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Postal News from July 2009

July 31, 2009

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

  • This week, a Senate panel considered a bill introduced by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) to restructure the U.S. Postal Service payments for its Retiree Health Benefits Fund. S. 1507 would reduce the amount of money USPS must pay to the Fund, which covers future retirement payments, while providing a higher annual borrowing limit.
  • The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have opposed the bill, S. 1507, because of an approved amendment that "would require any binding arbitration in the negotiation of postal contracts to take the financial health of the Postal Service into account."
  • The Government Accountability Office, this week, placed the U.S. Postal Service, once again, on its high risk list of areas needing congressional and administration attention.
  • The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has released to Congress its report on "Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress."
  • Although the focus of one House hearing this week was the Postal Service’s station/branch optimization initiative and delivery route adjustments, the representatives and those presenting testimony also spent time discussing the more pressing matters of the impact of an exigency rate case, five-day delivery, the USPS being put back on the GAO’s high risk list, and the need to look at broader solutions to the USPS’ financial situation.
  • USPS implementation of its tour consolidation had a minimal impact on remittance mail processing and delivery for Spring 2009, reported Phoenix-Hecht in its Spring 2009 Postal Survey. The company advised remittance processors to work closely with their local USPS plant personnel, however, because many were caught by surprise by the speed at which the USPS executed such consolidations. The report also advised remittance processors to pay diligent attention to two looming postal issues: a potential USPS move to five-day delivery, and the USPS Network Distribution Center (NDC) initiative. Both could have a significant impact on remittance processors, Phoenix-Hecht advised.
  • Mailers looking forward to the "free" address correction service (ACS) that the USPS has been touting as one of the benefits of using Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) are still doing just that...looking forward to it. Unfortunately, "free" IMb Full-Service ACS, which was supposed to be available to mailers beginning in mid-May 2009, still is not in force. Mailers that planned their IMb Full-Service return on investment (ROI) to begin back in May based on the provision of free ACS now are counting the lost savings, re-adjusting their calculations, and hoping against hope that they see free ACS...possibly by September.
  • USPS has submitted a proposed methodology for PRC approval. OIG increases figure for potential postal savings.
  • A quick update on postal notices published in the Federal Register.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Short list of the many stories focusing on the potential post office and distribution center consolidation or closing.A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
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In case you missed yesterday's postal oversight hearing, you still can get copies of the written testimony that was given, and you can view a webcast of the hearing.

Documents and Links

The Washington Post has reported that "The Postal Service has marked 677 post offices nationwide -- including 13 in the District and Maryland -- for possible closure or consolidation, according to a document given Thursday to a House subcommittee considering the future of U.S. mail delivery."

CNNMoney has noted that "Lawmakers got conflicting advice Thursday on the best way to put the U.S. Postal Service on firmer financial footing, with postal customers and management suggesting aggressive cost-cutting measures that postal labor unions say may be ineffective and counterproductive."

The Omaha World-Herald has noted that "Sandra Mitchell might need extra stamps to stuff all of her objections into a letter on the possible closing of her neighborhood post office. Mitchell said word spread quickly Thursday across her north Omaha neighborhood that postal officials are considering closing Florence Station at 29th and State Streets and five other city post offices in a cost-cutting move. “Everyone is up in arms about it,’’ she said. Closing post offices isn’t a sign of a thriving community, she said."

The Washburn Cedar Falls Courier has reported that "A community landmark is no more starting Friday after the U.S. Postal Service shuttered the Washburn post office. The postal service said it decided to close the office because of financial concerns. The location wasn’t a full-fledged post office, but rather a branch of the larger Waterloo office, said Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the service. Watkins said mail now will be delivered to residents’ homes."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
New Postal Product ,
38098–38102 [E9–18243] [TEXT]  [PDF]

 DMM Advisory: CASS/MASS Cycle M Certification Extension. We have extended the requirement date for CASS/MASS Cycle M Certification from July 31, 2009 to September 30, 2009. Complete details on criteria and any applicable fees are posted on RIBBS.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  "The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) today submitted to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia its Review of Retiree Health Benefit Fund Liability as Calculated by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG). This review was requested by Subcommittee Members Stephen Lynch, John McHugh and Danny K. Davis in a June letter to the Commission. The report examines valuations by both OPM and OIG of the Postal Service’s liability for pre-funding retiree health benefits. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) established a payment schedule for the Postal Service to prefund these liabilities through FY 2016. The subcommittee asked the PRC to review the two separate valuations which differed by $57 billion. The Commission found that the two valuations were both reasonable in meeting the different purposes for which they were designed. However, the Commission suggests an alternative calculation which produces a long-term liability that could result in lower payments than current law requires. “Our analysis of the two valuations should prove helpful in informing the debate as Congress considers measures to provide financial relief to the Postal Service,” said Dan G. Blair, Chairman. “The Commission appreciates the cooperation of the OIG and OPM in the preparation of this report.”

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, and Urban-Cab, Paris leader in 100% ecological passenger transportation, have announced their program for efficient and environmentally-friendly parcel deliveries in the heart of the capital. The two vehicles, specifically designed for town-centre operations, have been tested since the beginning of January 2009 and passed with flying colors.

According to Eyefortransport, "Despite the continuing recessionary business environment, TNT reports that its focus on cost savings has paid off, with a strong free cash flow over the first half of the year."

Media Daily News has reported:

  • Time Warner's improved second-quarter results came from TV operations -- Turner Broadcasting and HBO -- where overall revenue was up 5% to $3 billion, with subscription revenue climbing 8%. The one note was that TV advertising revenue from Turner networks dipped 3%. Overall, networks' operating income climbed 17% to $875 million. But lower results from DVD sales, magazine and the AOL divisions pulled down company results; second-quarter profits sank 34% to $519 million, with revenue down 9% to $6.8 million for the period. A large piece of this came from its big Time Inc. publishing division, dropping 22% to $915 million. Magazine ad revenue continued to fall as in previous periods -- down 26%; with subscription revenue down 18%. Profit for the division plunged 53% to $102 million.
  • Meredith Corp., the magazine and TV company, witnessed revenue sink $346 million from $376 million. Meredith says advertising will continue to be impacted by the recession in 2010.
  • Consumer magazine publishers continued to take a beating in the second quarter of 2009, with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and McGraw Hill, publisher of BusinessWeek, both reporting big declines in publishing ad revenue. Worse, executives held out little hope of a turnaround in print advertising in the second half of 2009.

ZDNet has reported that "Australia Post will no longer be accepting packages that contain lithium batteries by air. The batteries have been classified as dangerous, leading the International Civil Aviation Organization to enact more stringent controls. This follows on the exploding laptop batteries debacle of 2006, prompting a recall, and further recalls in 2008 and 2009. Lithium batteries may still be sent by road, but only if they are lithium-ion and rated for 2 grams, 100-Watt-hours or under."

July 30, 2009

CNET News has noted that "Yahoo's long nightmare is over, having finally offloaded its search business to Microsoft after years of rumors, negotiations and reversals. Now all it has to do is figure out what comes next. A new era at Yahoo began the minute CEO Carol Bartz signed the paperwork turning over the right to conduct searches on Yahoo's huge network of Web sites to Microsoft in exchange for 88 percent of the revenue generated by Microsoft's Bing. Now Yahoo is first and foremost a media company, in the business of attracting as many people to its properties as possible in hopes of selling lucrative ad deals on those pages. This strategy has not always worked on the Internet. Search advertising has been far and away the most effective way for advertisers to reach their audiences, and they have responded by pouring money into the coffers of the company that has best combined relevant search results and efficient advertising: Google."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The French cabinet took the first step toward a possible privatization of the country's postal service as it approved a bill that will turn La Poste into a joint-stock company on Jan. 1. The bill now goes to Parliament for approval. The UMP conservative party of President Nicolas Sarkozy and its allies have a firm majority there, so the bill's passage is assured. "We need to give La Poste the means of pursuing its modernization and its development," Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said. Mail services will be opened to competition in the European Union in 2011."

The Federal Times has reported that "The committee also debated but delayed its vote on S 1507, the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act. The bill reduces the amount the Postal Service must pay into its retiree health benefits fund from nearly $5 billion a year to about $1.7 billion in 2009 and 2010. A House version of the bill suspends those payments for three years; Postal Service officials have said they can’t make the current payment schedule with a $7 billion deficit projected this year. Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said the Postal Service desperately needs the influx of cash. But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said the Postal Service “has a failed business model” and has failed to keep up with technology and what customers demand of the mail. He said management, unions and employees need to be willing to make cuts and change the way the Postal Service operates if it hopes to succeed. “If we keep trying to fix things thinking the formal model of the Postal Service is going to work, we’re never going to fix things,” Coburn said. The committee did adopt several amendments to the Postal Service bill, including one offered by Coburn to allow arbitrators to consider the Postal Service’s fiscal state when arbitrating with unions."

The National Association of Letter Carriers has told its members that "in a contentious mark-up session of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 29, several senators offered amendments to S. 1507, a bill that will provide short-term financial relief to the Postal Service by restructuring its payments for future retiree health benefits. Thanks to the rapid response of e-Activists in 12 states to a message sent July 28, most of the 11 amendments offered were rejected, including one mandating the Postal Service go to five-day delivery. Unfortunately, one of the four amendments adopted was one NALC strongly opposes. That amendment, which was supported by the Committee's Republican members as well as Sens.Tom Carper (D-DE) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) was sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). If adopted into law, it would tamper with the long-established process of interest arbitration by requiring arbitration panels to "consider the financial condition of the Postal Service in making any decision."

The APWU has told its members that "An amendment to a bill to provide temporary financial relief to the cash-strapped Postal Service was adopted by a Senate committee July 29, rendering the bill unacceptable to the APWU. “We oppose, on principle, legislation that interferes with the collective bargaining process,” said APWU President William Burrus."

The Washington Times has reported that "g multibillion-dollar deficit under a measure approved by a Senate committee Wednesday. The move comes months after the House held hearings into why Postmaster General John E. Potter got a six-figure bonus last year even as the Postal Service racked up billions of dollars in losses."

The Washington Post has reported that "Lawmakers on Thursday will consider various proposals to restructure the U.S. Postal Service, just days after government auditors warned that it must quickly address its financial viability. Confronting a sharp decline in mail volume tied to the recession and the continuing migration to e-mail and online payment options, the Postal Service projects a net loss of $7 billion this fiscal year and debt exceeding $10 billion, leading to a cash shortfall of about $1 billion. Losses are expected next year as well. The Government Accountability Office added the Postal Service to its list of high-risk government agencies and programs on Tuesday, and it will further explain its decision Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing." See also the New York Times.

The CoStar Group has reported that "The news of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) closures has been trickling out in local communities. But a closer examination behind the reports finds the potential for a major flood of closings."

Pension & Investments has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., Atlanta, expects to contribute $811 million to its $12.8 billion U.S. pension plans and $343 million international pension plans this year."

From PR Newswire: "Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that consumers in additional select markets will now have access to its RedPlum coupon book through a distribution shift via consumers' mailboxes for free in the RedPlum Shared Mail Package along with their grocery and retail circulars. Consumers in these markets who already receive the RedPlum mail package will now find the coupon book inside."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The Flint Journal has reported that "U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Flint, is asking the Postal Regulatory Commission to reconsider the decision to move up to 30 mail sorting jobs from Flint to Pontiac's new, $100-million mail sorting center.  In a letter Tuesday, Kildee said the Flint area "cannot suffer another economic blow related to the loss or realignment of jobs."

July 29, 2009

Reuters has reported that "France took the first step towards reforming its state-owned postal service on Wednesday, a move that unions and opposition parties fear may lead to the popular operator's privatisation. France's cabinet signed off on the proposal at its last meeting before the summer break, saying the change of status to a public limited company was necessary to prepare for the sector's liberalisation in 2011, under European Union rules."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Live audio will be broadcast on the prehearing conference on N2009-1, to review a plan to optimize the postal retail network, will air at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, July 30, 2009. links will be posted here approximately 10 minutes prior to the broadcast.

The following amendments were adopted to S. 1507 Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009 on July 29, 2009 at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs bill mark-up business meeting.

  • Coburn # 1 Would require any binding arbitration in the negotiation of postal contracts to take the financial health of the Postal Service into account.
  • Coburn #3 Would prohibit the Postal Service from issuing bonuses in any year that it reports a yearend net loss.
  • Collins #2 Would require GAO to expedite the reporting requirements for its study of USPS's options and strategies for the long-term structural and operational USPS reforms. The Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act of 2006 requires that GAO conduct this study by 2011. This amendment would require that the study be complete by March 31, 2010, so that USPS can benefit from this study sooner.
  • Collins #3 Would limit USPS's total outstanding debt to $15 billion, as required under current law. The underlying bill would allow USPS to borrow an additional $2 billion in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 (increases annual borrowing from $3 billion to $5 billion), but exempts the $2 billion from being applied to USPS's total debt ceiling of $15 billion. This amendment would require that any additional amount of the additional $2 billion USPS borrows apply to the $15 billion debt ceiling.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has told its members that "amendments to a Senate bill providing short-term temporary financial relief to the USPS would weaken the legislation, harm the Postal Service, and hurt postal workers, APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid said. He urged union members to contact their senators if they serve on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and ask them to reject the amendments. Amendments offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) would require arbitrators to consider the financial health of the USPS when ruling on collective bargaining agreements, and an amendment submitted by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would increase the share postal employees pay for healthcare coverage. An amendment submitted by Sen. Coburn would repeal the requirement in appropriations law that requires the USPS to deliver mail six days per week. A total of 11 amendments were submitted as of the deadline for submissions, but additional amendments could be offered when the committee meets on July 29 to vote on the bill, Reid said. A summary of the amendments can be found on the APWU web site.

The Connexion has reported that "unions have promised to fight the privatisation of La Poste after the cabinet met this morning to discuss the procedure. The first stage, the transformation of the group into a 'société anonyme', was put on hold last November as the government dealt with the financial crisis."

The Washington Post has reported that "it looks as if the U.S. Postal Service is getting its bailout. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has advanced legislation to relax the Postal Service's obligation to prepay its employee retirement benefits, an action that would save it an estimated $2 billion annually. But even this may not be enough to save mail service as we know it....The USPS's own proposed remedy for its fiscal woes involves limiting its universal service obligation to five days of delivery a week. Shocking as this change may sound, the requirement to deliver mail six days a week dates back only to the early 1980s; this does not have to remain the model. As people depend less and less on mail for their critical communications, even five days may not be the most efficient delivery level. Changing the USPS's costly obligations must also mean reconsidering its lucrative monopoly on mail delivery, which no longer makes sense. The Postal Service's status must be adjusted to fit its changing role in communications. Otherwise, this bailout will not be the last."

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

Thanks to drastic savings, Deutsche Post managed to stay in the profit zone in the first half of the year.
The economic crisis is further afflicting TNT.
Slight turnover decrease and profit collapse have characterised business for the Finnish post Itella in the first half of 2009.
The Austrian minister of infrastructure, Doris Bures now plans to enforce the new postal act before the summer break after all.
Sweden plans to enforce the general VAT liability for mail services in the Community during its presidency of the council of the European Union.
The Norwegian department of transport has instructed the national Institute for Research in Economics and Business Administration (SNF) to compile an additional report on the potential consequences of opening up the postal market.
The China Post Group’s company performance continued to improve in June.
During the half-year press conference, Deutsche Post confirmed plans for its so-called online letter. The service hardly differs from conventional e-mailing. Nonetheless, receivers only receive post from identified senders, thus avoiding spam mail. Meanwhile, postal businesses in other countries are choosing different directions when it comes to electronic services. For example, Schweizerische Post has been providing its Swiss Post Box since mid-June, which allows customers in Switzerland and Germany to have physical mail sent to them in digital form. And the Finnish post Itella (NetPosti), as well as Post Danmark (eBoks), have long since established so-called portal solutions, which allows customers not only to receive mail, bills and offers electronically, but at the same time also to arrange the payment of bills.
Lietuvos Pastas, the Lithuanian post, has issued an international bid to tender to find an investor with which it can develop and offer financial services.
Employees of the Brazilian ECT demonstrated in the centre of Rio de Janeiro against the privatisation of the post.
The French CEP market regressed significantly in the first quarter.
The US CEP market is facing a weak financial year 2010. The consulting and market research company Colography Group is forecasting growth of less than 120m new consignments next year, with parcel services and air freight exports expected to make up almost the entire growth. Sales are expected to rise by almost 4.6bn euros, an increase of 6.4 per cent.
Parcel volumes and sales may have fallen at UPS, but this has shown no impact on the integrator’s lobbying expenditures.
In order to make up for losses in current core activities, TNT plans to become active on the European parcel market in the future.
Russian consumer advocates have called on the country’s supreme court to overturn the law on the access to mail consigments.
TNT plans to expand in Borneo.
Thanks to growth of between 8 and 9 per cent, DHL has secured a market share above the 50 per cent mark in the Philippines.
Royal Mail will invest an additional 120m pounds, equivalent to 138.9m euros, in modernising the business.
TNT Express has expanded its capacities in Vietnam.
The Swedish Posten AB plans to reduce the number of letterboxes.
UPS has opened up a new operations base in the centre of Moscow.
Schweizerische Post is reacting to the collapse of the mail and parcel volume. The company is calculating a scenario that means the loss of hundreds of jobs.
According to reports from Washington, the US post appears to be considering an unscheduled price increase.

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.)

Today from Hellmail:

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
Priority Mail Contract ,
37553–37556 [E9–18030] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
37739–37740 [E9–18029] [TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

RM2009-5 The Household Diary Study: Mail Uses & Attitudes in FY2005
 pdf1 pdf2 
  The Household Diary Study: Mail Uses & Attitudes in FY2006
 pdf1
  The Household Diary Study: Mail Uses & Attitudes in FY2007

Canadian Driver has reported that "Japan’s postal service has agreed to become the first major customer for a modular, globally-available integrated electric vehicle (EV) drivetrain."

Reuters has reported that "a U.S. court on Monday rejected an appeal filed by FedEx Corp employees who were seeking federal class-action status in a wage-and-hour dispute with the package delivery giant. A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that blocked the hourly employees in Florida from forming a class. The appeals court ruled the lower court had not abused its discretion in ruling against the employees."

July 28, 2009

Mark-up of the Senate bill on the Postal Service's retirement obligations is tomorrow, 10 a.m., Senate Dirksen SD-342.

Logistics Manager has reported that "UPS said today it has rolled out a new service for shipping small packages via ground from Mexico to the United States. Dubbed UPS Standard, UPS said this offering, which went live on July 13, provides shippers with a new tool for managing their transportation costs."

According to the Muskegon Chronicle Editorial Board, "The Post Office is on the right track to saving money."

Bloomberg has reported that "FedEx Corp. must face more state class-action lawsuits by contract drivers who claim they deserve benefits because the company treats them as full-time workers by mandating their clothing, hours and prices, a judge said. U.S. District Judge Robert Miller in South Bend, Indiana, yesterday granted drivers’ request to sue as groups on behalf of workers in Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Utah, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon. In the same ruling, Miller denied similar requests by drivers in Colorado, Connecticut and Vermont as well as claims that some of the lawsuits should cover all such FedEx drivers in the U.S."


Visit www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com and www.PARCELindustry.com now and remember to join LinkedIn and sign up for RSS feeds on both sites!

CNJOnline has reported that "A Clovis city commissioner is hopeful that a public effort can save the Gidding Street post office like it helped save Cannon Air Force Base. In the days following the second public meeting about the post office, which the U.S. Postal Service wishes to close for financial reasons, Commissioner Len Vohs said he hopes a public effort can convince the USPS to find other solutions."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail is to reduce the price of Mailsort 3 - the primary tariff used by direct mailers - by three per cent, in a move likely to anger competitors TNT Post, UK Mail and DHL. The price drop is designed to maintain mail’s competitiveness as a communications channel, a spokesperson for Royal Mail said. "

Reporting that broad restructuring is urgently needed, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today added the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to its High-Risk List of federal areas in need of transformation. See also the Washington Post, the Federal Times, and the Washington Examiner.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis told investors last week he is planning to shrink the company's 6,100-branch network by about 10%, a pullback from the two-decade expansion that took the bank from coast to coast."

Information Week has reported that "Researchers from MIT's Media Lab have created a new optical tag that can store a million times more data than a similarly-sized barcode, without the privacy risks of RFID tags. The tag, called a Bokode, is only 3mm, much smaller than a typical barcode. It relies on a new way of encoding data: measuring the brightness and angle of light rays coming from a Bokode tag."

The APWU has told its members that "Quick action is expected on a Senate bill that would provide the Postal Service emergency, short-term financial relief, and APWU President William Burrus is urging union members to ask their Senators to support the legislation. The Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009 (S. 1507), which was introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) on July 23, would restructure the USPS obligation to pay retiree healthcare benefits, and would generate savings of billions of dollars over the next several years. The USPS is projecting a loss of $7.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2009, despite predictions that it will cut costs by $6.1 billion this year."

Sky News has reported that "Post Staff Strike Again As Pay Row Worsens."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
37254–37255 [E9–17917] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
 
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
37255 [E9–18015] [TEXT]  [PDF]
37255 [E9–18019] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Radio New Zealand International has reported that "The American Samoan Post Master, Smitty McMoore, from Pago Pago says there is no plan to downsize staff of the local Post Office. The United States Postal Service in Hawaii, of which the local post office comes under is reviewing whether to close any of its 104 post offices as part of a national effort to make up for billions of US dollars in losses due to reduced use of postal services. Mr McMoore says since American Samoa has only one post office, he’s confident that the local postal facility will be spared from the cuts."

Hellmail has reported that "the Romanian postal service announced yesterday that a proposal for the future of the service has been finalised and is being forwarded to the Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information. The proposal will form the basis for further public debate and a framework for legislative change needed to ensure the service can compete in a more competitive market."

GovExec.com has reported that "A Senate panel on Wednesday will consider a bill that would restructure how the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service pays for its employees' retirement health benefits. S. 1507 would reduce the amount of money USPS must pay to the Treasury Department's Postal Service Retiree Health Fund, which covers future retirement payments, and provide the agency with a larger borrowing limit to meet its current payments. The legislation also would allow USPS to tap into the retiree health fund to cover retirement benefits for postal workers beginning in 2009 instead of 2017 -- the current date set by law. Faced with a decline in printed mail during the recession and fiscal shortfalls in its budget, the Postal Service has been trying to cut costs and streamline operations. In its fiscal 2009 second quarterly financial report, USPS officials said they did not expect to meet a scheduled $5.4 billion payment for future retirements on Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires that payment."

Transport Topics has reported that "FedEx Corp. said it has named Mike Moss as president of FedEx National LTL, the parcel carrier’s long-haul less-than-truckload unit."

July 27, 2009

FoxNews has reported that "The FBI is investigating 11 suspicious letters containing a white powder that were sent to various New Jersey government offices this month. The letters have been received at police departments and government offices throughout northern New Jersey. The first one came July 17. Letters have been received in Totowa, Clifton, Wayne, Ringwood, Fair Lawn and Woodland Park. All the letters are being tested. The FBI says first three letters tested came back negative for biological agents and no injuries have been reported."

The Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia will hold an oversight hearing entitled “Making Sense of It All: An Examination of USPS’ Station and Branch Optimization Initiative and Delivery Route Adjustments” on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The latest entry on 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/. The Postal Service operates as a businesslike entity, but it is also part of the government. Should the Postal Service be allowed to freely award employees for a job well done? To recruit, retain, and reward talented employees, what do you think is appropriate for the Postal Service? 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.

There will be a meeting of the Committee on Armed Services on Thursday, July 30, 2009 9:30 AM in Room SD-106 Dirksen Senate Office Building to consider the nominations of: Honorable John M. McHugh to be Secretary of the Army. [EdNote: Saaaaaaalute!!]

Makfax has reported that "Representatives of the state-owned companies in Croatia held a meeting today with the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, at which they vowed for keeping the prices of goods and services at the current level, despite the recent increase of the VAT tax. Representatives of the Croatian electric power and water supply companies, postal offices, railway and maritime trade companies, Croatian Roads and Zagreb Holding, held talks with the prime minister in Zagreb on Monday. After the meeting, Kosor confirmed this information, adding that Zagreb Holding will maintain the prices during the next year also."

The Press Association has reported that "The postal workers' union has announced plans to escalate strike action across London in a worsening dispute over jobs, pay and services. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) took industrial action on Saturday and are due to walk out again on Tuesday and Wednesday, disrupting deliveries to homes and offices."

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update.  

  • PostalOne!® Patch Release 20.1 (July 19): The July 19 software upgrade was implemented on Sunday. The functionality supported in this upgrade is explained in the Post-Release Notes posted on RIBBS. The User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide, Appendix B illustrates the Full-Service address correction data elements that are provided by the software update.

  • Full-Service Intelligent Answers: On July 31, we are initiating Full-Service Intelligent Answers, a weekly telecon to answer questions and resolve issues for mailers migrating to the Full-Service application. If you are participating in the Full-Service process, join these calls to exchange information with postal and industry stakeholders to get answers to your Full-Service questions. The dial-in information will be posted on RIBBS, Intelligent Mail® Services, Latest News on Thursday.

  • Full-Service Mailings in Production: Over 15 mailers mailing across 125 sites have successfully executed the Full-Service test scenarios in the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM). Several of these mailers have begun submitting Full-Service mailings.

  • Webinar Schedule:  We will conduct a series of webinars on Intelligent Mail topics. The webinar on August 21 from 2:00-4:00 EDT, entitled "Full-Service Benefits: Full-Service ACS™" will describe the address correction information available under the Full-Service option. This webinar will describe the contents of the address correction information, how it is provisioned and the flexible data distribution options available. It will demonstrate how to optimize the use of Service Type Identifiers and Mailer IDs in the Intelligent Mail barcode and how to construct the electronic documentation to derive the greatest value from Full-Service ACS. It will describe how Full-Service ACS is different from the other address correction services and how mailers can use these in conjunction with Full-Service to ease the transition to Full-Service ACS. Watch for more details and links to the webinars in future Intelligent Mail Weekly Updates and on the Intelligent Mail calendar on RIBBS.

  • Intelligent Mail Full-Service Feedback Sample Data Files:  With the Full-Service option, mailers receive address correction information to include Change of Address and Nixie records at no charge, according to the limitations defined for the class of mail and the frequency of notices provided. This data is available via downloadable reports and Mail.XML® electronic messages. Mailers also receive Start-the-Clock and Container Visibility/Induction Scans data at no charge. This data is available via online reports and Mail.XML electronic exchange messages. Sample data files illustrating Intelligent Mail Full-Service feedback formats are posted on RIBBS. We also posted sample Customer Supplier Agreement files. This data is accessible via the Important Links on the Intelligent Mail Services, Guides page and the Intelligent Mail Services, Latest News page. The sample data provided includes:

  • Full-Service ACS Nixie Data in comma delimited (CSV), Excel (XLS), and Mail.XML.
  • Full-Service Start-the-Clock Data in Mail.XML.
  • Full-Service Container Visibility Induction Scan Data in Mail.XML.
  • Full-Service Customer/Supplier Agreement (CSA) Data.
  • Intelligent Mail Symposium:  The next IMb University is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6, in Columbus OH. The presentations from the July 16 symposium are posted on RIBBS under Presentations, Intelligent Mail Symposium 7/16/2009 Ft. Worth TX.

  • Save the Date:  April 11-14, 2010 National Postal Forum, Nashville TN.

  • 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.

As The Packer has noted, "With budgets stretched thin and margins tight, environmental stewardship might have taken a backseat to other concerns. Sustainability, however, has never been more top of mind. What has changed is its definition. Sustainability is more than going green. It is about sustaining a business."

From the Congressional Research Service: "Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress," by Kevin R. Kosar, Analyst in American National Government. July 23, 2009.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of US-based FedEx Corporation, last week announced that Mexican operation FedEx Express Nacional planned to introduce a new domestic delivery before the beginning of the working day service option. "

Advertising Age has noted that "even the recession can't explain this many lost ad pages -- the dominant source of magazine income and measure of their financial health. Monthlies' ad pages through their August issues had already sunk 22%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter, with drops topping 40% at Dwell, Ebony, Men's Journal, Town & Country, Gourmet, National Geographic Traveler, Veranda, Saltwater Sportsman, Teen Vogue, Sound & Vision, Wired and others. Then ad pages in fashion and beauty titles' big September issues -- the most important month for them and for their advertisers -- fell by double digits for nearly everyone. Some of those pages will return with a broader recovery, but many, sadly for the industry and many devoted readers, probably won't."

Hellmail has reported that "Dutch-owned TNT NV, has reported 60% a fall in net profit for the second quarter, mirroring a similar fall to that of Deutsche Post DHL as the global economy continues to depress express deliveries. A drop in consumer spending, the collapse of some retailers and restructuring of supply chains has had a significant impact on both German and Dutch operators and it is unclear just how much the economic crisis will affect the Royal Mail Group in the UK."

Associated Press of Pakistan has reported that "All Pakistan Postal Circles and Regional Offices Employees Union has condemned the decision of the government to privatise Postal Department and said that it will be a great economic loss for the employees of the department."

According to DM News, "Despite rising postage and paper costs, direct mail remains an important part of apparel marketers' multichannel mix. Developments in variable data printing and database marketing enable these marketers to send targeted messages to their best customers that feature high-quality imagery and creative that attracts buyers."

The Moderate Voice has noted, "This month, for the first time in decades, a payment I sent did not reach its recipient. This rare mishap was a reminder that good old reliable snail mail is in its death throes after 234 years of creating a national community out of isolated places thousands of miles apart, making a daily visit to the mailbox an adventure that brought the world to us with words on paper, many of them in the handwriting of people we love. The decline now is even faster than it was during the Great Depression as the Postal Service projects 10 billion fewer pieces of mail in each of the next two years, from a high of 213 billion in 2006 to an expected 170 billion next year. The price of stamps will rise, of course, and there will also be less frequent deliveries and more closings of small post offices as Americans e-mail, text-message and tweet one another instead of dropping envelopes through narrow slots. It’s so much more convenient to pay bills online and have instant communication with friends and family that there will be few mourners for snail mail but, as with all progress, something will be lost....Newspapers and magazines have migrated to the Web as well, trying to make sense of the world from minute to minute."

The Financial Times has reported that "When Canada Post set out four years ago to reshape the way it handled employee engagement, it knew that, with its staff dispersed across a vast country, it faced a difficult task. But the government-owned postal service did not expect that one of its greatest challenges would be with its top 400 senior managers. In its annual employee survey, Canada Post found that in spite of progress in trust, leadership and work environment, the company had slipped on providing career development and training for its top staff."

World Radio Switzerland has reported that "Swiss customs officials have seen a rise in the amount of anabolic steroids being confiscated—the number doubled from 2007 to 2008. And that spike, according to the government, is because more amateurs in Switzerland are turning to the drugs to build muscle and better their sports performance. In fact, customs officers and sniffer dogs go through the mail at the Swiss postal service’s sorting centre in Mülligen, near Zurich, every day to seek out drugs, fake goods and other contraband. So far this year, they’ve sniffed out 130 packages containing class-A drugs and confiscated around 60 fake identity documents. WRS’s Catherine Allen called on Swiss customs officer Max Gerber to find out more about their daily work—and some of the more unusual contraband that passes through."

Forexyard has reported that "TNT's quarterly core profit fell 45 percent, its fourth consecutive year-on-year decline, and the Dutch mail company boosted its cost savings target to cope with weaker demand for delivery services." See also EasyBourse.

Polish Market has reported that "Polish Minister of Infrastructure Cezary Grabarczyk has signed an agreement concerning the privatisation of Polish Post, the Ministry has informed in a communiqué. Poczta Polska will be converted into a company wholly owned by the Treasury called Polska Poczta SA. The move is intended to prepare the company for the full liberalisation of the postal market planned for 2013, the Ministry explains. The current director of Poczta Polska Andrzej Polakowski became the President of the Board of the new entity which has 100,000 employees in over 8,000 offices. The company closed 2008 with a negative financial result – its losses came to PLN 291 million."

The New York Daily News has reported that "The United States Postal Service is considering closing as many as 40 post offices throughout Brooklyn, according to union officials. The prime targets are 18 retail stations in storefronts around the borough, said Brooklyn American Postal Workers Union president Jim Musumeci."

Delmarva Now has reported that "Post offices at the beach have stopped accepting bulk mail, forcing business owners to travel to Georgetown when they need to send flyers, brochures and the like."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
Priority Mail Contracts ,
36940–36943 [E9–17842] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Priority Mail Contract ,
37066 [E9–17811] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to The Ledger, "Technology and our dependence on it is getting more prevalent, not less. The volume of mail sent is going to continue to decrease. Mail service is incredibly labor intensive. It burns up an extraordinary amount of fossil fuel and human labor, demands a tremendous number of vehicles and uses an awful lot of paper. It will probably always exist in this country, because, while information can be sent via computer, objects cannot. Over time, though, that service will inevitably decline to five days a week and, eventually, to fewer days than that. This all will be a change, and a big one, but it won't be a bad. In truth, e-mails and texts are better, cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly ways to communicate in most cases. The sooner we stop depending on the Postal Service, the better off we will be."

July 26, 2009

If you're up to reading a description of today's arguments over health care reform written as if the discussion had to do with the Postal Service, read the Daily Kos.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "FedEx shed upwards of 10,000 jobs globally over the past year in response to weak demand and declining revenues. The Memphis-based company's annual report said FedEx ended its fiscal year May 31 with more than 280,000 team members, compared with more than 290,000 on May 31, 2008. Revenues were down 6 percent, to $35.5 billion, for the year. About 3,100 job cuts were announced at various times during the year, while the rest resulted from normal attrition and a hiring freeze, spokeswoman Sandra Munoz said. When FedEx announced a 1,000-job cut across all operating companies in early April, officials said that included an estimated 500 jobs in Memphis, where the company employs more than 30,000 people. The annual report said FedEx Express, the largest operating company, had 5,000 fewer workers. The only FedEx unit showing employment gain was FedEx SmartPost, a business-to-consumer service that uses the U.S. Postal Service for the final leg of delivery."

NZTV has reported that "Mail makeover spruces up the posties."

RIMarkable has reported that "TIME Magazine has just launched a new mobile application for the BlackBerry simply called the TIME BlackBerry App. Get the latest news, read opinion and analysis from TIME influential bloggers, while also having the ability to browse through award-winning photography and TIME’s hugely popular Lists. You can also customize the content to easily view headlines from your favorite sections. You’ll get updates automatically pushed out to your BlackBerry® smartphone, so you can read it on the subway or on a flight. It’s the fast and easy way to have TIME with you to read and peruse, no matter where you are. Best of all, it’s FREE!"

According to Dead Tree Edition:

  • Postal officials are spreading the word that they may seek emergency rate increases next year.

  • Quebecor World went back to the future today, emerging from bankruptcy protection under the new but old name "World Color Press". World Color Press and Quebecor Printing merged a decade ago to form Quebecor World. The company is changing its name to distinguish itself from its former parent, Quebecor Inc., a Canadian media company whose stake in the old Quebecor World is now worthless.

July 25, 2009

According to Marketing Profs, "Smart direct marketers are obtaining dramatic lift in results with "the new direct mail," which uses new relevance technologies to deliver digitally generated, one-to-one messages to prospects through the mail that link to a corresponding Web component. The new direct mail moves away from batch-blast campaigns—where every recipient gets the same mailer—and instead delivers customized, relevant offers to each customer, driven by customer relationship management (CRM) data systems."

Equimedia has reported that "Marketers are optimistic about the second half of 2009, with two-fifths of business leaders planning to boost marketing spend over the next six months. The 2009 Marketing Trends Survey released by StrongMail Systems revealed that 42 per cent of firms will look to increase marketing spend in the coming months, while 43 per cent are planning to keep budgets at current levels. In particular, firms appear to be looking at increasing investment in email marketing, with 81 per cent of those polled saying they will be putting more money into this area. Bill Wagner, executive vice-president of business operations at StrongMail, said: "The fact that planned investments in email marketing have actually increased in the past six months at the expense of more traditional marketing channels speaks to email´s status as the most economical and effective tool in a direct marketer´s tool box." [EdNote: Have the Postal Service file an exigency case, and watch interest in alternative channels soar. The feet beating away from mail will sound like a stampede.]

In response to the question: "With so many ways to communicate with consumers, which medium do you think would be most effective?" Here is what National Mortgage Professional had to say: "Due to the recession, media costs have gone way down. This is a great opportunity for small businesses to advertise at rates never before this low. And during a recession, media rates are all negotiable. A radio station, for example, would rather run your advertisement rather than a public service announcement. My preference for the mortgage industry would be radio, the Internet and direct mail. Radio is cheap, reaches a wide audience and with repetition, could make a big difference in your awareness and response."

Air Cargo World has reported that "Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO told analysts that UPS is a company “that can weather this recession, positioning ourselves well to benefit when economic recovery occurs." UPS Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn said, "We are exceeding targeted cost savings, without compromising our high levels of service, while also investing for the future," Kuehn said. "We are managing our business with a keen eye on balancing cost cutting with strategic investment."

Here are three stories. All about the same. At a time of dwindling mail volume and high unemployment, you would think that the thing to do would be to do the right thing. Just deliver the mail!

The South Bend Tribune has reported that "Bruce Graybill, 56, of Goshen, has been charged in a three-count indictment, according to Jesse Barrett, assistant United States attorney. Specifically, the counts are obstruction of mail, unlawful delay of mail by postal employee, and embezzlement of mail by postal employee. The charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service. "

The Northampton Chronicle & Echo has reported that "A Northampton postman who stole more than £50,000 worth of packages from his depot in 11 months has failed in an Appeal Court challenge to his prison sentence. He appealed against the term yesterday, but was told by top judges, Mr Justice Butterfield and Sir Geoffrey Grigson, that the seriousness of his offences warranted the tough sentence."

The Press Association has reported that "ustralian police have arrested a postal worker who they say delivered thousands of customers' letters - to himself. Residents in the Sydney suburb of Roseville had complained for months that they weren't receiving their mail, New South Wales state police Detective Inspector Peter Yeomans said on Thursday. Police began surveillance on one mailman based on a tip from Australia Post."

The Gazette has noted that "Sorting mail by hand and delivering it on foot, Canada Post remains a low-tech operation - faster than a carrier pigeon, but lagging well behind email. And as electronic communications of all kinds continue to ravage the postal industry - think texting, faxes, e-vites and e-bills, not to mention cheap long-distance calling - some have begun to wonder whether "snail mail" will rise to the challenge and reinvent itself, or slowly but surely disappear."

The Malta Independent has reported that "In a company announcement yesterday, the directors of MaltaPost advised that, for the period 1 April to date, there were no material events and transactions which would impact, in a significant manner, the operational performance of the company. As was previously advised, and in accordance with the changing characteristics of the current market, MaltaPost has continued to witness encouraging growth in the parcel, as well as the package post business, while at the same time as experiencing a volume reduction in the traditional postal mail. All other revenue streams continued and are expected to continue to perform as had been expected."

Postal snippets from around the nation:

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers in London have begun a three-day strike in a row over jobs and pay cuts. The walkout, by an estimated 12,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), will continue on Monday and Tuesday. The union said Royal Mail was cutting jobs and pay against a national agreement which it said was affecting postal services. Royal Mail insisted the union stood in the way of modernisation."

Kiplinger has reported that "another big hike in the cost of a first-class stamp looms -- to 50¢ from the current 44¢. That follows a 2¢ hike earlier this year. Odds are better than even that regulators will approve an emergency jump next year, as USPS mail volume continues to slump and revenues continue to shrink. The 2006 postal reform law says that USPS can boost postage each year in line with hikes in the Consumer Price Index in the preceding 12 months, but it provides an escalation clause if the Postal Service is drowning in red ink. The jump in stamp prices could be averted with help from Congress and the Obama administration, but they remain intransigent. Lawmakers and the White House insist that USPS should continue overpaying around $3 billion a year toward its retirees’ benefits. The money is held by the Treasury, helping to offset the federal budget deficit. It’s part of a larger budget shell game that’s been used for decades, counting Social Security and nuclear waste cleanup trust funds as revenue, for instance."

According to the Washington Post, "the U.S. Postal Service says it removes "underperforming" mailboxes -- those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day -- after a week-long "density test." Snail mail is a dying enterprise because Americans increasingly pay bills online, send Evites for parties and text or give a quick call on a cellphone rather than write a letter. Combine the impact of new technologies with the gut punch of the recession, and in the past year alone, the Postal Service has seen the single largest drop-off in mail volume in its 234-year history, greater even than the decline from 1929 to 1933 during the Great Depression. That downward trend is only accelerating. The Postal Service projects a decline of about 10 billion pieces of mail in each of the next two years, going from a high of 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to 170 billion projected for 2010."

Reuters has reported that "Shares of United Parcel Service Inc, rose on Thursday as the world's largest package delivery company said its domestic and global businesses appeared to be stabilizing."

Forbes has reported that "UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, spent more than $1.4 million in the second quarter to lobby on Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, aviation technology and safety, and competition issues, according to a recent disclosure form."

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

July 24, 2009

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

Press Release: "BCC Software: Mailing Industry News (available at http://blog.bccsoftware.com), will feature key insights on postal and mailing topics, the most up-to-date product release information, updates about appearances at industry events and tradeshows, and other topics of interest to the professional mailing industry."

Barron's has reported that "Netflix shares are plunging this morning after the company last night reported Q2 revenue in line with estimates and profit per share better-than-expected, and forecast the rest of the year to be about in line with estimates. Caris & Co.’s David Miller sticks with his “Buy” rating on the shares and raises his price target to $54. He’s most interested in the outperformance in earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT), which came in at $52.9 million, ahead of his $50.6 million estimate. Miller thinks this shows the benefits of lower cost to “stream” movies over the Internet, which the company is offering in addition to its postal mail disc delivery. Miller says the Street is spooked about the effects of giving away streaming video rentals to subscribers for free even thought Netflix still has to pay studios for the rights to stream movies. But miller says higher EBIT shows that doing so is cheaper than supporting postage."

Logistics Management has reported that "DHL will be moving its U.S. hub operations from the Wilmington Air Park to the Kentucky-based Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport this weekend, according to various reports."

According to Courier, Express and Postal Observer, "with the Dow climbing above 9,000, it appears that investors believe that the financial panic that began with the Lehman bankruptcy is over. Much of the recovery in stock prices reflect 2nd quarter earnings reports that are coming in higher than analysts projected. Unfortunately for the general economy, and in particular the consumer-driven segments of the economy that the drives the Postal Service's business, the improvement in company earnings come from aggressive efforts to cut costs, capacity and employment to match lower demand levels and not from growth in sales and revenue. Similar stories exist about how small businesses are surving by cutting capacity and employment."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today introduced legislation to help address the dire financial situation facing the United States Postal Service. Carper's “Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009” would restructure the postal service’s retiree health payment schedule to produce significant cost savings over the next several years. The Carper bill also gives the postal service more borrowing authority to meet its financial obligations and get through this current fiscal year and next. (See the story on the OMB-backed idea in the PostCom Bulletin.)

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

  • CBO told Congress that granting the U.S. Postal Service relief from its PAEA-imposed employee health retirement payments would remove some of the pressure that is currently causing the Postal Service to reduce costs and become more cost-efficient.
  • The USPS OIG has reported that "if the Postal Service continues the payment schedule required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (the Act), our calculations indicate that the Postal Service could over fund its retiree health care liability by $13.2 billion by the end of fiscal year 2016. The Postal Service could pay on average $4.0 billion less each year from FYs 2009 to 2016 to prefund its retiree health benefits and still achieve the same level of funding anticipated under OPM's assumptions. The net present value of the interest savings from the reduced payments is $5.95 billion. The funds should be put to better use.
  • Word has it that the green eyeshades over at the Office of Management and Budget have examined more closely the ideas that have been advanced thus far to help the Postal Service address the issue of its prefunding obligations retiree health benefits. A redraft of what today is know as H.R. 22 ("Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009") is being circulated and discussed within the Washington postal community.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has issued a notice of public forum on two issues it would like to further explore, to be held on August 11 at 1PM.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is facing the biggest deficit it has ever seen since it left the cocoon of being supported by tax revenues and became the self-supporting USPS we know today. A fixed cost idea to consider is the actual pay that postal employees receive, whether they are unionized or EAS, compared to that of their counterparts in the other government agencies. Here are the facts.
  • White House pressured to fix postal budget crisis. USPS debuts largest green roof in NYC. Direct mail volume flattens out. USPS gateway district profits with sox. Pharmaceutical returns program extended. UPS profits fall.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Short list of the many stories focusing on the potential post office and distribution center consolidation or closing.
  • 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.

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The BBC has reported that "postal workers in London who are concerned about jobs and pay cuts will launch a strike on Saturday. About 12,000 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members will return to work on Wednesday."

As Inside Retailing has noted, "Australia Post has lodged a draft notification with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) proposing to increase the basic postage rate by five cents, effective from early 2010." See also The Western Australian.

The Winchester Star has reported that "After months of study, the U.S. Postal Service has decided to move its local mail-processing operation to Northern Virginia. The Winchester Post Office at 340 N. Pleasant Valley Road will no longer sort the mail. That function will be combined with the sorting operation at the Dulles Processing and Distribution Center about 50 miles to the east."

According to IOM Today, "disruption to mail services, mainly in the London area, is set to continue this weekend after the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) announced further stoppages. All London postcodes will suffer disruption to collections and deliveries tomorrow (Saturday) with the majority of postal staff returning to normal working by Monday."

Brazzil magazine has reported that "The experience of Brazil with exporting through the Postal Service is being reproduced in other countries. Peru and Uruguay have already created systems that emulate the Brazilian initiative. Colombia should do the same next month, and Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela are also interested, according to the International Business manager of the Postal Service, Djalma Lapuente da Rosa. Exporta Fácil (Easy Export), as the Postal Service export system is called, was established in 2002 as part of an effort of the Brazilian government to simplify the exporting process, granting micro and small businesses access to the foreign market and decentralizing foreign sales in the country, which are too focused on the South and Southeast regions of Brazil. Postal Service agencies are spread throughout the entire country, so the Exporta Fácil has made exporting easier for companies based in small Brazilian cities."

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence has noted that "Postal services in the East mainly in Trincomalee district are being developed under the "Eastern Reawakening" ("Neganahira Navodaya") Programme which is launched by the government after liberating the entire Eastern Province from the LTTE terrorists. Accordingly, new buildings for the post offices are now being constructed in Pulmodai, Kuchchaveli and Kurinjankerni areas, Trincomalee district Postal Superintendent Ranjith Karunanayake said. 70 million rupees are being spent for the development of the postal services in the east, the Postal Superintendent added. Massive postal development projects come under the Eastern Reawakening Programme to restore the administration in the east to normalcy."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
36785–36786 [E9–17701]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The New York Times has reported that "United Parcel Service, the world’s largest package delivery company, said on Thursday that its second-quarter earnings fell 49 percent as the recession cut business demand. It forecast that its profit in the third quarter will be lower than analysts’ projections."

From PR Newswire: "The U.S. Postal Service's international mail facility at New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport has earned its second consecutive Certificate of Excellence from a leading international association dedicated to improving service for postal customers around the world."

The Daily Mirror has reported that "The Department of Postal Services had issued around 1737 postal identity cards to school children through the mobile service held in the Vavuniya and Jaffna on the 11th and 12th of this month with the collaboration of the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Posts, M. S. Sellasamy said. The Deputy Minister said the mobile service conducted under the “Uthuru Wasanthaya” programme, introduced by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to develop the Northern Province, which has been badly affected by war, is done to improve the public service in the area. The Deputy Minister also said the general public of the area had been facing various difficulties due to the delays in the post and lack of telecommunication facilities as well."

According to the Prarie Post, "Although officials with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are pleased to see an independent advisory panel has not recommended the deregulation of public postal services, they are still concerned about the future of rural post offices."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

July 23, 2009

DMM Advisory:  Folded Self-Mailers -Test Samples Needed. Do you have an example of a die-cut, enclosure, or any folded self-mailer with unique design characteristics? If so, don’t miss this opportunity to participate. We will be conducting folded self-mailer testing through the end of August. This information will assist us in finalizing new design, construction, and tabbing standards scheduled for publication as a proposed rule late this year. Several mailer associations have joined with us to facilitate participation in the folded self-mailer study. If you wish to provide samples for testing, please contact your mailer association for instructions.

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

The following posted reports run through March 31, 2009 

The Congressional Budget Office has published its cost estimate of H.R. 22, "United States Postal Service Financial Relief Act of 2009," as ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on July 10, 2009. It said in part: "CBO estimates that enacting the bill would result in on-budget costs of about $5 billion and off-budget savings of $2.5 billion over the 2009-2019 period. (Cash flows of the Postal Service are classified as off-budget, while the PSRHBF is an on-budget account.) Combining those effects, CBO estimates that the net cost to the unified budget of enacting H.R. 22 would be about $2.5 billion over the 2010-2019 period. All of those effects reflect changes in direct spending. H.R. 22 would not affect revenues."

Personnel Today has reported that "Researchers from Cardiff University have developed an online, interactive "desk aid" to help line managers conduct return-to-work interviews with employees. The team assessed the conversations managers had with employees on their return to work after sickness absence and then worked with Royal Mail managers and employees to investigate the nature of that communication and its potential difficulties and misunderstandings. Employees often saw the interview very differently to managers, with employees feeling anxious about returning to work and looking to their managers for support."

Reuters has reported that "The European Union's executive dropped legal action against Slovakia on Thursday after Bratislava amended its competition law to bring it in line with EU standards. The European Commission had threatened this year to take Slovakia to the European Court of Justice, saying its laws prevented the full application of EU competition rules in the electronic communications, energy and postal sectors. The required changes have now been made."

The Washington Post has reported that "Australian police have arrested a postal worker who they say delivered thousands of customers' letters - to himself. Residents in the Sydney suburb of Roseville had complained for months that they weren't receiving their mail, New South Wales state police Detective Inspector Peter Yeomans said Thursday. Police began surveillance on one mailman based on a tip from Australia Post. On Wednesday, police found more than 5,000 letters at the worker's home. Yeomans says he doesn't think the man was motivated by theft. He says the worker just delivered letters until his shift was over - and whatever he hadn't delivered by quitting time, he brought home." See also the Sydney Morning Herald.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
36538–36539 [E9–17605]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Bloomberg has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, Europe’s biggest mail carrier, said it will return to profit this year as cost cuts offset declining mail volumes that lowered second-quarter earnings by 71 percent." See also the Wall Street Journal.

Hellmail has reported that:

The letter is already beginning to face the same problems that beset the Telegram, and with no one completely certain if and when the trend will level out. State-owned Postal operators which have an obligation to provide the Universal Service Obligation, and the one link that connects all global operators, are having to look seriously at how the USO can be funded in the longer term.
The Finnish postal operator Posti, which forms part of the Itella Group, has seen a 'significant' fall in mail volume in the first six months of 2009, with first-class mail falling by 9%, direct marketing by 16% and parcels down by 10%.

The Postal Service has told its employees that "with mail volumes continuing to decline, Donahoe says now is the time for people to step up and make the changes necessary to prepare for the future. This includes making sure offices receiving mail processed by flats sequencing system equipment are prepared to function efficiently in this new environment, and to make and stabilize route adjustments. Total mail volume this year is expected to drop to 175 billion pieces, as compared to a high of 213 billion pieces in 2006, according to Donahoe. To increase delivery efficiency, Donahoe says USPS will continue to reduce the number of routes and move forward with other operational changes to help reduce costs."

Postal snippets from around the nation:

July 22, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Cellphonedigest has reported that "Hallmark Mobile Greetings, launched yesterday, is an innovative new product for cell phones that combines the immediacy of a text message with creative design and editorial. Senders can also add their own personal message to any of the greetings. The initial launch includes a small network of phone models, eventually Hallmark Mobile Greetings will work on the majority of mobile phone models and will be able to be sent from most major mobile phone networks to any other network. Hallmark Mobile Greetings is available by downloading to a cell phone the free mobile phone application from www.mobile.hallmark.com. Users can then send greetings to other mobile phones. In addition, consumers also can send greetings directly from mobile.hallmark.com for delivery to a mobile device." [EdNote: Sort of, skip the paper, skip the stamps.]

According to Parcel magazine, "The U.S. transportation industry will experience at least one more year of muted growth, The Colography Group, Inc. said today in releasing a mid-year update to its annual projections for growth in the $101.2 billion U.S. expedited cargo market."

Dow Jones has reported that "German postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post AG has signed a five-year agreement with AT&T Inc. (T) to provide telecommunications services to Deutsche Post DHL businesses in the United States and Puerto Rico."

Postal snippets from around the nation:

Arabian Supply Chain has noted that "Although the understated nature of postal operations in the Middle East could be misconstrued by customers, the sector has led a quiet revolution over the years, with a series of multi-million dollar investments to dramatically improve the flow of regional mail. A fundamental component in this transformation has been radio frequency identification (RFID) – a ‘next generation’ technology that has long been touted by suppliers as a miracle cure for improved efficiencies within the supply chain. The verdict on that claim is still awaited, although the solution has been ardently piloted by the likes of Saudi Post, Qatar Post and Emirates Post, with others likely to follow in the near future."

"The German unit of Dutch logistics group TNT is taking aim at Deutsche Post's domination of the German distribution market by teaming up with regional press groups, its boss said on Wednesday. TNT Germany wants "to ally itself with competitors that have worked against each other until now rather than uniting their forces against Deutsche Post," Mario Frusch told the Financial Times Deutschland."

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that "Credit-card mail, which spiked in 2006 to 8.3 billion pieces in the U.S., dropped nearly 35percent in 2008 to 5.4 billion pieces, according to Mintel Comperemedia, a Chicago firm that tracks the direct-mail industry. Direct-mail companies — which used to send unsolicited mail to virtually anyone — are now targeting specific customers to cut back on expenses in this difficult economy. In a reflection of the struggling housing market, mortgage companies also have slashed mailings. Mortgage companies using traditional mail sent 203 million pieces in 2008, down 75 percent from 800 million pieces at the height of the housing boom in 2005. "It's fallen dramatically," said Stephen Clifford, Mintel Comperemedia vice president of financial services."

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

Norway’s Socialist Left Party’s request to file a veto against the postal directive (CEP News 29/09) would trigger no legal consequences. Should Norway decide to take this measure, the EU would have no legal basis for invalidating other parts of the so-called EEA contract.
As of this Tuesday, the Russian law enforcement authorities have official access to letters, small packages, parcels and other mail belonging to citizens.
How much does the universal service cost? This question will apparently have to take up a lot of space in the revised version of the Austrian postal act. Opinions about which services must be covered to what amounts by the universal service fund stipulated in the postal act are more divided than previously thought.
Deutsche Post is expected to achieve a pre-tax profit of 1.38 billion euros in the mail sector this year.
French Minister for Industry Christian Estrosi’s mediation efforts in the conflict around the amendment of the legal form of La Poste appear to have failed.
The management of the French DHL has announced the reduction of 285jobs. 225 jobs are set to be cut at DHL Express - 5,200 employees in total - and a further 60 in the Support and Freight sector.
IN tIME Express, a firm operating mainly in the special speed market in Germany, is TNT’s new "preferred carrier" in Germany.
The British CEP operator Business Post is reporting a "satisfactory start to the new financial year" (April March) for the first quarter. Chairman Peter Kane claimed during the general meeting of shareholders last Wednesday that sales had developed according to expectations.
The French goods traffic sector appears to have slipped deeply into the crisis.
The
Russian post is set to hike up its prices by 12 per cent next year. Further price increases of 8.7 and 7.6 per cent respectively are scheduled for 2011 and 2012. The higher tariffs are supposed to balance out the post’s net losses - around 88.3m euros in 2007, around 33.9m euros in 2008. The standard postage is currently 9 rubles, around 20 eurocents. «1 EUR = 44,19 RUB»
Sweden’s Posten AB has discontinued its parcel redirection service. A spokesman told »Aftonbladet« (14.07) that low demand and high costs had rendered this step necessary.
The Bulgarian government is currently discussing plans to privatise various state-owned enterprises.

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

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
PROPOSED RULES
Postal Rates ,
36132–36133 [E9–17322]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

NOTICES
New Competitive Postal Product ,
36276–36277 [E9–17496]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

 
Postal Service
 
RULES
Express Mail Refunds for Shipments of Live Animals ,
36116–36118 [E9–17124]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Hellmail has reported that "Royal Mail today announced a further £120 million phase of capital investment as part of the company’s continuing programme to create a fully modernised, world class postal service for consumers and businesses in the UK. The latest investment is earmarked to provide new equipment for delivery postmen and women and is in addition to more than £800 million which has already been spent on the modernisation of the business. Royal Mail is investing a total of £2.1 billion in transforming Royal Mail and is on track to deliver that plan. The new equipment will ultimately be introduced in all delivery offices."

The Washington Times has reported that "David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, is trying to reclaim his reputation after being accused in a Politico news story last week of engaging in a "pay-to-play" scandal. The story, written by Mike Allen, Politico's chief political correspondent, said Mr. Keene endorsed a pro-union position favored by the United Parcel Service in a dispute with largely nonunionized FedEx after FedEx refused to pay Mr. Keene millions to mobilize his activists."

According to Alan Robinson of Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Federal Times recently reported that the Postal Service is now developing plans to reduce delivery to 5 days a week. To do so would require not just the implementation of these plans but also approval of Congress. Further reports from the National League of Postmasters and others indicate that the Postal Service's plan would have the switch to 5 days occur in Fiscal Year 2011. The reduction of delivery days will clearly reduce postal costs although it is unclear whether it will be able to reduce the postal workforce fast enough to have the needed speedy cost relief given no-lay-off clauses in the Postal Service's union contracts. However it is not clear if eliminating the 6th day of delivery will save the Postal Service from increased competition and the economic downturn that has resulted in a cratering of mail volumes. Therefore the question: "Can the 6th day be saved?" raises two additional questions."

RIA Novosti has reported that "as from Tuesday, Russian law enforcement agencies have the right to inspect all private letters, parcels and other personal postal deliveries. The new regulations also give police the right to demand information on the senders and recipients of postal deliveries. Russian human rights activists said the move was a violation of constitutional and consumer rights."

From PR Newswire: ""Recessions don't phase fraudsters for a minute," said Douglas Simpson, president of the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus. "They look at economic crises the way they look at natural disasters - as opportunities to exploit the weak and the desperate." As America continues to riposte from one of the worst recessions in years, identity theft experts look to educate businesses and consumers on fraudulent activity. The Economic Crime Institute of Utica College will hold its 20(th) national conference, Extraordinary Circumstances: Combating Fraud and Corruption in Hard Times, Oct. 20-22 just outside of D.C. The conference will provide expert tracks on the latest weapons to prevent, detect, prosecute and convict those involved in financial crime. Taking place at the Bolger Center: U.S. Postal Inspection Service Training Academy in Potomac, Maryland, the conference is well attended by government/law enforcement, corporate and academic leaders."

The Cape May County Herald has reported that "Because the U.S. Postal Service changed its requirements to mail sample ballots, freeholders on July 14 approved an increase in the amount paid to Redmond BCMS, Inc. of Denville, which readies those ballots for the county. The amount will increase to 12.1 cents per ballot. The previous cost per ballot was 9.2 cents, approved in March. At that time, the amount bid by Redmond was $38,640 to prepare and mail sample ballots for school, primary and general elections, and any other special elections.The postal service, however, recently changed its requirement for "machinable" mail preparation, and mandated that ballots meet certain fold requirements and be sealed with a wafer seal tab to qualify for the "machinable" rate. Since those fold requirements have always been met, she wrote, “...It is now just the tabbing that has to be considered." If the firm did not adhere to the new requirements, each ballot would have cost 23.5 cents, which would have added $16,450 to the total contract."

July 21, 2009


PostCom Members!! The latest PostCom issue brief, this one dealing with the Postal Service's Area Mail Processing Plans, has been posted on this site.

The latest entry on 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/ Brainstorm Ideas Part 2.  Last week’s brainstorming exercise yielded more than 350 comments covering a broad spectrum of ideas.  In this week’s blog, the OIG identifies common themes and interesting ideas and asks which you think will help improve the Postal Service and which warrant further attention. 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 Advertising Age, "Advertising Will Change Forever. Digital Spending Will Nearly Double in 5 Years, But Ad Budgets Won't."

In the Pitney Bowes Communication Intelligence blog, David Robinson reported that "At our user’s conference last month, a number of mailers mentioned that they had recently been contacted by USPS postal inspectors. The topic of these conversations quickly turned to compliance, and agents wanted to review how these companies met USPS move update and address quality requirements. This initiative was also described in a new white paper from Venable, one of the top business law firms in the U.S. Venable reports that the Postal Service is looking to collect more postage on mail that has already been delivered by identifying violations of Move Update requirements. In certain cases, investigators “seek evidence that the mailer entered improper mailings knowingly or intentionally,” actions that could trigger a costly claim under the False Claims Act."

MediaBizNet has reported that "Print Post price increases are now being absorbed by publishers using this means of distribution. Publishers Australia, who represent over 500 magazine titles, many distributed through controlled circulation using Australia Post services, are set to re-convene with Australia Post in an attempt to forge closer ties aimed at having significant imput into discussions for future postal rate increases."

The National Business Review has reported that "This morning, NZ Post announced a three-year deal that will see the SOE’s 2100 postal services staff (that is, all employees outside its Datamail and Kiwibank division) ditch Microsoft Office, Exchange and Outlook in favour of Google Apps Premiere, usually priced at $US50 per person per year. NZ Post general manager of business enabling Tracey Voice (pictured) told NBR she expects the move to Google Apps will shave $2 million in hardware costs over its three-year term. Storing data in the cloud (or, more specifically, Google data centres in the US) means less hardware to upgrade, buy, cool or maintain."

The Times Herald-Record has reported that "City police and a federal agent swooped in on two apartments Monday afternoon, arrested three people and confiscated the most marijuana any of them had ever seen in Newburgh. They laid the drugs on a table in the police station — 46 pounds all together. Two long, rectangular blocks weighed 16 pounds each. A third block, shaped like a giant cube, weighed 20 pounds. The smell filled the first floor of the building. At an estimated street value of $1,200-$1,500 a pound, police said, the stash would have sold for $55,200-$69,000. "Biggest since I've been chief," Newburgh police Chief Eric Paolilli said. "That's a lot." It arrived by Priority Mail. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service — the federal law enforcement agency that polices the nation's postal system — had tracked the packages from California as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, said James Buthorn, a case agent based out of Manhattan." [EdNote: Hey! It all fit in the box.]

Commodity Online has reported that "Encouraged by the brisk sale of gold coins through post offices, India’s postal services department is extending the schemes to new outlets with offers of discounts for special purchases. And people are thronging post offices across the country to buy gold coins of various grams. Buoyed by the huge success of gold coins sales through post offices, India Post is adding more post offices to step up the trade in the yellow metal." [EdNote: To me, this is known as sucking the lifeblood out of your citizens to buttress a postal system. Anyone with an ounce of brains knows that gold cannot continue to trade at today's level. It's value bound to drop. And who will the post compensate those in India who suffer? Instead of chasing fly-by-night schemes, posts should stick to their knitting. If they run of of yarn....well, then, they run out of yarn.]

The Sikh Times has a piece on "How To Make The Most Of Direct Mail Marketing In A Recession."

According to the Dallas Morning News, "The Dallas Main Post Office, which employs 1,800 people at a sprawling facility along Interstate 30 just west of downtown, would seem to be too big to fail. But that is what some of its employees believe will happen. Urged by their union representatives, postal employees have initiated letters, phone calls and e-mails over the past several weeks to media representatives, elected officials and even local clergy warning of a quiet plan to phase out the plant. Postal authorities flatly deny it. "

 From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
PROPOSED RULES
Periodic Reporting Rules ,
35837–35838 [E9–17285]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

NOTICES
New Competitive Postal Product ,
35898–35899 [E9–17420]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Postal Rates; Public Forum ,
35899–35902 [E9–17286]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

On this last item: "This document announces a public forum to address workshare discount methodologies in First-Class Mail and Standard Mail. It invites public participation in the forum, responses to views expressed at the forum, and replies to comments filed in response to Order No. 192. Public forum: August 11, 2009 at 1 p.m.; responses and reply comments due: August 31, 2009. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov."

Publishing Executive has reported that "Business-to-business magazines' advertising revenue and pages continue to plummet, according to American Business Media's (ABM) latest report."

The Boston Herald has reported that "The Boston Globe’s biggest union caved in to their New York boss’ demands tonight and agreed to $10 million in contract concessions after almost four months of high-stakes negotiations that included a daring rebuff of the company’s first cost-cutting offer." [EdNote: At least the Globe's people have learned how to step back from the brink.]

According to B2B, "Data verification and mail-management company Melissa Data has partnered with UAA Clearinghouse, a repository for confirmed bad mailing addresses, to help marketers identify and suppress undeliverable names and addresses in their mailing lists."

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "Despite the overall decline in air and ground volumes, one area continuing to grow is residential deliveries. Residential shipments now make up almost 33% of the total ground market. More shippers used to be challenged to look for cost-effective ways to reach consumers, as delivery options in the past were limited and expensive. That’s changed in recent years, though. In fact, shippers today have so many alternatives that the old adage about having to choose between service and price is not nearly as clear cut."

Charles Mapa, President of the National League of Postmasters has told his members that "I've had some inquiries regarding a meeting the management association presidents and the union presidents attended a meeting with Postmaster General Jack Potter at Postal Headquarters last week. Yes, we did indeed meet. However, Mr. Potter asked us to treat the meeting as confidential until he had a chance to share its contents with the Area Vice Presidents. I have honored my promise to keep the meeting contents confidential and even messaged Postal HQ a few times to see if it was OK to share the info. I did not receive any direct response, but I've seen some information posted on websites and I've gotten a message that an AVP shared the info with District personnel. Apparently, the cat is out of the bag, so I will share some of what went on."

July 20, 2009

Fox5KVVU has reported that "The United States Postal Service is considering closing five Las Vegas-area post offices in an effort to combat falling revenues nationwide."

SouthshoreNow has reported that "Municipality of Lunenburg Mayor Don Downe says he has received dozens of calls from residents who fear Canada Post is going to remove their mailboxes, particularly from seniors with limited mobility."

The New Zealand Herald has reported that "New Zealand Post is venturing into the clouds with a three-year Google email and messaging service contract that it says will save it $2 million."

Rag Content has asked: "How Does Postal Pay Stack Up Against Government Pay?" It provides some interesting answers.

The Honolulu Advertiser has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service in Hawai'i has undertaken a study to determine whether to close any of its 104 post offices, stations and branches as part of a national effort to stanch billion-dollar losses stemming from the rise of text messaging, e-mail and other forms of electronic communication."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Postal Retail Network Consolidation ,
35210–35211 [E9–17155] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to the Associated Press, "Residents of Otisfield are so fond of their lone public mailbox that they blocked it with a snowplow and a backhoe to prevent the Postal Service from taking it away in the gloom of night. Town officials also threatened to chain themselves to the blue box. The box is still there, for now at least. But it's probably a losing battle."

The latest update from the Universal Postal Union Direct Mail Advisory Board has been posted on this site.

Post-Expo 2009, September 29-30, 2009, Deutsche Messe, Hanover, Germany.

DMM Advisory:  Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update.

  • Intelligent Mail® Full-Service Feedback Sample Data Files:  With the Full-Service option, mailers receive address correction information to include Change of Address and Nixie records at no charge. This data is available via downloadable reports and Mail.XML® electronic messages. Mailers also receive Start-the-Clock and Container Visibility data at no charge. This data is available via online reports and Mail.XML electronic exchange messages. Sample data files illustrating Intelligent Mail Full-Service feedback formats will be posted on our RIBBS™ Website on July 22. We will also post sample Customer Supplier Agreement files. This data will be accessible via the Important Links on the Intelligent Mail Services, Guides page and the Intelligent Mail Services, Latest News page. The sample data will be as follows: Full-Service ACS™ Change of Address (COA) Data in comma delimited (CSV), Excel (XLS), and Mail.XML; Full-Service ACS Nixie Data in comma delimited (CSV), Excel (XLS), and Mail.XML; Full-Service Start-the-Clock Data in Mail.XML; Full-Service Container Visibility Induction Scan Data in Mail.XML; Full-Service Customer/Supplier Agreement (CSA) Data. 

  • PostalOne! Patch Release 20.1 (July 19) Previously we reported issues with the downloadable 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.

  •  9-digit Mailer ID Renumbering:  Mailer IDs are numbers assigned by the Postal Service for mailers to use within Intelligent Mail barcodes. A Mailer ID can be a 6-digit or 9-digit number depending upon the mailer's volume. 9-digit Mailer IDs (MIDs) must start with the number 9. Over the past years, some mailers have been allowed to use their unique Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number as a Mailer ID. Although D-U-N-S numbers are 9-digits in length, many do not start with the number 9. D-U-N-S numbers that do not begin with the number 9 and are used as MIDs will be replaced with MIDs that start with the number 9. We will issue the new MIDs to mailers beginning in mid-August. Mailers will have 60 days to convert to the newly assigned MIDs. Parcel and Confirmation Services mailers are not affected at this time.   

  • Customer Registration Identification (CRID) Consolidation:  A CRID is a customer registration number that is assigned for each unique business location that is or has been identified in our postal systems applications. A new CRID is created whenever a user enters a new address location when signing up for a business account through the Business Customer Gateway. Currently, CRIDs are created when the combination of business name and address is unique. In many cases, multiple CRIDs have been created by many users of the same location. Such multiple CRID assignments are generally due to the manner in which the user creating the location account has entered the business name and/or location. Over time, numerous users have entered business name and location data into several postal systems.  As part of the May 11th software release to support Full-Service Intelligent Mail, data from postal systems were centralized and were made available as part of the Business Customer Gateway customer user identification system. Some customers may have discovered having multiple location accounts (i.e., CRIDs) in the system. The intent of the CRID consolidation effort is to eliminate as much of the overpopulation of CRIDs as possible so that users have one CRID for each location and all services are attached to that one CRID. We will engage in CRID clean up during the months of July and August and will notify mailers of the results of any affected CRIDs. As part of the CRID consolidation effort, we will: 

  1. Consolidate CRIDs for locations with same and/or similar addresses and assign one “winning” CRID to replace all related CRIDs.

  2. Replace the old CRIDs across the various systems in Full-Service supporting functions of payment, scheduling, mail induction, and mailer identification with the winning CRID value.

  3. Merge records for Business Service Administrators (BSA), opt-in/opt-out choices, and pending requests.

  • Intelligent Mail Symposium An IMb University session, sponsored by the National Postal Forum, was held on July 16 in Dallas/Fort Worth. The next IMb University is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6, in Columbus OH. The presentations made at the July 16 symposium will be posted on RIBBS on July 22.

  According to the AFL-CIO Now Blog, "In many countries, post offices are a central part of the community and often promote public health messages. Now, the postal unions worldwide have launched a campaign based in post offices to get out the word on preventing the spread of HIV. UNI Global Unions (UNI), which represents workers in 900 unions worldwide, has joined with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and UNAIDS to launch a global-awareness campaign on HIV in post offices around the world. Through a series of posters and handouts, post offices in participating countries will provide visitors and employees with important information about preventing HIV."

July 19, 2009

The Telegraph has reported that "Last week's 24-hour walkout in 20 Royal mail offices is due to be followed by three days of industrial action in London beginning this Saturday. A further 450 delivery offices in towns and cities across Britain are now being balloted by the Communication Workers Union (CWU). If, as the union expects, they join the strike it could mean up to 30,000 workers walking out next month in a significant escalation of the dispute over modernisation, job cuts and working practices."

July 18, 2009

The Hill has reported that "Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee with jurisdiction over the USPS , said he agrees with the unions that the bill won't fix everything. He said that lawmakers are looking at other fixes proposed by the USPS, including ending weekend delivery service and consolidating post offices. The unions, however, have been skeptical of those plans, he said. Lynch warned against a government bailout for the Postal Service, calling it the "last, most extreme option." "I don't know if that's what [the unions are] looking for from the president, but there's little appetite over here for another bailout," he said."

According to the New York Times,"The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay."  See also Politico.

According to the Daily Express, "postal workers are extremely misguided to stage strikes in a bid to resist a process of modernisation that is quite inevitable. Almost every industry today is subject to a pace of change that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago. The communications industry above all has to adapt constantly to keep up with staggering technological advances. With so many alternative ways of communicating now existing, the Royal Mail simply cannot afford to continue presiding over an inflexible labour force wedded to outmoded working practices."

The Mirror has reported that "the massive backlog of mail caused by yesterday's 24-hour postal strike could take a week to clear." [EdNote: Yessir. That's the way to treat customers and encourage them to continue to business by mail.]

Hellmail has reported that "Speaking to shareholders this week, Business Post Group plc Chairman Peter Kane said the company had "made a satisfactory start to the financial year" with trading performance in line with management expectations. “Underlying group revenues (covering the period 1 April 2009 to 30 June 2009), adjusted for the number of working days, were in line with the revenues for the same period in the previous year. On an unadjusted basis group revenues in the period decreased by approximately 4% year on year. "Our parcels business has seen an improved trend in underlying volume and revenue performance and, whilst still down on the previous year, this improvement is encouraging. Our Mail business, UK Mail, continues to achieve satisfactory levels of growth, benefiting from the early mail volumes from recent contract wins."

The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service's huge labor force faces the twin threats of advancing obsolescence and an economic downturn."

From PR-USA.Net: "PennySaverUSA.com, the California geographic and demographic targeted marketing business of Harte-Hanks, Inc. (NYSE: HHS) and Harte-Hanks Shoppers, North America's largest owner, operator and distributor of shopper publications, announced the recent key leadership hires of two online retailing veterans. "Our print publications have been leaders in bringing buyers and sellers together at the local level for decades," added Pete Gorman, president of Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc. "With people looking for new ways to become connected, the addition of So Young and Doug to our senior team at PennySaverUSA.com positions us to remain the leader in bringing local buyers and sellers together as we combine our print strength with what we can do online and through mobile."

As Hellmail put it: "You couldn't make it up could you. The entire country in a deep recession, unemployment rising and and heres a union with a great idea to protect jobs - go on strike and make damned sure Royal Mail struggles and jobs go. This is the militant end of a union that knows its days are numbered and you'd have a hard job finding much support for them anywhere. Worse, some of its more fringe elements have apparently sent out flyers that are bullish at best and intimidating at worst, suggesting that non-strikers should be drowned or be hung. I kid you not. This was a genuine leaflet issued by one union branch that resulted in some serious questions being asked at CWU HQ. One can only draw the conclusion that some union reps are extremists with a quite different agenda. One postal worker who contacted us described the abuse and threats made to his wife and children, despite making it plain that he simply could not afford to strike."

According to Sky News, "Royal Mail must modernise its operations and focus on profitable niches if it is to survive in this increasingly competitive postal market."

GovExec has reported that "Four unions representing the nation's postal workers are pleading for a meeting with the White House to address possible funding shortfalls for workers' payroll and retiree health benefits, according to a letter obtained by CongressDaily. The presidents of the American Postal Workers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, National Association of Letter Carriers and National Postal Mailhandlers Union co-signed the Tuesday letter to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, warning that the U.S. Postal Service is at risk of defaulting on a $5.4 billion payment to prefund retiree health benefits at the end of September. The letter alleges that USPS "may not be able to make payroll in October and will be forced to issue IOUs instead."

The BBC has reported that "Industrial action at the Royal Mail is set to escalate with strike action scheduled for three days next week, the BBC has learned. The strike action on 25, 27 and 28 July comes on top of Friday's one-day walkout by 12,000 Royal Mail employees." [EdNote: Another strike?? And they expect to remain employed?]

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "A major conservative interest group asked FedEx for a $2 million to $3 million donation in exchange for the group’s backing in a legislative battle with UPS, according to a published report Friday. Politico, a Washington-based publication, saying it had received a copy of the letter from the American Conservative Union, reported FedEx did not respond to the request. The conservative group since then has endorsed UPS and its call for Congress to change the way FedEx is covered under federal labor law." See also MSNBC.

KTVA has reported that "UPS's spokesperson is calling rival FedEx's claims that UPS is pushing federal legislation that could risk Alaska jobs, "preposterous." The controversy centers around legislative language at one time included the Federal Aviation Administration's reauthorization bill. Rep. James Oberstar, D-MN, inserted the language making it easier for FedEx employees to join unions on a local level." See also Louisville First.

The Associated Press has reported that "The folks of Otisfield are so fond of their lone public mailbox that they blocked it with a snowplow and a backhoe to prevent the Postal Service from taking it away in the gloom of night. Town officials also threatened to chain themselves to the blue box if necessary. The box is still there, for now at least. But it's probably a losing battle."

July 17, 2009

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

  • BREAKING NEWS!! The Hay Group estimate of the Postal Service’s over-funding under current law increases to $13.2 billion. This results in lower projected annual payments for the Postal Service. Specifically, to reach the same OPM funding goal, the Postal Service would make payments of $1.57 billion per year.
  • The Senate Committee on Appropriations has published its reports on the FY 2010 appropriations bill for financial services and general government (including the U.S. Postal Service).
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has initiated a case to address allegations of undue discrimination and other issues raised by GameFly, Inc. The complaint is related to sending and receiving DVDs through the mail.
  • The U.S. Postal Service recently presented a webinar to industry representatives presenting its new, and most likely final, position related to Move Update compliance and adjudication. Effective January 4, 2010, the USPS will begin assessing non-compliance with Move Update requirements (effective November 23, 2008) using their Performance Based Verification (PBV) system.
  • The Postal Service is looking for someone else to make some of the key decisions that will govern its business. Once again, that someone is Congress. The Postal Service is hoping eagerly that Oversight and Government Reform Committee's markup of H.R. 22 (with its 337 co-sponsors) will provide it with a fiscal lifeline to help sustain its needs.
  • John Minnec, President, FUSE msc, provides some insight into the transformation of advertising and marketing.
  • In a presentation at a Deutsche Post DHL public policy workshop for customer and vendors, Dr. C. Fred Bergsten, Director of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics provided an analysis of what he sees and foresees as far as the nation's economy is concerned.
  • Good news! The USPS has reconsidered the tolerance level for the Intelligent Mail Barcode, and is allowing a more reasonable “ramp up” before we are required to be at the 90% compliance level that they expect.
  • According to Butler Mailing CEO Todd Butler, "What the direct mail industry, including the Postal Service, has done since 9 -11 and the anthrax scare has been to surrender our customers and their marketing dollars to on-line advertisers. It’s time that we go on the offensive and attack claims made by on-line advertisers and their media supporters."
  • Based on early indicators, the USPS summer sale is going well so far, according to postal officials. Over 900 customers have registered their interest in participating in the Standard Mail Summer Sale, which represents 61 percent of the eligible summer sale volume, the USPS said.
  • USPS prepares for five-day delivery. Priority Mail ads bring revenue increase. USPS offers new payment options for online shipping. USPS to adjust over 48,000 routes in July. USPS realigning sales force. Removal of AFCS machines to reduce USPS costs. House panel okays USPS relief. USPS adopts open-source tracking system. New price marking requirements for USPS. PRC initiates postal retail network docket.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on 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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At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Yes, postal workers in the U.K. are on strike...again. So let's see. We're unhappy with pending job insecurity, so let's go on strike and run the risk of permanently damaging our business.  See Sky News, the Financial Times, the Aberdeen Evening Express, the New Statesman, The Guardian, and on and on.

APWU President William Burrus is asking union members to encourage their legislators to support healthcare reform bills adopted by key House and Senate committees July 14 and 15. Burrus joined a chorus of labor and consumer voices favoring the bills, which would expand coverage to 97 percent of Americans and create a strong public health insurance option.

You can check the Federal Times on the "missing union letter." [EdNote: You can find a copy of it here.]

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "More than 150 post office employees in Cleveland were handed the dreaded news Thursday -- not quite pink slips, but new job assignments up to 330 miles from home. The U.S. Postal Service can't lay workers off under contracts with its employee unions. So when it cuts staff, as the Cleveland area is doing because the amount of mail is dropping, the contracts kick off a complicated shuffle of workers to fill open positions, first within the region, and then farther away as needed. The Postal Service needs to cut 223 positions from its Cleveland mail-processing facility. Some were saved through retirements, but the 155 other employees learned their new posts Thursday. Though 76 of the 155 are moving within the Postal Service's northern Ohio region -- from Ashtabula through Lorain County and including Akron, Canton, Youngstown and Mansfield -- the rest are being moved outside the region....Employees in the private sector who are simply laid off have it harder."

The Clovis News Journal has reported that "About a dozen people voiced concerns and frustration during an open house Thursday at the Gidding Street post office. At 9 a.m. Thursday, six postal employees — several from Albuquerque — started a two-hour open house on the proposed closing of the post office. Those attending weren’t happy with the U.S. Postal Service’s approach to the meeting."

The Brownsville Herald has reported that "Despite a blistering sun, more than 30 postal workers picketed Thursday outside a Brownsville post office voicing grievances to customers. The postal carriers stood outside the post office at 1535 Los Ebanos Blvd. and voiced disapproval of the management practices implemented by Jeff Jenkins, the postmaster in Brownsville, and his management team."

July 16, 2009

Check the PostalNews Blog for the story on "PMG briefs employee organizations on the USPS’s current situation."

Press Release: BÖWE BELL + HOWELL (BBH) and CMC S.R.L. today announced an enhanced strategic relationship whereby the companies will strengthen their partnership in North America. This partnership will allow BBH to expand its line of mail-inserting equipment with a focus on new technologies that increase value to the customer by ensuring a lower cost per piece, maximizing postage savings, and enabling transpromotional mailings.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

In case you missed it, we've made a podcast from the recording of the PostCom-Experian webinar that was held on July 15 on the Postal Service's Standard Mail summer sale. A copy of the slides that were used durng this webinar have been posted on this site.

HOT STUFF!! Here's a little tidbit from the USPS OIG that should grab some headlines. "As we began working with the Hay Group model regarding the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund we identified an error. We notified the Hay Group and they acknowledged the error. The error was computational in nature and did not affect their overall conclusion, assumptions, or methodology. Specifically, the error was the result of the use of the wrong percentages when adjusting the health care inflation rate from 7% to 5% for certain years within the model. When this mistake was corrected, the Hay Group estimate of the Postal Service’s overfunding under current law increases to $13.2 billion. This results in lower projected annual payments for the Postal Service. Specifically, to reach the same OPM funding goal, the Postal Service would make payments of $1.57 billion per year. A revised report will be issued on July 22.

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and the leading developer of high-performance solutions for professional mailers, today announced the commencement of an executive transition that will ultimately result in new formal leadership for the 30-year-old company. Effective today, Executive Vice President Christopher Lien will assume primary leadership duties at BCC, with Jim Mann, a 13-year BCC veteran, accepting a promotion to Senior Vice President. The company’s founder, K. Jon Runstrom, will retain his current title of President but will take on an advisory role until his retirement in July 2010. Other executive adjustments announced today include the appointment of Bob Schimek to Vice President of Software Engineering; and the realignment of BCC’s Sales and Business Development teams to operate as a single unit under the leadership of Corey Smith, Vice President of Business Development.

The APWU has told its members that "The presidents of the four major postal unions have asked the White House to address the “deepening crisis” facing the Postal Service, asserting that “the Obama administration must intervene now to avoid both a political and economic train wreck.” “The recession has had a severe impact on the Postal Service’s finances,” the union leaders wrote to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, “and the situation has deteriorated significantly” since they met with White House staffers in March. A financial collapse of the nation’s mail system “would pose a dire threat to the administration’s recovery plan,” the letter said. “Fortunately, such a collapse can be averted without resort to a taxpayer bailout, by reforming the retiree health prefunding provisions of the law. The Postal Service needs immediate relief from a law adopted in 2006, which requires the Postal Service to prefund its future retiree health liabilities,” the union presidents wrote. “No other government agency or private company in America is required to prefund at all,” they noted, “much less on such an accelerated schedule.”

Hellmail has reported that "in a new survey, 72% of UK consumers said they want to see no privatisation of the Royal Mail. With only 6% in favour of partial privatisation, and less than 5% favouring full privatisation. The survey, commissioned by CFH Docmail, the online hybrid mail service, did however find a great deal of support for the Royal Mail despite recent strikes, with some 79% of respondents considering the Royal Mail trustworthy, while 66% still see the company as reliable. Interestingly, 89% of the 548 respondents saw their postman as trustworthy, confirming the public’s positive view of their local postman. The other key point to emerge from the survey was the consumers continuing preference for post rather than online delivery. Some 87% of respondents stated that they enjoyed receiving post, and many want critical documents delivered in no other way. Despite recent efforts by the banks and utilities, 62% of the public said they still want a paper copy of their statements and bills posted through the door, while a massive 82% want communication from their Doctor to be by post – this despite all of the respondents being internet enabled."

DMM Advisory: Saturation Mail Incentive Program — Expanded Eligibility! In today’s Postal Bulletin we announced an expansion of the eligibility requirements for our Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Program. Eligible mailings will now include mailings paid for by precanceled stamps, meter imprints or permit imprints. Qualifying permits and authorizations may be held at non-PostalOne! locations provided at least one permit imprint advance deposit account is held at a postal location with PostalOne! capability. 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”). The deadline for enrollment is August 1, 2009.

According to Mortimer Zuckerman writing in the Wall Street Journal, "About 40% of U.S. workers believe the recession will continue for another full year, and their pessimism is justified. As paychecks shrink and disappear, consumers are more hesitant to spend and won't lead the economy out of the doldrums quickly enough."

According to the Chillicothe Gazette, "Ohio members of Congress are concerned about plans by the U.S. Postal Service to close post offices in the state."

UG Pulse has reported that "Posta Uganda has announced it is going to extend its services to be able to reach the majority of households in Uganda. POSTA Uganda’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Wilfred Musinguzi says the communications company is set to install post office boxes at different households as one of the new measures to increase access of Ugandans to postal services."

The Federal Times has reported that "the Senate is not going to move forward on companion legislation to H.R. 22 until the Postal Service, OMB and OPM create a “legislative proposal.” Nevermind that there is already a legislative proposal, H.R. 22, which passed the House Oversight and Government Reform committee unanimously last week. The Senate wants a new one. That puts the Postal Service on a rather tight timetable, especially with Congress taking off most of August for vacation. If this bill isn’t passed by September 30 — when the Postal Service’s health care payment is due, a payment it cannot afford — then it becomes a moot point."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Priority Mail Contract ,
34598–34601 [E9–16844] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Economic Times has reported that "Some 31.2 million postal savings accounts were opened in 2008-09 to facilitate wage disbursal under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), helping the country’s postal system regain at least some of its lost sheen."

Graphics Arts has reported that "Direct Group, a fully integrated direct marketing services provider, announced that direct marketing and communications veteran Jeffrey S. Jurick and privacy expert Kendall C. Walsh have joined the company to form a new Compliance & Critical Communications Business Unit. This team will focus on helping clients – and their insurance companies and legal advisors – prepare plans for quickly and efficiently executing compliance communications in response to data-breach incidents involving identity- or privacy-related information."

Fedex has said that it expects "continued softness in demand for our services in 2010, as shipping volumes are expected to remain relatively flat as the global recession persists, particularly in the first half of 2010. Our results for the first half of 2009 included the benefit of significantly stronger economic activity and rapidly declining fuel costs, creating difficult year-over-year comparisons. The timing and pace of any economic recovery is difficult to predict, and our outlook for 2010 reflects our expectations for continued challenges in growing volume and yield in this environment. Revenues in 2010 are expected to be negatively impacted by lower yields resulting from lower fuel surcharges due to more stable fuel prices and an aggressive pricing environment for our services. We anticipate volume growth at the FedEx Ground segment due to continued market share gains and flat volumes at the FedEx Express segment for 2010. Further, we expect LTL shipments to decrease for 2010 due to the continued excess capacity in this market." See also the Wall Street Journal.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

July 15, 2009

According to Advertising Age, "BusinessWeek survived the Great Depression, so you might think this current downturn wouldn't give it too much trouble. Heck, business news may have never been more important. Why the persistent drop for the business bibles? Business-to-business advertisers have found many more efficient, targeted ways to reach their customers. Brand campaigns remain an important component of their marketing, but they've also gotten much better at maintaining databases of the crucial decision makers who buy their products or services, focusing on preserving their loyalty and contacting them more or less directly than through a major magazine ad buy."

WHIZ News has reported that "Congressman Zack Space today is demanding information from the United State Postal Service concerning the fate of Zanesville sorting facility. The postal service announced it would be closing operations across the country and in some parts of Ohio, but would not announce where the cuts would be made. The Congressman wants information and transparency from the Postal Service."

Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is drafting a plan for switching to five-day mail delivery — and for overcoming strong opposition to the idea from labor unions and Congress. An internal study group, composed of managers from across the Postal Service, has been working privately for three months to figure out the complicated logistical changes involved in switching to five-day mail delivery. Those include creating new schedules for the transportation network that moves mail across the country, for example, and major reductions in work hours for carriers and other employees. The Postal Service says it wants a detailed plan ready in case Congress starts seriously discussing the switch to five-day delivery. Mailing groups, like the Association for Postal Commerce, have had mixed reactions to the proposal. Most say they will need to study how less-frequent delivery affects their business models."

The Financial Times has reported that "A research note written by a 15-year-old, who was not born when former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson dismissed London analysts as “teenage scribblers”, has become the talk of middle-aged media executives and investors. As elderly media moguls gathered at the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, to fawn over Twitter and fret over their business models, Mr Robson set out a sobering case that tomorrow’s consumers are using more and more media but are unwilling to pay for it. “Teenagers do not use Twitter,” he pronounced. His peers find it hard to make time for regular television, and would rather listen to advert-free music on websites such as Last.fm than tune into traditional radio. Even online, teens find advertising “extremely annoying and pointless”. Their time and money is spent instead on cinema, concerts and video game consoles which, he said, now double as a more attractive vehicle for chatting with friends than the phone. Mr Robson had little comfort for struggling print publishers, saying no teenager he knew regularly reads a newspaper since most “cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text” rather than see summaries online or on television."

The Chronicle Herald has reported that "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has put flyers in area mail boxes that say Canada Post is considering replacing rural mailbox delivery with community mailboxes because some individual roadside mailboxes are in unsafe areas. It alleges the postal service "wants to save millions of dollars, all at the expense of the workers who deliver your mail and the customers Canada Post is supposed to serve."

Congressman Chris Smith has blasted the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) ill-conceived plan announced Monday that it intends to close the Freehold Downtown Station in the borough that serves over 25,000 people.

Direct has reported that "Media supplier advertising revenue will sink to $161.4 billion in 2009, according to media services firm Magna. The biggest surprise may be in Magna’s direct mail predictions. At $19.2 billion, supplier revenue is down 11.2% for the year. But – whether due to postage and printing increases, or a swing back of the pendulum as marketers re-embrace the mail – between now and 2014 it is seen as growing at 2% annually."

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

A report presented by the Business and Enterprise Committee of the British parliament recommends saving the unprofitable network of post offices by offering a wider range of services. The Royal Mail subsidiary Post Office has so far only offered simple banking and payment transaction services in its 12,000 branches. The committee has now come to the conclusion that additional financial services and various services for the public authorities could save the network.
The Portuguese public prosecution department is currently investigating former employees of the post Correios on suspicion of corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and forging documents.
Post Danmark has once again abused its market-dominating position. The Danish Competition Council has concluded that the post’s loyalty rebates of up to 16 per cent for direct mail consignments present a very high entry barrier for competitors. In order to have any chance of getting contracts, rival companies must grant further discounts between five and ten per cent, according to the authority. Post Danmark must now adjust its rebate system according to the competition law.
Sosialistisk Venstreparti, Norway’s socialist left-wing party intends to use the EU veto right against the postal directive.
The Spanish union confederation CCOO (Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras) has asked the government for assistance for the post. Last week the CCOO suggested an "act of state" in order for the post to overcome the crisis and the liberalisation process as best as possible.
The national committee against the privatisation of La Poste, started by the French unions, plans to organise its own poll on 3 October on the status change of the post.
Swedish media are outraged that Lars G. Nordström, the appointed CEO of the new Posten Norden AB will receive a monthly salary equivalent to 63,000 euros. Speaking to the business portal »e24« (06/07) Mr Nordström rejected the idea of a salary reduction as he would, after all, be receiving no bonus payments, unlike his Danish colleagues.
AirAsia plans to develop the parcel business as a new source of revenue. Together with DHL(!), the Malaysia-based discount airline has launched a parcel service for shipments weighing up to 25 kilos under the brand Redbox.
DHL has further reinforced its presence in China.
Prescription medication can continue to be sent by parcel to patients from mail-order pharmacies in Germany. Five years after the introduction of mail order trade in medication, the German Bundestag has confirmed that dispatching prescription medication is legitimate. The parliamentary groups FDP (Free Democratic Party) and Die Linke (The Left) have both tried to bring about a ban or restriction on over-the-counter medication via mail order.
DHL’s forwarding service is investing almost 6.3m euros in an 11,600 square metre compound near Auckland airport.
The French Minister for Industry Christian Estrosi wants to mediate in the conflict over the change to the post status. The ministry announced that Mr Estrosi planned to act as ambassador for the post and its 300,000 employees and to meet with representatives of the postal unions before the council of ministers’ decision.
Along with the infrastructure shortages, the Brazilian post, express and logistics market continues to be hindered by street crime. According to serious estimations, one in seven trucks are stolen in the Sao Paolo region alone. Trucks transporting high-value goods, such as medication, cigarettes and even chocolate are now accompanied by an armed escort. Postmen in the region who deliver valuables ordered on the internet are also accompanied by armed bodyguards on routes in the periphery of the city.
 

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 Sun Journal has reported that "An unexpected uproar over the removal of the town's only collection mailbox has caused officials at the U.S. Postal Service to give the move a second look."

The Canton Repository has reported that "customers bemoan possibility of losing postal service outlets."

 From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Complaint:
  GameFly, Inc. ,
  34373–34375 [E9–16782] [TEXT]  [PDF]
New Competitive Postal Product ,
34375–34376 [E9–16584] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Service Price Changes ,
34376–34379 [E9–16783] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
 
RULES
Price Marking Requirements for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus Pricing ,
34251–34252 [E9–16205] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Hellmail has reported that "Magyar Posta, the Hungarian postal service, is to build a brand new logistics centre in preparation for the opening up of its postal market in 2013. Magyar Posta said it was essential that it made the steps needed to remain competitive. It said that it faced stiff competition from rivals without an improvement in the quality of services it provides."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

July 14, 2009

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "it is no surprise that the economy is still experiencing difficulty, as shown by continued unemployment and higher fuel prices, and experts disagree over when we’ll recover. And yet, during the greatest financial upheaval in six decades, the U.S. Senate could soon vote on a bill that would add unnecessary risk to the business model of overnight shipping, which FedEx Express originated in 1971. The Federal Aviation Authority Reauthorization Act was approved in May by the House of Representatives and included a special interest clause that is highly anti-competitive and would unfairly benefit one company, UPS, while targeting another company, FedEx Express. UPS is working this issue in concert with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. This special-interest legislation, already approved by the House, would overturn federal court decisions and put our pickup and delivery drivers under the NRLA without one word of testimony from the millions of customers who depend on the FedEx Express network. Not surprisingly, we object very much to the effort to do this and have opposed it vigorously in Washington. We hope the Senate, which is scheduled to take up the matter this summer, will make the right decision and maintain the protection the RLA provides to the U.S. and global economies."

The BBC has reported that "more than 12,000 postal workers are to strike on Friday in a row over jobs, pay and services, the Communication Workers Union has announced." See also Sky News, the Financial Times, and The Times.

Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is drafting a plan for switching to five-day mail delivery — and for overcoming strong opposition to the idea from labor unions and Congress."

According to Rag Content, "The Postal Service is defaulting to look for someone else to make some of its tougher business decisions. Once again, that someone is Congress. With the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's markup of H.R. 22 (and the over 337 co-sponsors), the Postal Service is eagerly awaiting the application of a larger than life $2.3 billion band aid to cover some its more pressing fiscal needs."

Press Release: "Effective July 19 pricing for Standard Mail (Regular and Nonprofit) Commercial Flats will be decreased by 0.1¢ per-piece. For Flats weighing less than 3.3 oz, the per-piece rates are slightly lower. For Flats greater than 3.3 oz, the per-piece rates are higher, but the per-pound rates are lower. This new incentive will allow High Density Flats mailers save on their mailing expenses especially during this tough economy. For example, a mailing job of 1,000 pieces of flats which weigh .4lb/piece will now only cost $336.60 instead of $345.60. For high volume mailers, the reduced rates will definitely yield a significant sum of savings. "Window Book has built a set of technologies that enables mailers to update their software in advance of any postal rate change and allow them to see the difference in rates just by changing the date of mailing in the software. This enables companies to be prepared in advance and know exactly what is coming. Users can then tell their customers in advance. We are pleased to be able to offer efficient and fast rate-updates in advance of the actual effective dates for our clients," said Jeffery Peoples, Window Book's CEO."

In the News this week Mobexx all-in-one navigation and tracking system is streets ahead In-cab mobile computing specialist Mobexx has launched an intelligent transport innovation for fleet operators, which has already won over important customers in North America. more... Saudi Post enhances services with Intermec Job reductions in New Zealand Post Group UPU, UNI Global Union and ILO launch global HIV prevention campaign One of the greenest civilian fleets in the world just got greener DHL strengthens capabilities to capitalise on packaging market in Asia Pacific region Read the latest Industry Opinions at www.postaltechnologyinternational.com/industry-blogs.php

The latest member alert from the National Association of Major Mail Users regarding impending changes at Canada Post has been posted on this site.

From Marketwire: "Stamps.com(R), the leading provider of postage online and shipping software solutions to approximately 400,000 customers, today announced that its Enterprise PC Postage(R) solution has been named to the prestigious Supply & Demand Executive 100. This honor recognizes excellence in transforming companies' supply and demand chains, streamlining customer processes, delivering consistent service quality, and enabling organizational growth."

Reuters has reported that "The European Commission said on Tuesday it had opened an in-depth investigation into whether annual payments by Belgium to national postal operator La Poste were in line with EU rules on state aid."

As Hellmail has noted, "Post Office networks which were so reliant on letters, have had to diversify but even that has not been enough to counter our love of email. The United States Postal Service which still has a monopoly on inland mail and which forms part of the Constitution, a principle set up to ensure the stability of the USO (Universal Service Obligation) a 100 years ago, is like most public postal operators, in big trouble. The USO has always been, and still is, a crucial part of ensuring the free flow of letters around the world. The trouble is, the cost of maintaining the USO in the face of a an apparently continual and in some cases accelerated decline in the letters market, has already pushing many postal services to breaking point. "

ITN has reported that "Thousands of postal workers across the UK are to strike on Friday as a row over jobs, pay and services escalates." See also the Press Association and the BBC.

According to the Washington Post, "A House committee has thrown the U.S. Postal Service a lifeline, but it won't be substantial enough to allow the agency to fully escape the financial quicksand pulling it under."

Deadtree Edition has asked: "how should mailers budget for postage rates next year? Definitely do not count on a decrease: Nothing in the law or regulations would require that. My guess is that the Postal Service will be allowed to adjust rates as long as the average for each class does not increase."

July 13, 2009

Audience has reported that "Consumer magazine ad pages continued to take a beating through the second quarter, plummeting 29.5 percent compared to the same period in 2008, according to the latest Publishers Information Bureau figures, released today. Through the first half, ad pages were down 27.9 percent. Rate card-reported ad revenue was down 22 percent during the second quarter compared to the same period last year, PIB said. Through the first half, revenue was down 21.2 percent. During the second quarter, ad pages were down in each of the twelve categories tracked by PIB, most notably in the automotive (-47.8 percent) and financial, insurance and real estate (-48.8) categories."

Folio has reported that "following months of speculation, BusinessWeek publisher McGraw-Hill is seeking a buyer for the ailing business magazine. The magazine saw ad pages plunge 34.3 percent during the second quarter, according to PIB figures. Estimated revenue declined 30.1 percent to $43.8 million. Through the first six months, ad pages were down 36.8 percent and revenue was down 33.4 percent to $77.8 million."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Mmegi Online has reported that "BotswanaPost is exploring ways of taking advantage of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a means of moving away from traditional mail business chores."

The latest entry to the postal 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/ Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service.  The Postal Service is facing a financial crisis and needs to pursue every option it can to improve its net income.  Using it’s Pushing the Envelope blog site, the OIG asks “How do you think the Postal Service can save money or raise additional revenue?  To make this a bit more interesting, the blog team will review your ideas and pick the most popular or most interesting for a poll, and post the poll on Wednesday. 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 Butler Mailing CEO Todd Butler, "What the direct mail industry, including the Postal Service, has done since 9 -11 and the anthrax scare has been to surrender our customers and their marketing dollars to on-line advertisers. In the throws of a major advertising realignment brought on by a new interactive communications channel, the direct mail industry is nowhere to be found defending itself or our products. There have been no aggressive in your face marketing campaigns supporting the fact that direct mail can compete with on-line advertising, providing superior functionality with competitive cost-per-response pricing. It’s time that we go on the offensive and attack claims made by on-line advertisers and their media supporters."

For those who are interested, the U.S. Postal Service publishes a catalog that lists all national Postal Service directives and forms, as well as government forms and documents used by the Postal Service. This is a complete revision of the March 2005 edition, which you should recycle. Interim changes appear regularly in the Postal Bulletin under “Directives and Forms Update.” This issue contains all of the revisions published in the Postal Bulletin through June 4, 2009.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "GeoPost, the express parcel arm of French Groupe La Poste, and Continental Air Express Pvt Ltd, an associate company of the Vohra family owned Continental Carriers Group, have announced the establishment of a joint venture company. The new company will be called DPD Continental Pvt. Ltd and will offer inbound and outbound express parcel services under the DPD brand to customers in India."

Fierce Government has reported that "There's nothing more frustrating than a lost letter in the mail. But now the U.S. Postal Service has come up with a foolproof way to track the mail, using an open source tool for its Product Tracking System (PTS). The USPS has upgraded its 15-year-old mainframe-based system to handle more transactions and lower the cost of the system. It's a good idea for an agency that recently reported that it's billions of dollars in the red. The plan is to standardize on cheaper Linux operating system."

Marketing Daily has reported that "Mobile banking is on the rise, thanks to the proliferation of 3G networks and smartphone handsets, and they're quickly becoming a go-to source for a quick check of one's accounts. But rather than supplanting the Internet as a go-to choice for banking, mobile banking is developing into a complementary channel for financial institutions."

Media Daily News has reported that "Interpublic this morning forecast the U.S. advertising economy will decline 14.5% this year, and won't begin to crawl out of the recession until the second half of next year." See also Advertising Age.

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

The Budapest Business Journal has reported that "Esztergom-based Neuzer has won a tender to deliver 4,800 bicycles to state-owned postal company Magyar Posta with a bid of net HUF 369 million."

Supply-Demand Chain Executive has reported that "Belgium-based postal service provider looks to spend analysis solution to improve spend visibility as they streamline end-to-end procurement processes."

From PennLive: "OMG! E-mail, texts replacing art of letter writing."

The Otago Daily Times has reported that "The Privacy Commissioner says people are under no compulsion to fill out a New Zealand Post survey called An Opportunity to Win after a number of people complained about it. The nationwide household survey asks for detailed personal information about individuals, their families and their households." See also Voxy.

The Financial Chronicle has reported that "The next time your friendly neighbourhood postman from the Speed Post knocks at the door, do not be surprised if he flaunts a PDA (personal digital assistant) handheld device to record the delivery. As per the Indian Postal department’s plans, he may soon be multi-tasking, rather than merely delivering you the ubiquitous letter. The process of providing the postmen in-charge of handling Speed Post documents with PDA handsets has started in right earnest."

An angry voice from Gibraltar about the post office: "Behind the times and antiquated - that's the Gibraltar Post Office."

As The Telegraph put it: "Did you know there was a postal strike in our capital city last week? Thought not. And there in lies the 21st century problem for our national postal service - the advent of email has made it virtually redundant. Yet there is potentially a far more serious problem on the horizon for the Royal Mail which dwarfs any union concerns about chief executive Adam Crozier’s modernisation plans at the company: what to do about its final salary pension plan."

Ynet News has reported that "Israel, Palestinian Authority exploring ways to allow West Bank residents to receive regional, international postal services through Amman. Communications Ministry says agreement in close."

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 can take advantage of an
    Intelligent Mail University series hosted by the National Postal Forum. The next symposium is on Thursday, July 16 in Fort Worth, TX.  Click on one of the links for further information, registration deadlines, and to enroll in the symposium.

  • Intelligent Mail Barcode Readability
    We have revised our barcode readability thresholds for Intelligent Mail barcodes. From now through November 28, 2009, the following readability thresholds for Intelligent Mail barcodes applied to letter- and flat-size automation-price pieces are in effect:

    a. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of 70 percent or higher passes verification.
    b. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of below 70 percent will have additional postage calculated based on 100 percent of the automation-price pieces in the mailing.
     

  • For Intelligent Mail barcoded pieces that cannot be read by the USPS, address correction information will be delivered in one of two ways, assuming the mailpieces bear a printed ancillary service endorsement to trigger the address correction (Periodicals do not require the printed ancillary service endorsement to use Traditional ACS):



  • a. If the mailer applies the ACS participant code/optional keyline on the mailpiece, the address correction data will be delivered electronically and the mailer will be charged per the electronic option.
    b. If the mailpiece does not bear the ACS participant code/optional keyline, the address correction information may be delivered via hardcopy or the mailpiece returned and the relevant price will apply.

    Refer to Appendix A in A Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats posted on our RIBBS Website to understand the endorsements and Service Type Identifiers that apply for Basic and Full-Service mailings. There are two options in using Intelligent Mail barcodes: Basic Service or Full-Service. Mailers can work with their local Business Mail Entry Units and Mailpiece Design Analysts to ensure their barcodes meet specifications. We encourage mailers to test their Intelligent Mail pieces before their live production runs. 
     

  • 9-digit Mailer ID Renumbering 
    Mailer IDs are numbers assigned by the Postal Service for mailers to use within Intelligent Mail barcodes. A Mailer ID can be a 6-digit or 9-digit number depending upon the mailer's volume. 9-digit Mailer IDs (MIDs) must start with the number 9. Over the past years, some mailers have been allowed to use their unique Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number as a Mailer ID. Although D-U-N-S numbers are 9-digits in length many do not start with the number 9. D-U-N-S numbers that do not begin with the number 9 and are used as MIDs will be replaced with MIDs that start with the number 9. We will issue the new MIDs to mailers beginning in mid-August. Mailers will have 60 days to convert to the newly assigned MIDs. Parcel and Confirmation Services mailers are not affected at this time.  

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
PROPOSED RULES
Freedom of Information Act Regulations ,
33388–33394 [E9–16417] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
New Competitive Postal Product ,
33482 [E9–16583] [TEXT]  [PDF]
33482–33483 [E9–16621] [TEXT]  [PDF]
33480–33481 [E9–16622] [TEXT]  [PDF]
33481 [E9–16632] [TEXT]  [PDF]
33483–33484 [E9–16637] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Post Office Closing ,
33484–33485 [E9–16620] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Suburban Chicago News has noted that "The U.S. Postal Service has "service standards" specifying how soon a first-class letter should get to a certain location from a post office in our area. By and large -- in 39 of the 44 test mailings, or 89 percent -- the men and women in blue performed as advertised. "

According to the Charleston Post Courier, "a proposal to close 51 post offices in South Carolina and institute the fourth increase in first-class postage in less than two and a half years has provoked predictable howls from the public. The measures are part of a nationwide belt-tightening for the Postal Service aimed at averting an impending fiscal crisis. Though painful, they probably won't be sufficient. Losing any of the eight Charleston area branches, one being the historic Old Main Office on Broad Street, would inconvenience customers who use them. But Congress has instructed the Postal Service to undertake efficiencies, and downsizing is part of that process — particularly with a $6.5 billion deficit this year. In a larger sense, the crisis is a lesson in the perils of public ownership."

According to The Times, "despite apparent growing public antipathy, direct marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep the tills ringing."

July 12, 2009

As the New York Times has noted, "The Swiss national postal service has started redirecting some mail from the letter box to the inbox. A program introduced by the Swiss Post in June allows subscribers to receive scans of their unopened envelopes by e-mail message and then to decide which they want opened and scanned in their entirety, to be read online. Subscribers can also ask to have the contents archived, send unopened letters to another address or have them shredded and recycled."

According to the Charleston State Journal, "The federal government came to the rescue of America's financial institutions, the automobile industry and others. But is it capable of returning its own U.S. Postal Service to profitability, or to the point where it at least breaks even? That is the billion-dollar question these days."

Hellmail has reported that:

The Ukraine government has approved an economic program for the development of Ukrainian postal services from 2009 to 2013. The program includes improvement of legislation, in particular the development and implementation of regulatory legal acts on the mechanism of formation of tariffs for universal postal services, and procedures aimed at improving the regulation of the postal services market. The program also clearly define the mechanisms of public oversight over the observance of law on economic entities and postal communications and provides the basis for a structural and technological transformation, taking into account the recommendations of international organizations, implementation of decisions on automation of production activities by using information technology, development of new services.
This month has been busy for the Russians after a series of presentations and discussions on the future of Russian postal services in the context of a global recession and how new technology, as part of its modernisation programme, would transform the service. On the 1st July, the IX International Forum “Pochtovaya Troika (2009) opened with an exhibition of advanced postal technoloy in St. Petersburg at the A.S. Popov Central Communications Museum.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot has noted that "There are questions and worries aplenty as the U.S. Postal Service holds its budget ax up to the downtown Jackson post office and to the postal distribution center on Elm Avenue. More than three dozen jobs could be lost, and local residents should rightly wonder if mail delivery would be slowed. It would be rash to say, however, that studying whether these should remain open is irresponsible. The Postal Service lost close to $3 billion last year and must face reality that it forever has lost business to e-mail and the Internet. Post offices all over the country will have to close."

July 11, 2009

InformationWeek has reported that "Access to mobile banking is growing so rapidly that a substantial percentage of users are accessing their mobile accounts from home on their smartphones and handsets rather than their PCs at home, according to a report from comScore Inc."

ThisIsBusiness-EastMidlands has reported that "logistics company DHL Express has confirmed it is making redundancies at its Castle Donington site because of the economic downturn. The company, which employs 2,250 people at East Midlands Airport, is looking to shed 35 jobs following a review of its international customer services and telesales divisions. A spokeswoman said: "DHL Express is unfortunately not immune to the current economic downturn, which has seen us experience decline in volumes."

As the National Association of Letter Carriers has told its members: "On June 10, 2009, USPS informed NALC that it was conducting a study of the impact of switching to five-day delivery and developing an implementation plan. The study was to be completed in 60 days. USPS sought our “input” and our views on the issues such a change would raise and the “impact” it would have. And they wanted that input and those views -- for one of the most momentous decisions in postal history -- by June 19, 2009, just seven business days later. On June 17, NALC responded, requesting a prompt meeting with the USPS’ study team and its technicians to receive a detailed briefing including review of the relevant data, projections, sensitivity analyses and assumptions being used in the study. On July 7, we attended a meeting in response to our letter. We received none of the information or data requested. We were told that there were a lot of experienced, knowledgeable people in the Postal Service who understood the issues, had determined to explore dropping Saturday delivery, would conduct meetings and polls, and expected the draft report in a few weeks. USPS told us they “understood our position.” The Postal Service cannot unilaterally end Saturday delivery. Such a change would require a change in the law and a 90-day review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. NALC will fight any attempt by the Postal Service to convince Congress to make this radical change."

The Manawatu Standard has reported that "nine people at the Manawatu Mail Centre have lost their jobs as snail-mail becomes less popular. Mail circulation in the Manawatu has dropped about 7 per cent over the past year, and nationally about 64 million fewer letters were posted. As a result, five mail-sorting and four administration and managerial positions have been cut in Palmerston North. A further four contracts have not been renewed, and 12 positions, including a mixture of posties and mail sorters, have been phased out through natural attrition. Postal Services chief executive Peter Fenton said fewer letters sent meant less work."

According to one writer at Seeking Alpha, "It wasn’t Craig’s fault. It was the internet’s. Almost $10 billion in annual newspaper classified revenue has disappeared (since it’s 2000 high, versus 2008) and it was essentially replaced by an estimated, unverified $100 million for craigslist with fewer than 30 employees. But the bleeding ain’t over yet. The stone still has a few more corpuscles to squeeze out."

Postal Snippets:

From PR Minds: "A New Report on the "Indian Express Service Industry" is available through Aarkstore Enterprise. The express service industry in India is highly fragmented with a significantly larger number of players from the unorganised segment."

As the editor of Hellmail put it: "I'm not convinced that Mandelson will find a buyer so easily. With the recession likely to drag on and a full recovery anything up to a decade away, mail volume continuing to slide across much of Europe, and most operators looking to shed costs and/or jobs rather than invest, this is not a sellers market. Everyone agrees that Royal Mail's problems will not go away and whilst there are certainly many who feel that the Royal Mail should be 'protected' somehow, no one actually wants to pay for it." [EdNote: Sounds pretty much like the postal situation in the U.S.]

Federal Times has reported that "The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted Friday to approve HR 22, which would save the U.S. Postal Service $2.3 billion this year in health care costs. The bill allows the Postal Service to pay health care premiums for its current retirees using a trust fund designated for future retirees. Without the bill, the Postal Service would have to make a $2.3 billion payment in September for its current retirees; postal officials say they cannot pay that bill. “The Postal Service is facing a financial emergency,” said Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., the committee chairman. “HR 22 would allow the Postal Service to live to fight another day.”

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

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Logistics Management has reported that "UPS this week completed the Phase I expansion of its advanced air packaging sorting hub, entitled Worldport, which company officials said will increase its capacity 15 percent from 304,000 to 350,000 packages per hour. Full Worldport operations kicked off on July 7. UPS said in May 2006 that Phase I of the Worldport expansion would be completed by November 2010 and cost approximately $1 billion. But the company said this week that Phase I came in both under budget and ahead of schedule, with the company spending less than the anticipated $1 billion for the expansion and adding that it will open a month earlier than allowed for in the three-year construction schedule."

Radio New Zealand has reported that "New Zealand Post is undertaking a nationwide survey of households in an effort to counter falling postal volumes."

Hellmail has reported that "The Post Office and BT have extended their long-standing relationship by a further three years, from September 2011 to the end of September 2014, meaning customers can continue to pay for and towards BT telephone services at Post Office branches. The announcement will also be good news for subpostmasters keen to retain and develop as many payment services as possible over the next few years."

The Herald has reported that "The government was urged yesterday to end the "uncertainty" hanging over the postal sector following the shelving of its controversial plan to part-privatise the Royal Mail. Consumer Focus called on Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to introduce new legislation to press ahead with planned regulatory changes, including making Ofcom rather than Postcomm the sector's regulator, regardless of whether or not the sale of a minority stake in Royal Mail goes ahead. The consumer group warned that important safeguards for customers could start to "falter" unless action was taken."

July 10, 2009

WGEM has reported that "A provision in a Senate Appropriations bill sponsored by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin will keep the mail processing and distribution center in Quincy. The Senate Appropriations Committee late Thursday passed the 2010 FSGG Appropriations bill, which includes a provision to halt the U.S. Postal Service's efforts to consolidate operations, which would close the mail processing and distribution center in Quincy." [EdNote: Here's a headline I'm waiting to read. "Durbin sponsors bill to support money-losing Postal Service. Sen. Schumer signs on as co-sponsor." See also the Quincy Herald-Whig.

From PR Newswire: "DHL Global Mail provides U.S. businesses with faster mail delivery to several key countries, according to a study comparing the performance of four shipping companies. DHL Global Mail's transit times were found to be shorter than those of three U.S.-based competitors on most lanes tested in the study, conducted by Ipsos, one of the world's largest survey-based research companies. That superior speed, combined with DHL Global Mail's competitive rates and full range of services, is how the mail expediter provides unmatched solutions for high-volume mailers and parcel shippers."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Charities that send cash in direct mail packs to provoke a "guilt response" could face government intervention, a government minister has warned."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: The Postal Regulatory Commission today issued Order No: 244 establishing Docket N2009-1 to provide a public hearing and issue an advisory opinion on the national service implications of a U.S. Postal Service “Station and Branch Optimization and Consolidation Initiative.” The Postal Service has advised it will examine approximately 3,200 postal stations and branches nationwide for possible closure or curtailment and that an additional 1,600 stations and branches could likewise be reviewed depending on the outcome of the initial examination.

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service recently filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) a request for an advisory opinion on the possibility of changes in postal services. The Postal Service is requesting the PRC to “determine whether a plan to optimize the postal retail network by consolidating the operations of some retail stations and branches into nearby facilities constitutes a substantially nationwide change in the nature of postal services, within the meaning of 39 U.S.C § 3661(b).”
  • This week, the U.S. Postal Service petitioned the Postal Regulatory Commission to establish Docket No. RM2009-7 to consider a proposal to change analytic principles relating to the Postal Service’s periodic reports - Proposal Two.
  • A solution has been reach between the Mailer Technical Advisory Council (MTAC) and the U.S. Postal Service senior management when they met on June 30 to discuss the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) readability tolerances. This solution reflects the mailing industry’s interest, as well as the Postal Service’s desire to work with the industry.
  • Short list of the many stories focusing on the potential post office and distribution center consolidation or closing.
  • Electronic outreach tests House rules. Few postal employees accept VERA. New president for letter carriers union. FEDEX Ground opens new hub. USPS to receive alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • A DMM Update for July 2009 issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • 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

According to Media Daily News, "The financial pressure on big newspapers is threatening to undermine their editorial integrity, with the business side, desperate to shore up collapsing revenues, exerting unwarranted control over newsroom operations. Newspapers are for-profit businesses, and there has probably always been some dubious influence by business execs on editorial; for example, telling journalists to be less critical of important advertisers. However the open nature of the recent transgressions (and attempted transgressions) suggests it is happening more frequently, and with fewer reservations, as newspapers' financial distress worsens."

APWU locals around the country have been busy fighting the consolidation of Processing & Distribution Centers — even as the Postal Service announced it was considering consolidating more than 3,200 of the nation’s larger stations and branches.

The Press of Atlantic City has reported that "Borough officials are calling on President Barack Obama, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, Congress and the U.S. Postal Service to replace the three drop mailboxes in the borough that were removed. The U.S. Postal Service mailboxes were removed 77 days ago from 19th Street, Central Avenue, and Sixth Street and Long Beach Boulevard in front of the Surf City Drug Store. Borough Council passed a resolution Wednesday evening during its regular meeting, objecting to the removal of the mailboxes and demanding their replacement."

ABC.az has reported that "Edouard Dayan, head of Universal Postal Union (UPU), sent a letter to the Azerbaijani postal administration in connection with the conference on development of postal financial services, took place in Baku on 4-5 June. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies reported that conducting of postal and modern financial services via mail service in Azerbaijan is noted as a success of the ministry. “It is also said on knowledge of head of UPU on the best results in development of mail financial services in Azerbaijan and income, received from them. The head of UPU in his letter also expressed his confidence that the experience of Azerbaijan in development of post financial services will be an example for many countries,” the statement reported."

In his most recent perspective on the state of today's postal service, National Academy of Public Administration Fellow Murray Comarow wrote: "While the Board of Governors has described the Postal Service’s business model as broken, it has not specifically proposed a better model. It should do so, in the form of amendments to the crippling statutes, setting forth exactly how its “business” should be shaped. Its justification has been, “Why squander our political capital on legislative proposals that will be dead on arrival?” Or, “The unions won’t like it and we need to work with them; besides, they have the political clout.” Sounds superficially reasonable, and that’s what it is, superficial. It is a serious mistake."

July 9, 2009

International Business Times has reported that "The London postal workers are on a three day strike over jobs cuts, pay and conditions. The strike is spread across three sectors of the postal operation. On Thursday the distribution and logistics staff are on strike and the mail centres will take part in the strike. Royal Mail confirmed that collections and deliveries will take place in all areas of London on Thursday. However, Royal Mail warned that "deliveries and collection times may be slightly later than usual because of larger than usual volumes of mail being handled."

From OfficialWire: "ONEPOST, the UK's leading provider of independent postal advice and management, has just carried out its first customer satisfaction survey. The survey conducted independently by TCS MarketStudy found 90% of customers said their main satisfaction came from the cost savings they had been able to make with speed of delivery being recognised by 25%. When asked what customers felt ONEPOST performed best in, 98% stated the company’s postal market knowledge and 86% identified their customer service standard and 54% their personnel."

Radio New Zealand has reported that "The recession is blamed for hundreds of jobs shed from New Zealand Post in the first six months of this year. Figures obtained under the Official Information Act show almost 500 jobs or contract positions have gone, most of them in postal services. New Zealand Post made 237 people redundant in the first six months of this year. A further 176 positions were not filled when people left and 82 contracts were not renewed. But the total net loss was kept to 384 by the creation of 89 jobs at Kiwibank and 22 in other departments. NZ Post says an unprecedented drop of 7% in domestic mail is behind the job cuts."

Postal snippets:

Review Nepal has reported that Nepal government’s Policies and programmes for the fiscal year 2010/2011 includes an effort at postal modernization.

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/c919a0/express_benchmarki) has announced the addition of the "Express Benchmarking 2009 - Poland" report to their offering. "

Press Release: "American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Frank Keating issued the following statement today praising the statements made by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk on negotiations regarding the competitiveness of the Japanese insurance market: "The United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk recently indicated that securing a level playing field for U.S. insurance providers remains a serious concern, and called on the Japanese government to address the issue expeditiously."

As Federal Computer Week has noted, "The U.S. Postal Service considered rewriting its Cobol-based product tracking system in Java but, with 15 years of business logic embedded in that Cobol code, USPS officials eventually realized that it would be a massive job. They opted instead to use a Micro Focus compiler to repurpose the code so it could run on a mainframe Linux system."


Logistics Management has reported that "in an effort to meet growing customer demand, FedEx Ground
 recently opened up a new distribution hub in Chicago."

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

  •  Arizona District ZIP Codes Realigned to Include "851" 3-Digit Service Area
    We revised 246.3.1, 346.3.1, 366.4.1, 446.3.1, 453.3.1.3, 466.4.4, 608.8.4.1, 705.6.2.3, and 705.8.13.1 to realign ZIP Code boundaries and establish new ZIP Codes for the Arizona District

  • Confirmation Services/eVS Barcoded Label Precertification Program
    We revised 503.9.4.3 and 503.10.4.4 to include a new Confirmation Services/eVS Barcoded Label Precertification Program.

  • Standard Mail Volume Incentive Program (aka Summer Sale)
    We added 709.2.0 which describes the Standard Mail Volume Incentive Program. Commonly known as the "Summer Sale," the Standard Mail Volume Incentive Program is a volume incentive program for qualified high-volume mailers of commercial or Nonprofit Standard Mail letters and flats mailed between July 1, 2009 and September 30, 2009. The program provides a 30 percent credit, to participating mailers, for qualifying volume exceeding their USPS-determined threshold level.

  • Extended Enrollment Period for the Standard Mail Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Program
    We revised 243.1.7.2 and 343.1.6.2 to extend the enrollment period for participation in the Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Program to August 1, 2009.

  • Labeling List Changes
    We revised Labeling List L010 to reflect changes in mail processing operations.

According to Direct, "There’s bad news for those who sell traditional marketing channels: Six in ten marketers surveyed by Forrester Research Inc. will increase their interactive marketing budgets by shifting funds from traditional media. Article Tools EmailSavePrintReprintMost Popular Articles-Mail Delivery, Open Rates Up, Clicks Down Wanda Gierhart Named CMO of Neiman Marcus Group Summer Reading Watch: Novel Looks Behind 419 Scams Interactive Marketing Will Cannibalize Traditional Channels: Forrester Q Interactive Acquires Postmaster Direct CMOs Say Budgets Cut By 20% Or More: Forrester advertisement And direct mail was cited by more marketers – 40% -- than any other channel as being one to cut, outranking newspapers (35%), magazines (28%) and television (12%). "

The U.S. Postal Service will conduct a one-for-one replacement of 6,500 vehicles with 1,000 E-85 ethanol-capable and 900 gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles to its delivery fleet, part of a vehicle purchase by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The balance of the GSA purchase for the Postal Service will be fuel-efficient, four-cylinder vehicles, which will replace aging vehicles at postal offices and facilities across the country. There was no cost to the Postal Service for the vehicles. GSA bore all purchase and distribution expenses.

The Royal Gazette has reported that "Government Minister Terry Lister will be able to make changes to postal rates without first getting permission from the House of Assembly, under new legislation passed through the House of Assembly yesterday. The Post Office Amendment Act 2009 will mean the Post Office can change rates in a more timely way — meaning it can compete better with rivals such as courier firms — the E-Commerce Minister told MPs."

WOWK-TV has asked: "The federal government came to the rescue of America's financial institutions, the automobile industry and others. But is it capable of returning its own U.S. Postal Service to profitability, or to the point where it at least breaks even? That is the billion-dollar question these days."

According to Federal News Radio, "Many federal agencies are going to get bigger as the Obama administration tackles the economic crisis. But the biggest kid on the federal block isn't one of them. That would be the U.S. Postal Service. Picture, if you can, the USPS as one of the contestants on that popular NBC reality show, "The Biggest Loser". Like the human contestants, the USPS needs to downsize to stay in the game and stay alive. So how did a popular federal operation that touches nearly every American household 6-days a week suddenly become too big? And how can it downsize?"

Procurement Leaders has reported that "The national postal supplier of Belgium, De Post - La Poste, has adopted a spend management solution to help with a transformational journey to maximise profitability and increase transparency before the liberalisation of postal services in 2011. The solution, supplied by Indian-based spend management company, Zycus, and, according to the company, will allow it to improve spend transparency to better identify cost-reduction opportunities."

Arabian Business has reported that "Bahrain residents will soon be able to pay their electricity and water bills using their mobile telephones, in the latest of a series of eGovernment initiatives on the island state. “We will launch the service before the end of August,” Mohamed Ali Al Qaed, CEO of Bahrain’s eGovernment Authority (eGA), told Arabian Business in an interview. The eGA already offers customers 17 services on their mobile phones, including real-time flight arrival and departure information, specialist medical services searches, and postal tracking."

At its closed session meeting on June 23, 2009, the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service voted unanimously to close to public observation its meeting to be held on July 15, 2009, in Washington, DC via teleconference. The Board determined that no earlier public notice was possible. Items Considered: 1. Financial Matters. 2. Strategic Issues. 3. Pricing. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance.

Hellmail has reported that:

Swiss Post is deploying 110 new gas-powered vehicles to ensure an environmentally friendly parcel delivery. 40 of them will be used at the newly opened Magenwil distribution base. The new gas-powered Fiat Ducato, which Swiss Post operates with the support of gasmobil Switzerland, produces 10% fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases compared to conventional diesel engines. Overall, Swiss Post uses 140 gas-powered delivery vehicles in Switzerland and thus has the largest gas-powered fleet in the country. For letter delivery, Swiss Post relies on low-emission electric scooters.
Maiga Dzervitis is to be the new chairman of the board at Latvian Post. Mr Dzervitis was born in 1953, is married, and graduated from the Riga Polytechnic Institute (now the Riga Technical University), studied at the George Washington University in the United States, and also studied in Latvia.

The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. rose 14 spots on Fortune magazine’s Global 500 companies list. Memphis-based FedEx is now ranked 200 on the list, up from 214 last year. Its $37.9 billion in revenues ranked it below Deutsche Post’s $97.7 billion, below the U.S. Postal Service at $74.9 billion and below United Parcel Service Inc., which posted $51.5 billion in revenues."

From PR Newswire: "PostNet, an international network of neighborhood business centers, announced today the launch of its national business conversion program designed to allow independent retail operators to diversify into PostNet's digital copy, printing and shipping franchise model."

July 8, 2009

ManxRadio has reported that "Post being sent to parts of London over the next few days is likely to be disrupted. The Communication Workers Union is carrying out a rolling programme of 24-hour stoppages between Wednesday and Friday Although Isle of Man Post Office employees are not involved in the industrial action and will forward all mail as normal, deliveries to most London postcode districts will be affected."

The Baltimore Sun has reported that "The Baltimore County Council has banned unsolicited advertising circulars that often end up littering neighborhoods and clogging area waterways. By a unanimous vote Monday, the council prohibited advertisers from delivering fliers to homes or leaving them on vehicles. The law, which takes effect in 45 days, does not apply to U.S. Postal Service deliveries or those by private mail services, and also exempts newspapers and campaign literature. Violators could face fines of up to $1,000. Councilman John Olszewski Sr., who sponsored the bill, said a day of volunteering at a creek cleanup in his district gave him insight into the mounting problem of discarded paper that eventually finds its way into streams, creeks and the bay. "This law is the direct result of many complaints from residents," he said. "

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Traditional media channels such as above-the-line advertising and direct mail have been most harshly cut in favour of online channels, as marketers seek to get the most out of drastically reduced budgets, according to a new survey by Forrester Research. The survey, which questioned a panel of chief marketing officers worldwide, discovered that 71 per cent of marketing budgets have been reduced in 2009 compared with last year, with more than half cut by at least 20 per cent."

Brand Republic has reported that "The part-privatisation of the Royal Mail will go ahead once the economy picks up, Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, reiterated yesterday. Lord Mandelson’s assertion, made to MPs on the Business and Enterprise Committee yesterday, comes amid growing skepticism about the prospects for the sale of 30% of Royal Mail ahead of the next General Election."

The Philippine Information Agency has reported that "Legislators may now have to ask Congressional amendment to the law governing the Philippine Posts Corporation (Philpost) following the public knowledge of its becoming irrelevant and inefficient."

  The Korea Times has reported that "With France and Singapore newly included, the express mail service (EMS) offered by Korea Post has expanded its global network for special deliveries to connect 176,000 post offices in 10 countries."

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

The volume of addressed mail in Switzerland continued to decrease in 2008.
Given the downward trend in volume, the French La Poste has announced a review of its medium-term strategy. In particular, the company will look over how to absorb the long-term decrease in mail and parcel consignments, which makes up three quarters of total revenue.
Schweizerische Post is anticipating a profit collapse of 27 per cent this year - at best.
Last Tuesday, Doris Bures (Social Democratic Party of Austria), the minister responsible for Österreichische Post, suspended the planned closure of 193 post office branches for three months.
TNT has increased pressure on trade unions and confirmed its intention to cut up to 11,000 jobs in the next three years in order to make savings of up to 395m euros per year.
Stralfors, a subsidiary company of the Swedish Posten AB in the information logistics sector, is breaking away from all activities in the areas of office supplies and computer accessories.
SingPost is taking over 30 per cent of shares in the American Postea Inc.
FedEx is sticking to its plans to open its new Central and Eastern European hub at Cologne/Bonn Airport next year.
Parcelforce Worldwide plans to expand further with new international services.
With weak demand on long-haul routes from China to Europe and North America, the Chinese domestic market is becoming increasingly attractive for logistics operators.
Deutsche Post has sold off its shares in Deutsche Bank and made a significant gain in doing so.
Greenlight Capital Group, one of the biggest shareholders in Österreichische Post, has reduced its share holdings to under 5 per cent.
Environmentally friendly driving has brought about considerable savings for Posten Norge.
Österreichische Post and the trade union have negotiated a collective agreement for new employees.
Alexander Kisseljow, head of the Russian post, has suggested that domestic aircraft manufacturers concentrate increasingly on developing a small aircraft. According to his statement there is great demand for aircraft that can carry up to 2.5 tonnes of freight and 10 people and - even more importantly - are able to land on soft ground.
DHL is on the verge of moving its flight operations in the USA from Wilmington to Cincinnati.
The Emirates Post implemented significant improvements to its parcel service to India at the end of June.
 

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.)

Bernama has reported that "A team of specialists at Azerbaijan's state postal service, Azerpocht, have attended an ICT course in Thailand, Azerbaijan's news agency (AzerTAc) reported Wednesday quoting the country's Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies as saying. Supported by the Asian Pacific Postal Union (APPU), the courses provided an insight into application of electronic services in the postal system."

Here's a story in the Washington Post you gotta read. It's about one of our own....long-time postal colleague Robert Brinkmann.

Bloomberg has reported that "London postal workers began a three- day strike in a dispute over workforce reductions at state- owned Royal Mail Group Plc. The industrial action started at 5 a.m. today and no talks with the company are scheduled." See also Reuters and BBC.

The Hill has reported that "Lawmakers from both parties are resisting the Postal Service’s attempts to end Saturday deliveries and close branches in order to make up its budget shortfall. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that she’s concerned that a reduction in service would lead to a loss in customers. Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that considers USPS funding, said she supports maintaining a rider in an appropriations bill that requires the USPS to deliver six days a week. That provision has been left intact in the House version of the financial services and general government spending bill. Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), who is shepherding the bill through the lower chamber, said that people depend on Saturday service and “would be greatly inconvenienced by missing a day’s delivery."

The International Business Times has reported that "London is facing a three day postal strike starting on Wednesday, 8 July to Friday, 10 July. Royal mail postal workers to go on three day strike.The Communications Union (CWU) that represents the postal workers called for the three day London strike over job and pay cuts and conditions."

Hellmail has reported that:

Lord Mandelson made it clear today that the government remains committed to the modernisation of the Royal Mail through the Postal Services Bill. He was asked a series of questions by the Enterprise Committee about the present status of the Bill and the future of Royal Mail which is saddled with a pension deficit said to be approaching £10bn.
The Portugese postal opertator, CTT said it would not be increasing the prices of transport and distribution of books, newspapers and periodic publications - even to the end of 2009, maintaining existing prices that came into force in August 2008. The price hold was agreed on Monday between the CTT, the Office of Social communication and the Portuguese Association of Press (API). The agreement forms a program of support and action to develop in cooperation with the regional Press.

The New York Times has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. aims to cut its airline fleet's greenhouse gas emissions 42 percent from 1990 levels during the next decade by using less fossil fuel in its jets. UPS currently operates the world's ninth-largest private airline fleet, with 228 jumbo jets in service and 314 more chartered aircraft. The Atlanta-based company said in a sustainability report today that it plans to invest in more fuel-efficient aircraft models, introduce biofuels, reduce runway idling and optimize flight routes, among other things, to slash its fuel costs and emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases."

The Business Standard has reported that "With the wage bill of postal department, having around 484,000 employees, expected to go up by 20 per cent in the current fiscal, the postal deficit for 2009-10 is set to go up by 41 per cent to Rs 5,395 crore over 2008-09. This is because the postal department is estimated to earn only Rs 6,135.74 crore in 2009-10 while its total working expenses for the period are pegged at Rs 11, 531 crore. Therefore, the balance of Rs 5,395 crore has been provided as the budgetary support. Postal deficit in the revised estimates 2008-09 stood at Rs 3,825 crore while the Budget estimates for 2008-09 had made allocations of only Rs 958 crore as postal deficit. Postal deficit is the gross non-plan expenditure less postal earnings."

Press Release: "GrayHair Software, the direct mail industry’s leader in mail tracking and Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) services, and Neopost USA Inc., an industry leading provider of mailing and shipping solutions, formed a strategic alliance to add mail tracking and IMb management into its new high-speed metering system."

According to the Portland Business Journal, "Perfect Output of Kansas City LLC is partnering with Earth Class Mail Corp. to offer businesses combined document-processing and mail-management services, prompted by their work serving Sprint Nextel Corp. Kansas-based Perfect Output will sell a document-management outsourcing package that will include Earth Class Mail’s online postal-mail technology as its centerpiece, Seattle-based Earth Class Mail said in a release."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

According to the Prescott Report, "Last Friday, July 3, the lower house of the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) passed an amendment to the German data protection law that incorporates the recommendations of the Interior Committee of July 1, 2009. It appears to be a widely held belief that it is likely that the upper house of the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundesrat) will adopt the legislation shortly and that the law would then come into effect on September 1, 2009. Bottom line for Database Marketing. Personal data may no longer be used for marketing purposes unless the individual consents to such use. There are very important exceptions to this sweeping prohibition, which would otherwise prove the death-knell for direct marketing. These exceptions will permit the industry to remain robust, although handicapped."

July 7, 2009

Press Release: "WIT Postal Logistics, LLC, (“WIT”) is pleased to announce the hiring of Richard L. Kropski as President. Rick joins WIT with a broad range of experience in the print and mail logistics business. Rick formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Postal Commerce."

Associated Press of Pakistan has reported that "Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani Tuesday directed the country’s postal services to provide speedy, efficient and better services to the people.Chairing a briefing of the Pakistan Post to review its performance and future plans at the Postal Staff College, the Prime Minister directed the Ministry to ensure delivery of cost-effective, client-responsive postal service to the people. Gilani directed the postal department to up-grade and modernize its infrastructure and office environment, compete with the private sector and re-engineer its business procedures by integrating automation in running the organization."

"Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "It's now clear that Royal Mail management is the biggest block to modernisation. When presented with the best deal we - or any other union - can offer, which is for three months of no industrial action and focused negotiation on modernisation, they refuse. "Management seem to be sulking because the prospect of privatisation and increased executive pay has disappeared. The Chairman Donald Brydon appears to be incapable of focusing on making Royal Mail a success in the public sector. He was clearly brought in to oversee a part sell-off and his skills are not suited to the current problems facing the company. "The problems that Royal Mail face are not going away. The pension deficit in particular needs to be resolved along with the increasingly important outstanding issues of modernisation. The government is allowing the same management that was criticised for failure to continue mis-managing the company. "Strike action in London is in response to Royal Mail's continuing executive action of cuts without modernisation. There's no machinery, no redesigning of deliveries and no improvement on industrial relations. The company has abandoned the final phase of the 2007 Pay and Modernisation agreement and is set on piling more work and pressure on already stretched staff."

The BBC has reported that "The taxpayer has been a "very generous banker" to the Royal Mail and needs paying back now, the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has said. Speaking to MPs on the Business and Enterprise Committee, Lord Mandelson said the public deserved a modern and reliable mail service."

"Halting the spread of HIV by 2015 is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To contribute towards this goal, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and UNAIDS together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNI Global have launched a global awareness campaign. Post offices in participating countries will display HIV prevention information which will reach the general public and postal employees."

According to Hellmail, "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."

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.K. government should use its unprofitable network of post offices to offer expanded banking services in isolated communities, a committee of lawmakers said.
 

Scheduled for Friday, July 10, 2009. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Edolphus Towns, Chairman Agenda: The Committee will hold a business meeting to mark up H.R. 22, which amends Chapter 89 of Title 5, United States Code, to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants’ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. The Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia Subcommittee reported H.R. 22 by voice vote on June 24, 2009. Time: 10:00 a.m. Location: Rayburn 2154

The Federal Times has reported that "Fewer than 2 percent of U.S. Postal Service employees who were offered a chance at early retirement last month accepted the offer — far less than postal management expected."

The following will appear in this Friday’s (July 10) DMM Advisory: From now through November 28, 2009 the following readability thresholds for Intelligent Mail barcodes applied to Letter and Flat automation-price pieces are in effect: a. A mailing with an Intelligent Mail barcode readability verification result of 70 percent or higher passes verification. b. A mailing with an Intelligent Mail barcode readability verification result of below 70 percent will have additional postage calculated based on 100 percent of the automation-price pieces in the mailing.

July 6, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

NewstalkZB has reported that "Croxley Stationery is going head to head with New Zealand Post by launching a postal service. The company's managing director Joe Naus says people will be able to buy Croxley mail stamps and pre-paid envelopes from everyday stores such as the Warehouse, Whitcoulls and local stationery stores. He says the prices are the same level as New Zealand Post charges but Croxley stamps and envelopes will be available from a wide range of outlets, compared with those provided by NZ Post. Mr Naus says Croxley has brokered an access deal with New Zealand Post, enabling Croxley mail to be delivered through the postal system."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "In its uncompromising determination to expose and weed out corrupt elements, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has dismissed three of its employees for the alleged involvement in corrupt practices"

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/. A Look at India Post. How do developing countries’ postal services cope with the tension between their universal service obligation and financial viability? Looking at today’s India Post the OIG blog asks, “What kind of a business model should India Post adopt? Do you think India Post’s experience of providing universal service has any lessons for the U.S. Postal Service?” 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.

From PR Newswire: "Fredric V. Rolando assumed the presidency of the 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) today, following the retirement of William H. Young after more than 6 1/2 years as head of the postal union. Rolando, 56, a member of Sarasota, Florida NALC Branch 2148, moved up from his position as the union's executive vice president under terms of the union's constitution."

The Western Morning News has reported that "ministers will this week be urged to take practical measures to secure the future of the Post Office network. A Commons inquiry into how to ensure branches can survive will stress the need for practical measures to attract more customers. It follows the controversial closure programme which saw some 140 Post Office branches axed across Devon and Cornwall last year. Devon County Council pledged earlier this year that it would provide grants to 15 village shops in order to help them to stay open. Countryside campaigners have stressed the importance of branches to community life, particularly for the elderly." [EdNote: What ever happened to senior centers?]

According to Dead Tree Edition, "The laws of economics say the U.S. Postal Service needs to reduce the number of post offices. But the laws of the United States may say otherwise. As USPS embarks on a study to determine which of approximately 3,000 large post offices can be eliminated, it is seeking the Postal Regulatory Commission's blessing on the legality of its efforts. The Postal Service is concerned about running afoul of the law requiring it to “maintain[s] postal facilities of such character and in such locations, that postal patrons throughout the Nation will, consistent with reasonable economies of postal operations, have ready access to essential postal services.”

Shares.ie has reported that "A new option for securing the future of Northern Rock and Royal Mail has been put forward: the formation of a 'Post Bank'. The Communication Workers' Union, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Unite union are among those supporting using state-owned Northern Rock as the basis for a new postal banking service. In a report out today it proposes running a postal bank through the Post Office network, reviving the latter and providing support for communities and small- and medium-sized businesses. The coalition argues such a move would help provide more diversity to the banking sector and would help the government's campaign against financial exclusion."

Reuters has reported that "Deutsche Post AG has sold its entire stake in Deutsche Bank AG, the logistics group said on Monday, ending a brief period when it was one of the bank's biggest shareholders. Post Chief Executive Frank Appel said in a statement the move cleared the way for the German post office turned global logistics group to concentrate on its core business."

"House members are spending millions in taxpayer funds on email and other electronic outreach to voters, often in ways that avoid their traditional rules on constituent communications. During the nine months ended March 31, which included the run-up to the last election, House members spent about $3.5 million from their office accounts on electronic outreach, according to a Wall Street Journal review of expense records. Congressional rules bar lawmakers from using their free-mail privilege -- known as franking -- to send mass mailings through the U.S. Postal Service in the 90 days before an election. One goal of those limits is to curtail the advantage of incumbency and to discourage entrenched lawmakers from driving up taxpayer costs in a flurry of pre-election appeals to potential voters. But rules for email, congressional Web sites and social-media tools are far less restrictive, and in some cases nonexistent."

According to Online Media, "Based on current trends, Internet ad spending will rise to $56.8 billion this year, or 12.6% of the global advertising economy. That means the Internet will pick up more than two points of worldwide advertising share, this year, and its momentum is only expected to accelerate. According to the Publicis' ZenithOptimedia Group, "most of this growth will come from paid search, which is an ideal method of reaching consumers looking for bargains. In the U.S., we predict search advertising to grow 20.0% in 2009, while traditional display grows 3.0% and classified grows just 1.8%."

Hellmail has reported that "Spanish postal operator Correos has announced that as part of the modernisation of its service with more than 2.200 multiservice points, it now offers 'Postal International Express' through all these outlets, with a guaranteed delivery date for urgent mail destined for the United States, China, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea. These countries belong to the “Kahala Post Group” (KPG), the postal network with major world coverage, of which CORREOS has been a member since 2006. Correos said that due to its integration with the KPG international alliance, it can offer customers an exact date for delivery. It said the service would be well received in terms of commercial relations between these countries, both for the export of products and for the import and distribution of the mail on the part of Correos. The fully tracked service can be accessed by customers through the internet."

Xinhua has reported that "China's postal revenue rose 13.1 percent year on year in the first half of this year to an estimated 76.5 billion yuan (11.2 billion U.S. dollars), according to China's State Post Bureau."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "GeoPost, the express parcel arm of French Groupe La Poste, and Continental Air Express Pvt Ltd, an associate company of the Vohra family owned Continental Carriers Group, have announced the establishment of a joint venture company. The new company will be called DPD Continental Pvt. Ltd and will offer inbound and outbound express parcel services under the DPD brand to customers in India."

The Coventry Telegraph has reported that "postal services in Coventry and Warwickshire could be disrupted after union leaders revealed they would be balloting for industrial action. A national dispute at Royal Mail - which will see thousands of postal workers in London take part in three days of strikes this week - looks set to spill over in to Coventry and Warwickshire in the next few days."

Baltimore Breaking News has reported that "A Baltimore County councilman wants to curtail unsolicited advertising circulars, claiming the papers litter neighborhoods and can eventually clog area waterways. Councilman John Olszewski has drafted a bill that prohibits circulars from being dropped off at homes in the county. The County Council is expected to vote Monday on the proposal. If passed, the law would take effect in 45 days. The law will not apply to U.S. Postal Service deliveries or those by a private mail service."

CanadianDriver has reported that "Japan’s postal service will deploy 40 electric vehicles this fiscal year, with the first units launching later this month, according to the Green Car Congress. Japan Post Service has signed 5-year leases for 20 units each of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Subaru Plug-In Stella. The cars will be used mainly in the company’s branches in Kanagawa Prefecture, which has a charging infrastructure."

The Financial Mail has reported that "Royal Mail management has hit out at criticism from Lord Mandelson that the organisation has failed to modernise, arguing that the Business Secretary is simply trying to deflect criticism for postponing plans for a partial privatisation. Business Secretary: Lord Mandelson OTHER STORIES Skipton to take over Newcastle BS From buy-to-let to fraud and a lost £100k Bank may ask to print more money Passengers sue easyJet over 31 hour delay Price rise warning on T-Mobile takeover It believes his attack on Royal Mail's industrial relations record is outdated and an attempt to blame problems on management."

The New Nation has reported that "Bangladesh Postal Department has taken steps to introduce mobile money order service in the country's post offices for reaching money to the clients within an hour."

The New Vision has reported that "Kenya is the most corrupt county in the East African region followed by Uganda, the latest Bribery Index report has said. Postal companies are seen as the least corrupt in Uganda and Kenya and microfinance in Tanzania."

The Times has reported that "The chairman of Royal Mail’s pension trustees is considering plans to close its retirement scheme to existing members after legislation to part-privatise the postal service was shelved last week."

Reuters has reported that "Package delivery giant and U.S. economic bellwether FedEx Corp is seeing signs for a potential turnaround in the second half as production seemed to be picking up again."

July 5, 2009

Folio has reported that:

  • The U.S. government has asked a New York bankruptcy court to deny Quebecor World’s plan of reorganization because it releases third parties from environmental penalties and because the company owes unpaid taxes.

  • The first half numbers are in, and according to MediaFinder.com─an online database of U.S. and Canadian magazines—187 new titles have launched thus far in '09. But unfortunately, the frequency of these launches wasn't enough to counteract the number of titles shuttered. Of the 279 that folded, main category culprits include regional interest magazines, which took a dive and saw 27 titles fold, like Denver Living and Florida InsideOut. However, regional interest publications were also the top category for new launches at 12. Other categories on the decline include construction, lifestyle and business with 18, 14 and 10 folded titles, respectively. Since the end of March, 77 magazines have launched and 184 have folded, compared with 110 launches and 95 closings in the first quarter of 2009. A bright spot, if there is one, is that after the print editions folded, 43 titles continued to live on the Web.

Network World has reported that "The U.S. government is releasing $4 billion worth of funds to pay for the first round of broadband projects mandated by the economic stimulus package passed earlier this year." [EdNote: And the USPS gets bupkus.]

Easier.com has reported that "Parcelforce Worldwide has launched a new suite of cost effective international services following an 11 per cent rise in export deliveries in the past year. With UK companies taking advantage of the weak pound to seek out new market opportunities, Parcelforce Worldwide has seen strong export growth across the world. Exporting hotspots include EU ‘accession’ countries in Eastern Europe, major Asian destinations and Western Europe, where there has been a marked increase in the amount of parcels sent from the UK."

According to Hellmail, "Royal Mail's interpretation of modernisation is one based on massive restructuring both to the sorting network and the nature of employment. The CWU's view is that it wants to check the small print in more detail and debate what should or should not close. The Royal Mail, concerned that it may miss the bus if it doesn't push through widespread change seems in no mood to chew the cud. Many within (and outside of) the union believe that Royal Mail should remain a public institution, paid for from the public purse but competition is here to stay and whether through access agreements or other means, will continue to plunder the most lucrative areas of Royal Mail's customer base or else leap into entirely new areas that have arisen since the post business was opened to all. Keeping Royal Mail in the public sector will not, on its own, solve all the problems faced by the company and could just saddle the country with not only the pension deficit but the cost of the USO as well. It still needs investment, something that isn't for the moment, on offer."

The Rocky Mountain Telegram has reported that "Postal union officials said Thursday that they are concerned that local carrier’s jobs might be eliminated if curbside delivery inside the city limits comes to fruition."

July 4, 2009

According to Daily Finance, "Newspaper publishers hope that as the economy recovers, so will their advertising, which has been falling at a rate of 20 percent or more year-over-year. Many experts believe that there will be no recovery. Too many print marketing dollars have moved to the internet and won't be back." [EdNote: Gee, that has a familiar "postal" ring.]

As the Business Insider has noted, "newspapers have had a rough 2009. But you may not quite appreciate the magnitude of the collapse. So far this year: 105 newspapers have been shuttered. 10,000 newspaper jobs have been lost. Print ad sales fell 30% in Q1 '09. 23 of the top 25 newspapers reported circulation declines between 7% and 20%. What happened? The economy collapsed and advertising budgets went with it, accelerating a process already underway: the Internet's erosion of the entire newspaper industry."

Editorsweblog.org has reported that "This week, a tax break for newspapers in Washington state went into effect, giving print publications a 40 percent reduction in the state business tax. Nicolas Sarkozy of France has taken the approach of compelling the government to pony up 600 million euros, in addition to the millions of euros in subsidies newspapers already receive. Former Scotsman editor Tim Luckhurst has argued Scotland's papers need some form of state assistance. In the case of Washington state, not all newspapers are suffering to the same degree, but a little extra cash is nothing to sneeze at. [EdNote: Soooo, when is the Congress gonna do the right thing by the Postal Service?]

According to Le Temps, Swiss Post is looking for solutions to avoid rate increases.

According to E-Commerce Times, "Countless online shoppers are asking themselves whether paying a premium for express shipping and handling fees is really necessary. After all, there have been many times when they've ordered an item for the "week-to-10-day" delivery and received it within three business days without paying the premium."

NewsChannel34 has reported that "US Senator Chuck Schumer is on board with local post office workers who are against a consolidation move. The USPS is having major financial problems and is looking at possibly doing away with mail sorting in Binghamton and moving that Syracuse. Local postal workers say the move doesn't make sense and it will take longer to get your mail. Schumer is asking the USPS to reconsider the move, something it has done in the past."

July 3, 2009

Hellmail has reported that "The announcement this week that TNT Post is to lay off a staggering 11,000 employees may have been avoided had the union accepted a pay cut - it has been revealed. The Dutch-based company, which is seeing falling mail volume, and intense competition, suggested that to protect jobs for the next three years, postal workers take a pay cut of 15% but this was rejected outright by the union. TNT says it now has no other option but to lay off 11,000 workers to save around 395 million euros and that it was now too late for the union to try to reverse the decision. The company recently carried out its own survey of employees to find out how many would be prepared to take a pay cut. 74% said they would choose a pay cut rather than losing their jobs."

The Staten Island Advance has reported that "Mail bound off Staten Island will no longer be processed at the Manor Road Post Office, the Postal Service said, in an unpopular move the federal agency telegraphed months ago. As of July 20, nearly all mail originating on Staten Island will travel to the distribution center in East New York, Brooklyn, where it will be postmarked with that borough's stamp."

As the North Fort Myer Neighbor has noted, "There are many advantages to using bulk business mail. The most important advantage is that bulk postage rates are significantly lower than single-piece rates. That can save you a lot of money. Mailing in bulk requires a permit and there is a 200-piece minimum per mailing. Consider this. You can mail Simplified Addressing format (e.g., "Postal Customer") for only 13.9 cents per piece if you mail to all delivery points on certain delivery routes or all Post Office boxes at any Post Office. The majority of delivery routes in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties qualify for this type of mailing. The size of the mailpiece can range from as small as 3 1/2 x 5 to as large as 6 1/8 x 11 1/2. Not only is this method economical, it is also easy. There are no address lists to purchase; each piece is simply addressed to Postal Customer ECRWSS."

Swissinfo.ch has reported that "Swiss Post says a banking licence would help increase its financial potential as profits are expected to drop by more than a quarter this year. Chairman Claude B gl said it was unfortunate that the government came out against granting such a permit, since the company already had the necessary the know-how. He is hopeful that parliament might change its mind, but added that Swiss Post was also willing to cooperate with partners in the banking business."

The Ghana News Agency has reported that "Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, on Friday called for the immediate resuscitation of the Instant Money Transfer (IMT) services, operated by the Ghana Post in order to generate income for the cash trapped organization."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Insolvent German retailer Arcandor AG's mail-order retail unit, Quelle GmbH, was handed a lifeline by federal and state governments. The Arcandor unit needs the loan because of upfront costs associated with the mail-order business. Catalogs must be printed and distributed and products stocked before customer orders are received. Quelle has said it needs the money to finance the printing of its fall-winter catalog."

According to MLive, "The idea of dropping a day, however, is nothing new. Grand Rapids Postmaster Chris Tinkham acknowledged discussion of eliminating Saturday mail delivery continues. But the topic has remained on the periphery of public attention ever since, with more recent reports indicating the debate continues on a national level. In April, The Press editorialized in favor of dropping six-day delivery, noting that in an age of widespread electronic communication, its need is "long past."

The Institut D'economie Industrielle (IDEI) Universit Toulouse 1 Sciences Sociales has issued its Call for Papers for the sixth conference on Regulation, Competition and Universal Service in the Postal Sector to be held in Toulouse on March 18-19, 2010.

The DM Bulletin has reported that "A Tory government would revive plans to sell a stake in Royal Mail, party insiders told the Financial Times yesterday."

DMM Advisory: The latest USPS Intelligent Mail Services Weekly Update has been posted on this site.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

As the Postalnews Blog has reported, "The Postal Service announced today that the New York Metro Area based in Flushing NY is to be merged into the Northeast Area, which has offices in Windsor CT. NY Metro is responsible for New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and part of New Jersey. The Northeast Area office currently handles the New England states, and upstate New York."

The Telegraph has noted that "With one swoop a three-pronged rescue plan to part-privatise Royal Mail, for the Government to take on its pension burden and to relax the restrictive regulatory regime that hampers its commerciality was put on ice."

July 2, 2009

PMG Jack Potter has announced the selection of Steve Forte as the new Senior Vice President, Operations, replacing Bill Galligan, whose retirement was announced yesterday. Steve, who most recently served as Vice President, Operations, New York Metro Area, will have overall responsibility for Engineering, Facilities, Sustainability, Network Operations, and Delivery and Post Office Operations. Tim Haney, Vice President, Area Operations, Northeast Area, will serve as acting Vice President for New York Metro Operations. In addition to day-to-day management of operational and administrative functions throughout the area, his assignment will include the development and implementation of plans to transition responsibility for the administrative functions performed by the New York Metro Area office into an expanded Northeast Area Operations office. The transition is expected to be completed by October 1, when Tim will resume his permanent duties as Vice President, Area Operations, Northeast Area, with responsibility over an increased geographic area. While Tim is away from his regular assignment, Linda Kingsley, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Transition, will serve as acting Vice President, Area Operations, Northeast Area and Marc McCrery, who has just returned from completing the MIT Sloan Fellows Program, will be the acting Senior Vice President, Strategy and Transition.

The Guardian has reported that "Lord Mandelson today accused postal workers of adopting a "head-in-the-sand" approach to reform and condemned their plans to go on strike. Speaking a day after the government abandoned its controversial bill to part-privatise the Royal Mail before the general election, the business secretary said that the need for modernisation in the company had not gone away."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 


"Postal Product Innovation" by L. A. Pintsov and A. Obrea, Pitney Bowes Inc.
 

Reuters has reported that "Under-pressure Dutch logistics firm TNT said on Thursday it was open to discussing a new labour accord at its mail division after a survey showed staff would be willing to consider pay and benefit cuts. In April, postal union members rejected a draft accord that included wage cuts, prompting the Dutch company to raise the prospect of thousands of forced redundancies. But Europe's second largest mail and express delivery company said the survey showed employees would work under less favourable conditions in exchange for temporary job guarantees. TNT was therefore open to restarting negotiations with unions, board member Harry Koorstra told Dutch news agency ANP in an interview."

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

  • A Postal Service internal study group on five-day-a-week delivery, led by Sam Pulcrano, vice president for sustainability, will hold meetings with some of its unions and eventually with customer groups as the group works under a tight timeframe to produce a report.
  • The U. S. Postal Service this week reported that a Gallup poll published on June 26, 2009, found 95 percent of Americans believe it s vital for USPS to remain in business, with two-thirds of respondents saying it s very important to them, personally, for the Postal Service to survive. Americans also prefer the Postal Service s proposal to reduce mail deliveries to five days a week as the most acceptable step toward meeting the financial challenges facing USPS, the USPS said.
  • The U.S. Postal Service s Office of Inspection General (IG) recently concluded an audit focusing on color-coding of Standard Mail and mail condition reporting at the West Palm Beach Processing and Distribution Center. This was the first in a series of audits looking at the new Standard Mail color-coding policy.
  • The Postal Service has set an aggressive target for reducing work hours by 100 million hours this fiscal year, a goal it is likely to meet and could exceed. Through the first half of the year, the USPS had shed 58 million work hours, with the April numbers also showing a steady decline. This work-hour reduction program is the cornerstone of the Postal Service s goal to cut $5.9 billion in costs this year in an effort to offset declining mail volume and revenues.
  • PRC approves revised high-density standard mail flats prices. USPS meets with APWU regarding consolidations.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on 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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DMM Advisory:  High Density Standard Mail Flats Prices. The Postal Regulatory Commission completed its review of our lower 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 decreasing the high density pound prices. These changes do not affect our drop-ship incentives.

The BBC has noted that "The government has denied that its decision to shelve plans to sell part of Royal Mail was taken because of the threat of a backbench rebellion. Ministers insist it was due to a fall in the value of the postal market and a lack of bidders. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced that the proposal was being put on hold on Wednesday. He insisted part-privatisation was merely being postponed until market conditions improved. But the government is being urged to explain how it will rescue the Royal Mail's pension fund." See also The Telegraph, the Financial Times, and The Mirror.

The Times has reported that "Thousands of postal workers across London are preparing to walk out on strike next week creating further havoc for Royal Mail which today was told by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, that the proposed sale of a 30 per cent stake in the business had been shelved. Postal workers belonging to the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will stage a three-day walkout across the capital from next Wednesday to protest over modernisation plans for Royal Mail. A Royal Mail spokesman said: Customers will not understand how the union can claim to support modernisation but then announce strike action to halt existing efforts to modernise Royal Mail in London. The CWU s strike action can only hurt customers and drive them away, particularly in the vitally important online fulfilment and packets areas, which are crucial to securing a successful future for the business and its employees, but where large customers have a real choice to use other operators. The CWU has posted its own version of the story on its web site.

Here's an interesting footnote from the Financial Times to the British effort to sell Royal Mail to private interests: "The British government renationalised the country's most prestigious railway line yesterday, as the recession continues to force Gordon Brown's ruling Labour party to return to its socialist roots. Mr Brown has presided over the state takeover of large sections of the British banking system and yesterday added the London to Edinburgh main line to its portfolio of holdings. National Express, the holder of the franchise to run the train service, was losing money and said it would walk away at the end of the year. Britain's trains have been run by private companies since the 1990s."

The Guardian has asked: "Instead of selling off parts of Royal Mail, why not seize the opportunity to create a new national, locally based bank?"

AFP has reported that "The government is being urged to rescue the Royal Mail's pension fund on Thursday after plans to semi-privatise the state-owned postal operator were abandoned. Ministers had earlier intended to pay off the fund's eight billion pounds deficit, as part of the deal. Both Labour and Tory peers demanded urgent action over the future of the fund while the CWU union which represents postal workers said it was critical that the government address the issue and not "walk away." See also Brand Republic and Sky News.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Dutch postal company TNT NV said Thursday that some workers at its mail unit would choose pay cuts in return for a job guarantee, which should convince union members to reconsider an earlier rejected labor agreement. TNT Post said it conducted a survey among 23,000 members of its operational staff and said that the results showed that 74% of 7,683 respondents would choose to forfeit working conditions for a job guarantee." [EdNote: Let's see . . . . Take the guarantee . . . . Or remain intransigent with the hope mail volume will come back again.]

Bloomberg has reported that "TNT NV, Europe s second-biggest express-delivery company, will tell employees today how it plans to reduce spending in its home market of the Netherlands, including eliminating jobs, to deal with falling mail volumes."

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has reported that "at a meeting at USPS Headquarters on June 23, the Postal Service briefed APWU Clerk Craft officers [PDF | Powerpoint presentation] about plans to consolidate operations in large stations and branches. Managers also provided the union with an updated list [Excel spreadsheet] of 3,243 stations and branches in Level-24-and-above installations that are being reviewed. At the briefing, postal officials said that among the stations under review, 740 already had been identified as candidates for consolidation and/or closing. Managers said they anticipated only a 60-day process for making these decisions, including a 10-day window for input from affected customers." A copy of the USPS' Station/Branch Optimization and Consolidation presentation has been posted on this site.

Hellmail has reported that "Following an official announcement by Lord Mandelson that the British government has for the moment given up on trying to find a strategic partnership for Royal Mail, the growing pension deficit within the group, said to be approaching at least 9bn, could see far-reaching measures brought in to help balance the company's books."

July 1, 2009   

The Postmaster General announced today that Bill Galligan, Senior Vice President of Operations, will be retiring at the end of July, after more than 39 years with the Postal Service.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

The BBC has reported that "There is "no prospect" of the partial sell-off of the Royal Mail going ahead in the "current circumstances", Lord Mandelson has told peers. The business secretary announced in the House of Lords that the state of the economy had made it "impossible" to complete a deal on favourable terms." See also The Telegraph.

Advertising Age has reported that "The march of technology has disrupted the implicit contract that has driven the media business for a hundred years or more: Publishers/programmers provide quality content; advertisers help subsidize the content and, in return, get to show commercial messages to audiences; and consumers enjoy the content and accept the ads that subsidize all or some of the cost."

Hellmail has reported that "Parcelforce Worldwide has launched a new suite of cost effective international services following an 11 per cent rise in export deliveries in the past year. With UK companies taking advantage of the weak pound to seek out new market opportunities, Parcelforce Worldwide has seen strong export growth across the world. Exporting hotspots include EU accession countries in Eastern Europe, major Asian destinations and Western Europe, where there has been a marked increase in the amount of parcels sent from the UK. And in response to the changing needs of UK companies, Parcelforce Worldwide has enhanced its international portfolio to give its customers a greater range of services to meet their specific global delivery needs."

According to MLive, "Early birds, take note. Those of you who rush by a post office box to mail a stack of bills before sunrise can slow down. Ditto for those who squeeze the task into their lunch hour. As long as mail makes the 6 p.m. collection deadline for boxes by post office buildings, it doesn't matter what time it's dropped off. It turns out, it hasn't mattered for a very long time -- despite the list of specific collection times that, until recently, were listed on the drop boxes."

LiveMint has reported that "Geopost, a subsidiary of French state-run postal services firm La Poste, on Wednesday announced its partnership with Continental Air Express to set up a joint venture firm offering express parcel services in India."

First Coast News has reported that "Some Miramar, Florida residents received a slip from the mailman last week saying they had a package waiting for them at the Post Office. Little did they know that trying to retrieve it might arouse a different kind of package. Instead of calling the Post Office as instructed on a little pink slip left in mail boxes, the number on the paper actually rang to a phone sex chat line."

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

The post companies of Denmark and Sweden have completed preparations for their merger. It appears that Sweden s Posten is emerging as the stronger partner, despite the agreed 50:50 distribution of votes.
May saw the business trend for China Post Group improve further and almost reach "old" growth rates.
"La Poste will remain under 100% government ownership." In an interview with daily Le Monde (27.06), CEO Jean-Paul Bailly made a renewed attempt at assuaging critics of the postal reform, while at the same time underlining the importance of transforming the post into a plc.
Last week the Norwegian parliament confirmed the subsidising of unprofitable services carried out by Posten Norge.
Royal Mail could be facing a 40m GBP - approx. 47m euros - fine, should a report published by the Daily Mail (22.06) turn out to be true. The paper claims that managers of the British post manipulated official delivery time tests and produced embellished results for the last four years. The same managers received considerable bonus payments due to the positive development of delivery times.
The Brazilian transport and logistics market has shown signs of a marked concentration trend for the last three years.
Mail order business in the Nordic countries generated a turnover of 7.6bn euros in total during 2008. According to a recent study by Sweden s Posten AB, this represents 4% of the entire retail segment s turnover. 12 million Scandinavians used mail order last year. One in five (21%) buys goods on the internet or from a catalogue every month. While the Danes top the mail ordering list at 33%, only 4% of Finnish people use mail order on a monthly basis (Norway 26%, Sweden 20%). On average, goods worth 634 euros are ordered every year (Denmark 712 , Norway 703 , Sweden 564 , Finland 557 ).
FedEx has signed an early extension to its extensive cooperation agreement with Portuguese express, transport and logistics company Grupo Rangel (2007 turnover: approx. 105m euros).
Germany s Association of Courier, Express and Postal Service Providers (Bd- KEP e.V.) has reported a case of continued abuse of a market dominating position by Deutsche Post to the Federal Cartel Office.
In view of declining subscriber numbers and the consequences of the economic crisis, Latvia s post Latvijas Pasts is considering cutting the newspaper delivery days to five per week. However, the post said a decision had not yet been reached and negotiations with publishers were still being held.
KazPost in Kazakhstan ended 2008 with a positive result.
The Russian Post has appealed against a decision by a Moscow court in connection with the "disappearance" of 1bn RUB.

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.)

Two items of interest from related media:

  • Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is predicting that the McClatchy Co. will default on at least part of its debt by the end of 2009 or in early 2010, according to a note to investors released on Tuesday. In the note S&P said it has lowered its rating for the company from "CC" to "SD" for "selective default," given concerns about several specific debt issues. The news comes just a few days after McClatchy revealed that a debt exchange had fallen considerably short of its goal. McClatchy has 30 daily newspapers, including The Miami Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

  • The radio business was hit with a barrage of bad news this week, with credit downgrades and speculations of bankruptcy for big broadcasters. The destruction derby started with credit downgrades for Radio One and Citadel, which are both now considered to be at serious risk of defaulting on their substantial debts.

Graphic Arts Online has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is offering interested parties the chance to put their stamp on a piece of Chicago history. The Postal Service will conduct a public auction of the former Chicago Main Post Office Building, Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 1 pm."

 From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
New Postal Product ,
31374 31380 [E9 15469] [TEXT]  [PDF]
PROPOSED RULES
Periodic Reporting Rules ,
31386 [E9 15499] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to Hellmail, "The future of postal services in the UK actually covers much more than the more obvious issues surrounding Royal Mail, even if it is this that occupies much of the headlines. One area is the urgent need for new regulation, whether or not the government has chosen to shelve the Postal Services Bill or not."

According to UPI, "The British government is reconsidering plans to sell part of the Royal Mail, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said. Government officials have discussed injecting capital into the service through a bond issue or debt restructuring, The Times of London reported Tuesday. Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee John McFall has said restructuring debt or converting the Royal Mail's debt into equity could keep the government from the plan of privatizing 30 percent of the service." See also the BBC.

From Marketwire: "Stamps.com has announced the release of Version 8.0 of its PC Postage software. Version 8.0 features a redesigned and improved user interface for displaying a customer's print history and other postage information. This overhauled interface is also now accessible from any web browser interface. Version 8.0 also allows customers to print pre-paid return shipping labels as PDF documents and adds new advanced Certified Mail features."

Austrian Times has reported that "Ministers are planning eleventh hour talks with national postal service (Post) chiefs in a bid to stop them closing more than 150 post offices. Vienna newspaper Der Standard reported today that Post wanted to close 120-150 unprofitable post offices in small towns and rural areas and had already found "partners" such as convenience shops and service stations that would provide basic postal service."

WBOC16 has reported that "Dozens of post offices across Delaware will stop accepting bulk mail beginning Tuesday afternoon, the United States Postal Service said. In efforts to centralize service, only facilities in Georgetown, Dover, Newark and New Castle will accept bulk mail, spokesman Ray Daiutolo said. Previously, customers could drop off bulk mail at just about any post office across the First State."