May 6 at 8:30 a.m. (Open) 1. Call to Order and Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings. 2. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. 3. Recognition of Former Board Chairman. 4. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. 5. Committee Assignments and Committee Reports. 6. Quarterly Report on Service Performance. 7. Quarterly Report on Financial Performance. 8. Tentative Agenda for the June 22, 23 and 24, 2009, meeting in Washington, DC, and Adjourn. Contact Person for More Information: Julie S. Moore, Secretary of the Board, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20260-1000. Telephone (202) 268-4800.

According to The Scotsman, "The UK mail market is now declining at between 8 per cent and 10 per cent compared to a year ago, and for every 1 per cent decline in volume, income is reduced by £7 million."

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "One in 10 online consumers have purchased something directly from their cell phones, according to a new report from PriceGrabber.com. The study said that nearly two-thirds of online consumers overall own a cell phone that's capable of connecting to the Internet."

FedBizOps:  Solicitation Number: PREQUAL001-LLV The U. S. Postal Service is considering potential suppliers for its Electric Vehicle (EV) conversion of Long Life Vehicles (LLVs).

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

  • Last week, PostCom reported on a Postal Service idea that represents an innovative approach to using pricing freedoms to generate additional mail volume and revenue. In response to numerous mailer inquiries, the Postal Service has sought to flesh out a bit more about its thinking as it gets ready to propose the idea to the Board of Governors.
  • Unknown to many mailers, the Postal Service last week quietly distributed to Confirm subscribers an update to its Publication 197, Confirm User Guide, which includes specifications and requirements to Confirm data provisioning for Full Service Intelligent Mail barcode users that will result in the need to purchase additional Confirm subscriber IDs at $2,500 for each non-subscriber in order to have the data provisioned to that entity. Mailers are not pleased at what some see as a covert move by the Postal Service that will result in onerous price increases for Confirm Service. PostCom provides more details in its synopsis of the changes.
  • Steve Lawson of Hellmail offers a look at the troubled times of postal services across the pond.
  • In honor of Earth Day, the Dead Tree Edition says websites and digital editions that tout themselves as being environmentally friendly and disparage ink-on-paper editions aren’t as green at they pretend to be.
  • A PostCom Bulletin reader speaks out with concerns about the planning, timing and problems arising from the USPS proposed summer sale.
  • PRC to host postal technology briefing April 30. USPS, UPS both reporting bad numbers; H.R. 22 stuck in House. PRC issues final rules on periodic reports. USPS submits market test to PRC. Pitney Bowes launches Click&Mail. UPS announces 1st quarter results. Senior-level direct marketing course set for Madrid.
  • E.U. court rules royal mail services can be VAT exempt. European Commission okays Swedish, Danish posts merger. Austria considers churches as post offices. Austria to mandate other postal firms to pay same salaries.
  • New member for PostCom.
  • Postal previews
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

Postal Regulatory Commission. MC2009-23 Order No. 206 - Notice and Order of Classification Changes. http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62955/Order_No_206.doc; http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62955/Order_No_206.pdf

The U.S. Postal Service has posted its latest Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update via DMM Update. In this update is information on: PostalOne! and FAST Outages;PostalOne! Release 20 Testing Update; First-Class Mail Containers (Mail.dat); Parent/Child Container Weight Validation (Mail.dat);Standard Mail multiple copies in a single mail piece and Periodicals Mail firm bundles; Customer access to PostalOne! and FAST; Mailer IDs; and Updated Guides.

April 24, 2009

Publishing Executive has reported that "Amazon and Universal News will run the "Better Paper for People and Planet" online promotion highlighting magazines that use recycled paper, under a major push by Green America's Better Paper Project and Next Steps Marketing."

DMA will host a webinar focusing on changes in the Postal Service’s mail acceptance, processing network and distribution network at 2:00 p.m. eastern on Tuesday, May 5th. William Galligan, Senior Vice President for Operations at the U.S. Postal Service will be discussing the Service’s actions to date and changes that will soon be coming off of the drawing board. There will be an opportunity to ask question so that participants may better gauge the potential impact of these changes on their own operations. The webinar is free to members of sponsoring groups: DMA, Association for Postal Commerce, Parcel Shippers Association, National Postal Policy Council, Magazine Publishers of America, Continuity Shippers Association and the DMA Nonprofit Federation.

TNT today announced that they have signed an agreement with Singapore Post and Royal Mail on the exit of Singapore Post from the joint venture Spring Global Mail. The parties agreed that Singapore Post will acquire the Asia-Pacific business of Spring Global Mail and at the same time will exit the global joint venture. TNT and Royal Mail remain committed to the future growth of Spring Global Mail. Spring Global Mail will independently develop new business opportunities in the Asia Pacific region. TNT and Royal Mail will continue to own 100% of Spring Global Mail (TNT’s share in the joint venture will increase from 51% to 67.55%).

The Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail has warned postmen and other staff to expect a pay freeze this year as a result of the recession." See also the BBC.

You might want to check out the new message from the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Editor's Note: We've been told by several of our readers that the piece published earlier by National Academy of Public Administration fellow Murray Comarow in response to a piece published by American Interest seemed a bit truncated. Well, we checked, and it was. So, we're posting it again.


Plan your days at the National Postal Forum in Washington, DC! Visit our updated website at WWW.NPF.ORG where you will find not only the most up-to-date program information but be able to check all your options and locate a Session, Speaker or Topic; an Exhibitor, and a piece of equipment. All that can now be accessed at WWW.NPF.ORG under "MY PERSONAL PLANNER".

Business First has reported that "Officials with United Parcel Service Inc. have asked the Independent Pilots Association to find a way to cut costs in order to avoid the furlough of about 300 of the roughly 3,000 pilots who fly for the shipping giant. The move comes as Atlanta-based UPS grapples with domestic overnight shipping volume that declined about 10 percent between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2008."

Scoop.co.nz has reported that "New Zealand Post Group Finance completed its NZ$200 million sale of bonds that pay 7.5% annual interest."

According to Dutch News, "The controversial TNT Post pay deal, which offers workers job security in return for a pay cut, has also been rejected by members of the FNV-affiliated postal workers union. The two other postal workers' unions have already rejected the deal, which would give job security for between three and six years if workers agree to a 15% pay cut."

The Timmons Daily Press has reported that "Porcupine residents are seeking support to keep their post office boxes within walking distance. Concerned residents, with support from members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 642, were stationed at The Porcupine Mall yesterday. They were collecting signatures on a petition to keep the boxes in the mall."

CNN Money has reported that "Foreign companies will continue to be barred from delivering express letters in China's domestic market based on a new law approved Friday, despite years of lobbying by major global express-delivery companies to lift the restrictions. Foreign companies will be limited to delivering express packages domestically, and can only send express letters internationally." See also Reuters, Straits Times, and China Daily.

According to the Postalnews Blog, "In a complaint filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission, online video game rental service Gamefly accuses the US Postal Service of providing preferential treatment to Netflix and Blockbuster. The company says that its DVD’s are being damaged at an unacceptable rate despite the fact that the mailer has agreed to use sturdier mailers, and as a result pays higher postage fees per piece than the other companies. (The company also notes that a significant number of its DVDs are stolen- 19 postal employees have been arrested for stealing GameFly DVDs). The issue has taken on additional urgency for GameFly because of Blockbuster’s entry into the game rental market. The company says it has attempted to work out an agreement with the Postal Service, but that the USPS has ignored its requests to discuss the issue."

The Ledger has reported that "U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam has asked the U.S. Postal Service nicely, now he is getting tougher on the semi-governmental corporation's decision to move part of its local mail processing operation from Lakeland to Tampa."

Federal Register: Postal Service "Rules of Practice in Proceedings Relative to Mailing Hazardous Materials," 18630–18634 [E9–9376] [TEXT] [PDF]

From PR Newswire: "The U.S. Postal Service is accepting questions for the next Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinar set for Friday, May 1, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT. Mailers should submit their questions to imb@usps.gov at least four days in advance (by 5 p.m. EDT, April 27). The Postal Service began hosting Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinars in March every other Friday to answer mailers' technical questions about Intelligent Mail barcode implementation. FAQs derived from each webinar are posted on the RIBBS website (ribbs.usps.gov)."

News On 6 has reported that "Tulsans Continue To Fight Post Office Closing."

Postal Regulatory Commission: "COMPLAINT OF GAMEFLY, INC." Docket No. C2009-1 -- The complaint involves the rates and service provided by the Postal Service to customers who use First-Class Mail to send and receive DVDs.

April 23, 2009

Federal Times has reported that "The Postal Service’s board of governors is meeting early next month to discuss, among other things, the financial results from the second quarter of 2009. There’s not much optimism about the numbers, considering USPS lost $384 million in the first quarter, which is traditionally the strongest of the year. Another bad sign: UPS’ earnings report. The shipping giant said its first-quarter earnings were down by 56 percent, and it expects the second quarter to be worse than previously expected."

Purchasing.com has noted that "With the exit of DHL from the U.S. domestic small parcel market, a significant chunk of market share was up for grabs in the first quarter, at a time when carriers were hungry for business and shippers were cutting costs. But just how much of that market share went to which carriers is still a bit cloudy. Both UPS and FedEx have claimed to be satisfied with the amount of DHL business they gained in the first quarter. According to some reports, both have claimed to win more than half of DHL’s business, while some market watchers say the US Postal Service may have been the real winner by scooping up more market share than expected. But as one market analyst points out to Purchasing.com, “half plus more than half plus the USPS share is well over 100% so someone’s fibbing here." See also Interactive Investor.

The Jakarta Globe has reported that "The Central Jakarta District Court on Thursday acquitted the president director of state-run postal company PT Pos Indonesia in a decision that could deal a blow to the Attorney General’s Office, which began investigating the case, along with several other major graft scandals, in part to improve its reputation following a string of corruption scandals in the office. In separate hearings, the court acquitted two other PT Pos executives of corruption charges."

Logistics Management has reported that "Earlier this month, LM reported that that United States Postal Service (USPS) will launch a market test next month to provide service that will resemble a less-than-truckload (LTL) network. The USPS made this announcement in a filing submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission. According to the filing, the LTL-like market test cannot exceed 24 months, with total revenues not anticipated to exceed $10 million. The USPS said it will leverage its national transportation network that serves its processing facilities, which are primarily comprised of approximately 440 sectional center facilities and more than 40 bulk mailing centers. USPS does not have an asset-based transportation network, as it contracts out its over-the-road trucking business. Since the PRC initially submitted its filing, both the Public Representative for the PRC and the USPS issued comments on the LTL services endeavor."

Word has it from reliable sources that the National Rural Letter Carriers Association intends to oppose the Postal Service's proposed Standard Mail summer sale experiment. Reportedly the NRLCA is of the opinion that after having their contract mail piece counts expanded already by the Postal Service, any additional mail volume will not result in any additional rural letter carrier compensation.

Associated Press has reported that "The Homeland Security Department is dropping some newspaper and magazine subscriptions to save money. The agency has told its employees to cancel subscriptions to general interest newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post and to magazines such as Newsweek and Time by April 27. Future subscriptions will have to be authorized in advance. The department says employees will still have access to news because most publications can be found online on an in-house Web site." [EdNote: I suppose you're pretty close to hitting bottom when even the feds don't want you anymore.]

According to CNN Money, "Stamps.com®, the leading provider of online postage to approximately 400,000 small businesses, enterprises, and advanced shippers, today announced a free webinar to inform customers and prospective users of PC Postage about the 2009 USPS postage rate increase and tactics they can immediately implement to help lower their mailing and shipping costs. The webinar will teach small business owners everything they need to know about the new USPS postal rates and options to lower costs such as discounts available on Priority Mail, Express Mail and International Postage. To register for the Postage Rate Increase -- Smart Ways to Lower Mailing Costs webinar, go to http://www.stamps.com/webinars and select the date that is most convenient for you. Date options include: -- Friday, May 8, 11 a.m. PDT -- Monday, May 11, 11 a.m. PDT."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV stuck to its annual cost savings targets and raised the prospect of thousands of forced redundancies after postal union members rejected a draft labour accord that included wage cuts. The firm said on Thursday it would maintain its target of 395 million euros ($514 million) in annual cost savings until the end of 2015, to compensate for declines in mail volume. TNT warned the restructuring could entail the loss of 11,000 staff over a period of one to three years if there was no agreement with unions. But it was open to talks on other options for achieving the savings target."

From PR Newswire: "TNT Post, the national postal operator for The Netherlands, has selected BancTec as its new partner for Scanpost, a recent initiative to meet the increasing demand for digital receipt of incoming mail. Customers of Scanpost will receive same day delivery of their incoming mail, which is rapidly scanned, digitally sorted and processed, and then delivered directly to the required department or business process. As a result, incoming mail processing requires far less time, space and expense, while response to customer correspondence will be much faster."

There will be a presentation by Dr. Leon Pintsov, Vice President, International Standards and Advanced Technology, Pitney Bowes Corporation, on "Postal Product Innovation and New Opportunities for Postal Commerce" on Thursday, April 30, 2009, beginning at 1 p.m., in the Postal Regulatory Commission's hearing room. The briefing is open to the public; however, seating is limited, and those wishing to reserve a seat should telephone Leona Anasiewiez at 202-789-6877. The program will be Webcast at http://www.prc.gov.

Brand Republic has reported that "TNT Post and the Direct Marketing Association have signed a letter of understanding pledging commitment to working together to promote environmental best practice within the direct mail sector. The letter contains a call for the responsible use of direct mail and proposes the implementation of at least two joint initiatives over the next 12 months."

Dow Jones has reported that "TNT NV said Thursday it has taken note of the trade union members' rejection of the in-principle agreement on a new three-year collective agreement for TNT Post operations staff in the Netherlands. In the in-principle agreement, to compensate for the decrease in pay, the parties had agreed transitional measures and a job guarantee spanning six years, the first three unconditional. The rejection of the agreement means that the proposed measures from the in-principle agreement no longer apply. New consultations on the social plan will now be required. As the result of the use of e-mail, and now with the opening of the postal market from 1 April, the volumes of mail handled by TNT Post are dropping faster than ever before - by 5 to 6 percent per year. The result is an ongoing decline in work for TNT Post operations staff. What's more, the company's competitors offer their staff a much more sober employment package. This means that over the coming period TNT will have to continue making preparations for the restructuring plans required to achieve the necessary savings. These plans will involve making a number of changes, including reducing the number of days on which business mail is delivered, a move that is in line with the wishes of the customer. In compliance with its obligations under the Postal Act, TNT Post will continue to deliver consumer mail six days a week."

The Nashville City Paper has reported that "Lately, the news has been littered with story after story about Ponzi schemes. Since the economy hit the skids, the supposed financial wizardry of people like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford has been washed away and their greed laid bare. Interestingly, one federal agency charged with investigating and building cases against Park and Grigg has offices a stone’s throw away from where much of the fraud took place. Interesting, that is, unless you’re under investigation. Nestled in a nondescript office building in Brentwood are the offices of the U.S. Postal Inspectors. Now, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation may get the bigger headlines, this “Silent Service,” as the postal inspectors are known, is right in the thick of rooting out Nashville’s most notorious criminal enterprises."

WhatTheyThink has noted that "Mail and messaging technology specialist Pitney Bowes has launched Click&Mail, an online service that enables businesses to send post directly from their desktop. Once communications have been written, users simply click ‘print’ for their document to be remotely printed folded, inserted and despatched. No need to order and store pre-printed stationery, forget the hours spent preparing mail at the last minute before rushing to the postbox, no more over-stamping costs - Click&Mail now provides an easy way to send professional looking mail from the comfort of a PC, anywhere in the UK."

According to the Bay Area Reporter, "In a move to ensure that residents of single-room residential occupancy hotels get their mail, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is preparing for a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service. The hotels are home to many low-income San Franciscans, including LGBTs. In January, the postal service in San Francisco stopped delivering mail individually to many SRO residents, potentially leaving people's mail open to being misdirected or stolen."

Digital Video & Imagery Distribution System has noted that "Combat Logistics Battalion 3 delivered some of the amenities of daily life that most take for granted during a specialized combat logistics patrol to Forward Operating Base Now Zad, Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 1, 2009. Equally as important for the Marines at the FOB was CLB-3's first mobile post office, giving Marines the opportunity not only to send letters home but also extra personal items they've accumulated, which many packed in storage trunks that were purchased at the mobile post exchange. "It was a big hit," said Staff Sgt. Jason N. Dixon, the postal chief based out of Okinawa, Japan, who is currently assigned to CLB-3. "It was really successful, and we were really busy." Dixon said the Marines were extremely happy to send home letters and lighten their load of non-essential personal belongings before redeploying home. As well as collecting outbound mail, Dixon also brought the 10 large containers-worth of inbound mail with him. "It feels great," said Cpl. Ryan P. Little, an automatic rifleman assigned to second platoon, Co. L. "We knew it was coming, and everybody was excited." [EdNote: Who said "mail is dead "or "mail doesn't count?" Try and tell that to the Marines.]

Finextra has reported that "The new PostFinance service allows customers to transfer money from one postal account to another for up to a maximum of Sfr100 per recipient account per day by text message. The transaction is free of charge for both the sender and the recipient, except for the standard text message charge, and the amount is credited to the recipient's account within minutes."

UPS today reported adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.52 for the first quarter of 2009 compared to the $0.87 reported for the prior-year period. Revenue was off 13.7% at $10.9 billion. The continuing deterioration in global economic activity resulted in decreased revenue and profitability in all business segments.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "China could pass new legislation for postal services as early as Friday that foreign companies worry will restrict them from competing in the nation's growing market for express delivery of documents. The major global express-delivery companies -- DHL Worldwide Express Inc., FedEx Corp., TNT NV and United Parcel Service Inc. – have been lobbying the Chinese government for years as it worked on a new law governing mail delivery. Concern about the legislation has heightened in recent months, with businesses worldwide fearing the global downturn could lead to a revival of protectionism in many countries."

Reuters has reported that "Europe's highest court ruled on Thursday that the universal postal service provided by UK's Royal Mail should be exempted from VAT, following a complaint from Dutch international mail group TNT. TNT filed a court complaint to dispute the validity of the value-added tax exemption from services provided by Royal Mail, saying it provided comparable services but was subject to VAT. The European Court of Justice (ECJ), however, took the view that the services provided by the two companies were not comparable. "Royal Mail supplies postal services under a legal regime which is substantially different from that of an operator such as TNT Post," the court said in a statement. Royal Mail was designated in 2001 as the only universal postal service provider in the United Kingdom. The UK postal market was later fully liberalised in 2006, without affecting the status and obligations of Royal Mail, the court said. TNT entered into an agreement with Royal Mail for the latter to provide downstream services to TNT. It collects post from clients, sorts and delivers it to Royal Mail, which then ensures delivery to addressees." See also the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian.

DM News has reported that "The United States Postal Service launched a campaign today to increase awareness and create results for energy conservation at a “Turning Over a Green Leaf” event in celebration of Earth Day. The agency, which says it wants to reduce energy use 30% by 2015, exhibited “green” initiatives at the event, including the USPS' green Web site, a carbon and lifestyle calculator, an office supplies swap Web site, energy-saving tips, and Cradle to Cradle-certified “green” packaging and shipping supplies."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union is to hold a May Day March and Rally as part of it's ongoing campaign to stop the partial provatisation of the Royal Mail."

Federal Register:

  • Postal Regulatory Commission. "Meetings: Briefing on Postal Technology," 18596 [E9–9287] [TEXT] [PDF]
  • Postal Service. "International Product and Price Changes; Correction," 18467–18471 [E9–8512] [TEXT] [PDF]

CIO has reported that "The USPS announced last year its success in cutting annual transportation costs by more than $5 million. The decrease in transportation has resulted in reducing fuel consumption by 615,000 gallons per year. What made this possible is a transportation-optimization system called HCAP (Highway Corridor Analytic Program), developed by the USPS and IBM using Ilog Cplex optimization software. HCAP determines the most efficient plan for using existing mail-transportation assets in various types of scenarios, such as bulk-mail delivery and planning for holiday peak volumes, weekend transportation, and along highway corridors. It accounts for parameters such as starting and ending points, delivery times, truck-capacity restrictions, and mail classes. The system analyzes existing scenarios then generates alternative loads and routes that would save USPS money but still meet all of its service goals (such as getting that first-class letter from Boston to Washington, D.C., within two days), says E.J. Matto, an associate partner at IBM.

The BBC has reported that "the global economy is set to decline by 1.3% in 2009, in the first global recession since World War II, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says.

Last week, PostCom reported on a Postal Service idea that represents a rather innovative approach to using pricing freedoms to generate more mail volume and revenue. In response to numerous mailer inquiries, the Postal Service has sought to flesh out a bit more about its thinking, as it gets ready to offer the proposition for Board of Governors review. If the Governors give the proposal a green light, the next step would be to file the proposed summer sale experiment with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Under the new postal law, the PRC will have 45-days to review the proposal and offer its decision.

From PR Newswire: "This Earth Day, Pitney Bowes Inc., a leader in mailstream technology, offers tips for consumers wanting to adopt more sustainable practices when it comes to their daily mail delivery. Numerous studies have shown the true environmental impact of mail and that individual choices can make a big difference in increasing the efficiency of this vitally important communications channel. In a white paper published last year, Pitney Bowes compared the carbon emissions for the creation and delivery of mail to many household activities. Among other findings, the study revealed that the carbon impact of mail was relatively small when compared to many daily chores. These findings are similar to a US Postal Service life-cycle analysis of mail, which concludes that the annual carbon footprint of a typical household’s mail is equal to the use of a kitchen coffee maker for a year." [Sooooo.....will that be regular or decaf?]

According to Bloomberg, "United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package-delivery company, may say first-quarter revenue fell for just the second time in 10 years as businesses curbed shipping to thin out inventories."

DM News has reported that "Direct marketing solutions provider Direct Group will be consolidating its direct mail, digital printing and fulfillment operations into one location over the remainder of this year and anticipates eliminating approximately 50 positions as a result. “We want to optimize our associates, equipment and facilities infrastructures,” said Don McKenzie, president and CEO at Direct Group, of the move."

April 22, 2009

As one writer for Advertising Age put it: "The death knell for newspapers has been sounded too quickly. Newspapers are suffering from a confluence of factors, but many of their woes are self-imposed and have solutions, albeit painful ones. Newspapers have an enduring place in today's fragmented media world. The industry's survival depends on curing its structural ills and reshaping a new strategy for post-recession recovery. Like millions of American homeowners, many newspaper companies are buried in debt. It was piled on with the anticipation of never-ending profit growth and readily accepted by bankers and optimistic buyers. Tribune Co., the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and a number of other major companies will fall soon. They were not capitalized to survive a severe recession; Chapter 11 will provide them with a capital structure to see them through to a better economy. The double whammy of excess debt and a severe recession exposes the broader structural issue of excess industry capacity: There are still too many newspapers in America. The newspaper industry will inevitably consolidate further."

The Detroit News has reported that "Chrysler LLC is celebrating Earth Day today with the unveiling of four all-electric minivans at an event in Washington. The electric minivan is the automaker's first product from its ENVI electric vehicle division that is intended for production as a fleet vehicle. It is a joint product with the United States Postal Service, although the two have not yet signed an agreement to produce electric versions of a cargo van, both right- and left-hand-drive, for the USPS."

From PR Newswire: "Northrop Grumman Corporation reported that first quarter 2009 earnings from continuing operations increased 48 percent to $389 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, compared with $263 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2008.Electronic Systems first quarter 2009 sales increased 16 percent from the prior year period and included higher deliveries for LAIRCM, and higher volume for aerospace systems and postal automation programs, the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program, and intercompany programs.

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 May 4-6. The public is welcome to observe the Board’s open session, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on May 6 in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. The Board is expected to discuss the following items: Wednesday, May 6 at 8:30 a.m. Call to order and approval of minutes of previous meetings. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. Recognition of the former Board Chairman. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. Committee assignments and committee reports. Quarterly report on service performance. Quarterly report on financial performance. Tentative agenda for the June 22, 23 and 24, 2009, meeting in Washington, D.C., and adjourn.

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Newspaper executives on Tuesday requested a bailout of sorts to help protect their papers from the far-reaching power of the Web. The papers want to be exempt from antitrust laws in order to explore new business models, a suggestion not favored by the Justice Department and labor unions. The Department of Justice does "not believe that any additional exemptions … are necessary," said Carl Shapiro, deputy assistant attorney general for electronics in the antitrust division at DOJ. "Antitrust laws can work well in this industry, reflecting as well as the Newspaper Preservation Act. Bernie Lunzer, president of The Newspaper Guild, was also concerned about changing antitrust laws to accommodate major newspapers. "An antitrust exemption for such large corporations would create real barriers to entry for others, who may choose to compete in this same market," Lunzer said. "[This] would create incredible power for a select few." See also the San Francisco Chronicle. [EdNote: Reminds me of the time the AMA wanted physicians exempted from antitrust provisions. The AMA actually thought it would get its way....until they ran into a Virginia Stonewall named Jim Miller....you know, a member of the postal board who formerly served as its chairman. Miller, at the time, was serving in the Reagan Administration as the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. That ended that.]

Press Release: "Quad/Graphics President & CEO Joel Quadracci is proud to announce on Earth Day that the company has donated a conservation easement on its 325-acre Camp/Quad parcel of land in Erin, Wis., to Tall Pines Conservancy, a non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving natural areas in and adjoining Northwestern Waukesha County. “When we purchased the land in 1997 we always intended for it to remain in its pristine condition,” said Mr. Quadracci. “Designating Camp/Quad as a conservancy is an ironclad way to ensure the land can never be developed commercially, residentially or otherwise and that it will continue to serve as an environmental showpiece and education center for generations to come.”

According to the Washington Post, "A team of very nonscientific researchers has finally discovered one thing that can distract the nation from Britney Spears: coupons. According to Google, searches for coupons have outstripped those for the pop train wreck since 2008. In addition, Coupons.com reported that Washington area residents printed $2.85 million worth of coupons last month. The top items were ready-to-eat cereal, baby products and baking ingredients." [EdNote: Seems like an area that's ripe for new postal development.]

NCNewsonline has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is looking into the feasibility of consolidating some operations in New Castle with Pittsburgh. If the consolidation should occur, up to 75 percent — 150 — of about 200 employees at the Cascade Street facility could lose their jobs, according to David Wigley, president of Local 227, American Postal Workers Union."

Austrian Times has reported that "Austrian Post AG is considering an unusual option as part of its current cost-cutting measures: making churches post offices. After the announcement that the post will close 33 branches in Styria, the company is looking for so-called "post partners" to replace them in order to arrange continuation of its services all over the country. "Post partners" are shops that do some of the postal service’s work."

The Morpeth Herald has reported that "Northumbrland can save on their mail bills from today with the launch of the region's first independent postal service. Northern Mail, based at Cramlington, has launched a service delivering and collecting post from Berwick-upon-Tweed to York. It comes off the back of a Governmental review of postal services last December, which recommended that independent mail outlets should be launched to work alongside Royal Mail." See also the Journal Newspaper.

NewsRoom Finland has reported that "The Finnish Post and Logistics Workers´ Union (Pau) is to stage a six-hour stoppage on Wednesday, leading to delays in postal services for the rest of the week. The union maintains that there is ambivalence about whether permanent unemployment pension could be treated as a legitimate outcome in cooperation procedure talks in government-owned companies like Itella, formerly known as Finland Post." See also YLE.

The Baltic Course has reported that "As of today, April 22, the chairman of the board of Latvijas Pasts (Latvia Post) postal company Ivars Krauklis resigns, as the Transport Ministry informed BC. Krauklis explained his decision to resign with the fact that, from May 1, there will be changes to regulations, which foresee substantial salary reductions – in his case, by 60%."

NVDaily has reported that "Rep. Frank R. Wolf has once again joined the fight to keep local mail-sorting operations from being moved to Dulles." [EdNote: Makes you wonder if Congress is prepared to take back responsibility for the Postal Service as they foreclose all options for improving cost-efficiency.]

The Drum has reported that "A new campaign has been created by advertising agency Mightysmall for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) as it looks to prevent the Post Office from being privatised. The marketing campaign will see full page ads running in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Daily Record, The Daily Mirror and The Scotsman newspapers."

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

"The stabilisation of the rate of decline indicates that we have reached rockbottom." While Deutsche Post’s official message to this Tuesday’s AGM was relatively cautious, CEO Frank Appel sounded a much more upbeat note: "We’ve touched bottom." After this year’s first two months had seen a marked slump in business, the downward trend had now been halted.
After apparently intense negotiations Austria’s Minister for Infrastructure Doris Bures presented the draft for a new Postal Act on Monday. The new legislation is due to come into force this summer, stipulating rules and regulations for a postal market that is to be liberalised from 2011.
Dutch TNT also suffered a clear drop in consignment volumes during the first quarter of the current financial year.
La Poste’s change of corporate form to plc planned for this autumn is evidently being postponed.
Shrinking mail volumes and declining income figures seem to be forcing Posten Norge to axe more jobs.
Michel Kunz, new CEO of Switzerland’s Schweizerische Post, is expecting a slump in profit of almost 30% this year.
In connection with a profitability review of the smallest post offices in Switzerland, the postal management appears to have given in to the public pressure created by the trade unions.
SkyPostal Networks Inc., which claims to be the biggest private provider of postal services in South America, suffered considerable losses despite higher turnover last year.
Chronopost, the international express service of France’s La Poste, ended the financial year 2008 with excellent results.
The turn-around plans of French express and logistics operator Mory Group appear to be making good progress.
Taobao, Asia’s biggest online auction site with almost 40 million registered users, has become one of the most important suppliers of orders for Chinese express services.
British CEP operator City Link remains in the red.
TNT has officially opened a new regional hub at the Singapore airport.
Following the announcement that 390 jobs at Finland’s post Itella would be axed, the postal union has signalised protests.
Top managers of the Latvian post have announced their intention to resign, should the government carry out its threat to cut postal workers’ salaries.
Dutch transport associations Transport & Logistik Nederland (TLN) and Koninklijk Nederlands Vervoer (KNV) have decided to cooperate closely in future.
The Universal Postal Union wants to lend its support to the development of direct mail programmes for post companies in Third World countries. According to UPU, direct mail is currently on offer in only two thirds of its member countries. Global volumes attain around 170 billion items per year and represent more than a third of all domestic mail, says UPU.
Just like its arch rival TNT, DHL seems to pick up business growth in the streets in South East Asia.
TNT Express Russia has announced a 26% increase in turnover for 2008.
German telecommunications company Telekom is claiming damages from its former supervisory board president Klaus Zumwinkel.

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.)

Hellmail has reported that:

2009 is becoming a nightmare year for many European postal operators and most, already contending with annual mail volume shrinkage are now trying to weather a global recession. Liberalisation is still running at full speed ahead despite what has ultimately been consistent decline for many operators. The problem is, trying to liberalise a market in the midst of a global recession is like trying to change a lightbulb, blindfold, with boxing gloves on. The timetable is there, but there is far less scope for operators to consider risky ventures now, particularly when the decline in stamped mail still hasn't bottomed out yet." [EdNote: There are certain things you should never try to do in the midst of a recession. Postal liberalization is one of them.]
DX Group (DX) today announced they have agreed a deal to access the Post Office network to provide a local collection facility for undeliverable mail.  

Postal Technology International has reported that:

An organisational restructure of the Jersey Post Group came into effect earlier this month to streamline Jersey’s national postal operator into two autonomous trading businesses. The restructuring of Jersey Post, as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of becoming independent from the UK’s General Post Office, marks yet another chapter in the development of the group.
Finnish postal operator, Itella Group will begin statutory labour negotiations this week in Finland. The negotiations will affect both administrative and production functions and will concern around 2,200 people. According to an initial estimate, approximately 390 permanent employees’ current jobs will be made redundant.

According to Flightglobal, "Stalled talks and the likely dissolution of an agreement with DHL is forcing UPS to look at shedding its 44 DC-8s before the original 2013 exit date."

USPS Lite Blue has reported that "The Postal Service’s efforts to reduce its inventory of leased and postal-owned vehicles this year is the subject of DPMG and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe’s latest edition of Field Updates. According to Donahoe, the year-end goal is to remove 10,000 vehicles from the existing fleet of 220,000 vehicles. This will involve transferring some 3,000 right-hand drive vehicles to rural routes, redistributing under-utilized vehicles to where they are needed, and selling surplus vehicles. Area and district offices also will re-evaluate their needs for administrative vehicles and share resources."

The American Postal Workers Union has informed its members that "a new PowerPoint slide show about H.R. 22, a bill of critical importance to anyone concerned about the Postal Service, is now available to local, state, and national officers for use at union meetings. The slide show explains the significance of H.R. 22 in staving off a financial collapse of the USPS. “We hope union activists will use the slide show to inform rank-and-file members about the legislation,” said APWU President William Burrus. “This bill is essential to the viability of the Postal Service — and to our jobs.”

Federal Register: "The current mail cover regulations provide definitions for sealed and unsealed mail. Certain words used (e.g. second-class, third-class, and fourth-class mail) no longer reflect current classifications. The definitions of sealed and unsealed mail are revised to mirror mail classification definitions found in the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual, and in the International Mail Manual.

  • "Sealed mail is mail which under postal laws and regulations is included within a class of mail maintained by the Postal Service for the transmission of letters sealed against inspection. Sealed mail includes: First- Class Mail; Priority Mail; Express Mail; Express Mail International; Global Express Guaranteed items containing only documents; Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes; International Priority Airmail, except M-bags; International Surface Air Lift, except M-bags; First-Class Mail International; Global Bulk Economy, except M-bags; certain Global Direct mail as specified by customer contract; and International Transit Mail.
  • "Unsealed mail is mail which under postal laws or regulations is not included within a class of mail maintained by the Postal Service for thetransmission of letters sealed against inspection. Unsealed mail includes: Periodicals; Standard Mail; Package Services; incidental First-Class Mail attachments and enclosures; Global Express Guaranteed items containing nondocuments; Priority Mail International, except flat-rate envelopes and small flatrate boxes; International Direct Sacks—M-bags; certain Global Direct mail as specified by customer contract; and all items sent via “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” under 39 U.S.C. 3403-06 and International Mail Manual 270."

A revised agenda for the next meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has been posted on this site.

PR Newswire: "TALX, provider of Equifax Workforce Solutions and a leader in human resource and payroll-related services, today announced the highlights of its involvement at the Annual HRO World Conference & Exposition. The conference, which this year will have a special focus on "Developing Effective HR Leadership for Tough Times," takes place at the Hilton New York in New York City, May 5-6. Co-presenting will be Tony Vegliante, CHRO and EVP, United States Postal Service. USPS has a unique story to tell regarding successful shared services and selective outsourcing."

Postal Regulatory Commission:

April 21, 2009

The New York Times Company has reported a first-quarter loss of $74.5 million on Tuesday, compared with a loss of $335,000 in the period a year ago, as it joined the roster of newspaper companies recording the steepest advertising declines in generations.

According to Yahoo! News, "More than a half-a-dozen newspapers in the United States and Europe have gone "Web only" in the past year in a bid to stave off bankruptcy. But the first cold-eyed analysis of this approach is not encouraging. The central reasons the experiment has failed -- at least so far -- are probably the same ones bedeviling newspapers the world over, according to the researchers in London. "Readers are reluctant to pay for content online, and... the value of advertising space on the web is significantly less than in print," their study said. Philip Meyer, author of "The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age," has forecast with unnerving precision that paper-and-ink news will "run out of daily readers late in the first quarter of 2043." For Web journalism guru Vin Crosbie, their demise will happen before 2021. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger thinks that news print could peter out by 2012. "

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has won a United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision today that said FedEx Ground independent contractors are independent business owners – not employees -- and are outside the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This decision validates the company’s long-standing position that FedEx Ground contractors are small business owners. The US Court of Appeals decision was made on a FedEx Ground-filed petition for review following a September 28, 2007 NLRB decision granting the International Brotherhood of Teamsters the ability to conduct a membership election among single work area contractors in FedEx Ground’s Home Delivery terminals in Boston and Wilmington, MA. In the September 2007 decision, the NLRB claimed that the Home Delivery single work area contractors were employees. The US Court of Appeals agreed with FedEx Ground’s contention that the NLRB Regional Office wrongly excluded material evidence and misapplied settled law on the most important factor that defines the statutory “independent contractor” exemption from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Reuters has reported that "The European Commission on Tuesday conditionally approved the planned merger of Swedish state-controlled postal services firm Posten with Danish counterpart Post Danmark."

Charles Prescott will save you US$ 792 on this senior level course, which offers you an intensive four day learning experience with some of the world´s leading practitioners of the new direct & interactive marketing You will learn how to succeed in today´s interactive, one-to-one, multi-channel and digital markets.

As 7thSpace has noted, "Building on its history of environmental innovation, the Postal Service is working to create a culture of conservation among its 646,000 employees in its 34,000 facilities and among its suppliers and partners in the mailing industry. The Postal Service is recognized as an environmental innovator and leader, and has been honored with more than 70 major environmental awards, including the 2009 Climate Action Champion award and 39 White House Closing the Circle awards for environmental stewardship."

Federal Express Canada Ltd. (“FedEx Express Canada”), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., will celebrate Earth Day by working with PITCH-IN CANADA and Tree Canada to support programs that will give back to communities across the country and reduce the effects of global warming. These programs complement FedEx Corp.’s global initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve fuel efficiencies of its vehicles and aircraft.

CNET News has reported that "A new Web-based rental service called BookSwim describes itself as Netflix for books. The pricing doesn't seem to be quite as good a deal as Netflix; the fees are slightly higher and the average price of books is somewhat lower than for movies. But it's in the ballpark. For example, BookSwim offers a subscription with three books out at a time for $19.98 per month. BookSwim covers shipping both ways via U.S. Postal Service media mail, though books over two pounds do carry an extra fee based on the actual difference in postage. This is not too far away from the three-DVD subscription from Netflix for $16.99 per month, also with free shipping. BookSwim is aimed at high-volume readers; its plans go up to 11 books at a time for $39.94 per month."

Press Release: "Following the phenomenal success of Global Distribution Strategies – Europe in 2008, plans are well underway for 2nd Global Distribution Strategies – Europe, which is to be held at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Brussels, 6 - 7 October 2009. Sponsored by Agility and EVE Partners, the conference will explore the latest trends and developments occurring in the transport and logistics industry as the market evolves in a rapidly changing economic environment. For more information on sponsorship, exhibition and delegate opportunities please contact Sarah Smith, ssmith@transportintelligence.com, 44 (0) 1666 511872 or visit http://www.ticonferences.com/gds_europe/strategic-overview/.

According to The Guardian, "There is something deeply unsatisfying in sitting down to write a commentary about why newspapers can't charge for online content. It's not that what I have to say is unoriginal, though it is. The internet, after all, is awash in arguments as to why the disintegrating newspaper business must stop giving away its content and, conversely, why it can't. More than that, though, I fear that in pointing out the obvious, I'm only convincing myself there's no future for the metropolitan newspaper as we've come to know it, either in print or online. Probably the best we can hope for is to help newspapers shrink slowly into a new role as specialty news sources. It is probably too late to save newspapers. Our efforts would be better spent figuring out how to save journalism." [EdNote: Makes you wonder how far away we are from saying similarly: "It's probably too late to save the Postal Service. Our efforts would be better spent figuring out how to save universal mail service.]

Bloomberg has reported that "Former Deutsche Post AG Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel gave back his Federal Cross of Merit three months after the head of Europe’s biggest postal service was convicted in a tax-evasion scandal, Bild Zeitung said. Zumwinkel returned the Federal Cross of Merit, which was awarded to him in 2001, to Germany’s Office of the Federal President, the newspaper said in a preview of an article to be published today, without saying where it got the information."

AMEInfo has reported that "The launch of Arab Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) marked the opening day's session of the three-day Arab Direct Mail and Marketing Forum '09, which was opened by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal. The forum has the support of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Amr Al-Dabbagh and Saudi Post as well in launching ADMA as a way to develop and grow direct marketing across the global Pan-Arab community."

The Financial Times has reported that "Lord Mandelson was urged to delay his plans for a part-privatisation of the Royal Mail after a Labour group claimed that it would be an error to sell the stake at the bottom of the market. Compass, which is backed by scores of Labour MPs, said the sale of 49 per cent of the state-owned postal operator would raise £1bn - barely half the £1.9bn it could have fetched a year ago."

From Business Wire: "SkyPostal Networks, Inc., the largest private postal network in Latin America, today announced that it has entered into a co-marketing agreement for its PuntoMio online U.S. shopping facilitator service (www.puntomio.com) with TAM Fidelidade, the Frequent Flyer Program of TAM Airlines, the largest airline in Brazil. TAM currently services almost 50% of the air travel market in Brazil. Through SkyPostal’s PuntoMio service, subscribers are provided a physical U.S. address in Miami, which serves as their shipping address when making Internet purchases from U.S. stores. Merchandise is delivered to the assigned U.S. address at which point PuntoMio becomes responsible for international transport and associated logistics, including customs clearance and final delivery to the customer. PuntoMio also assists the shopper by providing product price and merchant rating comparisons though web integration with PriceGrabber. Customers are steered to secure sites that accept international credit cards through their Verified by PuntoMio program and provided with a cost estimator which enables the buyer to determine the total purchase cost including transportation, customs duties, taxes and delivery. PuntoMio also provides complete online tracking as the parcel moves from PuntoMio to its final delivery destination, and free international merchandise return shipping to Miami, plus returns handling back to merchant."

Dow Jones has reported that "Postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post AG Tuesday said first-quarter net profit soared on a higher valuation of put options on Deutsche Postbank AG shares and signaled volume declines had stabilized. The former state monopoly said volume continued to shrink for all products and across all divisions in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2008, but the rate of contraction had stabilized, "suggesting that overall flows are bottoming out."

MediaPost has reported that "Publishers Clearing House has formally launched an online ad network made up of six Web properties anchored by its flagship PHC.com site. The PCH Online Network -- which includes PCHGames.com, PCHQuiz4Cash.com, PCHLotto.com, PCHTV.com and PCHtrvia.com -- reaches more than 5 million monthly unique visitors and draws 90 million page views, according to the magazine and sweepstakes brand. Publishers Clearing House has also unveiled a new business-to-business site at pchonlinenetwork.com that provides details about ad opportunities on the network."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union has accused the UK government of getting it's sums wrong over the partial privatisation of Royal Mail and that 30% of the state-owned postal service would cost the treasury £900m. The comment by CWU general secretary Billy Hayes, follows research by Compass which warns that the sale of Royal Mail could raise only a £1m, almost half of what it might have done a year ago. This is partly due to the recession, partly due to stifled lending, and more significantly, a shrinkage of stamped mail volume."

As Deadtree Edition put it: "While countless words are published about the environment in honor of Earth Day this week, it's time for the publishing industry to confront its involvement in an egregious, and rather bizarre, form of greenwashing. I'm talking about touting Web content and digital editions as being environmentally friendly and disparaging ink-on-paper editions, which are still the major source of revenue for most traditional publishers. For example, one magazine's Web site recently admonished readers to reduce their carbon footprint by signing up for a digital edition -- right next to an article about the huge amounts of electricity that Web servers gobble up. But the worst offenders are the vendors of digital-publication software, such as Nxtbook, Texterity, and Zinio."

China Daily has reported that "A proposed legal amendment that would ban foreign couriers from delivering letters in China conforms to the country's commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), legislators said yesterday. An article in the amendment to the Postal Law, which is under second review at the top legislature, bans foreign companies from providing letter delivery services in China. The rule has raised public concerns and complaints from some international express delivery giants that it might breach China's WTO commitments and threaten the businesses and investments of foreign companies."

The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) has told its members that "At December 31, 2008, the Canada Post pension plan (the Plan) held total net assets of $11,709 million, a decrease of $2,957 million from prior year. The Plan earned a rate of return of negative 19.3 per cent over the year against a benchmark return of negative 17.6 per cent. This was the first time since the Plan’s inception eight years ago that the rate of return underperformed its benchmark. The Plan began 2008 with a solvency surplus, partially mitigating the impact of the financial market decline, and ended 2008 with an estimated solvency deficit of $1,190 million." Learn more:
http://canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/pr/2009/2009_apr_pension.jsf

The Telegraph has reported that "Postal department officials are undergoing a four-day training, “Management training programme on rural business opportunity and emerging challenges”, to tap the market potential in rural areas and to overcome the challenges there."

The Chief-Leader has reported that "The New York Metro Area Postal Union staged a day of protest April 15 urging the U.S. Postal Service to rescind the closing of three Manhattan post offices and the termination of overnight service at the James A. Farley Main Post Office in midtown."

Brandweek has reported that "CMOs see digital as the medium of choice in this economy, but aren’t getting what they want out of it, according to a new survey from Heidrick & Struggles. Time after time in the survey, marketers expressed an awareness of digital’s potential along with a recognition that they weren’t close to tapping it."

The Independent has reported that "Gordon Brown faces growing pressure from mutinous Labour backbenchers to ditch or delay moves to partly privatise Royal Mail. Party whips have warned the Prime Minister, who is already dealing with the "smeargate" scandal, that the plans have stretched the loyalty of his MPs to breaking point."

Docket No. MT2009-1. The Postal Regulatory Commission's Public Representative has recommended "the approval of this collaborative logistics market test because it satisfies the statutory requirements4, but also because the product offering being evaluated will serve several key public interests. Those interests include: providing additional revenue to the Postal Service to aid in maintaining its Universal Service Obligations; providing increased economic efficiency benefits; providing environmental benefits; and providing additional shipping options to customers. However, the Public Representative herein urges the Commission to pay particular attention to several areas warranting caution: possibility of disproportionate harm from market tests in a limited geographic area; provision of adequate information to the public and the Commission; potential for legal challenges; challenges in costing and cost attribution; and administrative complexities that may pose deployment risks."

The Boston Globe has reported that "Senator John F. Kerry will hold hearings in Washington next week on the financial problems facing the newspaper industry, as dwindling advertising dollars push many US papers to the brink of closure. The hearings by the Senate Commerce Committee, beginning April 30, are the latest effort in the nation's capital to help out newspapers. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, introduced a bill last month that would enable newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits. "America's newspapers are struggling to survive and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," Kerry wrote in a letter sent to union leaders Friday. The union released the letter yesterday." [EdNote: Hey Congress! What about the Postal Service?....Yeah, I know....Postal Service? What's the Postal Service?]

April 20, 2009

Forbes has reported that "Newspaper and magazine subscriptions and most charter fishing trips would lose their sales tax exemptions if lawmakers pass a bill proposed by a Florida House panel Monday. On a voice vote, the panel rejected a motion by Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, to retain the subscription exemption. Thurston said the tax might cost jobs by putting publications out of business or encouraging them to leave Florida. Republicans said it was a matter of fairness because store sales of newspapers and magazines are taxed."

Advertising Age has reported that "Magazine giant Time Inc. is trying to build its online ad business with an ad network of its own that will, among other things, allow advertisers to make targeted buys across the well-lit, advertiser-friendly web sites operated by the company."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Ursa Major Associates 67 N. Main Street Essex, CT 06426-1032
Contact: John G. Callan President

Doing Business with the Postal Service: A one-day seminar. Check it out.

The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. The Postal Service’s Green Initiatives. The Postal Service’s environmental efforts fall into many areas including: packaging, fuel use, facility energy use, recycling, purchasing, and building standards. The OIG asks stakeholders: What do you think of converting the Postal Service’s fleet to electric vehicles? Would it be feasible to implement? Do you have other suggestions for green initiatives the Postal Service could pursue? You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail and Google are sponsoring a website called Marketing Donut, which gives small businesses free marketing advice from a pool of over 100 marketing, PR and sales experts. The site, www.marketingdonut.co.uk, will carry no advertising and goes live today. It enables small business owners to access hundreds of pages practical information, dozens of videos and a range of online tools and resources, such as a media budget calculator."

The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "A former ad agency executive is believed to have been the mastermind of a series of suspected scams that cheated the postal system out of billions of yen, investigative sources said. Investigators base this theory partly on a comparison of the volume of mail using a postal discount for disability support groups over the past 10 years or so and the business operations involving Toru Abe, former director of Shinsei-Kigyo Co., the sources said. When his business operations were thriving, the amount of direct mail sent with the discount rate soared. When business operations slumped, so did the volume of such mail, the sources said. Abe and others are suspected of disguising millions of items of direct mail to unfairly gain the disability discount rate from what is now Japan Post Service Co."

RTT News has reported that "United Parcel Service, Inc. said it entered into a new $3 billion revolving credit facility with a syndicate of commercial banks. The new credit facility, which has a term of 364 days, replaces the $4.5 billion facility, the company said in a filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission."

Perth Now has reported that "Romanian crime gangs are forcing innocent Australian residents to receive illegal drugs through the mail. Many of those pressured into taking delivery of heroin, cocaine and amphetamine parcels from overseas are fellow Romanians. Gang members rely on their legendary reputation for extreme violence as insurance against victims dobbing them in."

According to the Slippery Brick, "Netflix Blu-ray movies are arriving cracked and unplayable. That’s what seems to be happening with a small group of subscribers who are claiming their discs are arriving with small cracks on the outside edges. They say it’s happening repeatedly. No one is sure what is causing it since the Discs have an extra coating to prevent scratches on Blu-ray. It could be the automated mail processing machines, manufacturing defects or maybe postal carriers are playing Frisbee. The Mars Box blog experienced this issue back in ‘07, but over the last few months reports are picking up again. It’s too bad the extra costs that customers are paying can’t go toward tougher packaging, but Netflix told Wired the problem is “infinitesimally small” and changing shipping wouldn’t be cost effective."

The Guardian has reported that "Experts have identified ineffective market regulation, and supervision, unregulated merging financing and uncompetitive cost structures as responsible for the unsavoury development in the capital market. There were also problems associated with effective mail delivery system, as postal agencies could not cope with the upsurge, thereby resulting in non or late delivery of capital market mails like dividend warrants, share certificates and prospectus."

According to OhMyGov!, "A U.S. Postal Service window clerk and his associate were nabbed in an undercover bust for pocketing over a half million dollars in stamps, and reselling them on eBay, according to a federal indictment."

NewsRoom Finland has reported that "The Finnish Post and Logistics Workers' Union (Pau) said at a news conference Monday it would stage a six-hour stoppage at sorting centres on Wednesday in protest against Itella's job cut plans. The union added that deliveries would be delayed throughout the country."

Bonner Wirtschaftsgespräche - Nachrichten aus Bonn has reported that "Deutsche Post DHL released its Sustainability Report 2009 just before this year’s Annual General Meeting. In the document, the international market leader in logistics and postal services and the world’s sixth-largest employer outlines its activities in the areas of the environment, employees and corporate social responsibility."

The Watertown Daily Times has reported that "The post office is one of two businesses still left in the village after Newstech NY shut the paper mill down in 2004 and sold it to a developer in 2005. Village Historian Janet M. Zando said losing it would be a major hit to the already dwindling tear-drop-shaped village. "We've lost everything else in town — we don't have a store, we don't have any of that anymore," she said. "I think it's very important to keep some kind of identity."

Reuters has reported that "Austria will order postal operators competing with Austrian Post AG to pay the same salaries as the state-run incumbent when markets are opened in 2011. The move, contained in a draft postal law by the ministry, is similar to German rules which in effect stifled competition with Deutsche Post AG for delivering regular letters in Austria's neighbour to the north. Only Austrian Post provides universal postal services in remote rural and Alpine areas of the country. The operator has said in the past it was worried alternative providers would cherry-pick and offer their services only in urban areas. Under the draft regulation, alternative operators would also be required to pay into a fund that would reimburse the state-owned operator's expenses for providing universal postal service, the ministry said. All operators -- including Austrian Post -- would pay into this fund according to their respective market share."

Hellmail has reported that "Finnish postal operator, Itella, said the global economic downturn and structural changes within the postal industry has forced it to make 390 permanent employees redundant. Itella said it faced significant challenges in trying to maintain the universal service and competition from other operators would only increase over the coming years, meaning that the job losses were inevitable."

Cargonews Asia has reported that "Aircargo consignors attempting to cash in on a bitter tug-of-war between air and seafreight operators over pricing are going to be disappointed. This is the blunt message to shippers from key aircargo carriers and freight forwarders who attended the World Air Cargo Summit in Shenzhen recently. Airlines, which have already lost a substantial share of their customers to shipping lines, said there would be no further rate cuts under any circumstances."

April 19, 2009

As one DC-area newspaper publisher put it for the Voice of America: "larger papers have lost their focus. It boils down to this. If you are not putting something out there that people want to read, you are going to go away. So, quit covering press releases, quit pandering to the lowest common denominator, go out and dig up news that nobody else has." [EdNote: And by analogy one could say: "Postal Service, if you're not offering something business mailers want to pay to receive, go out and dig up something they're willing to pay to receive. And when you try to find out what "they" want, be sure you're asking the question of the right "they," not simply the they that's found more conveniently at hand. If you don't know who the right "they" are, then you've got some work to do."]

The New York Times has asked: "Skip the Newspaper, Save the Planet?"

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the "chief financial officer with Gannett Co. (GCI), said Thursday that the publishing company's U.S. newspapers, excluding USA Today, posted a 20% decline in online revenue in the first quarter. Newspaper publishers have touted their online ad businesses as a growth engine that can offset the industry's print declines over time, but that growth has largely disappeared amid the global economic crisis."

According to the New York Post, "the US Postal Disservice has announced cutbacks. My question is, why? They sure can't be laying off personnel. There's nobody ever there to lay off. Either every employee is in the witness-protection program or even 10:15 in the morning they're all on lunch break. My teenage niece went to one branch to send a registered letter but first got an AARP card because she knew she'd wait a lifetime for some human to appear. Not like they don't have lots of windows. Boy, have they got windows. Windows for postage, packages, air-mail, special-delivery mail, bulk mail, junk mail, lost mail, found mail, priority mail, which is the first to get lost, first-class mail, which is guaranteed to arrive within one week although not necessarily to the right address. Microsoft doesn't have as many windows. Windows they got. Workers behind them they don't."

The Waterbury Republican-American has noted that "State lawmakers are keeping postal workers busy and mailbags brimming. The General Assembly sent out more than 4.4 million pieces of mail last year. That kind of postage, copying and printing adds up. Legislative mailings cost $2.4 million in the last fiscal year, according to the Office of Legislative Management. The postage was $1.7 million and printing was $655,000."

The Age has reported that "a battle is brewing between Australia Post's top brass and its army of 35,000 postal workers amid union accusations the government-owned enterprise is preparing to force staff to take unpaid leave."

According to one writer for The American Interest, "For all its inability to stay in tune with changing consumer trends, technology advances, a warming planet and a deep economic crisis, the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) might as well have given all their mail carriers Hummers to drive on their appointed rounds in recent years. As it turns out, the USPS and Hummer’s parent company, General Motors, have a lot in common these days. Both are currently generating multibillion dollar annual losses, pushing products that ever fewer people want, burdening themselves with bloated payrolls and huge fixed-cost infrastructures, continuing to roll up enormous unfunded pension obligations, and contending with some of the largest and most powerful labor unions on earth. Both, too, are expecting the American taxpayer to bail them out."

Columbus Business First has reported that "DHL Express Inc. confirmed Friday plans to relocate its package-sorting operations back to its former hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and vacate the city of Wilmington. Jonathan Baker, a spokesman for the German-owned parcel delivery service, said the move back to the Cincinnati area will mean the creation of about 180 full-time and 646 part-time jobs in the region. DHL employs 350 hourly workers and 130 management and professional staff at the Wilmington Air Park, where thousands of jobs have disappeared as the company scaled back its services with cargo carrier ABX Air Inc."

Alibaba.com has reported that "Alibaba Group, a global e-commerce leader and the largest e-commerce company in China, and China Post, the postal service of the People's Republic of China, today signed a long-term strategic cooperation agreement to further develop China's e-commerce infrastructure and make it easier for Chinese consumers to shop online. Under the agreement, the two organizations will cooperate in parcel delivery and money remittance services. In the short-term, China Post and Alibaba Group’s online payment platform, Alipay, will launch a new economical parcel service for online purchases called "e-Youbao" and allow customers to fund their Alipay account at any of China Post's 66,000 locations across mainland China, without the need for a debit card or bank account. China Post's Green Card debit service will also become a new partner for Alipay's online payment service."

April 18, 2009

Federal Register:

  • Postal Regulatory Commission. "Postal Product Price Changes," 18001–18002 [E9–8944] [TEXT]  [PDF]

  • Postal Service. "Change in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products; Correction," 18002–18003 [E9–9036] [TEXT]  [PDF]


The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site.
In this issue:

  • In Search Of...IMb Benefits
  • Confirm and IMb full service
  • Why use IMb?: One company's perspective
  • Ensuring IMb quality before mailing
  • IMb and data management – big challenges ahead
  • Moving to electronic documentation
  • The road from mail.dat to MAIL.XML could be a rocky one
  • Customer IMb training presents challenges, not just for USPS
  • Software vendors juggle IMb readiness and pave testing
  • Calendar for upcoming rule changes

The National Postal Forum introduces a new program event Peer-to-Peer Roundtables! Don’t miss out on this great networking event enabling industry and postal managers to exchange ideas on a wide range of subjects, including Periodicals, Intelligent Mail®, PCC issues, Global Business and many more. The Peer-to-Peer Roundtables will be held Tuesday, May 19th from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm in the Convention Center Ballroom. The roundtable discussions will be small group settings, so register early for your seat as space is limited. Attendees must pre-register for this event as there will be no onsite registration. Go to www.npf.org and click on the Peer-To-Peer link to register.

The Evening Telegraph has reported that "Communication Workers Union officials will send birthday cards to Her Majesty on behalf of members asking her to support their campaign to stop the partial privatisation of Royal Mail. They say the Government proposal would result in a third of the public sector company being sold to a foreign competitor."

According to the Digital Journal, "The story of Lysander Spooner might rekindle the debate over the necessity of a monopoly Post Office. Spooner achieved many great things in his lifetime including his active campaigning against slavery and the publication of his most famous work titled The Unconstitutionality of Slavery (1846), which influenced the likes of Fredrick Douglas. One of his lesser-known ventures, however, was his creation of the American Letter Mail Company, which was a private mail delivery service that was meant to compete directly with the United States Postal Service."

The Press Association has reported that "Postal workers will stage a protest outside a Labour Party conference as part of a campaign against government plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail."

Huntington News has reported that "U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WV, continues to champion southern West Virginia’s mail carriers with legislation in the 111th Congress by supporting H.Res. 173, a resolution that supports the continuation of 6-day mail service across the country. “West Virginians depend on the reliable delivery of mail,” said Rahall. “Our mail carriers are a vital part of our communities and ensure the safe arrival of vital packages, including medication, and pay and Social Security checks.” Congressman Rahall is also working on H.R. 22, legislation introduced to allow the United States Postal Service (USPS) to pay health benefits from the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund."

The Edmonton Sun has reported that "Stealing mail must mean jail, a judge ruled yesterday in ordering a fired Canada Post employee to serve a six-month term behind bars. Provincial court Judge Marlene Graham said it would have been inappropriate to sentence Jojie Tinio to a conditional term of house arrest for pilfering $12,500 in traveller's cheques."

According to one contributor to InForum, "Small post offices, where the rural carrier driving through the town anyway can deliver the mail without any cost, should be closed. Many small offices cost up to $60,000 a year."

The Bradenton Herald has reported that "A congressman Friday called for an independent review of the Postal Service’s decision to move 59 jobs to Tampa. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office asking for the non-partisan agency that works for Congress to conduct an audit."

DMM Advisory:  

  • First-Class Mail  Containers (Mail.XML and Mail.dat) –  In the event that a mailer is required to schedule appointments for origin-entered mail that is transported by the mailer to a postal processing facility as defined by the CSA, for Full-Service mailings, mailers are required to update the contents for one-time appointments through Mail.XML. Part of this content includes the presort levels of the container. The First-Class Mail origin-entered CSA container sort levels are not supported in Mail.XML version 6.0D. A workaround to allow origin-entered appointment creation is described in the the updated Postal Service Mail.XML Technical Specification which will be available on RIBBS on April 21. The PostalOne! release 20 will not support the presort level codes defined in Mail.dat 9-1 specificition for optional First-Class Mail containers. This functionality will be added in a future release. PostalOne! release 20 will support the First-Class Mail CSA container presort codes that can be used in Full-Service Mail.dat documentation.  
  • Mailer IDs – In preparation for the new Business Customer Gateway and the new online process for acquiring Mailer IDs, we will not issue Mailer IDs from May 1 through May 10. This includes Mailer IDs for OneCode ACS, OneCode Confirm, and for Intelligent Mail barcodes.  Mailers can use the new online tool to acquire Mailer IDs starting May 11. We will explain the new online process in the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports, available April 21 on RIBBS. Mailers should continue to access the Confirm and ACS help desks to attain Mailer IDs as necessary.

  • Updated Guides – On April 21, we will update the following guides on RIBBS: Resource Map; Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats; Intelligent Mail and Electronic Documentation: Ready, Set, Go; Postal Service Mail.dat Technical Specification; and User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports.

  • PostalOne! Release 21 – We completed our analysis of PostalOne! release 21, scheduled for deployment on November 29, 2009. This release fixes issues in PostalOne! release 20; improves the Mail.dat solution; allows Mail.XML for Full-Service mailing documentation and the lower price for Full-Service mailings; provides a copalletization solution for Full-Service mailings; and improves the Mail Quality reports. We will publish the technical specifications for this release on May 29. Look for more information in upcoming weekly updates.

  • PostalOne! and FAST Outages – We are preparing PostalOne! release 20 to support the price change on May 11 and the test environment for the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option on May 18. A system-wide outage for PostalOne! and FAST is needed from 10 p.m. on April 25 to 10 p.m. (CDT) on April 26. We are also planning a 12-hour outage over May 9 and May 10. We will provide exact times in an upcoming update. During these outages mailers cannot access PostalOne! or submit electronic mailing documentation. Mailers should review their file submission processes and make arrangements for these outages. The outage does not affect FAST online scheduling, but mailers will not be able to schedule appointments electronically using Mail.XML or Wizard Web Services. During the outage, mailers who wish to schedule appointments online must log directly into FAST through https://fast.usps.com. Mailers scheduling electronically for the April 25th and 26th outage should do so by 8:00 p.m. (CDT) on April 25. Use the online application to schedule appointments with less notice. Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 or your local FAST facility coordinator if you have questions.

  • New User Access for PostalOne! and FAST – Beginning May 11 with PostalOne! release 20, users will access PostalOne! and FAST via the new Business Customer Gateway. To support the migration, we cannot add new users to PostalOne! or FAST until May 11. New users who wish to access information contained in PostalOne! should contact their local business mail acceptance employees, as they do today when they have mailing questions. Until May 11, new users who wish to gain access to the FAST system to schedule appointments can contact local facilities to confirm dock availability. USPS facilities will accept new customers without a FAST appointment until they can access FAST and acquire a Scheduler ID. All mailers must comply with the mailing and documentation standards, and present PS Form 8125 as proof of payment for drop shipment mailings.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "Negotiations have ended between Sandy Springs-based UPS and European rival DHL over an air cargo contract valued at $1 billion. “UPS and DHL have mutually agreed to terminate their negotiations,” confirmed UPS spokesman Norman Black. “As UPS is in its quiet period before earnings, we will have nothing further to say at this time.”

April 17, 2009

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

  • The Postal Service is taking an aggressive and novel approach to pricing this summer, reaching out to various audiences for feedback on a new pricing proposal that will test its pricing flexibility under the new law. Here’s the latest information that has been discussed within the industry. The USPS will be filing a full proposal with the Postal Regulatory Commission, whereby the PRC will have a 45-day time frame to issue its decision.
  • An industry/USPS panel at the recent IDEAlliance conference focused on the Postal Service’s May 2009 pricing adjustments for Periodicals and Standard Mail. Industry representatives discussed elements of the price adjustments they said could drive mailer behaviors in inefficient directions, and asked the USPS to explain its rationale.
  • USPS to test folded self-mailers. PostCom surveys membership. Postal Service files Form 8-K with PRC. Is USPS eyeing postal banking as way out of financial trouble? USPS relocates offices. San Francisco City Attorney Threatens Discrimination Lawsuit Against USPS. Thompson receives Mumma award. MMA makes progress against Do Not Mail programs. Women in Logistics and Delivery Services to hold event.
  • Deutsche Post might not bid for Britain’s Royal Mail.
  • Postal previews
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

According to BoSacks, "If Apple comes out with a full-sized, full-color iTouch (that doubles as an e-reader), the publishing universe will change on that very day, in that very moment. That will bring to full prominence for the magazine industry the age of the digital edition. Are you ready for that? Is your company poised for this inevitability?"

Publishing Executive has reported that "Magazine rate-card-reported ad pages fell nearly 26 percent for the first quarter of 2009 compared to January through March of 2008, according to Publishers Information Bureau (PIB). Ad revenue for the period declined 20.2 percent versus the same period last year."

From one of our readers on the proposed USPS summer sale: "Comailed/comingled volume mailed under a vendor's permit are not credited to the mail owner. Companies who take advantage of comingling efficiencies are penalized under this program. Mail volumes can be manipulated by moving mail from lettershops that comingle to lettershops where the mail owner has permits linked to their own CAPS account. I'm sure that there are quite a few cominglers who do not support the proposal. There are issues with determining the level of corporate ownership. If our company acquires or divests wholly owned subsidiaries (or business segments) during the entire analysis time frame, the reconciliation becomes a nightmare. Is the discount available on a company basis, a subsidiary basis, or a product line basis within a company? Most marketing plans (testing, scheduling, and purchasing) are planned months in advance. Direct mail promotion and product inventory issues become paramount. Internal business issues will arise if a division mails deeper into their list assuming the discount will be attained yet if the baseline is not exceeded product lines could falter/fail. If the program is available only to the top 4,000 customers, I see litigation on the horizon. Within reason, companies will delay some mailings and accelerate others just to fit within the window of opportunity. This does not generate volume. I think it would be simpler, less costly, and less litigious to just delay the rate increase on Standard Mail letters and flats until September 2009 and then implement the summer rate program for 2010."

According to the DM Bulletin, "IKEA will stop handing out its customer magazine IKEA Family Live in its stores and will switch to distributing it only through direct mail following a review of its advertising sales."

The USPS has sent to all Confirm subscribers an update to the Confirm User Guide, which outlines the May 2009 Confirm price changes, elimination of Confirm preshipment notification and entry scans, Confirm Mailer IDs and service type identifiers under Full Service IMb, and Confirm Data Provisioning for Full Service IMb. All Confirm subscribers, as well as service providers planning to use Full Service IMb Confirm data provisioning, should pay close attention to the information contained in this guide.

National Postal Forum
Washington, DC
May 17-20, 2009
REGISTER
BY APRIL 25TH AND SAVE $50 ON THE ONSITE REGISTRATION RATE!
Register Today—for the Latest in Mail Information!

The Bradenton Herald has reported that "U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is asking congressional auditors to review the U.S. Postal Service's plan to cut 59 jobs at the Manasota Processing and Distribution Center near Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and to transfer all outgoing mail to a facility in Tampa."

KARE has reported that "A former postal worker in upstate New York has been arrested for tossing mail. Glen Helmer was arrested Thursday morning and charged with destroying mail he was supposed to be delivering. On the criminal complaint, Helmer said he didn't like the flyers because they were printed on inferior quality paper." [EdNote: Thought you already had heard it all, didn'tcha?]

The Mainichi Daily News has reported that "Investigations into the alleged abuse of a postal service discount system for the disabled by officials of an electronics retailer have found that a group for the disabled received two to five times its normal donations for lending its name to an advertising company named in the investigation. Investigators suspect that the group for the disabled, Hakusankai, and the advertising firm, Shinsei-Kigyo, united in forming an illegal direct mailing business. They are working to uncover the two parties' activities."

April 16, 2009

DMM Advisory: Priority Mail Commercial Base Pricing — Permit Imprint. Beginning in January, we provided commercial base pricing for Priority Mail customers using permit imprint. We asked customers to conform with the commercial base price barcode requirements by May 2009. We have received a large number of requests for additional programming time, and we are extending the exception to the barcode requirement until January 2011 for all permit imprint customers. We will publish an announcement in the May 7 Postal Bulletin. We will use the DMM Advisory to keep you informed.

Mail Moves America has been making progress the public debate against extremists determined to ban advertising mail at the expense of thousands of jobs.  Our message about the negative impact on jobs from Do Not Mail legislation has now permeated the media coverage, providing important support for our allies and a clear message to lawmakers.  A brief summary of recent activity has been posted on this site.

The Fog City Journal has reported that "San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sent a formal letter of demand to the U.S. Attorney’s office outlining his intent to file suit against the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) “for unconstitutionally depriving tenants of single room occupancy hotels, equal and adequate mail delivery in San Francisco.”

Forbes has noted that "the main concern about the U.S. post office is that it is a quasi-monopoly, which does not allow for competitive forces to eliminate inefficiencies and determine better ways of operating. The postal service is a textbook example of a monopoly that, because of a lack of competitive pressures, faces little incentive to minimize costs and thus continues to operate at inefficient levels. In 1994 scholar Thomas M. Lenard estimated that the annual social costs of the government monopoly over standard mail are about $1 billion. Not only does this monopoly create inefficiencies, it actually reinforces them. The postal system is pressured to preserve jobs, for example, and so it has an incentive not to take advantage of faster, more efficient technologies to transport mail. There is simply no economic reason to continue this monopoly over the mail. Only by letting the market process work will we start allocating valuable resources correctly. And if that means the end of Saturday delivery, we'll be happy to read our mail on Monday."

Hellmail has reported that "UK postal regulator, Postcomm, has announced it is to make no changes to existing Royal Mail price control arrangements. The decision follows discussion with interested parties and the ongoing progression of the Postal Services Bill being championed by Lord Peter Mandelson in the wake of the Richard Hooper report."

Fox News has reported that "Influential Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks has hung up her journalistic hat and joined the Obama administration, but not before penning a public proposal calling for some radical ideas to help bail out the failing news industry. Brooks, who has taken up a post as an adviser at the Pentagon, advocated upping "direct government support for public media" and creating licenses to govern news operations. But critics say her proposal would spell an end to the independent media and make journalists reliant lapdogs."


The agenda for this month's meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has been posted on RIBBS.

As Direct magazine has noted, "PostCom Runs Numbers For Summer Postage Discount Program."

For those of you that don't know, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance coaches the high school girls Lacrosse team at the Potomac School. Check out the press she's gotten from the Washington Post.

Postal Technology International magazine has now launched a new digital portal that hosts the latest industry news, blogs, additional features, plus recruitment. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to Andrew Pickering, editor, email: a.pickering@ukintpress.com and get paid US$100 when it’s published!

Hellmail has reported that "Swiss Post is to examine post office density in Switzerland after seeing a fall in volume of letters and parcels of some 46% since the year 2000. It said that whilst it was not seeking to close post offices, sustainability was essential and it was working with municipalities and the independent Post Offices Commission to ensure the future viability of the Swiss post office network. The announcement follows the publication of a list of proposed closures that it said should not have been published and was incorrect, but that it would need to adapt its sales network to changing customer behaviour and to ensure profitability."

According to Lehigh Valley Live, "A Montpelier copy-shop owner may finally get his day in court this week, six years after suing United Parcel Service for the damage he claims it inflicted on his small business. The suit filed by Capitol Copy owner Glenn Sturgis and 130 other office-services store operators around the country seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for what “Brown” has allegedly done to them."

7dvt.com has reported that "A Montpelier copy-shop owner may finally get his day in court this week, six years after suing United Parcel Service for the damage he claims it inflicted on his small business. The suit filed by Capitol Copy owner Glenn Sturgis and 130 other office-services store operators around the country seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for what “Brown” has allegedly done to them."

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "Australia Post says cranky canines as well as careless drivers are making its job difficult."

According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "Last-minute income tax filers were surprised to find the Airport Post Office service center closed at 6 p.m. Wednesday and an 8 p.m. final postmark deadline at the interior and outside drop boxes. A postal employee, giving his name as Big Mike, stood inside the post office main doors advising customers to deposit their stamped income tax returns in the designated boxes."

The New York Daily News has reported that "In the city that never sleeps, the biggest post office is calling it a night. The James A. Farley Post Office across from Penn Station will close its 24-hour windows to save money, starting May 9." See also the Epoch Times.

The Mainichi Daily News has reported that "Several officials with electronics retailer Best Denki Co. were arrested Thursday for allegedly abusing a postal service discount system for handicapped people, prosecutors said." See also the Asahi Shimbun.

The Times of India has reported that "While corporate sectors are reporting sluggish growth in their annual revenue data sheet, the postal department witnessed an increase of 28 per cent in their revenue earning in the financial year 2008-09."

Newroom Finland has reported that "The postal union in Finland is said to be considering industrial action next week after it was suggested that Finnish postal operator, Itella, would be shedding 400 jobs."

From eMediaWire: "Earth Class Mail, the world's leading provider of Internet-powered postal mail, announces a joint initiative with Bosma Enterprises to help create new jobs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, and to collaborate on bringing Earth Class Mail's online mail-delivery service to these individuals. Earth Class Mail allows recipients to receive, read, and manage their postal mail over the Internet at any time and from anywhere, and it can also be deployed as part of a digital mail-center management solution for government and enterprises. Bosma Enterprises, an Indiana-based nonprofit supplier of products and services to government and industry, provides rehabilitation, skills training, employment, and job-placement assistance to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Bosma's services and products meet the world-recognized ISO 9001 Certified quality standards."

Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission. NOTICES Mail Classification Changes , 17696–17697 [E9–8749] [TEXT] [PDF]

Postal Regulatory Commission:

April 15, 2009

Inquiring minds want to know...more about the Postal Service's "summer sale" idea. How ready is the USPS to move on the proposal? What are all of the controlling factors related to the proposal, i.e., who will qualify, in what manner, and with what volume? How quickly will the Postal Regulatory Commission move on the proposal? Who, if anyone, might rise up in opposition to the proposal? Does the USPS intend this to be a one-off effort, or does it have the stick-to-itiveness to learn from this very quickly conceived first effort and try it again with a bit more planning and better timing?

PostCom Members!! MTAC Workgroup 129, Eliminating Obstacles to Mail Growth, earlier this week held its inaugural telecon to discuss its mission.  The group is tasked with identifying existing USPS regulations or requirements that add no value for USPS or customers and may hinder mail growth.  The group will propose elimination or modification of those requirements where practical.PostCom is an active participant on the group, and is asking members to help compile the list of existing requirements that should be reviewed by the workgroup.  Examples of some requirements already identified include:

  • Restrictive standards for decorative designs on Permit imprints.  Desired result:  allow more flexibility and freedom to create custom indicias and innovative looking permit imprint designs
  • 500-piece minimum for First-Class Mail presort.  Desired result:  allow more mailers the ability to enter presorted categories
  • Requirements for attachments to letters/flats are too restrictive.  Desired result:  mailers would like to apply such items as "clean release" cards, and other removable stickers that are not RPNs.

PostCom members that have requirements they would like to add to the list for the workgroup should send an e-mail with a description of the existing requirement and the desired result to Kathy Siviter (kathys@postalconsulting.com) by April 22, 2009. To participate on the workgroup, contact industry co-chair Wanda Senne at wsenne@worldmarkinc.com.

Direct magazine has reported that "While standard mailers generally favor the theory behind the U.S. Postal Service’s idea of discounting standard mail rates during the summer, several question its timing and aren’t sure they’ll be able to react quickly enough. “I think it’s a good thing the USPS is doing some innovative things to drive volume,” said Hamilton Davison, executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association. “And while I don’t think this is going to make a huge impact, it’s good that the USPS is showing all of us that they’re serious about using the pricing flexibility that they got under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act and do some neat things.”

According to the New York Times, "newspaper advertising, already in its worst slump since the Depression, suffered by far the sharpest drop in generations during the first quarter of 2009, down 30 percent for some papers, industry executives and analysts say. Newspapers count on advertising for the bulk of their revenue." [EdNote: Hmmm. The bulk of their revenue comes from distributed print advertising. Fascinating. Never hear any diatribes from the newspapers or their buds at Forest Ethics about their printed advertising, do you? Funny thing about that. I've heard the blather about the number of trees that get felled for advertising mail. How many go down to make advertising in newspapers?]

PostCom Members!! The USPS is going to test various designs for "folded self-mailers", and has reached out through MTAC to the member organizations for samples. Mike Winn is serving as the coordinator for PostCom. Here is his contact information: Michael Winn Greylock Associates, LLC - President 1941 Glendower Drive Lancaster, PA 17601 Cell - (717) 682-3110 Email - michaelwinn8@gmail.com. So if your company signs up to participate you will need to coordinate with the USPS through the procedures outlined in this email. Since there are all kinds of designs of folded self-mailers, it would be beneficial to cover the range of materials, tabs, glue, folds, sizes, and whatever. Our goal is to produce the best results possible so that we have a set of rules written. Several important files are now available on the PostCom web site. Read and use them.

NewsRoom Finland has reported that "Itella, formerly known as Finland Post, said in a statement Wednesday it would launch a round of statutory cooperation procedure talks in Finland with the aim of cutting about 390 jobs. Itella is preparing itself for the ongoing structural change in the postal industry. The global economic downturn has had a considerable impact on the demand for Itella's services."

From PR Web: "Courier, Express & Parcel Services market is playing a pivotal role in addressing collection and delivery requirements of messages, mails and parcels for individuals and organizations. Sophisticated technologies such as Internet, fax machines, facsimiles and the like have been only partially successful in overriding the popularity of Courier, Express & Parcel (CEP) services. Inability of the modern technologies to establish in certain areas has strengthened the importance of age-old CEP services. Globalization of the world economy opened new avenues for the CEP Services market. Factors such as development of infrastructure, reduction of tariff rates, consumers demand for variety, launch of newer and bigger airlines, have spurred the demand for CEP services across the globe."

Bloomberg has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, Europe’s biggest mail carrier, has “no strategic necessity” to bid for a stake in Britain’s postal service, according to the German company’s chief executive officer. “Mail is a declining business and no one knows how far it will go,” CEO Frank Appel said late yesterday at a briefing for reporters in Frankfurt. The comments suggest that the Bonn-based company may not make an offer to invest in Royal Mail Group Plc, the U.K.’s 360- year-old postal service."

 Federal Register:  Postal Service.   Rules: "New Standards for Letter-Sized Booklets," 17399–17403 [E9–8532] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to Direct magazine, "If a proposed test rollback of mail rates this summer goes through, listen for the sound of corks popping in Plano, TX. That’s because J.C Penney Co., which makes its headquarters there, was the biggest mailer during summer 2008, and stands to reap the largest benefit."

Postal Regulatory Commission:  "Current Report 8-K "containing the information prescribed in Form 8-K of the Securities and Exchange Commission." 39 U.S.C. 3654(a)(1)(c). Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62876/Letter-Current-Report-8-K-4-14-09.pdf; http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62876/2009_04-14_Form_8-K.pdf

SmartBrief has reported that "FedEx plans to permanently retire 14 cargo jets amid slumping demand for shipping services." See also BizJournals.com.

April 14, 2009

WOMEN IN LOGISTICS AND DELIVERY SERVICES (WILDS) Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Networking & Luncheon Meeting Guest Speakers: PRC Vice Chairman, Nanci Langley and PRC Commissioner Ruth Goldway Including an Open Forum on:: WILDS Chapter Growth, Job Network Locator, Mentoring Program, and Upcoming Events Time: 11:30 a.m. Location: USPS Headquarters, Room 1P410, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington DC 20260 Cost: $10 (at the door) – members or nonmembers RSVP (acceptance only) by April 24th to Cindy Fish, cindy@joyleong.com

According to Zawya, "cebr, an independent economic research consultancy, conducted a research on the UAE printing industry market estimating that organizations can save between AED 238 million and AED 540 million per year on printing costs. With the latest printing technology the need of outsourcing is becoming less necessary for firms to use expensive specialist printing services. In house printers allow business to share documents electronically from the internet, emails and print them immediately. Second, print on demand and achieve professional quality prints that are cost effective and more environmentally friendly. Printing stationary, business cards, signage, labels and other marketing material can now be brought in house."

FleetDirectory.co.uk has reported that "Royal Mail, the postal operating authority for the United Kingdom is working with CENEX, PostEurop, the association of European public postal operators, and FuelCellEurope, the European association of fuel cell developers to develop a universal design specification for hydrogen fuel cell postal vans. Once a draft design specification has been developed Royal Mail intends to share the design brief with all the other European postal operators for input in order for it to be presented to major vehicle manufacturers around the world for consideration and to stimulate main stream construction at relatively affordable prices."

Dutch News has reported that "Members of the second-biggest postal workers union, the BVPP, have rejected a new pay deal which would have led to a cut in pay in return for job security. The wage cuts are part of TNT's strategic plan to cut costs. The company is facing increasing competition from email and other delivery firms which pay their staff as freelancers. The entire Dutch postal market has been open to competition since April 1."

U.S. Postal Service: The United States Postal Service is realigning resources to better address business customers' needs. As part of this realignment, the Central New Jersey District office responsibilities will be relocated to the Northern New Jersey and South Jersey District offices. This change will be effective on April 13, 2009. If your business is located in ZIP code area 088 & 089 and you require assistance with a service issue, please contact: Northern New Jersey Business Service Network at (888) 714-0111 If your business is located in ZIP code area 077, 085, 086 & 087 and you need assistance with a service issue, please contact: South Jersey Business Service Network – (856) 933-6009 and (856) 933-6002 The USPS values your business and the relationship we have with you. We will continue to build on that relationship as we work together in the future, providing “First-Class Service”. Please see the press release originally sent 3/25/09 concerning changes in the Postal Service. The Central NJ District, Edison, NJ is one of six district offices listed. http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2009/pr09_028.htm

Online Media has reported that "The Internet is the only medium expected to reap advertising increases during 2009, according to the latest edition of ZenithOptimedia Group's quarterly tracking study on the advertising economy."

CEP News has reported that "Around two years after launching its own delivery network in Austria, Hermes is now pulling out of these operations again to a large extent. According to information gleaned by the CEP News, Österreichische Post is set to resume deliveries to customers from 1 June. The news was confirmed by the post early on Tuesday morning, mentioning a "volume growth of several million parcels".

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

  • SkyPostal outlines 2008 results and expansion plans.
  • Worldwide air cargo volumes are continuing to run at levels some 20-22% below those of 12 months ago but the market decline may be starting to level out. That, at least, is the picture which emerges from some of the latest international airline industry statistics to be published.

Hellmail has reported that "Austrian Post's parcel & logistics division has secured a large contract with Hermes Austria."

Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal services TNT NV is still interested in a minority stake in the U.K.'s Royal Mail, Chief Executive Peter Bakker said Thursday. Bakker, who was speaking at the company's annual general meeting, said TNT is closely watching the political debate about the privatization of Royal Mail. TNT's CEO said he doesn't foresee a bidding war, now that other parties, including Germany's Deutsche Post, have also expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in Royal Mail. "We'll focus on what is sensible for TNT. If we make a move, we'll put it forward to our supervisory board and ask our shareholders for approval", Bakker said."

The Buffalo News has reported that "Timothy J. Wagner, a grocery store owner who depends heavily on advertising through bulk mail, has a problem with the U. S. Postal Service. Wagner, who owns the Super Saver market on Broadway, said he dropped off slingers advertising a Valentine’s Day sale at the Buffalo bulk mail center in late January. But many of the 250 customers he was targeting didn’t receive the slingers until late February — well after the Feb. 14 holiday."

From Canada NewsWire: "DHL, the world's leading express delivery and logistics company, was pleased to announce today that the members of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) collective bargaining units at the company's Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia facilities have ratified new collective bargaining agreements. These new contracts will expire on March 31, 2013."

The Desert Sun has reported that "The Internet has begun to slowly kill off an American tradition: A public gathering of tax-time procrastinators. How so? The U.S. Postal Service recently announced only a handful of post offices plan to extend their hours to accommodate last-minute tax filers."

Federal Register:  

  • Postal Regulatory Commission.  Notices: "Market Test," 17235–17236 [E9–8401] [TEXT]  [PDF] 
  • Postal Service.   Proposed Rules: "Express Mail Refunds for Shipments of Live Animals," 17128–17129 [E9–8531] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place.  To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/.  "Leveraging Postal Service Purchasing Power to Generate Revenue." The OIG is analyzing Postal Service efforts to leverage its significant buying power to create revenue generating opportunities.  The OIG asks: How can the Postal Service best leverage its buying power to generate revenue and what opportunities may it currently be missing to do so?You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at:  www.uspsoig.gov.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

SVP Bill Galligan has named two individuals to fill their positions on an acting basis: Jordan Small is the acting vice president, Network Operations. He will be responsible for the USPS' national transportation system and mail processing operations. Jordan was the vice president, Delivery Operations. Linda Welch is the acting vice president of the newly restructured Delivery and Post Office Operations organization. She will be responsible for the operation of the USPS' 36,000 post offices. Welch was the district manager at the Dallas and Fort Worth Districts. [Thanks to the Mailers Council for this heads up.]

On the Postal Regulatory Commission web site:

As the New York Times has noted, "A new campaign now under way promotes the UPS Store retail chain, whose locations are franchised by the Mail Boxes Etc. subsidiary of UPS ( United Parcel Service). The campaign, with a budget estimated at more than $30 million, takes a cardboard-centric view to convey that shipping, as symbolized by the familiar UPS cardboard box, is just the start of the offerings at the UPS Store, which also include postal services and business services like copying, printing and office supplies. The goal is to introduce the UPS Store to new customers as well as to nudge current customers into spending more on additional services. That is a challenge in the crowded category in which the UPS Store competes, which also includes FedEx Office, formerly FedEx Kinko’s; Office Depot ; OfficeMax ; Postal Annex; PostNet; Staples; and, of course, the United States Postal Service."

April 13, 2009

PostCom Members: You may have seen a press release regarding the discounted pricing being proposed for the summer months. It was mentioned that it may be limited to top 4000 mailers (by volume). Indeed, this test is being limited in that manner for 2 reasons, the incremental volume of the “smaller” mailers would be difficult to cost-justify, and the work that needs to be done to determine the baseline volumes would be too time-consuming if done for every mailer. 4000 equates to about 90% of Standard mailers. The USPS will determine the top 4000 mailers, but at this time there is no way for us to identify who will be on that list.  There was some concern that limiting the participation could discriminate within Standard Mail and provide another reason for the proposal to fail. But we have been told that seems to have been resolved in a way that should be acceptable to the Postal Regulatory Commission.   It was also confirmed that the discounts would be rebated at the end of the sale period. That will eliminate the need to modify postage statements and will make it easier for the USPS to track and manage total volumes mailed during the sale period.

DMM Advisory: May 11 Price Change – Updated Price List. We posted an updated version of Notice 123, Price List, on usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm to reflect the final prices effective on May 11. The new list eliminates separate mailing agent and mail owner Confirm subscription prices and provides the nonautomation flats prices for Standard Mail nonmachinable letters over 3.3 ounces. We also added the Bulk Weight Averaged Nonletter-Size Business Reply Mail (BRM) prices and fees. We encourage everyone to use the updated Notice 123 — and other tools on usps.com/pricechanges.htm — to prepare for the pricing change. New MailPro Available! The March/April MailPro [HTML] | [PDF] is available now on usps.com/mailpro. You’ll find extensive information on the May 11 Mailing Services price change, including FAQs.Customers can access current and past issues of MailPro online or subscribe by sending an e-mail to mncsc@usps.com. Include your name, title, company name, complete delivery address, and daytime phone number.

According to Multichannel Merchant, "the U.S. Postal Service did not issue any press release or make any announcements on its plans for a summer rate break on postage for any increased standard mail volume for some standard mailers, confirms USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer. The idea is not exactly a new one—it’s been kicked around for more than a decade."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "The internet has been helpful to postal operations, the Abuja Territorial Manager of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Aliyu B. Mahmud has said. According to him the advent of internet and other wireless telecommunication devices have improve activities of postal services around the world thereby facilitating easy networking, tracing and tracking of massages."

According to UzReport, "Since 2005, O'zbekiston Pochtasi company has been implementing the program of modernization of the postal network and introduction of new ICT-based services, designed until 2010."

According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, "Millions of Americans receive online versions of their bills and bank statements. But Stark is one of tens of thousands who have decided they don’t need any physical mail, be it love letters or advertising come-ons. Analysts say it’s too soon to tell whether digital mail is the next big thing, and skeptics, including the U.S. Postal Service, abound. Still, as consumers become more tied to the digital world, Web-based snail mail services are expanding."

The Lansing State Journal has reported that "Mail carriers have long had to worry about rain, snow and biting dogs. In Grand Haven, they're facing a new challenge: attacking turkeys. In the past month, eight or nine turkeys have been disrupting mail delivery in one part of the Michigan city located about 165 miles west-northwest of Detroit. The threatening turkeys include three males."

Steve Olguin, a postal employee, told the Amarillo Globe-News that "We in the Postal Service don't use the "J" word to describe our Standard Mail, or businesses rate, service. The U.S. Postal Service values each class of mail equally and does not consider any mail unimportant. Neither do advertisers. They use Standard Mail because it works."

April 12, 2009

B2B Marketing has reported that "Royal Mail is aiming to break into the B2B data market, and unveiled its own data solution named Data Sure on April 2. The product will carry out initial data audits for companies, before cleansing and enhancing databases and issuing profiling reports with recommendations. Royal Mail is believed to have been considering such a product for some years and will be entering a congested marketplace for B2B data services which includes companies such as Information Arts and Blue Sheep."

"The members of the NRLCA that have signed their names to this document, demand you and the Officers of the NRLCA take action to protect all members of the Rural Craft.  The USPS plans to offer discount mailings in an effort to raise volumes without fair compensations to the rural craft members.  As our elected and paid officials, it is your duty to represent the interests and desires of this association to the best of your abilities."

The Jersey Evening Post has reported that "the global mail business looking to compete with Jersey Post for delivering packages to the UK says that it may not need premises in Jersey to conduct operations. The company has applied for a class 1 operator licence under the Postal Law to the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority. It wants to be able to deliver items such as CDs and DVDs to the UK for fulfilment companies based in Jersey."

April 11, 2009

PostCom members: Posted on this site is a bit more detailed explanation of the proposal for off-season, volume-based, incentive rates proposed by the U.S. Postal Service. Further details will be made available as they are provided by the USPS.



Federal Register:
 
  Postal Service. Notices. "Change in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products; Correction," 16899 [E9–8501] [TEXT] [PDF]

flag flag MINA has reported that "Macedonian Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski and his Albanian counterpart Sokol Olldashi signed Friday in Ohrid a cooperation agreement in the field of postal and electronic communications, as part of countries' European agenda. Under the agreement, both countries are obliged to implement policies to ensure and develop the postal and electronic services between Macedonia and Albania in line with our own positive legal regulations and European directives, said Minister Janakieski after signing the agreement."

flag The Federal Times has reported that "The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, looking for new sources of revenue to make up for declining mail volume, is considering banking services — already a common line of business for postal services in Europe. It's a distant possibility. The Postal Service would need congressional approval. And Postmaster General John Potter said the Postal Service hasn't decided whether getting into banking is a good idea; he said it was a hypothetical option, one of several possible new sources of revenue. The Postal Service estimates it will be $6 billion in the red this fiscal year. "I'm not saying that's going to work in America, but we need to be open-minded about what else might be out there," Potter told Federal Times last week. "It's something we're looking at, and have been looking at over the years." Still, this isn't the first time Potter has floated the idea. He also mentioned it last month, at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on the federal workforce, the Postal Service, and the District of Columbia."

April 10, 2009

Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission: Final Rule Postal Complaints and Rate and Service Inquiries; Final Rule.

usps_logo Press Release: "Encouraged by a 90 percent customer approval rating, the U.S. Postal Service today announced that it would make the recent Intelligent Mail University Symposiums available through its RIBBS website: ribbs.usps.gov."

flag The Postal Service has informed mailers that it will be announcing shortly a summer sale on postage for any increased Standard Mail volume for many Standard mailers. See also Dead Tree Edition. [EdNote: PostCom will provide a more complete report once the Postal Service has provided more authoritative details about this proposal. For the time being, know that the report is true that the USPS' plans to bring such a proposal before the Postal Regulatory Commission in relatively short order.]

flag Publishing Executive has reported that "The San Francisco resolution, as well as the possibility of additional Do Not Mail resolutions being passed, has raised concerns for magazine publishers that rely on direct mailings to solicit new subscribers."

flag Hellmail has reported that "The Slovenian postal service has hit back at what it describes as "false statements or suggestions" by one slovenian media outlet reporting on a criminal investigation at the Agency for Post and Electronic Communications of the Republic of Slovenia (APEK). The report alleged illegal collusion on Pricing in the market for postal services between the Director APEK Tomaz Simonic and Director-General of the Post of Slovenia Alesem Haucem."


Federal Register:
 Postal Regulatory Commission.  Rules: "Postal Complaints and Rate and Service Inquiries," 16734–16747 [E9–8153] [TEXT] [PDF]

usps_logo DMM Advisory:

  • Reminder — PostalOne! and FAST Outages. We are preparing PostalOne! release 20 to support the price change on May 11 and the test environment for the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option on May 18. Two system-wide outages for PostalOne! and FAST are needed: from 2 a.m. to 12 p.m. (CDT) on April 12; and from 10 p.m. on April 25 to 10 p.m. (CDT) on April 26. During the outages mailers cannot access PostalOne! or submit electronic mailing documentation. Mailers should review their file submission processes and make arrangements for these two scheduled outages. The outages do not affect FAST online scheduling, but mailers will not be able to schedule appointments electronically using Mail.XML or Wizard Web Services. During the outages, mailers who wish to schedule appointments online must log directly into FAST through https://fast.usps.com. Mailers scheduling electronically for the April 12th outage should do so by 12:00 a.m. (CDT) on April 12. Mailers scheduling electronically for the April 25th and 26th outage should do so by 8:00 p.m. (CDT) on April 25. Use the online application to schedule appointments with less notice. We will make every attempt to accommodate unscheduled arrivals. Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 or your local FAST facility coordinator if you have questions.

  • New User Access for PostalOne! and FAST. Beginning May 11 with PostalOne! release 20, users will access PostalOne! and FAST via the new Business Customer Gateway. To support the migration, we cannot add new users to PostalOne! or FAST until May 11. New users who wish to access information contained in PostalOne! should contact their local business mail acceptance employees, as they do today when they have mailing questions. Until May 11, new users who wish to gain access to the FAST system to schedule appointments can contact local facilities to confirm dock availability. USPS facilities will accept new customers without a FAST appointment until they can access FAST and acquire a Scheduler ID. All mailers must comply with the mailing and documentation standards, and present PS Form 8125 as proof of payment for drop shipment mailings.
  • Test Environment for Mailers who wish to engage in the Full-Service option: The Full-Service Intelligent Mail option requires mailers to submit electronic mailing information via Mail.dat 9-1 or the Postal Wizard per the requirements outlined in the DMM and the Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats. Mailers must complete a test process of Full Service file submissions through the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) prior to using the Full Service option. The TEM will be available starting May 18, 2009. Mailers who are currently engaged in electronic documentation options using Mail.dat can continue to use Mail.dat 8-1 or Mail.dat 8-2 starting May 11, 2009 with the new prices. For more information, see the Electronic Documentation and Intelligent Mail Ready, Set, Go guide on RIBBS.
  • PostalOne! Release 20. Testing for PostalOne! release 20 is under way. This release supports the price change, the Intelligent Mail Full-Service deployment, and the new Business Customer Gateway. We are working to resolve issues with the Gateway to ensure a smooth transition. We will explain how to access the new Gateway in an updated version of the Full-Service Option User Access and Reports Guide, which we will rename "User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports" and post on RIBBS by April 17.

flag Maryland Politics Watch has reported that "Nancy Navarro's campaign is alleging that a supervisor of a Silver Spring post office branch has been blocking their direct mail in the special election."

flag Hellmail has reported that "Despite a slight decline in the speed at which letters from abroad reached destinations in Switzerland last year, Swiss Post is still one of fastest mail operators by European comparison."

April 9, 2009

usps_logo
From the U.S. Postal Service: The Postal Service recently announced a first-time growth incentive program for Saturation mailers. This incentive program will allow customers to earn substantial credits on new volumes: 3.7 cents per piece on regular letters; 2.2 cents per piece on nonprofit letters; 4 cents per piece on regular flats, and 2.4 cents per piece on nonprofit flats. The credit will be calculated for mail volume above what the customer mailed in the previous year and paid at the end of the program year. While we targeted this incentive program to a particular category of mailers, we think many of its elements could work in other categories. Right now it's critically important that all interested customers sign up! Some already have or are in the process of doing so.To qualify, you must be able to demonstrate a two-year history of Saturation mail, either nationally or within a specific market. Once you have established that, you apply through your local Manager, Business Mail Entry (BME), following the procedure outlined in the attached Fact Sheet. The necessary forms can be obtained from your local BME office or at
http://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=saturationmail. The deadline for applying is Thursday, June 11, 2009.

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:  The Commission has issued an order regarding the Postal Service's proposed Collaborative Logistics market test. Formal comments to the Commission are due by 4:30 p.m. on April 27th. The Collaborative Logistics test regards the Postal Service's proposal to sell otherwise unused space on postal service transportation for other delivery purposes. The extra space is available because of mail volume imbalances between various locations in combination with the service standard requirements for postal transportation.

flag Keep your eyes peeled for an innovative Postal Service proposal to test the concept of an off-season summer mailing sale. The purpose for the test is to see what can be done to generate for the Postal Service new, profitable mail volume.

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

  • The Postal Service lost more than $658 million dollars in February. This loss is in addition to the $751 million loss for January 2009, and the $384 million loss for FY 2009 Q1.
  • The U.S. Postal Service published its final rule on letter-sized booklets Thursday, April 9. The final rule reflect changes to the construction and sealing of these booklets to be eligible for automation, presorted machinable or carrier route letter prices. The rule contains a definition of booklets and clarification on weight standards for letter-sized mail. The effective date has changed from May 11 to September 8.
  • In this letter to the Los Angeles Times, Gene Del Polito explains the importance of advertising mail to reporter David Lazarus.
  • PostCom President Gene Del Polito shares some thoughts on environmentally friendly mail from the recent Universal Postal Union meeting in Bern, Switzerland.
  • USPS announces major management changes. Postal Service, NALC could agree to consolidate city carrier routes. Workers, small businesses oppose San Francisco's Do Not Mail plan. Postal Service wins prestigious environmental award. USPS OIG posts postal quiz. FedEx and hybrid vehicle tests. Day's cut in mail service okay in Kingston. Congressman says USPS needs to get out of cigarette business. USPS FSS program runs into issues. K.C. paper says postal costs should be shrunk.
  • Qatar to host 25th UPU Congress. Deutsche Post said to be vying British postal deal. E.U. approves British government aid to Royal Mail. CWU seeks to stall Royal Mail modernization. British postal prices rise. Royal Mail tests French electric car.
  • Postal previews
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

flag STA has reported that "The government adopted on Thursday a new postal services bill, envisaging the opening of the postal services market in line with new EU rules on a single market in this area."

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Rule: CP2009-23 "Notice of Errata to United States Postal Service Notice of Changes in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products Established in Governors' Decision No. 09-01" Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62832/CP2009-23%20errata%20Pickup%20(2).pdf

usps_logo USPS Announces More Headquarters Management Changes. The USPS has announced more management changes:

  • Vincent DeVito is the new vice president, controller. He is responsible for certifying the financial filings as the Postal Service's Chief Accounting Officer. In addition, the office of the Controller will manage Corporate Accounting, Accounting Services, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Management Controls and Integration, and the Corporate Audit Response Group. DeVito, a certified public accountant, has almost 25 years of public- and private-sector financial experience. Since joining the Postal Service in 2005, he has served as manager, Corporate Accounting, and most recently as executive director of the Sarbanes-Oxley implementation group.
  • Anthony Morrow will serve as acting vice president, Finance and Planning. As the office of the Controller increases its focus in those key areas, PMG Potter announced he is bringing budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning and analysis together into a new group, Finance and Planning. This organization is responsible for all forward-looking financial information, from budgets to the five-year plan, as well as the development of a new 18-month financial plan that will be adjusted on a dynamic basis. Other activities include all revenue and expense budgeting and forecasting and financial analysis and program review, including capital and program evaluation. Vice President, Supply Management Susan Bronwell, Manager of Regulatory Reporting and Cost Accounting Ashley Lyons, and Treasurer Bob Pedersen will continue to report to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett.

flag According to one writer for The Moderate Source , "Federal bailout for newspapers is a really really dumb proposal. Difficult as it is to say, newspapers are dinosaurs."

DMM Advisory:  Letter-Size Booklet – New Standards. Today on Postal Explorer we posted an advance copy of our Federal Register notice announcing final mailing standards for letter-size booklets mailed at machinable and automation prices. The new standards are a result of working with the mailing industry to test and analyze a wide variety of letter-size mailpieces. Changes affect letter-size booklet design and tabbing and are effective September 8,2009.

The Federal Times has reported that "The Postal Service reached an agreement today with its city letter carriers that will make it easier to adjust delivery routes if mail volumes continue to fall — a process that could eliminate thousands of routes. The deal came after negotiations with the National Association of Letter Carriers, the union that represents more than 214,000 active city letter carriers. It allows the Postal Service to use a formula to analyze delivery routes, based on mail volume, and change the routes accordingly. The Postal Service has long had the ability to change delivery routes. But the process is normally much more time-consuming: Postal officials spend a week with letter carriers, counting their mail and walking their routes with them. Postal and union officials say the changes will allow the Postal Service to review 90,000 routes this year. Many city letter carriers will see their routes expand to make up for declining mail volume: Letter carriers are delivering 4.7 pieces of mail per address today, compared with 5.9 pieces in 2000."

The Winnetka Pioneer Local has reported that "Winnetka officials are close to an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service that would extend the post office lease for two more years."

According to the Zanesville Times Recorder , "The president of the union representing postal workers at the Zanesville Distribution Center has concerns with the initial findings of an Area Mail Processing (AMP) feasibility study."

The Glasgow Daily Record has reported that "Delivery firm Business Post have increased market share despite the recession, they reported yesterday. The Slough company, who pick up and sort letters ahead of delivery by Royal Mail, said their parcels business had been hampered by the downturn. But they said they were gaining ground on rivals by cutting costs."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle , "With the U.S. Postal Service "facing losses of historic proportion," in the words of Postmaster General John Potter, it would seem as if the only reasonable thing for a citizen to do is to humbly accept reduced service, right? Wrong."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
RULES -- Insurance Claims Process Changes , 16124–16126 [E9–8038] [TEXT]  [PDF]

 USPS Announces Major Headquarters Management Changes. Today the USPS announced several major management changes:

  • Tony Pajunas, vice president of Network Operations, is retiring from the USPS.
  • Kathy Ainsworth, vice president of Retail Operations, is retiring from the USPS.
  • Dave Shoenfeld, senior vice president of Mailing Services, is leaving the USPS. Bob Bernstock will assume Dave's former responsibilities for the growth of all postal mailing products, including First-Class Mail and advertising mail. (Gary Reblin, vice president of Expedited Shipping; Jim Cochrane, vice president of Ground Shipping; and Susan Plonkey, vice president of Sales, will continue to report to Bernstock in their current capacities.)
  • Tim Healy is the new vice president of Retail Products and Services. He reports to Bob Bernstock, President of Mailing and Shipping Services. This will bring together all marketing and sales aspects of retail and commercial products and services within a single organization. Healy's responsibilities will include the development, marketing, and merchandising of retail products and services, and creating and maintaining an environment that enhances the retail experience. 
  • Jordan Small assumes the expanded role of vice president of Delivery and Post Office Operations, reporting to SVP of Operations Bill Galligan. Small will manage the day-to-day operation of our more than 36,000 Post Offices, stations, and branches.

According to Gizmodo , "Barnes and Noble may be plotting their own e-Reader device."

The Madison Daily Leader's publisher has noted that "Postmaster General John E. Potter has asked Congress for the flexibility of cutting one day of home delivery each week, from six days to five. It would be a drastic move that would clearly harm America's economy and quality of life. Reducing service by such a drastic amount would be very harmful. We don't think Potter's request will be approved, but we will continue to be concerned because it's now in public debate. We believe that such a harmful reduction in service should only be considered as a desperate last resort."

Press Release: "The Prescott Report provides commentary, analysis, news and advice on privacy, data protection, postal and marketing law and successes related to direct and interactive marketing from around the world, all brought to you by one of the most experienced international professionals in the direct marketing world. COMING SOON The marketers' guide to the opt-in/opt-out laws and self-regulatory requirements for e-mail, phone and fax for over 30 major markets. An easy-to-use, find-at-a-glance book of answers designed for non-lawyers. Special Limited Time Offer! For a very limited time The Prescott Report will  provide three months' complimentary subscriptions to its inaugural subscribers. Inaugural subscribers will be eligible for a special subscription rate of USD 220.  Subscribers will be invoiced. Subscriptions may be canceled at any time by email, phone, or postal communication to us at the contact points set out at Contact Us . The Prescott Report is published monthly.

As Wendy Lurrie , President of G2's direct and digital group, told Brandweek, "Direct mail volume has been way down largely because of the credit card marketers whowere such an enormous source of it and they cut back dramatically and then a lot of the publishers also cut back. I actually think there is an opportunity to break through with direct mail again. Clutter is much more in the online world and suddenly I have clients—I was on the phone with one yesterday, a pharmaceutical marketer that's using is primarily for online—asked if they could do some direct mail again. I'm also hearing that from CPGs. The corrollary is if you want to send a message in the workplace, sending an e-mail probably isn't the way anymore because there's so much clutter. I've actually had some clients doing employee-based marketing and I said you know what, do a desk drop, use these old techniques that stand out more."

April 8, 2009

The Paypers has reported that "The 8th EPCA Payments conference in Berlin, organized by Innopay and SCC provided some extraordinary insights in the world of mobile payments. Fred Stortelers, representing Dutch NFC-based mobile payment initiative Payter revealed some valuable lessons learned from the past two years. After two years Payter found out that it is not able to compete with existing payments solutions. Incumbent methods like debit card or cash are part of consumers' daily routine, and consumers don't have to pay for it. Consumers in the Payez Mobile trial are enthusiastic, praising the system for its technical advance, coolness factor, but for sure are not willing to pay extra for it. Nor will merchants, if it does not bring additional customers to their shop. In France too, the initiative has to compete with existing payments methods and no doubt is going to lose that battle."

Reuters has reported that "Royal Mail won approval from European Union antitrust regulators on Wednesday for 1.7 billion pounds in loans from UK authorities and a scheme related to its pension deficit. The European Commission said in a statement that four state measures granted in favour of the postal incumbent Royal Mail between 2001 and 2007 were in line with EU state aid rules."

Federal Times has reported that "negotiations between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents more than 214,000 city letter carriers, are finished; both sides just agreed on a deal that allows the Postal Service to rapidly adjust delivery routes for city carriers. About 90,000 routes will be reviewed this year; the changes could take effect as early as this summer. The Postal Service reviewed about 70,000 city routes last year, and 2,400 of them were eliminated."

Advertising Age has noted that "The newspaper business and other publishers will end up using a combination of advertising, micropayments and regular subscriptions to support its content online, much the way cable TV already operates, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told newspaper executives today. But despite some hope to the contrary, especially as ad support has dropped, people will still get most of their online news free, Mr. Schmidt said. "It's very difficult to hold information back."

In a recent piece published by the Los Angeles Times, business reporter David Lazarus said he still couldn't get his hands around the idea of advertising mail as something other than a pariah. PostCom President Gene Del Polito gave him a number of things to consider in a recent email reply.

Hellmail has reported that "The Matra, the French electric car being tested by Royal Mail as it pushes steadily into more green forms of moving mail around, isn't exactly what many postal workers in the UK will be used to. It is however a nifty and relatively quiet way to get around town - and without the exhaust fumes."

Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal services TNT NV is still interested in a minority stake in the U.K.'s Royal Mail, Chief Executive Peter Bakker said Thursday."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV said on Wednesday it expected its key express delivery unit to post a positive operating income in the first quarter and said it was still eyeing a deal with Britain's Royal Mail. TNT said despite sharp declines in volumes at the unit in the first weeks of the year, the deterioration stabilised during the quarter mainly because Easter falls in the second quarter of 2009, while last year it was in the first quarter."

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

"Performance quality is very good, and the figures are good, but not sustainable enough." Claude Béglé, acting president of the board of directors at Schweizerische Post since the beginning of April, outlined the focal points of his first term of office.
"Last year was affected by the economic situation. The financial crisis shaped the second half, although this did not prevent the company from getting positive results." Estanislau da Costa, CEO of the Portuguese Correios, was certainly very modest in his comments on the results of the financial year 2008, as the Portuguese post achieved historic optimum values in terms of both EbitDA, Ebit and ROIC.
Key figures published by the Chinese regulatory authority for February prove that the global crisis is now leaving increasingly clear marks on the China Post Group.
Schweizerische Post plans to close unprofitable mini-branches.
Deutsche Post has suffered a defeat in a further legal dispute over the use of the term "post". As TNT announced last Friday, the Federal Court of Justice quashed a lawsuit by Deutsche Post against the use of the name "EP Europost". A spokeswoman for the Court confirmed that the post's appeal had been rejected.
The dispute surrounding the liberalisation of the postal market in Denmark has flared up again.
The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China will examine the redraft of the Postal Act for a second time this year.
Courier, express and parcel services in Germany are the real growth drivers of the German CEP market. This is one of the results of a fundamental research commissioned by the Federal Network Agency (abridged version at http://bundesnetzagentur.de/media/archive/15905.pdf).
The US Post is looking for new sources of income - and that in the lessthan- truckload area. A test service is set to be launched on 6 May, which will use the post's national transport network between its hubs (440 sector centres and 40 direct mail centres). The aim is to to fill up unused truck capacities between the hubs. Delivery of LTL-consignments is expected to take between one and four days.
TNT Express and the American logistics group Con-Way announced plans to link their road networks in Europe and the USA.
The Ukrainian government approved Ukrpochta's financial plan for 2009 in mid-March.
Poczta Polska plans to spend 250m euros on automation and computerisation this year - 11.1 per cent more than last year.
Rio de Janeiro is lacking postmen. Since the beginning of March customers have been standing in line in front of distribution centres in the metropolis in order to collect their own mail. According to the trade union, Rio is short around 1,000 postmen.
The economic crisis has triggered a dramatic increase in robberies on post office branches in Portugal.
FedEx will use the post for delivering smaller consignments to private addresses, not just in the USA but also, as of recently, in Canada.
Deutsche Post merged the legal departments of DHL and Deutsche Post at the beginning of April.
Sending mail for free - no problem if Daniel Giersch has his way. The senders merely have to agree to advertising being enclosed with their letters. As the »Berliner Morgenpost« (31.03) reported, the entrepreneur is looking for clients for his company P1 Privat, who must first of all register on the website www.quabb.com. Clients can then send their letters or texts to P1 by e-mail, where they are printed and sent by post to the recipients together with the advertising.   

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

The Times of Malta has reported that "Postal delivery and collections in the province of L'Aquila in Italy (zip codes – 67010 – 67199) are not possible owing to the earthquake which shook the area on Monday morning, Maltapost said. It said that the service was not expected to be resumed before at least a week."

Advertising Age has reported that:

  • Canoe, the technology consortium backed by the country's six largest cable media companies, will launch the TV industry's first national addressable advertising system next month. A long-talked about concept, national addressable advertising means a single advertiser with a single placement can simultaneously target different versions of a commercial at different demographics of cable subscribers across the entire country. The move is a major step toward a TV experience that is more internet-like.
  • One area where consumers aren't cutting back: coupon usage. Coupons.com reported a 192% increase in the value of coupons printed from its site in March, compared with a year ago. 

Graphic Arts Online has reported that "Direct Group, a fully integrated direct marketing solutions provider, announced that it has earned the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) Chain-of-Custody (COC) certification, demonstrating the company's commitment to utilizing renewable, environmentally friendly sources of direct mail paper and printing materials."

EU Business has reported that "The European Commission ruled on Wednesday that a series of measures taken by Britain in favour of postal operator Royal Mail did not breach EU state aid legistlation." See also Forbes and Reuters.

The Wilkes Barre Times-Leader has reported that "Several business owners and workers spoke out at a meeting Tuesday night, disagreeing with a mail processing study that would eliminate jobs and reassign positions at the local postal facility. A study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service supports consolidating redundant operations from the Wilkes-Barre processing facility into the Scranton facility. City Mayor Thomas Leighton said the consolidation would negatively affect local businesses. While postal officials say services will not be affected, several other members, including public officials disagree. "It seems to me there is entirely too much concentration on the internal financing of the Postal Service itself," said U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, who attended the meeting. "We just have to take a great deal of more time to analyze what that impact will be."

Metro News has reported that "U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Robert C. Byrd want the United States Postal Service to reconsider closing a facility in Charleston. Both Senators sent a joint letter to Postmaster General John Potter asking him not to close the Remote Encoding Center (REC) on Lee Street."

GovExec has reported that "Federal agencies are shaping their responses to a request by Democratic lawmakers that the Obama administration suspend the implementation of all federal pay-for-performance systems pending a review, while employee groups are lining up in support of a broad evaluation of performance management systems. Paul Weatherhead, a program manager at the U.S. Postal Service who has analyzed that agency's pay for performance system, said it would be a mistake to dismantle it during the review because data and experience would be lost."

UPS Freight, the heavy freight arm of UPS has announced it would offer door-to-door service to and from Mexico, complete with UPS customs brokerage capabilities and single invoicing for all services between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "The United States Postal Service is looking for ways to save money, and one of the plans now being discussed is to close the post office inside Cleveland Hopkins airport during the day on weekdays. USPS spokesman Victor Dubina said that it would only operate on weekends and weeknights because surveys have shown that those are the times most travelers use the post office."

According to Hellmail, "Those outside the UK and even some at home, may not fully understand the timetable of events concerning European postal deregulation and just how it has resulted in the sale of a third of the Royal Mail but with much of Europe watching the UK model fairly closely, it might be time for a recap."

DMM Advisory:  Letter-Size Booklet Standards – Update. "We will publish a final rule this week revising the mailing standards for letter-size booklets mailed at machinable and automation prices. We are postponing implementation of the new standards until September 8, 2009."

On the Postal Regulatory Commission website:

Rule:
MT2009-1 Order No. 199 - Notice and Order Concerning Market Test of Experimental Product
Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62840/Order199.doc
http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62840/Order199.pdf
Paper: Electric Vehicles for Mail Delivery: Identifying Key Issues, Michael Ravnitzky, Rutgers University, CRRI Workshop

April 7, 2009

From PR Newswire: "The U.S. Postal Service has added to its list of more than 70 environmental awards by accepting a Climate Action Champion Award. The U.S. Postal Service is one of only two organizations recognized for leadership in advancing climate policy."

The Federal Times has reported that "The Postal Service is negotiating with the National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents more than 214,000 city letter carriers. It would merge some of the routes in the city delivery networks, a move that will reduce the total number of routes but won't impact universal service. Letter carriers are delivering 4.7 pieces of mail per address today, compared with 5.9 pieces in 2000. "We're evaluating the volume of mail and making changes to routes," Potter said today in an interview, "reducing them based on the fact that there's less delivery." Potter couldn't say exactly how many routes would be affected."

  Africa News has reported that "A United States federal court in Brooklyn, New York, has sentenced three Nigerians, Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi, Anthony Friday Ehis and Kesandu Egwuonwu to varying jail terms totaling about 17 years for defrauding American victims of over $1.2 million in an advance-fee fraud scam. the joint investigation by the US Postal Service and Dutch authorities found that they used various aliases, phone numbers and e-mail addresses." 

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products, 15784–15785 [E9–7770] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Service
NOTICES
Domestic and International Product Changes: Address Management Services, etc., 15785 [E9–7733] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Market Test of ‘Collaborative Logistics' Experimental Product, 15785–15786 [E9–7765] [TEXT]  [PDF]

DMM Advisory:  May 11 Price Change – Final Mailing Standards. We posted our final mailing standards on Postal Explorer to support the May 11 Mailing Services price change. We also posted final standards for Intelligent Mail services and Move Update, in a separate notice. Among the revisions:

  • We eliminated the tray-based preparation requirement for First-Class Mail commercial (automation and nonautomation) flats. Mailers will continue to use the current mail preparation options.

  • We clarified that Standard Mail nonmachinable letters over 3.3 ounces pay nonautomation flats prices.

  • We eliminated separate mailing agent and owner Confirm subscription prices. All Confirm subscribers will the pay the same subscription price, based on service level.

  • We postponed the Move Update noncompliance charge for Standard Mail until January 4, 2010.

DMM Advisory: April DMM Update. Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date prices and mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Today we updated our mailing standards with the following changes:

Delivery Addresses on Commercial Flat-Size Mail. We adopted new address standards for Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flat-size pieces mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route prices. The changes affect where the delivery address is placed on the piece and how the address is formatted. We also revised the formatting requirements for automation and presorted First-Class Mail flats. We made these changes in 302.1.0, 302.2.0, 333.3.0, 343.3.0, 363.2.0, 373.3.0, 383.3.0, 604.5.0, and 707.3.0. 

Bound Printed Matter Mailings of Nonidentical-Weight Pieces. We revised 364.1.0, 364.2.0, 464.1.0, and 464.2.0 to simplify the postage payment and documentation standards for Bound Printed Matter. Mailers can use new PS Form 8042, Bound Printed Matter Documentation Form, when they have less than 300 nonpresorted, nonidentical-weight pieces in a mailing. The new form eliminates the need for prior authorization and multiple postage statements, and expedites the acceptance process. 

New Open and Distribute Tray Boxes. We revised 705.16.0 to add the new Express Mail and Priority Mail Open and Distribute tray boxes. Open and Distribute service allows mailers to expedite shipments of other classes of mail to destination facilities using Express Mail or Priority Mail service. The new boxes are available in two sizes, improve mail security, and help control costs. Mailers may use the boxes in lieu of sleeved trays at no additional charge. 

Labeling Lists. We revised the labeling lists to reflect changes in mail processing operations. Our next scheduled update is May 11 and includes all of the new prices and mailing standards related to the Mailing Services pricing change.

  Workday Minnesota has reported that "The nation's two biggest postal unions urged lawmakers to help the U.S. Postal Service back to a sound financial footing, through a technical legal fix involving present funding for future retirees' health care, rather than let the service cut post offices, fire workers and drop one day of mail service. "We cannot use cost-cutting measures alone to restore our financial health," Letter Carriers President William Young told the House Postal Service subcommittee on March 25. "Given the scale of the crisis before us, we need Congress to act as well."

April 6, 2009

Advertising Age has reported that "Newspapers have already lost so many opportunities: They didn't create an early but brightly lit rival to Craigslist; they didn't shore up their balance sheets for the coming storm, instead paying big dividends, buying back stock and borrowing to buy more newspapers; they didn't hike pay for the business side to attract the best to their defense; they didn't make their sites comprehensive tools and bazaars as well as news authorities; they cut budgets, certainly, but they didn't recalibrate their businesses for the day their monopolies would die." [EdNote: And are people doing some thought planning about any changes to the postal monopoly?]

PostCom has been informed that the final rule on Booklet selfmailers has not been issued, but is due this week.  We've been told that the effective date has been pushed back until September 8. 

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Domestic Mail Product, 15384–15387 [E9–7680] [TEXT] [PDF]
Postal Service
RULES
New Pricing Eligibility, Intelligent Mail, and Move Update Standards for Domestic Mailing Services and Shipping Services, 15376–15380 [E9–7569] [TEXT] [PDF]
New Standards for Domestic Mailing Services, 15380–15384 [E9–7570] [TEXT] [PDF]

The latest blog posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General's Internet site "Pushing the Envelope." The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place.  To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. Fuel Economy and the Postal Service:  A Quiz.  Two families travel the same distance each year.  Family 1 decides to trade in their vehicle averaging 25.5 miles per gallon (MPG) for one averaging 42.5 MPG.  Family 2 decides to trade in their vehicle averaging 14 MPG  for one averaging 25.5 MPG.  Which family will save more fuel? Find out and share your ideas on how the Postal Service can use fuel more efficiently on the OIG's "Pushing the Envelope" blog. You can visit Office of Inspector General's public website at:  www.uspsoig.gov.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

FedEx Express has announced the first test results of 10 state-of-the-art hybrid vehicles designed by Iveco, a leading manufacturer of commercial trucks. Over the first six months of the testing, each vehicle covered an average of 7,900 km with a 26.5% reduction in fuel consumption and a decrease in CO2 emissions of 7.5 tons when compared with a traditional vehicle.  These results were made possible by sophisticated control systems and functions such as the Stop & Start, which allows the vehicle to start in electric mode and brake with energy recovery."

A colleague from Germany has reported that due to the state of the present economy and its effects on businesses and consumers, "the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off."

The New Nation has reported that "Hamstrung by a staff shortage, the Postal Department will appoint around 900 postmen and couriers in the next four months for better service, its chief says."

The IT Jungle has reported that "Descartes Systems Group--a global logistics solutions provider that specializes in hosted, transactional, and packaged solutions--has acquired privately held Scancode Systems, a developer and integrator of carrier-compliant parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping solutions. The acquisition brings additional services--as well as 500 new members--to the extensive Descartes Global Logistics Network."

The Winchester Star has reported that "Horn blasts and petition signatures were two ways people showed their support for local postal workers, who engaged in some informational picketing Saturday at the city's main post office at 340 N. Pleasant Valley Road. Pickets held signs with slogans such as "Don't Stamp Out Our Local Economy" and "It's Not Just a Letter — It's Your Life," as the U.S. Postal Service considers consolidating local mail processing operations with those in Dulles. According to the USPS's initial study, the move could lead to a savings of $1.5 million annually."

The Kingston Daily Freeman has rightly noted that "The U.S. Postal Service -- as venerable an institution as there is in this country -- has fallen into a downward spiral: Last year it lost $2.8 billion; by 2010 that amount is expected to climb to $6 billion. There's little doubt why. "Snail mail" has been increasingly replaced by e-mail and other Internet methods of communication, like Facebook, Twitter and My Space. Business transactions, including, but not limited to, bills and payments, are more prevalent than ever on the Internet. Deliveries that once were the domain of the Postal Service are now split across a host of companies, like UPS and Federal Express. Magazine subscriptions are generally down, cutting that Postal Service volume as well. But the Postal Service continues to be a lifeline to millions of Americans, particularly those without computer access and/or those who rely on the mail carrier to provide checks, medicine and other vital items in an accurate and timely manner....If the postmaster general believes it can come up with a reliable business plan to turn the service around (and avoid its demise), losing one day is a small price for Americans to pay."

TMCNet has reported that "Royal Mail has launched a new data solution, Data SURE, to help businesses deliver more relevant and targeted marketing communications and increase sales."

Hellmail has reported that "ViaPost, which provides a postal service from users PC desktops, blasted Royal Mail today for yet another rise in the cost of postage stamps. David Bland, OBE, chairman of ViaPost and ex chairman of Postwatch said: "Today's increase in cost of a 1st and 2nd class stamps by the Royal Mail is yet another additional costs that businesses in the UK are going to have to deal with. Whilst already operating in a very tough economic environment, this price rise will cost UK businesses approximately £50 more per 1000 letters they send. For the majority of businesses who are trying to reduce their operational costs, this is not a welcomed change and demonstrates yet further, how little the Royal Mail understands its customers." [EdNote: Gee....It sounds just like an American refrain.]

ICM has reported that "The Royal Mail has increased the price of First and Second class stamps by three pence, in effect from today (6 April). The cost of a stamp for a letter weighing up to 100g will cost 39p for First class and 30p for Second class. For large letters, the price rise was slightly more with a First class large letter increasing by 9p to 61p and Second class going up by 5p to 47p. The price rises were announced in December 2008 by the Royal Mail. The postal service stated that the increases were in line with the price controls set by the regulator, Postcomm."

According to the New York Daily News, "The city is losing $150 million a year in taxes because of illegal Internet cigarette sales, officials said Sunday. Renegade Web sites allow smokers to buy cartons of cigarettes without paying the $4.25 in city and state taxes - or the 8.375% sales tax, according to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx). Weiner said he's pushing for federal legislation that would put the kibosh on Internet sales by barring the Postal Service from shipping cigarettes. UPS, DHL and FedEx already have agreed not to handle cigarettes. By banning postal shipments, Weiner said, his legislation would "dry up the source."

According to the BBC, "Postal workers who drop red rubber bands used for bundling letters in the street are being targeted by anti-litter campaigners."

Press Release: The Courier & Parcel Logistics Asia conference will provide an in-depth look at the best strategies for investment and network development in the region. Focused sessions will also highlight the tactics being deployed to maximize efficiency and reduce costs in today's challenging conditions. The program is available for your review. For further information on the conference, please call Samuel Gee on +44 1306 871209 or email samuelgee@ukintpress.com If you would like book an exhibit stand or become a sponsor please contact: Matthew Gunn on +44 1306 743744 or email mattgunn@ukintpress.com

The Daily Express has reported that "a fed-up customer is taking the Post Office to the High Court in a bid to make it shorten queuing times."

According to the Kansas City Star, "Even in the Internet age of constant e-mails, online bill pay and direct deposit, a demonstrated need exists for the U.S. Postal Service. Yet just last week, Postmaster General John Potter said he's still considering stopping delivery on Tuesday. The Postal Service should aim to cut costs before cutting a delivery day. While many companies are making difficult decisions to freeze or reduce wages, or to shrink workforces, the Postal Service plans to increase pay by 1.9 percent to all letter carriers in November. The average postal employee already earns $49,069, almost $9,000 more than the national average income."

The Associated Press has reported that "Mount Redoubt is getting under the skin of Alaska, and it's not just the irritation caused by volcanic ash. So far, Mount Redoubt's almost daily ash clouds have canceled hundreds of airline flights, reduced the number of shipments flowing through a huge FedEx cargo facility and cut shipments of fresh Alaskan seafood."

April 5, 2009

Reuters has reported that "Bids for the sale of a 30 percent stake in British state-owned postal company Royal Mail are due this month, British Business Minister Peter Mandelson said on Sunday, signalling the government is pushing ahead with the controversial sale."

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

The Times has reported that "Germany's Deutsche Post has begun detailed talks with the British government over the future of Royal Mail. John Allan, finance director at Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail firm, is heading the talks. He is the former head of logistics group Exel. In recent days, Allan and a delegation of 12 Deutsche Post managers met the advisory board of Royal Mail to discuss taking a stake in the government-owned postal-delivery service."

From Auto Satellite Radio: "The Secret to Growing your Business Fast with Direct Mail."

Dead Tree Edition has reported that "Declining mail volume, budget cuts, and equipment problems are forcing the U.S. Postal Service to rework its plans for the Flats Sequencing System. The deployment schedule for Phase I of the system has been pushed back a couple of months, while the coverage area for the 100 machines has been expanded. Those machines will go instead to about a dozen locations that will be added to Phase I, according to one source. FSS machines have been operating in Dulles, VA for a few months but failed an acceptance test recently because they were missing "throughput targets," William Galligan, USPS's senior vice president of operations, told a Mailers Technical Advisory Committee in February. Postal officials are working with the contractor, Northrop Grumman, to correct the problems and hope to resume testing later this month."

April 4, 2009

[EdNote: There's an excellent essay on "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable." It's fabulous. Not only for what it says about today's newspaper-journalism crisis, but, with a little imagination, could be saying about today's postal systems."]

According to Reuters, "Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail company, is bidding for a stake in British state-owned postal company Royal Mail along with Dutch TNT and private equity firm CVC, a German weekly reported. A team of twelve Deutsche Post managers, headed by finance chief John Allan, had met with the advisory board of Royal Mail, Welt am Sonntag reported without citing sources in a preview of a story to be published on Sunday."

Check out PostCom's weekly roundup of news about related print media.

Hellmail has reported that "Dave Ward, deputy leader of the Communications Workers Union, has written to all union branches, asking that any further revisions by Royal Mail to working practices or savings initiatives be rejected. This effectively calls a halt to moves by Royal Mail to make further changes as part of its efforts to modernise the business other than changes negotiated nationally. The move follows growing unrest over moves by Royal Mail to put two postal workers in one van and to execute deliveries using the vehicle as a mobile storage unit. Postal workers in Cambridge, a city known for its wide use of cycles, are said to be furious at the idea. The situation brings the union and Royal Mail bosses into conflict once more with calls for a return to industrial action over the part-privatisation of Royal Mail and changes to working practices."

The Peninsula has reported that "The Qatari government and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have signed an agreement to formalise the hosting of the 25th Universal Postal Congress in Doha in 2012."

The Open Press has reported that "President of Addressers (www.theaddressers.com), a Southern California Direct Marketing Company, Kent Moon commented on recent studies showing declines in direct mail, saying: "You don't need national surveys to see the reduction in direct mail a look in your own mail box will tell you that mail volume is significantly down. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for companies with needed products and services to create impact and generate response."

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

  • The Postal Service said last week it will postpone assessing the seven-cent per piece move update non-compliance penalty for Standard Mail until January 4, 2010. This week, the USPS said it is re-evaluating its non-compliance plans including the error threshold and how/what penalties will be applied. The USPS said it will not use Performance-Based Verification results to determine move update compliance for either First-Class Mail or Standard Mail until January 4, 2010.
  • USPS Senior VP Tom Day told mailers and service providers at this week's IDEAlliance Print Distribution conference that even with its dire financial situation, the Postal Service is committed to moving forward with Intelligent Mail barcode implementation. Day said the USPS' financial situation is "not a very positive story. We have a serious financial and cash flow situation," he said, noting that "at the end of this Fiscal Year we will run out of money and the only decisions will be which bills we pay, unless we get some help from Congress."
  • With little fanfare or warning, the USPS published in its Postal Bulletin a notice that it will raise the allowable error tolerance for MERLIN barcode readability verification from the current 80 percent, to 90 percent effective May 11, 2009. The Postal Service also said it will revise the mailer appeals process for mailings that fall below the tolerance.
  • The USPS this week published an advance copy of its final rule pertaining to changes in mailing standards. Some of the changes will take effect in May 2009, while others will take effect in September 2009. Some have been postponed indefinitely. The Postal Service said all changes proposed to take effect in May 2010 will be "reissued in a subsequent proposed rule."
  • This week the Postal Regulatory Commission published a congressionally-required report on the Postal Service's FY 2008 performance. It focuses on three main parts - financial condition of the Postal Service, its strategic goals, and its pricing policies. The report also examines the Postal Service's performance against established service standards.
  • The Postal Service this week filed a request to add seven products to the Mail Classification Schedule product lists. The request was in response to the Postal Regulatory Commission's ruling that six products were properly classified as postal services, but could not be authorized until a formal request was made and until formal requirements of PRC regulations were met.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission, under Order 194, recently issued a "Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Establish a Procedure for According Appropriate Confidentiality." The PRC recognizes the need to balance commercially sensitive information with the accountability and transparency under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and the rule fulfills the Commissions's responsibilities under the Act.
  • The American Postal Workers Union is supporting the Mail Protection Act (H.R. 1686) introduced in the House of Representatives last week to restrict Postal Service subcontracting.
  • PostCom Chairman Jim O'Brien, Vice Chairman Jody Berenblatt, and others recently met with Postal Service Governors to discuss important issues and renew open communication efforts.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito says the Postal Service should rethink its Business Reply Mail service.
  • PostCom Board Member and MTAC rep David Robinson and Kevin Conti present the very latest in rules and recently announced pricing for the Full-Service IMBC. They include examples where mailers are using the IMBC to drive additional value and savings in their mail centers.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito donned his thinking cap and came up with two suggestions that could provide the Postal Service with some much-needed stimulation in its search for new ideas and services.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito donned his thinking cap and came up with two suggestions that could provide the Postal Service with some much-needed stimulation in its search for new ideas and services.
  • Postal previews
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

DMM Advisory:

PostalOne! and FAST Outages. We are preparing PostalOne! release 20 to support the price change on May 11 and the test environment for the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option on May 18. We are making extensive upgrades to support the significant increase in electronic mailing information anticipated with Full Service. Two system-wide outages for PostalOne! and FAST are planned at this time: April 12, from  2 a.m. to 12 p.m. CDT; and from 10 p.m. CDT on April 25 to 10 p.m. CDT on April 26. During the outage mailers cannot access PostalOne! or submit electronic mailing documentation. Mailers including Electronic Verification System (eVS) mailers should review their file submission processes and make arrangements for these two scheduled outages.  

The outages do not affect the FAST online scheduling capability, but mailers will not be able to schedule appointments electronically using Mail.XML.  During the outages, mailers who wish to schedule appointments online must log directly into FAST through https://fast.usps.com.  Mailers scheduling electronically for the April 12th outage should schedule appointments no later than 12:00 a.m. CDT on April 12.  Mailers scheduling electronically for April 25 to April 26 should schedule appointments no later than 8:00 p.m. CDT on April 25. Mailers who need to schedule appointments with less notice must use the online application during the outages. We will make every attempt to accommodate unscheduled arrivals, but we cannot guarantee that all will be accommodated.  We will not apply ratings to appointments during the outage periods.  

We apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your support. Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 or your local FAST facility coordinator if you have questions. We will advise you of additional scheduled outages in support of the May PostalOne! release 20.

 New Business Customer Gateway. In the May PostalOne! release 20 we are redesigning the interface mailers use to access PostalOne! and the Facility Access Shipment Tracking (FAST) system. If you use PostalOne! or FAST, please remember to logon between March 30 and April 14, so we can capture your profile information and migrate it to the new Business Customer Gateway. If you use both PostalOne! and FAST, logon to PostalOne! and we can capture your profile for both systems. Testing for PostalOne! release 20 is underway. Initial testing of the Business Customer Gateway uncovered some usability and access issues that we are fixing. We will explain how to access the new Gateway in an updated version of the Full-Service Option User Access and Reports Guide which will be posted on RIBBS by April 17.

 Postal Wizard. For Full-Service mailings using the Postal Wizard, only the owner of the mailing permit will receive start-the-clock information. We will consider additional recipients in a future release, if the mail owner and mail preparer are different. For Full-Service mailings, both the owner and the preparer can receive start-the-clock information using Mail.dat as described in the Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats.

 Mail.XML Technical Specification. IDEAlliance published two updated versions (6.0-C and 6.0-D) of the Mail.XML technical specification in support the Full-Service option. We updated PostalOne! Mail.XML Technical Specification  on RIBBS to support these changes. We listed specific changes in the "Change History" section of the Specification.

On the Postal Regulatory Commission web site: MC2009-22 Notice of the United States Postal Service of Classification Change http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62829/MC2009-22%20GXG%20classif%20notice.pdf

The Business Journal has reported that FedEx Corp. has confirmed that the company has cut 1,000 jobs worldwide, including 500 in its headquarters city of Memphis, Tenn.

April 3, 2009

CNET News has reported that "Two Senators are attempting to curb unsolicited text messages with a bill to strengthen government oversight of commercial texts. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) on Thursday introduced the m-SPAM Act, which would strictly prohibit commercial text messages to wireless numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry. The bill would also give the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission more authority to regulate unwanted text messages." [EdNote: Here's a thought. Why not try sending commercial messages by mail?]

From PR Newswire: "U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter and other postal agency CEOs from around the world agree that the industry is facing tough challenges in today's economy. But Potter and other postal executives also are highlighting positive effects of the current economic situation. "The economic downturn is indeed a challenging time for postal agencies worldwide," said Potter. "On the positive side, it's the perfect time to clearly focus our priorities and look at new business opportunities." Postal representatives from nearly 90 countries are gathered this week in Berne, Switzerland, for "Impact of the Economic Crisis on Postal Activities," a high-level conference of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized agency of the United Nations that sets the rules for mail exchange between countries. As a sign of the times, Potter and several other postal leaders participated by video or online conferencing. Postal executives shared strategies to cope in the midst of declining worldwide mail volume. Potter gave a recap of the Postal Service's comprehensive strategy to ensure its long-term viability. Presented to the U.S. Congress last week, the strategy is designed to help close the budget gap created by an anticipated reduction in mail volume to 180 billion pieces by the end of fiscal year 2009, from 212 billion pieces as recently as 2007."

The April 2, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors NAPS Legislative & Regulatory Update is now available on the NAPS web site.

Hellmail has reported that "The Polish postal service is to invest some 250 million Euros on automation and computerisation as well as a new unit in central Warsaw. The investment is an increase of 11.1 percent - more than in 2008, mostly in logistics and computerised equipment with moves to improve sorting. Staff restructuring is also expected as part of the plan to help Poczta Polska meet the demands of competition. Poczta Polska currently employs about 100 thousand people."


Press Release: "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has announced the expansion of its customer portfolio of services with the launch of FedEx International Economy® service in India."

H.R.22 -- Title: To amend chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants' health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund.
Sponsor: Rep McHugh, John M. [NY-23] (introduced 1/6/2009)  
> Cosponsors (252) <

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. unemployment rate jumped in March to the highest level since 1983 as the economy lost 663,000 jobs, threatening to keep spending subdued for months and delay any recovery. The jobless rate increased to 8.5 percent from 8.1 percent in February, a Labor Department report showed in Washington -- consistent with the forecasts of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Employers have cut a total of about 5.1 million posts since the recession began, the biggest slump in the postwar era." [EdNote: Not the best of news for companies involved in B2C marketing.]

MediaDailyNews has noted that "Newsstand sales among the 70 biggest magazines in America have plunged over the last decade -- from an average 22,255,382 in the second half of 2001 to 15,391,518 in the second half of 2008, per an Audit Bureau of Circulations analysis. That's a decline of 31% in just seven years, suggesting that competition from the Internet has taken a big bite out of the magazine business."

PostCom has learned that Mailing Services vice president David Shoenfeld no longer works for the Postal Service. An official announcement will be forthcoming.

According to Newsweek, "While newspapers have serious problems, the recent failures of several newspaper companies (here's a list of list of four others that have gone BK in recent months) shouldn't necessarily lead to visions of the apocalypse. Virtually every newspaper in the country has experienced a sharp drop in advertising and is suffering losses. But not every newspaper company in the country has gone bankrupt as a result. And the failures may say more about a style of capitalism than an industry. Each company was undone in large measure by really stupid (and in one case criminal) activities by managers. The newspaper companies that have failed wholesale were essentially set up to fail by inexperienced managers who believed piling huge amounts of debt on businesses whose revenues were shrinking even when the economy was growing was a shrewd means of value creation."

MediaPost has reported that "Canada's National Post newspaper began using two-dimensional (2D) bar codes this week to link newspaper articles to video and other content. The link from paper to the Web is made possible through a free downloadable mobile app for smartphones from Scanbuy, N.Y. Directions on nationalpost.com point visitors to getscanlife.com. When the camera on the phone takes a picture of the bar code, the application reads the embedded information in the code and triggers a Web browser to open, which searches the Internet for the URL and serves up the page on the phone. National Post hopes to offer advertisers a print ad service that gives consumers options to discover more information about products and services on the Web."

According to one writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, "The financial situation of the U.S. Postal Service has reached critical mass, and it has taken dramatic actions in the past several months to downsize its operations and business expenses. Unfortunately, the USPS has taken no action to deal with a postal culture that generates toxic workplace environments and an increased potential for workplace violence. Besides congressional hearings on the financial condition of the Postal Service, Congress needs to look at reforming the postal culture. More specifically, Congress needs to address and enact legislation to change the authoritarian, paramilitary, postal culture."

The Elmira Star Gazette has reported that "Electronic filing of self-prepared federal income tax returns has jumped by 20 percent this year. Given the choice of paying $12.95 or buying a stamp to mail a printout of the tax return prepared on a computer, many Americans opted to use the U.S. Postal Service."

  Hellmail has reported that:

With the economic crisis compounding problems for postal operators on top of a marked decline in stamped mail, a meeting is being held in Switzerland today to discuss the downturn and ways to fight back against other forms of communication such as the internet and email. Diversity is seen as key to strengthening postal networks and it is hoped that the meeting in Berne, hosted by the Universal Postal Union, will encourage participants to network and pick up new ideas Participants will include CEOs from international postal operators, such as Hellenic Post, TNT Post, La Poste française, Poste Italiane, United States Postal Service, Russian Post, Hongkong Post and Poste Maroc. The UPU recently reported that the results of a recent survey indicated that postal networks are increasingly trusted to further the growth of e-commerce and provide financial services.

Royal Mail has today launched a new comprehensive data solution to help businesses deliver more relevant and targeted marketing communications and increase sales. The new Data SURE™ solution allows businesses to upgrade and enhance their B2B customer databases in one complete process, enabling them to better focus resources on winning business from existing customers and identifying new, like-for-like prospects. Data SURE™ utilises several data products including a number from within Royal Mail’s existing data portfolio, such as the Business Changes File and Postal Address File, as well as information from other leading B2B data companies D&B and Experian. This unique combination improves and enhances a customer database to maximum effect quickly and cost effectively - customers pay a single fixed fee linked to the size of their database to cover a thorough initial audit, all processing, data enhancements, market profiles and new ‘best fit’ records.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Report Availability:
Postal Service Oversight ,
  15315 [E9–7529] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
 
PROPOSED RULES
Price Marking Requirements for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus Pricing ,
15226–15227 [E9–7479] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to the Financial Post, "While many Canadians were undoubtedly dismayed by the federal government’s 2009 budget and its about-face regarding the state’s role in the economy, one positive may yet result from the massive spending spree. In an effort to control ballooning deficits, the federal government has initiated a review of its “corporate assets” with an eye to privatization. Potentially up for sale are assets such as Canada Post, Via Rail and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Property such as the CN Tower and others held by Canada Lands could also be sold. The fact is Canadians would benefit tremendously from sweeping privatization of Crown assets."

Logistics Management has reported that "In a filing submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission, the United States Postal Service (USPS) said it will kick off a market test on May 6 to provide service that will resemble a less-than-truckload (LTL) network. According to the filing, the LTL-like market test cannot exceed 24 months, with total revenues not anticipated to exceed $10 million. The USPS said it will leverage its national transportation network that serves its processing facilities, which are primarily comprised of approximately 440 sectional center facilities and more than 40 bulk mailing centers. USPS does not have an asset-based transportation network, as it contracts out its over-the-road trucking business. When the service gets underway, the USPS plans to leverage excess capacity on its trucks moving to and from these facilities—due to a significant decline in its mail volumes—by selling that capacity on a “space-available” basis. It added that delivery unit loads will be on pallets, with exceptions on a case-by-case basis. And delivery times will range from one-to-four days, depending on origin and destination."

The UN News Centre has reported that "Thanks to e-commerce, the postal sector has largely been able to stave off the slump wreaked on the global economy by the current financial crisis, the United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU) said today. Postal operators, especially in the letter-post and express business segments, have been feeling the pinch, but that has been tempered by growth recorded in financial services, the agency said during a high-level gathering at its Berne, Switzerland, headquarters on the impact of the financial turmoil on the sector. Worldwide, the industry employs nearly 6 million people and operates 660,000 post offices, making it one of the largest workforces and the most vast physical distribution network."

The International News has reported that "The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Pakistan Post have signed an agreement for urgent mail service and city-to-city registered mail service."

The Associated Press has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service said Thursday it plans to close three mail-processing centers and eliminate approximately 1,490 jobs in West Virginia, Indiana and Arizona."

April 2, 2009

News about the Postal Service around the nation:

  • The Chicago Tribune has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service says it's closing three mail processing centers and eliminating approximately 1,490 jobs in West Virginia, Indiana and Arizona."
  •  WSAZ has reported that "Hundreds of people will lose their jobs later this year when the United States Postal Service closes one of its centers in Charleston. According to a spokesperson for the USPS, the Remote Encoding Center (REC) on Lee Street will close in October. The center employs 82 career employees and 252 temporary employees."
  • The News Sentinel has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service will close the Fort Wayne remote encoding center, 2980 E. Coliseum Blvd., in October, eliminating 151 full-time and 264 part-time jobs, the USPS announced today."
  • According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, "Ray Arnold, an Idahoan who flies the only backcountry air mail route remaining in the lower 48 states, has been informed by the U.S. Postal Service that the $46,000 mail contract will not be renewed after June 30 For 34 years, Arnold has delivered mail and supplies to more than 20 ranches scattered throughout the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Backcountry residents and ranch owners this week pleaded with the postal service and Idaho's congressional delegation to reverse course and restore the contract."

Ad Age MediaWorks has reported that "Magazines staring down the twin barrels of recession and digital competition, including ESPN the Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, are showing new eagerness to involve their covers with creative advertising. That's good news for marketers trying to make an impact in print, but it's also causing concern that the ads could spoil magazines' intimate relationship with readers."

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "If the current inflation trend continues, catalogers may see a postal rate increase of less than 1% in 2010, according to Dan Blair, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission."

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, it's time the Postal Service thought about the handling and pricing of Business Reply Mail as a bulk rate service. The benefits would stimulate BRM growth, while satisfying other needs as well.

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, With the Postal Service in a world of hurt, one would hope that postal executives might be more open to looking for cost-efficient, value-building alternatives to their current schedule of postal services and prices. He discusses two ideas he said that should be laid on the table.

In preparation for the launch of Intelligent Mail services in May 2009, the Postal Service is conducting a series of Webinars to answer technical questions about Intelligent Mail barcode implementation.  The next webinar is Friday April 3, 2009 from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time. To join the Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinar on your computer:
1. Go to: https://uspostal.webex.com/
2. Click on the Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinar URL next to the date.
3. Input your First and Last name, and email address.
4. Click Submit.
5. The audio for this presentation is going to stream through your computer speakers rather than through the phone line. Please make sure the volume is turned up on your computer and test your speakers prior to the meeting. NOTE: For those who do not have access to a computer for this Webinar or do not have computer speakers, you can listen to audio only by dialing this teleconference number: 1-866-699-3239, please submit the event id number 663 345 693 and press ##

From PR Newswire: "Businesses large and small will find tools for success by attending the National Postal Forum, May 17-20, in Washington, D.C. For the first time, the Forum is offering a stand-alone seminar dedicated to the needs of small business owners looking to grow their business globally using the mail. Small business owners can attend a special session on Sunday, May 17, specially priced at $89. "Grow Your Business -- A Small Business Perspective on How to Compete in the Emerging Marketplace" provides the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs at the Forum's opening reception and tour the National Postal Forum Exhibit Hall -- without having to miss a day of work. For more information and to register, go to npf.org or call 703-218-5015."

DMM Advisory:  May 11 Price Change – Final Mailing Standards. We posted our final mailing standards on Postal Explorer to support the May 11 Mailing Services price change. We also posted final standards for Intelligent Mail services and Move Update, in a separate notice. Among the revisions:

  • We eliminated the tray-based preparation requirement for First-Class Mail comercial (automation and nonautomation) flats. Mailers will continue to use the current mail preparation options.
  • We clarified that Standard Mail nonmachinable letters over 3.3 ounces pay nonautomation flats prices.
  • We eliminated separate mailing agent and owner Confirm subscription prices. All Confirm subscribers will the pay the same subscription price, based on service level.
  • We postponed the Move Update noncompliance charge for Standard Mail until January 4, 2010.

Don’t forget, you can find all of the new prices, postage statements, downloadable price files, and other information to help you prepare for the pricing change at usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm.

Letter-Size Booklet and Folded Self-Mailer Standards – Update. We will publish a final rule revising mailing standards for letter-size booklets next week. This is an advance notice that we are postponing implementation of the new standards until September 2009. Also, current standards for folded self-mailers will remain in effect and we will continue to work with the mailing community to test various folded self-mailer designs. We will publish recommendations regarding folded self-mailers in September 2009. An additional proposed rule for folded self-mailers will be published upon completion of the test of mailer-supplied sample pieces.


A MESSAGE TO ALL POSTCOM MEMBERS FROM THE CHAIRMAN

"PostCom Chairman Jim O'Brien and PostCom Vice Chairman Jody Berenblatt joined members of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors for a meeting this past Tuesday on issues that were of mutual interest and concern. Also attending was PostCom Board of Directors members John Campo, Hamilton Davison, and Vincent Giuliano as well as representatives from other key mail-related associations.

"Carolyn Gallagher, Chairman of the Postal Service's Board of Governors stressed the importance for postal management to work closely with the business mailing community to improve the quality of services provided to the nation's postal users, and to help lead the Postal Service out of its present economic doldrums. She made it clear that the Governors themselves were willing to listen and learn from the Postal Service's customers.

"There were several topics that were raised by PostCom and were discussed during the meeting. They included:

• The perils associated with the filing of any exigency rate case.
• The threat posed to the nation's universal mail delivery system by efforts at the state and local levels to impose "do not mail" restrictions on mail advertising and marketing.
• The adverse impacts of the shifting of costs from the Postal Service to mailers through needlessly restrictive and punitive mail regulations.
• The benefits and the costs and other burdens associated with the Postal Service's rapid implementation of its intelligent mail program.
• The industry's support for congressional efforts to provide some relief to the Postal Service regarding its PAEA-imposed payments for postal employee health retirement benefits.
• The need to plan carefully regarding any reduction in days of mail delivery to ensure no real degradation in the provision of reliable and affordable universal mail service.
• The importance of worksharing to the postal system as a means for improving mail service quality and cost efficiency.

"According to PostCom Chairman Jim O'Brien, the meeting was an excellent start to a renewed effort to maintain open lines of communication between business mail users and the nation's foremost postal policy makers. It's an effort to which he pledged PostCom's continuing support."

PRWeek has reported that "As a Labour revolt gathers momentum, Burson-Marsteller is attempting to distance Dutch postal firm TNT from criticism surrounding its bid for a stake in Royal Mail.   The agency is charged with helping keep TNT out of the crossfire, as Labour MPs rebel against Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's plan to sell a 30 per cent stake in the postal operator.  More than 140 Labour MPs are opposed to the part-privatisation plan."

Network Computing has reported that "India Post has announced that it will start collecting government stamp duty through 21 post offices in the Mumbai circle. The technology for evidencing stamp duty payment is provided by Pitney Bowes, a mail stream and document management company.  The tamper-proof Pitney Bowes solution will help in secured evidencing of payments. Retrieval of information regarding date, time and purpose, value of the stamp duty will be possible in real-time, at the push of a button. Additionally, with this feature, India Post will be able to make available stamp paper of the exact amount in a single sheet, thereby reducing considerable expense and wastage of paper."

From today's Federal Register:

Postal Service
 
RULES
International Inbound Registered Mail Procedures,
14932–14933 [E9–7373] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to the City Journal, "With proposals to nationalize or heavily subsidize various segments of our economy more in vogue than ever, it was probably only a matter of time before someone suggested that America’s media marketplace should be brought into the government fold. John Nichols of The Nation and the prolific neo-Marxist media theorist Robert W. McChesney have now provided the road map for media’s march to serfdom. The cost to the American taxpayer would be at least $60 billion, but the cost for the First Amendment and our democracy would be incalculable."

The Mail Moves America coalition today expressed disappointment in the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ vote of recommendation yesterday for a resolution calling for the creation of a Do Not Mail program. The resolution was widely opposed by labor unions and workers because of the harmful impact that a Do Not Mail program would have on jobs and the economy. Advertising mail plays a critical role in the California economy. More than 400,000 Californians have jobs that are directly or indirectly made possible by advertising mail. In 2008, more than 22,000 small businesses in California relied on advertising mail to support their businesses, and advertising mail brought almost $97 billion in increased sales to California’s economy. Advertising mail is also an environmentally responsible way to advertise.

April 1, 2009 

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

Last year Schweizerische Post achieved a 3% increase in turnover (8.98bn CHF) accompanied by an 84m CHF drop in profit (825m CHF; -9.2%).
A recent decision by Austria’s administrative court could severely affect the current practice of granting discounts in the mail segment.
Hamburg-based publishing group Bauer intends to give Deutsche Post more competition in the field of so-called Infopost.
In a hearing before the US Congress, Postmaster General Potter painted a dramatic picture of the US post’s present financial situation.
Schweizerische Post is going to bear the VAT due on letters weighing over 50 grams from 1 July.
The National Association of Postal Supervisors has somewhat different ideas than the management of the U.S. Postal Service on how the company could deal with the red figures.
The Christian branch of unionised postal workers in Austria wants the number of post offices in the country to be laid down in law.
A Belgian consumer protection organisation says La Poste’s postal agencies are no real alternative to traditional post offices.
The Irish regulatory authority’s official probe into performance quality and transmission times at An Post has revealed unflattering results.
FedEx has increased the political pressure connected with the conflict around union membership for its employees.
GeoPost, the express parcel holding company of the French La Poste, has increased its stake in the Spanish CEP operator Seur.
The mail and express market in Lithuania grew by 17.2 per cent in 2008.
Following complaints by TNT Post and the Mail Competition Forum, Postcomm has now launched an investigation into Royal Mail’s pricing policy.
The Committee to Save Mail Carriers held a protest rally in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Sunday.
New Zealand plans to closely scrutinise bonus payments by state-owned enterprises.

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

The Consumer Postal Council has said in its international postal update that "the recession is leaving national posts gasping for air."

According to Internet Retailer, "Like other shippers dealing with high package volumes and limited delivery windows, including footwear retailer Zappos.com Inc. and start-up deal-of-the-day retailer UWantSavings.com, BuySeasons has chosen to assign all or nearly all of its shipments to a single carrier to get maximum shipping service levels at the lowest overall rates. UPS ships 98% of BuySeasons’ orders; the other 2% are handled by the U.S. Postal Service for a limited number of residential addresses and by FedEx Corp. for deliveries to wholesale clients who already use FedEx."

According to The American Interest, "As with many failed and failing government organizations, the team that got you into a mess isn’t likely to be the team that gets you out. The USPS needs to be torn down to the studs and re-invented. The Obama Administration and Congress must practice what Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter termed “creative destruction” in order to save the USPS from itself. Here is what to do, and the order in which to do it."


* MFSA
*
Washington, DC
*
Registration Now Open

*
EARLY BIRD DEADLINE APRIL12!

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., is pleased that a jury In the Superior Court of the State of Washington for King County affirmed in a verdict that FedEx Ground single work area contractors operating in the state are independent business owners and not employees.

It is 46 days and counting until the beginning of the 2009 National Postal Forum on May 17 in Washington, DC.  As always,  the program is packed with leading experts and cutting-edge strategies to help businesses – large and small – get the most out of the mail.   I am especially excited this year about the first time, standalone seminar being offered on Sunday, May 17, dedicated to the needs of small-business owners.  "Grow Your Business - A Small Business Perspective on How to Compete in the Emerging Marketplace" provides small- and mid-size businesses with the   tools they need to grow their business globally using the mail – all this at the special price of $89.  The attached press release going to the media tomorrow   provides detailed information about this exciting new session.   For those of you who have not registered for the Forum, remember Friday, April 3, is the deadline to receive an early bird discount price of $900 on full registration to the Forum, which includes Sunday's new seminar on small business . . . and don't forget as MTAC members you receive a $100 discount. 

From the Postal Regulatory Commission web site:

Rule: Daily listing MT2009-1 Notice of the United States Postal Service of Market Test of Experimental Product. Collaborative Logistics Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62808/Notice%20Collab%20Log%20Mkt%20Test.pdf

FedEx Express was ranked 19th on the list based on its exceptional commitment to both its customers and its staff, making it the highest-placed express transportation company.  The ranking takes into account quality, reliability and distinction, proving the strength of the FedEx Express brand and brand values.  FedEx Express was chosen following a selection process which included interviewing an independent and voluntary council of experts and more than 1,500 business professionals, the latter surveyed by research agency YouGov.

You can find a copy of the UK's Postal Service's Bill Report on the UK Parliament web site. The issuing committee concluded its report by saying: "The Committee is left with the conclusion that either the Government has not fully thought through its position about future share sales, or that it has done so and is refusing to reveal its hand."

The Rapid City Journal has told its readers that "While the postal service isn’t supported through taxpayer subsidies, they still need Congressional approval to change their business model. We would urge our delegation to act quickly in support of the Postmaster Generals request and give the failing business a chance to fix itself. Taxpayers won’t, and shouldn’t, tolerate another Congressional bailout and the postal service has indicated it’s ready to take steps to cut costs and stop the bleeding."

Logistics Manager has reported that "Deutsche Post DHL has chosen Quintiq, the supplier of planning & scheduling systems,to take part in its SmartTruck pilot project. Other project partners include the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the German Aerospace Agency, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Motorola. Quintiq’s Pick-up & Delivery planning system optimises routes and ensures that available vehicle capacity is used to the maximum. It has a dynamic planning capability, enabling it to relay ad hoc pick-ups to vehicles in real time while they are in transit. In doing so, the system takes journey times, customer service, workloads, cargo capacities and processing time into account. Unutilised capacities can be identified at a glance and can be used immediately."

The Mirror has reported that "The Royal Mail sell-off was slammed as a dodgy deal by MPs yesterday. A scathing report claimed Peter Mandelson's partprivatisation plan was a poor bargain for taxpayers. It also accused the Business Secretary of covering up his true intentions for the service." See also the Financial Times, The Telegraph, and the Glasgow Daily Record.

Mail Moves America has reported that "the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed, on a 9-2 vote, the non-binding resolution calling on Congress (this was an amendment to the resolution made following last week's hearing) and the California legislature to adopt a Do Not Mail registry.  The resolution will be sent to the Mayor for his signature or veto.  If he signs it, then it is his responsibility to communicate the resolution to the appropriate recipients in Congress and in the California legislature."  See also FoxBusiness and the Postalnews Blog.