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Postal News from June 2009

June 30, 2009 

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "DHL Supply Chain, the logistics unit of Germany’s Deutsche Post, plans to add 10 transportation hubs in China by the end of this year to meet increasing demand for domestic shipping."

The Mexico Ledger has reported that "Despite grapevine gossip, the rumor that Mexico's Post Office is going to five-day delivery, is not true – at least not immediately. According to Gateway Postal Service officials, Congress still has yet to remove the annual appropriation bill rider that requires the postal service to deliver mail six days each week – without this decision, no local changes can be made."

As an AFL-CIO blog has noted, "Postal Unions Slam Saturday Mail Cut Plan."

Computerworld has reported that "The head of the U.S. Secret Service on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the head of the Italian police and the chief executive officer of the Italian Postal Service to set up an international task force to combat cyber crime."

Press Release: "Neopost ID has launched an innovative online shipping service for Australia Post called ‘Click and Send’. Business or individual Internet users can now ship and track parcels internationally, without leaving the home or office! Customers can now send parcels overseas with a single click. Australia Post launched an online shipping solution called ‘Click and Send’ last March, and thousands of customers are now enjoying the convenience of shipping online."

According to AuctionBytes, "It might seem like there's nothing you can do about U.S. Postal Service shipping costs. But while the rates seem to go up on a regular basis, you do have an amount of control if you plan beforehand and pack wisely."

The Mirror has reported that "Gordon Brown faces a bruising revolt over the Royal Mail after a Tory tactical move yesterday."

According to the Panama City News Herald, "Mayor Brenda Hendricks compared losing the Parker postal station to "putting a knife into the hearts" of the city's people."

The Quincy Herald-Whig has reported that "The City Council on Monday threw its support behind an effort to try to keep the U.S. Postal Service’s mail processing and distribution center in Quincy. On a 13-0 vote — with Aldermen Mike Rein, R-5, absent — the council approved a resolution urging the USPS not to move Quincy’s processing and distribution center to another community."

The Financial Times has reported that "Lord Mandelson refused to commit to part-privatising Royal Mail before the general election, as David Cameron yesterday accused Gordon Brown of having "bottled" the politically contentious sale. The business secretary insisted he still intended to sell a 30 per cent stake in the postal operator, saying this was an integral part of legislation that would also bail out Royal Mail's pensions deficit and reform its regulation. "We will not do one of these without the others," he said. However, Lord Mandelson admitted the sale could be delayed until after the election, which must be held by next June."

The Japan Times has reported that "As expected, shareholders agreed Monday to keep Yoshifumi Nishikawa at the helm of Japan Post Holdings Co., whose attempt to sell its Kampo no Yado resort inns for a fraction of their value was blocked by Kunio Hatoyama. Nishikawa was appointed by Japan Post's board during a 20-minute general shareholders' meeting attended by a senior Finance Ministry official."

The Times of India has reported that "Letters from Chennai to other metros would soon be delivered the very next day, as India Post has acquired two airplanes."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

Forbes has reported that "Office-supply retailer OfficeMax Inc. said Monday that it signed a multiyear deal that will allow it to use some of FedEx Corp.'s services in its U.S. retail locations."

June 29, 2009

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/
 
  • What’s the Right Level of Financial Reporting?  Although not subject to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires the Postal Service to file a number of financial reports containing information prescribed by the SEC with the Postal Regulatory Commission.  The OIG blog queries, “Is the Postal Service disclosing the appropriate amount and type of financial reporting information to the public?”
 
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 703.248.2286.

According to The Guardian, "simply believing that part-privatisation would be a panacea is equally flawed. Instead people who work in the service; on the delivery rounds, in the sorting offices, behind the counters and throughout the management structures need to be directly involved in the next stages of modernisation. With a bit of help they need to become the architects of a future Royal Mail because they know best what works and what doesn't. It will require brave decisions by everyone, new technology, new working conditions and industrial relations practices. But it is a service that could thrive if all the stakeholders worked together to make change happen. Royal Mail is a 300-year-old institution that still works. It has a short window to reform itself, otherwise another privatisation proposal will drop on the mat."

According to The Nation, "DHL Thailand expects its express shipments to the US to soar by 25 per cent this year, thanks to its new "Amazing But True" campaign, despite the huge drop in trade between the two countries. The campaign is aimed at not only boosting exports to the US but also helping local exporters by giving them a well-managed supply chain so they can compete with rivals, she said. The world's leading express carrier would help local exporters by laying out their logistics and supply-chain plan, including warehousing and inventory storage, with its best-in-class express and logistics solutions to shipping goods and products for them. Exporters will then be able to manage their logistics costs more efficiently with faster deliveries."

The Oxford Mail has reported that "a year since more than 20 sub post offices across Oxfordshire were forced to close, the shops that once housed them are being forced to adapt and diversify just to stay in business."

The Jersey Journal has reported that "The United States Postal Service is considering consolidating post offices in Jersey City, Elizabeth, Newark and Paterson in response to a national slump in mail volume, a spokesman for the agency said last week."

Hellmail has reported that "The future of Royal Mail still remains 'on hold' and possibly until 2010 as the government attempts to placate Labour rebels and make some attempt to try to secure another term at the next general election. Lord Mandelson admitted that the legislative process and attached sell-off had been decoupled whilst it concentrated on a new policy called 'Building Britain's Future' but most suspect that postal reform which would see a difficult passage through the House of Commons ahead of a general election, would be enormously damaging for Gordon Browm. However, the pension deficit continues to grow, technically leaving Royal Mail insolvent and with growing debts. The government maintains that radical reform will still be needed to transform the postal service and secure its future, but for now it has set the Postal Reform Bill aside." See also The Times.

As the Worcester Telegram has noted, "Nypro Inc. sends out a lot of correspondence. The Clinton-based plastics manufacturing company oversees 18,000 employees spread across 16 countries in Asia, Europe and the United States. But for all the correspondence the company sends, Nypro’s management isn’t concerned that the U.S. Postal Service is considering ending one day of mail delivery per week. “Because we’re a global company, we do most of our business through e-mail,” said Al Cotton, company spokesman. “Most of what we would have done 20 years ago by mail, today we do by e-mail and that’s certainly part of the reason the post office has the issue.”

From the Washington Post: "Of all the misguided schemes put forth lately to save newspapers (micropayments! blame Google!), the one put forth by Judge Richard Posner has to be the most jaw-dropping. He suggests that linking to copyrighted material should be outlawed. No, Posner does not work for the Associated Press (which also has some strange ideas on linking). He is (normally) considered to be one of the great legal minds of our time. Posner is a United States Court of Appeals judge in Chicago and legal scholar who was once considered a potential Supreme Court nominee. He is someone who should know better. Yet in a blog post last week on the future of newspapers, he concludes there may be only one way to save the industry: Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent . . . Let me repeat that. He wants to "bar linking" to newspaper articles or any copyrighted material without the "copyright holder's consent." I am sorry Judge Posner, but I don't need to ask your permission to link to your blog post or to a newspaper article online. That is just the way the Web works. If newspapers don't like it, they don't need to be on the Web." [EdNote: We like to link.... :)   ]

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL has launched an enhanced medical express service for the inbound and outbound transportation of time sensitive medicines, clinical supplies and time sensitive specimens, critical during the Clinical Trials phase of new medications. DHL Medical Express provides dedicated transportation services and tracking technologies for time sensitive medicines and clinical supplies. Through the extended global coverage and visibility of this service, DHL Express says that it is strengthening its capabilities in line with the growing needs of its customers. DHL Express already operates in the Clinical Trials business within the Life Sciences industry, especially within emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Russia, South Africa and India."

According to Dead Tree Edition, "Fresh from rejecting several acquisition attempts by rival R.R. Donnelley, Quebecor World stunned the Donnelley folks this week by announcing a new chairman who knows a thing or two about mergers and acquisitions in the printing industry. And about Donnelley. Mark A. Angelson, who retired from RRD two years ago after leading a massive acquisition drive that turned it into the world's largest printer, is to become the new Quebecor World chairman when the company emerges from bankruptcy protection and changes it name, reportedly to Novink. That is supposed to occur next month, though the U.S. government threw a fly into the ointment this week by objecting to QW's reorganization plan in bankruptcy court. "

The New Zealand Herald has reported that "A New Zealand Post scheme to recycle its old office equipment has proven so successful it is being offered to other businesses. Postal services chief executive Peter Fenton said the organisation was finding new uses for equipment that would otherwise be sent to the tip. It had sold equipment online and supplied a number of small businesses. Staff came up with the idea."

Business Times has reported that "the privatisation of Japan's mammoth public postal savings, insurance and postal services empire - one of the biggest exercises of its kind ever proposed and a symbol of a former era of market-friendly reforms in Japan - is almost certain to be delayed and the exercise could well be abandoned."

June 28, 2009

According to the Hartford Courant, "Small Post Offices Serve As Community Link."

ABC Online has reported that "Australia Post has been heavily criticised after errors in the organisation's mail redirection service sparked thousands of complaints. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has found Australia Post's reliance on manual systems has led to problems with the service. Australia Post received 65,000 complaints in 2007 about failures to redirect mail. The Ombudsman's report found the use of paper application forms and redirection stickers meant there was more potential for human error. The report recommended Australia Post introduce an online application system and reconsider the manual redirection process. Postal Industry Ombudsman John McMillan says Australia Post needs to rethink the way redirected mail is processed and also improve its response to complaints." See also SkyNews Australia.

From Swiss-Press.com: "Surfing on www.swisspost.ch is now even easier. The revamped Swiss Post portal meets the specific needs of our customers. Users can find the information they need with just a few clicks of the mouse. As numerous new functions have been added to the navigation, customers can find their way around the 10,000 or so pages of Swiss Post more easily. The home page offers both private and business customers separate access to the products and services of Swiss Post."

From PR.com: "MATV launches its online mail portal for Same-Day & Next-Day Mail delivery to any address in the U.S. MATV, Mail Across The Void ( www.mailacrossthevoid.us ) The world's first online document solution and mail delivery service company- today introduced the most competitive service available for urgent same-day and next-day documents, originating from anywhere on the worldwide web, for delivery to businesses and residents in the United States. Customers (within: financial services, banking, insurance, advertising, publishing, or other industries where document delivery is critical) can now receive and send same-day and next-day documents, data, and mail, for delivery to any address in the United States."

The Washington Post has noted that "Ruth O. Peters, 84, a Postal Service executive who was a member of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors from 1983 to 1988, died of a heart ailment June 16 at Capital Hospice in Arlington County. As a postal governor, Ms. Peters was an advocate of updated electronic mail-sorting equipment. She began her career with the old Post Office department in 1954 in the personnel bureau."

Trading Markets has reported that "Attorneys general from Kentucky and seven other states want to bring FedEx Ground in line with state employee-classification laws. The eight, including Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, wrote parent firm Fed Ex Corp. Thursday, asking the company to work with them to ensure proper classification of workers and compensate the states for past practices. The letter expressed concern that the firm may be treating many of its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees."

 If you do business in Canada, look at the notice that's posted on this site from the National Association of Major Mail Users regarding recent statements on projections of future rate increases in Canada.

June 27, 2009

Press Release: "LetterStream, Inc has announced an integration of LetterStream's Certified Mail service into Perfect Practice software to simplify the process of sending legal documents via USPS Certified Mail."

Gallup has reported that "U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter recently asked Congress for permission to cut the number of postal delivery days from six to five as a way to save his cash-strapped agency up to $3.5 billion annually -- a proposal that seems acceptable to most Americans. Sixty-six percent of Americans whom Gallup polled June 17-18 are in favor of that fiscal remedy."

Bloomberg has reported that "Canada’s government-owned postal service wants to increase the price to mail a letter by 20 percent over five years to pay for new equipment and increased costs to deliver less mail to a growing number of addresses. The cost of mailing a domestic letter would rise to 57 cents (49 U.S. cents) in January from 54 cents today, Canada Post said in a statement today from Ottawa. The price would then increase by 2 cents each year from 2011 to 2014, under a proposal being sent to the government. “A longer-term solution is needed to ensure that Canada Post can continue to meet its service obligations to Canadians,” Canada Post President Moya Greene said in the statement."

The Santa Monica Daily Press has reported that "Santa Monica residents and business owners appear to be split on the threat of losing Saturday mail — an option that's "on the table" along with various other cost cutting measures."

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update.

  • Intelligent Mail® Symposiums - Mailers interested in tapping into the power of the mail to reach customers — and optimizing their operations — once again can take advantage of an Intelligent Mail® University series hosted by the National Postal Forum. The next two symposiums will be offered July 9 in Columbus, OH, and July 16 in Fort Worth, TX.

  • Click here for further information, registration deadlines, and to enroll for either symposium.

  • Full-Service and Electronic Documentation Testing - We have posted an updated Intelligent Mail Full-Service & Electronic Documentation Checklist on our RIBBS™ Website. It has been revised to offer greater clarity around participation in the electronic documentation (eDoc) and the Intelligent Mail Basic and Full-Service options. The checklist describes the test process for mailers who are new to electronic postage and documentation. The test scenarios are required in order to utilize electronic documentation or progress into the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option. In our Test Environment for Mailers (TEM), mailers may test Mail.dat 8-2 files for eDoc or Mail.dat 9-1 files to participate in eDoc and/or the Full-Service option. We encourage mailers to practice in the TEM, which offers access to a file validator that checks the validity of Mail.dat files and records error messages. Mailers will see file warnings and be able fix errors before beginning the actual test validations with the USPS® Help Desk. Several mailers have successfully participated in the TEM process and are poised to implement the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option.
  • Reminder – Mailers using the Full-Service Intelligent Mail option will receive address correction at no charge (Full-Service ACS™). This address correction information is provisioned via downloadable reports or via an electronic exchange method using Mail.XML. The specifications for the downloadable reports are available in the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide and the specifications for the electronic exchange format using Mail.XML are available in the Postal Service Mail.XML Technical Specification

  • PostalOne! Patch Release 20.1 (July 19) – Previously we reported issues with the dowloadable Full-Service address correction reports that are provisioned as part of Full Service. We will address these issues in the July 19 software upgrade. The functionality supported in this upgrade is explained in PostalOne! Version 20.1 Pre-Release Notes on RIBBS, under “Intelligent Mail Services,” then “Guides”. The User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide demonstrates the Full-Service address correction data elements that are provided by the software today as illustrated in Appendix A and has been updated to reflect how the data elements will be provisioned in the July 19 patch as illustrated in Appendix B.

  • PostalOne! Patch Release 21 (August 16) – We will deploy a software upgrade for Full-Service on August 16 in PostalOne! Release 21. This release will address functionality for Multi-Line Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) mailers. In addition to allowing postage statements for multiple payment methods and adding flexibility in updating electronic documentation information for trays and containers, this release will correct issues with postage statements and electronic documentation generation for MLOCR mailers.

  • Centralized Postage Payment (CPP) Periodical mailers have requested a modification in the timing of the provisioning of the Full-Service ACS information. We will address this request in this release where CPP Periodical mailers will start receiving the address correction information once the postage statement is in the "Finalized Pending Payment" state. The release notes for this patch will be posted on RIBBS by July 3.

  • PostalOne! Release 22 (November 15) We will deploy PostalOne! release 22 on November 15 to support the Intelligent Mail Full-Service pricing incentives that will be effective on November 30. 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.XML Technical Specification to reflect the Mail.XML electronic documentation and messaging solutions we will support in the release. 

  • 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.

According to WalesOnline, "it remains unclear whether the Government intends to press ahead with controversial plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail, which is deeply unpopular with Labour MPs and has been opposed by some members of the Cabinet. The Postal Services Bill was due to be debated in the Commons this month, but no date has been set for its second reading, and time is now running out before Parliament breaks in July for the long summer recess."

Hellmail has reported on:

  • Is the UK Postal Market Being Left in Limbo?

  • Swiss Post has transformed its online portal to make it even easier for customers to find their way around some 10,000 pages. Swiss Post said the revamped portal meets the specific needs of its customers with numerous new functions added to the navigation.

RTTNews has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS: News ) has announced a new joint venture headquartered in Dubai to coordinate management and growth of UPS express package, freight forwarding and contract logistics services across the Middle East, Turkey and portions of Central Asia."

Job Vacancy Announcement Vacancy Number: PRC 3‐16 OPEN: June 26, 2009 CLOSE: July 17, 2009 Position Title: Commission Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer Grade: PRC‐8 Salary Range: $117,000‐ 153,000 Location: Postal Regulatory Commission 901 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20268‐0001

June 26, 2009

Publishing Executive magazine has noted that "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted the near-death of traditional media this week. To Steve, traditional media is defined as anything not digital."

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

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

  • The Postal Service published its unaudited May results with the Postal Regulatory Commission. USPS lost over $677 million dollars in May 2009. This loss is in addition to the $2.2 billion loss for the first six months of 2009, plus $385 million in April 2009.
  • The Postal Service has cut work hours dramatically over the past eight years, which has resulted in a remarkable reduction in expenses. From 2000-2008, the Postal Service has reduced work hours by 268 million hours for a labor compensation savings of $9.8 billion, according to data compiled by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • According to the Washington Post, "the post office may be the next too-big thing. If it continues on its present course, the U.S. Postal Service stands to post $6 billion to $12 billion in losses by the end of the fiscal year. By the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2009, it had racked up an operating loss of more than $2 billion, almost equal to its total losses last year. So far, the Postal Service has depended on loans from the Federal Financing Bank, a federal borrowing agency, to help make up the difference, but it is fast approaching its $15 billion credit limit. Something has to give."
  • The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (IG) has reported on the results of its self-initiated review of estimates of the U.S. Postal Service’s liability for retiree health care benefits. It concluded that the USPS could pay on average $3.3 billion less each and still achieve the same level of funding.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) recently published its final rules for the treatment of non-public materials filed by the Postal Service and other parties with PRC. The final rules are available on the PRC’s website, www.prc.gov.
  • The USPS this week met with the IDEAlliance as part of an ongoing dialogue to discuss issues around Mail.dat and Mail.XML. According to IDEAlliance president David Steinhardt, “the Postal Service is really thinking through the issues, including industry’s needs as well as its own systems and processes.”
  • As mailers move toward Full Service IMb (Intelligent Mail barcode) adoption, ensuring barcode quality is more important than ever – not only to qualify for automation/IMb prices, but to ensure that services tied to the IMb are rendered.
  • PRC initiates docket on an informal proceeding regarding a change in the analytical methods approved for periodic reporting. The APWU has come out in opposition of a five-day per week postal delivery network. While the USPS looks at consolidating or closing NY facilities, Sen. Charles Schumer has put the squeeze on the USPS to keep the facilities open. FedEx says it still expects more tough times ahead. UPS faces MBE franchisee suit. The latest addition to the USPS OIG blog.
  • Updates on dockets currently before the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • A round-up of DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A quick update on postal notices published in the Federal Register.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
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As one of The Independent's commentators put it: "I'm afraid I wasn't surprised by claims this week that some Royal Mail managers have rigged research to give a false impression about the efficiency of deliveries. A small group of managers has, apparently, doubled their income in bonuses by hitting – or seeming to hit – their targets. The Managing Director of Royal Mail Letters, Mark Higson, says he is "proud" of the Royal Mail's performance. Last financial year, Adam Crozier, its chief executive, earned more than £3m."

National Business Review has reported that "New Zealand’s economy shrank by 1% over the first quarter of the year and 1`% for the year – the largest annual drop since march 1992, when the economy contracted 1.3%, according to GDP figures released by Statistics New Zealand this morning. Service industries activity showed a minor contraction of 0.1% for the quarter, mostly due to a 4.5% decrease in transport and communications activity. The main contributor to this was a cutback in demand for postal and courier services."

FullStory has noted that "Australia Post celebrates 200 years."

Forbes has reported: "Japan should consider freezing the stock market listing of units of Japan Post, which the government had planned for 2010, Kyodo news agency quoted Internal Affairs Minister Tsutomu Sato as saying on Friday."

Tribune has reported that "The Communication Workers’ Union is re-balloting a number of areas in London before announcing another round of 24-hour strikes next month in its dispute over jobs and cuts. Royal Mail challenged the ballot arrangements at depots such as Mount Pleasant and Nine Elms but such is the anger of postal workers that union leaders are confident they will get a further mandate for industrial action. Postal workers went on strike in Scotland – in Edinburgh, Alloa, Grangemouth, Irvine, Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline, Broxburn and Bathgate – as well as in London last week."

According to Culture Buzz, "Kit Kat is impressing the world of advertising with the campaign it has just launched in Japan. In order to stand out in a very competitive market, the brand (belonging to Nestlé) has launched an integrated marketing campaign using a number of methods: CRM, social media, PR... The brand has partnered itself with the Japanese postal service (which has just been privatized) and has taken advantage of this unique opportunity to create an edible postcard. Kit Kat has created a customizable chocolate postcard that can be sent as easily as a letter and that is available in 20,000 post offices throughout the country." [EdNote: Wonder what it would look like after processing on a postal sorting machine.]

From Business Wire: "MailExpress, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of performance mail solutions for corporate customers nationwide, today announced that it has successfully closed a $30 million Series D round of funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, a leading global venture capital firm. Managing Director for Lightspeed Eric O’Brien will be joining MailExpress’ Board of Directors. Joining Lightspeed in this round are all current members of the investor syndicate: CMEA Capital, Logispring, XAnge Capital and Adams Street Partners. MailExpress will leverage this new round of funding to support the company’s stellar revenue and customer growth by investing strategically within sales, marketing and business development. Additionally, MailExpress will expand its nationwide processing and distribution network to meet the growing daily shipment count. MailExpress currently processes over a million shipments weekly for a growing roster of blue chip customers."

The Baltic Course has reported that "As the volume of postal deliveries, press subscriptions and, consequently, the income of Latvia Post (Latvijas Pasts, LP) and publishers has reduced, LP is considering switching to a five-day work week. A number of printed media publishers support the idea of switching to a five-day work week as they also plan on reducing the frequency of publications. Postal deliveries five days a week would allow LP to significantly reduce costs. In order for these changes to become effective, a number of laws and regulations will need to be amended. In addition to the plan to switch to postal deliveries five days a week, LP also plans to carry out optimization and reorganization of the postal network as a budget saving measure."

Hellmail has reported that "itney Bowes, the mail and messaging technology specialist, has announced a major £1 million investment in its service and support operation with the development of a state-of-the-art international showroom and training centre near Redhill, Surrey. The new 20,000 square foot facility will showcase Pitney Bowes’ latest hardware and software solutions, integrated within a fully operational ADF (Automated Document Factory) setting and including the company’s unique end-to-end transpromo solutions. The showroom will function as a fully-equipped training facility for Pitney Bowes’ team of European service experts as well as a demonstration site for customers throughout Europe to view the latest solutions and to test their own specific job applications. 


The latest issue of Postal Technology International is now available online.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
30646–30647 [E9–15135] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Priority Mail Contract ,
30647–30648 [E9–14925] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The June 25, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has announced its opposition to five-day delivery. "The NALC's position on this issue should be crystal clear: We oppose the elimination of six-day delivery," said NALC President Bill Young. "Downsizing the Postal Service to meet the needs of a severely depressed economy is short-sighted and self-defeating—it will cost us tens of thousands of jobs and open the way to competitors to provide service on the sixth day," he added.

Reuters has reported that "Austria has proposed shifting surplus postal and telecoms workers it cannot lay off to jobs in its understaffed police force to improve their employers' financial outlook. Up to 1,200 employees at state-controlled Austria Post and Telekom Austria could help with police administration, but would not be expected to fight crime on the streets, the country's minister for civil servants said late on Wednesday. 'Cases can be worked on at desks, on the computer, so the administrative tasks which are really weighing on police officers could be looked after by other officials instead,' Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek told state broadcaster ORF. The Post's longer-term outlook is clouded by the end of its monopoly in the cash-generating letter business, due in 2011.

Hellmail has reported that "The current revolution in the postal service can make a big difference to charities looking to reduce their overheads. One company, Docmail, which already offers significant savings over standard Royal Mail postage, has just launched a special offer for registered charities where they can send up to 250 letters for free. Docmail is a low-cost mail solution that allows customers to compile and send post direct from their desktop. One of the simplest, most user-friendly online mail facilities to use, there’s no software to install; all that’s needed is a computer with internet access and a web browser. The system allows you to upload a Word document and any PDFs you want to include in your mailing, enter an address or upload a list onto the online database, and then simply click the mouse for Docmail to print, personalise, enclose and post, with no limits on quantity or destination. The standard service starts from just 25 pence per letter."

The Indian Express has reported that "a Technical snag in software is costing the Ludhiana postal department dear as it is unable to implement the World Net Express service. The department otherwise boasts of booking maximum parcels in the state to foreign countries. To ensure speedy delivery of parcels at the global level, the Indian Postal department had launched ‘World Net Express’ service in the state from June 1, in partnership with the German postal services company - Deutsche Post."

According to The Big Money, "a rallying cry can be heard across the country, from the swanky streets of SoHo to the tiny town of Randolph, Kan.: "Save Our Post Office!" As the United States Postal Service, weighed down by a crippling multibillion-dollar deficit, shrinks down its operations, post offices across the country are on the chopping block. Each year, hundreds of postal operations shutter, but this coming fall could be the single biggest consolidation in USPS history. Over the next three months, more than 3,200 post offices and retail outlets—out of 34,000—will be reviewed for possible closure or consolidation. Downsizing is a business imperative, says Linda Welch, acting vice president of delivery and post office operations at the USPS. "Revenues have declined, and mail volume continues to decline," she says. Not only have e-mail and electronic bill paying made for a skinnier mail stream, but the recession has caused a sharp pullback in advertising mail that has hurt the Postal Service even more. And most Americans say they're OK with the cutbacks, as long as they're not paying more to send mail. A recent USA Today/Gallup Poll revealed that more Americans would rather the Postal Service curtail services than seek a bailout or raise stamp prices. At least, that's what everyone says—until it's their beloved post office at stake. For various reasons, people tend to react with great fervor when their local offices are endangered."

According to The Herald, "Gordon Brown yesterday signalled that "high-quality public services" would be at the heart of his bid to stay as Prime Minister and the centrepiece of the UK Government's draft legislative programme to be unveiled next week. He told a meeting of would-be Labour MPs in London: "Our intention is high-quality public services, personal to people's needs. That is the vision of public services people want to see that meets the high aspirations about quality, encourages and incentivises the professionals in the public services and gives people in their communities real control." However, more signals emerged yesterday that his initial plan to part-privatise the Royal Mail would not be part of his manifesto for power. lan Duncan, the shadow leader, teased her, asking about the "mysterious whereabouts" of the Postal Services Bill, suggesting it might have "got lost in the post".

WFTV has reported that "Eyewitness News learned that hundreds of local postal workers could lose their jobs so the postal service can save money. The US Postal Service wants to cut back the number of days they deliver mail from six days per week to five."

From PR Newswire: "The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (RDA) has reached agreement to sell the assets of Gareth Stevens, Inc. (a publisher in the school and library market), to Roger Rosen, owner and CEO of Rosen Publishing, and Gary Spears, a co-founder of Gareth Stevens in 1984."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Postal Service Active Employee Statistical Summary (HAT report), Pay Period 13, FY 2009 

The Journal of Commerce has noted that "The U.S. real gross domestic product dropped at an annual rate of 5.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a final estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis."

June 25, 2009 

The June 24, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.

Bernama has reported that "The Postal Services Act is to be amended to upgrade postal services in terms of the shipment, transportation and delivery systems, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said. Besides, plans to improve the postal service system, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak, would also be discussed, with a view to facilitating people in the interior areas, he said."

Interactive Investor has reported that "Demand for cross-border air freight dropped 17.4 percent year-on-year in May, suggesting international trade is still a long way from recovery."

According to the BBC, "They may not seem as offensive as dog dirt, cigarette butts or chewing gum but red rubber bands have stretched the patience of anti-litter campaigners. The charity Keep Britain Tidy called on people to collect up bands dropped by postal workers after a survey claimed they were found on 6% of UK streets."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has noted that "The U.S. Postal Service has nixed plans by Harmony officials to try to keep the local post office open for an additional month. Harmony officials June 16 voted to request that the postal service continue delivering mail to residents' boxes in the borough building through July."

The Salt Lake Tribune has reported that "Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wants your mail carrier to count you. Chaffetz said Wednesday he will introduce legislation to marry the U.S. Postal Service temporarily with the Census Bureau so that the postal workers can help with the once-a-decade count of how many people live in America. "They really have the workforce in place to do this," Chaffetz said. "They already go to everybody's door." Chaffetz proposes taking a "postal holiday," so that mail carriers, instead of dropping bills and magazines to your mailbox, would count the number of people in each household. The Postal Service matches up well with the Census needs, Chaffetz argues."

WMFD has reported that "the United States Postal Service states processing is going to stay in Mansfield at this time."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

June 24, 2009 

Hellmail has reported that "The IEA & Marketforce’s 8th Annual Conference, 'THE FUTURE OF UK POSTAL SERVICES' begins next Tuesday (30th June) at Le Méridien, Piccadilly, London With Royal Mail now adapting to increased competition, the state of the UK's postal market is increasingly in the spotlight. The event promises to be a hotbed of ideas and the ideal place to learn about the challenges ahead."

At today's business meeting of the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee on the mark up of H.R. 22, ³United States Postal Service Financial Relief². H.R. 22, it was recommended that chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code be amended to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants¹ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund over a three year period.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that:

  • Andy Azula is an advertising executive, not an actor, but his acting is what gets him recognized by strangers these days. He is the guy with the long, flowing hair who scribbles on a whiteboard in a series of popular TV commercials for United Parcel Service. Now, Mr. Azula, creative director at the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., has reached another rung on the ladder of cultural relevance: He is the butt of a parody of those ads by UPS's fiercest rival, FedEx.

  • Chrysler is working on several electric vehicles, and has started providing a small test fleet of battery-powered minivans to the U.S. Postal Service. Electric vehicles run entirely on battery power for a certain number of miles before they need to be recharged or, in the case of some designs, supplemented by a gasoline engine. Still, it is unclear whether Americans will embrace electric vehicles and when the market will be ready for them. Electric cars tend to be smaller than the roomy models U.S. buyers favor. The need for recharging and, eventually, replacement of battery packs requires an infrastructure of recharging stations, repair shops and distributors that doesn't yet exist.

From Business Wire:  "R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (NYSE:RRD) announced today that its OneSite Internet portal has been selected for the Chairman's Website Award and its co-palletization tray solution has been recognized with the Mailing Industry Ingenuity Award by the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA)."

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

Moya Green, president and CEO of Canada Post, did not beat about the bush at last week’s presentation of the post’s annual report. "When a company of our size makes less than 60m, that’s like a rounding error."
The Spanish post Correos suffered a slump in profit on an increase in turnover during the financial year 2008.
La Poste appears to be preparing for an entry into the telecommunications market. According to French business magazine »Capital« (19.06), pre-paid cards and flat rates for mobiles are going to be offered under the post’s own brand name as part of a cooperation with Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
Austria’s new Postal Act will not be passed by the Council of Ministers until after the summer recess.
It would appear that Deutsche Post and the German trade union ver.di increasingly resort to the media in order to communicate with each other.
The Italian competition authority Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGGM) has instituted a further investigation against Poste Italiane. The latest investigation refers to a brochure published by the post, which allegedly contains incomplete and misleading information concerning the financial service Posteprevidenza Valore.
The Russian Post is expecting to be able to move into its first automated sorting centre in the Moscow region in September, as scheduled.
According to Brazilian TV channel »TV Canal 13« (15.06), the country’s General Accounting Office has ordered four former top managers of the post and three companies accused of corruption to pay an approx. 3.6m euros total fine.
Österreichische Post seems to have encountered problems in connection with taking over parcel deliveries in Austria on behalf of parcel service Hermes.
The Swiss post’s parcel and express division PostLogistics is entering the clothing market.
Last Friday Post Danmark’s courier subsidiary Budstikken Transport A/S announced the purchase of two Danish courier operators with effect from 1 July.
In connection with the loss of 1bn RUB from the Russian Post’s accounts at the WEFK-Ural bank, the post has been ordered to pay compensation.
Posta Slovenije d.o.o. ended the financial year 2008 on an increase in turnover and profit.
UPS is now letting customers route their own consignments. New internet supported software allows customers to check stocks held for them by UPS and to process consignments, including choosing the best route for the destination in question.
Claude Béglé, chairman of Schweizerische Post’s board of directors, is holding on to plans for a banking licence despite rejection by the parliament.
The South Korean government is obviously planning for a fundamental restructuring of Korea Post.

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

Hellmail has reported that "Swiss Post has reduced the number of its weight classes. The measures, which were announced in March, effectively reduce the price of many of its letters by up to 20% as of 1 July. All letter prices will include VAT. Swiss Post said it would mean price advantages of around 200 million Swiss francs per year for customers. The main measures involve a comprehensive price reduction for most business customers, with Swiss Post picking up the tab for the new VAT rate for letters weighing up to 100 g. All business customers who are able to claim back VAT will benefit from price reductions of around 7% on items weighing less than 100 g."

The Arizona Republic has reported that "Residents of unincorporated Queen Creek have voted to give their community a new name and identity: San Tan Valley. After debating what to rename the area for little more than a week, a plurality of voters chose the name over the second-place title, Bella Vista. The community, north of the Santan Mountains in Pinal County, is home to roughly 80,000 residents, most of who moved to the area within the past 10 years. It is not part of the nearby town of Queen Creek, but that became the area's affiliation after the U.S. Postal Service in Queen Creek began using it for practical purposes."

BlueMauMau has reported that "In an interview last October with United Parcel Services, spokesperson Norman Black emphatically stated that he could not confirm that UPS or Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) had engaged the services of the Boston Consulting Group to conduct a major study (pdf file, 15 pgs) on the financial health of the system. When informed that a deposition of MBE in-house counsel Rich Kolman revealed the alleged results of the feasibility report showing “77 percent of the network, meaning 77 percent of the stores, were operating at “either an at risk or worse status,” Black replied, “We don’t need an outside consultant to tell us the health of our network. I want to be very clear here. I have no idea what you are talking about.” Now as franchisees prepare for trial in the Morgate LLC v. Mail Boxes Etc. case, the 2006 Boston Consulting Group report that Black says he knew nothing about will be a focus in the litigation, highlighting areas related to franchisee profitability or the lack thereof. Fifteen pages of the report have been unsealed by Judge Highberger, who is presiding over the trial."

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission. Priority Mail Contract

Dead Tree Edition has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is preparing some price breaks for the money-losing Periodicals class, sources tell Dead Tree Edition. The most likely change to the Periodicals class, which is used by magazines and newspapers, seems to be a revamping of the “ride-along” pricing and regulations. Ride-alongs are items not eligible for Periodicals treatment on their own, such as product samples and catalogs, that are mailed along with a Periodicals publication. Postal officials are likely to allow more than one ride-along per publication and to lower the prices for them, especially for ones weighing less than an ounce, sources say. Although USPS is losing money on the Periodicals class, attracting more ride-alongs would be profitable for the agency because including one in a publication hardly changes the Postal Service’s handling costs."

The Greenville News has reported that "U.S. Postal Service inspectors were called last week amid concern over an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 pieces of mail in a stolen Clemson University van found in flames. The van and its contents are a total loss, said Clemson University Police Chief Johnson Link. The vehicle was so burned that it's difficult to tell whether all the mail was still inside or whether any had been removed before the van was set on fire, he said. That leaves questions regarding the fate of checks and personal information such as Social Security numbers contained in some of those envelopes, said Douglas Lofton, director of mail services at the university."

Advertising Age has reported that "Microsoft has long built enterprise software solutions for myriad industries: retail, health care, sales. But now it has its eye on advertising. Microsoft and Mediabrands are calling the software platform the Media Operations Management System -- and they're certainly not underselling what they envision the final product to be. The announcement touts it as "intended to reinvent the way media is planned, purchased, measured, reported and optimized." And Scott Howe, corporate VP of Microsoft's advertiser and publisher solutions group, likened the effect of the yet-to-be-implemented platform to that of the first investment bank to use a spreadsheet instead of calculators and slide rules. He said the visibility they're going to provide is the holy grail for marketers."

The Japan Times has reported that "internal affairs minister Tsutomu Sato suggested Tuesday he may review the four-way split of Japan Post services."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

June 23, 2009

NewsChannel34 has reported that "U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer wrote to the U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General urging him to reconsider the proposal to terminate local mail processing and distribution services in Binghamton, Utica and Watertown by consolidating the three facilities into one regional facility in Syracuse. The proposal to transfer mail processing from several local areas to one regional facility is based on preliminary findings of the Area Mail Processing (AMP) Feasibility Study. Schumer noted that closure or partial closure of these facilities would present significant challenges to the local economies, impact the timely delivery of local mail in counties across the Southern Tier, Central New York and the North Country, and put local jobs at risk."

The London Daily News has reported that "The strike called by the CWU which threatened most of the capitals mail service was a "shambles" according to senior postal workers who spoke to the London Daily News, with delivery vans able to cross picket lines in Rathbone Place, Mount Pleasant and Nine Elms delivery depots. Delivery vans crossed picket lines on Friday because the strike ballots the CWU had conducted were apparently not complete and Royal Mail managers threatened if the drivers did not cross picket lines they would face the sack."

The Wall Street Journal has a story telling how "Netflix's chief is racing to shift the DVD-rental company's business to make more movies available online. His position offers a rare look at how a CEO manages a still-hot business as its time runs out."

TMCNet has reported that "An Azerbaijani delegation is attending the 5th meeting of ECO postal authorities in Islamabad, Pakistan. The event`s agenda includes discussions over prospects of expanding mutually profitable cooperation between the member states in postal area, application of new technologies to the postal sector, provision of additional services as well as other significant issues of postal sector."

The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail faces a fine of up to £40million amid claims that managers rigged research to give a false impression about the efficiency of deliveries. Staff are accused of manipulating an independent study designed to find out whether mail is delivered promptly and arrives at the correct address. As a result senior staff were able to claim big bonuses, amounting to thousands of pounds, for apparently running a successful delivery service."

The APWU has given a straightforward response to a USPS request for input regarding five-day mail delivery: “Don’t do it!” If five-day delivery is enacted, APWU President William Burrus declared, “History will record this act as the first step in the dismantling of the United States mail system.” A reduction in the number of delivery days will result in “negative changes to employee staffing and scheduling,” the union president noted. Although the changes are intended to reduce personnel costs, “Any service organization that reduces service invites its own demise,” he said."

According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, "Direct mail marketing has advantages over other marketing techniques. It’s proactive because you don’t wait for the potential customer to find you. Your message is delivered directly to customers or prospects you identify as being likely buyers of your product or service. It builds relationships with customers because you can tell your story and build your credibility. It sends a targeted message. You can send different messages to different types of customers or prospects that appeal to their interests. Well-designed direct mail is not treated as junk mail by the recipients. A survey by direct mail giant Vertis Communications found that 85 percent of women in the coveted 25-44 age bracket actually read direct mail marketing pieces. Among total adults surveyed, 72 percent said they have replied to “buy one, get one free” direct mail offers. Of all adults surveyed, 63 percent said they have responded to direct mail discount offers."

Reuters has reported that "It looks like newspapers are having as much trouble holding their readers’ attention online as well as offline. Time spent on 17 of the 30 most-trafficked newspaper websites fell last month, while the rest of the sites had minimal, if any, gains, according to Nielsen Online data cited by E&P. On average, papers keep their readers for roughly seven minutes."

Hellmail has reported that:

  • With the discovery that tens of thousands of undelivered letters were found inside a lorry trailer at the Royal Mail Edinburgh Mail Centre in Sighthill, questions are being asked about the validity of delivery target figures presented to Postcomm. With delivery offices under immence pressure to meet targets and and operational savings, there are fears that some office managers could be cutting corners in order to comply with tougher budget constraints just to keep their jobs.

  • Royal Mail has abandoned it's efforts to quash a decision by Postcomm to reject Royal Mail's application to introduce “zonal pricing” for a number of its bulk retail services.

  • A group of campaigners fighting against the delivery of unaddressed mail, better known as 'junk mail', are accusing Royal Mail of delivering too much and in some cases dismissing requests to stop junk mail deliveries.

The June 23, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site. In this issue: HR 22 Markup Could Miss the Mark; Cover Your Eyes: This May Be Messy.

On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee will hold a business meeting to mark up H.R. 22, ³United States Postal Service Financial Relief². H.R. 22 amends chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants¹ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. For further information regarding the hearing, contact the Subcommittee Clerk, Aisha Elkheshin, at ext ­ 65132.

According to Bloomberg News, "United Parcel Service Inc. must face a nationwide lawsuit by 3,500 former owners of Mail Boxes Etc. stores who claim they were misled to convert their operations to UPS Stores, attorneys for the store owners said today. Judge William Highberger in Los Angeles state court certified lawsuits against Atlanta-based UPS as a class-action, or group, case, attorneys Amy Darby and Miles Scully said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

June 22, 2009 

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update – Correction. PostalOne! Outage – In the June 19 Weekly Update we listed the time incorrectly for the June 28 PostalOne! outage. The outage is between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. (CDT). During this time there will be intermittent or no access to the system.

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/ Hollywood’s Take on the Postal Service.  It takes a lot of digging to find a positive Hollywood portrayal of postal employees.  From Cheers’ Cliff Clavin to Seinfeld’s Newman, TV and the movies have not always portrayed postal employees in the most favorable light.  The OIG’s blog asks, “Why do you think postal employees get the short shrift on heroic roles? And what can be done to turn Hollywood around and point them in the right direction?” 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 703.248.2286.

As FedSmith has noted, "Electronic messaging is perfect at work, and was great for personal correspondence in the days before e-mail was used by anyone with your e-mail address. Now, once you're on a distribution list, you're on it for life. If I have an important message, I make a phone call or send a letter — I want to make sure the message is delivered. In the mail, it's pretty easy to spot a piece of mail that either doesn't interest me or is suspicious. All I have to do is recycle it, and in the case of a suspicious offer, call the Postal Inspectors — the Postal Service law enforcement agency sworn to protect consumers from mail fraud."

According to Air Cargo World, "Louisville-based UPS has earned the distinction of being the only transportation company from the Standard & Poor’s 500 list to make the 2008 Carbon Disclosure Project’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index."

The New York Times has reported that "For decades, stamps on letters mailed in New York City have generally been canceled with squiggly lines of ink and the name of the sender’s home borough. But this tradition may itself soon be canceled, at least in Brooklyn and Queens and on Staten Island. Under the Postal Service’s plan, most mail from the three boroughs would be sent to a central processing center in East New York, Brooklyn, where it would be branded with a new emblem: “TRIBORO, NY BKLYN-QNS-STATEN ISL.” The plan was spawned because of a 29 percent decline in the volume of first-class mail over the past decade. Officials say the change would save $6.7 million annually. This is where a bureaucratic transaction gets personal."

From Business Wire: "Americans overwhelmingly oppose the proposed government “brown bailout” for United Parcel Service that would give UPS an industry edge for overnight deliveries, according to a new national poll conducted June 2-3 by Public Opinion Strategies for “BrownBailout.com.” Nearly seven out of 10 Americans polled oppose the government intervention and 80 percent say the federal government should stop bailing out companies and let the market determine who succeeds."

Reuters has reported that "The Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) , majority owned by the South Korean government, has reported to parliament a plan to buy the financial arm of the country's postal service agency, a newspaper said on Monday. IBK has been in talks with the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) to take over deposit-taking and insurance businesses from the Korea Post."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The European Commission Monday cleared Luxembourg-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners to get joint control of the Belgian postal service De Post NV/La Poste SA together with the Belgian government. CVC now owns 50% minus one share of De Post/La Poste, with the Belgian state remaining the majority shareholder."

The latest report has 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. “Estimates of Postal Service Liability for Retiree Health Care Benefits" (Report Number ESS-MA-09-001) -- http://www.uspsoig.gov [EdNote: This is an important report!!]

The Miami Herald has noted that "Small businesses already working to hold costs down during the recession have another expense to contend with: higher postal rates. 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 websites 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. Websites can also 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."

According to the Washington Post, "the post office may be the next too-big thing. If it continues on its present course, the U.S. Postal Service stands to post $6 billion to $12 billion in losses by the end of the fiscal year. By the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2009, it had racked up an operating loss of more than $2 billion, almost equal to its total losses last year. So far, the Postal Service has depended on loans from the Federal Financing Bank, a federal borrowing agency, to help make up the difference, but it is fast approaching its $15 billion credit limit. Something has to give. The Postal Service has asked Congress to omit a rider on an annual appropriations bill that mandates six-day service, opening the possibility of five-day delivery as a cost-cutting measure. It has also requested a temporary relaxation of its obligation to its pension program, enabling it to put nearly $2 billion toward breaking even. Both these short-term fixes fail to address the challenges facing the Postal Service....[There are] steps the U.S. Postal Service might take if it were a real company and not a hybrid hamstrung by a large and heavily unionized workforce, congressional management, and an antiquated business model. Instead of its short-term cost-cutting measures, it needs to reduce its giant fixed costs to continue its appointed rounds. The Postal Service must reinvent itself for the 21st century, starting with a plan that doesn't rely on the resurgence of traditional mail. To do this will require innovative leadership, freedom from congressional micromanagement and an understanding of the possibilities of new technology that goes beyond building a better Web site."

 From the Federal Register:  International Product Changes: Direct Entry Parcels Contracts, International Return Service, and Harmonization Service.

AMEInfo has reported that "Oman Postal Express, licensee of Fedex in Oman, has inaugurated its World Service Centre in Seeb. The new centre is the fifth in the Sultanate, with other branches in Sohar, Salalah, Buraimi and the head office in Wattayah. The Seeb's new office will offer the full range of Fedex services to the airline industry and other offices and residents of Seeb and neighbouring areas like Ghala, Rusayl Industrial Area."

Hellmail has reported that "Spanish postal operator Correos has reported a fall in mail volume of 5.2% this year, mainly due to the economic crisis. It also reported a 28.4% drop in profits compared to 2008."

June 21, 2009

The Washington Examiner has reported that "FedEx, the nation's second largest package shipper, lost more money in the last quarter, as consumers and businesses downsized shipments and the company took over $1 billion in one-time charges. Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. also said Wednesday that it expects a rough ride for some time."

Business24/7 has reported that "Emirates Marketing and Promotions (EMP), a marketing subsidiary of Emirates Post, has introduced an innovative mode of interaction and marketing exercise that offers a three-dimension solution to clients. Starting last year, the company has embarked on this 3D card system to provides customers a complete solution that has a DVD that can include pictures, music and even a software or data. It has been accepted as a postcard by the Union of Postal Unions (UPU) worldwide and it can be posted anywhere in the world as a regular postcard."

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update. Reminder – Mailers using the Full-Service Intelligent Mail option will receive address correction at no charge. This address correction information is provisioned via downloadable reports or via an electronic exchange method using Mail.XML. The specifications for the downloadable reports are available in the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide and the specifications for the electronic exchange format using Mail.XML are available in the Postal Service Mail.XML Technical Specification.

  • PostalOne! Patch Release 20.1 (July 19) Last week we reported issues with the dowloadable Full-Service address correction reports that are provisioned as part of Full Service. We have completed our evaluation of the issues and will address them in the July 19 software upgrade. The functionality supported in this upgrade is explained in PostalOne! Version 20.1 Pre-Release Notes on RIBBS™, under “Intelligent Mail Services,” then “Guides”. The current version published on RIBBS will be updated on Tuesday June 23 to reflect the Full-Service address correction fixes.  Responding to industry feedback, we will update the fields in the Full-Service address correction downloadable reports to match the fields in the Mail.XML format.  The User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide demonstrates what Full-Service address correction data elements are provided by the software today as illustrated in Appendix A and how the data elements will be provisioned in the upcoming patch as illustrated in Appendix B.

  • PostalOne! Patch Release 21 (August 16) – We will deploy a software upgrade for Full-Service on August 16 in PostalOne! Release 21. This release will address functionality for Multi-Line Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) mailers.  In addition to allowing postage statements for multiple payment methods and adding flexibility in updating electronic documentation information for trays and containers, this release will correct issues with postage statements and electronic documentation generation for MLOCR mailers.

  • Centralized Postage Payment (CPP) Periodical mailers have requested a modification in the timing of the provisioning of the Full-Service Address Correction information. We will address this request in this release where CPP Periodical mailers will start receiving the address correction information once the postage statement is in the "Finalized Pending Payment" state. The release notes for this patch will be posted on RIBBS by July 3.

  • Label Certification Process – Intelligent Mail® Tray Label Certification is a voluntary process for Intelligent Mail tray label software vendors. This optional certification helps ensure accuracy, optimal barcode quality, and readability of the Intelligent Mail tray label.  It validates that the software used to produce the Intelligent Mail Tray labels meets specifications. Vendors who wish to participate may contact the NCSC, Barcode Certification Department by calling 1-877-640-0724, option 2 for application information. We published specifications for the Intelligent Mail tray label, USPS-L-3191 and USPS-L-3216 on RIBBS™.

  • 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.

  • PostalOne! Outage – There will be a PostalOne! outage on Sunday June 28 between 4PM – 7PM EDT. During this time there will be intermittent or no access to the system.

June 20, 2009

According to The Telegraph, "Royal Mail has warned a family they will not deliver their mail after a postman was "attacked" by their kitten."

Radio Jamaica has reported that "The United Union of Jamaica (UUJ) says it has written to State Minister in the Finance Ministry responsible for the Public Sector Arthur Williams for him to urge the Post Master General to pay tailoring allowances owed to the country's postal workers. UUJ President James Francis told RJR News that the union has been coming under pressure from postal workers upset over the non-payment of allowances. According to him, if the payments are not made in short order, the union will have no choice but to instruct workers to take industrial action."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that "the New Castle mail processing facility, which the U.S. Postal Service was considering closing, will stay open. Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Jason Altmire joined state and local officials yesterday to announce that the postal service has decided not to combine the New Castle operation with the one in Pittsburgh. The postal service said it would transfer the processing of a small portion of its mail to Pittsburgh. The 23 employees affected by that move will be offered other positions. The other 152 employees will remain."

As the New Haven Register has noted, "The U.S. Postal Service is projecting a loss exceeding $6 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, which puts retiree health benefit contributions in jeopardy unless a bill is passed by the U.S. Congress. To close the multi-billion dollar deficit, the Postal Service has asked Congress for flexibility to go from a six-day delivery schedule to five days per week, and is evaluating early retirement packages and work-hour reductions. Officials have implemented freezes on hiring and executive salaries and have cut travel expenses."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "About 500 union employees of The Plain Dealer have agreed to take pay cuts and furloughs as the paper strives to keep the business viable while advertising revenue sags. Reporters and editors, delivery truck drivers and other union members agreed to 8.1 percent pay cuts and to 11 unpaid furlough days before June 2010." [EdNote: Makes you wonder what postal employees are prepared to do (if necessary) to keep the USPS viable.]

The New York Times has reported that "Facing major financial losses this year, the Postal Service has marked more than 3,000 post offices and retail outlets — out of more than 37,000 nationwide — for closing. Though postal officials would not provide specific locations, saying that a final decision was months away, published reports have said that about 20 post offices in New York City were on the list. The news is raising some alarm."

June 19, 2009   

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: MC2009-25 Order No. 226 - Order Concerning Priority Mail Contract 6 Through 10 

According to Business Week, "The impetus to regulate online marketing may be gathering steam. On June 18 a House of Representatives subcommittee held a hearing to take a closer look at how advertisers gather and use information on consumers' Web-surfing habits. Up to now the government has had a hands-off policy toward online marketing, giving companies relatively free rein in how they use tools that track what people do online and then use that data to deliver tailored marketing messages."

The East London Advertiser has reported that "hundreds of postal workers joined picket lines across East London today as part of a 24-hour strike throughout the capital against possible job cuts. The strike went ahead despite 11th hour appeals from Royal Mail last night (Thursday) to avert the action. More than 9,000 walked out from sorting offices and delivery centres outside central London."

RealEstate Rama has reported that "U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), today praised Senate approval of $45 million for the federal checkbook to uncover, prosecute, and punish those responsible for mortgage fraud. These funds were approved as part of the fiscal year 2009 supplemental funding bill and will be used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Attorneys Office to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud, financial fraud and market manipulation. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days. The bill provides resources for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Inspector General for the Housing and Urban Development Department to hire more than 200 additional fraud agents, analysts and investigators to combat fraud.

MyFMRadio.ca has reported that "The local Canadian Union of Postal Workers is warning that rural residents may soon lose their mail service. President of the Pembroke Local CUPW, Erin McGrath, spoke with Laurentian Valley council this week to discuss a movement she says is coming, and has already happened in Barry’s Bay. "

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  The Postal Regulatory Commission today adopted final rules on the treatment of non-public materials provided to the Commission by the United States Postal Service and other parties. Order no. 225 is available on the Commission’s website, www.prc.gov, and has been submitted to the Federal Register.

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

  • Jeff Williamson, USPS Manager of Network Development and Support, at PostCom’s recent Postal Operations Committee meeting said that the Postal Service is only three weeks into its Phase 1 Network Distribution Center (NDC) site activation and already is seeing service improvements in the geographic area where the initial 11 sites have been activated. Full NDC activation could take up 18 months to complete, he said, and could save the USPS several hundred million dollars annually, as well as making significant improvements to service performance.
  • Attendees of PostCom’s recent Postal Operations Committee meeting heard the latest news on flats volumes and the USPS’ Flats Sequencing System (FSS) deployment. Mike Winn, R.R. Donnelley, shared up-to-date flats volume information provided by the USPS, which confirmed that flats volume for April 2009 continued its downward trend. But the USPS remains firm in its commitment to FSS, and perhaps in its confidence that flats volumes will rally in the future – at least to some extent.
  • As the Postal Service ends its three week in the IMb full-service test environment, inquiring minds want to know how it is progressing and when will hard decisions start to be made.
  • This week FedEx Corporation released its fourth quarter and full year earnings. It reported a net earning of $98 million, down 91% from last year.
  • The USPS on June 18, 2009, announced in its Postal Bulletin 22261 that it is extending the enrollment period for participation in the Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Program until August 1, 2009. Also, news on the USPS' full service ACS; PostalOne release dates; USPS mail volume survey; New high density prices July 19; and other postal Quick Notes.
  • Letter-Size Booklets: A reminder. Saturation Mail Incentive Program — Enrollment Extended!
  • Updates on dockets currently before the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • A quick update on postal notices published in the Federal Register.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • 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

The New York Times has reported that "President Obama’s choice as chief of protocol for the State Department, a position that carries the status of an ambassadorship, did not file tax returns for 2005 and 2006, errors she corrected last November. The nominee, Capricia Penavic Marshall, has placed blame for the problem on the Postal Service and on miscommunication between her husband and their accountant. When the Internal Revenue Service notified them last fall that their 2006 return had never arrived. She wrote that an agent “advised us that there were a large number of tax returns misplaced by the D.C. post office for the 2006 tax year." [EdNote: Yeah....and the dog ate my homework.]

According to Hellmail, "One could be forgiven for thinking that the 2007 Royal Mail pay & modernisation agreement had never been signed. We seem no further forward in terms of closing the massive void between the postal union (the CWU) and Royal Mail, and I don't think we're ever likely to see any change. This weeks strike is a natural progression of an agreement that never was, and in an article around that time I raised concerns that whilst pen had been put to paper, both parties had walked away with the union not fully understanding the terms of that agreement, the figures involved or indeed the changes that were to come."

The Financial Times has reported that "Online courier and delivery companies are set to capitalise on Friday’s planned postal strike in London. Some independent delivery companies have reported a rise in inquiries from businesses in the capital ahead of the action."

Yes, they are on strike in the U.K.: The Guardian; The Telegraph; the BBC; Glasgow Evening Times; Northampton Chronicle & Echo. [EdNote: Yada, yada....And the sun will come out tomorrow. Bechyour bottom dollar....]

Computer Weekly has reported that "Parcelforce customers' names addresses and postcodes were available online after a system related to the company's mail tracker service failed. Parcelforcehas now rectified the problem and apologised to customers."

DMM Advisory:  Saturation Mail Incentive Program — Enrollment Extended! In today’s Postal Bulletin we announced an extension to August 1, 2009, for mailers to enroll in our Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Program. The new deadline provides additional time for qualified saturation mailers, who may not have been aware of the program, to submit an application. The Saturation Program provides price incentives for mailers to increase their saturation Standard Mail letters and flats volumes during the program period (from May 11, 2009, to May 10, 2010). We encourage all mailers interested in participating to contact their Business Mail Entry manager or visit RIBBS for more information (click “Site Index A–Z,” then “Saturation Mail Incentive Program”).

24Dash has reported that "Postal workers in London and Scotland will take strike action over the next two days in disputes over jobs and services."

RTE News has reported that "Workers at express delivery company DHL have voted overwhelmingly to accept redundancy terms for almost half the workforce. DHL currently employs 1600 people in its Irish express delivery operation spread across four separate divisions."

According to Blue Mau Mau, "As Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees prepare for their long-awaited trial set for August 3, new documents and testimony have surfaced in exhibits that may shed a brighter light on the intricacies of the dispute. As in similar lawsuits against the United Parcel Services franchisor, the MBE franchisees are claiming the shipping giant withheld crucial information and made misrepresentations in persuading them to convert to its new concept, The UPS Store, following its acquisition of Mail Boxes Etc. in 2001."

The Japan Times has reported that "Japan Post Holdings Co. President Yoshifumi Nishikawa offered Thursday to discipline himself over scandals, including the company's aborted sale of the Kampo no Yado nationwide resort inn network, but suggested he intends to remain at the helm." See also United Press International.

From Canada NewsWire: "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has said that the federal government should concentrate on improving postal services rather than rewarding the international remailers who have been violating the Canada Post Corporation Act. Today the Conservative government announced it would introduce an amendment to remove international letters from Canada Post's exclusive privilege to deliver letters."

June 18, 2009

According to Hellmail, "the Direct Marketing Association (UK) is warning of the damage that a postal strike will have on businesses across the capital. Mail deliveries are set to be severely disrupted on Friday 19 June as Royal Mail workers hold a 24-hour walkout in protest of the operator’s modernisation plans.


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

  • One Month Into Full Service IMb Testing Process…And No Approvals

  • The USPS officially announced last week additional PostalOne! software patches that it will be deploying to resolve IMb Full Service issues and add functionality.

  • What New Visibility Does IMb Bring?

  • The Full Service IMb Numbers Game

  • USPS Preparing For Folded Self-Mailers Testing

  • Keeping An Industry Eye On FSS

  • Undeliverable-As-Addressed Mail Volume Up; Costs Down

  • The ‘Three C’s’ Of Address Quality

  • Labeling List Redesign Effort On Hold

  • Calendar For Upcoming Rule Changes

The Independent has reported that "Postal workers in London and Scotland will take strike action over the next two days in disputes over jobs and services. The Communication Workers Union said thousands of its members in London and Edinburgh will walk out tomorrow, while workers in parts of Scotland will strike on Saturday."

Press Release: UPS has been named to the 2008 Carbon Disclosure Project's "Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index" (CDLI).

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that "United Parcel Service tentatively settled a 10-year-old lawsuit Tuesday by agreeing to allow some deaf and hard-of-hearing employees to compete for jobs driving small delivery vans after special testing and training. The settlement, which awaits approval by a federal judge in San Francisco, would apply to about 1,000 workers and 1,250 vehicles at UPS, the world's largest private package carrier, said attorney Laurence Paradis, executive director of Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley."

From PR Web: "Window Book has announced that Tom Taylor has been appointed as VP of Logistics and Distribution Systems. Tom will be responsible for helping printers and lettershops improve their transportation, drop ship, and freight planning."

The Hartford Courant has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service expects to have a list of post offices by about July 1 that will be "candidates for a full-blown study" for closing and consolidation, postal service spokeswoman Maureen Marion said Wednesday. Post offices on the list are not guaranteed to close, she said. Officials recently said up to 150 post offices could close in Connecticut by the fall as part of a nationwide effort to cut costs. After the list of candidates is narrowed, the postal service will send representatives to each site to study its operations. Public input will be part of the process."

As the Leader-Post put it: "Things are not all roses at Canada Post. Marc Courtois, chair of Canada Post, told the Crown corporation's annual public meeting in Regina Wednesday, "our continued financial self-reliance is at risk." Moya Greene, president and CEO, talked candidly about the challenges facing Canada Post as it transforms itself for the 21st century. Canada Post, like other postal services, is moving into the digital, online age. "Our customers want to be able to deliver messages in more than one channel. They want to be able to deliver the paper, but they also want to deliver the message electronically.'' Greene said Canada Post intends to expand electronic message delivery — such as Epost service — as part of its "postal transformation" plan."

The Evening News has reported that "mail deliveries across Edinburgh face disruption, with a series of strikes planned by postal workers this weekend."

Hellmail has reported that "Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, hit back today at accusations that the postal union was opposing the modernisation of the Royal Mail."

Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5), sent a letter to Ed Phelan, District Manager of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to ask for answers on how the USPS' review of all 150 Connecticut postal branches will be conducted, and to request that the current economic conditions be assessed before the USPS makes any decisions affecting jobs and community access.

According to Fox17, "Postal carriers are carrying less these days, so the Postal Service is marketing itself in new ways. Given rising postal rates and increasing deficits for the country's post office, why is it spending money on advertising? FOX 17's Mike Avery has a video report."

Information Week has reported that "MasterCard has rolled out a payment service in the United States that enables users to do person-to-person transfers with their cell phone or smartphone. The service, called MoneySend, is a technology collaboration with Obopay, and it lets customers send and receive funds through text messages, mobile browsers, dedicated mobile applications, and through a desktop PC. The company said this service is a flexible solution that has multiple real-life applications."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "after rising by over 50 percent during the previous five years, business logistics costs dropped to 9.4 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2008, according to an authoritative industry report. The 20th Annual "State of Logistics Report," released June 17 by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, revealed the decline and pointed out that in 2007 logistics costs were 10.1 percent of the country’s GDP. Final delivered cost of consumer goods may have declined slightly, the report notes."

June 17, 2009 

According to Data Mail's Mark Mandell, "The Postal Service is killing Confirm™.  Whether on purpose or by accident, the “intelligence” in the USPS Intelligent Mail program is going away, just as the program is getting off the ground."


From Media Newswire: "The National Postal Museum honors Flag Day with the featured collection “Long May It Wave: The Story of the American Flag through Stamps” on its award-winning Web site Arago at www.postalmuseum.si.edu/ARAGOAmericanFlag.

From PR Newswire: "The White House honored the U.S. Postal Service today for environmental stewardship with a 2009 Closing the Circle Award for its national Green Purchasing Program. This award brings to 40 the number of White House Closing the Circle Awards the Postal Service has won since the program's inception in 1995."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp.'s fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened, as a big impairment charge stemming largely from its Kinko's business took a chunk out of results and as the poor economy continued to sap shipping demand. FedEx, considered an economic bellwether, also forecast results for its fiscal first quarter well below Wall Street expectations, even as Chief Executive Frederick W. Smith voiced some optimism that overall economic conditions are bottoming. FedEx's big Express unit saw average daily volume fall 3.4%, including a 2% drop in U.S. domestic package volume. Revenue per package fell 19% amid a competitive pricing environment, lower fuel surcharges and lower weight per package." See also the Associated Press.

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

Deutsche Post is embroiled in a data scandal: for many years, the German post stored employees’ sensitive health data at two or more mail centres, using the information for personnel policy purposes. German news magazine »Der Spiegel« (13.06) reported that even intimate health details were retained at the Berlin-North and Karlsruhe offices. The information was often accompanied by recommendations, e.g. to convince an employee to take early retirement.
Italy’s financial police force Guardia di Finanza is currently investigating 16 public institutions and companies, including Poste Italiane, in a case of embezzlement and misuse of state funds.
The scandal concerning illegal discounts for advertising mail at Japan Post’s (CEP News 44/08) is having ripple effects.
Germany’s Federal Network Agency is entitled to request Deutsche Post to disclose all partial access agreements concluded with customers or competitors. Last week, the Federal Administrative Court as the court of ultimate resort confirmed that a disclosure order issued by the regulator was lawful.
Schweizerische Post now delivers physical mail by electronic means, too. On Monday, the Swiss post announced that the new Swiss Post Box is aimed at customers who travel a lot but want to receive their letters in time online. Redirected mail is scanned and sent to the customer’s password protected electronic letterbox. In a first step, the post will scan the envelope only and send a picture of it to the customer by e-mail, who can then decide what to do about the letter.
Brazil’s post ECT must invite tenders for the operation of all independent postal agencies by November next year.
Negotiations between TNT Post and German publishing group Holtzbrinck regarding a participation in the publisher’s mail business - as previously reported by the CEP News - have been concluded successfully.
The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has confirmed the licence for French La Poste, which was granted in May 2008.
Belgian La Poste is taking over two domestic express companies with effect from 30 June.
This time last year, Air Transport Services Group was facing the end of its cooperation with DHL. Now, the airline flies for the express company not only in the USA (albeit to a lesser degree) but most recently also from Europe to Africa.
Swiss Post International (SPI) has announced the takeover of its Danish sales agent SPI Denmark ApS.
Germany’s Christian postal trade union CGPT has voiced sharp criticism of Deutsche Post’s plans for a partial closure of mail sorting centres during the summer months.
As part of its cost saving programme for the mail segment, Deutsche Post intends to scrap domestic nightly mail transports by air completely.
Schweizerische Post has now received support for its application for a banking licence from the trade union.
French La Poste says it will only axe around 300 jobs this year. A social compensation plan negotiated with the trade unions is due to be presented before the end of the year. The unions, however, fear that job losses will be much more significant.
The Finnish post’s subsidiary Itella Payment Services Oy (IPS) has been granted permission by the Finnish financial services supervisory authority to operate as a payment transaction company in future.
The global financial crisis is impacting on Lithuania’s express and postal market.
In Kenya, private postal and courier services achieved strong growth in 2008.
Parcel service provider DPD has extended its international express business.
DHL is axing 450 jobs in total at two Belgian locations.

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 Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Australia Post has rejected claims it is not giving the East Arnhem Shire in the Northern Territory enough money to deliver postal services to remote Indigenous communities."

As The Guardian has noted, "As we move towards the summer parliamentary recess, one unresolved issue is still causing concern: the future of the Royal Mail. It is this proposal for a public-private "partnership" that has sparked controversy. But despite the heated debate there is a great deal of common ground. We all agree that the pension issue, which is costing Royal Mail around £800m every year, must urgently be resolved. We agree that there is a need for fairer regulation. Most importantly, we agree that Royal Mail must accelerate its modernisation if it is to secure a future for the business. The disagreement, then, is over the question of how we finance this modernisation. The Royal Mail is the only company able to provide the universal service on which so many depend. A decision must be made, and quickly, that puts the customers first and secures the organisation's future. Otherwise we will all be guilty of presiding over the Royal Mail's slow demise." [EdNote: In the U.S., we're asking Congress a similar question: "If you don't want to do what's needed to save the U.S. Postal Service, how do we intend to finance a universal mail delivery system?"]

Hellmail has reported that "Private courier and parcel firms are hoping for a boost in business after the announcement that Royal Mail employees are return to strike action this Friday. During industrial action In 2007, rival parcel services and private mail company DX, saw a rise in new customers, some of whom defected completely after being offered substantial savings on their mailing requirements. Earlier this week, Royal Mail urged postal workers to honour the 2007 pay & modernisation agreement and not to further weaken the company's commercial activities, potentially destabilise the Universal Service, and force further job cuts. Postal workers in several mail delivery centres in London and Scotland will be stopping work for 24 hours in protest at what the Communication Workers Union describe as'arbitary' cuts to services."

According to The Champion, "Local postmen are being disciplined and are at risk of losing their jobs for “fairly trivial things,” according to Southport MP John Pugh. The Liberal Democrat has questioned Royal Mail’s actions against postmen who travel from house to house by bicycle without wearing a helmet and said: “I have been shown a frighteningly long list of scores of local postmen who have been disciplined by the Royal Mail for what look like fairly trivial things. “However when I have asked for the numbers of people disciplined from Royal Mail management I have been told that I cannot have it due to the Data Protection Act.”

The Mainichi Daily News has reported that "Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Tsutomu Sato has reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with an interim report on Japan Post Holdings Co.'s controversial attempt to sell its Kampo no Yado inns, saying it fails to address responsibility issues."

The Yomiuri Shimbun has reported that "Japan Post Holdings Co. President Yoshifumi Nishikawa said Tuesday it was his duty to accelerate necessary reforms of the company after he met Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Tsutomu Sato to report on a draft of the company's plan to improve its business operations. Japan Post Holdings has outlined the plan in the wake of problems over its proposed sale of the company's Kampo no Yado inns. According to the plan, Japan Post Holdings will establish a special organization to examine the process by which real estate sales take place. The company also will report all plans to sell off assets at management board meetings and it will be the board that has the final decision on any such plans involving sums of more than 200 million yen, according to the draft. Japan Post Holdings will map out an official version of the report based on the draft that also will detail company policy on management responsibilities and in-house disciplinary measures, and submit it to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry in the first half of next week."

From Canada NewsWire: "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is hosting an international modern post conference for the next three days in Ottawa. The first of its kind, the conference will bring together front line postal workers from Great Britain, Korea, the United States, Australia, Norway, France and Belgium to talk about the effects of larger scale technological change."

The Detroit Free Press has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service's Detroit District -- which includes the area from Detroit west to Ann Arbor and Jackson -- is creating a list of post offices for consolidation and elimination and plans to release the list publicly in mid-July. A similar review is underway in the Postal Service's Southeast Michigan District, which includes Oakland, Macomb, Genesee and St. Clair counties."

Media Daily News has reported that "In a sign of the times, The Wall Street Journal is cutting back on its advertising column, one of the most influential places for breaking news about Madison Avenue. The venerable paper will no longer run its "Advertising" column each weekday in its "Marketplace" section."

Hellmail has reported that "The public service union Unison, has ceased funding 64 constituency Labour parties. It said the withdrawal of funding, around £2m a year, is in response to MPs' expenses and the semi-privatisation of Royal Mail. The Communication Workers Union, which supports postal workers at Royal Mail, has also threatened to withdraw funding, estimated to be £1m a year."

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has reported that "Alpine Air, which was subcontracted to deliver U.S. mail to several of the neighbor islands, said it will lose 18 percent of the company's gross revenue after its contract was not renewed. Mail delivery to Kamuela on the Big Island; Lanai; Lihue, Kauai; and Molokai will now be done by Billings, Mont.-based Corporate Air, which has the contract with the U.S. Postal Service and had been subcontracting the work to Alpine Air. Corporate Air currently flies for FedEx between the islands."

Advertising Age has reported that "Forrester Research projects that the average consumer will receive more than 9,000 e-mail marketing messages a year by 2014."

The Korea Times has reported that "A growing number of Korean consumers are buying shoes, clothes, books and other household items from offshore cyber shopping malls due to lower prices when compared to Korean online shops, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS) Tuesday. The customs agency said about 16.4 percent of the total incoming parcels, or 253,000 parcels, carried a broad range of household articles worth $50.3 million last year. This is up from 197,000 parcels in 2007 and 125,000 parcels in 2006. It has increased by five-fold from 2004 when only 51,000 packages were shipped from online shops operating in other countries. Clothes accounted for 31.7 percent of the total incoming parcels sent by foreign cyber malls, followed by shoes at 7.1 percent and books at 3.6 percent. By country, domestic consumers bought 79.1 percent of the total from online shops set up in the United States, followed by Japan at 7.2 percent and Europe at 6.7 percent."

Dow Jones has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Chief Executive Scott Davis voiced optimism Tuesday that the recession will end this year, although he also warned protectionism could derail a recovery." See also Reuters.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

FY 2010 Budget, Congressional Submission; (2) FY 2010 Congressional Budget Workpapers; and (3) FY 2010 Congressional Budget, Summary Table SE-1, 2, and 6
Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63452/USPS%20FY2010%20Budget%20Congressional%20Submission.pdf
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63452/USPS%20FY2010%20Congressional%20Budget%20Submission%20Summary%20Tables%20SE-1,%20SE-2,%20SE-6.pdf
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63452/USPS_Congressional_Budget_Workpapers_FY2010.pdf
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63452/Letter-FY-2010-BCS-CBW-CBS.pdf

The Street has reported that "At the Detroit Economic Club's National Summit on Tuesday, UPS CEO Scott Davis said global trade offers the best path to ending the global recession, and he blasted protectionism."

According to one of the Barron's blogs, "Regardless of what specific number FedEx records with its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, it’s going to come as a surprise to someone in the analyst community. Right now, input costs and pension issues might have more sway over the stock’s short-term future than the overall economy. FedEx’s exposure to energy costs is something of a moving target: lower than had been the case in the year-ago quarter, but higher than at the end of its fiscal third quarter three months ago. Pension expenses are considered something of a wild card by some analysts."

June 16, 2009

From Dead Tree Edition: "Why General Motors Is Like the Postal Service"

Here's the latest from American Express: "**Attention all U.S. Corporate Card holders** American Express is changing your method of statement delivery from paper to online. Starting Aug. 4, 2009, you will no longer receive paper statements for the American Express® Corporate Card.

DMM Advisory:  Letter-Size Booklets — Reminder. "We provided final requirements for letter-size booklets mailed at automation and machinable letter prices in the April 15 Federal Register, New Standards for Letter-Size Booklets.” The new standards are effective September 8 and are intended to reduce damage to mail and eliminate the use of alternative processing methods for these pieces. “Booklets” are mailpieces with a bound edge and include sheets fastened with at least two staples in the manufacturing fold (saddle-stitched), perfect bound, pressed-glued, or joined together by another binding method that is automation-compatible and produces an end where pages are attached. Booklets are generally open on three sides before sealing, like a book. In general, booklets must be uniformly thick. Large, bound booklets that are folded for mailing, also called “quarter-fold” booklets, qualify for automation and machinable prices if the final mailpiece remains nearly uniform in thickness. We encourage mailers to become familiar with the new standards, which include requirements for securing open edges, and begin preparing for the change. Please contact your local manager of Business Mail Entry with any questions.

"The world will not emerge from the current recession without a reliance on global trade, the chairman and CEO of UPS said today. Addressing an audience of government and business leaders at the Detroit Economic Club's National Summit, UPS CEO Scott Davis described global trade as a "positive force" at a time when "we are operating without a map and without precedent." "As many as 57 million Americans are working for companies engaged in global trade," Davis added. "One in every five manufacturing jobs is linked to exports of goods and services." But if global trade is to help vanquish the global recession and become an even bigger force for the economic growth of smaller nations, the world must address three imperatives, the CEO continued. They include the creation of a system of trade that not only is fair and rational but compassionate; deploying technology to reduce the friction that today slows down the flow of commerce, and moving immediately to rebuild transportation infrastructures."

From PR Newswire: "Avery Dennison Office Products announced the Avery(R) Mailing Center, a one-stop shop for addressing and shipping products, tools and services. The new Avery Mailing Center provides small businesses and home office professionals with quick access to the tools and resources needed for day-to-day shipping and mailing needs. Additionally, Avery Dennison has aligned with Stamps.com(R) and PhotoStamps.com(R) to offer complete Internet mailing and shipping solutions along with personalized postage through the Avery Mailing Center."

MediaBizNet has reported that "Heavyweight B2B and B2C publishers have followed Publishers Australia in their call for revision of the Australia Post shock announcement of price increases for those who utilise Parcels and Print Post services."

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "The East Arnhem Shire says Australia Post has left it carrying much of the cost of delivering postal services to remote Indigenous communities."

Today.az has reported that "Specialists of the state enterprise Azerpochta and consultants of FACP company are developing the strategy and the business plan of the state enterprise for 2009-2011, reports Novosti-Azerbaijan with reference to sources in the state enterprise. Tactical plans on the postal area - correspondence to international standards of sorting quality and improvement of supply provisions, formation and improvement of the work system, improvement of postal production security, strengthening and enhancement of participation on the hybrid letters market, enhancement of the market of express post services, creation of logistics services, are currently being prepared."

ABC.az has reported that "a delegation consisting of employees of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies (MCIT) will visit Seoul, Korea on 22-27 June. The MCIT reports that the basic objective of the visit is discussion of underlying tasks arising from the Memorandum of Understanding linked with Korea side, development of cooperation in the field of electronic mail system between the two countries in particular, to study the advanced experience applied in rendering of postal and financial services."

From PR Web: "Window Book is pleased to announce Monica Lundquist as the Postal Affairs Manager. Monica is responsible for managing postal affairs and leading Window Book's new Postal Concierge Service. The Postal Concierge Service is designed to help mailing and shipping companies by providing them with postal expertise, up-to-date information on new regulations, and help implement changes cost effectively." [EdNote: Monica Lundquist formerly served on the Board of Directors at PostCom.]

United States Postal Service Board Of Governors will meet at 6 p.m., Monday, June 22, 2009; 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 23, 2009; and 8 a.m., Wednesday, June 24, 2009. Place: Washington, DC., at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW. The meetings will be closed. Matters to be Considered: Monday, June 22 at 6 p.m. (Closed) 1. Financial Matters. 2. Strategic Issues. 3. Pricing. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. Contact Person for More Information: Julie S. Moore, Secretary of the Board, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20260-1000. Telephone (202) 268-4800.

Postal Technology International has reported that "Swiss Post is combining forces and expanding its presence in Scandinavia. The group’s division Swiss Post International (SPI) is taking over a sales agency, the Danish letter post processor SPI Denmark SpS. It is also merging the newly acquired company with SPI Sweden to become Swiss Post International Scandinavia in a bid to continue its international growth strategy."

The Arizona Daily Star has reported that "U.S. postal inspectors put their stamp on two major drug busts last week, highlighting the unheralded efforts of the federal agency in the drug war. With Tucson considered a major distribution hub of drugs through the mail, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service sifts through packages, looking for telltale signs — and smells — of drugs. Perfume, coffee, mustard — even dryer sheets — are used to mask the odor. Mailing appeals to dealers because it's cheap, reliable and relatively anonymous, inspectors said."

Hellmail has reported that:

DHL Global Mail, Deutsche Post DHL's one-stop shop for international mail services, delivers standard and priority mail on major international trade lanes faster than its main global competitors on most of the links tested and has significantly improved its own transit times. These are the key findings of a recently evaluated survey on transit times performance conducted by Ipsos, one of the leading market research companies worldwide.
Slovenian Post has reported that despite the economic crisis, it continues to operate successfully.

The Star Ledger has reported that "Amid a dramatic loss of business to email and a severe economic downturn, the U.S. Postal Service is reviewing 3,100 outlets nationwide to identify candidates for closure, postal officials said. The postal service will likely zero in on small, underutilized offices in big cities - including Jersey City, Elizabeth, Paterson and Newark, which has 16 locations alone - when it finally crafts a list of offices to close, said George Flood, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in New Jersey. State Senate President Richard Codey said he understood the need for consolidation. He said the postal service already has considered suspending delivering to non-business customers on Mondays or Tuesdays. The plan, however, drew strong reaction from other elected representatives, including U.S. Rep. Albio Sires. "This is unacceptable," the congressman said in an e-mail. "The United States Postal Service continues to blindside the public with decisions that intimately affect our communities and that have harmful effects on their ability to access necessary services. Due to USPS' continued disregard for transparency, I have introduced H.R. 658, the Access to Postal Services Act, which gives communities more of a say in the post office closing process. It's time we give communities the ability to fight back against these closings."

Hellmail has reported that "Three postal centres in London will not now be taking part in this Friday's postal strike at Royal Mail due to an administrative error which would have made strike action illegal."

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/. To Cut or Not to Cut: That’s the Negotiating Question. The Postal Service has asked suppliers to cooperate in efforts to reduce contract costs in light of the current financial crisis. Many suppliers may be equally suffering financially. Will this work for or against the Postal Service’s contract renegotiation initiative? Some suppliers may be unwilling to renegotiate contracts because they cannot afford the reductions. Others may be motivated to renegotiate, reasoning that some business is better than no business. What do you think? 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.  

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:   CP2009-39 Notice of Establishment of Rates and Class Not of General Applicability (Priority Mail Contract 13) http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63446/Notice PM contract 13.pdf

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

June 15, 2009

AuctionBytes has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said its Click-N-Ship online application will integrate with eBay's Bill Me Later online billing service. If you print postage for non-eBay sales using this Web-based system, you normally have the postage deducted immediately from a debit or credit card. The new option makes use of the online payment service Bill Me Later."

Air Cargo World has noted that "Deutsche Post/DHL (DPHL) has published its thoughts on what the world will look like in 2020."

Pensions & Investments has reported that "Two European nations are considering taking over public pension plans, converting their assets of approximately $34 billion into cash for general government use and turning the plans into pay-as-you-go systems. The latest example is the United Kingdom’s attempt to take over the £20.1 billion ($31.3 billion) Royal Mail Pension Plan, London as part of a plan to partially privatize the postal company. For European governments, taking over pension assets means one-time cash infusions that can be used for operating expenses or to pay down government deficits without recognizing the liabilities until the year they’re paid."

The BBC has reported that "Pushing ahead with plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail is "the test" of Gordon Brown's reshuffled cabinet, says Tory frontbencher Ken Clarke. He said the next steps on the plans would show whether the government was capable of "big decisions".

According to TheTyee.ca, "In a climate of surging fuel prices and environmental concern, it's cost, more than technology, which still presents a major barrier to the adoption of electric cars. But the mailman could play a role delivering a battery-powered, zero emission future on the roads."

The Jakarta Post has reported that "A former employee of PT Pos Indonesia has sued the state postal company for allegedly cutting employee salaries to help finance the Golkar party from 1988 to 1994 and is asking the firm to pay him Rp 1 trillion (US$100 million) in compensation."

Cargonews Asia has reported that "Dutch Postal and Express group TNT said it's Express unit has started international road connections to Belarus, Moldova, Macedonia, and Albania."

According to 24/7Wall Street, "The US Postal System, which has been dying for years due to the advent of the fax, e-mail, and overnight delivery, may finally be close to its last act."

The Nordic Business Report has noted that "Postal and distribution services company Deutsche Post (Frankfurt: DPW) has secured a five-year distribution contract with British low-cost supermarket chain Iceland Foods Group worth EUR580m."

From Business Wire: "Direct Group, a fully integrated direct marketing services provider, has been awarded a Certificate of Registration for operating a quality management system that complies with ISO 9001:2008 requirements. The certification applies to the company’s fulfillment operation, which handles direct mail, continuity programs, membership services, web-based marketing platforms, pick/pack services and a variety of digital print technologies."

Hellmail has reported that "According to Reuters, Deutsche Post is to cut back on it's mail sorting operations in Germany in response to a decline in mail volume. Measures include closing 16 of it's 82 letter sorting centres on Sundays and reducing the amount of postmen delivering letters on Mondays. Deutsche Post DHL, which recently renamed itself alongside a plan to concentrate on sustainability, has been downsizing since it pulled out of the U.S. internal mail market and the UK has seen a gradual shutdown of logistics centres in response to chain store closures and retailers sourcing cheaper ways to move goods around."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that:

Americans aren't using the Postal Service as much as they used to. But that doesn't mean it will be allowed to scale back easily. Faced with wide losses and a long slide in mail volume, the agency is considering eliminating Saturday deliveries and closing more post offices. The challenge will be getting consumers, unions and lawmakers, who have fought even small changes in mail delivery, to go along with the plan.
The government's effort to break up and privatize Japan Post, the postal monopoly that includes huge financial-services operations, is quickly losing steam, hit by the recession and political instability. In the latest development, a fight over who should head the company led to the forced resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Kunio Hatoyama, after he lost a battle to force out Yoshifumi Nishikawa, Japan Post's chief executive. The political maneuvering comes as financial turmoil has rekindled interest in safe postal deposits and fueled doubts about private banks. Also, with national elections on tap, Japanese politicians are closely attuned to rural voters, who fear the privatization will result in losses of services and jobs.
The Supervisory Board of Austrian Post named Georg Poelzl, 52, as the new Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Post, effective October 1, 2009. Rudolf Jettmar will continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chairman of the Management Board. The contract with Georg Poelzl expires on September 30, 2014.

The Japan Times has reported that "Prosecutors arrested a senior Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry official on Sunday over a case of postal system abuse involving a fabricated ministry document."

June 13, 2009

DM News has noted that "Beginning in late November 2009, mailers will be required to switch to full-service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) to qualify for greater U.S. Postal Service discounts. IMB offers a dynamic alternative to the extremely limited POSTNET barcode. As you prepare to make the switch to IMB, here are five tips to make sure you take advantage of IMB's benefits."

The Star has reported that "AS Malaysia enters a new chapter of relationship with China, following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s landmark visit to the country, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the countries’ national postal companies had been sealed early this month. Pos Malaysia Bhd in a recent announcement to Bursa Malaysia said its MoU with China Post, which would be effective for two years, involved a feasibility study for collaboration in five areas – express mail service, bulkmail/parcels and small packets, development of cross-border e-commerce, funds remittance services, and regional integrated logistics network."

The Connecticut Post has reported that "Branches and satellite postal facilities in Bridgeport, Stamford, New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury could be among those targeted for consolidation by the U.S. Postal Service. However, branches in Monroe, Milford and Shelton won't be affected by the cost-saving moves that could take place by the Christmas/New Year holidays. No site has yet been identified for closing."

The Arizona Republic has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is re-evaluating its decision to cut funding to a Phoenix post office that serves homeless clientele, just days before the scheduled start of closure proceedings. The post office at Lodestar Day Resource Center, a 12-acre human-services campus that assists homeless adults, had been slated to gradually lose postal services beginning next Friday if the campus' executive director couldn't supplement the thousands in funding the Postal Service had decided to cut. The office, which serves about 3,000 homeless clients, offers afternoon mail pickup Tuesdays through Saturdays for everything from personal letters to Social Security checks, disability checks, W2 forms, food stamps and birth-certificate copies."

Hellmail has reported that "As postal workers in London prepare for a 24 hour strike on the 19th June over 'arbitrary cuts', Royal Mail called on the Communication Workers Union to honour existing agreements established in the wake of the 2007 Pay & Modernisation agreement. It said the CWU’s threat to customers through strike action in London would be completely at odds with the Union's claim that it suppored modernisation and the introduction of new ways of working throughout the business. Royal Mail reminded the CWU that it had earlier this year agreed that "investment in, and the pace of, modernisation needs to be stepped up" and urged the CWU to act accordingly and not to instigate strike action which would hurt customers and damage Royal Mail's drive to build a strong and sustainable future. Royal Mail said the agreement made in 2007 already covered the changes it needed to make in London in the context of a business experiencing a fall in mail volume of 10% per annum, and that it had already made exactly the same changes in almost every delivery office outside London."

Business First of Louisville has reported that "GSI Commerce Inc. and the United Parcel Service Inc. have created ShipQuick, a proprietary package-delivery program in which GSI presorts and loads packages at fulfillment centers, which helps optimize UPS ground service for GSI clients."

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update

American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has told his members that "postal management’s response to the dismal situation has been in keeping with its historic knee-jerk reaction: Excessive discounts for major mailers, a reduction in the number of employees and postal facilities, and other drastic cost-saving measures. If this is the entirety of the plan for saving postal services, it is doomed from the outset." [EdNote: Bill's answer? Raise postal prices. The result? More mail leaves the postal system to alternative communication channels; Bill's members lose jobs, and the APWU harvests the poverty of the seeds it's sown.]

June 12, 2009

DMM Advisory:  High Density Standard Mail Flats — Update. New Postage Statements. We posted the following new postage statements on usps.com/forms to support the July 19 prices for high density Standard Mail flats: (1) PS Form 3602-N (PDF) Postage Statement – Nonprofit Standard Mail (effective 7/19/2009); (2) PS Form 3602-R (PDF)Postage Statement – Standard Mail (effective 7/19/2009). Plant-Verified Drop Shipment Procedures. Mailers may use plant-verified drop shipment (PVDS) for high density Standard Mail flats as follows: 

  • Current Prices. Mailers may use the current high density prices for PVDS mailings verified and paid before July 19. We will accept these mailings at destination entry postal facilities up to August 3 when presented with appropriate verification and payment documentation.\

  • New Prices. Mailers may use the new high density prices for PVDS mailings verified and paid beginning June 22 for deposit on or after July 19. We will accept these mailings at destination entry postal facilities beginning July 19 when presented with appropriate verification and payment documentation.

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

  • Over 100 PostCom member company representatives and guests gathered in Washington, DC, last week for the association’s Postal Operations Committee meeting, “Study Day,” and Board meeting. Agenda topics ranged from policy discussions on the USPS’ financial condition, legislative issues around the USPS’ retiree health benefit funding requirements, Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) implementation, move update compliance, service performance, USPS network changes, and the USPS’ summer sale pricing initiative; to technical issues such as folded self-mailer testing, barcode quality thresholds, flats preparation and entry, Mail.dat versus Mail.XML, and upcoming USPS proposed rule changes.
  • The U. S. Postal Service on June 5, 2009, issued a revised policy for barcode quality threshold for Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb) verification. The latest policy change ramps up the IMb barcode quality threshold from 70 percent to 80 percent between now and September 7, 2009.
  • The Association of Postal Commerce (PostCom) is assessing the readiness of its members to comply with the IMb piece barcode error tolerances established by the U.S. Postal Service in a recent letter from Tom Day, Senior Vice President, Intelligent Mail and Address Quality.
  • The Association of Postal Commerce (PostCom) is assessing the readiness of its members to comply with the IMb piece barcode error tolerances established by the U.S. Postal Service in a recent letter from Tom Day, Senior Vice President, Intelligent Mail and Address Quality.
  • APWU President William Burrus has reminded management that a Memorandum of Understanding included in the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that “all existing retail operations will remain within the installation of which they are a part.” U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Dan Blair spoke at a symposium at the Tokyo American Center, in Tokyo Japan, entitled, "New Regulatory and Business Models for Postal Delivery and Express Services." Commissioner Ruth Goldway wrote to the Committee on House Administration Chairman Robert Brady to support the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act of 2009 (H.R. 1604). A hot war has broken out between UPS and FedEx over UPS' recent success in getting the House to pass a provision in the FAA reauthorization act that would change FedEx's status as an employer covered by the Railway Labor Act by making it subject to the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. UPS Inc. won't furlough any of its pilots for at least 10 months, after the union reached a deal with the world's largest shipping carrier that includes more than two-thirds of the cost cuts the company wanted. Zumbox has partnered with ALC, a data marketing service provider, to help launch its system, which lets companies send you bills or friends send you correspondence to a digital mailbox, eliminating the need to send paper letters or bills through the U.S. Postal Service. The Spring 2009 Semiannual Report on the Audit, Investigative, and Security Activities of the U.S. Postal Service (SAR) is now on posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website
  • Notices regarding latest Mail Pro; intelligent mail barcode readability; and new standards for letter-size booklets.
  • Information on dockets currently before the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • Federal Register notices regarding: Global Expedited Package Services 1 Contract; Postal Service Price Changes; and Special Summer Postal Rate Program
  • Investors appear to be growing restless with the performance of Dutch postal and logistics giant TNT NV, saying management didn't disclose interest in the company from potential buyers and has failed to properly evaluate strategic options. Donald Brydon, Royal Mail's chairman, reportedly said that if the Government did not succeed in selling a stake in the group's letters business, it would have to consider closing the scheme to existing members. It's getting tough to determine whether Britain's Labour government intends to put its plans to offer a private sector stake in Royal Mail or to put it off in the face of significant in-party political opposition. Q-Post and FedEx have signed a memorandum of understanding for the launch of Qpex, the new courier service to be offered by Q-post.
  • 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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Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and the leading developer of high-performance solutions for professional mailers, will host a series of free Web Events in June, all spotlighting ways for postal professionals to streamline their workflows and increase productivity and economy using BCC’s unrivaled mailing technology products."

According to Khaleej Times, "A former postman who left school aged 15 with no qualifications, Alan Johnson, named Friday as Britain’s new Home Secretary, is seen as a possible successor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown."

Transport News Network has reported that "Fiat Group Automobiles and Posten, the Swedish Post Office, have just signed an agreement for the supply of 3,000 Fiat Fiorino 1.3 MultiJet vans with 6-speed Comfort-matic semi-automatic transmissions."

According to NECN, "Every business is looking for ways to save money these days and the U.S. Postal Service is no different. A review is underway that could lead to the closing of thousands of small post offices across the nation." See also the New Haven Register.

From PR Web: "Earth Class Mail (ECM), the world's leading provider of Internet-powered postal-mail services, announces the official release of its updated postal-mail web application to customers worldwide. The new user interface, which has been used by thousands of ECM customers in a Beta phase for the past several weeks, allows customers to receive, read and manage their postal mail on the web with features similar to those found in popular email client applications. Earth Class Mail's redesigned user interface lets people receive, read and manage postal mail the way they use email. The feedback we received from customers who used the Beta version was extremely positive The release represents the first major upgrade of the product's user interface since the launch of Earth Class Mail in April, 2006. The application is also being licensed to Swiss Post for the online postal-mail service that it will soon officially launch in Europe under the brand name Swiss Post Box."

TMCNet has reported that "Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/1934f4/vendor_profile_p) has announced the addition of the "Vendor Profile - Pitney Bowes Software" report to their offering."

From Live-PR: "Express Logistics in Germany - a new market research report on companiesandmarkets.com. This Express Logistics in Germany industry profile is an essential resource for top-level data and analysis covering the express logistics industry. It includes detailed data on market size and segmentation, plus textual and graphical analysis of the key trends and competitive landscape, leading companies and demographic information.

The June 12, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors NAPS Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.

The BBC has reported that "Up to 10,000 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members will walk out for 24 hours on 19 June causing disruption to mail deliveries across the city. They claim "arbitrary" job cuts will affect about 1,600 workers and that staff may be downgraded into part-time positions, threatening services. The Royal Mail dispute the job cut figure and said a fall in mail volumes meant fewer jobs were needed." See also The Daily Mail and the Wall Street Journal.

Environmental Protection has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) awarded MACTEC a $9.5 million task order contract to provide environmental and engineering services in Pennsylvania."

Reuters has reported that "Japan's internal affairs minister resigned on Friday in a row with Prime Minister Taro Aso over the management of Japan Post, in a blow to Aso ahead of a looming election."

Hellmail has reported that "Postcomm has announced that it yesterday modified Condition 21 of Royal Mail’s licence for the purpose of facilitating the introduction of a Sustainable Mail Product. Postcomm said that the change was made to ensure that a minimum level of headroom is maintained between equivalent Sustainable Mail Access and Sustainable Mail Retail products."

"The APWU has filed a Step 4 grievance protesting management’s interpretation of the contractual protection against layoffs for APWU-represented employees who were on the rolls as of Nov. 20, 2006, but had not achieved six continuous years of service. A Memorandum of Understanding in the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement provides protection to such employees."

News10Now has reported that "Pretty dull. That's life at the Binghamton post office most days. Except on May 21st. That's when postal workers gathered to protest the proposed consolidation of some Binghamton postal operations with Syracuse. And now the county legislature is taking up the cause."

June 11, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
PostCom Postal Podcast

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and PostCom Postal Consultant Kathleen Siviter in a review of the many discussions that took place at last week's meeting of the PostCom Board of Directors.
This podcast consists of five parts dealing with the following topics. (The numbers noted in the parentheses represents the minutes run-time for each segment of the podcast.)
Discussion concerning tabbed booklets and folded self-mailers (13:26)
Discussion concerning the Intelligent Mail Barcode and USPS barcode tolerances (21:37)
Discussion concerning the experiences of those participating in IMb program tests and MAIL.dat vs. MAIL.xml (13:35)
Discussion concerning move update and USPS imposition of revenue deficiencies (11:05)
Discussion concerning NDCs and network redesign (10:00)

From ABC News: "Going Postal: Reid’s New Defense of Public Health Care."

As the New York Times has noted, "the word bailout has gone from descriptive to derogatory. In a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign introduced Tuesday, FedEx objected to legislation that would make it easier to unionize the company by accusing its rival, United Parcel Service, of taking a government bailout."

The BBC has reported that "The government is insisting it will press ahead with the part-privatisation of Royal Mail, despite fresh demands by Labour MPs to drop the idea. A Commons motion has been tabled urging ministers to rethink the proposals and keep the business in public hands." See also Reuters.

According to Hellmail, "Despite continued speculation that the search for a strategic partner for the Royal Mail has been dropped, the government insists that nothing has changed and the partial sale of Royal Mail will go ahead as planned. With major changes to regulation already on hold pending the sale and transfer of regulatory responsibility away from Postcomm, and the pension deficit apparently in freefall and said to be now over £6bn, Lord Mandelson insists that without the changes, Royal Mail could not survive."

From PR Newswire: "Out with the old, in with the new. That's the approach the U.S. Postal Service is taking in restocking the retail products it sells in Post Office lobbies across the country. What this clean sweep means to customers is a 50 percent discount on select in-stock USPS-branded merchandise such as matted and framed artwork and stuffed animals. While taking advantage of this sale, customers can - without charge - pick up the Postal Service's new Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes to share their treasures with loved ones in other locations. Countless goods can be mailed in the boxes for a set rate - regardless of weight or destination. If it fits, it ships."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

DMM Advisory:  New MailPro Available! The May/June MailPro [HTML] | [PDF] is available now on usps.com/mailpro. You’ll find informative articles on the new Summer Sale and saturation mail incentives, a recap of the mailing services price change, and highlights from the National Postal Forum. Customers can access current and past issues of MailPro online or subscribe by sending an e-mail to mncsc@usps.com. Include your name, title, company name, complete delivery address, and daytime phone number.

The Texarkana Gazette has reported that "They’re supposed to work through rain, sleet and snow—but not through lunch and off-the-clock, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court on behalf of mail carriers. The suit accuses U.S. Postal Service supervisors and higher-ups, particularly in the Southwest, of implementing a policy that violates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by cheating non-exempt, hourly, city postal carriers of overtime pay."

According to Editor & Publisher, "The Newspaper Association of America said the USPS is now reducing rates for high density flats mail effective July 19 saving the industry an estimated $3 million by the end of September."

"APWU President William Burrus has strenuously objected to a recommendation in a recent audit by the USPS Office of the Inspector General that “blatantly urges postal management to seek an end to restrictions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement on custodial subcontracting.”

The Gerson Lehrman Group wants to know: "FedEx is spending millions on an advertising campaign making it appear that rival UPS is accepting money from the federal bailout of banks, which is clearly is not the case at all. The campaign even includes a "bailout-o-meter" on a FedEx-sponsored Web site, Brownbailout.com. How much of this is over-the-top hype? Or is it just fair game between two rival small package delivery giants bent on winning each other's market share and driving up their costs?"

Bloomberg has reported that "U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s fight for political survival may have left him too weak to push through his policy agenda. Even with a 62-seat majority in the 646-seat House of Commons, Brown’s plans to sell a stake in the post office, introduce a national identification-card system, overhaul banking regulations, and renew nuclear defenses are vulnerable."

The Jackson Hole News and Guide has reported that "Because of budget shortfalls nationally, the post offices in Teton County will no longer look up post office box numbers for parcels bearing only a street address. Al DeSarro, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said declining revenues are forcing local postal workers to stop what’s been a practice for years. Now, if there is no box number included in an address, the Postal Service will return the package to the sender."

According to the Hartford Courant, "As many as 150 small neighborhood post offices could close in Connecticut this fall as part of an aggressive step by the U.S. Postal Service to try to stay viable during the recession and in an increasingly digital world. The postal service is surveying its facilities across the country to see which it can consolidate, a step that could lead to the closing of smaller post offices starting in October."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • United States Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Dan G. Blair outlined the history and direction of postal reform in the United States at a symposium held yesterday at the Tokyo American Center, in Tokyo, Japan, entitled, "New Regulatory and Business Models for Postal Delivery and Express Services," for Japanese leaders representing government, the postal regulatory community, the private sector, the media, and academia.

  • Postal Regulatory Commissioner Ruth Goldway has written to House Administration Committee chairman Robert Brady to express her support for H.R. 1604, the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act of 2009.

Business Week has reported that "FedEx (FDX) hopes to harness taxpayer ire sparked by the word "bailout" to kill legislation in Congress that would help nearly 100,000 of its workers to unionize more easily. FedEx argues the bill would hobble it with higher costs and less reliability across its network and represents unfair government aid for its chief rival, UPS (UPS)."

From PR Newswire: "FedEx is launching a deceptive public relations campaign to preserve the legal loophole it has exploited for decades. FedEx is the sole beneficiary of a provision that its lobbyists quietly slipped back into legislation in October 1996, making FedEx Express the only freight and package-delivery company in the United States whose non-FAA-certified employees are regulated under the Railway Labor Act governing airlines and railroads. "The real victims here are FedEx's own workers," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "Fred Smith would rather spend millions of dollars on misleading ad campaigns and high-priced lobbyists than allow workers a real chance to form a union."

TradingMarkets.com has reported that "FedEx Corp, a provider of transportation, e-commerce and business services, disclosed yesterday (8 June) that Ambassador Susan C. Schwab, US Trade Representative from 2006 to 2009, has been appointed to its board of directors and as member of the board's Compensation Committee."

June 10, 2009

The Spring 2009 Semiannual Report on the Audit, Investigative, and Security Activities of the U.S. Postal Service (SAR) is now on posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/). If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. 

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

French La Poste looks set to abolish the next-day delivery guarantee for letters. "According to our surveys, our customers are interested in next-day delivery in their region and are satisfied with two-working-days delivery at the national level", CEO Jean-Paul Bailly told business daily »Les Echos«.
Contrary to expectations, Austria’s new Postal Act will not be passed by the Council of Ministers this Tuesday
2008 was a very successful year for Portugal’s post CTT Correios, despite a decline in profit.
Deutsche Post apparently has further cost cutting plans in store for its mail segment.
It looks like this was one crisis too many - the British government appears to have dropped its plans to part privatise Royal Mail.
Brazil’s ECT Correios plans to recruit 5,000 new delivery agents before the end of the year.
China Post intends to merge its two subsidiaries China Courier Service Corporation (EMS) and China Post Logistics Co.
UPS and the pilots’ union IPA have reached a preliminary agreement aimed at avoiding layoffs.
US integrators do not seem to derive much joy from their retail chains.
German parcel shop chain Paketeria filed for insolvency at the beginning of May.
The Brazilian post ECT has begun testing the extension of its express service Sedex to include evening deliveries to customers.
Financial investors have accused TNT of showing a lack of interest in potential buyers for the group.
Deutsche Post is considering introducing a "flat rate for letters". Private customers would be able to send as many letters as they like for a flat rate of 60 euros annually.
35 trade unions in Brazil have founded a Commission for the Protection of the Postal Monopoly.
TNT has decided to focus on road transport in South America, having already introduced the same concept in south-east Asia.
A bank manager has provisionally been appointed new CEO of New Zealand Post.
Still no trace of the 21m euros that disappeared while in the hands of the Russian Post (CEP News 12/09). The post is accusing the Sverdlovsk pension fund of having forced the post to open accounts with the now defunct WEFK-Ural bank. 1bn RUB disappeared from those accounts at the beginning of the year. The bank filed for insolvency in February. "On several occasions the post offered Sverdlovsk pension fund to open accounts with another bank, but this suggestion was turned down for various reasons", said the manager of the Sverdlovsk post office branch in an interview with news portal »Nakanune« (03.06).
Around four months after his tax fraud conviction, former Deutsche Post CEO Klaus Zumwinkel has apparently not paid one cent of his approx. 1m euros fine. Mr Zumwinkel has since had his complete pension, which media claim amounts to around 20m euros, paid out to him in cash. With an estimated interest rate of 5%, he should not find it too difficult to repay 800,000 euros to the government and 200,000 euros to seven charitable organisations at the end of the 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.)

Dow Jones has reported that "Deutsche Post AG's employees could be hurt by Arcandor AG's insolvency filing given that about 4,000 workers at the German postal giant work on Arcandor assignments, analysts said Wednesday. In an unlikely worst-case scenario, Deutsche Post's staff who handle orders for the retail and tourism company would be surplus to requirements. This would cause one-off losses of several hundred million euros for the former monopolist, Equinet analyst Jochen Rothenbacher said in a research note. According to Sal. Oppenheim, the losses could amount to EUR200 million to EUR250 million. In a more likely scenario, Arcandor could sell a major part of its operations, limiting the impact to around EUR100 million a year, Sal. Oppenheim added. A spokesman for Deutsche Post Wednesday declined to comment on whether or how Deutsche Post workers would be affected."

Eyefortransport has reported that "Deutsche Post DHL has published a new study: Delivering Tomorrow - Customer Needs in 2020 and Beyond - that highlights a ‘green' product revolution, a broad, technology-driven transformation in customer habits and expectations, and the emergence of China an economic and technological leader. The study also exposes some interesting regional differences, with Asian respondents identifying trends in contrast to those promoted by their Western peers."

Zawya has reported that "Q-Post and FedEx yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding for the launch of Qpex, the new courier service to be offered by Q-post. Q-post, the country's national postal and courier service, hopes that consumers will stand to gain from the signing of the agreement between Q-Post and FedEx, which will enable Q-Post to handle the services currently being delivered by the global logistics giant at what it described as "rates lower than what is currently available in the market". Q-Post chairman and chief executive Ali Mohamed Al Ali said the new service, likely to be launched in two months, will have the assurance of on-time delivery, insurance and customer satisfaction." See also AMEInfo.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has decided it's done waiting for someone to put their own stamp on the hulking, vacant building straddling the Eisenhower Expressway. Now it just wants to get rid of it. The Postal Service announced Tuesday that on Aug. 27, it will auction the former Chicago Post Office to the highest bidder. There's a suggested opening bid of $300,000 but no minimum bid, so the building could go for less. Or more."

Venture Beat has reported that "Zumbox is announcing a new partner and a new chief executive today to prepare for its launch of a national paperless postal service. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company said it has partnered with ALC, a data marketing service provider, to help launch its system, which lets companies send you bills or friends send you correspondence to a digital mailbox, eliminating the need to send paper letters or bills through the U.S. Postal Service. The company came out of stealth mode in February. Zumbox has also hired Donn Rappaport, ALC’s own CEO, as its new chief executive. Rappaport will remain chairman of ALC, which he founded in 1978. ALC will help Zumbox with sales and marketing. Maury Friedman, founder and chariman of Zumbox, said the moves represent a new stage of growth for the company. Zumbox will start its national service in September."

According to Dead Tree Edition, "R.R. Donnelley wanted a quick answer to its third attempt to acquire Quebecor World. It got one. QW revealed today that its board didn’t even wait for the sun to set on yesterday’s sweetened offer from its printing rival. The board decided that its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection this summer is still better than what RRD is offering."

The Mailers Council has reported that today the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) filed a motion in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for the courts to enforce a prior court order originally issued 32 years ago (on February, 17, 1977). That order provided NAPS with the legal right to represent supervisors and other managerial employees of the Postal Service. The is the first time in decades that a postal management association has sued the USPS.

The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Express president and CEO David J. Bronczek will serve as the next chairman of the International Air Transport Association Board of Governors."

According to Bloomberg, "United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s biggest package-delivery company, won dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Canadian customers who complained they were improperly charged duties on parcels coming from abroad."

June 9, 2009

Media Daily News has reported that "Ad spending in the U.S. media tracked by the Nielsen Co. declined 12% during the first quarter of 2009, as compared with the same quarter in 2008. Preliminary figures show that the decline amounts to a drop of $3.8 billion in total U.S. ad spending, Nielsen said."





The latest issue of the National Association of Major Mail Users eView has been posted on this site.

The Associated Press has reported that "FedEx Corp. is set to launch a multimillion dollar marketing campaign on Tuesday against chief rival UPS Inc., arguing the world's largest shipping carrier is the driving force behind a bill that would make it easier for FedEx workers to unionize. The bill currently before Congress would switch FedEx to the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act from the National Railway Labor Act. The Railway Labor Act allows workers to organize, if all workers vote on a union at the same time. That has been a roadblock to unions that could not afford nationwide organizing campaigns. If FedEx Express workers were to be reclassified under the National Labor Relations Act, they could organize one terminal at a time."

As the Washington Times has noted, "FedEx Express is learning what could be the Democrats' economic motto -- "Never Let Success Go Unpunished." Led by Rep. James L. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, the House on May 21 passed legislation that contains an almost hidden provision -- a mere 230 words -- that would hobble FedEx Express. It would do so by completely changing the labor laws under which the company operates. Unless the Senate removes the language from the underlying bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, a mere dozen or so workers in just one city could hamstring much of the nation's overnight delivery service."

The Mirror has reported that "Labour rebels claimed victory yesterday after Lord Mandelson scrapped plans to sell off part of Royal Mail. In a major U-turn, the Business Secretary accepted the economic climate was not right for part-privatisation." See also The Herald and the Financial Times.

The Telegraph has reported that "Over the weekend, ministers hinted that the highly controversial plan to sell off a third of the Royal Mail to a private company, could be shelved in an attempt to win support from rebel MPs."

Hellmail has reported that "With the government taking a severe beating in the elections, the controversial partial sale of Royal Mail is to be delayed. With the lack of a satisfactory bid and the potential for a massive backbench rebellion, the government has opted to allow the dust to settle and see what other offers are put forward. The delay will further frustrate Royal Mail bosses who were hopeful of a speedy resolution to put the company on a sound economic footing."

According to Dead Tree Edition, "Printing giant R.R. Donnelley sweetened the pot today in making another offer for rival Quebecor World. Donnelley will kick in another $100 million in cash and help pay for QW’s financing costs until the deal is closed, it said in a letter to QW that it also filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The letter revealed that the two companies have been in discussions since RRD made its first offer for QW on May 12. It said that RRD had already agreed last week to assume some of QW’s pension liabilities and to structure the deal to avoid tax liabilities for QW."

The Hannibal Courier-Post has noted that "A study on the best place to process mail from the Hannibal region is sparking debate. As part of a national cost-cutting effort, the Postal Service is looking at whether it could save money, improve efficiency and boost productivity by moving some mail processing from Quincy to Springfield, Ill."

According to the Associated Press, "UPS Inc. won't furlough any of its pilots for at least 10 months, after the union reached a deal with the world's largest shipping carrier that includes more than two-thirds of the cost cuts the company wanted. The Atlanta-based company said Monday the Independent Pilots Association has identified savings totaling roughly $90 million over three years through pilots taking short- and long-term leaves of absence, military leaves, job sharing, reductions in flight pay guarantees, early retirement, and sick bank contributions. UPS wanted $131 million in pilot savings over the next three years to avoid furloughing, or idling, roughly 300 pilots. That's 10 percent of the 3,000 pilots represented by the union. Generally, pilots who are furloughed can be recalled to duty under certain circumstances. UPS had been seeking $40 million in pilot cost savings for 2009, $38 million for 2010 and $53 million in 2011."

The Financial Times has reported that "FedEx is taking aim at United Parcel Service for its role in pushing US legislation that would make it easier for express-delivery workers to organise, with a new multimedia campaign that links its arch rival to banks, automakers and other recent recipients of government largesse. In advertisements and a new website, FedEx argues the measure would leave its air and ground delivery networks - and in turn the US economy - susceptible to costly disruptions and is tantamount to a “legislative bailout” for UPS, which is subject to a different set of bargaining rules and remains the largest single employer to members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. EDITOR’S CHOICE Analysis: A deal to organise - Apr-23 “This is a bailout, plain and simple, and the American people won’t stand for it,” FedEx asks on its new site, whose address, brownbailout.com, takes a swipe at UPS’s ubiquitous tagline, “What can Brown do for you?”

The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. ranked first in customer satisfaction in its industry for the 12th year in a row, according to new results from the quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index."

Here, according to one of our regular correspondents, is an item with a familiar "ring." According to Gigaom, "Three years ago, the wireline revenues of U.S. phone companies were forecast to decline about 3.3 percent annually through 2009. Talk about underestimating those numbers — take a look at the following graph and you see that AT&T’s consumer line business is evaporating faster than raindrops in the Sahara. That is indeed a problem that continues to haunt the incumbent carriers — across the board. Cable companies have done a good job of snatching voice customers. Many, like me, have switched entirely to wireless. The down economy has only exacerbated these issues."

June 8, 2009

UPS and its pilots' union, the Independent Pilots Association, today announced an innovative agreement that averts the immediate furlough of 300 UPS pilots.

The latest postal 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/. Automation and the Life of the Letter Carrier. Do you think the days of manually sorting mail in the office are coming to an end? Most letters today are automatically sorted into a letter carrier’s route (Delivery Point Sequence — DPS). Now, the Postal Service wants to replicate for flats — large envelopes, magazines, and catalogs — what is done for letters with a Flat Sequencing System (FSS). It took 15 years to realize the impact of DPS; will it take longer for FSS? Will increased delivery points and decreased mail volume have an impact? Can you think of other challenges and benefits because of DPS and FSS? 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 BBC has reported that "Royal Mail has confirmed it may close its pension scheme to current staff if the government fails to take over responsibility for the fund. Taking on the scheme was part of the government's wider plan to sell off a stake in the Royal Mail to bring in private management. That idea is now in danger because no bidder has been prepared to offer enough to buy a minority holding."

According to the New Statesman, "Ministers are set to postpone plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail after Gordon Brown’s weakened position and the low level of the bids attracted raised new question marks over the policy. The government has been looking to sell a 30 per cent stake to the private sector but has so far not received a bid higher than £2bn. Ministers had previously insisted that they would push ahead with the second reading of the reform bill this month, but this is now likely to be delayed until at least the autumn, according to a report in today's Guardian." See also Politics.co.uk.

Dow Jones has reported that "the U.K. government intends to continue pushing its bill to modernize Royal Mail through parliament but it remains unclear when it will sell a stake in the state-owned postal service, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman said Monday. However, the spokesman said Business Secretary Peter Mandelson had made clear a sale of a stake in Royal Mail could only go ahead in the correct "economic conditions."

From Business Wire: "Persystent Technologies, developers of the world’s fastest automated PC recovery product on the market, today announced that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has awarded a contract to Persystent Technologies to deploy Persystent Suite. Persystent Suite, which restores corrupted, changed, or missing operating system and application files in less than 30 seconds, will be used to image, protect and enforce desktop policies on approximately 150,000 PC workstations for the USPS nationwide. Persystent Suite ensures that PCs are always work-ready by identifying and resolving system problems every time the computer is started. Unlike any other recovery products, Persystent Suite is the only solution that resolves problems whether the PC is on or off the network, even if the operating system is corrupted or cannot start."

The Daily News has reported that "Egypt’s postal workers aired their grievances at a press conference on Saturday, calling for the formation of an independent union."

The Financial Times has reported that "Lord Mandelson is vowing to press ahead with legislation to part-privatise Royal Mail, but will stress to Labour rebels that a sale would be delayed if bids fell short of expectations."

According to The Scotsman, "Gordon Brown will face anger from postal workers tomorrow when one of the biggest affiliates to Labour will decide whether to split from the party in protest at controversial plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. The annual conference of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will debate its links with Labour and its MPs in the wake of moves for a partial sell off of the postal group. The union gives around £1 million to Labour every year in affiliation fees and constituency development funds, but the financial support is now in doubt."

The Guardian has reported that "The government's plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail are to be put on hold pending an increase in the price bidders are willing are to pay, ministerial sources said last night, in what is likely to be seen as a significant concession to Labour rebels. Ministers indicated they intend to go ahead with the legislation to privatise in some form, but believe that the price for the sale is currently too low."

June 7, 2009

The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail bosses facing the possibility of defeat by MPs over controversial plans to sell a stake in the company might consider taking some advice from Murray Martin, chief executive of America's Pitney Bowes, one of the grand old names of the global postal industry. As Royal Mail struggles back to profitability, Pitney Bowes has invested in new technology and increased its share in onlinegenerated business. Every year it helps to move 500billion pieces of mail around the world. It has more than two million customers, 35,000 employees and revenue of $6.1billion (£3.8billion) for last year. Pitney Bowes also has an astonishing 3,500 patents worldwide in areas such as ticketing, mobile phone payment, shipping, laser printing, encryption and mail production and processing. Now with EU postal services starting to open up, Martin, 61, hopes to emulate Pitney Bowes's success in the U.S. and continue its growth into Britain and elsewhere, though the company is keeping quiet about any possibility of buying a stake in Royal Mail."

The Telegraph has reported that "Donald Brydon, Royal Mail's chairman, reportedly said that if the Government did not succeed in selling a stake in the group's letters business, it would have to consider closing the scheme to existing members." See also The Times.

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

According to Major League Baseball, "Dodger Stadium and the associated property now have a new ZIP code to go along with the new "Dodgertown, CA" name it was designated in October 2008. The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Saturday that the United States Postal Service will designate Dodger Stadium and its property with the new 90090 ZIP." [EdNote: Oh, I get it. Dodgertown gets its own zip code, but towns and villages elsewhere are being told we're running out of five-digit zip codes. No wonder people in Congress are ripped with the Postal Service.]

According to the New York Daily News, "There's no reason the United States Postal Service should be going broke - but it could end up that way if its managers, including politically motivated members of Congress, don't wise up. The growing gap between revenues and expenses is cited to explain 25,000 recent layoffs and a shrinking of the mail network that could include 20 shuttered branches in New York City alone. Even with the recent 2-cent increase in the price of a first-class stamp, postal officials still talk about the need for more layoffs, and keep floating the idea of reducing delivery to five days a week. The doomsday talk is premature. Even though more people use e-mail, the postal service delivered a record high 213 billion pieces in 2006, well into the digital revolution. Even online shoppers have to get physical goods delivered to them, and that usually means a visit from the postman. In reality, the $6 billion deficit is a burden dumped on the postal service by Congress. Congress has been horribly slow at correcting problems like the benefits snafu - yet adamant about imposing tough, expensive mandates on the postal service."

The New York Daily News also has reported that "Dozens of protesters continued the fight Saturday to save a Washington Heights post office named in honor of a fallen soldier." See also WPIX.

June 6, 2009 

According to the Arizona Republic, "When the U.S. Postal Service changes central Arizona ZIP codes next month, the hardest hit may be the small-business owners struggling to survive in a slow economy."

DMM Advisory:  Tom Day, USPS VP, Intelligent Mail & Address Quality, has shared with the MTAC leadership a letter dealing with intelligent mail bar code readability issues.

U.S. News & World Report has reported that "Federal Express is preparing to launch a multimillion dollar public-affairs campaign to derail House-passed legislation that would put the airline-based freight company under labor rules governing United Parcel Service, FedEx's trucking-based competitor. Worried that its costs could surge and overnight deliveries could be stalled by wildcat strikes if the changes are put into place, FedEx on Tuesday is expected to lay out a multimedia campaign using the Internet, TV, and paid advertising. At issue is a provision in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that would make it easier for FedEx drivers to be organized by the Teamsters. The House OK'd the bill largely on party lines. Its fate in the Senate is in doubt."

From PR Newswire: From the Teamsters. "FedEx CEO Fred Smith's arrogant campaign of threats and intimidation continued this week when his top spokesman threatened to take down members of Congress who oppose FedEx's position on a key piece of legislation."

The Street has reported that "A new survey shows that pilots at overnight cargo carriers FedEx and UPS command the highest salaries among the 11 largest U.S. airlines."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

News10Now has reported that "Congressman Maurice Hinchey is urging the U.S. Postal Service to keep its processing and distribution facility in Binghamton open."

June 5, 2009

Hellmail has reported that "rish postal operator AN Post reports that 83% of all mail was delivered on the next working day during the January to March period, according to the ComReg quality monitor results. This compares with 78% for the same period last year; and 79% for 2008 as a whole."

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

  • The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved the U.S. Postal Service proposal for a Standard Mail pricing summer sale. The sale will run from July 1 to September 30 of this year and provide participants with a 30 percent rebate on volume above an established threshold. The PRC said that the summer sale program represents a reasoned approach by the Postal Service to exercise its flexibility in market dominant pricing under the PAEA.
  • The U.S. Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to adjust the prices for its Standard Mail High Density flat prices. The USPS’ Governors have authorized the Postal Service to adjust its Standard Mail High Density prices. The adjustment will take effect on 12:01 am on July 19. The postal filing contains the price change description, as well as the price cap compliance and a discussion of how these prices are consistent with PAEA.
  • A panel of PostCom members earlier this week at the association’s Postal Operations Committee meeting reported on their recent experiences with Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) implementation. From the perspectives of mail owner, software vendor, and mail service providers, the panelists spoke frankly about IMb implementation and their company’s experiences. Over 100 PostCom members and guests participated in the meeting.
  • The Postal Service has published its unaudited April results, which show that the USPS lost over $385 million dollars in April 2009. This is in addition to the $2.2 billion already lost over the first six months of 2009.
  • The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service (IS) have received their joint report covering the first six months of Fiscal Year 2009.
  • According to postal commentator Joy Leong, "Before Congress can decide what kind of relief the Postal Service needs, it needs to ask some hard questions: How much of the current decline in mail volume is due to the economic crisis that will eventually end and how much is due to societal changes caused by electronic communications? How much mail volume will return when the economy recovers? What types of mail will return? Or has electronic media permanently changed how people communicate? And can advertising mail replace personal correspondence and remittance mail? "
  • The Chairman of Royal Mail shared with the Financial Times some of his thoughts of the challenges that now face the Royal Mail and Parliament.
  • Update on PostCom's "Regulatory Watch." 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. The Postal Service is again looking seriously at electric-powered delivery. FedEx Corp. has announced another "write-down [this one] stemming from its 2004 acquisition of Kinko's Inc.
  • 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 Communications Workers Union has backed a recommendation for a postal worker strike. The International Post Corporation (IPC) announced yesterday that it is to publish 2008 carbon emissions data for 21 of the world's leading postal operators in the first ever postal sector sustainability report. DHL global mail wins Singapore postal license. TNT launches integrated road network across South America.
  • Discover Financial Services has rejoined the Association for Postal Commerce.
  • Postal previews
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According to one contributor to DM News, "Catalogs have their place, but that place is rapidly shifting online."

Dow Jones has reported that "Investors appear to be growing restless with the performance of Dutch postal and logistics giant TNT NV (TNT.AE), saying management didn't disclose interest in the company from potential buyers and has failed to properly evaluate strategic options. Their frustration was sparked by TNT's decision to pay shareholders a final dividend in stock rather than cash and cut the full-year payment below previous guidance. At the same time, it kept spending on acquisitions in Latin America, which these shareholders say were overpriced."

According to one Reuters blog, "Currently, a structural disconnect exists in the newspaper industry’s cost structure. Just 14% of cash operating costs, on average, are devoted to content creation — the primary value creation activity — while about 70% of costs support the print distribution model and corporate functions. The remaining 16% of cash operating costs relate to advertising sales — another critical task that drives the majority of newspapers’ revenue. The overall imbalance limits the industry’s flexibility to overcome competitive threats. … Most newspaper companies have moved only slowly away from in-house print production and distribution, said Moody’s. Thus, high operating leverage for the industry remains, and is creating intense pressure on cash flow as revenue declines."

The Derby Telegraph has reported that "a postman has pleaded guilty to burning more than 1,000 letters and packages and failing to deliver a further 1,500. The charred remains of the mail burnt by Christopher Wills was discovered by firefighters who were called out on reports of a blaze in a hedge. Royal Mail officials were alerted and an investigation traced the letters back to the 18-year-old employee."

Media Daily News has reported that "The downturn in traditional media has been worse than expected in 2009, forcing analysts to repeatedly revise their already gloomy predictions. In the latest downward revision, BIA Advisory Services said in its recent "Investing in Radio Market Report" that it is forecasting a 15% drop in radio revenues in 2009, to just $14 billion. That's a decrease of over 4% from its March forecast of a 10.6% decline, to about $15 billion."

The National Association of Letter Carriers has reported that "Despite the difficult economic times throughout the nation, Americans donated a record 73.4 million pounds of non-perishable food in the Letter Carriers National Food Drive to restock community food banks and pantries in the nation’s largest one-day effort to combat hunger. Final results showed 73,414,533 pounds of non-perishable food were collected in the traditional event on the second Saturday in May, a slight increase over the previous record of 73.1 million pounds set in 2008. It was the sixth consecutive year above 70 million pounds and brought the total for the drive’s 17 years to over 982 million pounds of food."

The Yorkshire Post has reported that "Opponents of the Government's controversial plan to part-privatise the Royal Mail were angered yesterday when an expected date for a Commons reading of the Bill paving the way for the partial sale was not included in a Parliamentary business timetable. The second reading of the Postal Services Bill was expected as early as next week, but there was no mention of it in business announced up to June 23." See also The Mirror.

 From the Federal Register: "The Postal Service has revised its customs label requirements when mailing items internationally. This revision will comply with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Letter Post Regulations. DATES: Effective Date: July 1, 2009."

According to Federal News Radio, "Rumors about impending buyouts and/or special early retirement incentives have been rocketing around the federal service since the early 1990s when buyouts were first offered on a large scale basis. The Clinton administration wanted (and succeeded) to trim the federal workforce by about 240,000 individuals. Most of the downsizing was aimed at Defense. Most of the buyout rumors now are centered in the giant U.S. Postal Service which have offered early-retirement (but not buyouts) to 150,000 workers. Early outs, called Voluntary Early Retirement Authorities, or VERAs in fedspeak, permit individuals to retire on immediate annuity if they have at least 20 years of federal service or at any age with 25 years of service."

The New York Daily News has reported that "The economy might do what neither snow nor rain nor dark of night could - close 20 post office branches in Manhattan and the Bronx. The shutdowns could come before Labor Day because of the recession and the downsizing of the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, local union officials said. "This is unprecedented," said Chuck Zlatkin, the legislative and political director for the New York Metro Area Postal Union. "This is pretty drastic, and it's happening very quickly." The union has not received formal notification of the closings, but Zlatkin said it was part of an overall cost-cutting effort by the Postal Service. Union officials heard postal officials in New York had 90 days to select the doomed branches."

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

, TNT has announced the launch of its integrated road network across South America, linking Argentina, Brazil and Chile. TNT's South America Road Network (SARN) links over 30 cities across 3,000 kilometers in these three countries. The network leverages the company's domestic capabilities in Chile and Brazil following the acquisition of LIT Cargo in February 2009 and Expresso Araçatuba last April.
DHL Global Mail, Deutsche Post DHL's International Mail division, has announced that it has been granted the Postal Services Operator License from the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to provide conveyance of private and confidential mail to and from Singapore.

Hellmail has reported that "Consumer Focus, which took on some of the responsibilities of the former Postwatch, has criticised the short consultation periods leading up to Post Office closures and poor communication from Post Office Ltd."

9News.com has reported that "A Jamaican lottery scam has prompted the U.S. Postal Service to issue a warning about foreign lottery scams."

The Financial Times has published:

Business Green has reported that "The carbon footprint of the global postal industry will be published for the first time to coincide with the Copenhagen climate change talks this December. The International Post Corporation (IPC) announced yesterday that it is to publish 2008 carbon emissions data for 21 of the world's leading postal operators in the first ever postal sector sustainability report. The report will include in depth carbon data from a raft of high profile deliver firms, including Australia Post, Deutsche Post DHL, Royal Mail Group and the United States. The metrics will be presented as total CO2 in tonnes per €1,000 turnover; total CO2 in tonnes per kg post per km travelled; and total CO2 in grams per item. According to the trade group, IPC members deliver 80 per cent of global mail volumes, operating a delivery fleet of 850,000 vehicles and operate nearly 100,000 building facilities around the world."

CNN has reported that "FedEx Corp.'s latest planned write-down stemming from its 2004 acquisition of Kinko's Inc. may lend credence to views that the shipping giant blundered with the $2.4 billion purchase."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

DMM Advisory:  Summer Sale: A Great Way to Save on Standard Mail! The Postal Regulatory Commission has completed its review of the Summer Sale. We encourage our customers to get ready to mail and save! Beginning July 1, the Sale offers 30 percent off postage for qualifying Standard Mail letters and flats volumes above a set threshold. Mailers have until September 30, 2009, to take advantage of the savings. Our Federal Register notice on Postal Explorer provides all of the details. For more information, contact summersale@usps.gov.

June 4, 2009

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union, the union which represents the majority of the UK's Royal Mail workforce, wrote directly to all Labour MPs today, highlighting it's opposition to the part-privatisation of the state-owned postal operator."

According to Slashgear, "E-reader manufacturer iRex has announced that it intends to have a color, writable ebook reader on the market by 2011. The device, which is currently unnamed, will use a system of subtractive color mixing which, according to iRex, results in three times the brightness of existing additive color electrophoretic displays. iRex believe that their subtractive e-ink displays will offer print-quality visuals to magazines and other full-color publications, and push them ahead of the crowd."

The Star has reported that "postal workers appealed to shoppers and workers in Sheffield city centre to support their campaign against privatisation of the Royal Mail."

Radio New Zealand has reported that "New Zealand Post says posties' days off due to injury have halved since brightly-coloured safety gear was introduced. However, the posties' union says the figures have been massaged more than injured workers' limbs."

The Whittier Daily News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it is terminating its two-month study of mail processing operations at the Industry mail center - a victory for postal workers who feared for its possible closure. Postal officials concluded there were no ways to streamline operations, despite a decline in mail volume and an economic downturn. The study, formally known as the Area Mail Processing study, would have determined if the postal service could save money by transferring operations to another facility or closing the plant entirely."

From Today's Federal Register:  "The Postal Regulatory Commission is adding the Postal Service's Royal Mail Inbound Air Parcel Post Agreement negotiated service agreement to the Competitive Product List. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. DATES: Effective June 4, 2009 and is applicable beginning May 29, 2009."

As the Journal of Commerce has noted, "Legislation to partially privatize Royal Mail will be debated next week in Parliament where it is expected to face fierce opposition from lawmakers in the ruling Labour government."

The Japan Times has reported that "Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama reiterated Wednesday he doesn't want Yoshifumi Nishikawa to remain president of Japan Post Holdings Co., indicating he might quit if Prime Minister Taro Aso sticks to his decision to reappoint Nishikawa."

The Indian Express has reported that "Upholding the decision of the district forum, the UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has dismissed the appeal of General Post Office (GPO) in Sector 17 against an order wherein they were directed to pay Rs 2,000 as compensation for an inadvertent delay in the Speed Post delivery. The GPO, through its postmaster, was directed to pay double the amount of the Speed Post and Rs 2,000 as harassment charges in July last year to an MBA aspirant who couldn’t appear for his entrance test in 2007 due to delay in the postal service. The District Consumer Redressal Forum had directed the postmaster of GPO to also pay Rs 1,500 as litigation charges. Aggrieved by the order, the GPO had moved the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission challenging the decision."

According to postal attorney Joy Leong writing for Mailing and Systems Technology, "Before Congress can decide what kind of relief the Postal Service needs, it needs to ask some hard questions: How much of the current decline in mail volume is due to the economic crisis that will eventually end and how much is due to societal changes caused by electronic communications? How much mail volume will return when the economy recovers? What types of mail will return? Or has electronic media permanently changed how people communicate? And can advertising mail replace personal correspondence and remittance mail?"

The Portland Business Journal has reported that "Sarah Carr has been named president of Earth Class Mail Corp. after joining the company last fall as chief operating officer. Founding president and CEO Ron Wiener started Earth Class Mail in Portland in 2004. It is now based in Seattle. With the appointment of a new president, Wiener will become chairman of the board. The company offers and licenses services that allows postal customers in 170 countries to access and manage mail online."

June 3, 2009

New Kerala has reported that "ARM I Solutions Private Limited today joined hands with India Post to launch the travel assistant 'Genie Ease-Ticket' covering 177 post offices at Kerala Postal Circle. Through the service the customers would be able to get tickets of all airlines, rail and bus services and hotel room booking."

More on John McHugh's appointment as Secretary of the Army.

eMilitary.org has noted that Motomail is a service which was introduced only a few years ago. With it, a letter can be delivered to deployed Marines 24 to 48 hours after it’s submitted on the Internet, at www.motomail.us." [EdNote: You know....hybrid mail.]

Marketing Week has reported that "Royal Mail has appointed former Qbase Data Services commercial director Keith Jones as its new head of data strategy. He replaces Colin Bradshaw, who left at the end of last year to take on the position of managing director of data at DM agency Rapp. Jones will oversee a team of 21 and will report to Royal Mail media director Mark Thomson."

According to Hellmail, "Royal Mail has already been on an intensive diet to reduce operating costs but the benefits of Liberalisation are frankly, difficult to find. Much of the change seen over the last three or four years has been a series of regulatory 'patches' to shore-up dwindling mail volume and to comply with the EU obcession with turning postal services into a cross-border competitive free-for-all, with only limited effect. In the meantime services have been scaled back to a mere shadow of what they once were, reliant on benchmark targets that barely relate to the real life experience of postal users."

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

On 20 May the High Court of Eastern Denmark granted Post Danmark business rival Forbruger-Kontakt damages amounting to more than 10.6m euros. The Court considered it proven that the Danish post had abused its market dominating position in 2003 in order to entice three of Forbruger’s main customers away by means of price dumping offers.
In order to cut costs in the mail segment, Deutsche Post is planning a Monday closure for 15 or 16 of its 83 mail centres across the country during the holiday period in July and August.
Several hundred sub postmasters in Britain are up in arms after Royal Mail demanded they pay two years’ back-dated fees.
During the financial year 2008/2009 Royal Mail achieved and in some cases exceeded crucial quality targets.
Canada Post has become caught in a cross fire of criticism after it was revealed that the post had awarded a major transport contract last year without a prior public call for tenders.
UPS is expecting its approx. 3,000 pilots to make a considerable contribution to cost cutting measures.
The French Employers’ Federation for Transport and Logistics (TLF) has renewed its demand for government subsidies during the financial crisis.
Financially ailing Malaysian Transmile Group (CEP News 34/08) says its creditors have given their consent to the group’s debt restructuring plan for the company’s 568m ringgit (114.2m euros) liabilities. Transmile, whose main operations involve inter-Asia flights on behalf of DHL and airmail transportation, has been in the red since a 2007 finance scandal (CEP News 23/07), which led to drastic cuts in the company’s transport network and aircraft fleet.
Österreichische Post is striving to regain lost territory with the help of a "parcel service campaign".
La Banque Postale, subsidiary of France’s La Poste, is apparently planning to move into the insurance business.
Royal Mail is planning to revamp its internet supported operations and is looking for a new service partner.
After seven years of price continuity, New Zealand Post has decided to increase the postage rate for international consignments from 7 July.
Post offices in the United Arab Emirates are turning into travel agencies. Emirates Post will act as the selling agent for low-cost airline Flydubai, which was founded in May in Dubai. Customers of the government- owned airline can go to the post office to book flights, change bookings or pay for flights booked online.
The proposal for a new wage agreement presented by French La Poste at the beginning of May did not get sufficient support from unionised postal workers.
The implementation of the new structure for DHL Express appears to be going ahead at great speed.

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

Transport Intelligence has reported that "The unpleasant prospect of rising fuel costs has returned, with oil prices hitting a six month high in the past week. The rises are on the back of renewed optimism about the state of the global economy as traders believe that increasing economic activity will boost demand. There seems to be a consensus developing that better economic times are on their way: a turning point has been reached. However whereas other parts of the economy will start to prosper the danger is that many logistics companies will find that they are driven to the wall, just in sight of the recovery."

From the Federal Register:  "The Postal Regulatory Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service request to add Priority Mail Contract Group to the Competitive Product List. The Postal Service has also filed five related contracts. This notice addresses procedural steps associated with these filings. DATES: Postal Service responses are due June 1, 2009. Comments are due June 8, 2009."

NETWORK DISTRIBUTION CENTERS. USPS REVAMPS BMC NETWORK TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCIES. Postal Service plans to realign its bulk mail center (BMC) network and transform it into a three-tier system of Network Distribution Centers (NDCs) have begun. Explaining the new system to business mailers attending the National Postal Forum last week, Senior Vice President of Operations Bill Galligan said Phase I began earlier this month in the Northeast corridor, with the Springfield and Philadelphia BMCs becoming Tier 1 sites, and the New Jersey BMC becoming a Tier 2 site. Outgoing volume from the Springfield and Philadelphia BMCs is sent directly to the New Jersey BMC for consolidation, processing and dispatch. The concept will be tested for 12 weeks and then evaluated before rolling out Phase II. Galligan said this will allow USPS to consolidate the processing of originating mail into fewer sites to increase efficiency and reduce transportation costs, while expanding the surface transportation reach for more products. The new network — when fully implemented — will include:

  • Eleven Tier 1 NDC facilities which will process and distribute local and destination Standard Mail, periodicals and package services.
  • Six Tier 2 facilities which will perform all Tier 1 activities, plus distribution of outgoing Standard Mail, periodicals and package services into the network.
  • Four Tier 3 facilities which will perform all the Tier 1 and Tier 2 functions and act as a consolidation point for less-than-truckload volumes from Tier 2 sites.

With the volume decline and changes in the mail mix, much of the mail the 21 BMCs used to process has gone away. Even before the downturn in the economy, mailers were drop shipping mail directly to the delivery units, bypassing the BMCs entirely. The Network Distribution Center concept was developed to reduce excess capacity to match workload, consolidate operations, increase transportation efficiency, and reduce costs. This transformation will keep the BMC facilities viable.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

June 2, 2009

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has reported that "The ability to send physical postcards from your iPhone is not a new concept, but the just-released Postino (link opens iTunes) from AnguriaLab adds a new twist to an old favorite -- having the option to send e-cards for those who want to send a postcard, but not bother with the hassle of a paper card."

According to Road Transport, "TNT has admitted it is continuing talks with the government about buying a stake in the Royal Mail."

U.TV has reported that "Government moves to sell off part of Royal Mail have been unanimously rejected in the Northern Ireland Assembly."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "The Institute of Fundraising's standards committee chairman has warned that some 10 charities regularly producing rogue direct mail have the potential to endanger the whole sector."

DMM Advisory.  June DMM Update. We updated our standards with the following changes:

  • Postage Refund Appeals. We revised 604.9.2.8 to update the contact information for appealing denied refunds of unused meter postage.

  • Cigarette Lighters. We revised 601.10.13.4 to limit cigarette lighters in the mail to those approved for shipping by an authorized DOT lighter certification agency.

  • Labeling Lists. We revised the labeling lists to reflect changes in mail processing operations.

  • Letter-Size Booklets and Folded Self-Mailers – Reminder. All letter-size booklets and folded self-mailers mailed as presorted machinable letters must meet the same physical standards required for automation letters. On September 8, we are changing the construction and sealing standards for letter-size booklets. We encourage mailers to review the April 11 Federal Register notice, “New Standards for Letter-Size Booklets,” on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com (click Federal Register notices) to prepare for the change.

The Christian Science Monitor has noted that "More than a century after it unveiled an all-electric van that halved mail delivery times – then dumped the idea for gas-powered vehicles – the Postal Service is again looking seriously at electric-powered delivery. Besides saving hundreds of millions of dollars in gasoline costs, switching the nation’s 142,000 postal vehicles over to battery power could boost electric-truck development nationwide and provide clean mail delivery for the next century."

UPS has announced it had acquired a unit of Intereuropa Globalni Logisticni Servis that has been acting as its agent for small package delivery in Slovenia since 1991.

From PR-Inside: "GlobalEnglish Corporation (www.GlobalEnglish.com), the leading provider of on-demand learning and support for business English communication, today announced that it has won Deutsche Post DHL, the world's leading mail and logistics services group, as a customer for its GlobalEnglish Corporate Learning Service(TM). GlobalEnglish enables global teams who collaborate across countries, cultures and time zones to overcome everyday communication challenges by providing targeted resources that increase overall English proficiency as well as performance support tools that improve productivity by helping employees when they need to use English on the job."

As Marketingprofs has noted, "Everyone's looking to do more with less these days. After comparing the cost of postal mail (about a dollar apiece) with the cost of email (about a penny apiece) any B2B marketer is going to prefer using email as the medium for staying in touch with current customers and inquirers. No-brainer, right? But here's the rub: Most B2B companies have email addresses for only a fraction of their customers. And, even worse, if their privacy policies call for opt-in, only a fraction of that fraction are emailable."

Rep. John McHugh, the "father" of modern postal reform, has been nominated by the President to become Secretary of the Army.

The Guardian has reported that "The government is considering abandoning controversial plans to sell a minority stake in Royal Mail after first-round offers fell well short of expectations. A decision on whether to continue with the auction could be taken as early as this week. Whatever the outcome, the government will press on with the postal services bill, leaving the door open to part- privatisation at a later date and allowing a crucial reorganisation to take place."

According to Citywire.co.uk, "The Royal Mail (RM) pension scheme is just an example of the malaise affecting the public and journalists. In a sneaky byline to Lord Mandelson`s rescue plan for the RM, the government will take the assets of the funded RM pension scheme (£24 billion, yes that`s £24,000,000,000)) and replace it with an unfunded pay-as-you-go public sector scheme. Of course, using the 'them and us' accounting protocol employed by the government, they have successfully 'transitioned' the assets onto the government's balance sheet without declaring the total estimated cost of meeting nearly half a million postal workers now unfunded pension liabilities."

Dutch News has reported that "Dutch postal company TNT on Monday denied it had brought out a bid for parts of Britain's Royal Mail. A TNT spokesman told Reuters news agency the company had not made a formal offer. 'We are required to inform our shareholders before bringing out an offer,' he said. Talks with the British authorities are ongoing, he was reported as saying.

Lower Hudson Journal has reported that "Sen. Charles Schumer was in the area yesterday, renewing his call for the U.S. Postal Service to expedite an agreement with Cappelli Enterprises over the sale and relocation of a downtown post office. This is Schumer's second public attempt in a year to jump-start the talks. Cappelli wants to complete LeCount Square's site plan by the end of the summer."

Reuters has reported that:

  • Taiwanese display maker Prime View International will buy E Ink, a company whose pioneering "electronic paper" is used to make digital book readers from Amazon.com and Sony.
  • In what appears to have been one of the worst advertising quarters for newspapers since the Depression, the Newspaper Association of America quietly said the total revs were down 28.3 percent in Q1, with Alan D. Mutter noticing that sales dropped by more than $2.6 billion from the year before. Meanwhile, as print ad sales slid by 29.7 percent to $5.9 billion, even online sales had their worst quarter yet, falling 13.4 percent to $696.3 million.

The Financial Times has reported that "Postal workers in London have voted 9-1 in favour of striking over jobs and cost savings, threatening disruption to mail deliveries at a time when the political dispute over the part-privatisation of Royal Mail is coming to a head. The Communication Workers Union said its members in the capital had overwhelmingly backed strikes over “arbitrary” cuts, although it held back from naming any strike dates and said it hoped for progress in talks with Royal Mail."

June 1, 2009 

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

FedEx Corp. began operations Monday at a new $300 million hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport, but the company said it has no immediate plans to expand the work force there because of concerns about the economy. About 160 workers were to move from FedEx's current PTI terminal to the new hub, where company officials have long planned to increase volume to sort packages for the region.

DMM Advisory: Pricing and Classification. Lower Prices for Standard Mail High Density Flats. "Today we filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission to reduce our prices for high density Standard Mail flats. The change is effective July 19 and decreases the per-piece prices by 0.1¢ for both commercial and nonprofit mailings. We are also changing the high density pound prices to match the saturation pound prices. These changes do not affect our drop-ship incentives."

The latest entry in the blog posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place.  To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/ Use of Industry Best Practices in Processing Parcels.  The OIG looked at best practices in the parcel industry.  The topic lists three and asks:  Which do you think would most positively impact the cost of handling parcels in our processing centers if the Postal Service implemented them? 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 the USPS MTAC co-chair: "The Postal Service is committed to providing excellent service at reasonable prices. It has worked to achieve these objectives through standardized automated distribution processes; the cornerstone of this effort is quality barcodes. Quality barcodes require complete, current and correct address information and compliance with readability specifications. The majority of the industry has demonstrated the ability to produce quality barcodes. The vast majority of the industry already is more than achieving” a “90 percent threshold” for barcode readability verification on MERLIN (mail evaluation readability lookup instrument). Indeed, MERLIN barcode readability data from April 29, 2008 - May 27, 2009 show that 96.90 percent of letters and flats mailings had a 90 percent or higher readability rate. The data is based on 759,322 Letter and 29,627 Flat POSTNET mailings and 71,219 Letter and 1,328 Flat IMb mailings. The data also show that the readability rates of the POSTNET barcode and the Intelligent Mail barcode are generally within a few percentage points of each other for both letters and flats. The data also show that 2.46 percent of letter mailings and 6.54 percent of flats mailings had read rates under 80 percent for IMb barcodes. But both the Postal Service and the industry can do better. By improving its barcode readability rates, the industry will help us meet these mutually beneficial goals.

Press Release: "BÖWE BELL + HOWELL (BBH), a leading provider of document processing and postal solutions, today announced the immediate availability of the Combo 14 inserting system. The Combo 14 inserter is the latest evolution of the BBH’s Combo platform – one of the industry’s newest inserting technologies."

The San Diego News Network has noted that "Latest economic indicator for the media: The La Jolla Light newspaper has gone postal. The publisher has abandoned home delivery and begun mailing the papers-along with a request for a “voluntary delivery payment of $5″ to “help defray just a small part of the cost....The week the local newspaper laid off 192 of its employees, the paper’s Smart Living section carried a banner headline for this timely story: “WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DO A RESUME?””

Advertising Age has reported that "A research project commissioned late last year with dire-sounding rhetoric about a crisis in advertising has produced decidedly calming conclusions. The Future of Advertising project, undertaken by the Wharton School in cooperation with the Advertising Research Foundation in December, bears its first fruits with 21 papers to be published in the ARF's Journal of Advertising later this month. ARF Chief Research Officer Joel Rubinson's study on TV effectiveness also cites data from Marketing Evolution that shows print is more effective than TV or online at creating purchase intent. A separate study suggests that print advertising produces a higher sales lift per dollar spent than TV."

From Realwire.com: "Latest research from ONEPOST shows consumers want companies to use recycle logos."

According to The Mirror, "The Government may postpone a Commons showdown over the Royal Mail sell-off, Lord Mandelson hinted yesterday. The controversial legislation was due to be debated on June 9 but the Business Secretary let slip the second reading could be delayed."

IBTimes has reported that "Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has confirmed that the government is planning on going ahead with the part privatisation of Royal Mail." See also Mad.co.uk.

AllAfrica.com has reported that "The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is upbeat that Liberia is making a big shift from an out-of-order postal system to an expedited and upgraded system where it is getting on par with international acceptable standards, thanks to the good leadership of the current team of experts led by Jeremiah Solunteh who has been making uptight efforts in consultation with his able lieutenants to make things work."

Hellmail has reported that "The Finnish postal operator (Itella Group) has reported a decline in mail volume of 10% on first class mail."

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers in London have voted overwhelmingly in favour of going on strike in a row over jobs. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said its members in the capital had backed industrial action by 9-1. The union is in dispute with the Royal Mail over jobs and conditions, claiming services are being hit by "arbitrary" cuts. The union said decisions on strike dates will be taken shortly, but it said it hoped to avoid strike action."

DM News has reported that "Problems with mail delivery was one factor identified as a threat to the direct mail industry in a new forecast from Borrell Associates. Advertising revenue from direct mail is expected to plunge 39%, from $49.7 billion in annual spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion, by the end of 2013, the report added. If the forecast turns out to be right, direct mail would fall from the No. 1 position for ad revenue to No. 4, behind the Internet, broadcast TV and newspapers, it continued. Cutting the frequency of postal mail delivery and increasing postage rates would spell more trouble for direct mail, according to Borrell's report."