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Postal News from May 2009:

May 31, 2009

The New York Times has a piece with a brief biographical sketch of the man who was the original "H" in DHL.

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. and Cuba have agreed to resume migration and postal talks, according to a State Department official who briefed reporters." See also the New York Times and USA Today.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Final Audit Report PRC Travel Policy And Practices Audit Report 0901A02 May 26, 2009. This report represents the results of a self-initiated audit of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) travel expenses.

The Galveston Daily News has reported that "About 300 San Leon residents no longer will be able to pick up their mail from the post office on Bayshore Drive. The U.S. Postal Service ended its contract with the independent post office Saturday. Dave Lewin, a spokesman for the regional operations of the postal service, said the post office at 902 East Bayshore Drive had been subsidized to provide 300 post office boxes. Mail delivery in the area is handled by a rural mail carrier not affiliated with the privately run post office. Budget cuts at the postal service meant the San Leon branch could no longer operate as an official U.S. Postal Service operation."

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has reported that "A pair of recent studies by Virginia-based media research firm Borrell Associates and New York direct marketing consulting company Winterberry Group indicated that mass direct mail — the catalogs, postcards, fliers and assorted other sales come-ons delivered daily by your postal carrier — is being edged aside by more direct marketing efforts. According to Borrell numbers, direct mail spending by marketers is expected to drop from $49.7 billion in 2008 to $29.8 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, e-mail advertising by small local businesses is expected to grow from $848 million last year to $2 billion in 2013. ccording to officials at the two companies, while direct mail may be falling out of favor, the growth in "narrowcast" marketing that targets individuals instead of a shotgun approach is where they see business opportunity. "The demise of direct mail may be greatly exaggerated," said Kevin Horey, Xerox manager of production products marketing. "If you can do more targeted to the right audience ... your rate of (consumer) response becomes much higher. It's an opportunity for more printing."

The First Post has reported that "The Government will have breathed a sigh of relief after Labour and Conservative peers rejected an amendment from Lord Clarke of Hampstead to kill the Royal Mail privatisation bill. The amendment was defeated by 228 votes to 25 in the end, a resounding government majority of 203. The bill has been tabled by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, and paves the way for as much as 49 per cent of Royal Mail to be sold off. The bill is expected to pass through the Lords in late May and then be presented to the Commons in June, in what promises to be a controversial passage. Many MPs, the majority of them Labour, have signed a Commons motion stating that Royal Mail should remain public, although Lord Mandelson has said "our goal is to put a publicly-owned Royal Mail on a clear and swift path to modernisation and, in so doing, to secure the future of the universal postal service."

According to the Financial Mail, "Private equity firm CVC has tabled a £2bn offer to buy a 30% stake in Royal Mail as part of a controversial sale process to be voted on by MPs next week. The offer from CVC, which has stakes in the Danish and Belgian postal services, is believed to be more favourable than a rival plan proposed by Holland's TNT." See also Reuters.

As Hellmail put it: "The subject of falling mail volume comes up time and time again in quarterly results for postal operators throughout Europe. Whilst unwelcome if you're in the mail business, it comes as little suprise either. We are after all, experiencing a rapid acceleration in digital communications and paper mail is no longer seen as the first choice when it comes to the movement of time-critical information....This global obcession with techno-wizardry is making permanent employment a thing of the past. To keep postal services as they are, we'd all need to go back to two TV channels and a much slower pace of life altogether but quite honestly I don't see much chance of that."

"CVC Capital Partners has proposed paying just under £2bn for a 30pc stake in Royal Mail, ahead of a rival offer from TNT, the Dutch postal group, but far short of the Government's original target, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt." See also The Telegraph on the Royal Mail's make or break moment.

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Discover Financial Services 2500 Lake Cook Road Riverwoods, IL 60015-1838
Contact: Nicholas Wolf, Project Manager, Postal Affairs

May 30, 2009

Round-Up On Non-Postal Media:

According to the New Zealand Herald, "Almost two-thirds - $58 million - of the money given up by the print and broadcasting media has gone to the internet."
Around The Net In Media has reported that "U.S. publishers are betting they can boost revenue by getting readers to fork over a few more quarters for their newspapers. But experts advise caution. Raising prices too far may carry unintended consequences, including driving more readers to free news Web sites." [EdNote: Isn't there a postal corollary that can be noted?]
In his contribution to the Washington Post, Nikos Konstandaras, managing editor and a columnist of Kathimerini, the leading Greek morning daily, wrote: "It appears almost certain that paper will not figure in the future of newspapers. The logic is indisputable: newspapers are hugely expensive, demanding great investment in editorial salaries and services, printing plants and distribution networks; their revenues come from sales (newsstands and subscriptions), advertising and support/subsidies from various other sources, whether private or public. If newspapers go electronic, only the editorial costs need be maintained, with production and distribution costs disappearing overnight; this need not disrupt any of the revenue sources, although so far these are much smaller with regard to print editions' sliding revenues. So the future is electronic."
According to the Los Angeles Times, "Over the last three years, American newspapers alone have lost 40% of their classified advertising -- $7 billion worth -- to free Internet sites such as Craigslist. Over that same period, display advertising sales have dropped by a quarter, which amounts to an additional $12 billion each year. Although it's true that newspapers' own online advertising has grown significantly in percentage terms over those 36 months, the annual increase actually amounts to just $445 million, according to the Associated Press. You don't need a CFO -- or even a calculator -- to know where all this is heading." [EdNote: Same, same with the Postal Service. The usps.com web site got re-engineered. Core mail products didn't. Interest in the web site went up; interest in core mail services went down.]
As the Arizona Republic has noted, "with postal costs having climbed about 30 percent during the past decade and with people paying more attention to electronic mail than paper, the direct-mail industry is undergoing a transformation. The deep recession has only exacerbated a two-year decline in business. The amount of money spent on direct mail in this country fell about 3 percent in 2008 and is expected to sink another 9 percent to 10 percent this year, to $51.8 billion, said the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group, and the Winterberry Group, a consulting company. Both are based in New York....The drop in direct mail also hurts the U.S. Postal Service....Non-profits, which have often used mass mailings to find new members and donations, or to notify people about fundraisers or other events, are changing, too."
Borrell Associates has written: "We’ve had lots of questions about our numbers for email advertising — $12 billion – being wildly higher than other tracking companies’ numbers. For instance, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, through Price Waterhouse, is reporting less than $500 million for e-mail. Are we nuts?! In the legacy media world, it’s very easy to track advertising expenditures. We track spending, not revenues. The amount advertisers are spending is truly stunning, and much larger than most people imagine. Those who understand the true breadth of opportunity are more likely (in my humble opinion) to get a larger share than those who underestimate it."
Editor & Publisher has reported that "MediaNews Group is preparing to put its "Individuated News" personalized newspaper to the test in real homes in Denver next week. Peter Vandevanter, vice president of targeted products for MediaNews Group, told the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) "The Power of Print Conference" that the subscribers will get home delivery of a printed paper, through home printers or portable devices, with content personalized to their demands and including hyper-targeted advertising and coupon offers." [EdNote: Sort of like an Earthclass Mail for newspapers. The Postal Service should really look into something like this as a value-added option. But look into it by partnering with the private sector--not competing.]
Here's a crazy idea for the U.S. Postal Service to consider.

The Daily Record has reported that "The Postal Service is investigating why 2,600 pieces of campaign literature from Democratic primary mayoral candidate Tim Dougherty's campaign was not delivered Friday, Dougherty said. Dougherty said the campaign fliers were dropped off Thursday afternoon at the regional postal center in Kearny. He said he has learned they arrived at the Ridgedale Avenue Post Office in Morristown where a supervisor signed for them at 5 a.m. Friday. The fliers should have gone out to homes on Friday but didn't, he said."

The Des Moines Register has reported that "City officials adopted an address system several years ago that divided the city into four parts, with Hickman Road and Warrior Lane as boundaries. Residents in three of the quadrants were to add a prefix — N.E., S.E. or N. — to their addresses. That system was never fully implemented, and Dallas County does not recognize the prefixes as part of the official addresses. Under a measure that goes to a vote Monday, the U.S. Postal Service will recognize all addresses for one year. Only the addresses with directional prefixes will be recognized after that."

According to the New York Times, "When the Postal Service began scouring the map to help close a potential $6.5 billion budget deficit, an auditor’s eye settled on central Idaho. The agency had been spending $46,000 a year for a challenging small-plane route that served about 20 addresses secluded in the roadless wilderness of the northern Rocky Mountains....John E. Potter, the postmaster general, began getting calls, letters and e-mail messages from the owners of ranches on the river. People showed up on Capitol Hill in rafting sandals and cowboy boots. Then, just before Mr. Potter was about to face a conference call with the four members of Idaho’s Congressional delegation, he decided that the high-flying weekly route through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, in place for more than half a century and the last air route into a wilderness area in the continental United States, should best be left as is. “We considered other alternatives, including surface routes,” Mr. Potter wrote in a letter to Representative Walt Minnick, Democrat of Idaho, “and determined that none would provide acceptable service levels to us or our customers. Therefore, I have decided that in view of the obligation to provide service to the American public, this contract should continue in its present form.”

DMM Advisory:  Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update

  • PostalOne! Release 22We will deploy PostalOne! release 22 in November to support the Intelligent Mail Full-Service pricing incentives. Release 22 also provides improved solutions for copalletization and will allow mailers to provide electronic documentation and retrieve Mailer IDs, Customer Registration IDs, and Full-Service feedback using Mail.XML.

  • On RIBBS we updated the Postal Service Mail.dat Technical Specification, the Postal Service Mail.XML Technical Specification and the Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats to reflect the November changes. Please provide feedback by June 5 via e-mail to imb@usps.gov. We will evaluate your feedback and revise the specifications for reposting on June 12. The revised Postal Service Mail.XML Technical Specification includes drafts of the Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) files and error codes for the new Mail.XML messages supported in the November release. Customers can provide feedback on the WSDL and error codes within the Mail.XML specifications until June 19. A final version of the Mail.XML specification will be published on June 26.

  • Full Service Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) – Mailers must complete the test process before submitting Full Service mailings. We published an updated version of our Checklist on RIBBS to help mailers prepare electronic documentation and migrate to the Full-Service option. The checklist provides step-by-step tasks and accompanying worksheets for data set-up requests. Steps include using the Guides to construct Intelligent Mail barcodes and electronic documentation, making plans for feedback, establishing access to the Business Customer Gateway, designing and validating barcodes, and testing electronic documentation. The updated checklist includes test scenarios for mailers to complete in the TEM.

  • PostalOne! Production Issues  Wednesday, May 27th and Thursday May 28th, customers experienced delayed processing of 08-1 and 08-2 Mail.dat jobs submitted to the legacy environment and had to resubmit jobs after a restart of the PostalOne! upload server. This issue was related to database performance against large tables that are partitioned by month and grow very large toward the end of a month. A database parameter will be adjusted this Sunday, May 31st to optimize database performance. In addition, a daily maintenance job is scheduled to analyze and optimize database access of these larges tables as a preventive measure for end of month volumes in future months. This database maintenance job was completed approximately 12:30 PM CDT to resolve today's Mail.dat backlog.

  •  A second issue was reported last week and has been identified as a problem with PostalOne! Release 20 deployed on May 11th. This issue only impacted mailers who are using the legacy Mail.dat 08-1/08-2 "batch processor" capability. When submitting files through the batch processor, a small percentage (1to 2 percent) of the jobs failed user authentication, resulting in the job not being uploaded. No error message was returned to the batch processor when this occurred and mailers were required to use metrics search to confirm and identify jobs that needed to be resubmitted. An application fix has been deployed to correct this problem and tested in the CAT environment. This fix will become active once PostalOne! is restarted during the system maintenance window this Sunday. 

  • Software Upgrades for Full-Service Option – We will deploy a software upgrade for Full-Service on June 7, in PostalOne! Release 20.0.1. We explain the functions supported in this upgrade in PostalOne! Release Notes on RIBBS, under “Intelligent Mail Services,” then “Guides.”

  • Assistance – Please call the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions or problems accessing the Business Customer Gateway or your accounts, or submitting electronic documentation.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

May 29, 2009


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

  • The USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) this week released its report on the USPS’ Intelligent Mail/Seamless Acceptance Project Management. The OIG found the USPS’ management of its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb)/Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) systems to be lacking. It said the USPS’ “project plan did not have a strategic focus on the value of the project to the Postal Service and the related financial implications.” The OIG also said that the Postal Service’s “project administration activities were insufficient, and communications, risk management, and procurement plans were not developed.” “The Postal Service is at risk of project delays and cost overruns, and in fact, the project has already been significantly delayed,” it reported.
  • According to one writer for the Wall Street Journal, the principles of running a business and operating in politics are antithetical. The points raised should cause some reflection on today's postal debates.
  • According to Dead Tree Edition, "By shifting some mail handling from the Bronx to Manhattan recently, the U.S. Postal Service did an end run around union opposition and Congressional interference. Postal officials are increasingly using similar tactics around the country to bring about much-needed consolidation of their dropship network without stirring up local opposition."
  • According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, the times are a'changin'. It's time for the Postal Service to recognize, accept, and embrace the change.
  • The USPS has provided PostCom with the following response to a frequently asked summer sale question. "A mailing will have to have been verified and paid for by September 30 to fall within the the Summer Sale time period necessary to qualify that volume toward the discount." After an investigation done by CNN, which revealed some loopholes in the Postal Service's policy regarding employee relocation, the U.S. Postal Service has set a limit of $800,000 on postal executive home relocation assistance. The leadership of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States and the National League of Postmasters have castigated the Postmaster General for his recent decision to deny official leave for postmasters who wish to attend their organization's national convention. The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to partner with a supplier who has national distribution and warehousing capabilities to introduce a range of greeting card formats to be sold at postal retail locations. The Postal Service will start running an ad campaign that touts a flat-rate shipping fee for its Priority Mail service. The online portion of the ad effort includes a "virtual box simulator" on the prioritymail.com site. According to Rasmussen Reports, "seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that the price of a first class postage stamp will be $1 or more within the next 10 years. Forty-six percent (46%) say it's Very Likely. Younger Americans are more likely to expect a big jump in the price of a stamp than their elders. Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, and The Dallas Morning News, the flagship subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation, has announced a powerful, innovative alliance that changes the way advertisers reach households in the Dallas-Ft. Worth designated market area. Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., whose political action committee has given more money to federal lawmakers than any other company over two decades, is a major beneficiary of legislation approved by the U.S. House that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The Swiss post office, La Poste, has had its profits trimmed largely due to the greater competition it faces as well as a drop in revenues from declining mail volumes. The Kenyan newspaper, The Nation, has reported that Postmaster General Fred Odhiambo has been removed from office. Officials at the Kenyan post office have been under severe criticism over the management of the post's money transfer system, PostaPay. Channel Island postal services provider Jersey Post is one of the latest organizations in the postal sector to roll out a mobile solution offering real-time proof of delivery management and track and trace capabilities. A unique service of providing Proof of Address Card is being rolled out by India Post. Sending mail overseas will soon be more expensive. New Zealand Post says it is raising prices from July 7 after seven years of holding them in the face of increasing costs. Postal Services chief executive Peter Fenton today said the price increases were largely driven by what overseas postal organisations charged NZ Post to deliver mail in other countries. Postal firms are being urged to offer logistics services for rural areas. The Royal Mail has launched a new tamper-proof stamp in a bid to stop people peeling off old ones and re-using them. Postea Inc. announces that Singapore Post will license Postea’s suite of hardware and software technology. Postea develops and operates companies which provide technology and support to the postal, courier and logistics markets.
  • PostCom Welcomes Production Solutions as a new member.
  • 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.

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Hellmail has reported that "New figures which form part of Royal Mail's annual customer quality of service report, reveal that it met mail targets for the 2009-09 financial year."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Seeking to marry a ubiquitous device with a time-tested marketing technique in a sour economy, Unilever plans to begin a trial run Sunday of a new technology that lets consumers redeem digital coupons by having a supermarket cashier scan their cellphones."

ICIS has reported that "legislation being pushed by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) to end monopoly exemptions for US railroads is on track, say its proponents, but it could be rolled into a broader rail regulation reform bill. The ACC is part of Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) - a group of rail shippers that is spearheading a drive to remove antitrust exemptions for the railroads. The group says the current exemptions give the railroads monopoly pricing power at the expense of "captive shippers," which are served by only one railroad." Hmmmm.........

As part of the GM bankruptcy reorganization, the auto manufacturer's union will take on an ownership stake, which means it will have to do things to improve productivity and profitability that it might ordinarily might not choose to do. In addition, the union had to agree to a trimming of the benefits provided to retired auto workers. Hmmm...........

The Daily Nation has reported that "The Postal Corporation of Kenya has a new Postmaster General. Mrs Ado Alkama, the Human Resources general manager at Posta, has been appointed to the position in an acting capacity."

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, it's time the Postal Service woke up and smelled the coffee.

The Lexington Institute will be holding a briefing on its study “Third-Party Logistics: Keeping America’s Economy Moving.”  Wednesday, June 3, 2009 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 2168 Rayburn House Office Building. Buffet lunch will be served (Gold Room). RSVP is needed.

MORE NEWS ON THE SUMMER SALE:   The USPS has provided PostCom with the following response to a frequently asked summer sale question.  "A mailing will have to have been verified and paid for by September 30 to fall within the the Summer Sale time period necessary to qualify that volume toward the discount."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "the Australian government has been embarrassed by the discovery that it sent cash hand-outs aimed at stimulating the economy to thousands of deceased people, despite the fact that deceased suppression is available in the country. Local media have dubbed the recipients ‘the grateful dead’. Deceased suppression is available in Australia via the Australian DMA’s Do Not Mail File, on which deceased persons are flagged."

Online Media Daily has noted that "If only as a developer preview, Google on Thursday revealed what it's billing as "the email of the future." Google Wave, which is expected to be released later this year, will "combine conversation-type communication and collaboration-type communication."

Here are four developments that may give you some idea of where technology may be taking media ordinarily produced with ink on paper: (1) Smartbooks; (2) Plastic Logic; (3) Cool-er E-book Reader (4) Pixel Qi. Hint: Don't fear the future....Embrace it! Or at least figure out how you can make it work for you. And here's a piece from PCMag that helps illustrate the point. And here's a hint for the Postal Service: You no longer can afford to avoid embracing these technologies by developing new services your customers may want and value. Get with it! This is the 21st century. Hint Number Two: Partner with the private sector to get this re-engineering of postal services done. Don't knock your and your customers' brains out trying to compete with the private sector. Instead, cooperate, co-invent, and work together, in real partnership, to bring the nation more innovative postal solutions. (End of sermon 454-b.)

Media Daily News has reported that:

  • The numbers are in, and they are terrible: total newspaper revenues plunged 28.3% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2009 -- from $9.2 billion to $6.6 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America. This meteoric drop reflects a 29.7% drop in print revenues, which tumbled from $8.4 billion to $5.9 billion, as well as a 13.4% drop in online revenues, which sank from $804 million to $696 million. In light of the latest figures, there can no longer be any doubt that -- at least at the level of big regional dailies and national newspapers -- the newspaper business is truly in a state of collapse, beset with double-digit revenue declines across the board.

  • As the dominant players in classified advertising in the pre-Internet era, one might reasonably have expected newspapers to establish a dominant position online as well -- but just the opposite occurred, according to an April survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. The Pew study, which documents the continuing transition to free online classifieds, foreshadows more online and print losses for newspaper publishers.

As the Postalnews Blog has noted, "The US Postal Service lost an additional $381 million in April according to preliminary financial reports filed yesterday with the Postal Regulatory Commission. That brings the year to date deficit to $2.7 billion. At this point last fiscal year, the service’s net loss was just $22 million. Mail volume was down across all classes, with first class down over a billion pieces from 2008, a drop of 12.3%. Advertising volumes were down by almost a billion and a half pieces, or 17.8%. Similar declines were seen in package shipping services. Periodical volumes were off by 6.8% from the prior year. The drop in total mail volume was 14.8%, which resulted in a revenue decline of 11.9% for the month. The postal service reduced non-personnel expenses by 11.3% from April a year ago, but salaries and benefits, which account for the bulk of the agency’s costs, were down by just 4.3%. For the fiscal year to date, total expenses are down by just 3% from 2008, while total operating revenue is down 8.8%."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Intercontinental Hotel
225 Front Street West, Toronto

 

Speakers confirmed to date include:
  Tony Cioffi President and CEO,
The Reader's Digest Association (Canada)
Jacques Côté Chief Operating Officer,
Canada Post Corporation
Patrick Bartlett General Manager,
MSP Sales Channel Management
Laura Artibello President, Mailennium
Shirley Neil (Manitoba Hydro)
CGA representative
Ross McKenzie Mailing Innovations
Jim Wiseman Transcontinental Printing (RBW)
Alexis Zamkow General Manager,
Direct Marketing Data and Services


CLICK HERE TO
Register Today!

(MS-Word Document)

NAMMU is proud to present this platform for
dialogue
between Canada Post and industry.

 

Have your say at Canada's
2009 Postal Forum!

Three main themes drive discussion:
Postal economics
, infrastructure renewal,
and pricing strategies;

100 per cent deliverable mail
;
and the
huge potential of partnership initiatives
with the VAM community.

This conference delivers real value.
Don't miss out – there is a huge return on investment
for your time at this forum!

Express Buzz has reported that "In a bid to revitalise the postal network in rural areas, India Post will launch Project Arrow in 500 more post offices across different States, including Tamil Nadu. Under Project Arrow, all post offices in rural areas will have upgraded service delivery through IT enabled procedures. A steering committee and a core team have been put in place in the Ministry of Communications and IT to monitor and implement the project at all stages. The rural post offices will henceforth have a single window facility for banking, money remittance, transmission and delivery of information."

Apparently someone hit a raw nerve with the editor of Dead Tree Edition. In response, he writes: "Some have questioned my assertion yesterday that consolidation of the U.S. Postal Service’s mail-handling network is much needed. But I’m backed up by no less an authority than the Government Accountability Office, which last week reiterated its long-standing advocacy of such downsizing. Its latest report on the subject is titled “Network Rightsizing Needed to Help Keep USPS Financially Viable”.

The Hindu has reported that "The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has upheld an order of the State Commission which asked the postal department to pay compensation of Rs. 12,000 for deficiency of service."

The Telegraph has reported that "The Royal Mail has launched a new tamper-proof stamp in a bid to stop people peeling off old ones and re-using them."

From PR Newswire: "It's all in the box: the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box from the U.S. Postal Service. That's the simplicity of shipping with a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. Everything needed for a special occasion or care package to a loved one will fit perfectly in one of four different sized boxes available -- and will ship for one flat price no matter the weight or destination."

The Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported that "A deadline is looming for pilots for United Parcel Service Inc. to agree to wage and other concessions totaling $131 million through 2011. The request for concessions comes as the global recession has sapped shipping and cut into profits for Atlanta-based UPS (NYSE: UPS). UPS reported in April its first-quarter earnings fell about 56 percent to $401 million."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

May 29, 2009


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

  • The USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) this week released its report on the USPS’ Intelligent Mail/Seamless Acceptance Project Management. The OIG found the USPS’ management of its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb)/Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) systems to be lacking. It said the USPS’ “project plan did not have a strategic focus on the value of the project to the Postal Service and the related financial implications.” The OIG also said that the Postal Service’s “project administration activities were insufficient, and communications, risk management, and procurement plans were not developed.” “The Postal Service is at risk of project delays and cost overruns, and in fact, the project has already been significantly delayed,” it reported.
  • According to one writer for the Wall Street Journal, the principles of running a business and operating in politics are antithetical. The points raised should cause some reflection on today's postal debates.
  • According to Dead Tree Edition, "By shifting some mail handling from the Bronx to Manhattan recently, the U.S. Postal Service did an end run around union opposition and Congressional interference. Postal officials are increasingly using similar tactics around the country to bring about much-needed consolidation of their dropship network without stirring up local opposition."
  • According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, the times are a'changin'. It's time for the Postal Service to recognize, accept, and embrace the change.
  • The USPS has provided PostCom with the following response to a frequently asked summer sale question. "A mailing will have to have been verified and paid for by September 30 to fall within the the Summer Sale time period necessary to qualify that volume toward the discount." After an investigation done by CNN, which revealed some loopholes in the Postal Service's policy regarding employee relocation, the U.S. Postal Service has set a limit of $800,000 on postal executive home relocation assistance. The leadership of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States and the National League of Postmasters have castigated the Postmaster General for his recent decision to deny official leave for postmasters who wish to attend their organization's national convention. The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to partner with a supplier who has national distribution and warehousing capabilities to introduce a range of greeting card formats to be sold at postal retail locations. The Postal Service will start running an ad campaign that touts a flat-rate shipping fee for its Priority Mail service. The online portion of the ad effort includes a "virtual box simulator" on the prioritymail.com site. According to Rasmussen Reports, "seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that the price of a first class postage stamp will be $1 or more within the next 10 years. Forty-six percent (46%) say it's Very Likely. Younger Americans are more likely to expect a big jump in the price of a stamp than their elders. Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, and The Dallas Morning News, the flagship subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation, has announced a powerful, innovative alliance that changes the way advertisers reach households in the Dallas-Ft. Worth designated market area. Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., whose political action committee has given more money to federal lawmakers than any other company over two decades, is a major beneficiary of legislation approved by the U.S. House that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The Swiss post office, La Poste, has had its profits trimmed largely due to the greater competition it faces as well as a drop in revenues from declining mail volumes. The Kenyan newspaper, The Nation, has reported that Postmaster General Fred Odhiambo has been removed from office. Officials at the Kenyan post office have been under severe criticism over the management of the post's money transfer system, PostaPay. Channel Island postal services provider Jersey Post is one of the latest organizations in the postal sector to roll out a mobile solution offering real-time proof of delivery management and track and trace capabilities. A unique service of providing Proof of Address Card is being rolled out by India Post. Sending mail overseas will soon be more expensive. New Zealand Post says it is raising prices from July 7 after seven years of holding them in the face of increasing costs. Postal Services chief executive Peter Fenton today said the price increases were largely driven by what overseas postal organisations charged NZ Post to deliver mail in other countries. Postal firms are being urged to offer logistics services for rural areas. The Royal Mail has launched a new tamper-proof stamp in a bid to stop people peeling off old ones and re-using them. Postea Inc. announces that Singapore Post will license Postea’s suite of hardware and software technology. Postea develops and operates companies which provide technology and support to the postal, courier and logistics markets.
  • PostCom Welcomes Production Solutions as a new member.
  • 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

Hellmail has reported that "New figures which form part of Royal Mail's annual customer quality of service report, reveal that it met mail targets for the 2009-09 financial year."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Seeking to marry a ubiquitous device with a time-tested marketing technique in a sour economy, Unilever plans to begin a trial run Sunday of a new technology that lets consumers redeem digital coupons by having a supermarket cashier scan their cellphones."

ICIS has reported that "legislation being pushed by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) to end monopoly exemptions for US railroads is on track, say its proponents, but it could be rolled into a broader rail regulation reform bill. The ACC is part of Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) - a group of rail shippers that is spearheading a drive to remove antitrust exemptions for the railroads. The group says the current exemptions give the railroads monopoly pricing power at the expense of "captive shippers," which are served by only one railroad." Hmmmm.........

As part of the GM bankruptcy reorganization, the auto manufacturer's union will take on an ownership stake, which means it will have to do things to improve productivity and profitability that it might ordinarily might not choose to do. In addition, the union had to agree to a trimming of the benefits provided to retired auto workers. Hmmm...........

The Daily Nation has reported that "The Postal Corporation of Kenya has a new Postmaster General. Mrs Ado Alkama, the Human Resources general manager at Posta, has been appointed to the position in an acting capacity."

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, it's time the Postal Service woke up and smelled the coffee.

The Lexington Institute will be holding a briefing on its study “Third-Party Logistics: Keeping America’s Economy Moving.”  Wednesday, June 3, 2009 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 2168 Rayburn House Office Building. Buffet lunch will be served (Gold Room). RSVP is needed.

MORE NEWS ON THE SUMMER SALE:   The USPS has provided PostCom with the following response to a frequently asked summer sale question.  "A mailing will have to have been verified and paid for by September 30 to fall within the the Summer Sale time period necessary to qualify that volume toward the discount."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "the Australian government has been embarrassed by the discovery that it sent cash hand-outs aimed at stimulating the economy to thousands of deceased people, despite the fact that deceased suppression is available in the country. Local media have dubbed the recipients ‘the grateful dead’. Deceased suppression is available in Australia via the Australian DMA’s Do Not Mail File, on which deceased persons are flagged."

Online Media Daily has noted that "If only as a developer preview, Google on Thursday revealed what it's billing as "the email of the future." Google Wave, which is expected to be released later this year, will "combine conversation-type communication and collaboration-type communication."

Here are four developments that may give you some idea of where technology may be taking media ordinarily produced with ink on paper: (1) Smartbooks; (2) Plastic Logic; (3) Cool-er E-book Reader (4) Pixel Qi. Hint: Don't fear the future....Embrace it! Or at least figure out how you can make it work for you. And here's a piece from PCMag that helps illustrate the point. And here's a hint for the Postal Service: You no longer can afford to avoid embracing these technologies by developing new services your customers may want and value. Get with it! This is the 21st century. Hint Number Two: Partner with the private sector to get this re-engineering of postal services done. Don't knock your and your customers' brains out trying to compete with the private sector. Instead, cooperate, co-invent, and work together, in real partnership, to bring the nation more innovative postal solutions. (End of sermon 454-b.)

Media Daily News has reported that:

  • The numbers are in, and they are terrible: total newspaper revenues plunged 28.3% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2009 -- from $9.2 billion to $6.6 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America. This meteoric drop reflects a 29.7% drop in print revenues, which tumbled from $8.4 billion to $5.9 billion, as well as a 13.4% drop in online revenues, which sank from $804 million to $696 million. In light of the latest figures, there can no longer be any doubt that -- at least at the level of big regional dailies and national newspapers -- the newspaper business is truly in a state of collapse, beset with double-digit revenue declines across the board.

  • As the dominant players in classified advertising in the pre-Internet era, one might reasonably have expected newspapers to establish a dominant position online as well -- but just the opposite occurred, according to an April survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. The Pew study, which documents the continuing transition to free online classifieds, foreshadows more online and print losses for newspaper publishers.

As the Postalnews Blog has noted, "The US Postal Service lost an additional $381 million in April according to preliminary financial reports filed yesterday with the Postal Regulatory Commission. That brings the year to date deficit to $2.7 billion. At this point last fiscal year, the service’s net loss was just $22 million. Mail volume was down across all classes, with first class down over a billion pieces from 2008, a drop of 12.3%. Advertising volumes were down by almost a billion and a half pieces, or 17.8%. Similar declines were seen in package shipping services. Periodical volumes were off by 6.8% from the prior year. The drop in total mail volume was 14.8%, which resulted in a revenue decline of 11.9% for the month. The postal service reduced non-personnel expenses by 11.3% from April a year ago, but salaries and benefits, which account for the bulk of the agency’s costs, were down by just 4.3%. For the fiscal year to date, total expenses are down by just 3% from 2008, while total operating revenue is down 8.8%."

Express Buzz has reported that "In a bid to revitalise the postal network in rural areas, India Post will launch Project Arrow in 500 more post offices across different States, including Tamil Nadu. Under Project Arrow, all post offices in rural areas will have upgraded service delivery through IT enabled procedures. A steering committee and a core team have been put in place in the Ministry of Communications and IT to monitor and implement the project at all stages. The rural post offices will henceforth have a single window facility for banking, money remittance, transmission and delivery of information."

Apparently someone hit a raw nerve with the editor of Dead Tree Edition. In response, he writes: "Some have questioned my assertion yesterday that consolidation of the U.S. Postal Service’s mail-handling network is much needed. But I’m backed up by no less an authority than the Government Accountability Office, which last week reiterated its long-standing advocacy of such downsizing. Its latest report on the subject is titled “Network Rightsizing Needed to Help Keep USPS Financially Viable”.

The Hindu has reported that "The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has upheld an order of the State Commission which asked the postal department to pay compensation of Rs. 12,000 for deficiency of service."

The Telegraph has reported that "The Royal Mail has launched a new tamper-proof stamp in a bid to stop people peeling off old ones and re-using them."

From PR Newswire: "It's all in the box: the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box from the U.S. Postal Service. That's the simplicity of shipping with a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. Everything needed for a special occasion or care package to a loved one will fit perfectly in one of four different sized boxes available -- and will ship for one flat price no matter the weight or destination."

The Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported that "A deadline is looming for pilots for United Parcel Service Inc. to agree to wage and other concessions totaling $131 million through 2011. The request for concessions comes as the global recession has sapped shipping and cut into profits for Atlanta-based UPS (NYSE: UPS). UPS reported in April its first-quarter earnings fell about 56 percent to $401 million."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

May 28, 2009

The Buffalo News has reported that "An Elma businessman who devised a complex scheme to cheat the U.S. Postal Service out of $350,000 pleaded guilty to three felony charges today before District Judge Richard J. Arcara. William Toth, 42, was arrested last year after a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service. Toth pleaded guilty to money laundering, mail fraud and filing a false tax return, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said. While operating a mail services company called NETEX in the years 2004-2006, Toth invented a scheme to send packages throughout the United States without paying the full postage due, Wylegala said. She said the scheme cheated the Postal Service out of more than $350,000. He also admitted that he filed a false 2005 tax return, which understated his taxes due by $40,000."

SEEKING A SENIOR MANAGEMENT LEVEL POSITION

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Contact: mjcnac@aol.com

Media Daily News has reported that "Two more supermarket chains are introducing mobile coupon services for shoppers, marking another advance for this increasingly popular marketing channel. Tom Thumb and Randall's -- both owned by Safeway -- are currently cooperating with packaged-goods manufacturers General Mills, Unilever and Kimberly-Clark to offer shoppers 21 coupons for goods like pre-packaged tossed salad and children's cereal. Shoppers who have a loyalty card can view and select the digital coupons they want by visiting the store's Web site on their computer or mobile device. The selected coupons are registered on their loyalty account, and automatically deducted when the cashier swipes their loyalty card. The infrastructure for the system was created by Cellfire, a company specializing in mobile coupon distribution; it also handles operations and other technical issues."

Newspaper Death Watch has reported that "publishers are finally beginning a sunsetting strategy for their print editions. By driving up circulation prices, they are effectively winnowing out their low-value customers. Price increases will probably come fast and furious in the future. Each will cause circulation to fall until a new floor is reached. Expect circulation declines to quicken as more newspapers adopt the strategy." [EdNote: Sounds some days like a strategy the USPS has adopted. Increase your prices. Pass along your costs in the form of oppressive worksharing requirements, and squeeze the lifeblood out of your most important First-Class Mail customers by having the Postal Inspection Service serve them with criminal offense notices. It's a great way to show the value of doing business with you. Soooooo, who's gonna host a "Postal Service Death Watch" blog?]

As PC World has noted, "We're in a no-longer-so-new world on the Web and content producers, like newspapers and magazines, have to experiment, probably radically, to find a model that compels people to pay for their product. [EdNote: Makes you wonder when those who are responsible for the nation's postal system will awaken to a similar appreciation.]

Check out the Wall Street Journal for a peek at where newspaper, book, and magazine publishing may be heading. Hint: It isn't ink on paper.

Kahala Posts Group (KPG), an international coalition of 10 leading postal services from around the world, will hold its next CEO Board meeting at the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, Japan on July 8. The CEOs of all 10 postal services will be in attendance. A press conference will be held from 11 am to 12 noon. During the meeting the members will consider various initiatives for the development of postal products and services, as well as marketing, extension of the global postal network and new memberships in the group. Norio Kitamura, chairman and CEO of Japan Post Service Co., Ltd., will chair the meeting. Leading postal services in the Asia‐Pacific region founded KPG in 2003 to strengthen their jointly managed International Express Mail Service (EMS), aiming to ensure seamless, high‐quality, end‐to‐end reliable delivery by leveraging and integrating their networks and technology to provide transparency to customers. In addition to founding members from Australia, China, Hong Kong‐China, Japan and Korea and the United States, KPG now includes members from Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Singapore, and continues to explore opportunities for further expansion.

Computing.co.uk has reported that "Royal Mail is looking for a supplier for a £120m contract for the transformation of its web operations. The mail service wants to select a partner for systems integration and the transformation of its e-business division, providing services such as design, development, hosting and ongoing operation of all its web sites. The successful vendor will be asked to migrate from or take charge of the firm’s existing IT platforms and relationships in that area, while delivering a cost-effective model to allow the launch of new web-based products and services. The value of the five-year contract may reach £120m, according to the contract notice published on the Official Journal of the European Union. Royal Mail said in the notice that spending for the project “will be to such level as are considered necessary to provide suitable requirements” and is also subject to reviews driven by macroeconomic factors and other business priorities. Bids must be submitted by 25 June."

From Business Wire: "Postea Inc. announces that Singapore Post will license Postea’s suite of hardware and software technology. Postea develops and operates companies which provide technology and support to the postal, courier and logistics markets. Subsidiaries include Proiam LLC and Innovations Group Inc. (IGI). Innovations Group’s Retail Network and Franchise Management program is currently in deployment by the United States Postal Service."

The Wall Street Journal wants you to know "Why Government Can't Run a Business Politicians need headlines. Executives need profits. overnments are run by politicians, not businessmen. Politicians can only make political decisions, not economic ones. They are, after all, first and foremost in the re-election business. Because of the need to be re-elected, politicians are always likely to have a short-term bias. What looks good right now is more important to politicians than long-term consequences even when those consequences can be easily foreseen. And politicians tend to favor parochial interests over sound economic sense. Government enterprises are almost always monopolies and thus do not face competition at all. But competition is exactly what makes capitalism so successful an economic system. The lack of it has always doomed socialist economies. Governments use other people's money. Corporations play with their own money. So a labor negotiation in a corporation is a negotiation over how to divide the wealth that is created between stockholders and workers. Each side knows that if they drive too hard a bargain they risk killing the goose that lays golden eggs for both sides." [EdNote: A case in point. Name one private sector union with collective bargaining rights that would rather run to Congress to cry the blues rather than bring its problems to the collective bargaining table to work out differences it has with its employer. Now contrast that with the behavior you see with public sector unions, such as those representing postal workers.]

According to Seacoast Online, "Residents of Ocean Avenue Extension ante up their complaints over the town's decision to make the street one-way, as the York Village Post Office now refuses to deliver their mail. The post office will no longer deliver mail to Ocean Avenue Extension, said York Village Postmaster William Monagle, because to do so would require the driver to make a left-hand turn. Monagle said the U.S. Postal Service has a policy not to create new left-hand turns on its routes." [EdNote: Now that ought to make the senator from Maine particularly happy with the Postal Service....Advice: Know your friends. Don't make unnecessary enemies.]

Hellmail has reported that "Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said top represent some 150,000 postal workers, added his voice to claims by UNI Global that postal liberalisation is leading to unemployment, attacks on working conditions and poorer service for customers. “We’ve said for a long while that liberalisation doesn’t benefit the market. The UNI report shows that postal services are public services and don’t sit well in the private sector.” His comment follows a UNI global study carried out in 13 countries that indicated that full liberalisation of the postal market was failing. The study examined the effects of liberalisation on workers and response from unions. UNI found that the economic theory backing up liberalisation was questionable and that there was little competition in the liberalised postal markets, with new entrants obtaining from 0.1% to 10% of market share. The study also revealed that there are very few competitors to the incumbent, in most cases between one and four."

Yahoo! News has reported that "Global newspaper sales inched up last year, contradicting gloomy predictions that dailies face extinction, as gains in Africa, Asia and Latin America offset slumps in Europe and the US, an industry group said Wednesday. Newspaper sales grew 1.3 percent worldwide last year from 2007 to 539 million daily, a rise of 8.8 percent over the past four years, said Gavin O'Reilly, president of the World Association of Newspapers. "The sector continues to grow," he said at the start of a two-day WAN conference in Barcelona, adding media commentators were making a "mistake" when they predicted the death of daily newspapers."

According to KOMO, "Beverly Hills has a famous one, but this King County town of 10,000 just wants one to call their own -- a zip code. The city's only two postal zip codes are both listed as Renton. "I think it's like living in Lake Woebegone, where you can't really put it on the map," said Newcastle City Manager John Starbard. This is no laughing matter. Newcastle wants its own zip code, and one reason is a city councilman learned those Renton zip codes are in accident-heavy areas. "Because the zip codes are Renton-based, (the councilman) is paying about a 20 percent premium on his auto insurance," Starbard said."

There's been a lot of talk these days about the Postal Service serving as a "laboratory" for the development of longer-life electric vehicles. Here are two items some might find of interest:

From Business Wire: "Pizzas 4 Patriots, a non-profit organization, is teaming up with DHL, the world’s leading global express delivery and logistics company, and Uno Chicago Grill®, the inventor of deep-dish pizza, to dish out up to 28,000 pizzas to U.S. servicemen and women throughout Iraq and Afghanistan in time for Independence Day, 2009."

Supply Chain Europe has reported that "UPS announced plans to boost its global post sales service options by significantly expanding its field stocking location (FSL) network in India."

MyCentralJersey.com has reported that "Starting in September, there will be one more venue to do so in the township at a new satellite U.S. Post Office that will open inside Devine's Pharmacy at 1949 Oak Tree Road. "It will offer residents the convenience of postal products and services right here where they live," said Edison Postmaster John Karp. Satellite offices, also called contract postal units (CPU), are a growing trend, Karp said. Central Jersey already has a few of them, including one at the Cold Cut Center at Roosevelt Avenue in Carteret and several on the Rutgers campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway."

Heritage Foundation: Unfair Government Competition: A Threat to the U.S. Economy Date: June 3, 2009 Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. "Federal, state and local agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, prison industries, and other government sponsored and supported entities engage in commercially available activities that result in unfair government competition with private enterprise. This adversely affects the U.S. economy by duplicating activities available from commercial providers, increasing the government payroll, and diverting public monies from inherently governmental activities the American public expects of its government. More than 850,000 positions out of a non-postal, non-military uniformed Federal workforce of 1.8 million are in “commercial” activities. Every White House Conference on Small Business has identified unfair government competition as a top concern of America’s small businesses. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration is proposing to add some 250,000 new federal employees and “insourcing” numerous activities currently performed by private sector contractors."

From PR Newswire: "Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, and The Dallas Morning News, the flagship subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC) , today announced a powerful, innovative alliance that changes the way advertisers reach households in the Dallas-Ft. Worth designated market area (DMA). Through the alliance, The Dallas Morning News will combine its advertising inserts with Valassis' RedPlum(TM) Direct Mail Package, creating a single, shared offering that will reach 1.5 million households weekly in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market."

MTAC and the Postal Service are co-sponsoring an industry volume survey to help understand the trend of future mail volumes.  We need your help to forward this link to your respective members asking that only one person in each member company or organization provide his/her best estimate about future mail volumes.

May 27, 2009

According to Advertising Age, "Print is not aging well. Or, rather, its readers are aging rapidly. That's been suspected and alleged since digital media was born, of course, but the latest round of industrywide research revealed just how much has changed in the past five years."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
PostCom Postal Podcast

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and PostCom Board members Jolene Johannes, Lisa Wurman, and Michael Winn in a discussion of the Postal Service's rules governing tabbed booklets and what the rules mean to mailers.
[This was recorded in the Exhibit Hall at the National Postal Forum.]

TriValley Central has reported that "Throughout the county, all ZIP codes beginning with "852" will make a one-digit change, replacing the first "2" with a "1." The remaining digits in the ZIP code will remain the same. To adjust for population growth, Casa Grande's 85222 ZIP code will change to 85122, the U.S. Postal Service announced this week. Also, 85294 will change to 85194, and the 85230 code for post office boxes will become 85130. "This will give the USPS capacity to add additional five-digit ZIP codes in the future to handle growth when new deliveries are added in the area," said Peter Hass, USPS corporate communications officer. The new ZIP codes will officially be changed on July 1 and residents should begin using them by that date, the U.S. Postal Service said. By May 28, the new ZIP codes should be effective in the USPS system."

Online Media Daily has reported that "Traditional print media drives online leads, according to data released today from Telmetrics, a Toronto-based company focused on advertising call tracking and measurement solutions."

MediaPost has noted that "One of the real concerns of sustainability advocates is that the stagnant global economy will put pressure on businesses to freeze, moderate, or even eliminate sustainability-oriented programs and messages. At a time when corporate profits have cratered and nearly everyone's job seems at risk, the belief is that spending on sustainability will be lumped in with other examples of unnecessary corporate excess, like corporate jets and stadium luxury suites. A review of recent studies and surveys suggest that, in fact, the opposite is true: companies that aggressively pursue sustainability will put themselves in a position of unique strategic advantage. Ultimately, this can lead to more efficient business practices, an enhanced brand, and improved fiscal performance. "Sustainability and Branding: The Imperative of Continuity," a white paper recently released by ADC Partners, identifies a number of the underlying reasons for initiating or maintaining sustainability programs, and for aligning a brand accordingly."

PostCom Members! Your latest issue of the PostCom Executive Summary has been distributed. Please feel free to pass this on to others within your organization. If you haven't yet received your copy, contact info@postcom.org

 
PARCEL Forum has reached out to some of the industry's top consultants to produce a series of all day, intensive pre-conference workshops. Each workshop is designed to focus on a specific segment of the small shipment supply chain; Operational Efficiencies, Transportation Law, Transportation Technology & Resources and Executive Management. Now's not the time to stick your head in a box and wait for things to change; now's the time to arm yourself with the knowledge to make things change and... that's where we come in! You also can get hold of the latest issue of PARCEL magazine presented in web-friendly NXT format.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  (updated)

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Production Solutions 1953 Gallows Road, Suite 600 Vienna, VA 22182-3988 Contact: Cheryl B. Keedy Director of Product Development

PostCom Members! The summer sale. Do you qualify? Don't you qualify? How do you determine your threshold test? You can find the answers in two documents the Postal Service has provided and can be found on this web site: (1) Guidelines For Documenting Standard Mail Volume Sent Through A Mail Service Provider For Participation in USPS Summer Sale Program and (2) Customer Volume Claim Form Summer Sale Program.

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Upmarket clothes catalogue Lands' End has been signed up as the first mail order client of Royal Mail's green DM postal service, Sustainable Mail. The service, launched in April, offers a lower price tariff for mail that meets environmental criteria in line with the new DM green standard, PAS 20:20. Black Horse Personal Finance and Standard Life are already using Sustainable Mail."

The Swazi Observer has reported that "the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has called for the speedy implementation of the opening of exchange bureaus in post offices. Principal Secretary Nathaniel Mahluza during the opening of the Southern Africa Postal Operators Association (SAPOA) 8th Annual General Meeting at Orion Piggs Peak Hotel on Monday, said this would help rural communities and migrant workers remit funds to their families. He noted that in the SADC region over 60% of the people still reside in rural areas, therefore, the speedy implementation of the road transport network, quality service and money transfer regionally are of utmost urgency. Mahluza applauded the SAPOA for demonstrating firm commitment and professionalism in the manner in which it discharges its mandate as defined in the transport, communications and meteorology protocol."

Shacknews has reported that "the United States Postal Service has denied that it is providing preferential treatment to the competitors of videogame rental-by-mail service GameFly, and today filed a motion to partially dismiss the company's complaint. "In short, the Complaint lacks merit and fails to articulate grounds for any relief," said the USPS in its 26-page response. "[GameFly] seems to believe that problems of its own making can somehow be solved by the Postal Service when, in fact, they cannot--at least not without incurring costs that would be a disservice to all other mailers."

As the local postmaster told the readers of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, "While it's true that the recession and the Internet are contributing to difficult financial circumstances for the Postal Service, the major cause of loss of mail volume and revenue is the economy. Let's not all throw in the towel and turn to the Internet without considering some important facts...."

The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "Prosecutors arrested a welfare ministry official Tuesday on suspicion of falsifying an official document that led to alleged widespread abuse of a discount postage system intended for groups supporting disabled people."

Business Times has reported that "POS Malaysia Bhd(4634) will return to the black this financial year as it does not expect to make more provisions for its investments in Transmile Group Bhd."

Orissadiary has reported that "India Post also announced its tie-up with State Bank of India to provide rural banking services across the State. As many as 122 post offices would extend loan products as home loans, loan against property and gold mortgage, automobile loans, loans against term deposits, securities, Kisan Vikas Patra and National Savings Certificates as also non-agro SME loans, credit cards and kisan credit cards of SBI. The post offices would also be a source of saving accounts along with term deposit, recurring deposit and no frills account for the bank.:

The Nation has told its readers that "you may have heard that the United States Postal Service is in dire financial straits, having lost $2.8 billion in 2008 and on track to lose twice that much this year. Things are so bad that the Postmaster General recently asked Congress for permission to curtail mail delivery six-days a week. This matters because the USPS continues to provide a vital public service. The Post Office not only reliably delivers political periodicals like The Nation -- a class of content vital to a functioning democracy -- to anyone anywhere in the country, but the mails still serve to bind our vast populace together, with many post offices serving as de facto community centers. In this time of fiscal crisis, there is thankfully an easy way to support the USPS in the form of House Resolution 22."

The Prague Daily Monitor has reported that "Czech postal service operator Ceska posta saw its sales rise to Kc5.15bn in Q1 this year compared to Kc5.1bn a year ago."

According to SmasHits, "Flydubai, the state-owned low cost airline of Dubai, has announced that the Emirates Post Office, which has more than 100 offices all over the United Arab Emirates, will act as the airline's selling agent. As the region's most dynamic postal corporation, the Emirates Post set as its goal the provision of best service to all customers. With the help of our advanced IT technology and a trained team, we will provide a convenient and user-friendly service to Flydubai travellers."

The Swazi Observer has reported that "The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is engaged in projects that will make the postal network an important infrastructure that contributes to countries’ social and economic development. Director of Operations and Technology, UPU International Bureau Sulemani Msofe said quality of service forms part of the UPU mission and has been one of the strategies adopted by past congresses which placed quality of service among the most important objectives. Meeting Msofe was addressing a delegation from the Southern Africa Postal Operators Association during their 8th Annual General Meeting held at the Orion Piggs Peak Hotel."

Media Daily News has reported that "Since 2001, 64 of 90 leading consumer magazines have seen the median age of their readers increase faster than the population at large, according to a MediaPost analysis of the latest figures from Mediamark Research & Intelligence. The analysis, based on MRI's spring 2009 measurements, confirms the continuation of a long-term trend previously observed in 2006-2008. Overall, between spring 2001 and spring 2009, the median age of readers for the 90 leading publications increased an average of 3.1 years, versus an average increase of 2.1 years for the population at large."

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

Thanks to the difficult economic environment, Schweizerische Post saw its operating profit fall by 13.1 per cent (131.5m euros) in the first quarter of 2009, with a 1.6 per cent increase in sales (1.46bn euros).
The global economic situation has left significant marks on Posten Norge’s business results in the first quarter. The number of mail consignments fell by a total of 14 per cent, while revenue in the direct mail sector actually fell by a quarter. On the domestic market, in contrast, the parcel volume fell, particularly in the B2B segment.Posten is anticipating the downward trend to continue for the whole financial year.
Deutsche Post has further increased the pressure in the looming tarif conflict between the post and the union ver.di (CEP News 21/09). Executive board member Juergen Gerdes told the »FAZ« (22.05) that part of the work in the mail sector would be outsourced to foreign companies.
Deutsche Post plans to absorb the downward trend in the mail sector not only by cutting costs, but also through new products. Speaking to the »FAZ« (22.05), Jürgen Gerdes, executive board member of the post, announced the introduction of the so-called "online letter". According to a statement by Mr Gerdes, market enquiries have revealed that there is "a surprisingly high willingness to pay for a reliable and secure electronic communication". The key advantage over an e-mail is that the post guarantees the identity of sender and receiver, as well as the protection of the privacy of letters. If recipients have no internet connection - around a quarter of Germans - letters intended for them are collected in a digital mailroom, printed, put in an envelope and delivered in the normal way.
Singapore Post has closed the financial year 2008/2009 (31 March) with unusually low positive results.Sales in the important mail sector fell by 2.1 per cent.
TNT Post has reacted with "outrage and incomprehension" to the announcement that the decision on the amendment to the VAT legislation in the German postal market will not be made until after the parliamentary elections at the end of September.
Tatarstan potschtasi, the national postal business of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, has completed the financial year 2008 with positive results.
The Chinese government is expecting the new Postal Act to contribute towards a significant improvement to the postal service by 2012.
Overseas Express is the new domestic service partner of UPS in Croatia.
La Poste is France’s second most popular company, coming a close second to the discount sports chain Decathlon.

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

According to Dead Tree Edition, "By shifting some mail handling from the Bronx to Manhattan recently, the U.S. Postal Service did an end run around union opposition and Congressional interference. Postal officials are increasingly using similar tactics around the country to bring about much-needed consolidation of their dropship network without stirring up local opposition."

According to Rasmussen Reports, "Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that the price of a first class postage stamp will be $1 or more within the next 10 years. Forty-six percent (46%) say it’s Very Likely. Younger Americans are more likely to expect a big jump in the price of a stamp than their elders in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey."


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

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  

May 26, 2009

RPost has announced that "Governments Internationally Sign with RPost to Set the Standard for Legal Proof E-mail."

The Hindu has reported that "Telecom District General Manager L. Ananthram on Tuesday appealed to authorities of the department of Posts to ensure delivery of the printed telephone bills to the consumers in time. Mr. Anantham made a plea to this effect in a letter to the Senior Superintendent of Post Offices in the light of complaints flooding the Telecom department on the reported irregularities in delivery phone bills. The General Manager said he had been receiving several complaints that the bills were delivered by post to consumers quite beyond the deadline, inviting disconnection of their phone services for non-payment."

M-Logistics has reported that "Channel Island postal services provider Jersey Post is one of the latest organisations in its sector to roll out a mobile solution offering real-time proof of delivery management and track and trace capabilities. The organisation has chosen BT Global Services to supply the track and trace technology, using handheld computers and a Web-based system reporting system."

Charley Mapa of the National League of Postmasters expressed his dismay to Postmaster General Jack Potter over his decision to disallow postmasters leave to attend their annual conventions.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

WKOW has noted that "the USPS is offering a discount on its overseas military shipping services. The domestic mail prices for Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box is normally $13.95, but for packages addressed to U.S. military addresses overseas, the price will be reduced to only $11.95. Customers can also support the troops and send reminders of home using the USPS free Military Care Kits, which are designed specifically for military families or friends sending packages overseas. Each kit includes six Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes in a variety of sizes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes."

As Adam Collinson has noted in DM News, "Direct mailers looking to cut costs while increasing effectiveness need look no further than cleansing and qualifying customer and prospect addresses. The solution goes further than simply utilizing address cleansing software, though. Instead, consider employing managed address services to avoid wasted costs and lower response rates resulting from undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail."


IT World Canada has reported that "Duncan Mortimer and his 31-year-old Mini will drive 36,000 miles around the world for charity. Lead sponsor Pitney Bowes is tracking the tour with a GPS system and location intelligence software. The 31-year old Mini is equipped with Pitney Bowes’ mapping and geographical analysis software MapInfo Professional, which is linked to a GPS system that Mortimer is using to replace paper maps. The most important part of the technology is the global addressing. Federating information streams and global addressing in terms of the individual are the future of location intelligence software, according to Barota. As an individual, you won’t have to maintain your postal address, because it becomes virtual you, attached to your identity."

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Strong background in wholesale and retail having held positions in Logistics and In Store Merchandising. Product Management and Retail Marketing experience including Point of Purchase, Store Displays and in store data collection.

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Contact: mjcnac@aol.com

Xinhua has reported that "Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang Tuesday urged the country's postal firms to promote their logistics services in rural areas to better serve farmers' needs."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Papa John's International, the U.S. Postal Service and General Electric have begun to incorporate "augmented reality," or AR -- a technology that lets consumers interact with hologram-like images -- into their marketing. One well-known example of AR: the yellow first-down lines in TV broadcasts of football games. This week, the Postal Service will start running an ad campaign that touts a flat-rate shipping fee for its Priority Mail service. The online portion of the ad effort includes a "virtual box simulator" on the prioritymail.com site. The simulator allows consumers to hold an object, such as a cup or a book, in front of a Webcam and use the resulting 3-D image to determine the right size box for shipping the object. The push into AR comes as companies have grown dissatisfied with relying solely on static advertising or passive media like TV commercials, which have washed over coach potatoes for years. In pursuit of alternatives, they have pumped money into approaches that encourage consumers to "engage" with their message or product, something ad executives believe helps increase sales."

According to Federal Business Opportunites, "The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to partner with a supplier who has NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION AND WAREHOUSING CAPABILITIES to introduce a range of greeting card formats to be sold at postal retail locations."

Stuff.co.nz has reported that "Sending mail overseas will soon be more expensive. New Zealand Post says it is raising prices from July 7 after seven years of holding them in the face of increasing costs. Postal Services chief executive Peter Fenton today said the price increases were largely driven by what overseas postal organisations charged NZ Post to deliver mail in other countries."

GenevaLunch has reported that "The Swiss postal system, La Poste, had first quarter 2009 profits of CHF198 million, down CHF30m or 13 percent from the same period in 2008. The group faces greater competition in July 2009 and falling revenues from letters, down 3.1 percent in the first three months of the year. It says it expects earning for 2009 to be down sharply from 2008. La Poste says its lower profits were due “to pay rises, writedowns on financial investments necessitated by the situation on the financial market during the quarter under review, as well as the decline in letter volumes.” Operating income rose by CHF 35m to CHF 2,208m, due mainly to “currency effects in international postal traffic.”

Express Buzz has reported that "For those with transferable jobs, the ones living in rented accommodations and those having to shift frequently from one place to another, furnishing address or residential proof in times of necessity like opening a bank account, applying for loans or getting a telephone connection has been a huge problem. The difficulties would soon be a thing of the past in the twin cities, thanks to a unique service of providing Proof of Address Card rolled out by India Post, Orissa Postal Circle in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack from today. The photo I-card would serve both identity and residential proofs."

The National Association of Major Mail Users has reported that:Canada Post Corporation "recorded a consolidated net income of $90 million on revenues of $7.7 billion in 2008 according to the annual report tabled in Parliament. To remain profitable and meet its targets, Canada Post had to undertake a series of cost-cutting measures that enabled the Corporation to achieve a narrow operating margin of 1.8 per cent. The current economic downturn has not spared the mailing industry nor Canada Post. The strong financial performance of Canada Post’s subsidiaries, Purolator Courier Ltd. and SCI Group Inc., were largely responsible for the Corporation achieving income before taxes of $161 million. Canada Post’s cost of operations increased by 5.6 per cent to $7.6 billion. Total volume for 2008 remained flat at 11.8 billion units. Canada Post’s full annual report is available online at: www.canadapost.ca "

"Postal economics: infrastructure renewal, the impact of Postal Transformation for customers, and pricing strategies; is one of the three major themes taking centre stage at The 2009 Postal Forum. Join Canada Post and industry experts as they focus discussion and planning on issues crucial to business success. NAMMU proudly presents this platform for dialogue between Canada Post and industry, at the Intercontinental Hotel, Toronto, June 11th."

The Daily Mail has reported that "The Post Office is threatening the future of hundreds of small branches by demanding back-dated fees for cash machines that were not supposed to cost postmasters a penny. Branches with the free-to-use ATMs have been told they must repay two years of charges for using Post Office cash to restock the ATMs. Some 400 branches in rural and deprived areas were encouraged to put in the machines in 2006 to improve access to free cash for the public."

May 25, 2009

The May 2009 Direct Mail Advisory Board Update from the Universal Postal Union has been posted on this site.

The Nation has reported that "The Government on Monday sent home Postmaster General Fred Odhiambo. Senior officials at the Ministry of Information and Communications confirmed the decision to send home the postmaster, but there was no word yet on who is to replace him at the head of the Postal Corporation."

May 24, 2009

"A decline in the air cargo freight market following the international financial crisis seems to have hit bottom, the head of the International Air Transport Association said on Sunday. Air cargo, a key barometer of world trade, has slumped amid the global economic downturn and shortage of financing. Global air freight volumes in January saw a record 23 percent year-on-year dive. "I would say, looking at the numbers, that it has hit bottom," the global association's Director-General Giovanni Bisignani told Reuters."

Scotland On Sunday has reported that "the Communication Workers Union has accused the government of playing "political football" with the Postal Services Bill, which sets out plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. The union is concerned that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson will try to rush a vote on the bill in the House of Commons before the European elections in an effort to tame a rebellion from Labour backbenchers. Unions were surprised to learn that the bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on Thursday, sparking fears that the second reading will be held before 4 June. They say this will not only limit the time for debate but could force many Labour backbenchers who are staunchly opposed to privatisation to side with the government out of fear of making the party appear fractured before voters go to the ballot box."

May 23, 2009

Barron's has noted that "FedEx is considered an airline, for the purposes of regulatory oversight, even though most travelers probably wouldn’t want to book a flight to Memphis on one of its jets. At least, no passengers who saw ”Cast Away” are going to be less than anxious to. For one thing, there’s no meal service. But FedEx’s days of being viewed as an airline by government regulators might be running short. A legislative proposal has suggested transferring FedEx’s regulatory status to the National Labor Relations Board from the National Railway Labor Act. The implication for FedEx: the move could make it easier for labor unions to organize its pick-up and delivery personnel."

According to Associated Content, "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has come one step further in its quest to deliver mail just five days a week instead of six."

Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., whose political action committee has given more money to federal lawmakers than any other company over two decades, is a major beneficiary of legislation approved by the U.S. today House that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The measure includes a provision making it easier for rival FedEx Corp. workers to unionize. Under the measure, drivers for Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx could form unions locally rather than hold a national election. UPS’s truck drivers are members of the Teamsters Union. UPS says the legislation would level the playing field, as unionizing would likely bring changes in pay and work rules that would raise FedEx’s costs."

MyFoxMemphis has reported that "Some people are finding warnings from the post office in their mailbox, instead of their mail. Jocelyn Agnellini only gets her mail a couple times a week. The post office says when a car is parked in the proximity of her mailbox; they will not deliver her mail. On those days she finds a note in her mailbox explaining why she has no mail. "So they're taking the time to put the note in the mailbox but they won't put the mail in the mailbox," says Agnellini. But when she has complained to the post office, all she received was an email of their policy. It reads: "Dismounting from the vehicle to make mail delivery to a box would put our carrier's safety in jeopardy."

The Mount Airy News wants to know: "The post office has always been known for getting the mail to its destination through rain, snow, sleet and hail. So why can’t it have a stamp machine that works?"

According to The Gleaner, "We cannot replace institutions like the post office and the bonding it created as a by-product, but we can learn from and apply their wonderful side effects of building and sustaining relationships."

The Mainichi Daily News has reported that "All four of Japan's postal companies posted net surpluses in the business year that ended in March this year, company officials said."

From PR Web: "The idea behind Creative Mailers.com is less = more. To send out fewer mailers to get more response."

According to The Mirror, "Opponents of plans to sell off Royal Mail are infuriated that a controversial Bill, paving the way for its partial sale, was sneaked into the Commons for its first reading. The Postal Services Bill, championed by Peter Mandelson, had a final reading in the Lords on Wednesday. MPs expected to debate it in the Commons next month."

Belorusskie Novosti has reported that "Zhanna Litvina was reelected chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) at the organization’s 7th convention held in Minsk on Friday. Access to information is one of the main problems that journalists in Belarus face, Ms. Litvina said, pointing to the accreditation requirement as a method of restricting access to information. She also noted that the government holds a monopoly on the distribution of newspapers. According to her, as many as 13 non-state publications are denied distribution contracts with Belposhta, Belarus' state postal services monopolist, and Belsayuzdruk, a state monopolist that runs a network of newsstands and stores across Belarus. “Unfortunately, there are no hopes for reform in the media sector,” she concluded."

Some notes on other advertising-based media:

  • As Contentinople has noted, "It's no secret that conventional radio has been in a world of hurt lately, due to challenges from the Internet, the iPod, and, to a lesser extent, satellite radio. Remedies remain elusive, but consolidation and downsizing are a start toward stabilizing the industry. Radio is a dynamic living laboratory of what works and what doesn't. Focus on the listeners through research and innovation, and you see ratings increase. When you give listeners what they want, they'll support your radio station and its sponsors."
  • The Washington Post has noted how change is coming to newsweekly magazines. "Newsweek will concentrate on two things -- reporting and argument -- while kissing off any recap of the week's developments. Time will continue to recount some of the week's news but is concentrating on long-form journalism about people, about ideas. Will a smaller magazine have less cultural clout? Such recent cover stories sparked a flurry of op-eds, suggesting that the power of ideas still trumps circulation." [EdNote: Give people what they want, and they'll pay for it. Give them something they don't, and they'll walk away. The same also is true of postal services.]
  • The New York Times has asked: "Will May 2009 mark the beginning of the end for the free, unfettered Internet?...I wouldn’t put my money on it....Few newspapers generate even 10 percent of their revenue on the Internet, even after years of double-digit growth in advertising. Now online advertising has gone into reverse. But “pay walls” alone are not going to save the industry. Few people will individually subscribe to dozens of different newspapers online."

The State Journal-Register has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is looking at relocating some mail-processing operations from a Quincy distribution center to Springfield as the agency tries to cut costs in the face of declining demand and rising financial losses."

CNN has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service will reduce the amount it pays for homes of employees who are relocating in the wake of a CNN investigation that found it was buying large homes for more than $1 million. The Postal Service bought this 8,400-square-foot South Carolina home so an employee could relocate. The new policy, which is expected to take effect June 14, will set a limit of $800,000 for a home. The limit is now $1 million, but before February there was no maximum."

"The Postal Service’s decision to suspend a convention leave benefit for the remainder of the current Postmaster pay agreement is tantamount to a breach of faith, if not contract, with the nation’s approximately 27,000 Postmasters," O. Dale Goff Jr., national president of the National Association of Postmasters, charged. Goff was reacting to the agency’s abrupt and ill-conceived decision to suspend, effective May 31, Postmasters’ convention leave for the remainder of FY-09 and all of FY-10. Prior to May 31, the Postal Service said it will not attempt to convert to annual leave the approved convention leave some Postmasters already have used this fiscal year.

May 22, 2009

The Nashua Telegraph has reported that "New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes on Thursday called upon the U.S. Postal Services Inspector General to investigate claims that supervisors shortchanged carriers by tampering with electronic time-keeping systems in Milford and Manchester. The New Hampshire branch of letter carrier’s union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, has filed grievances charging that postal service managers in Milford and two Manchester Post Offices have altered the hours worked by letter carriers roughly 800 times in the past six years, shorting the carriers a collective total of about $12,000. Hodes’ Washington, D.C. office released a letter that he wrote to the Inspector General’s office on Thursday, urging that the office investigate the grievances and report back to Hodes by June 5."

PostEurop Here's an excellent paper from PostEurop on "The Facts of our Value Chain." It deals with the myths vs. the realities of mail and the environment.

DMM Advisory: PostalOne!® and Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) – We successfully deployed PostalOne! Release 20 on May 11 to reflect the price change, and TEM on May 18 to enable mailers to test electronic documentation and the Intelligent Mail® Full-Service option. TEM is available under “Electronic Data Exchange” through the Business Customer Gateway. New Mailers can test Mail.dat® 8-2 and 9-1 files using TEM. All Mailers testing Full-Service option capabilities using Mail.dat should submit Mail.dat version 9-1 in the TEM. We posted a checklist on RIBBS™ to help mailers prepare electronic documentation and migrate to the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option (http://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_gateway/documents/tech_guides/IMCHECKLIST.pdf). The checklist provides step-by-step tasks and accompanying worksheetfor data set-up requests. Steps include using the various Guides to construct Intelligent Mail barcodes and electronic documentation, making plans for feedback, establishing access to the Business Customer Gateway, designing and validating barcodes, and testing electronic documentation. We will conduct Webinars on the Test Environment for Mailers on Wednesday, May 27 and Thursday, May 28. All sessions are from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., EDT. Details are posted on RIBBS, under “Intelligent Mail,” then “Latest News.” (http://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmaillatestnews).

 Software Updates for Full-Service Option – We will deploy a software upgrade for Full-Service on June 7, in PostalOne! Release 20.0.1. We explained the functions supported in this upgrade on RIBBS, under “Intelligent Mail Services,” then “Guides.” (http://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_guides/documents/tech_guides/postalone_releasenotes/postalone_releasenotes.htm).

 PostalOne! release update – The release notes for the May 11 PostalOne! release 20.0.0 have been updated and are available on  RIBSS at http://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_guides/documents/tech_guides/postalone_releasenotes/postalone_releasenotes.htm.   

 Assistance – Please call the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions or problems accessing the Business Customer Gateway, your accounts, or submitting electronic documentation.

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

  • It was a small but activist crowd at this week’s National Postal Forum, a sign that those who attended are serious about helping the Postal Service ride out these tough economic times. This dedication was not lost on Postmaster General Jack Potter, who thanked attendees for their commitment to mail, calling them "the cornerstone of the mailing industry."
  • Having released its second-quarter financial results at the recent Board of Governors meeting, the Postal Service’s discussion about its projected year-end loss of $6.5 billion did not shock many in attendance at last week’s National Postal Forum. Indeed, the Postal Service’s dire financial situation has given it the rare opportunity to press for dramatic changes to its structure and operations.
  • PostCom Board Chairman Jim O'Brien testified on the association's behalf at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia. He noted that "all PostCom member companies need a healthy Postal Service to ensure the viability of our businesses. Unfortunately, the current health of the Postal Service is not very good."
  • The USPS' senior vice president for operations told Congress that "without legislative change–sooner rather than later–we will be unable to overcome the financial pressures that threaten the viability of the Postal Service. The most pressing need is a change in the payment schedule for retiree health benefits." The USPS has taken and will be taking several steps to try to get costs in line with revenue.
  • GAO told the House postal oversight panel that "maintaining USPS's financial viability as the provider of affordable, high-quality universal postal service will require actions in a number of areas, such as (1) rightsizing its retail and mail processing networks by consolidating operations and closing unnecessary facilities and (2) reducing the size of its workforce." GAO is again looking at returning the USPS to its High-Risk List.
  • In his testimony before the House postal oversight panel, APWU President William Burrus struck out against business mailers, mailer worksharing, and postal worksharing discounts. He said the Postal Service suffers from a "flawed rate strategy."
  • Read some of the excerpts from the oral comments offered by others at the House postal oversight hearing.
  • The National Postal Forum not only focused on the fact that mail works today, but also included sessions where the USPS and its customers and service providers talked about innovative ideas to add value to the mail and grow volume.
  • The USPS at the National Postal Forum announced a moratorium on making any new changes to mailing standards effective until after the end of November 2009. USPS vice president of customer relations Steve Kearney told the Forum audience that the decision was made based on the Postal Service listening to and collaborating with its customers.
  • Some mailers of letter-sized booklets, often referred to as “slim jims,” shared with the Postal Service at the National Postal Forum this week their explorations with alternative mailpiece designs because of the USPS’ final rule changes, which take effect on September 8, 2009. After sitting in on the session, one must wonder if this product group will go the way of merchandise samples, which largely were driven out of the USPS mailstream as a result of restrictive rules and price increases.
  • Some mailers of letter-sized booklets, often referred to as “slim jims,” shared with the Postal Service at the National Postal Forum this week their explorations with alternative mailpiece designs because of the USPS’ final rule changes, which take effect on September 8, 2009. After sitting in on the session, one must wonder if this product group will go the way of merchandise samples, which largely were driven out of the USPS mailstream as a result of restrictive rules and price increases.
  • Royal Mail to introduce zone-based pricing. Royal Mail faces more strikes. Royal Mail about to increase the price of processing and delivering bulk mail to the island of Guernsey. TNT explores mail delivery in Germany.
  • Postal previews
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From USPS Senior Vice President for Customer Relations Stephen Kearney: "On Monday, I said the following in response to a question by Jack Potter: "Something we talked about that I'd like to share with everybody here today is that we've decided to stop imposing any new mailing standards requirements on mailers for about the next 6 1/2 months, which takes us through the end of November. A few folks at the Forum asked me whether this moratorium applies to standards that already have been announced with specific implementation dates before the end of November. The answer is that it does not. Our purpose in making this announcement is to take away any uncertainty or concern about new mailing standards requirements that we might otherwise propose during the coming months."

The Postal Regulatory Commission Public Representative has agreed "that during these tumultuous times innovative programs should be implemented in an effort to benefit both the Postal Service and its customers. The Summer Sale Program is intended to be such a program. If it functions as intended, mailers will be able to increase mailings at a lower cost and the Postal Service will generate additional revenues during the summer period utilizing what the Postal Service maintains is “excess capacity.”

The latest postal 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/. Running a Summer Sale. Sale is not a word usually associated with the Postal Service, but the Postal Service is proposing a “Summer Sale” to encourage mailers to send more Standard Mail. What do you think about the proposed sale? Will it succeed? Do you foresee any difficulties in administering the program? Share your thoughts. 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 Wall Street Journal has reported that "The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would make it easier to unionize FedEx Corp. workers, prompting the company to renew its threat to hold off buying billions of dollars of new planes if the bill becomes law. Supporters of the bill, including the Teamsters and FedEx's biggest rival, United Parcel Service Inc., applauded Thursday's vote. But the measure faces a difficult climb in the Senate. A similar bill passed the House in 2007 but died in the Senate."

From M2 PressWire: "www.companiesandmarkets.com adds new report: Chinese Postal Sector Research Report 2008 Mail order industry is the earliest form in the non-store purchasing field, with more than a hundred years' history in developed countries and more than a decade in China. The market scale reached over one hundred billon Yuan in 2007. With the rapid development of Chinese logistics industry, the delivery time of mail order has been shortened greatly and the customer satisfactory degree is stably increasing. Meanwhile, with the advancement of telecommunications technology, mail order providers are able to offer customers better after-sale services. Nowadays, with the prevalence of the Internet, mail order holds several advantages including an even clearer destination and a much higher rate of delivery compared to other non-store purchasing means such as online shopping. Certainly, mail order itself is still unrelentingly creating new marketing pattern and takes the Internet as another promotion channel."

The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "When support groups for people with disabilities send periodicals, they are eligible for a special postal discount aimed at supporting their activities. On Tuesday, Osaka prosecutors arrested two postal workers, including a branch manager of Japan Post Service Co., in connection with suspected systematic abuse of the discount system. They are suspected of knowingly allowing advertisers to use the discount postage for ineligible direct mail, thereby helping them to save more than 300 million yen in postage. The two arrested postal workers were apparently not the only ones who turned a blind eye to the irregularities. Most of the employees who took part in the screening process at the two branches told investigators they were aware of the illegality of the practice. Why did Japan Post approve dubious organizations as disability support groups? Were politicians involved? And who started abusing the discount system in the first place? We urge prosecutors to clarify these points."

WBNG has reported that "The notion of possible job losses at the Post Office comes with controversy. The American Postal Workers Union held a rally in protest of the move."

Logistics Manager has reported that "DHL is to become the “Official Logistics Partner” for carbon neutral logistics services for the UN Climate Conference 2009 in Copenhagen (COP15) following an agreement with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The cooperation plan includes carbon neutral shipment of global express parcels before and during the conference for delegates, participants and organisers. All Gogreen shipments will also be branded with a sticker highlighting the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15)."

The Associated Press has reported that "A Michigan postal worker who hid thousands of pieces of mail in a storage unit has been placed on probation for two years. Jill Hull appeared in federal court in Detroit Thursday, three months after pleading guilty to deserting the mail, a misdemeanor. In September, managers of a self-storage business opened Hull's unit and discovered thousands of pieces of unopened mail, including first-class letters. Some had postmarks from 2005."

WhatTheyThink has reported that "FedEx Kinko's in April announced it has sold its five UK locations to Printing Investments Limited, trading as "The Color Company". The five FedEx Kinko's outlets, four in central London and one in Reading, will be rebranded under the The Color Company banner."


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

May 21, 2009

The May 21, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors NAPS Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.

Multichannel Merchant has reported that:

  • Where Are All The Catalogers? The Wednesday morning opening session at the second annual National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum, sponsored by the American Catalog Mailers Association, drew about 60 people. During his welcome address ACMA Chairman Stan Krangel had clearly counted on seeing more mailers. “I would’ve hoped to have seen 1,000 people.”
  • The catalog industry is broken, according to Robert Bernstock, president of shipping and mailing services for the U.S. Postal Service. Huge postage rate increases have crippled many catalogers, he told attendees at the second annual National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum, put on by American Catalog Mailers Association, and as such, “the business model is broken.” The good news is that the USPS wants to help the catalog industry anyway it can. “We can reconstruct the entire supply chain to lower costs,” he said. What’s more, Bernstock totally engaged the packed room when he suggested taking a “relook at the whole structure”— from pricing, service, and operational efficiencies. “We want the lowest cost delivery system,” he said. “We need to take a major relook at the whole structure.”
  • U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter told attendees this morning at the second annual National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum that he is convinced his proposal for five-day mail delivery will become a reality.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: R2009-3 Comments of Experian in Response to Order No. 209. Experian supports the Postal Service's proposed summer sale in a novel way.

"We are supporting the USPS summer sale. In fact, we are going to offer our clients a rebate of sorts for additional data orders and address hygiene processing so that the supply chain acknowledges the importance of this offering and participates with the USPS to make this program a success. We believe that it is important to identify to the PRC how valuable this program is to the overall industry given the current economic environment the USPS and US in general are faced with today. Please keep in mind that each day there is a delay in approving such a sale it will impact the overall participation by mailers and mail volume
due to a time required to ramp this program up.

"Since we are usually the front end of the direct mail campaign because of the data selections and demographics made to generate the mailing, I can tell you that it can take up to eight (8) weeks before a campaign gets into the mail. Every day there is a delay in the decision, it delays the implementation for larger mailers. Also, paper, production time, data/addresses for new prospects and logistics need to be planned and purchased thus no one will commit to this program until a final decision is submitted by the PRC. Therefore, we urge you to consider swift and careful consideration and approve this first time summer sale."

DMM Advisory:  Nonprofit Standard Mail — Cooperative Mailings. "In today’s Postal Bulletin we announced an update to the standards for cooperative mailings in Domestic Mail Manual 703.1.6.3. Cooperative mailings allow mailers to use the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices when each of the cooperating nonprofit organizations is authorized at the Post Office where the mailing is entered. Our revision reorganizes and clarifies the standards for eligible mailings, defines ineligible mailings, and better explains the exception to mailings eligible for Nonprofit Standard Mail prices when employing the services of a commercial fundraiser."

According to Gigaom, "insufficient bandwidth has the potential to limit the cloud because it can take a long time to send large files over thin pipes. Amazon Web Services now addresses this problem with a new data delivery service called AWS Import/Export, which uses the postal system rather than the Internet to deliver data. Yes, it means customers now have the option to send their data to Amazon’s cloud via the mail.

From PR Newswire: "Facing multi-billion dollar losses and large declines in mail volume, the U.S. Postal Service has ratcheted up its efforts to wring additional cost savings from its suppliers. These efforts will only intensify through the rest of the year. To help postal contractors operate successfully within this stressful environment, Akerman Senterfitt's Government Contracts group will host a one-day seminar in McLean, VA titled, Doing Business with the U.S. Postal Service. This seminar will provide essential information for all postal contractors and subcontractors."

According to the Western Producer, "An advisory panel has recommended that Canada Post end the 15-year-old moratorium on rural postal closings, set more realistic goals for rural service and be prepared to privatize some rural delivery."

Yahoo! Finance has posted a summary of UPS' financials.

As the Washington Post put it, "If we still used the Pony Express to deliver mail, someone would shoot the horse to put it out of its misery. The U.S. Postal Service is like a once-proud thoroughbred now crippled with a broken leg -- or two. It remains a venerable institution, but it has been so severely handicapped by the recession that lawmakers are beginning to seriously consider cutting a day of delivery. That gradual -- and reluctant -- shift in attitudes was evident at a congressional hearing yesterday at which the Postal Service again made a plea for legislation that would allow it to cut mail delivery from six days a week to five."

Online Media Daily has reported that "After making quick work of print newspapers, and the Yellow Pages industry, "The kudzu-like creep of the Internet is about to claim its third analog victim," warns a new report from research firm Borrell Associates. The victim? "The largest and least-read of all print media: Direct mail." "Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover," Borrell predicts. More specifically, it is projecting a 39% decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013. If Borrell is correct, direct mail will fall from the premiere placeholder for ad revenue to the fourth -- behind the Web, broadcast TV, and newspapers."

Hellmail has reported that "Richard Hooper, the man behind a comprehensive analysis of the Royal Mail which spawned the Postal Services Bill and the present search for a strategic partner by the government, has hit back at calls to halt the semi-privatisation of Royal Mail. In the Times newspaper, he wrote: "Whichever way you crunch the numbers, Royal Mail’s overall financial situation is untenable. The status quo is not an option. Royal Mail needs to modernise more quickly and take a more commercial approach to its problems." he said As chairman of the Independent Review of the Postal Services Sector, Richard Hooper highlighted an urgent need to completely modernise the service and put it on a far more proactive commercial footing in the face of competition from Europe, difficult industrial relations and falling mail volume. He emphasised that despite Royal Mail making a profit of £321m, the recommendations of the report still hold firm and that in reality, the Royal Mail Group actually lost £229 million after tax last year and had negative cash flows of £373m. He said that with possible negative cashflows of £400 million annually for the next four years, the need for change was greater than ever. He warned that with this years fall in mail volume likely to be 10%, worse in fact than predicted in the report, and a doubling of the pension deficit to over £6bn, a strategic partnership to secure investment and commercial expertise was paramount."

According to Politics.co.uk, "The postal services bill cleared the Lords last night –and is now on the way to the Commons where a major backbench rebellion could lie in wait. The government is determined to part-privatise the Royal Mail by selling off a stake in the firm to a postal services provider, potentially Dutch firm TNT. Unions have mounted a strong campaign against this proposal, arguing the sale would be the first step towards full privatisation. They appear to have the backing of the public."

The Guernsey Press has reported that "businesses that rely on the post to export goods to the UK are to be hit hard after Royal Mail confirmed it was hiking its charges for delivering Bailiwick post by 40%. Guernsey Post announced yesterday that it had failed in its attempts to persuade Royal Mail to reconsider the increase for processing and delivering mail, which will come into force during the next two years. It is feared that the move, which equates to an £8m. rise in charges based on current postal volumes, could have far-reaching implications for the island’s export industry. About 60% of Guernsey Post’s business comes through bulk mail deliveries for companies."

International Freight Weekly has reported that "Independent integrated postal firm Business Post increased its profits and revenues during the last fiscal year thanks to a reduced cost base."

The Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service, already facing a $6 billion budget deficit for this fiscal year, could find itself in an even deeper hole if fuel prices continue to rise, postal officials told Congress on Wednesday. Low fuel prices have been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy year for the beleaguered Postal Service. But they have crept up in recent weeks — by an average of 11 percent just this month, according to the Energy Department. And that means a big expense for the Postal Service, where each one-cent increase in the price of gasoline adds $9 million to the annual fuel bill. Postal officials say the increases aren’t a problem yet. In fact, they are behaving normally: Fuel prices typically rise at the start of the summer driving season. But William Galligan, the Postal Service’s senior vice president for operations, said gas prices are cause for concern."

The Watertown Daily Times has reported that "Local postal union officials again vowed to fight the U.S. Postal Service's plan to consolidate services from the Watertown post office's mail processing operation with the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center."

The Philadelphia Daily News has reported that "The Postal Service's Office of Inspector General, which investigated alleged mismanagement at Philadelphia mail facilities, identified several factors that led to problems at its Southwest Philadelphia plant."

May 20, 2009

iStockAnalyst has noted that "Stock performance in the transportation sector has been very uneven, reflecting the varying fortunes of particular industries within the sector. The median year-to-date-stock price gain/(loss) has been mixed for industries in the Zacks transportation universe -- all industries are underperforming the S&P 500’s 0.7% increase, with the exception of air freight. Air freight has been helped by large gains in smaller companies as the giants within the air freight sector, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) and FedEx Corporation (FDX), are down 4.3% and 15.7% year to date, respectively."

According to former Postal Rate Commission chairman Lee Fritschler, "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. In the case of the Postal Service, however, the fundamental problem is not money or credit, but its "business model" -- that is, the basic organization and purpose of the Postal Service. Public policy towards the Postal Service has grown unwise by not changing with changing times. We now have a system in which Congress feels obliged to oversee the execution of a public monopoly granted in the nineteenth century, while the Postal Service is struggling to adapt to life in the twenty-first century. This mismatch between policy and reality endangers the future of the Postal Service." [This article was published originally in the PostCom Bulletin, and now on Huffington Post.]

According to Ted O'Callahan in his recent article on "Did the mail shape globalization?", "Global commerce would be impossible without the movement of information — contracts, arrangements, plans, blueprints. Before the digital revolution transformed many of these things into bits and pixels, there was a postal revolution that improved the speed of information fl ow around the world."

From the May 19, 2009 postal oversight hearing before the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia:

Documents and Links

POSTCOM MEMBERS!!

Sustainable development is one of the priority areas for the Universal Postal Union's Consultative Committee. (PostCom is a member of the UPU's CC.) Neil Anderson of UNI Post, who is leading the CC’s efforts on this subject, has developed an online questionnaire and has asked CC members to forward the link to their membership, to invite their participation. The questionnaire is currently available via the url:
http://www.uniglobalunion.org/uniindep.nsf/UPUquest?OpenForm&Seq=1
Please use the following user name and password to access it:
User name
: union
Password
: action

Dead Tree Edition has reported that "L.L. Bean expects to mail "at least ten million additional catalogs" this summer if the U.S. Postal Service's proposed "Summer Sale" is approved, a company official says. "With more advance notice, this number would have certainly been higher," Steve Fuller, Chief Marketing Officer for Bean, wrote Tuesday in a letter to Dan Blair, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission. The letter was one of several that catalog and direct-mail companies have submitted to the PRC in support of the Summer Sale, with some agreeing that their participation would be limited by the short time frame to plan and execute the additional mailings."

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that "The nation's last 24-hour post office window is closing. Beginning June 6, the downtown Chicago location at 433 W. Harrison St. will be open only from 7:30 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, said Mark Reynolds, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman."

The Budapest Business Journal has reported that "Hungary's national asset management council decided to pay a HUF 4.5 billion dividend from the 2008 profit of state-owned postal company Magyar Posta. The dividend is HUF 1.5 billion more than that paid on 2007 profits."

 

According to Graphic Arts Online, "USPS officials message at this week’s National Postal Forum, concluding today in Washington, DC, was despite a $6.5 billion loss this year it won’t raise prices (rates went up last week 2 cents on first-class postage) cut service, ask lawmakers for a bail out, and it will continue to invest in modernizing the mailing industry."

Logistics Management has reported that "Supply chain software vendor RedPrairie recently rolled out a new Parcel offering that it said is integrated with its Transportation Management System (TMS) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). The new offering, according to company officials, will provide new opportunities for shipment consolidation and best-rate shipping, as well as synchronized order picking to match consolidated shipments for optimized warehouse labor."

The latest issue of Mailing Systems Technology is now available digitally! In this issue, you'll find insight on:

(1) Justifying that purchase in light of these tough economic times.
(2) Practical insights on navigating these economic waters from those closest to the source: The CEOs of many top companies
(3) Understanding the benefits of Internet-powered postal mail.

Have your say at Canada's 2009 Postal Forum! Three main themes drive discussion: Postal economics, infrastructure renewal, and pricing strategies; 100 per cent deliverable mail; and the huge potential of partnership initiatives with the VAM community. Plus, you can add your priorities to the Council agendas for follow-through.

Advertising Age has reported that:

  • In its Spring 2009 Media Economy Report, Advertiser Perceptions found that it's those holding the purse strings who are most eager to jump back into the fray and willing to increase spending in this year's upfront. More than one-third (37%) of upper-level marketers, which the report describes as directors, VPs and higher, said they plan to increase their ad spending compared with last year's TV upfront. A slightly higher 39% said they will maintain their ad spending, while a quarter intend to decrease it. The percentage of upper-level marketers willing to increase spending is more than double that in every other category Advertiser Perceptions surveyed, including lower-level marketers (17%), agency planners (16%) and agency buyers (16%).
  • Only 51% of marketers rated magazines as highly effective for building brand equity, according to research fielded this April for the Association of National Advertisers. That's down sharply from 67% in February 2007. Online and social media, on the other hand, got high marks this spring, their first time on the questionnaire. TV, radio, newspapers and outdoor all slipped in marketers' eyes along with magazines, but brand building is supposed to be magazines' particular strong suit. And many magazines are already fighting for their lives: Monthlies' ad pages for issues from January through June landed nearly 23% below their level from the first half of last year, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

A summary from today's House postal oversight hearing has been posted on this site.

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

The Norwegian government will in future subsidise Posten Norge’s unprofitable services with around 60m euros.
Österreichische Post suffered a slight decline in turnover during the first quarter 2009 (-2.4%; 595.2m euros) and a drop in profit of 6.8% (pre-tax profit: 48.4m euros). The Mail segment was hardest hit.
Germany’s regulatory authority has carried out a survey of the demand for postal services among business customers. According to the survey, 92% of all letters in Germany are sent by businesses and only around 8% by private households. More than 80% of business mail costs are allotted to business post, such as bills. Remaining costs are divided between addressed advertising mail, catalogues and press consignments. The survey also shows that electronic mail increased among more than 50% of business customers last year and will continue to do so; 60% expect a further increase in the future.
An announcement regarding the outsourcing of parts of the mail delivery service by the board of Österreichische Post has alerted the trade union.
The draft bill for a new Postal Act for Austria has met with criticism from many quarters.
In the midst of discussions around the new Postal Act, a newcomer has announced interest in the Austrian postal market. "We are considering competing against the post in a serious way. One of our main advantages is our greater flexibility around delivery times", said Harald Neumann, managing director of G4S in Austria in an interview with daily »Kurier« (14.05). G4S, which was founded in 1904 as Erste Wiener Wach- und Schließgesellschaft, stands for Group 4 Securicor, a company that achieves a turnover of almost 100m euros from around 2,400 employees in Austria.
As previously announced, the German Federal Association of Courier, Express and Postal Services (BdKEP e.V.) has filed a constitutional complaint with Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe against the law concerning the posting of employees abroad. The complaint focusses on the repeal of the wage bargaining autonomy contained in the new legislation.
Last week the board of France’s La Poste presented the trade unions with a wage offer for around 150,000 postal employees. La Poste proposes to increase the wages for employees in non-leading positions by 2%, while managers’ salaries would go up by 2.2%. The approx. 150,000 civil servants working for the post are not covered by the wage agreement.
DHL appears to be set on purchasing Beijing Sinotrans Express Co. Ltd (Sinotrans Express).
The parties are taking a harsher approach in the looming trade dispute between Deutsche Post and trade union ver.di. CEO Appel told business magazine »Capital« that there was no alternative to mail delivery services undergoing cost cutting measures.
UPS recently introduced a domestic service in Brazil. So far, the service offer is limited to routes between Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Campinas, where UPS runs its own branches. The integrator hopes that the new service will help increase its turnover in Brazil by 10 to 15% this year.
China’s new Postal Act appears to be causing considerable problems for domestic companies, too.
DHL appears to be considering donating the Wilmington airport to the town.

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

According to the Reading Evening Post, "the Government’s controversial plan for a partial sale of the Royal Mail came under fresh attack today after a new poll showed that three out of four people opposed the idea, and some warned it could affect their voting intentions at the next election. The survey of more than 1,000 adults across Britain also revealed that most believed part-privatisation would break a key election promise of the Labour Party."

According to the Communication Workers Union (CWU), "Three quarters oppose mail sale, saying it breaks promises and would be bad for taxpayer. In an ICM poll published today (Wednesday) 75% of people now oppose the part-privatisation of Royal Mail, with 60% of people saying it needs to be reformed but must remain in the public sector."

According to China Daily, "Changes to the Postal Law aims to speed up China's mail service, which can see letters to villagers in remote parts of the country take as long as a month to arrive. The law is looking to support postal services in rural areas."

Here are two goodies you might want to check out as posted on the PostalNews.com web site:

MyFox Phoenix has reported that "To accommodate the growing population, many Central Arizonans will have to change their zip code, the United States Postal Service announced Tuesday. Starting on Wednesday, July 1, 2009, residents will be asked to make a 1-digit change to their zip codes."

The Long Beach Press-Telegram has reported that "The United States Postal Service will hold a public meeting May 27 on its decision to transfer outgoing mail from the Long Beach Processing and Distribution Center to Santa Ana in order to save $2.7 million. Forty-eight postal jobs will be lost by the decision. Collection and retail services will remain the same. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the Alvarado Elementary School, 1900 E. 21st St., Signal Hill. Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske has sponsored a City Council resolution opposing the loss of any services at the Redondo Avenue facility."

As DM News has noted, "The USPS' financial situation dominated a discussion with Marie Therese Dominguez, VP, government relations and public policy, USPS, and Patrick Donahoe, USPS deputy postmaster general and COO, this morning at the National Postal Forum. Retiree health benefits, mentioned in Monday's opening session, were a main focus of the talk. Under the payment schedule enacted by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the Postal Service is required to pay $5.4 to $5.8 billion dollars annually, from 2007 – 2016, and it also must pay health benefit premiums of $2.0 to $4.2 billion dollars annually between now and 2016. Given today's economy and the USPS' falling volumes and revenues, the agency maintain this schedule is now untenable for the organization."

WSBT has reported that "Police say from one end of the state to the other, a truck on the Indiana Toll Road dropped mail packages it carried for the U.S. Postal Service. The packages began to fall after a securing strap broke, according to Indiana State Police at the post near South Bend. The first packages discovered were at the Ohio state line, but the driver never realized they were crashing to the pavement and no one called authorities to report the problem."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union today renewed its offensive against the government over its plans to sell at least 30% of the state-owned Royal Mail to another operator. The Union said that a recent poll of just over 1000 people by ICM showed that three quarters of those asked were against the plan. 75% opposed the part-privatisation of Royal Mail, with 60% of people saying it needed to be reformed but should remain in the public sector."

Subcommittee Holds Hearing to Evaluate the Postal Service’s Cuts in Operations and Network. On Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia will hold a hearing entitled, “Nip and Tuck: The Impact of Current Cost Cutting Efforts on Postal Service Operations and Network.” The Postal Service has made tough decisions to cut costs by consolidating facilities, realigning carrier routes, shortening post office hours, and the very unpopular, raising of postal rates. The Subcommittee will examine the impact of these cuts on postal employees and customers, assess whether these actions go far enough, and explore what additional opportunities the Postal Service can undertake to remain viable.”

From the Federal Register:  New Postal Product, 23750 [E9–11682] [TEXT] [PDF]

The Utica Observer Dispatch has reported that "A largely skeptical crowd of local postal workers made their presence felt Tuesday at the State Office Building, where they protested a proposal to shift outgoing mail operations from the Pitcher Street plant to Syracuse. The public hearing included a presentation from top U.S. Postal Service employees in the Albany District – which includes six plants, including Utica – to explain the recently completed feasibility study, which recommends the move." See also News10 Now.

May 19, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

From PR Newswire: "'Tis the season for graduations, weddings and birthdays. So get ready for all those summer gift-giving occasions by stocking up on USPS.-branded products now on sale in Post Office lobbies across the country. Everyone can use a little help in the current economy. This month, select in-stock items such as matted and framed artwork, plush toys and stationery are available at a 30 percent discount."

PMG Jack Potter has announced the selections of two new officers to senior USPS positions. William Gilligan has been named Chief Postal Inspector. Since October, Gilligan has been Acting Chief Postal Inspector. Gilligan has realigned Inspection Service resources with the goal of improving protection of customers, employees and postal assets. “Under his leadership, greater focus has been placed on security, including cyber security, revenue fraud and fraud prevention,” Potter said. Potter also announced the appointment of Stephen Masse as vice president, Finance and Planning. Masse comes to the Postal Service from aerospace firm BAE, where he was senior vice president, Finance and Operations. Previous positions at BAE include controller and vice president of Finance. Reporting to the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett, Masse will be responsible for forward-looking financial information, from budgets to the five-year plan, as well as development of a new 18-month financial plan that will be adjusted on a dynamic basis. Masse’s other activities will include revenue and expense budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis and program review, including capital and program evaluation.

According to IPE, "The €3.8bn pension fund of postal company TNT saw its losses considerably limited last year, officials claim, as the interest hedge on liabilities was increased from 53% to 75%. The interest rate swap hedge contributed no less than 8.2% to the scheme’s eventual return of –14.2%, although it could not prevent the cover ratio dropping from 141.4% to 93%, TNT revealed in its annual report."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV has said that it was in talks with the German publishing house Georg von Holtzbrinck about forming a possible distribution partnership."

Inquiring minds want to know....What does the USPS' Steve Kearney's announcement that there would be no new mail classification changes for the next six months actually mean? As it turns out...not much. The rules the Postal Service has proposed and are considering regarding tabbed booklets and tabbed self-mailers will go ahead as ready and as planned. Also, while other new mail classification changes may be held in abeyance, nothing...absolutely nothing...will stand in the way of the USPS' proposing new initiatives that would go into effect after the end of the November "moratorium."

Bloomberg has reported that "U.S. Postmaster General John Potter said the slumping economy that’s curbing mail volume and extending losses at his agency hasn’t hit bottom. Mail volume may continue to fall, making it harder to return to profitability after a $1.9 billion second-quarter loss, Potter said. The Postal Service is working to trim costs by eliminating routes and cutting jobs." See also the Washington Post and the New York Times.

May 18, 2009

In a letter addressed to the Honorable Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman, House Subcommittee on the Postal Service, long-time postal guru Murray Comarow wrote: "H.R. 22 is like a life preserver thrown to a drowning man. It may save his life, but will not improve his health. So press forward, by all means, and light a fire under the Senate, but don’t delude yourself that the Postal Service will then be in good health. It will not; in fact, it is on the verge of collapse. If that happens, postal jobs, and millions of private sector jobs that depend on it, are at risk."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: "Postal Regulatory Commission Performance Budget Plan Fiscal Year 2010"

According to Nazret.com, "Ethiopia's Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) has ordered the state owned Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) to facilitate the shifting of some operations and duties of the corporation to the other organ under the ministry, the Ethiopian Postal Service (EPS)."

The New Richmond News has noted that "At least two Wisconsin congressmen have helped convince the U.S. Postal Service to drop rural cost-cutting measures, after residents complained. More than 30 rural communities in southeast Wisconsin have had their carriers transferred to nearby towns as part of consolidations. Postal officials say it saves about $46,000 a year at each location. But residents say they’re getting their mail too late. And businesses say it’s harder for them to function."

Thelatest postal 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/. Business Reply Mail. By opening a Business Reply Mail (BRM) account with the local Post Office, a business can give customers return envelopes or labels they can mail without postage. Reduced BRM volume coupled with a smaller workforce may increase the risk to the Postal Service of not collecting all revenue from BRM. Do you think a change in the way the Postal Service charges for these pieces would increase the mailing volume while also helping the Postal Service reduce work hours? Is a flat rate based on quarterly volume estimates a more attractive option? Share your thoughts on BRM. 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.

ZDNet has reported that "Czech Post is the second largest employer in the Czech Republic with nearly 3,400 post offices and 40,000 employees. With a disparate environment across 3,400 locations, Czech Post was experiencing increased administration costs, as well as downtime and security issues. The company set out to find a new operating system to support its APOST system that would reduce administration costs across offices, while providing greater uptime and security. Czech Post considered upgrading its existing hardware, but that would have required significant updates to its APOST software and increased training costs. As a foundation for a new and centralized system, Czech Post selected SUSE LINUX technology."

From Business Wire:

  • Pitney Bowes Inc. today lauded the U.S. Postal Service for its proposed Summer Sale on Standard Mail(R) letters and flats. Pending approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the sale, which is a Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program, would provide large mailers with a significant opportunity to save on their postage costs.
  • Esker, the leader in document process automation solutions, today announced that FlyDoc, the online mail and fax service, experienced growth of 40% in 2008. With over 25,000 users in the United States and France, FlyDoc has proven to be a good fit for companies that need to send large volumes of mail, fax, email and SMS.
  • The new Neopost AS-3630 and AS-3640 addressing systems are superior, heavy-duty production address printers offering versatility and professional mailings to a wide variety of organizations. They are perfect for high volume mail centers and can work as either standalone address printing systems, or in line with other mail processing equipment such as a folder/inserter or mailing system.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) is no more. Now known as Deutsche Post DHL, the Germany-based global mail, express and logistics company outlined the thinking behind that corporate rebranding and clarified its future corporate direction in what it calls 'Strategy 2015'. Speaking at a briefing for analysts the Deutsche Post DHL's CEO, said the corporate name change clarified the company structure, "increased cooperation and mobility within the group and integrated solutions for customers".



At today's National Postal Forum:

  • U.S. Postal Service Sr. Vice President, Customer Relations Stephen Kearney told attendees that that there will be no more mail classification changes for the next six and a half months.
  • According to the Postal Service's chief financial officer, the USPS intends to borrow to the max, and to continue its aggressive cost cutting. Even at that, the USPS said it doesn't expect to be able close the financial gap between revenues and costs.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported that "As the U.S. Postal Service searches for $2 billion in spending cuts, residents in several Wisconsin communities are objecting to changes at their post offices. Consolidation of mail carriers in Oconomowoc, West Bend, Oak Creek and elsewhere has stirred complaints that mail is being delivered late and that residents feel neglected."

The Utica Observer-Dispatch has reported that "a plan to shift some local U.S. Postal Service operations to Syracuse could mean the end of the Utica plant, a postal service union chief said Thursday. The postal service unveiled the preliminary findings of a consolidation study in April, saying it could save money by moving mail processing operations from Utica, Watertown and Binghamton to the Syracuse plant."


Can't be at the National Postal Forum? Then follow it on twitter. Go to www.twitter.com/DCForum09 and click the "follow" button to automatically receive updates and special announcements. If you post something on Twitter related to the Forum, please include #09NPF in the message.

May 17, 2009

The Observer has noted that "Royal Mail is far from a basket case. Postal performance is relatively good and costs relatively low. Even after a 40% shrinkage, it has a network of 12,000 outlets; under the universal delivery obligation, it is a link to every address in Britain. There is one other intangible but crucial factor. The Royal Mail is a national treasure."

Business Times has reported that "Malaysia's air express firm GD Express Carrier Bhd (GDEX) (0078) is moving a step closer to expand its express delivery business to Laos, the firm's second international foray after Singapore in 2007."

The 2009 National Postal Forum offers the tools businesses need to succeed using the mail. Workshops will offer attendees the opportunity to hear from industry experts how new technologies are leading the way into the future and delivering better ways to serve customers. Who: U.S. Postal Service: John E. Potter, Postmaster General and CEO; Patrick R. Donahoe, Deputy Postmaster General and COO; Robert F. Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services, Stuart Varney, Fox News (Luncheon Keynote Speaker on Wednesday) What: The hottest issues in the mailing industry and the experts to address them await attendees at this year’s National Postal Forum. More than 5,000 industry professionals are expected to attend the four-day conference that features 140 workshops, symposiums on Intelligent Mail and shipping solutions, 16 business tracks on topics from mail center management to sustainability, and 15 professional certificate programs. When: Sunday, May 17 – Wednesday, May 20

According to the Wall Street Journal, "President Obama deserves credit for finally identifying an industry he doesn't want to rescue -- ours. Pressed about a bailout for struggling newspapers, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last week that while it's sad for cities to lose their daily papers, any public assistance "might be a tricky area to get into." He added, "I don't know what, in all honesty, government can do about it." That wisdom apparently doesn't extend to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who held a hearing on the future of newspapers -- and how the federal government can help. "If we take seriously this notion that the press is the fourth estate, or the fourth branch of government," Mr. Kerry said in a prepared statement, it's time we consider its importance to democracy. Talk about a Freudian slip. Newspapers becoming the "fourth branch of government" is exactly what people most fear from any hand extended to save an independent press."

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has reported that "Henrico County is reaping the rewards of a new mailing address by harvesting increasingly scarce sales-tax dollars that had been going to Richmond. The formal transfer of multiple ZIP codes to "Henrico, VA" on Jan. 1 already has resulted in $2 million in additional tax and business license revenue, according to county finance officials. They say the switch has been a lifesaver as the recession continues to put a deep dent in taxable sales."

Times Daily has reported that "Forty-five members of the U.S. Army Reserve 678th Adjutant General Postal Unit in Sheffield are in California finishing combat training for deployment to Iraq."

May 16, 2009

From Business Wire: "GrayHair Software, the direct mail industry’s leader in mail tracking and Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) services, and Neopost USA Inc., an industry leading provider of mailing and shipping solutions, have announced a partnership that will be unveiled at this year’s National Postal Forum, May 17 - 20 in Washington D.C. This alliance will incorporate GrayHair’s mail tracking and IMb services into Neopost’s next generation production system to create an unparalleled solution for business mailers."

May 15, 2009

According to Logistics Management, "L.L. Bean does it. Lillian Vernon does it. Fingerhut does it. Miles Kimball does it. So do the Home Shopping Network, Victoria's Secret, and QVC. What are these and other mail-order specialists doing? They're all shipping thousands of parcels each week, and they've all found a way to save money doing it. Their "secret" is a money-saving practice known as "zoneskipping." Zoneskipping, in essence, is the technique of moving parcels part way across the country by truck or air and then inserting them into the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) units closest to their destinations. This saves the USPS a significant amount of money, and some of those savings are passed on to the shippers and consolidators."

As Dead Tree Edition has noted, "Inflation numbers released today made it increasingly clear that postal rates are unlikely to increase for two more years. The Consumer Price Index rose only 0.25% from March to April, the U.S. Labor Department reported today, putting the index 0.7% below the level of April 2008. That means consumer prices would have to rise at an annualized rate above 4.5% for the rest of the year for the U.S. Postal Service to raise rates in May 2010 for the “market-dominant” classes – such as First Class, Standard, and Periodicals. With the recession tamping down inflation this month and probably next month as well, prices would probably have to rise at an annualized rate of more than 6% in the second half for postal rates to increase at all in 2010. The Postal Service would still apparently have the ability to adjust rates – such as a new pricing structure for mail going to the Flats Sequencing System – as long as average rates for a class do not increase. And with the money-losing USPS apparently on course to run out of funds within a year, there’s always the danger of it getting special permission to implement price increases that violate the CPI-based price cap." Check out the Postal Regulatory Commission's update on the CPI index.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

DMM Advisory:  PostalOne! and Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) Deployment PostalOne! release 20 was successfully deployed on May 11 to render the price change. The Test environment for mailers will be deployed on May 18 to enable mailers to test electronic documentation submissions and to test the Intelligent Mail Full Service option. TEM is available under Electronic Data Exchange through the Business Customer Gateway. New Mailers who wish to test Mail.dat 8-2 and 9-1 files need to do so via the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) starting on May 18. All Mailers wishing to test the Full-Service option capability using Mail.dat need to submit Mail.dat version 9-1 in the Test Environment. 

The Postal Service will publish a checklist on RIBBS, May 18, to assist mailers in the testing process. This checklist will provide guidance on the tasks mailers need to complete to migrate to Full Service. The steps include reviewing the appropriate guides to construct Intelligent Mail barcodes and electronic documentation needed for Full Service, making plans for feedback for the Full-Service option, establishing access to the USPS Business Customer Gateway, designing and validating barcodes, and testing electronic documentation via the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM). The Postal Service will conduct a Webinar training on the Test Environment on Friday May 22, 1:00 – 2:30 pm EDT. The access details will be posted on RIBBS by May 21 under the latest news.   

Software Updates for Full-Service option – The Postal Service has been testing the Full-Service option implementation with several mailers. Through this test process, mailers have requested changes in the software supporting Full-Service and the Postal Service has uncovered issues in some areas. The Postal Service plans to address these change requests and issues in upcoming software updates. The tentative dates for the upcoming software updates are June 8, July 19, and August 16. The Postal Service will confirm the content that will be included in the June 8 release and publish this in next week's weekly update. 

Business Customer Gateway – Mailers now access the PostalOne!, FAST, Customer Label Distribution System (CLDS) , and Mailer ID  applications via the Business Customer Gateway at  www.usps.com by selecting the Business Customer Gateway link in the lower right corner. On the Gateway login page, existing users enter their PostalOne!, FAST, or CLDS username and password under the Existing Users Login section. Users will need to login using their existing username in all Capital Letters. Traditionally, users have accessed these applications through the National & Premier Accounts link on the usps.com page and then logged on from the PostalOne!, FAST, or CLDS log on pages. 

The PostalOne! functions have been remapped and the new links are listed first followed by the old links in parenthesis as follows:

        Balance & Fees (Balance and Fees)
Postal Wizard (Submit a Form - Postal Wizard)
Electronic Data Exchange (Mail.dat)
Mailing Reports (Reports)
Manage Permits (Manage Permits)
FAST: Select the Gateway link: (Schedule a Mailing Appointment)
CLDS: select the Gateway link: (Customer Label Distribution System (CLDS)) 

Reference the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports guide for more information on accessing your accounts.

Gateway Business Service Administrator – Starting May 11, the former PostalOne!  External Site Administrator role has been migrated and replaced by the Gateway Business Services Administrator role (BSA). Administrators are responsible for their user base and access levels, approving or deactivating user requests for services, and assigning additional users to the Administrator role. Existing users of companies that did not have an External Site Administrator prior to May 11 can continue to access the system and services. New users for that company are notified of the Administrator requirement and asked to assume the responsibility when they create a new account. If the user agrees, the registration process continues. If the user declines, the service request goes into a pending status until there is an Administrator at the business location. As part of the transition process, some Administrators have been contacted via e-mail and asked to review their profiles.  

Mailer ID Validation - Customers can now apply for a Mailer ID (MID) and access their Mailer ID information online through the Business Customer Gateway. Customers who have previously received a Mailer ID that does not display in the online profile or is not associated to the correct business location should contact the PostalOne! Help Desk.   

Assistance – Please call the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions, problems accessing the Business Customer Gateway, your accounts, or problems submitting electronic documentation.

The latest issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors NAPS Legislative & Regulatory Update can be found on the NAPS web site.

Tampa Bay Online has reported that "Andrew Allen Rimes says he fell asleep in his car the day he was supposed to deliver more than 1,000 pieces of mail. When he woke up around 2:30 or 3 p.m., he "panicked," and instead of delivering the mail, he dumped some of it in the woods along 20 Mile Level Road in Land O' Lakes and hid the rest in a storage shed. This morning, the 23-year-old Port Richey man was sentenced to three years in federal prison and three years of probation for delaying, detaining or destroying mail."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA) 1421 Prince Street, Suite,  410 Alexandria, VA 22314-2806. Contact: Leo Raymond, Vice President Postal & Member Relations. 

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

  • The Postal Service published its unaudited March results with the Postal Regulatory Commission. The USPS lost over $491 million dollars in March 2009. This loss is in addition to the $658 million loss for February 2009 and $751 million loss for January 2009.
  • This week, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the first-ever U.S. Postal Service market test for a competitive, less-than-truckload, shipping service called Collaborative Logistics. It concluded that the USPS proposal satisfies section 3641 of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
  • The U. S. Postal Service last week posted its second quarter service performance reports for all market-dominant products, which covers the period from January 1, 2009, to March 31, 2009. The results were a mixed bag, with improvements seen in the percentage of mail delivered within the applicable service standard for presort First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services; but declines in service for the “tail of the mail” for end-to-end Standard Mail and Package Services. While service improved for First-Class Mail presort, it remained significantly lower than performance for Single-Piece First-Class Mail. Periodicals, Package Services and end-to-end Standard Mail performance remained significantly lower than the USPS’ FY 2009 performance targets for those categories.
  • The IDEAlliance has communicated to Postmaster General Jack Potter its opposition to the USPS’ recent plan to raise the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) quality threshold to 90 percent in November 2009. The association proposed that a joint industry/USPS approach be pursued between now and November to determine the best way to proceed on the IMb quality threshold.
  • Here's an important message from PostCom's General Counsel on what appears to be a new Postal Inspection Service initiative aimed at large business mailers.
  • This week in a webinar hosted by various associations, including the Association of Postal Commerce, the USPS' Tom Foti updated the industry on the summer sale. The letters were mailed last Thursday, May 7 to all those participants identified by the USPS. The Obama administration has backed off plans to bring U.S. Postal Service worker benefits in line with those of other federal workers. The head of the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) has said that frequent postage rate increases like the one today that boosted a first-class stamp to 44 cents - while necessary for the U.S. Postal Service to function effectively this year - can and should be avoided in the future. Lizbeth Dobbins has been appointed the new U.S. Postal Service Manager, Mailing Standards.
  • Osterreichische Post, the Austrian postal service, said that it plans to outsource its letter delivery over the next years as it prepares for the end of its letter monopoly in 2011. The operator will start with commissioning subsidiaries or private operators for delivery in 24 selected areas this year, covering about 5 percent of Austrian Post's total letter volume this year. Royal Mail has announced that it will be ending the practice of having postal delivery personnel carry out their functions on bicycles. Dutch postal group has told the British government that it would want a significant interest in the Mail's parcel delivery division, GLS, which is headquartered in Amsterdam. The Gordon Brown Government is planning to hide the crippling cost to the taxpayer of taking on Royal Mail's pension deficit, which could be double the published £6bn figure, under proposals to reshape the postal group. Borderlinx has joined forces with the Danish postal service, Post Danmark, to make it easy and cost-effective for people all over Denmark to buy goods easily and cost-effectively from the US. Which financial black hole could be transformed into a mountain of gold simply by moving the ownership of the black hole from one part of the public sector to another? The answer is Royal Mail's pension fund. DHL Global Mail has introduced Track U.K., a residential parcel service that offers fast transit times, tracking visibility and customer-friendly delivery options. New Zealand Post is searching for a replacement for chief executive John Allen, who has been appointed head of Foreign Affairs and Trade. shipping giant UPS Inc., hit hard by the global economic downturn, said Tuesday it has sold much of its international Mail Boxes Etc. brand to Italian holding company Fineffe Group for an undisclosed sum so it can focus on its MBE and UPS Store brands in the U.S., Canada and India. The Russian Communications and Press Ministry will give systemic support to the news media during the recession as they face a sharp drop in income from advertisements. The chief executive of Post Danmark, Helge Israelsen, has stepped down.
  • Postal previews
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DMM Advisory:  "An advance copy of the Federal Register notice of the new mailing standards to support the upcoming Summer Sale is available on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com. The Sale will provide a 30 percent reduction in postage for qualifying Standard Mail customers mailing letters and flats. The sale price will be available for increased mail volume above a USPS-set threshold. The Summer Sale will run from July 1 through September 30, 2009 . The Summer Sale offer is subject to review by the Commission for up to 45 days following May 1."

The Copenhagen Post has reported that "Europe’s longest serving chief executive of a postal service has announced he will step aside following Post Danmark’s merger with its Swedish equivalent The chief executive of Post Danmark, Helge Israelsen, has stepped down after 21 years at the helm. Chairman of the board Fritz H. Schur announced the departure, saying Israelsen wished to leave in connection with the merger between Post Danmark and the Swedish Posten AB.The final merger agreement between the two companies was signed in February and the new company will be owned by the Danish and Swedish states, together with CVC Capital Partners."

As China Daily has noted, "Profits and job uncertainty are putting two of Britain's communications giants at risk. The British postal service, Royal Mail, made significant profits last year but few believe it will be enough to turn the company around. Meanwhile, British telecommunications company BT has reported massive losses and is now facing similar problems with its pension fund."

According to the BBC, "Postal workers in Londonderry have unanimously rejected a pay increase for delivering literature for the European election in June. Staff in the city had refused to deliver the material. The rise, which would have taken the rate to 4.6p per item, was still the joint lowest in Northern Ireland."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail faces the threat of strikes over cost-cutting, overshadowing the postal operator's announcement yesterday of a near-doubling of annual profits. The Communication Workers Union is to announce a strike ballot of postal staff in London in protest against the way efficiency measures are being implemented, which the union fears could put 1,300 jobs in the capital at risk. Other branches around the country are also requesting ballots on what they say is a 10 per cent across-the-board cost cut. There has already been a half-day strike in Edinburgh. A Royal Mail spokesman said: "The CWU said today 'the pace of modernisation needs to now be stepped up' and we ask them to prove what they say by calling off their planned strike ballots in London and focus on providing continued high quality service to our customers in the most efficient way."

Central Queensland News has reported that "Australia Post has admitted it's been unable to rectify some of the problems that have been plaguing the Emerald service for months. Central Queensland News has been reporting on delivery delays, staff recruitment and other issues since August last year."

The Library Journal has reported that "Last June, LJ reported on two New Jersey library systems, Burlington County Library System (BCLS) Westhampton, and the Gloucester County Library System (GCLS), Mullica Hill, that instituted mail delivery. Now Princeton Public Library (PPL), NJ, is launching a delivery program based on the earlier models, plus the Netflix-like feature of free return postage. All three projects feature online materials request, free delivery via the U.S. Postal Service, and initial funding by a regional library cooperative."

ITN has reported that "Postal workers across London are set to vote on whether to launch strike action in a dispute over jobs and working conditions. The Communication Workers Union has accused the Royal Mail of "deliberately" running down the service ahead of the Government's controversial plan to part-privatise the business."

The Times has reported that "Postal workers are refusing to deliver British National Party election leaflets because they object to its “right-wing rubbish”. Around 100 workers in the West Country have told union leaders they will not carry the leaflets, which bear an anti-immigration message. They have accused Royal Mail chiefs in Bristol and Somerset of “bullying” with one office allegedly threatening workers with the sack if they do not comply. The Communication Workers Union claims Royal Mail is breaking a “conscience clause” agreed four years ago which allows staff to refuse to deliver literature they find offensive."

Hellmail has noted that "Royal Mail is to introduce zone-based access pricing from April 2010. The move follows an application to Postcomm in November 2008 which has been accepted, albeit held back to allow access customers to prepare for the price changes. The original request by Royal Mail for five zones has now been reduced to four and price changes in subsequent years are to be limited so they can only be changed so as to make prices “more cost reflective” and limited by a maximum annual amount."

From Business Wire: "Neopost USA will feature a wide array of innovative technologies and postal automation solutions at the 2009 National Postal Forum as the company focuses on helping mailers dramatically improve mailing operations."

The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail doubled its profits to £321 million last year, leading to calls that plans for a part-privatisation should be axed. Critics of the Govenrment's sell-off plans said the figures demonstrated that the organisation can thrive in public ownership. Its profits soared following an increase in postage prices to cancel out a fall in posted mail." See also The Independent and The Times.

Ever wonder what a "Summer Sale" invitiation letter from the Postal Service actually looks like? Well, we've posted a copy of what people are receiving on this site. Also posted are the Summer Sale Program Details.

Tri-State Defender has claimed that "The United States Postal Service – historically a dependable ladder into the middle class for African Americans – is experiencing an unprecedented decline in mail volume and revenue. As a result, thousands of postal workers nationwide are being laid off, reassigned to jobs that can be several hundred miles away or given the option to retire early. African Americans locally are feeling the economic pain as many face possible reassignments and the prospects of having to uproot their families and sell their homes in a down market. Some African-American postal workers in Memphis fear that skin color will be used as a factor as the reductions are made."

May 14, 2009

The Financial Times has reported that "Gordon Brown came under increased pressure on Thursday to abandon contentious plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, after the postal operator announced a near-doubling in its annual profits. Labour rebels asserted that the increase in operating profit to £321m for the year to March, compared with £162m for the previous year, undermined the government’s case for selling a 30 per cent stake in the state-owned group to a rival operator. “This shows Royal Mail is not the basket case it’s been made out [by ministers] to be,” Geraldine Smith, the Labour MP, told the Financial Times. “There’s no reason it can’t go forward and be a very successful and profitable public sector operator.” See also the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail.

Cell Phone Digest has reported that "MasterCard has announced that their fully-integrated, on-demand person-to-person (P2P) mobile payment platform for issuers in the United States is set to go live later this month. With this new platform, MasterCard participating bank customers will be able to offer Mobile MasterCard MoneySend P2P payments to their customers. Mobile MoneySend is the breakthrough consumer payment platform that provides a better way to send and receive funds via SMS-text, mobile browser, mobile applet or an Internet PC. Initially, consumers will be able to use MoneySend with a MasterCard prepaid card issued by The Bancorp Bank and then link it to their mobile phone number to send or receive money."

Earth Times has reported that "The Swedish postal services Thursday issued two new stamps that highlight Louis Braille, the creator of an alphabet of raised dots used by millions of visually impaired people worldwide. Both stamps have the text "see with other eyes" printed in Braille and ordinary print."

Reuters has reported that "Austria's state-controlled mail operator, Osterreichische Post, said on Thursday it plans to outsource its letter delivery over the next years as it prepares for the end of its letter monopoly in 2011. The operator will start with commissioning subsidiaries or private operators for delivery in 24 selected areas this year, covering about 5 percent of Austrian Post's total letter volume this year, board member Walter Hitziger said on Austrian radio."

The Gainesville Sun has reported that "an investigation is under way in Levy County after officials discovered an employee from the Bronson Post Office apparently has been stockpiling undelivered mail at home."

Media Daily News has reported that "Much attention has been focused on the decline of major American newspapers, and it's common knowledge that print advertising revenues have plunged over the last couple of years. But exactly how much money have newspapers lost in their print operations? An estimated $18.7 billion from 2006-2008." [EdNote: As the late Sen. Everett Dirksen

From Canada NewsWire: "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is marking Moya Greene's fourth anniversary as President and CEO of the Canada Post by releasing a report card evaluating the corporation's track record under her management. Greene will receive a national report card today from CUPW that shows how injuries, strikes and grievances have gone up at Canada Post since she took the helm four years ago. It also shows how respect in the work place has deteriorated during the same period."

The BBC has reported that "Royal Mail has seen its annual profits almost double, as all four parts of the business went into the black for the first time in 20 years. The government says one key reason for the need of outside investment is the extent of Royal Mail's pension deficit. The government is continuing plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail, saying outside funds are vital for its future.According to Royal Mail's latest figures, this has more than doubled over the past year to £6.8bn. It also warned that mail volumes declined 5.5% during the 12 months, and predicts they will fall by a further 10% in the current financial year due to the recession and the continuing growth of electronic communications such as e-mail." See also The Times and Metro.

Next week’s launch of a Priority Mail ad campaign is the focus of DPMG and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe’s latest edition of Field Updates. Beginning May 19, nationwide print ads will appear in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, along with television and internet advertising that will continue through September, according to Donahoe. “The goal is to increase Priority Mail brand awareness and to generate at least 200,000 business leads,” says Donahoe, explaining that the campaign also will be supported with in-store signage, a banner on usps.com and LiteBlue, a direct-response toll-free 800 number, and four new television ads. In addition, postal employees will receive a direct-mail piece at home describing the campaign, and select craft employees will receive a T-shirt to wear at specific times during the campaign to help educate customers about the benefits of Priority Mail.

According to the Memphis Daily News, "Fred Smith is going green. In the case of the FedEx founder, however, it’s a different shade – something like military fatigue green. Smith is reframing the push for alternative fuels and energy from a discussion of “what ifs” to a national security issue. Electric vehicles and biofuel incentives are part of a plan Smith admits is controversial. It includes nuclear energy, a carbon tax and maxing out domestic oil exploration. Smith is co-chairman of a coalition of corporate executives and retired military generals called the Energy Security Leadership Council. The other co-chairman is retired general and U.S. Marine Corps commandant P.X. Kelley."

As Forbes has noted, "Technology offers small business owners many ways to save money on mailing and shipping costs. It is easy to send printed material by e-mail, or through file transfer Web sites that can accommodate documents and files that are too large for many e-mail systems. These methods eliminate not only postage costs, but also printing and labor expenses. There are also Web sites that can help businesses comparison shop among delivery services. Small businesses are also saving by switching to Web-based or e-mail billing rather than snail-mail invoices."

May 13, 2009


If you haven't seen it yet, you ought to see the Sustainability video posted by the International Postal Corporation on its website. It's really excellent. Now, if only its U.S. member would emulate this approach with this and other matters involving communication with its customers and other key audiences. [For your convenience, a copy of this presentation is available on this site for downloading.]

The Miami Herald has reported that "Small businesses already working to hold costs down during the recession have another expense to contend with: higher postal rates. The price of a first-class stamp went up two cents to 44 cents on Monday, the latest in a series of increases this year by the U.S. Postal Service and private shippers including FedEx Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc. The price hikes have motivated small business owners to think about how they can send letters, cards and packages more cheaply. They've made Stacie Krajchir think about whether to mail or ship at all."

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

A decline in demand throughout all regions and branches brought an almost 13% drop in turnover (13.2bn euros) and a heavy slump in profit for Deutsche Post during the first quarter 2009. CEO Frank Appel told analysts in Frankfurt last Wednesday. He wants to engage in talks with the unions about longer working hours, deferring planned pay rises and the outsourcing of certain mail operations.
Following the passing of the new Chinese Postal Act by the People’s Congress on 24 April CEP News editors have translated some of the most important new regulations. The new definition of the universal service includes postal services within the People’s Republic of China that are carried out regularly for all customers and that are regulated by the state in terms of business area, service standards and tariffs. Foreign firms are generally prohibited from carrying domestic consignments. Express companies are not entitled to carry monopoly consignments, official documents or letters as parcels.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to postpone the transformation of La Poste into a plc.
Switzerland’s Schweizerische Post will not be granted a banking licence. PostFinance will thus remain limited to its current range of investment and finance products.
A turnover growth of 15% and a doubled pre-tax profit - 2008 ended on an excellent note for Pan Nordic Logistics (PNL).
This month GLS, the European parcel network of Britain’s Royal Mail, began a cooperation with Russia’s EMS Garantpost.
Chronopost, the French La Poste’s express service intends to redirect more of its focus back to the parcel market again.
UPS intends to open more than 130 mini depots throughout India in order to serve customers more quickly.
Austria’s Österreichische Post plans to achieve higher efficiency and streamlining over the next 12 months.
TNT is pressing ahead with the development of its road transport network in Asia.
FedEx CEO Fred Smith has urged the governments of the USA and Europe to continue the air traffic liberalisation process and to resist calls for protectionism.
The French La Poste is expecting a five percent annual decline in domestic mail volumes.
DHL strives to become number one in the field of pharmaceutical transport in Russia.

 

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.)

dBusiness News has noted that "BÖWE BELL + HOWELL will have a major presence at this year’s National Postal Forum, May 17 through May 20 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to displaying unique, industry-leading products and solutions in Booth No. 367, the company is hosting a Customer Symposium designed to inform participants of the latest innovations and cost-saving solutions."

The Westmeath Independent has reported that "Talks are to resume today (Wednesday) between DHL bosses and SIPTU in a bid to prevent the closure of seven of its nationwide branches, including Athlone, which would result in 320 redundancies. Workers at the DHL Express regional depot in Blyry Industrial Estate are hopeful that the union talks may result in some jobs being saved and perhaps even keep some of the regional depots open." See also The Anglo-Celt.

According to Brand Republic, "Ministers are offering overall control over the appointment of Royal Mail's chief executive and other key operational matters to a minority shareholder, in an attempt to attract bids from foreign rivals."

Google News has reported that "Shipping giant UPS Inc., hit hard by the global economic downturn, said Tuesday it has sold much of its international Mail Boxes Etc. brand to Italian holding company Fineffe Group for an undisclosed sum so it can focus on its MBE and UPS Store brands in the U.S., Canada and India."

The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) presents The 2009 POSTAL FORUM, June 11th at the Intercontinental Hotel, 225 Front Street West, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Canada Post is transforming its infrastructure and products to deliver tomorrow’s customer needs. What is the strategic thinking that drives this transformation? How does it impact your planning and operations? Is your company well positioned to rebound as the economy improves to take advantage of new opportunities offered by this transformation? What’s on your wish list to improve ROI? NAMMU is proud to present this platform for dialogue between Canada Post and industry. Three main themes drive discussion and planning: Postal economics, infrastructure renewal, and pricing strategies; 100 per cent deliverable mail; and the huge potential of partnership initiatives with the VAM community. Plus, you can add your priorities to the Council agendas for follow-through during the concurrent round tables after the plenary sessions. This conference delivers real value and the information you need to move ahead in today’s competitive business environment. Don’t miss out – there is a huge return on investment for your time at this conference! Registration details.

Reuters has reported that "Printing services provider R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co said it offered to buy the assets and properties of Quebecor World for about $1.35 billion in a cash and stock deal to expand into Canada. RR Donnelley said it will pay the insolvent commercial printer's debtors about $957 million in cash, and 30 million of its shares, valued at $394.2 million, based on Monday's close of $13.14. The transaction, which is expected to add to RR Donnelley earnings within 12 months of combined operations, is not subject to any financing condition and no shareholder approval is required, the company said in a statement. Montreal-based Quebecor, a big commercial printer hoping to emerge from bankruptcy protection this summer, prints products including books, magazines, directories and advertising materials."

According to the ExportLawBlog, "The United States Postal Service published in today’s Federal Register a notice of a proposed modification to its privacy regulations. One of the modifications relates to customs declarations that postal customers supply to the USPS in connection with exports made by those customers using the USPS. According to the notice, the USPS is proposing to give those declarations for “certain mailpieces” to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (”OFAC”), apparently pursuant to a specific request from OFAC. Needless to say, the notice doesn’t explicitly describe those “certain mailpieces” for which OFAC has requested the Customs Declaration. But a tantalizing clue suggests that only mail to Iran is involved. The notice references three executive orders imposing sanctions: E.O 12957, E.O.12959, and E.O 13059. Each of these orders promulgates sanctions on Iran. Beyond that, we have little indication of which postal shipments to Iran are subject to this disclosure proposal."

The Wilmington News Journal has reported that "DHL Express has asked the National Labor Relations Board to call off an upcoming union election at the company’s international gateway in Wilmington. Conducting a union election at the DHL Air Park in Wilmington would be “inappropriate” for several reasons stemming from DHL’s plan to end its Wilmington operations on July 24 and move to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Kentucky, according to Jonathan Baker, DHL senior director of corporate communications and public affairs. But a press statement issued by the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, describes DHL’s request as the “latest DHL maneuver to silence the workers.”

Joy Online has reported that "Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday tasked the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC) to weed out all unlicensed postal and courier service operators in the system saying it was criminal for them to continue to offer services to the public. According to the Minister, the PCSRC constituted an important ally in the fight against the drug menace hence the need for the service providers to acquire the necessary licence to operate."

From Media-Newswire: "Lord Mandelson's opening remarks on the postal services bill report stage." [EdNote: A good read.]

NVDaily has reported that "The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber has released a statement expressing its concern about the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to consolidate bulk mail processing from the Pleasant Valley Road post office to a regional mailing center near Washington Dulles International Airport."

KAKE has reported that "This week on Cost Cutters, Larry explains why we should stop clipping coupons. Clipping coupons is time consuming. We’ve all done it, because the food companies have trained us well. Now, “clipping” has gone digital and your scissors may soon become obsolete. A website called Cellfire collects coupons from your local area and downloads them to your cell phone. You just show the cell phone screen to your cashier and they deduct the coupon."


The following is from the Postal Service's MTAC co-chair, Steve Kearney:

I wanted to follow up with you on the Summer Sale presentation made at our last meeting. As you heard, the Summer Sale is currently under review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. We expect the review to be complete by mid-June. 

The customer invitation letters, which contain information your company will need to register for the program, have been sent. If you are not sure who in your company received the letter, please send an email to summersale@usps.gov for a speedy response to get you started. Those of you who have received letters can express your interest in participating at the special registration website: usps.com/summersale anytime before August 1. 

For the first time in our history, we are leveraging our pricing flexibility to provide a 30% rebate credited to Standard Mail Permit holder’s accounts on volume that exceeds an established volume threshold. We think this "1st" deserves a special session at National Postal Forum, so we've added one on Tuesday, May 19. We'll be in the Convention Center, Room 146 (Lobby Level), 2:00-4:00 PM to provide more information and special consultation. Direct mail is targeted and measurable to an extent other advertising media can’t match. This session will help you help your company connect with customers and save money while doing it. I am looking forward to seeing you there and working with you.

May 12, 2009

The Jacksboro Gazette-News has pondered: "Do Potter’s and Kearney’s comments [on the May postal price increases] conveniently overlook the fallout of slower delivery and longer lines at postal counters? Is it any wonder why electronic mail and alternate package delivery choices are so rapidly replacing traditional mail?"

The Moscow Times has reported that "The Communications and Press Ministry will give systemic support to the news media during the recession as they face a sharp drop in income from advertisements, Minister Igor Shchyogolev said Tuesday, RIA-Novosti reported. The minister laid out a range of possible methods of financial support, including loan subsidies of two-thirds the refinancing rate for strategic enterprises, delivery subsidies for media delivered by the Russian Post and a freeze in postal rates. In addition, a proposal is being developed to simplify the process for disposing excess print copies. He said aide wouldn't be distributed to individual media outlets "so that we won't be reproached for supposedly trying to influence the content of the publication." Shchyogolev said, however, that some media will be forced to change their business model if they want to survive. In Russia, where advertising has been a historically popular business model for independent media, many newspapers, magazines and radio station have closed because of a fall in advertising budgets in a period of temporary economic difficulties."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Stuff.co.nz has reported that "New Zealand Post is searching for a replacement for chief executive John Allen, who has been appointed head of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Allen leaves the postal operator at the end of June. Potential internal candidates could include chief financial officer Peter Schuyt, Postal Services Group chief executive Peter Fenton and Kiwibank chief executive Sam Knowles."

From Business Wire: "Newgistics Inc., a leading provider of USPS-based small parcel and mail solutions, today announced that its team will lead two sessions focusing on shipping solutions with United States Postal Service at the National Postal Forum."

Personnel Today has reported that "The postal workers' union has said that 16,000 Royal Mail staff in London are likely to strike next month in response to efficiency savings being introduced by the organisation."

As MediaPost has noted, "Newspapers have traditionally drawn on two main sources of revenue: advertising, which accounted for about 80% of total revenues, and circulation -- including newsstand sales and subscriptions -- which made up the remaining 20%. " [EdNote: Again....That's 80% of newspaper revenue coming from advertising. You know....Ink....On paper....Just like the mail. Makes you wonder then why the print media's disparagement of advertising in the mail has never sunken in as a classic example of someone who lives in a glass house and just can't stop himself from throwing stones.]

The Times of India has reported that "The South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the chief postmaster-general of Mumbai and the postmaster in charge of Tardeo post office to pay Rs 8,000 for non-delivery of mail. The consumer court had initially sent a notice to a Mahim airconditioner dealer after Shobha Alimchandani complained of deficiency in service but the envelope came back, with "address not known returned to sender'' stamped on it. Alimchandani then located the address and filed a complaint against post office officials for shoddy service." 

According to Law.com, "If you're filing a claim against the postal service, don't just drop it in the mail because the courts won't apply the ordinary presumption that a letter mailed is a letter received. In a holding fraught with irony, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has declared in Lightfoot v. United States (pdf) that the so-called "mailbox rule" cannot be invoked against the U.S. Postal Service to save an otherwise time-barred claim. Instead, the court said, a plaintiff pursuing a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act has the burden of proving that the federal agency was "presented" with a timely administrative claim, and that proof of mailing is not enough. The lesson to be drawn from the 3rd Circuit's ruling, Pollock said, is that lawyers should always use certified mail when filing FTCA claims and that it is sometimes better to simply file suit than to ask an agency to reconsider denial of a claim."

The Telegraph has reported that "Rebel Labour peers have failed in their bid to derail Lord Mandelson's plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. The Bill is expected to complete its Lords stages later this month and to begin what promises to be a stormy passage through the Commons soon after the local and European elections on June 4."

Politics.co.uk has reported that "The Tories will remove their support for the government on partial privatisation of the Royal Mail if it offers concessions to Labour backbenchers, the party has warned."

The Financial Times has reported that "Ministers are willing to cede overall control over the appointment of Royal Mail's chief executive and other key "operational matters" to a minority shareholder in the postal operator, it emerged yesterday. The concessions offered to attract foreign rivals to bid for a 30 per cent stake in the financially troubled Royal Mail are likely to fuel the potentially explosive political row brewing over the part-privatisation. Gordon Brown, prime minister, faces the most serious back-bench rebellion of his premiership when the legislation comes to the Commons. Almost 150 Labour MPs have signed a parliamentary motion opposing the part-privatisation, suggesting that Mr Brown will be forced to rely on Conservative support. Mr Brown has so far refused to offer significant concessions to the rebels and, in an official response to a critical report by the business select committee yesterday, the government has agreed to offer the successful bidder a "meaningful say in the running of the business". The new shareholder will be able to appoint a minority of board members and have a "shared responsibility" with ministers on choosing the chief executive, the government response said."

According to The Times, "The Tories have issued a stark warning to Lord Mandelson, threatening to withdraw critical support for government plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail if the Business Secretary makes concessions to Labour rebels."

"SNP Postal Affairs spokesperson, Mike Weir MP, has expressed alarm at UK government plans to cede control over the appointment of a new Royal Mail chief executive and other key operational matters to any minority private shareholder." See also The Scotsman.

From the Federal Register: 

  • Postal Regulatory Commission  "Global Direct Contracts Agreement" 22185–22186 [E9–11060] [TEXT] [PDF]
  • Postal Service "Privacy Act; Systems of Records" 22186–22188 [E9–10999] [TEXT] [PDF]

Dow Jones has reported that "The Obama administration has backed off plans to bring U.S. Postal Service worker benefits in line with those of other federal workers. A line item in Obama's preliminary budget released in March showed the government would save $752 million in fiscal year 2010, or $9.4 billion over the next decade, by modifying USPS worker benefits. More detailed budgets released last week and on Monday contained no information about the benefits adjustment. Kenneth Baer, spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the administration stalled the proposal because "we didn't want to propose anything that violated collective-bargaining agreements."

The Financial Times has reported that "Ministers are willing to cede overall control over the appointment of Royal Mail’s chief executive and other key “operational matters” to a minority shareholder in the postal operator, it emerged on Monday. The concessions offered to attract foreign rivals to bid for a 30 per cent stake in the financially troubled Royal Mail are likely to fuel the potentially explosive political row brewing over the part-privatisation. Gordon Brown, prime minister, faces the most serious backbench rebellion of his premiership when the legislation comes to the Commons. Almost 150 Labour MPs have signed a parliamentary motion opposing the part-privatisation, suggesting that Mr Brown will be forced to rely on Conservative support. Mr Brown has so far refused to offer significant concessions to the rebels and, in an official response to a critical report by the business select committee on Monday, the government has agreed to offer the successful bidder a “meaningful say in the running of the business”.

May 11, 2009

PostCom's general counsel has communicated the following to the association:

The United States Postal Service, which appears headed for a multi-billion dollar loss this year, has quietly launched a major new initiative to collect more postage from mail that already has been paid for and delivered. The primary targets of the initiative are business mailers—the mailers that use large volumes of First-Class and Standard Mail for marketing, billing, account statements, and other customer communications and the mail service providers that help prepare these mailings. The Postal Service's strategy is to investigate recent mailings for violations of the complex and arcane mail preparation requirements for discounted postage rates. Evidence of violation can lead to demands for additional postage, or enforcement actions under the False Claims Act. The potential financial exposure for big national mailers can be seven or eight figures. The Postal Service seems to be looking for violations of Move Update (address updating) requirements, other addressing requirements, and other mail preparation and content requirements that could lead to large revenue deficiencies. In some cases, the investigators seek evidence that the mailer entered improper mailings knowingly or intentionally, states of mind that can support a claim under the False Claims Act. Violation of the False Claims Act can expose a mailer to double or treble damages—i.e., liability equal to two or three times the amount of the underlying revenue deficiency—as well as civil penalties of approximately $11,000 per violation. The Postal Service typically rules that each mailing statement constitutes a separate violation; hence, total civil penalties sometimes can be ten or more times the underlying revenue deficiency. Criminal liability under the False Claims Act is also possible, but unlikely except in extreme cases. The firm has provided tips on how to deal with postal inspectors.

The latest postal 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/. Local Political Campaigns — The Forgotten Mail Volume Generator. While mail volume was generally down in 2008, one source of optimism is the continued growth in mail tied to spending on political campaigns. Comment on the blog and vote on whether you think Is local campaign direct mail is an area the Postal Service should target more aggressively. 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.

From PR Newswire: "Consumers in the U.K. represent a rapidly growing online retail market, and now American companies have a better way to reach them. DHL Global Mail has introduced Track U.K., a residential parcel service that offers fast transit times, tracking visibility and customer-friendly delivery options -- all at cost-effective rates. The mail expediter can offer this unique array of advantages by combining its strengths with those of other units within the Deutsche Post DHL group, including courier and logistics expertise. DHL Express handles final delivery for the new service, ensuring Track U.K. parcels never leave the global logistics leader's care."

The Nation has reported that "The board of the Postal Corporation of Kenya meets on Tuesday to discuss the interim report by auditors Deloitte Touche on PostaPay. Also to be discussed is the suspension of seven top managers following an audit of the PostaPay money transfer service. Board chairman Cyrus Maina told the Nation that the meeting would discuss the interim report by auditors Deloitte Touche on PostaPay. But, it has since emerged that the managers were hastily removed from office on the basis of incomplete investigations of a draft audit report and without being allowed to defend themselves."

From PR Newswire: "Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that it has strengthened its commitment to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children(R) (NCMEC)."

According to The Times, "Peter Luff, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Business and Enterprise Select Committee, is unhappy with the response by ministers to the committee's concerns about the partial sale of Royal Mail. Pat McFadden, the Postal Services Minister, said that the cost of modernising the service could not be exact until a business plan had been agreed with a partner. The committee meets tomorrow to decide how it should try to get more information from the Government."

Business Week has reported that "Shares of FedEx Corp. fell Monday as the broader markets lost ground and an analyst said the company's aggressive cost cuts might not be enough to offset the steep decline in volumes and the expected rise in fuel prices. Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Ross cut the stock to "hold," saying it won't likely rise enough in the next several quarters to justify his previous "buy" rating. He predicted shares will remain "range-bound" while uncertainty lingers about the timing and strength of economic recovery. Ross also forecast that the package-delivery company's volumes won't get much better until next year. And FedEx has other problems that might tug on growth potential in the near future, the analyst said. A bill currently before Congress would make unionization easier -- something that would likely drive up labor and other costs at the company. Rising fuel prices and pension liabilities will also affect growth, he said."

Postal personnel changes:

  • Pricing Vice President Maura Robinson has named Lizbeth “Becky” Dobbins, manager, Mailing Standards.

  • Alice Van Gorder will be returning to USPS headquarters to take on a new retail services position.

  • Jim Wilson will be taking over the top spot at the national addressing center in Memphis.

The Financial Times has reported that "The fraught efforts to part-privatise Royal Mail encountered further difficulties yesterday after investors in TNT, the frontrunner to buy a stake in Britain's state-owned postal operator, cautioned against the move. Some TNT investors argue that buying a 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail could leave the company with neither an exit strategy nor the degree of control necessary for it to turn the business round."

The Times has reported that "The Government could face a fresh clash over its plans to sell part of Royal Mail after the chairman of a key select committee said that a response by ministers to the committee’s concerns did not go far enough. The business committee had produced a highly critical report about the sale, saying that more information was needed and that the Government had not made the case for a sale. The MPs called for more financial and detailed information about the planned sale. But Pat McFadden, the Postal Services Minister, responded yesterday saying that, while the Government had taken a number of measures, the cost of modernising the service couldn not be exact until a business plan had been agreed with a partner."

From PR Newswire: "The head of the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) said today that frequent postage rate increases like the one today that boosted a first-class stamp to 44 cents - while necessary for the U.S. Postal Service to function effectively this year - can and should be avoided in the future. "Six-day, universal mail delivery in the United States remains the best postal bargain in the world," said NALC President William H. Young. "Despite the economic climate, letter carriers and other postal employees are working hard to maintain top-rate service for all Americans while adjusting to the many technological changes in the communications field." But Young said the rate hike should not have been needed, at least not at this time."

The Macedonian International News Agency has reported that "The Macedonian Post has signed an agreement with the posts of Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia on introducing express mail (EMS), to arrive at the addresses within 24 hours. According to announcements, prices of express mail will be slightly higher compared with regular mail service, but also cheaper than competitors providing the same service. The objective of the new service is suppression of the grey economy in mail exchange, which is often sent by buses."

From the BBC: "Here's today's riddle: which financial black hole could be transformed into a mountain of gold simply by moving the ownership of the black hole from one part of the public sector to another? The answer is Royal Mail's pension fund. Here's the Alice-in-Wonderland financial engineering."

Mmegi Online has reported that "BotswanaPost is redefining its operations in a bid to recruit and retain loyal qualified staff to jack up service delivery. The Post is redirecting its efforts to improve the delivery of postal and related services using processes that thrive on quality assurance and internationally accepted business practices and standards."

The Times is conducting an online survey to see if its readers support or oppose the privatization of Royal Mail.

The Mailers Technical Advisory Committee is asking all mailers to help the U.S. Postal Service get a good guesstimate on future mail volume.

According to B2B, "Using the very same tactics it recommends to marketers, the U.S. Postal Service has launched a direct-mail promotional and educational campaign touting the advantages of direct mail in a down economy."

As one contributor to Advertising Age put it, "there is no American newspaper that is worth preserving in its entirely, in its current configuration, as a nonprofit."

According to the DM Bulletin, "Direct mail is the most complained about charity activity, according to the Fundraising Standards Board's annual review. The 515 organisations that submitted returns for 2008 received 26,349 complaints, of which 19,608 related to direct mail campaigns. Charity telemarketing and door-to-door fundraising have also led to complaints with 2,772 and 1,308 complaints respectively. Despite negative media coverage of street fundraising, it only generated 379 complaints in 12 months."

From PR Newswire: "Borderlinx, the cross-border e-commerce solution provider, has joined forces with the Danish postal service, Post Danmark, to make it easy and cost-effective for people all over Denmark to buy goods easily and cost-effectively from the US. Borderlinx will handle receipt of goods in the US and will organise for them to be shipped to Denmark - including dealing with customs and import issues. Post Danmark will either deliver the goods to the customer's door, or give them the flexibility to collect them from their local post office if it's more convenient. Many US web sites will not accept orders for goods from customers who do not have a US address - but Borderlinx solves this problem. When people join Borderlinx via the Post Danmark web site, they receive a US shipping address that they can use to order directly from US web sites, enabling them to shop from any site they wish, including auction sites such as eBay."

From the Postal Regulatory Commission: NOTICES Postal Service Price Changes , 21837–21838 [E9–10862] [TEXT]  [PDF]

DMM Advisory: May DMM Update. ( Our next scheduled DMM update is June 1.) Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date 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 new Mailing Services prices and several other changes: 

New Mailing Services Prices and Standards. We revised Mailing Services standards throughout the DMM to support the pricing changes approved by the Governors of the U.S. Postal Service. Mailing Services include First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Post, Parcel Select, Bound Printed Matter, Library Mail, Media Mail, and Extra Services. 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.
  • We 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.

Insurance Claims Process. We revised the procedures for domestic mail insurance claims in 503.2.0, 609.1.0–3.0, and 609.6.0. The new procedures streamline the claims process and provide customers with more consistent service. Online claims are now available to customers who purchase domestic insurance through any retail channel, and Express Mail customers may file claims online, even if no additional insurance was pur­chased. Customers may also print a claims form from USPS.com and mail it directly to Postal Service Accounting Services.

 Authorized Meter Providers. We revised 604.4.1.3 to update addresses for two meter providers on our list of authorized vendors.

According to The Telegraph, "The Government is planning to hide the crippling cost to the taxpayer of taking on Royal Mail's pension deficit, which could be double the published £6bn figure, under proposals to reshape the postal group, a leading pensions expert has warned."

Marketing Week has reported that "Investors in TNT, the Dutch postal group, are recommending caution over plans to take on a major stake in Royal Mail’s profitable parcels arm. TNT, Europe’s second largest postal company, has already signalled its interest in taking a controlling stake into Royal Mail’s parcels delivery service, General Logistics Systems (GLS), headquartered in Amsterdam. Stakeholders of TNT however are understood to be against buying into Royal Mail, following concerns over its long-term viability. The latter is having to battle with the rise of online services and a huge pension deficit." See also the Financial Times.

May 10, 2009

Transport Intelligence has reported that "The global contract logistics market grew at 5% in 2008 according to the latest report published by Transport Intelligence, Global Contract Logistics 2009. This represents a significant weakening of the market after several years of growth of around 10%. Most worryingly for the industry is that the majority of this growth occurred in the first three quarters of the year, with logistics companies really noticing a drop off in volumes during the 'peak shipping' season. This downturn has been felt well into 2009, although there are signs that the fall in volumes may well have bottomed out by the end of the first quarter. The highest rates of growth were seen in developing markets such as Asia Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe and Latin America. China's market development cooled, but with GDP growth still in the high single digits, and a $585 billion stimulus package taking effect, underlying economic activity will continue to drive its logistics sector."

The Times has reported that "TNT, the Dutch postal group, is demanding control of Royal Mail’s profitable parcels division as part of a multi-billion pound plan for a stake in Britain’s national postal service. Its proposals were revealed in an outline offer submitted to the Government during the past few weeks. But ministers are thought to be unhappy with TNT’s valuation of Royal Mail and they would be reluctant to surrender control of the European parcels arm, which is regarded as a key driver of future growth."

According to People.co.uk, "The postal service in the UK should remain under home rule, whatever the cost. We are entitled to a first-class service, even if we do have to cough up a few more pence to achieve it."

May 9, 2009

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers have continued a series of rallies around the UK to express their opposition to the government's proposal to sell a stake in Royal Mail. The government says that Royal Mail needs outside investment to survive. But union leaders speaking in Newcastle said that the plans were not the only way to make the business profitable."

The Washington Post has reported that "The Obama administration wants to stop billions of dollars of tax credits and direct payments to the paper industry under a tax provision originally intended to promote alternative fuels for motor vehicles, Treasury sources said yesterday. A Treasury official said that if left unaltered, the provision would cost taxpayers about $4 billion a year in payments and credits for the paper industry, rewarding companies for a decades-old practice of using a pulping byproduct known as "black liquor" as fuel."

The Financial Times has reported that "The rescue plan for the Royal Mail pension scheme is set to appear as a £24bn ($36bn) windfall on the government books, in a bizarre accounting quirk that saves the government from having to raise more debt. Although taxpayers will bear the burden of a pension deficit of up to £10bn under the plans to part-privatise the state postal operator, this bail-out will appear on the government balance sheet as a one-off bonanza. The paradox arises because of the way in which ministers decided to account for transferring the scheme’s assets and liabilities, which one pensions expert described as “bewildering”. One advantage is that the government will not need to raise debt in the markets to plug the scheme’s pension deficit. Once sold, the assets will also pay down the national debt stock, which helps to contain debt servicing costs. The fundamental liabilities, however, remain the same. Lord Mandelson’s rescue plan will take the Royal Mail funded pension scheme, which has a pool of investments, and convert it into an unfunded “pay-as-you-go” public sector scheme."

The American Postal Workers Union has initiated a national dispute over the issuance of a new Publication 156, "Postal Employees Guide to Contract Postal Units", that replaces the Handbook AS-707-F, "Contracting for Contract Postal Units." The provisions of Handbook AS-707-F are utilized by the Union in regard to the enforcement, administration and/or interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement, and have been the subject of disputes at both the field and national level. It is the APWU's position that the Postal Service has unilaterally made revisions, replaced or renamed the Handbook AS-707-F, in an attempt to circumvent its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement." [EdNote: Guys! Gimme a break! You're beginning to behalf like a British postal trade union. Protest this. Strike for that. Yada yada.]

According to DM News, "The US Postal Service will market test a new competitive, less-than-truckload shipping service known as Collaborative Logistics. The Postal Regulatory Commission signed off on the USPS proposal, which gives the postal agency two years to conduct the market test. The PRC directed the agency to provide regular quarterly and annual reports detailing performance results, and also required it to provide more substantive supporting documentation in future market test proposals."

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette has reported that "As the price to mail a letter is set to increase on Monday, mail volume at the U.S. Postal Service continues to drop. To counter the tough times, the government-run service operating 579 post offices across the state will continue to reconfigure its work force and its ability to compete for customers."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:


Congratulations to Todd Black on being promoted to Director of Postal Operations and Systems at Time Inc.

DMM Advisory:  We are preparing PostalOne! release 20 to support Monday’s price change and the Test Environment for the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option on May 18. A system-wide outage for PostalOne! is needed from 4 p.m. on Sunday to 4 a.m. (CDT) on Monday. 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. In conjunction with PostalOne!, FAST WebServices will not be accessible. However, FAST online scheduling will be available except for a four-hour maintenance window on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (CDT). Mailers who wish to schedule appointments online outside of the maintenance window must log directly into FAST through https://fast.usps.com. Mailers will not be able to schedule appointments electronically using TM/Mail.XML. Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 or your local FAST facility coordinator if you have questions. Read more about this DMM Advisory.

May 8, 2009

The Times has reported that "The sight of a postman pedalling down the street will become much rarer under plans by the Royal Mail to phase out thousands of bicycles and replace them with vans. The distinctive red bicycles will be removed from service and shipped by charities to Africa. The Royal Mail believes that rounds will be completed more quickly by using vans carrying up to three postal workers. Environmental groups have criticised the plans, querying why the Royal Mail would replace a sustainable form of transport with one that causes congestion and is dependent on fossil fuels. Bicycles have been used to deliver post since 1880 and the Royal Mail has more than 16,000, made by the British company Pashley."

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

  • Legislative relief, service performance, and continuing financial losses were the major themes of the USPS Board of Governors open session held this week. The year-to-date net loss is $2.3 billion for the Postal Service; it lost $1.9 billion in Quarter Two. The USPS volume was down 14.7 percent over the same period last year. The Postal Service is well on its way to meeting its 100 million workhour reduction goal. Thus far, it has cut 58 million workhours in the first six months of this fiscal year, which is the equivalent of a reduction of 33,000 full-time employees.
  • The Postal Service has released its second quarter financials for Fiscal Year 2009 which have shown a volume decline of over 7.5 billion pieces, or 14.7 percent, driven mostly by the economic recession. This was the ninth consecutive quarter of accelerating volume declines experienced by the Postal Service.
  • The U.S. Postal Service filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) its Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program, also known as the “Summer Sale.” The USPS’ Governors have authorized the Postal Service to adjust its Standard Mail prices for the sale. The postal filing contains the program description (qualification criteria, measurements methodology, and rebate calculation), as well as the price cap compliance and a discussion of how these prices are consistent with PAEA.
  • The Government Accounting Office (GAO) this week issued its report to Congress, “Intelligent Mail Benefits May Not Be Achieved if Key Risks Are Not Addressed” [GAO-09-599]. The GAO identified two key risks for the USPS’ Intelligent Mail program – a lack of key program management practices to reduce risks and maintain schedule and program objectives, and a lack of risk mitigation plans should mailer adoption of IMb Full Service not meet expectations, which would limit the USPS’ ability to fully achieve the program’s benefits.
  • A Canadian postal advisory panel has recommended the elimination of certain end-of-lane (door-to-door) delivery methods due to “the evolution over several decades of demographic, transportation and communication trends in Canada.” The panel raised the issue of how to pursue the Universal Service Obligation (USO) in the most cost-effective manner in this new technological age, when most postal patrons are using high-speed Internet services throughout Canada including in rural areas, and mail volumes continue to decline over time. The panel offered 60 recommendations to help Canada Post to remain financially solvent and maintain universal service.
  • Last minute reminders on new PostalOne gateway. Is Priority Mail a rip-off? The USPS to postpone raising barcode threshold for IMb until November 2009. PostCom's Postal Operations Library offers even more. Now the health issue with postal workers could be paper dust. Wilkes County, PA has begun converting its addressing system to one based on the Geographical Information System (GIS). Rep. Henry Waxman has quizzed the PMG about mailbox removals in the L.A. area. Rep. Kanjorski opposes the closure of a postal facility in his district. Nonprofits don't want a day less mail service. Oregon state officials want the USPS to delay the timing of future stamp price changes to avoid consumer stamp confusion during mail balloting. The greenies go after FedEx over its use of its express envelope. FedEx claims a UPS ad was misleading and sues; UPS pulls the ad. San Francisco presses it suit against the USPS for refusing to deliver to mailboxes in residential hotels.
  • The UK seems perplexed as to what to do with its designated mail service operator, Royal Mail. France's president has announced his intention to delay any efforts to privatize La Poste. Irish postal service An Post is watching its pension liabilities soar. TNT operating profits have dropped due to lower demand for its services. The UK postal regulator has called for more transparency and an end to the "stealth" closures of postal facilities. Austrian authorities have refuted claims that a deal may be in the making to allow Deutsche Post to buy a stake in Osterreichesche Post AG. The Saudis want to grow their direct marketing and mail business. Saudis tag mail boxes with RFID. The Emirates Post is initiating home mail delivery using a GIS-based addressing system. Deutsche Post has seen its downturn bottom out and has begun to swing around.
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A WEBINAR ON: "THE USPS SUMMER SALE"

An opportunity to help your business & the USPS through tough economic times.
Hear about this opportunity and have your questions answered by Tom Foti, USPS Manager for Marketing Mail at a virtual seminar on may 11th @ 12:30 p.m. EDT.
There is a modest registration fee of $15 intended to cover the line-related cost of the offering only. Individuals and groups may register here.

(This seminar is being sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and its Nonprofit Federation in conjunction with the Association for Postal Commerce, Magazine Publishers of America, the Parcel Shippers Association, the National Postal Policy Council, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association, the Printing Industries of America and The Print Council.)

Check out the PostCom podcast on this year's National Postal Forum

 

From PR Newswire: "Endicia, the trusted leader in Internet Postage with more than $3B in postage printed, is offering existing and new customers creative ways to save money during the next U.S. Postal Service(R) price change. On May 11th, the price of First-Class Mail(R) postage will change from 42 to 44 cents. Endicia will host educational webinars beginning Tuesday, April 28 at 1 p.m. Pacific through Tuesday, May 12 at 8 a.m. Pacific. To make it easy to adapt to the new USPS pricing structure, Endicia software will also automatically update to prepare for the change. A full webinar schedule is available at http://www.endicia.com/Support/Webinars/."

Business World has reported that "Courier DHL Express is seeking 320 Irish redundancies. It is closing seven regional depots - in Athlone, Galway, Sligo, Cavan, Enniscorthy, Waterford and Tralee. It is also restructuring operations at depots in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. The company says it is scaling back its domestic services but focusing on its core business, which is international express delivery." See also the Irish Independent and Reuters.

According to the New York Daily News, you can "put the Queens postmark on the endangered species list. Letters dropped in the borough's mailboxes would share a delivery emblem with Brooklyn and Staten Island if postal brass adopt a controversial plan to switch a bulk of processing from Whitestone to East New York. The cost-cutting proposal - which U.S. Postal Service officials said would save $6.7 million annually - also would cut 116 jobs from the Queens facility on 20th Ave., transferring workers to other jobs or locations, officials said at a public hearing in Bayside on Wednesday."

Yahoo! Finance has posted the Form 10-Q for United Parcel Service Inc

Hellmail has reported that "Austrian Post has announced it is to begin a 30m EURO cost-cutting programme aimed at reducing the cost of materials and operating expenses (excluding staff costs) for the next 12 months."

From Canada NewsWire: "CAW President Ken Lewenza and CUPW (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) President Denis Lemelin will issue a joint statement tomorrow, Friday May 8 at a press conference in Windsor, Ontario calling on Canada Post Corporation to ensure all new vehicles expected to be purchased by the national postal service are made in Canada."

Public Record has reported that "It appears that former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici has come under increased scrutiny over his role in the politically motivated firing of the state's former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. According to last year’s inspector general report on the U.S. Attorney firings, New Mexico Republican Party operative Mickey Barnett complained to former White House political adviser Karl Rove in October 2006 that Iglesias had been slow to secure an indictment against Aragon. In an e-mail to Rove on Oct. 2, 2006, Barnett sent a copy of another article published the same day in the Albuquerque Tribune that had identified Aragon as the target of the corruption probe. The article quoted an FBI spokesman as saying the probe had been completed from the standpoint of local federal law enforcement and turned over to Iglesias’s office.Barnett said the FBI agent he referred to in his e-mail to Rove was the same agent who was handling his background investigation for the Postal Service Board of Governors."

According to Mass High Tech, "Nationally, the newspaper industry is desperate, grasping at straws such as e-book readers to make up for plummeting print ad revenue. Yet in the microcosm of small-town Maine, local newspapers are trying new strategies — and one publisher has an idea he hopes to export nationwide....The Ellsworth American’s payment strategy serves an even narrower niche. From 12 percent to 15 percent of its subscription revenue is in mail subscriptions — typically snowbirds who get the paper by mail during winter months. Problems with the postal service have taken their toll."

In the New Statesman, "The leader of the Communications Worker Union, Billy Hayes, explains why he believes privatising the Royal Mail makes no sense and would be a disaster for Labour."

RFID Solutions Online has reported that "After participating in the first phases of an ongoing project using active RFID tags to monitor the performance of Saudi Arabia's postal service, Saudi Post is rolling out RFID-based mailboxes for citizens across the kingdom. This rollout is part of an overall IT and service upgrade that includes an active RFID-based system to monitor quality at the nation's mail-sorting centers. Each of the 10 million mailboxes that will be installed at homes in Saudi Arabia is fitted with a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID tag that uniquely identifies it. Postal carriers employ Intermec handheld CN3 computers with built-in RFID IP30 interrogators to identify the mailboxes before slipping letters into them. After a letter is inserted into a mailbox, the tag is read once more so that Saudi Post's system can verify when mail was delivered to that particular home. The handhelds, containing GPS and wireless data communication modules, are used to provide real-time updates to managers regarding postal carriers' locations and activities."

The Los Angeles Times has reported that "When most postal rates rise on Monday -- among other things, mailing a first-class domestic letter will cost 2 cents more -- Washington will be depending on businesses like PouchSmart Inc. of Santa Monica, which still considers the post office to be the best option for delivering its products. PouchSmart designs flexible pouch packaging with a resealable spout, such as a single-serve juice container. Its products can also be used in other applications, such as a squeezable applesauce pouch. Because the company's president, Dan Pritikin, thinks nothing sells his products like getting samples into the hands of potential customers, the U.S. Postal Service will remain his first choice in spite of rate increases."

Techdirt has told its readers: "Let's just get two points out of the way here before getting on with this post, because they're important, and they're repeatedly ignored by journalists and newspaper folks who want to play the victim, rather than recognize the future (I'm not saying all newspaper folks are like this...): Advertising has been the real business model for newspapers for ages. Subscriptions have really only covered (maybe/barely) the cost of printing and delivering the paper. The biggest problem facing newspapers going into bankruptcy or shutting down these days is not a lack of subscriber revenue, or even a downturn in advertising (though, there has been a downturn), but the fact that they had massive debt, because they borrowed way too much money. Many, many, many newspapers are still quite profitable -- but not profitable enough to service the massive debt taken on by management."

The National has reported that "Emirates Post expects to offer a complete home- delivery service by 2012 that will pinpoint residential post boxes with a global positioning system. Letter boxes will be built in apartments, offices and shelters near residences, with the location of each box built onto a digital map to aid postal workers. Mana al Suwaidi, marketing director of Emirates Post, said a major project was under way to perfect the addressing system so that people could have mail delivered to their doorsteps."

National Public Radio has reported that "Beginning in June, the owner of a remote and historic ranch in central Idaho's wilderness faced a rugged three-day hike up and over snowbound mountains 7,000 feet high to get to the free post office box the U.S. Postal Service promised to provide. Or, he could hike 4 miles, then drive 6 bone-jarring miles up a rough road hugging a canyon wall, and then continue driving more than 250 miles — to get to the same post office box. That's what the Postal Service offered as an alternative when it canceled the last backcountry airmail plane service in the lower 48 states. The $46,000-a-year route in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness was cut as part of the agency's effort to trim a $6 billion deficit. But the plan proved embarrassing to the Postal Service. Postmaster General John Potter reversed course in a letter acknowledging that none of the alternatives to the mail plane route "would provide acceptable service levels to our customers." The weekly (every two weeks in winter) deliveries will continue." See also the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Consumerist has reported that "The US Postal Service lost five new Lenovo laptops that Pedro's friend bought and shipped to him. Pedro expected that this might happen, so he wisely insured the package for $3,000. After stalling for about two months, USPS finally agreed to pay his insurance claim, but reduced the payment, claiming his merchandise was only worth $74."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Government Computer News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service plans to begin phasing in its new Intelligent Mail program May 11, which the agency has called the most complex program it has ever undertaken and which will involve upgrading almost 30 information systems. The program is built around a new, smarter bar code that will help automate handling of bulk mail and is expected to provide big savings for both USPS and commercial mailers. But the Government Accountability Office warns in a new report that given the complexity of the program and the costs of upgrading information systems and re-engineering business processes for both USPS and mailers, the program could be endangered. The Postal Service is operating without an adequate strategic plan or risk management, and continues to define requirements on the fly even as the program is ready to begin implementation, the report said and some mailers have said that the program’s pricing benefits do not provide sufficient incentives or even to recover their investments."

May 7, 2009

Press Release: "BÖWE BELL + HOWELL (BBH) today announced it has finalized a new joint marketing agreement with SAP America, Inc. Through this agreement, the companies will help customers optimize productivity and enhance analysis capabilities of SAP® solution deployments. The combination of JETVision®, an advanced vision technology from BBH with SAP applications, will help safeguard for customers the quality, integrity and efficiency of manufacturing operations and allow them to further maximize the value of their SAP solutions-based environments."

Yahoo! News has reported that "Old Media squared off against New Media as a US Senate panel examined the future of journalism in the digital age. The demise of the newspaper industry took center stage as a Texas newspaper publisher, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, a top executive from Google and the founder of The Huffington Post website traded jabs in a Senate hearing room on Wednesday. Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, called the hearing saying he was concerned that "newspapers look like an endangered species. US Senator Ben Cardin made an appearance to promote legislation he has introduced that would give non-profit tax-exempt status to newspapers, a proposal embraced by several of the panelists." [EdNote: Gee, maybe we can give every financially disadvantaged enterprise nonprofit status. There are a few in the mailing industry who would relish such a chance.]

The BBC has reported that "Around 40 postal workers from Cardiff's main sorting office have walked out in a dispute over new equipment. The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said the row at the Penarth Road depot concerned health and safety issues. A Royal Mail spokesman said Thursday's dispute was over new sorting practices in the processing centre."



The latest issue of the
Prescott Report is now available for subscribers
.


In this issue:

Five Privacy "Did You Know Questions":
  • What major industrialized country now wants to put you in jail for sending commercial emails without consent? 
  • What country joined the Safe Harbor? (What IS the Safe Harbor?)
  • What is the scope of the EBR for email in Europe?
  • Japan and email - hem and haw. What did they reverse their position on?
  • Do you know the difference in privacy treatment in Europe of data on medical information, philosophical beliefs,and financial info? 

  • ALSO in this issue:
  • Interview with Andre Bodowski of International Masters Publishers of Brazil.  Continuity products by mail in Brazil?  Is IMP nuts?!
  • Snapshot on dm and the economy of Brazil. Why are there fewer big agencies in Brazil than in India and China?
  • One of the Top Privacy Lawyers in Spain-Carlos Perez Sanz unpacks Impliec Consent Requirements. Learn why it's so hard.
  • MD of influential PostEurop:  Ingemar Persson on the postal value chain and the environment - fabulous data about mail's carbon footprint. 
  • Reader's Trivia on the Global Recession Watch - 4 questions you can't answer.
  • Expanded International Calendar 
  •  Press Release: "Emerging technologies are redefining the creative and publishing workflow. But change requires FOCUS. IDEAlliance is presenting a series entitled the Publishers' Forum for Advertising Agencies to FOCUS the creative and publishing workflow on the BEST PRACTICES for intelligent media and informed workflow. On June 16, IDEAlliance provides a unique opportunity to listen to, question, and have a conversation with one of the KEY innovators in PRINT TODAY – Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe Systems Incorporated. He will address the topic of Print is Changing and offer his perspective on its future and where you FIT. In addition, he will offer his insights as a key player in print today at Adobe. Go to www.idealliance.org under Upcoming Events for more information. REGISTER TODAY! "

    The Watertown Daily News has reported that "The results of the recent U.S. Postal Service Area Mail Processing Feasibility Study are in, and it looks like nine Watertown Post Office employees could be reassigned. The potential reassignment of nine workers in the Watertown Post Office could mean they would enter different positions within the same facility, or relocate to another postal facility. Post offices in Watertown, Utica, Binghamton and Plattsburgh combined handle what the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center did per day in the 1990s, Ms. Marion said. That shows how much the business has fallen, and why those locations were chosen for feasibility studies. The study for the Plattsburgh Post Office, however, yielded no significant advantages to making changes." [EdNote: This is Rep. John McHugh's home district.]

    CNET has noted that "To hear the poobahs of traditional media tell it, Google is to print media what global warming is to the polar caps. [EdNote: Remember when newspapers used to say the same thing about advertising distributed by mail?] At many once-stalwart print publications, profits are melting away. For several months, leaders at some of the nation's most influential newspapers and periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and the online arm of Forbes magazine have begun blaming Google and similar Web services for at least some of their deepening financial troubles. In all the very public bashing of Google, however, few if any of the critics has answered why they don't just cut Google out of the equation by preventing the search engine from indexing their Web pages. The task could be accomplished by inserting a single line of code into their URLs. Representatives from the Journal and AP declined to comment for this story, but their Web sites speak volumes for them. None of the companies has severed ties with Google and risked losing access to the search engine's millions of users. Traditional print publications, which have seen ad revenue plummet, mass layoffs, and in some cases the shut down of operations, are now hopelessly dependent on Google to lure readers, says media executives."

    According to The Telegraph, "Senior ministers have warned Gordon Brown that the vote on Royal Mail part-privatisation could turn into a make-or-break vote of confidence in the Prime Minister." [EdNote: Holy crow! The fate of a nation's government will be determined by how its Parliament votes on the future of its mail service.]

    According to the American Enterprise Institute, "the country's [Russia's] dilapidated postal system proved incapable of handling the single largest mailing in Russian history."

    The Financial Times has reported that "Gordon Brown suffered another setback to his plans to part-privatise Royal Mail yesterday, as one of the front-runners to buy a stake in the state-owned postal operator pulled out of the bidding. The announcement by Deutsche Post, the German logistics company, that it would not bid for a 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail came as ministers signalled that the difficulty of achieving a sale at a reasonable price could stall the part-privatisation plans. Officials rejected suggestions the government was preparing an exit plan that would make the sale negotiations a scapegoat for a decision by the prime minister to abandon legislation that risks being defeated by Labour rebels."

    The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has launched another featured collection on the award-winning Web site, Arago, titled “People and Places of the Pacific.” This collection honors Asian Pacific Americans featured on U.S. postage stamps at www.arago.si.edu. The postage stamps presented in “People and Places of the Pacific” highlight the ways in which the Pacific is part of American history and provide insight into the political relations and significant historical events between the United States and the nations of the Pacific. These stamps document the rich heritage and culture of the region and the contributions its inhabitants have made to the United State; The collection also includes the rare Hawaii “Missionary” stamps and the Guam overprint stamps. Arago is dedicated to the online presentation of the museum’s vast collections.

    PublicService.co.uk has reported that "The planned part-privatisation of Royal Mail is lacking any sort of sound economic argument, Roger Berry says. The BERR Select Committee member dissects the government's 'highly unconvincing' argument There is much agreement about the challenges facing Royal Mail: a legacy of under-investment, a declining mail market as people switch to digital technology (such as the internet, email, mobile text and broadcasting), and the need to sort out the pension fund deficit. At the same time, it is widely accepted that the universal service obligation – whereby letters are collected and delivered anywhere in the UK, six days a week, for a single, affordable price – must be maintained."

    The BBC has reported that:

    • More than 250 postal workers based at delivery offices in Grangemouth, Alloa, Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath are set to strike this weekend. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the action was in response to the introduction of modernisation plans without due consultation.
    • Royal Mail staff in Londonderry have decided not to handle European election literature because of a pay dispute. Postal workers in Derry are paid the lowest fee in Northern Ireland for delivering such items. In Lisburn, Holywood, Ballyclare and Newtownabbey, staff are paid 6.6 pence per item. In Derry it is 4.2 pence. "There is a national agreement with the CWU covering payment for delivery of election communications," a Royal Mail spokesperson said. "We are continuing to talk to the Communication Workers Union and our employees in Londonderry Delivery Office in seeking to resolve this issue."

    According to Hellmail, "Hybrid mail is still a relatively new way to send mail and not always understood, but with the now almost universal use of computers as a form of communication, a shift from newspapers to online news, and the rise in online telephone services such as Skype, it was only a matter of time before mail too would shift into the semi-virtual world." [EdNote: Except, that is, for the U.S., where the Postal Service still seems to suffer from the not-invented-here syndrome. It seems to overlook the fact that it could make hybrid mail a success by offering pricing incentives to its private sector partners rather than having to control the entire enterprise from the point of mail creation through transmission and delivery.]

    Dead Tree Edition has noted that "The Postal Service's Intelligent Mail program might fail because it is not sufficiently attractive to mailers, the Government Accounting Office warned today. Not to worry, the Postal Service responded. If the tiny Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) discounts scheduled for later this year are not enough to entice mailers, it said, two years from now the huge penalties for not using IMbs will force mailers to change their ways. Starting in May 2011, mail without IMbs will be ineligible for automation discounts, which typically are at least several cents per mail piece."

    In a letter to selected Members of Congress, Postmaster General Jack Potter wrote:

    We are facing an unprecedented decline in mail volume, and the resulting loss of revenue is critically affecting our ability to maintain mail service to the American people. Fiscal year (FY) 2009 is proving to be every bit as challenging as we had projected, providing us with our most challenging financial environment in 60 years. We are on track to lose roughly $6.4 billion this year. Our mail volume has declined at an accelerated rate for each of the last nine quarters; culminating in a decline of roughly 15 percent in quarter two alone, versus the same period last year.

    This loss will come despite our target to cut $5.9 billion in FY2009. I am proud to say that as a result of the incredibly hard work of our employees nationwide, we have already achieved 40 percent of those savings in other words, we have already cut costs by $2.4 billion this year. This reflects the fact that we have reduced workhours by 58 million; our goal this year is to cut 100 million workhours. This is a remarkable achievement, as the most the Postal Service has ever been able to cut in one year has been $2 billion. I would like to note that these cost-cutting efforts have occurred while maintaining the high levels of service that the American public has come to expect.

    However, despite these efforts, the financial picture of the Postal. Service remains bleak. We anticipate an additional loss of more than $6 billion in FY2010. We have outlined additional cost reductions of $3.8 billion in FY2010, which will yield savings of $8 billion when combined with the recurring savings generated by this year's cost-cutting efforts.

    These forecasts take into account the May 11 price increase for mailing products. In addition, our financial picture is compounded by the fact that current economic forecasts state that the Consumer Price Index, which caps products yielding 90 percent of our revenue, will not increase sufficiently to allow us to raise prices in May 2010.

    As I have testified before the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, the Postal Service desperately needs help from Congress. Our urgent request is that the Postal Service be allowed to pay its retiree health benefits premiums from our Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund. This would be an intergovernmental transfer of funds, which should not impact the federal deficit. The Postal Service would continue to pay the annual pre- funding payment, ranging from $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion. There is roughly $32 billion currently in the Trust Fund. The Postal Service's contribution to the Fund would always be greater than the premiums flowing out of, so the Trust Fund would continue to grow.

    The Jerusalem Post has reported that "The state comptroller, investigating the Israel Postal Company's practices regarding the purchase of equipment and services, has found that it often ignored the need to issue a public tender to choose the most reasonably priced and best supplier. n general, the comptroller charged, discussions for choosing a supplier were not in-depth and not serious. A dozen different times, the Postal Company decided on a supplier without issuing a tender. This was standard when they claimed there was great urgency in deciding or to prevent "harm" to the company."

    May 6, 2009


    ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF MUTH COMMUNICATIONS

    We extend our congratulations and best wishes to former PostCom Vice President Kate Muth on the launch of her new enterprise.
    "Muth Communications is a comprehensive editorial services company, with a focus on writing, reporting, editing and proofreading. Whether you are a small nonprofit in need of newsletter writing or a large corporation looking for assistance on white papers, issue briefs or policy reports, Muth Communications can help. With more than 20 years experience in trade journalism and newsletter publishing, Muth Communications has the market covered."
    [Editor's Note: I heartily endorse Muth Communication's services. Heck, we use them ourselves.]

    According to Harry Stephens, writing for Mailing Systems Technology, "the term dire hasn’t been used to describe the economic climate since the Great Depression. But it has been used to describe our most recent economic and financial condition. And I predict it will be used to describe the USPS—and the impact on business mailers—more than once if we don’t come up with solutions for change."

    Press Release: "Postal Service Ends Second Quarter with $1.9 Billion Loss Year-End Cash Shortfall Possible Despite Aggressive Cost Reductions; Mail Incentive Programs Introduced to Offset Unprecedented Volume Declines."

    Postal Regulatory Commission today:

    The Government Accountability Office has published its report on the Postal Service's intelligent mail program. A copy of that report, "Intelligent Mail Benefits May Not Be Achieved if Key Risks Are Not Addressed" has been posted on this site.

    Ministers are worried the controversial plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail could be held up by opposition to the deal, the BBC understands. Postal unions and many Labour MPs are opposed to a plan to sell 30% of Royal Mail, designed to fund modernisation. Almost 150 Labour MPs have criticised the plan, meaning Labour may have to rely on Conservative support to win a Commons vote set for early June. Ministers are under pressure to avoid another defeat after recent setbacks. But pressure on the government shows no sign of abating with one Labour MP threatening to resign from the government unless it modifies its plans.

    The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Information and communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has thrown his weight behind the decision by the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) chairman to suspend six top managers on fraud allegations."

    The National has reported that "Historically, the Arab world’s lack of addressing systems and home-delivered mail have kept direct marketers out of the region, but in recent weeks Saudi Arabia has launched a number of initiatives in an attempt to build up a regional version of the industry. Among them is the foundation of an Arab Direct Marketing Association (ADMA), created on April 20 in Jeddah as an affiliate to the US-based DMA, which aims to boost direct marketing’s percentage of regional advertising spending from its current level of 1 per cent to more than 25 per cent by 2020."

    USPS Board of Governors Meeting.  Postal board Chairman Carolyn Gallagher and Postmaster General Jack Potter both said that despite aggressive actions to reduce costs and grow revenue, the Postal Service will likely face a cash shortfall of over $1.5 billion at the end of the fiscal year. The year-to-date net loss is $2.3 billion for the Postal Service, while it lost $1.9 billion in Quarter 2. The USPS volume was down 14.7%. The Postal Service is well on its way to meeting its 100 million workhour reduction goal, with cutting 58 million, the equivalent of a reduction of 33,000 full-time employees, in the 1st six months of this fiscal year. A copy of the Financial Update presented at the Board of Governors’ Open Session on May 6, 2009 by Joseph Corbett, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President, has been posted on this site.

    Ministers are worried the controversial plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail could be held up by opposition to the deal, the BBC understands. Postal unions and many Labour MPs are opposed to a plan to sell 30% of Royal Mail, designed to fund modernisation. Almost 150 Labour MPs have criticised the plan, meaning Labour may have to rely on Conservative support to win a Commons vote set for early June. Ministers are under pressure to avoid another defeat after recent setbacks. But pressure on the government shows no sign of abating with one Labour MP threatening to resign from the government unless it modifies its plans.

    The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Information and communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has thrown his weight behind the decision by the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) chairman to suspend six top managers on fraud allegations."

    The National has reported that "Historically, the Arab world’s lack of addressing systems and home-delivered mail have kept direct marketers out of the region, but in recent weeks Saudi Arabia has launched a number of initiatives in an attempt to build up a regional version of the industry. Among them is the foundation of an Arab Direct Marketing Association (ADMA), created on April 20 in Jeddah as an affiliate to the US-based DMA, which aims to boost direct marketing’s percentage of regional advertising spending from its current level of 1 per cent to more than 25 per cent by 2020."

    USPS Board of Governors Meeting.  Postal board Chairman Carolyn Gallagher and Postmaster General Jack Potter both said that despite aggressive actions to reduce costs and grow revenue, the Postal Service will likely face a cash shortfall of over $1.5 billion at the end of the fiscal year. The year-to-date net loss is $2.3 billion for the Postal Service, while it lost $1.9 billion in Quarter 2. The USPS volume was down 14.7%. The Postal Service is well on its way to meeting its 100 million workhour reduction goal, with cutting 58 million, the equivalent of a reduction of 33,000 full-time employees, in the 1st six months of this fiscal year.

    DMM Advisory:  PostalOne! Release 20 and the Business Customer Gateway – 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. Beginning May 11, mailers can enter the Business Customer Gateway to access PostalOne!, Electronic Verification System (eVS), TEM, FAST®, Intelligent Mail information (including Mailer ID applications), Full-Service feedback reports, and much more. 

    Business Customer Gateway Log-In InformationPostalOne! and FAST users who logged in through PostalOne! between March 30 and April 15 can use their existing usernames and passwords to access the Business Customer Gateway. Those who didn't log-in but responded to the security question can use their existing usernames but must change their passwords. These users should confirm that their profile includes a valid e-mail address, or they will be unable to change their passwords after May 11 and must re-register. Users who did not log-in to PostalOne! during the prescribed dates or answer the security question need to register through the Business Customer Gateway as a new user. We have identified a few accounts that do not meet our username and password standards. We will contact these customers via e-mail to give them new user names. 

    Gateway Business Services Administrator – Beginning May 11, the former PostalOne! External Site Administrator role will be migrated and replaced by the Gateway Business Services Administrator role. Administrators are responsible for their user base and access to USPS services. In addition, the Administrator approves or deactivates all requests for Services at the business location and assigns additional users to the Administrator role. Former External Site Administrators will be migrated to the position of Business Services Administrators. Companies that did not have an External Site Administrator will be able to access the system and use its services. New users for that company will be notified of the Administrator requirement and asked if they will assume the responsibility upon creating a new account. If the user agrees to become the Administrator, the registration process continues. If the user declines, the service request goes into a pending status until there is an Administrator. As part of the transition process, some Administrators will be contacted via e-mail and asked to review their profiles this Friday. Please be on alert for e-mail notification in the next several days.  

    Mail.dat and User Access – Customers using Mail.dat to send files to USPS using the batch mode need to confirm they have a verified username. If not, please obtain a new username and password under the Business Customer Gateway. 

    PostalOne! Assistance – Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions or if you have problems accessing your accounts.

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

    The recession has left a deep indent in the balance sheet of Dutch TNT.
    Deutsche Post has let the time lapse away to submit a bid for Royal Mail before the deadline expired. At the weekend Austrian state-owned holding company ÖIAG denied reports that it was working on the sale of 25% of the post.
    Last Wednesday the Swedish post announced a 2% decrease in turnover to 717.8m euros, accompanied by a 43% drop in operating result to 37.2m euros. The figures were mainly influenced by the trend affecting the mail segment Posten Meddelande. A clear decrease in volumes caused a turnover drop of 4% on Q1 2008 to 387.5m euros for Posten’s biggest division.
    At 477.6m euros the Q1 turnover of Finland’s Itella was up 5.5% on the previous year’s first quarter. Last Thursday the Finnish post reported that the figure resulted solely from last year’s realised acquisitions, among them DH Tools Oy, OOO Connexions, Kauko Group Oy, Hansar Logistics AB and 50% of Norwegian Universal Spedisjon Bergen AS. After adjustments the turnover showed a clear downward movement at -6.6%.
    Post Danmark has seen a continuation of the declining trend from Q4 2008 during this year’s first three months, too.
    The French government is planning to renew the "Public Services Contract".
    Italy’s cartel authority AGGM (Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) has launched an investigation into the post for possible abuse of a market dominating position. Last week Italian media reported that the investigation included payment transactions, of which Poste Italiane has a 90% market share. AGGM wants to ascertain whether the post’s market dominating position acts as a hindrance to the development of alternative payment methods and whether terms and conditions, particularly the costs, are fair.
    Last week Austrian companies and trade associations announced the foundation in Vienna of an initiative for the future of the postal market (Initiative ZukunftPostmarkt). Among the initiators are the Trade Association, the Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ), the Central Association of Carriers & Logistics, DPD, DHL, redmail, Styria Medien AG and TNT Post.
    Last Wednesday the board of Belgium’s La Poste presented the trade unions with a proposal for a new collective wage agreement. An official statement said that the proposal ensured that the job guarantee until 2010 could be maintained. It also included a small pay rise.
    The difficult economic situation put a damper on An Post’s consolidation course last year. Last Thursday the Irish post announced a 2% decline in mail volumes, leading to a 2.9% drop in turnover (850m euros). While the operating result went up by 7.2% (31.2m euros), the net profit shrank by over 23% to 33.2m euros.
    In view of the EU - China economic summit scheduled for this week, the EU Commission has gone out of its way to avoid any dissent regarding the new Chinese Postal Act in the run-up to the meeting.
    Following Post Danmark’s sale of its share in Pan Nordic Logistics (PNL) to Posten Norge in September 2008 (CEP News 38/08), PNL has now set its sights on the Danish parcel market.
    For the dispatch of parcels in Germany, online trader Amazon has recently begun using Hermes.
    DHL hasmore than doubled its air freight capacity on the Singapore to Hong Kong route.
    Schweizerische Post is promoting a new solution for digital signatures. The new SwissStick is a USB stick on which the user stores his or her digital ID and signature. Used in conjunction with the SwissSigner software, it enables users to produce legally valid signatures on electronic documents.
    The Swiss Social Democratic Party (SP) is supporting the post’s demand for a banking licence.
    Around 200,000 citizens in the Brazilian region of Paraiba are complaining about very poor service quality from the post ECT.
    Portugal’s post Correios has offered the trade unions a pay rise between 1.2 and 1.8%.
    "The Russian post will continue its activities to support the distribution of newspapers and magazines despite the difficult economic situation." On 24 April deputy general director of the post I. Mandrikin told 170 chief editors from 62 Russian regions that the post intended to keep charges for these services unchanged.
    In Spain, registered consignments can now be sent to a mobile phone via SMS.
    FedEx subsidiary Caribbean Transportation Services (CTS) will become completely integrated into the group on 1 June this year.

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

    The Financial Times has reported that "Gordon Brown signalled he would be willing to scale back the stake in Royal Mail sold to a foreign rival, but yesterday ruled out a U-turn on the proposed part-privatisation, setting the stage for a confrontation with Labour MPs and unions next month. The prime minister is willing to offer only modest concessions to the massed ranks of Labour rebels opposed to the plans to sell off 30 per cent of the state-owned postal operator. Asked if the government would be prepared to reduce the privatised stake to 20 per cent, or even less, Mr Brown's spokesman stated: "This will be a decision that will have to be taken at the time [that the sale is agreed]." The department for business is also canvassing plans to offer shares to Royal Mail staff in an attempt to make the deal more palatable for Labour backbenchers."

    Staten Island Live 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. Postal union representatives have been rallying workers in opposition as well, saying it doesn't make sense to truck mail addressed to Staten Islanders to Brooklyn for processing, only to truck it back again for distribution. In an apparent bow to local opposition, postal officials have said the Staten Island postmark will continue to be utilized, regardless of where the mail is processed."

    NALC President William H. Young surprised many in attendance by announcing that he plans to retire soon – probably before the end of the year – at which time under the Constitution he will turn the reins of the union over to Executive Vice President Fred Rolando.

    The Connexion has reported that "plans for the controversial privatisation of La Poste have been postponed until after the European elections. The government wants to change the status of La Poste from établissement public to société anonyme – a move that is feared to be a first step to selling off parts of the group. Nothing will happen now until after the summer although President Nicolas Sarkozy had wanted the first moves to be in place before then, with privatisation next January."

    According to U.TV, "The big debate on the future of Royal Mail is missing the point. In a desperate effort to save a declining industry, mainstream politicians are offering two outdated alternatives: partial privatisation by the government and full-bloodied privatisation, the latter backed by the opposition, if Peter Luff, Tory chair of the commons business, enterprise and regulatory reform committee, reflects their views.Privatisation of utilities has been for the most part an unmitigated disaster. Trains provide monster profits for operators, higher fares for passengers and huge dollops of taxpayer subsidy for companies. Buses make similar profits but also receive huge subsidies from councils for local services. Not much difference for gas, electricity and water. The part or full privatisation of the postal services and the Post Office will inevitably be the same – big profits for the new private bosses and demands for large subsidies to provide a universal postal service in rural areas. The taxpayer will end up subsidising the private operator – even if the government tries to impose a levy on other operators to pay for the service.

    You might want to check out www.postaltechnologyinternational.com/industry-blogs.php where Postal Technology magazine posts opinions submitted by readers.

    Transport Intelligence has reported that "Deutsche Post DHL today (May 6) released its interim results for the first quarter of 2009. The Germany-based global express, mail and logistics company revealed a 12.9% drop in revenue to €11.5bn whilst underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) fell by 42.1% to €312m. Management stated that the decrease was primarily caused by the "unprecedented plunge" in demand across all regions and sectors as well as reduced volumes and higher wages in its Mail division. Reported EBIT fell to €27m compared with €539m in the previous year, mainly because of charges related to the restructuring of the group's DHL Express business in the US." See also Reuters.

    The Nation has reported that "The head of the Postal Corporation of Kenya has been asked to give reason why he should not be fired for alleged mismanagement at the State corporation, the Nation has learnt. A three-man committee convened to come up with recommendations after a forensic audit of the corporation’s activities since the inception of its money transfer service, PostaPay, decided to ask Post Master General Fred Odhiambo to explain why he should not be sacked."

    Hellmail has reported that "A bid by Dutch-owned TNT for a strategic partnership with the Royal Mail could be thrown out altogether unless a compromise can be reached. The economic downturn and TNT reporting a 58 percent fall in net profit for the first quarter, has left the government smarting after TNT refused to match the government's own valuation for the partnership." See also PrintWeek.

    A 10-month investigation by inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has lead to the filing of criminal charges against six area residents for allegedly mailing more than 200 packages containing marijuana through the U.S. Mail system

    The House Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee will be holding a postal oversight hearing on May 20, 2009. The following will be testifying at that hearing. PANEL I Mr. William P. Galligan Senior Vice President, Operations, United States Postal Service; Mr. John Waller Director, Office of Accountability and Compliance, Postal Regulatory Commission Mr. Phillip Herr Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, United States Government Accountability Office PANEL II Mr. William Burrus President, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO Mr. John Hegarty President, National Postal Mail Handlers Union Mr. Dale Goff President, National Association of Postmasters of the United States PANEL III Mr. Anthony W. Conway Executive Director, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers Mr. Robert E. McLean Executive Director, Mailers Council Mr. James O'Brien Chairman, Association of Postal Commerce

    The Telegraph has reported that "Gordon Brown will press ahead with plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail and will rely on Conservative support if he cannot persuade more than 100 rebel Labour MPs to back the proposal."

    May 5, 2009

    A WEBINAR ON: "THE USPS SUMMER SALE"

    An opportunity to help your business & the USPS through tough economic times.
    Hear about this opportunity and have your questions answered by Tom Foti, USPS Manager for Marketing Mail at a virtual seminar on may 11th @ 12:30 p.m. EDT.
    There is a modest registration fee of $15 intended to cover the line-related cost of the offering only. Individuals and groups may register here.

    (This seminar is being sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and its Nonprofit Federation in conjunction with the Association for Postal Commerce, Magazine Publishers of America, the Parcel Shippers Association, the National Postal Policy Council, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association, the Printing Industries of America and The Print Council.)

    From the Postal Regulatory Commission:  MC2009-24 Comments of Express Delivery and Logistics Association Pursuant to PRC Order 207

    "Order 207 is a notice of filing by the USPS to add a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) to the Competitive Product List; specifically a commercial agreement with Royal Mail for Inbound Air Parcel Post traffic. XLA objects to the inclusion of the abovementioned agreement to the Competitive Product List on the grounds that the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) prohibits competitive products from having unequal regulatory treatment between the USPS and other competing American international delivery providers."

    Advertising Age has reported that "Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy gave a stark warning to an international gathering of magazine publishing executives today, urging the industry to innovate and to be more creative. The addresses to the FIPP World Magazine Congress come as the magazine business endures the most calamitous period in its history, thanks to the breakdown of print advertising and publishing companies' struggles in grabbing a piece of the growing digital pie. Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia predicted that magazine market share will keep shrinking through 2011 even though the world economy is expected to be back to growth by then."

    Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Online retailers are shifting their marketing from traditional advertising to less expensive tools like Facebook.com and Twitter and e-mail as they seek market share or just work to retain customers, according to an industry study being released Tuesday. Conducted by Internet analysis firm Forrester Research for Shop.org — the online arm of the trade group National Retail Federation — the survey found that merchants believe online business is better suited to withstand an economic downturn than physical stores or catalogs, though they acknowledge challenges for both."

    BeyondChron has reported that "San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera will file suit against the U.S. Postal Service in federal court today, for refusing to deliver to mailboxes in residential hotels – after an initial demand letter to the U.S. Attorney was rebuffed."

    eGov Monitor has reported that "The Government has tabled an amendment to the Postal Services Bill today to ensure that robust and transparent information about the Post Office network is published every year. The amendment introduces a new requirement for the Post Office to produce an annual report about the number, location and accessibility of Post Offices across the national network. Minister for Postal Affairs Pat McFadden said: "The Post Office network is part of the fabric of this country. It plays a vital commercial, public and social role. "We want transparent information about how accessible the network is, in particular to small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, to be published every year. "This information will help us to work with the Post Office to ensure that the network maintains its wide national coverage and continues to serve all our communities well." John Wright, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The Post Office network is absolutely crucial to small businesses and to keeping communities alive. According to a recent FSB poll, nine out of 10 small businesses said that they use Post Offices to buy stamps and send letters and nearly half use their Post Office a couple of times each week. Small firms cannot afford to see any more Post Offices close and the FSB welcomes the Government's indication that it will not support a further programme of closures and that it will promote transparency about the accessibility of the network."

    According to Sky News, "The Government remains on course for an awkward clash with its own MPs over plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. It has rejected a compromise to the proposal despite a Commons motion opposing part-privatisation being signed by 148 Labour members of Parliament. The Compass think tank put forward a suggestion to turn the postal service into a not-for-profit company, in a similar model to Network Rail, rather than selling off at least a third to an overseas competitor. "The Prime Minister's office said last night that the proposals published by the pressure group were not workable and not under consideration so I think this is an attempt by somebody to get some publicity," he said. "The plan we have put forward is threefold: bring in a new investor; take away the pension fund deficit from the company; change the regulation to put Royal Mail on a level playing field with competitors. "If alternatives and options are made they must be convincing in terms of their ability to transform the company, they cannot be a political fix which pretty much leaves Royal Mail where it is, because that would not be good for Royal Mail and it would not be good for the public." See also ePolitix, The Guardian, and the Evening Standard.

    In an editorial, the New York Daily News wrote:

    Mail fraud is a federal crime, isn't it? Yes, except if you're the U.S. Postal Service. Then you're free to engage in one of the most blatant cons around.

    The Daily News' front-page headline yesterday, "First Class Ripoff," nailed what's going on. Our colleagues conducted 10 tests, sending letters by both priority and first-class mail to see which arrived faster. Eight of 10 times, the 42-cent first-class missives got to their destinations as fast as $4.95 envelopes with "Priority Mail" in superfast-looking typography.

    At almost $5 a shot, the Post Office is making a killing on each delivery without guaranteeing speed. But customers do get the opportunity to buy insurance or tracking and what a spokesman called the "ooh factor."

    There's a reason for this money grab: Thanks to e-mail - and a plummeting volume of deliveries, the Post Office is going broke. But that's no excuse for making it a priority to scam the public.

    From the Federal Register:

    Postal Regulatory Commission
    RULES
    Periodic Reporting Rules ,
    20834–20858 [E9–9590] [TEXT]  [PDF]
    Postal Service
    RULES
    Rules of Practice Before the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals ,
    20590–20599 [E9–10336] [TEXT]  [PDF]
    NOTICES
    International Product ChangeRoyal Mail Group Inbound Air Parcel Post Agreement ,
    20760 [E9–10355] [TEXT]  [PDF]

    The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Amazon.comInc. on Wednesday plans to unveil a new version of its Kindle e-book reader with a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to periodical and academic textbook publishers. Amazon has worked out a deal with several textbook publishers to make their materials available for the device. Dozens of newspaper and magazines subscriptions for Kindle are sold through Amazon, but some publishers have concerns about the arrangement. That has spurred some publishers to back Kindle alternatives and to pursue mobile reading options for smartphones and other portable gadgets. Hearst Corp. is investing in a start-up that's developing an e-reading device, and News Corp., owner of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., is mulling a possible investment in a Kindle competitor. Plastic Logic Ltd. said that it will conduct a trial launch of its 8.5-by-11-inch reading device this summer with the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, daily papers that recently stopped delivery of their print versions most days of the week."

    Yahoo! Finance has reported that "Mr. Buffett has long held himself out as a newspaper man. As a child, one of his first jobs was delivering newspapers. An Omaha newspaper Berkshire owned, Sun Newspapers, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 based in part on a tip Mr. Buffett provided. One of Berkshire's biggest investments in the 1970s was the Buffalo News, which it still owns. But his view on the future of the newspaper industry is dismal. "For most newspapers in the United States, we would not buy them at any price," he said. "They have the possibility of going to just unending losses." As long as newspapers were essential to readers, they were essential to advertisers, he said. But news is now available in many other venues, he said."

    May 4, 2009

    From the Postal Regulatory Commission:

    MC2009-23 "Public Representative Comments in Response to United States Postal Service Notice of Classification Change for International Mail"
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63011/PRCommentsMC2009-23.docx.doc
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63011/PRCommentsMC2009-23.docx.pdf

    R2009-3 "Order No. 209 - Notice and Order Concerning Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program" SUMMER SALE
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63012/ORDER%20NO%20209.pdf
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63012/ORDER%20NO%20209.doc

    Posted on this site are the slides that were a part of last Thursday's presentation by Pintsov and Obrea on an Extensible Postal Product Market Language (EPPML) and its role in postal operation, management, and product development.

    DMM Advisory:  Confirm® Service: New Choices. Confirm service — also known as “OneCode Confirm®” when using Intelligent Mail services — offers more choices for customers than ever before. Our new Bronze subscription tier provides an affordable option for smaller-volume mailers who prefer to receive their data directly from the Postal Service. Customers can also have the Confirm system send data to whomever they choose, such as a service provider or an affiliated organization. We are also offering new data distribution options for Full-Service Intelligent Mail customers who are not Confirm subscribers. For instance, we can generate Confirm data using a non-subscriber's mailer ID in the barcode and send that data to a Confirm subscriber through the Full-Service Intelligent Mail data distribution process. Subscribers must register the mailer ID in Confirm and pay the "additional ID" fee. This option is just one of the many Full-Service Intelligent Mail benefits supported by Confirm and other applications, such as OneCode ACS®. Confirm is all about choices — using the traditional Confirm service or some of the new Full-Service Intelligent Mail options — for our customers. For more information about the new options, refer to the Supplement to the Confirm User Guide. For questions and customer support, contact Confirm Customer Assistance at 1-800-238-3150 or confirm@usps.gov.

    Reuters has reported that "Germany's Deutsche Post DHL has no plans for now to take a stake in Britain's Royal Mail [GBPO.UL], financial sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. The Bonn-based group that is Europe's biggest mail and express delivery company has not submitted a bid for Royal Mail and is not interested in pursuing a deal at this stage, the sources said."

    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/. Banking on the Postal Service. In 1910, to help restore trust in the financial sector, Congress passed the Postal Savings Act that allowed savings to be deposited with interest (with Government backing) at local Post Offices. You can vote on whether you believe a new postal savings system is needed and whether you would be willing to deposit funds, if it were created. 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.

    i955fm.com has noted that "The Postal Company wants help from the public in protecting the delivery of pension cheques. Postal workers have been robbed while delivering the cheques. TTPOST now says supermarkets and other members of the business community must not encash these cheques, since it is against the law for anyone but the recipient to do so."

    From Business Wire: "Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI), the leading global provider of location and communication intelligence solutions, today announced it is teaming with LandPoint Systems, Inc., a product development and consulting services firm for the GIS market, to provide a mobile consumer survey service called FACES (Faster, Accurate, Current Economical Surveys). FACES, offered through LandPoint's KnowYourFaces division, provides retailers and restaurant companies with customizable surveys to help them better capture customer data at the point of experience. Utilizing digital technology--electronic handheld devices such as PDAs or Smartphones equipped with customized FACES consumer survey software and PBBI location intelligence solutions--helps to address the industry-wide issue of capturing consumer data by making it a more accessible, efficient process."

    Posted on this site is a slide presentation on the Postal Service's "Network Distribution Center Activations."

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

    • Mailers Voice Concerns Over Raising Of Barcode Quality Bar
    • Folded Self-Mailer Test Still Open To Participants
    • Move Update Data Can Lead To Significant Improvements
    • Migrating To IMb
    • Navigating The USPS’ New Business Customer Gateway
    • USPS Identifies Acceptance Issues
    • Revised Standards To Lower Right Placement Of IMb
    • IMb Full Service Verification
    • FSS Testing Back On Track
    • FSS Flats Prep Workgroup To Hold 2nd Think Tank Meeting
    • USPS Moves Forward On Initiatives To Grow FCM Volume
    • Eliminating Obstacles To Mail Growth
    • Marketing Mail Growth Ideas Also On The Table
    • USPS Explores Secure Mail Destruction Service
    • The Future Of CASS/MASS
    • Reply Mail IMb Workgroup To Issue Recommendations
    • Mark Your Calendar For Upcoming Rule Changes

    The Financial Times has reported that "Doubts about the political viability of Lord Mandelson's plans to part-privatise Royal Mail are spreading through government, as the recent bout of Labour indiscipline underlines the political risks of confronting backbenchers. The business secretary's team are "proceeding as planned" with the core proposal to sell a 30 per cent stake in the state-owned postal operator to a foreign rival, which MPs are due to vote on before the summer. But Gordon Brown's recent Commons defeat over Gurkhas and the part-climbdown over MPs' expenses has intensified concerns about the Royal Mail stand-off, convincing some senior ministers the government must give way. Lord Mandelson believes the reforms are essential. He wants the chance to press his case to Labour backbenchers in the Commons, after seeing the positive effect that a "convincing argument" has recently made in the Lords. He still has the backing of Mr Brown, who remains convinced the reforms are urgently required."

    According to the New Haven Register, "The price of a first-class stamp is going up again Monday in what has become an annual event. But if a 2-cent increase, to 44 cents, to mail a letter or a check across town or across the country seems like another insult to the family wallet, the cost of sending something to Mexico is really going to be a shock. The price of a stamp to send a letter weighing 1 ounce or less will jump from 72 to 79 cents, almost a 10 percent increase. But Mexican-Americans’ reaction to the increase provides a clue to the financial woes the U.S. Postal Service is suffering."

    The Herald has reported that "Campaigners against the controversial plans to part-privatise Royal Mail urged the government to review proposals as it was reported that Gordon Brown was preparing a climbdown over the issue. Just last week there were defeats over the Gurkhas and MPs' expenses and it is now believed the scheme to sell off part of the postal service could be defeated if put to the vote. Sources say the plan may have worked a month ago, but with growing opposition it is thought the government do not want to be left in the position of relying on Tory support."

    The New York Daily News has reported that "Postal Service customers who shell out extra bucks to send letters by priority mail aren't getting their money's worth, the Daily News has found. The special-delivery service costs more than 10 times as much as first-class mail, but doesn't get a letter to its destination any faster in many cases. In eight of 10 tests conducted last month, letters sent priority and first-class were delivered to the same location on the same day. Even the cash-strapped Postal Service admits that paying $4.95 for a flat-rate priority envelope won't guarantee faster delivery than a 42-cent stamp. Read more: "First-class ripoff: News experiment finds pricier priority mail isn't faster than 42-cent stamp."

    "The SNP (Scottish National Party) will this week bring opposition to UK Government plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail to the Scottish Parliament. Speaking ahead of the debate Central Scotland MSP Jamie Hepburn said; "The future of Royal Mail as a public service is a vital interest to Scotland. The postal service must remain run for and owned by the public. "It is plain as day that privatisation would spell the beginning of the end for Royal Mail, opening the door to job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers."

    Bloomberg has reported that "Austria currently has no plans to sell a stake in Oesterreichische Post AG, Austria’s biggest mail service, the country’s state asset agency OIAG said in an e- mailed statement."

    Marketing Daily has reported that "Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard Inc. said Friday that its first-quarter profit fell 18% from the year-ago period, but earnings still topped analysts' expectations. Despite some overall pessimism about the world economic climate, the company's CEO said marketing expenditures should head back up."

    Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV reported a 44 percent drop in operating profit, less severe than analysts expected, hurt by lower demand for its delivery services as the economic slowdown dampens transport volumes."

    The Wall Street Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. has stopped running a national television ad after rival FedEx Corp. accused UPS of falsely asserting that it has been "ranked the most reliable" package-shipping company. UPS has notified FedEx that it will no longer air the ad, UPS spokesman Norman Black said."

    May 3, 2009

    According to North Country Gazette, "They call it snail mail. That it is and it’s getting worse. As the costs of the U.S. Postal Service go up to customers, the service goes down. On numerous occasions over the past four months, we have experienced extensive delays in using priority mail. The Postal Service claims that Priority Mail is the only two-day service that delivers to mailboxes, mail slots and PO Boxes with Saturday delivery and residential delivery at no extra cost. Poppycock, not in two days it doesn’t. Doesn’t the Postal Service have to comply with the Truth in Advertising Act?"

    According to HealthNewsDigest, "One of the drawbacks to the increasing mechanization of postal facilities is the increase in paper dust. The machines doing the grunt work loosen the dust and send it airborne where workers can breathe it in copiously. Contrary to what management and the union may say, paper dust can be a hazard to postal workers, causing and exacerbating respiratory problems. Sorting machines could also theoretically disperse contaminants (such as anthrax) intentionally sent through the mail into postal facilities, further adding to the risk of the job."

    The Times has reported that "Gordon Brown was preparing for a third embarrassing climbdown last night as the government signalled full-scale retreat over plans to privatise the Royal Mail. Following last week’s defeats over the Gurkhas and MPs’ expenses, allies of the prime minister said that the controversial scheme to sell off part of the postal service would be “kicked into the very long grass”. Labour whips have told the prime minister that, with his authority badly damaged, a Commons defeat over the Royal Mail would be “inevitable” if he put it to the vote. Around 150 Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion condemning the plan to sell up to 30% of the Royal Mail to a foreign rival such as Dutch-owned TNT. The government had planned to put the proposals to a vote after the June 4 European elections. Sources close to Brown believe that a full debate is now unlikely until after the party conferences in October."

    The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "FedEx slapped its chief rival Friday with a lawsuit claiming false advertising by UPS. UPS officials said they were pulling the offending ad, which touted UPS as most reliable, after learning the claim was based on an out-of-date customer satisfaction survey. STORY TOOLS E-mail story Comments (11) Printer friendly More Business News Memphis notario publico sued for misleading advertisements Appraisers perform more reviews as homeowners appeal assessments Comptroller's plan would curb financial risks of cities, counties Share and Enjoy [?] The lawsuit asked UPS to kill the ad and pay FedEx for lost business and other impacts, including "corrective advertising costs" of at least $20 million."

    May 2, 2009

    The Washington Post has reported that "Federal government payments to the U.S. paper industry continued to mount during the first quarter, as companies raced to take advantage of a loophole that richly rewards them for a long-established method of burning byproducts of the pulping process."

    The Scranton Times-Tribune has reported that "U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski sent a letter Friday opposing the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to close the borough’s post office at the end of this month."

    The Telegraph has reported that "The Post Office could be forced by the Government to disclose how many branches it has in a move that could prevent further closures by stealth."

    As the Chronicle Herald has noted, "An outside review done for the federal government suggests Canada Post should think about dropping door-to-door mail delivery as one way to address the corporation's ``uncertain'' financial future." See also the Globe and Mail and the Telegraph-Journal.

    From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission. "New Competitive Postal Product," 20510–20511 [E9–10095] [TEXT] [PDF]

    The Oregonian has reported that "Secretary of State Kate Brown would like the Postal Service to reconsider the timing of its annual rate increases. In a letter Friday to Postmaster General John Potter, she said she feared that raising the price of stamps just as Oregonians are voting "has the potential to dishearten and discourage our voters just as we're working hard to increase voter turnout."

    DMM Advisory:  The Postal Service's latest Intelligent Mail Services Weekly Update has been posted on this site.

    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 Commmission:

    Environmental Leader has reported that "By 2030, FedEx plans to obtain 30 percent of its fuel from biodiesel, ethanol and other second-generation biofuels. The biodiesel would be derived from jatropha and the ethanol from switchgrass, said Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, during remarks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce avaiation forum."

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

    May 1, 2009

    dBusiness News has reported that "Stamps.com, the leading provider of online postage for shipping software solutions, and TrueShip™, a leading shipping software developer for small and mid-sized businesses, today announced that Stamps.com's PC Postage® will be integrated into every download of TrueShip's ReadyShipper. The integration enables printing of USPS shipping labels for both domestic and international destinations via the Stamps.com API, greatly enhancing the powerful ecommerce shipping solution already found in ReadyShipper."

    According to The Nonprofit Times, "Easter Seals plans to mail 40 million pieces this year. The Chicago-based health organization tries to drop mail on Mondays because "if mail is moving at the rate it should be through the postal system, within 10 days it would be in-house," said according to Jennifer Bielat, assistant vice president for direct marketing. But now organizations might have to rethink mailing strategies as the United States Postal Service (USPS) considers cutting a mail delivery day to slash costs.Ê And in a national survey by The NonProfit Times, cutting a weekday of service would hurt charities the worst."

    CBS News has learned of another data breach potentially compromising the personal information of thousands of people. Companies Lexis Nexis and Investigative Professionals have notified up to 40,000 people whose “sensitive and personally identifiable” information may have been viewed by individuals who should not have had access. The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating a data breach at both companies that resulted in sensitive information being used in a crime. Those individuals have been notified. Sources tell CBS News that the data breach is linked to a Nigerian Scam artist who used the information to incur fraudulent charges on victims’ credit cards.

    The Wilkes Journal-Patriot has reported that "County and town officials in Wilkes are considering switching to a uniform street addressing system based on Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) coordinates due to inconsistencies and other issues with current addresses. In meetings next week or soon thereafter, the elected boards of the county, Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro and Ronda will consider approval of a resolution establishing a 911 addressing committee to study and make recommendations on a countywide GPS-based system. A GPS-based system assigns street addresses using universally accepted locations that tie in with longitude and latitude lines, thereby making them compatible with GPS-based digital map layers already used by county government and others. Also, emergency personnel can use GPS locator devices to find addresses in a GPS-based system. More calls are being made by wireless instead of land phones and the Federal Communications Commission requires that wireless carriers provide the latitude/longitude locations of wireless 911 callers to 911 centers. Current 911 addresses in Wilkes outside the Wilkesboros have been based on units of measurement per road mile, with distances determined by vehicle odometers, since the switch was made from a system based on postal routes in 1993."

    The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "The special investigation squad of the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office is expected to build a criminal case against some employees of Japan Post Service Co. for violating the Postal Law, sources said."

    The Postal Service has provided information on the webinars it will be holding during the period of May 4 - 8 for "PostalOne! Through the Business Customer Gateway" and May 11 - 14 for "Intelligent Mail Full-Service Feedback.

    DMM Advisory:  May 11 Pricing Change – Standard Mail Parcels. 

    Irregular Parcels and Not-Flat Machinable (NFM) Pieces Less Than 6 Ounces

    We are changing the price categories for irregular parcels and NFMs weighing less than 6 ounces. New SCF prices replace the single 3-digit price, and ADC and mixed ADC prices are replaced with BMC and mixed BMC prices. For mailings entered at an origin postal facility, only mailings prepared on BMC pallets are eligible for the BMC prices. Pallets must contain at least 200 pounds of mail. Mailers cannot combine irregular and machinable parcels for BMC prices but may combine their irregular parcels and NFMs less than 6 ounces. Other mailings prepared for origin entry are eligible only for the mixed BMC prices. For mailings prepared in sacks, the 5-digit, SCF, and BMC prices are limited to mailings prepared for and claimed at DBMC, DSCF, and DDU entry prices. 

    Machinable Parcels and Not-Flat  Machinable Pieces 6 Ounces and Over

    These price categories do not change. Just like irregular parcels and NFMs less than 6 ounces entered at an origin facility, only mailings prepared on BMC pallets are eligible for the BMC prices, and pallets must contain at least 200 pounds of mail. Mailers cannot combine irregular and machinable parcels for BMC prices but may combine their machinable parcels and NFMs 6 ounces and over. Other mailings prepared for origin entry are eligible only for the mixed BMC prices. For mailings prepared in sacks, the 5-digit and BMC prices are limited to mailings prepared for and claimed at DBMC, DSCF, and DDU entry prices. Mailers may combine irregular parcels and NFMs less than 6 ounces with machinable parcels and NFMs 6 ounces or more only on destination 5-digit pallets. Refer to pages 3 and 4 in the March/April MailPro [HTML] | [PDF] on usps.com/mailpro for detailed information on Standard Mail parcel preparation. Please contact your business mail entry manager if you have questions.

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

    • Joe Corbett, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the U.S. Postal Service presented a Fiscal Year 2009 financial update. He stated that the Postal Service is still on track to lose $6.4 billion by the end of the fiscal year, with volume declining to 180 billion pieces.
    • This week at the Mailers Technical Advisory Council, Jeff Williamson, USPS Manager of Network Development and Support further explained the Postal Service’s plan for its Network Distribution Centers (NDCs). The main goals for this realignment is to reduce cost and improve service. Williamson explained that this network was designed to meet the established service standards, manage workload to workhours, utilize transportation, contain cost, reduce cycle time, and eliminate some destination handling.
    • According to A. Lee Fritschler, Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University, 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.
    • Martha Lostrom of Postmasters Advocate lays out the benefits of Intelligent Mail for the U.S. Postal Service in both technology and revenue goals. [Used with permission from author.]
    • Tavio Headley, an economist for the American Trucking Association (ATA), at the recent IDEAlliance conference reported on the state of the trucking industry and the overall economy, and gave predictions for the near and long term outlook of the trucking industry. In the short term, things are likely to stay tight, but Headley predicted a positive outlook for the industry looking toward 2020.
    • Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe updated attendees at this week’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting on activities the USPS is undertaking to continue taking costs out of the system while maintaining service. He said the USPS has achieved 58 percent to date of its $5.9 billion cost reduction plan for 2009, and detailed key opportunities the USPS has identified for cost reduction.
    • The USPS plans to work through the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) to survey industry on mail volume forecasts. USPS senior vice president of customer relations Steve Kearney this week said that the USPS is developing an online survey which it wants MTAC member associations to ask their members to complete. The survey will be designed to help the USPS determine the outlook for mail volume for 2010 and 2011.
    • The USPS earlier this week outlined for the MTAC audience key elements of its marketing and sales organizational structure, which continues to take shape.
    • USPS senior vice president of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day this week told MTAC meeting attendees that the USPS< Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) implementation "is going to work, but is not without problems." Day said the USPS and customers helping test the IMb systems are having daily telecons to work through issues. Industry representatives have identified a list of "show stopper" issues that must get resolved before they can use Full Service IMb.
    • The USPS announced this week at the MTAC meeting that it plans to continue its aggressive route adjustment process this summer, evaluating all of its 160,000 city delivery routes.
    • The USPS earlier this week at the MTAC meeting told mailers that it is working with industry to explore different approaches for move update noncompliance penalties. USPS senior vice president of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day reminded the MTAC audience that the USPS has twice postponed the implementation of using its Performance-Based Verification (PBV) results to assess postage adjustments for move update non-compliance, with implementation currently scheduled for January 2010. He reminded mailers, however, that the existing requirements for move update remain in effect.
    • PostCom will join in hosting a webinar on the Postal Service's network realignment plans. 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. 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.
    • Royal Mail has warned British postal workers to expect a pay freeze this year as a result of the recession. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) described the freeze as "appalling," and raised the prospect of industrial action. The first walkout is likely to hit services across London next month but others will follow nationwide. Dutch postal and logistics company TNT has announced a restructuring of Spring's organizational structure following Singapore Post's withdrawal from the firm. European Voice (EV) has noted that the recent approved merger between Sweden's and Denmark's posts could pose some new challenges to the European Commission and postal regulators. The People's Republic of China has adopted a new postal law that reserves to China Post the exclusive right to deliver domestic letters and documents (including express mail). The revised law was passed by the National's People's Congress despite opposition from express delivery firms including DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS. The Dominican Postal Institution (Inposdom) has implemented a National Postal Code system.
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    Mitch Jackson, director of environmental affairs for FedEx Corp., wrote in Fortune that "at the recent Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference, the subject of the famous FedEx overnight envelope came up. One of my fellow panelists said he was surprised to still see those envelopes, implying that the contents could easily be transmitted electronically, and that somehow this service was environmentally "wasteful." He made me realize how easy it is for people to make the wrong assumptions or hold on to outdated ones. Mostly, his comment reminded me of how badly many people want binary answers to what are complex environmental questions. "Is it wasteful or isn't it?" My sound-bite answer is "It's absolutely not wasteful the way we do it." But the question deserves more than a sound-bite answer."

    The Herald has reported that "An Post plans to cut more than 100 jobs after announcing a slump in pre-tax profits. The reductions come as the State-owned firm revealed that it was still failing to hit targets to deliver letters on time."

    The Scotsman has reported that "postal workers will stage a one-day strike today in the Capital in protest over modernisation reforms at Royal Mail. The 24-hour walkout follows a ballot held by the Communication Workers' Union earlier this month."

    According to the New York Daily News, "Congress is moving to ban shipments of cigarettes by mail or by companies like FedEx as a way to snuff buttlegging that costs New York taxpayers hundreds of a millions of dollars annually in lost revenue. Snuff away. Mail-order sales have grown into a huge source of untaxed cigarettes as city, state and federal governments boosted tobacco levies. Much of the illicit supply gets shipped off Indian reservations."

    From the Corporate Responsibility Newswire: "Which is more sustainable, physical mail or email, a magazine page or a web page, a book or an ebook? Which has the larger carbon footprint and what is the risk to a brand if their messaging says one thing and their media supply chain choices say another? Publishers, advertisers, marketers and supply chain professionals are increasingly being challenged to make decisions that address climate change and that are consistent with the principles of sustainability. Leaders from publishing, the postal service, and printing who are addressing this issue now, will be speaking at The Green Media Conference, June 9 in Washington, DC. They will be speaking in a session entitled: The Great Debate. Addressing the audience will be: Hans Wegner, Vice President, Production Services, National Geographic; Mike Fanning, Manager Business Development, United States Postal Service; Dave Podmayersky, Director of Sustainability, Earth Color."

    Vanguard has reported that "NIPOST customers will soon enjoy electronic services as it has concluded arrangements to launch an interactive website. The Postmaster General, Malam Mori Baba, told newsmen that the new services would ensure affordable, reliable and efficient postal services nationwide. Baba said NIPOST was being repositioned to conform to international standards in postal services and regulation. He said features of the website included Nigeria Philatelic Services, Bulk Post Venture, Courier Regulation, NIPOST Workshop Services, Parcel Post Venture and NIPOST Portal Services."

    From MarketWire: "Canada Post welcomes the government's release of the Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review Advisory Panel Report. The corporation is pleased with the report's support for proposed changes to help Canada Post move successfully into the future. Canada Post is committed to providing high quality postal services to Canadians and will work closely with the Government and the Minister of State (Transport) to continue to achieve this end."

    L.A. Now has reported that "Responding to an "unprecedented number of complaints" from constituents, U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) this week wrote to Postmaster General John E. Potter for an explanation about why so many mailboxes had been removed in the L.A. area. Noting that many residents had complained that boxes were removed without warning, Waxman asked Potter a few questions: What criteria are used to determine whether a box will be removed? How are data collected to demonstrate that the criteria were met? How and how far in advance are customers notified that a box will be removed? Can customers appeal the removal and ask that a box be returned? In March, U.S. Postal Service officials said the removals were part of an ongoing effort to reevaluate mail collection and routes nationwide, a process accelerated by the economic downturn."

    Tribune has reported that "anger over the Government’s planned part-privatisation of Royal Mail will make itself felt this summer, as the Communication Workers’ Union debates the future of their funding of the Labour Party at annual conference. The CWU’s general conference agenda, published this week, reveals that six motions have been accepted calling on the union to disaffiliate from Labour or to reduce funding. Another spate of anti-government motions is expected in the conference’s postal section."

    The Irish Examiner has reported that "pension liabilities at An Post rocketed to €582.3 million at the end of 2008, up from €114.3m a year earlier, the company’s annual report reveals. And pre-tax profits at An Post have plummeted by more than €10m to €39.89m in 2008 from €49.417m in 2007, the fifth consecutive profitable year for the State-owned postal system."

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "Sandy Springs-based UPS jumped three places in the Reputation Institute’s annual study of the U.S.’s most respected and recommended companies. The New York-based group says that transportation and logistics companies are the second most-respected industries in the lineup, after consumer products."

    The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. moved up nine spots to the No. 5 position on the U.S. Company Reputation Institute’s 2009 Reputation Pulse Thursday. The study, which ranks businesses based on consumers’ trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling, jumped FedEx from its No. 14 ranking last year."

    According to Parcel magazine, "Bulls have stressed the high-quality nature of parcel carriers, the early cycle characteristics of parcel stocks and the value of DHL's exit from the US. While long-term fundamentals are solid, our latest shipper survey supports our view that parcel earnings have not troughed. However, FDX (20X) and UPS (24X) are now trading close to a peak multiple on our estimates, suggesting the early cycle trade has already played out."

    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.] SOME OF THESE FILES HAVE BEEN UPDATED

    From the Postal Regulatory Commission: On-Roll and Paid Employee Statistics (ORPES), April, 2009 (Pay Period 09, FY 2009) http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62994/Letter-ORPES-PP-09-FY-2009.pdf; http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62994/ORPES_APR_PP09_2009.pdf

    DMM Advisory:  May 11 Pricing Change – First-Class Mail and Standard Mail Machinable Letters. We are changing the mail preparation standards for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail machinable letters as published in the January 29 Federal Register. Beginning May 11, machinable letters must meet all of the standards for automation letters, except for the barcode requirement. This change will enable us to process more machinable mail on automated letter sorting machines, especially unenveloped pieces like booklets and folded self-mailers. When these pieces lack adequate tabs or seals they frequently become damaged or jam the letter-sorting equipment. 

    Our changes include the following:

    • All folded self-mailers and booklets mailed at the machinable prices must be sealed with tabs, tape, glue spots, or glue lines.  Follow the tabbing instructions in Quick Service Guide 201b, Using Tabs, Wafer Seals, and Glue Spots. 
    • The maximum weight for machinable and automation letter-size booklets and folded self-mailers is 3 ounces.
    • Letters closed with staples and letters without closures are nonmachinable and eligible only for the nonmachinable prices. 

     On September 8, 2009, new tabbing and construction standards for machinable and automation letter-size booklets become effective.  To learn more about the new standards, visit Postal Explorer and click on “Federal Register Notices.”  Scroll down to the notice titled, “New Standards for Letter-Sized Booklets.”