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Postal News from September 2009

September 30, 2009

Postalnews Blog has noted that "The postal service has published unaudited financial results for the month of August showing a net loss of $721 million for the month, resulting in a fiscal year to date loss of $6.3 billion with one month left to report. Mail volume continued to decline, coming in at 13.2% below August a year ago. The steepest declines continued to be in standard mail, down 18.4%, periodicals, down 14.2%, and package services, down 18.1%. First class volumes were down by 7.8%. Total revenue was down by just under a half billion dollars for the month, and down by $5.9 billion for the year to date. Expenses were reduced by 10.6% for the month, but are down by just 2.7% for the year to date, a reduction of less than $2 billion."

Dead Tree Edition has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has announced the possible closing or downsizing of 15 processing and distribution centers in the past two weeks, part of a newly aggressive effort to rationalize its mail-processing network. While proposed post-office closings get most of the media attention, 32 of the much larger processing and distribution centers are the subject of Area Mail Processing studies (AMPS) that could result in some or all of their work going to other P&DCs. USPS has approved at least partial consolidation of 11 other P&DCs this quarter, as shown by its AMPS Web site. The site links to reports detailing the proposed and recently approved consolidations."

TechCentral has reported that "The SA Post Office said on Tuesday its banking unit will become a separate company. Postbank would be “corporatised” in 2010 as a stand-alone company within the Sapo group."

From PR-Inside: "Postal Services in Australia - a new market research report on companiesandmarkets.com."

ABC.az has reported that "Azerpocht Ltd (a postal company of the Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies) is planning to put into operation a range of new postal offices."

From Marketwire: "The Bermuda Post Office, under the Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce, and RPost®, the leader in managed outbound messaging with its flagship Registered Email® services announced they have entered into a partnership to offer Registered Email services as an official Bermuda Postal Service to Bermuda's domestic and international businesses. The RPost service will allow Bermuda Post business customers to dramatically reduce their annual communications costs by offering a viable electronic alternative to high-cost courier and overnight delivery services."

The Kapuskasing Times has reported that "the federal government last week renewed its commitment to keeping rural and small town post offices open, and officials in Constance Lake are wondering where that leaves them."

The BBC has reported that "Labour delegates have backed calls for the government to take responsibility for Royal Mail's pension deficit. The government had planned to take the £8bn deficit on, as part of plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, which were shelved in July. In an emergency resolution at the party conference, the government was urged to "resolve this matter immediately".

The Associated Press has reported that "Up against a midnight deadline to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate raced to pass legislation Wednesday that temporarily would extend spending on most federal programs at current levels while raising Congress' budget by 6 percent. A vote on the measure to keep the government for one more month was set for late afternoon. It was expected to win easy approval, with President Barack Obama virtually certain to sign it before day's end. The legislation also would patch over problems in the struggling postal service and pay for soon-to-expire highway programs for an additional month as well. The stopgap measure is needed because Congress has failed to complete work on any of the 12 annual spending bills for agency budgets....The Postal Service could delay $4 billion in payments due next month to a health care fund for retirees. Some $5.4 billion is supposed to be paid, but officials say they don't have enough money to make the payment."

The Daily Mail has reported that "Plans to let Royal Mail put up the price of a First Class stamp by a record 3p have been slammed by business leaders and consumers. The Daily Mail revealed today how the industry regulator is planning to allow the Royal Mail to impose a series of inflation-busting increases. First class post would go up 3p to 42p while second class would rise by 2p to 32p."

Marketing Direct Magazine has reported that "American Express is launching its biggest marketing campaign in more than four years to reposition the brand as being more contemporary and customer-friendly.The TV, press and outdoor campaign will be supported by direct marketing activity, created by OgilvyOne, and a dedicated website. The three-month push will span 27 countries; a separate campaign is planned for the US."

The Las Vegas Sun has reported that "Mail for Las Vegas residents who have moved and filed forwarding addresses will soon be trucked eight hours to Phoenix for additional processing and then returned here, under a new U.S. Postal Service cost-cutting plan that will delay mail delivery by a day or longer."

Business Report has noted that "The SA Post Office had continued to deliver profits, it said yesterday as it released its financial results for the year to March. Although profits declined slightly as a result of the depressed economy and the drop in postal volumes, the results showed the Post Office "continued to deliver steadily improving trading profits since its turnaround in 2004."

From PRWeb: "Earth Class Mail Corporation (ECM) announces that Sarah G. Carr, the company's president, has been promoted to CEO. Carr joined ECM in September, 2008, as chief operating officer and was promoted to president in June, 2009. Carr has more than 20 years of executive experience as president of Print Inc., COO of Bowne Global Solutions, SVP of Operations at Thomson Financial and VP of Strategy and Business Development at the Thomson Corporation."

Bloomberg has reported that "A 2007 Royal Mail national walkout cost the London economy 300 million pounds ($478 million), according to the city’s Chamber of Commerce. A series of local strikes this year are driving away business customers like Hawkins and undermining government-owned Royal Mail’s effort to compete with rivals such as Business Post Group Plc and Netherlands-based TNT NV."

The Telegraph has reported that "The Royal Mail has asked to increase the price of a first-class stamp by an inflation-busting 3p, taking it from 39p to 42p. It has asked for a second class stamp to jump by 2p – again by more than the rate of inflation – to take the cost from 30p to 32p. The request is laid out in a document published by Postcomm, the industry regulator. Though the price increases, which would take effect in April 2010 are subject to consultation, Postcomm has provisionally agreed to them."

From GlobalNewswire: "Top Image Systems, Ltd., the leading innovator of intelligent document recognition, announced today it was selected by the Swiss Post, PostLogistics to automate the address analysis of approximately 105 million packages a year in its three parcel centers in Daillens, Harkingen and Frauenfeld."

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

China Post Group seems to have absorbed the effects of the general economic downturn very well. Between January and August this year, the group achieved a 17.1% increase in turnover to 10.7bn euros. Postal services, excluding the post bank, increased by 13% to 7.15bn euros. The volume increase realised in August was uneven, however. While letter volumes went up by 2.3% (5.09 billion items), newspaper and magazine volumes remained stagnant at 11.53 billion items.
Austria’s minister for infrastructure Bures has banned the post from closing 144 post offices.
New Zealand Post suffered shrinking profits on a declining turnover during the financial year 2008/2009.
The Swiss competition authority WeKo has given its conditional approval of the post’s planned takeover of early-morning newspaper deliveries from publishers Tamedia and NZZ Group.
According to the »Financial Times Deutschland« (24.09), Deutsche Post has managed to block the government’s planned secure online service De-Mail by using selective lobbying.
Competition and economic crisis seem to combine to sharpen the tone between parcel service providers in Germany.
DHL could be heading for large-scale job cuts in the next few weeks.
China’s regulatory authority has given a grace period to express firms that lack the necessary registered capital required for a licence.
Russia intends to invest around 13bn euros in infrastructure modernisations next year, especially the development of the road network.
Swiss Post International seems to have gained a first big customer in the neighbouring country Austria. According to information gleaned by daily business paper »Wirtschaftsblatt«, the subsidiary of Schweizerische Post is taking over the management of mailroom services for insurance company Allianz in Austria.
Post Danmark intends to increase the use of self-service terminals in the future.
Siemens AG confirmed an order from Sweden’s Posten AB regarding the supply of a new energy-saving flat sorter.
In view of the perennial gridlock in Tokyo, motorbike and bicycle couriers have proved to be a competitive alternative.
Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are about to form a customs union.
Telecommunications expert Georg Pölzl has been appointed new CEO and chairman of Österreichische Post with effect from 1 October.

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

According to Hellmail, "Trying to work out the best direction, what to invest in and what not to invest in, will be key to Royal Mail's future. Technology has moved on at a fast rate of knots and if I had to make any predictions it is that the postal service will become far more digital affair than it is at present, with most letters eventually becoming part of an online service that customers can access 24/7, catalogues and direct mail making up foot deliveries, and parcels as they always have been, in a competitive market. That would indicate that the head count at Royal Mail will have to go down and any visions of perfectly preserving a 350 year service are wishful thinking. It is consumer demand that ultimately drives business, not political ideals."

The Gravure Publishing Council will be holding its annual Conference on November 18-20 at The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, Naples, Florida. Highlights of this year’s program include:

  • Steve Dapper, Chairman and Founder, Hawkeye comments on “God, Palin and the Future of Everything Printed”
  • “People, Passion and Progress: Leading in an Uncertain World” presented by John McBride and Sharon Lucius, Managing Patners, McBride & Lucius
  • Gene DelPolito, President, Association for Postal Commerce brings us “The U.S. Postal Service: Quo Vadis?”
  • Discover “Co-mailing…What the Future Holds” when we are joined by Val Scansaroli, Sr. Vice President Mailing Services, Quebecor World Logistics
  • Panel discussions on Newspaper Distribution and Assuring the Future of Print promise to be lively and informative
  • The ever popular economic and paper updates by Bud Weinstein, Adjunct Professor of Business Economics, Southern Methodist University and John Maine, Vice President, RISI

The U.S. Postal Service is co-sponsoring a series of free customer webinars highlighting the benefits of Direct Mail with five online Direct Mail Service Providers. Delivered by industry experts, the webinar series is designed to provide customers with smart and imaginative solutions on how to plan, design, and launch an effective direct mail campaign.

Press Release: "USPS Approves New "Wallet Style" Booklet Design for Automation and Machinable Letter Prices -- Postal Bulletin 22267, published September 10, 2009, contained a new optional mailpiece design for a letter-size booklet which permits the preparation of a small "wallet style" booklet type mailpiece. This is the second design option the Postal Service has approved since the final rule on the new standards for letter-size booklets was published last April. Please see Newsflashes 250 and 255 at www.worldcolorlogistics.com for additional information.

The Business Insider has reported that "FedEx Corp. shareholders on Monday elected Waste Management Inc. CEO David Steiner of Waste Management Inc. to its board of directors for a one-year term."

According to Daily Finance, "The green factor increasingly plays a role in customer decisions. Which is probably why package and shipping giant United Parcel Service (UPS) has come out swinging against arch-rival Federal Express (FDX). The two mega-brands have been locked in a public dogfight over who's green cred is more legit and which company is actually running a more sustainable operation."

September 29, 2009

Chip Design has a story on "The USPS uses Opal Kelly's FPGA USB 2.0 Modules in a Real-Time Process Control Application." It's an interesting read . . . if you're an engineer.

According to Multichannel Merchant, "Ground package delivery company Velocity Express Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sept. 24, according to Bloomberg. Velocity Express listed assets of $94.1 million and debt of $120.6 million as of Sept. 1 in Chapter 11 documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, DE. Twelve affiliates — including CD&L, Click Messenger Service, Silver Star Express, Olympic Courier Systems and Securities Courier System — are also seeking protection, Bloomberg reported."


 USPS Bulk Mail Centers (BMC) Transforming into Network Distribution Centers (NDC): NEW Mail Flow & What You
 Need to do to Prepare October 1, 2009 11:00am-12:30pm Eastern.

USPS is transforming its Bulk Mail Centers into Network Distribution Centers (NDC). Key components of the concept include:

  • Enhanced mail preparation to improve mail flow Consolidate package distribution to achieve mail processing efficiencies
  • Combine BMC & Surface Transfer Center networks to eliminate redundant transportation and improve utilization
    Luke Grossmann, Acting Manager, Network Development & Support, US Postal Service
    Jeff Williamson, Acting Manager, Performance & Field Operations Support, US Postal Service Moderator:
    Jack Widener, Postal Supply Chain Associate

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

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Live Audio Broadcast Of Hearing – In Docket N2009-1, STation And Branch OptimizAtion And Consolidation Initiatve - Will Air At 10:O0 A.M., Wednesday, September 30, 2009.

Conflicting Technological and Competitive Forces in Regulated Industries

The Workshop brings together typically over 50 practicing economists from industry, regulatory commissions, and academia.  Presentations at the Workshop and Conferences are geared toward practicing economists and are made both by industry researchers and by academics.  About a month prior to the conferences and a week prior to the workshops each participant is forwarded the papers that will be presented.  At the events presentation is followed with discussion time among the participants and speakers.  The conferences papers will be available online for the participants.   

November 20, 2009

The Future of the Postal Sector

Michael Crew, Rutgers University,The Future of the Postal Sector
Alan Robinson, "New Business Models for Tough Problems"
William Miller, "USPS in Good Times and Bad: An Aggregate Demand Model"
John Caldwell, "Lessons from the Great Recession for Electric Utilities"
Larry Buc, "The Future of the Postal Service:  Mail and the Environment"
Paul Vogel, "Optimal Value-Added Discounts in the Future of Postal Service"
Additional Speakers to be confirmed (Please continue to check Website)

According to one writer for the Baltimore Sun, "According to the USPS' 2008 annual report, of the 201.9 billion pieces of mail delivered, only about 10 percent originate from households. The other 90 percent comes from businesses, agencies and other nonhouseholds. And although the private letters, bills and magazines we receive at home comprise 40 percent of our mail, the other 60 percent is advertising: credit card applications, coupons and other forms of junk mail. Which means that the post office is an even more important boondoggle for the companies flooding our mailboxes with solicitations. The trade groups know the score: The magazine publishers support USPS solvency, and the direct mail industry says it will gladly accept five-day mail delivery if necessary."

The Chartered Quality Institute has reported that "Royal Mail’s managing director, Mark Higson, said: ‘In the first week of October, Royal Mail will have successfully completed the major efficiency changes planned for 2009, both nationally and in London. ‘This level of change is higher than has been implemented in any previous year and has been essential as a response to the accelerating decline in the number of letters.’ The efficiency changes, which include the introduction of flexible working, new automated sorting equipment and handheld tracking devices, have been met with a hostile reaction from postal workers resulting in widespread strikes. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said: ‘The scale of change planned by Royal Mail is frightening and unprecedented. The postal industry, along with the workplaces and jobs of our members, could be unrecognisable."

EDP24 has reported that "The Royal Mail was last night accused of trying to pressure businesses into paying £3,150 a year to guarantee their post will be delivered at the start of the working day."

From PR Newswire: "Earth Class Mail(TM), the world's leading provider of Web-based management of incoming postal mail, and worldwide electronic banking pioneer BankServ, announce the launch of a first-of-its-kind service that allows customers to deposit mailed checks into any U.S. checking account without having to touch the mail, endorse checks, or go to the bank. Customers can manage their deposits from anywhere in the world. The service is powered by BankServ's award-winning payment technology, DepositNow®. Unlike a traditional electronic check deposit service where the customer has to acquire a check scanner and manually process checks, the Earth Class Mail Web interface shows the customer which mail pieces contain checks and enables them to perform a deposit with a few clicks of their mouse. This service is ideal for people who want to eliminate the hassle of managing paper checks, reduce labor costs and get faster access to incoming funds. Customers can have up to five checking accounts that they deposit into, or have all checks automatically deposited into a single account. Funds are available as soon as one business day after a deposit is made."

Business Day has reported that "The South African Post Office (SAPO) today reported a pre tax profit of R488.2 million for the year ended March 2009 compared with a profit of R565.0 million in 2008. The 14% decline was a result of higher input costs, especially fuel and salary costs. This is despite an extremely challenging financial year, which saw turmoil in international financial markets reduce postal revenues and hike input costs, it said."

Press Release: "The Guide to Worldwide Postal Codes and Address Formats provides not only the "official" information from the postal authorities but also what mailers are seeing and experiencing day-to-day. As in previous editions, the 2008 Guide includes sample addresses for each country, information on addressing, and changes in postal and addressing formats that have occurred since the previous edition, along with a review of what is expected in the near future. 230 countries and territories are covered by the report. A one-year subscription to the Internet-based version including updates is included with the purchase of the print edition. For more information, go to: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/6452ca/guide_to_worldwide_postalcode_and_address_fo.

The U.S. Postal Service has won a Postal Technology International Award for "Environmental Achievement Of The Year." 

The New York Daily News has reported that "Elected officials and concerned Bronxites have made a desperate, last-ditch request to Uncle Sam to keep open up to seven post offices slated for closure. They delivered their plea at a public hearing by the Postal Regulatory Commission at Fordham University last week."

Hellmail has reported that "Latvian Post is offering new, more affordable prices for direct mail delivery in Latvia, starting with a single tariff in Riga and surrounding regions. Latvian Post said the number of units distributed had increased, and that it was one of the few companies that offered 100% coverage."

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "Xerox has announced the purchase of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) in a move that Xerox investors clearly found troubling causing the price to drop by 14%. This move should trouble postal stakeholders as well as it sends a strong message regarding what "the document company" thinks about the future of printed documents. Why does this matter to the Post? Now, the leading firm designing machines, processes, and software to handle paper documents will now help their customers move the document based, mail-delivered processes to electronic, Internet-delivered processes. Xerox's decision to seek a way to continue to serve existing customers as they abandon documents to the Internet suggests that senior management no longer sees growth prospects in print. The thinking behind Xerox's merger decision should provides postal stakeholders worldwide a wake-up call about the long term prospects of hard-copy delivery." For background, see the Wall Street Journal.

WBGH has reported that "The US Postal Service is moving some current operations from its facility in Binghamton to Syracuse. First class mail, that's the stuff you put a stamp on, will now be sorted and distributed through the Syracuse center. As a result, 10 positions will be leaving Binghamton. However, a spokesperson for the Post Office says there will be no layoffs."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
New Postal Product ,
49823–49825 [E9–23488]


Marketing Daily has reported that "In a first for a package delivery company, United Parcel Service is giving away samples from major brands to its customers. The company is piloting a program in Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., in which people who get UPS' Direct-to-Door home delivery also get offers and samples from a roster of brands. It is expected to go nationwide in 2010. The offers will be packaged in a custom-designed "UPS Direct-to-Door Pak" -- white with an image of a UPS delivery van -- and delivered to residents in the test ZIP codes who are receiving a small package shipment that day. Each Direct-to-Door Pak can contain approximately 12 offers and samples from UPS customers. Brands participating in the program include Williams Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, FTD.com, Pottery Barn, The Finish Line, Sephora, West Elm and Zappos.com." See also the Louisville Business Journal.

Hellmail has reported that "The Royal Mail looks set to increase prices to offset falling mail volume and help pay for modernisation. Postcomm, the UK's postal regulator announced today that it is to look again at pricing controls after it was revealed that Royal Mail's revenues for the year 2008-09 are approximately £1 billion lower than if volumes had stayed constant over this period."

As Reason has noted, "FedEx Express, the company’s air delivery service, operates under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), instituted in 1926 to arbitrate labor disputes in industries (including, by 1936, airlines) that are deemed vital to interstate commerce. Under this law, in order to be recognized, a union must receive a majority of votes from all a company’s employees, rather than merely a majority of those who choose to vote. That makes it much more difficult for labor to organize. As a result, FedEx Express, and therefore FedEx, have been mostly union-free for decades. UPS, by contrast, operates under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, commonly known as the Wagner Act). This Depression-era law allows unionization at each individualoffice of a national company, thereby significantly lowering the barriers to labor organizing. As a result, UPS is one of the largest unionized companies in the country. (Like UPS, the FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight divisions of FedEx are covered by the NLRA.) This legal distinction has had a significant impact on the two competitors’ labor costs. Average compensation and benefit cost per employee at UPS is more than double that at FedEx—$74,413 vs. $29,310."

September 28, 2009

The latest 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/
  • Silly Rules.  Workplace rules exist for a reason.  Some rules protect employees’ rights and their safety, while others protect the employer and workplace.  Then there are some rules that just seem silly and unnecessary.  What Postal Service workplace rules hinder postal employees from doing their jobs?  Are there rules or processes in place that no longer apply or need to be changed to meet today’s business needs?  Let the OIG know what you think.
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at:  www.uspsoig.gov You can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

RIA Novosti has reported that "Abkhazia and Russia have signed a memorandum that will see the former Georgian republic establish its own independent telecommunication and postal services."

The Times of India has reported that "The postal department had introduced the Air Logistics Services on September 1 in cities like Kolkata, Imphal, Chennai and Bangalore and the service was started in city on September 13, this year, on experimental basis. Through this facility one can get a consignment delivered to major towns of India within 24 hours."

Inside Costa Rica has reported that "Costa Rica will share with the world the successful experiences accumulated by Correos de Costa Rica - Costa Rica's efficient post office - through the "Costa Rica Best Practices" through the Dirección de Cooperación del Ministerio de relaciones Exteriores (Cooperation Directorate of the Foreign Ministry), alloing national institutions more direct contact with Governments, international agencies and other entities."

According to Supply Chain Management, "There are a select group of chosen companies that seem to go bankrupt again and again - they seem to have a bankruptcy addiction. They just can’t seem to help themselves.... I am beginning to think that...such buffoonery is going to be the norm."

Business Week has reported that "Privacy fears abound...but after a year of testing is that far from being a threat, sites offering LBS represent vast, unrealized potential to radically transform the way we communicate and stay connected. There's no denying LBS could also become a gold mine for marketers."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "Three U.S. paper companies joined with the union that represents 6,000 of their employees in a complaint to the World Trade Organization accusing China and Indonesia of improper subsidies. The complaint alleges subsidized imports of coated paper have flooded the U.S. market and destroyed thousands of American jobs. The paper companies said in a statement that the Chinese government helps producers by offering them low-interest loans, granting them tax subsidies, and undervaluing the Chinese currency to keep prices down, among other measures. On the other hand, Indonesian companies receive government loans, timber from government-owned land, debt forgiveness and tax incentives to encourage them to boost their production, the U.S. paper firms said."

The Economist has noted that "once the toys of rich yuppies, mobile phones have evolved in a few short years to become tools of economic empowerment for the world’s poorest people. These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services, allowing information to move more freely, making markets more efficient and unleashing entrepreneurship. All this has a direct impact on economic growth: an extra ten phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points, according to the World Bank. More than 4 billion handsets are now in use worldwide, three-quarters of them in the developing world (see our special report). Even in Africa, four in ten people now have a mobile phone. With such phones now so commonplace, a new opportunity beckons: mobile money, which allows cash to travel as quickly as a text message."

Hellmail has reported that "Pitney Bowes Inc. has announced it is launching a new production colour printing system for high-volume transactional mailers. The new offering, called the Pitney Bowes® IntelliJet™ Printing System, is the result of a strategic alliance with HP, a global leader in information and print technology. The Pitney Bowes IntelliJet Printing System provides seamless integration for large transactional mailers looking to enhance revenues and streamline operations. The system is available for immediate sale, the company said."

The Press Association has reported that "A debate at Labour's annual conference about the future of the Royal Mail is set to be heard on Wednesday, it has emerged. An emergency motion submitted by the Communication Workers' Union, calling on the Government to tackle the Royal Mail's huge pension deficit, has been accepted. The move has come as thousands of postal workers continue to take industrial action in a long running row over jobs, pay and services."

People Management has reported that "The recession has given opportunities to organisational development (OD) professionals to make changes that would not otherwise have been possible, according to David Stephenson, group head of OD at Royal Mail. Stephenson told the CIPD’s OD conference that pressures on costs were offering good opportunities for OD specialists to make changes and to learn lessons about their organisations. But he also warned that executive demands for short-term results were putting pressure on HR and OD professionals “to collude and command”. “[The functions] are having a real mission in keeping true to their values,” he said at the OD conference, held last week in London."

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that "Last week, the city of San Francisco sent its first letter to residents using Zumbox, a secure e-mail service that allows senders to contact people online using their street address, which regular e-mail doesn't do. If the experiment catches on with even a fraction of the population, San Francisco could save a chunk of the $3 million it spent last fiscal year on postage and associated labor costs. Although the service typically costs 5 cents per e-mail, Zumbox is not charging the city. "If we can get 10 to 15 percent of the population to check their Zumbox, it would be huge in paper and cost savings," said Lawrence Grodeska, Internet communications coordinator for San Francisco's Department of the Environment. The other selling point is the environmental benefit: no paper to recycle. Last year, the city sent about 7.5 million pieces of mail, according to its mail department."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
Postal Rates ,
49326–49327 [E9–23321]


New Postal Product ,
49408–49409 [E9–23445]


49409–49410 [E9–23446]


Bloomberg has reported that "Japan’s government will freeze the sale of resort facilities operated by the nation’s postal service, reversing the policy of the previous government."

September 27, 2009

Arabian Supply Chain says that "Dan Brutto, president of UPS International, explains why the company will continue to invest in the Middle East market."

IBTimes has reported that "The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has stepped up pressure on Royal Mail by launching another week of postal strikes across the country. As with previous week of strike, London is hit hard by the new postal strike."

According to Hellmail, "As the UK's main postal operator pushes ahead with its modernisation program, there seems to be little agreement between the Communication Workers Union and the Royal Mail as to exactly what 'modernisation' means. In this instance, and from my own experience in other industries (particularly education), modernisation is nearly always about saving money and introducing more rigid working practices."

ThisIsMoney has reported that "Postal delivery firms may be unable to cope with the deluge of Christmas parcels if Royal Mail union members vote in favour of strike action next month."

The BBC has reported that "Entrepreneurs across London are warning their businesses may go bust if the postal strike continues much longer. BBC London has been contacted by several business owners who are unable to send goods or bills as disputes over pay and job losses continue."

September 26, 2009

The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail is asking firms to pay £3,150 a year to ensure their post arrives in the morning. The move means thousands of businesses, small and large, face a bill for a service that has been free for more than 300 years. There are fears the same regime could be extended to family homes in the future."

CQ Politics has noted that "he House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill on September 25 to keep the federal government in business through October. In order to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate must now approve the measure before the new fiscal year starts on October 1. Highway programs would continue under the bill, and the U.S. Postal Service would be able to cover its budget shortfall by reducing its retirement account spending by $4 billion. See also the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Kiplinger has reported that "There’ll be no more Saturday delivery of mail, come 2011 or so. The U.S. Postal Service is serious about cutting back to a Monday to Friday schedule -- a plan that the USPS figures will save the cash-strapped agency at least $3 billion a year. Congress will grudgingly go along, though not till after the 2010 elections. Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are reluctantly coming to the conclusion that USPS cost cutting and much higher postal rates can’t bail the service out of the deepening hole it’s in. They know that rate hikes will only accelerate the inexorable erosion of mail volume."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union is to hand a giant postcard to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown this coming Thursday as part of its "Keep The Post Public" campaign. The union, which is fiercely against ongoing plans by the government to part privatise the company as soon as it is able to secure a strategic parner for the Royal Mail, is continuing to exert pressure on both the government and the Labour Party. The union has also submitted an Emergency Resolution to the Labour Party Conference, presently being considered by the Conference Arrangements Committee as to whether it will be tabled or not. The CWU is also balloting 121,000 postal workers, urging them to support national strike action which would see mail collection and deliveries grind to a standstill. CWU leader Billy Hayes, described the ballot as a referendum on the future of the Royal mail: "Its about putting pressure on government and not allowing it to walk away from its responsibilies, whether on pensions or regulation" he said."

Dow Jones has reported that "While Brazil's postal strike appeared to be nearing its end Friday, bank workers said their strike is growing in strength. Both unions are demanding a raise in salary."

September 25, 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.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: A Message from the PRC Chairman

“Within our regulatory framework, I would like to encourage a national conversation on the future of mail and hardcopy communications in the United States,” Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway. The Nation’s mail system faces serious financial challenges exacerbated by historic declines in mail volume. The Postal Service has responded by cutting costs, downsizing operations, reducing its customer-service footprint and proposing further changes – such as eliminating one day of mail delivery service – that could have significant impact on customers and service nationwide. What do these changes mean for postal customers and the Nation? The conversation to answer that question has begun. Please feel free to join in by contacting the Commission. Click here for a copy of the letter sent to a variety of stakeholders, organizations and associations. A list of the recipients is also included."

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service came one step closer this week in receiving the necessary relief to keep it afloat for the fiscal year ending September 30. According to Politico, "the House voted Thursday to freeze Medicare Part B premiums for most elderly next year, even as Democrats moved to exempt the Postal Service from having to make $4 billion in payments due next week to cover retirement health benefits for its employees."
  • The Postmaster General told those who were participating in National Postal Customer Council Day that "If you've been following the news, you've heard that the Postal Service is losing money. You've heard that we are facing cash flow problems. You've heard that we're closing stations and branches. You've heard that we're closing plants. You've heard that we want to reduce delivery from six to five days. You've heard that we're reducing our workforce. You've heard that we want to move into new product lines. And every one of these points is absolutely true."
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer told its readers that "The postal monopoly has ceased to exist. This is a bold statement given that no law has changed. However, the economic downturn has forced every sender of mail to look at their alternatives and many have found competitive alternatives from electronic and physical delivery options that are faster and more cost effective than the mail."
  • The U. S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) earlier this week released its audit of the of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) second First Article Test (FAT) . The OIG in its report noted that “[t]he purpose of the retest was to determine whether FSS performance justified advancing to the field installation and acceptance test phase of the program.” The OIG concluded in its audit that, “[a]lthough FSS machine performance improved since the original FAT test, the system failed to meet key SOW performance parameters.”
  • Rag Content has told its readers that "The mailing industry has finally learned the cost and projected savings of the USPS' Flats Sequencing System (FSS). In the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) audit on the retest of the FSS First Article Test, the USPS' total cost of developing, purchasing, and deploying 100 FSS machines to 41 sites is $1.4 billion. According to the OIG, this is currently the largest USPS mail automation investment. It is expected to generate operational savings of $599.5 million annually. Now, the flats industry has to sit and wait, to see what the Postal Service will do once it achieves these savings."
  • The U.S. Postal Service may be a week away from defaulting on a payment to the federal government. I kind of hope that happens.
  • PRC amends cap calculation. Union addresses incentive offer concerns. UPS is delivering something extra.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • 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.

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The BBC has reported that "Further postal strikes will be held next week, the Communication Workers Union has announced."

  Northrop Grumman has announced that "Katherine A. Gray has been appointed Vice President, Postal Automation Systems. She will have responsibility for the sector's postal systems business in the U.S. and internationally, including operations in Baltimore and in France and Belgium under Solystic."

According to The Tribune, "More than two-thirds of the Cabinet have ignored a plea from postal workers for talks on the Royal Mail dispute amid a national ballot for industrial action. The failure of a response has prompted unprecedented action from the Communication Workers Union, which has taken out adverts in newspapers and magazines, including Tribune, to “name and shame” the silent ministers. The adverts, headed “NO REPLY”, are being placed to coincide with the Labour Party conference and refer to a letter from general secretary Billy Hayes sent on July 23 In it, he refers to the “underlying pension fund deficit, regulation and the need to modernise the company to take account of changing market conditions” and requests a meeting to discuss the future of a successful Royal Mail. Only five Cabinet members have replied: Harriet Harman, Peter Hain, Alan Johnson, Bob Ainsworth and Lord Adonis. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson was not one of the recipients."

The Daily Mail has reported that "More than one million letters may never be delivered and tens of millions more will take weeks because of postal strikes, union leaders have warned."

The London Informer has reported that "Postal workers deliver more bad news - the strikes will go on."

In an article for Newsday, the President of the Long Island branch of the letter carriers union has written that "The recession has had a tremendous impact on the Postal Service. This year, mail volume has declined by 40 billion pieces, and the service is forecasting a $7 billion deficit. Cost-cutting proposals include shutting post offices and eliminating Saturday delivery. Dropping one delivery day could save $3.3 billion next year - a number that looks good on paper. But consider the consequences. Ending Saturday delivery could eliminate at least 50,000 postal worker jobs - about 575 here on Long Island. Most economic experts will tell you that reducing the workforce only adds to the problems of difficult economic times. Creating and maintaining good jobs helps end them. Five-day delivery will also make the Postal Service more vulnerable to competition, which will step in to fill the Saturday void. And since private companies will only deliver where they can make money, the average customer in a less well-off community will pay more for service."

According to Triplepundit, "Most non personal mail sent to you typically starts as a file on a computer somewhere. It gets printed, put in an envelope, then shipped via the postal service to your mailbox. With Zumbox, that file goes directly to your Zumbox account, bypassing printing, scanning, and mailing it. All those resources, energy, and time are saved."

According to Hellmail, "China is to introduce a new postal law on October 1st which will give State-owned post offices a monopoly on intra-city express delivery of items under 50g and intercity delivery of items under 100g, in contrast to the present European model which aims to introduce competition across all member states. Anyone found breaking the new law could face fines of 50,000 - 100,000 yuan ($7,320 - $14,640)."

Online Media has reported that "JCPenney has begun testing a new system at Houston area stores that lets customers scan mobile coupons directly from their phones at checkout. The program, launched Thursday at 16 JCPenney locations, is enabled through new imaging scanners installed at registers that can read the "2D" barcode coupons and save sales clerks from having to manually enter promotional codes for coupons."

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

DHL Express' first Boeing 767 Extended Range Freighter has completed a flight between Leipzig airport in Germany and DHL's major international gateway at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport in New York. Operated by United Kingdom-based DHL Air, a total of six Boeing 767ERF will help DHL boost the company's performance and reliability of its transatlantic services. The aircraft will replace the shared capacity of its MD-11F aircraft currently in use through a joint venture with Lufthansa Cargo.
FedEx Express has unveiled its first Boeing 777 Freighter (777F) during ceremonies with The Boeing Company in Everett, Wash. FedEx Express is the first US-based global all-cargo freight airline to take delivery of the 777F, and has placed the largest order for the aircraft model to date. Introduction of the 777F to the FedEx fleet of more than 650 aircraft expands the world's largest cargo airline

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
Postal Service Performance and Customer Satisfaction Reporting ,
49190–49215 [E9–22680]


The Washington Post has reported that "The House is expected to vote Friday [today] on a measure that provides $4 billion in relief for the U.S. Postal Service, among (many) other things. The continuing resolution set for passage funds federal agencies through Oct. 31 as lawmakers continue working on appropriations bills. Full-time Postal employees must decide by this Friday [today] whether to accept buyout offers. Up to 30,000 employees can take the $15,000 buyout, which the Postal Service describes as a way to save up to $500 million during the next fiscal year. The Postal Service is also expected to release an updated list of facilities slated for possible closure or consolidation on Oct. 2. "

Dead Tree Edition has told its readers that this "may be just the kind of crisis we need" to turn around a Postal Service whose current model is not viable. Don't get me wrong -- I think Congress should pass the legislation. But I hope it doesn't. I can't get excited about a proposed law in which Congress would basically be saying to USPS, "For the next couple of years, we won't steal as much from you as we used to." I fear with its passage Congress would say, "Now that we've bailed you out, you're not going to close any post offices in our districts or deliver only five days a week, right?" The legislation would ease the Postal Service's financial crisis but not get at the root of the problem. I hope Congress instead embarrasses itself by failing to act before the Sept. 30 deadline and allowing the Postal Service to do a government version of Chapter 11."

UPS has announced a multi-year, multi-million-dollar initiative to improve the capabilities of relief organizations to respond to global emergencies.

McClatchey has told its readers that "When President Obama told the people attending a town hall meeting on health care that "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? ... It's the post office that's always having problems," he was right on the facts, but drew the wrong conclusion from them. He failed to recognize that the successes of United Parcel Service and Federal Express - or the Postal Service's failures - have little to do with the competition between them. UPS and FedEx are doing fine because they are privately owned. Their survival and success depend on their ability to provide service at prices customers are willing to pay and that cover the costs of the global network of people and equipment necessary to pick up and deliver packages when promised. Motivated by the pursuit of profits for shareholders, the managers and employees of the two companies have powerful incentives to treat their customers well, while keeping costs down. The U.S. Postal Service is not doing "just fine" because it is publicly owned, which means it has no real owners. As a result, the Postal Service has no bottom line to attend to and no shareholders to hold it accountable for failure to operate cost-effectively."

According to Yahoo! Tech, "With the introduction of an iPhone app that lets you deposit a check by taking a picture of it, options for mobile banking are growing rapidly. And though you might think the boost in convenience comes at the expense of security, banking on your cell phone can actually be safer than using your PC if you take basic precautions.

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

Powered Industrial Vehicle Management System at the Washington Network Distribution Center (Report Number NO-AR-09-010)

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

September 24, 2009

Yahoo! News has reported that "The US newspaper industry is struggling, with seven major companies in bankruptcy and 30,000 jobs lost since 2007, but it will not seek a government bailout, the head of the Newspaper Association of America said Thursday. "The newspaper industry is not seeking a financial 'bailout' or any other kind of special subsidy," NAA president John Sturm told a committee hearing of the US House of Representatives on "The Future of Newspapers," "We don?t believe direct government financial assistance is appropriate for an industry whose core mission is news gathering, analysis and dissemination," he said."

The headline from Politico: "A $4 billion bailout for the Postal Service? "

The Associated Press has reported that "A House-Senate panel on Thursday approved legislation to keep the government from closing down when the new budget year starts next week and employed a $4 billion bookkeeping maneuver to keep the financially troubled Postal Service afloat. The financially struggling Postal Service would be allowed to cover a budget shortfall by reducing its annual payment to a health care fund for retirees by $4 billion. Under current law, the Postal Service is required to transfer $5.4 billion to the Retiree Health Benefits Fund by Sept. 30, but Postal officials say they don't have enough money to make the payment."

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The postal monopoly has ceased to exist. This is a bold statement given that no law has changed. However, the economic downturn has forced every sender of mail looks at their alternatives and many have found competitive alternatives from electronic and physical delivery options that are faster and more cost effective than the mail. "

From M2 Presswire: "Caspio, Inc., provider of the leading do-it-yourself database platform for creating web applications, today announced an enterprise customer relationship with the United States Postal Service (USPS). The federal agency joins a long list of other notable government agencies, Fortune-500, education, and media organizations that utilize Caspio's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud computing technology. For more information about Caspio, please visit www.caspio.com/enterprisecloud."

The Guardian has reported that "Ebay sellers fear postal strike will hit their reputations. Mail backlog resulting from postal strike causes problems for eBay, Amazon and credit card customers."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Paper Is Next Front in China Trade Fight."

DM News has noted that "Here are four practical ways to use mail-based intelligence to increase your organization's marketing effectiveness."

The Macclesfield Express has reported that "a postman admitted stealing thousands from Royal Mail to fuel a gambling habit after being secretly filmed by investigators."

The Daily Record has reported that "Two former New Jersey postal workers have pleaded guilty to stealing employee incentive gift cards worth nearly $25,000."

Government Executive has reported that "Several of the more than 500 amendments the Senate Finance Committee is facing as it begins a marathon markup of health care reform legislation would affect public servants' health coverage -- and one would end the federal government's health insurance program. The provision, offered by ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would force civil servants to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and purchase insurance through the state-based health exchanges that are a centerpiece of the health reform bill. Employees would move to the exchanges beginning in 2013. The idea behind the amendment is "to require that elected officials and federal employees purchase insurance in the same manner proposed in the [bill] for private citizens," according to a summary on the Finance Committee's Web site."

The New York Times has reported that "since 1907, United Parcel Service has been delivering packages ordered by consumers. Next week, the company plans to deliver packages they have not ordered, in a test of an effort to expand into direct marketing. Enlarge This Image United Parcel Service will begin testing its direct marketing service on Monday. Beginning on Monday, U.P.S. will experiment in five major markets with a service it calls Direct to Door, giving advertisers and retailers a chance to provide offers and product samples to U.P.S. customers. The marketing materials will come inside small boxes labeled Direct to Door Paks, and will be delivered to customers along with merchandise they actually ordered. The test, to run through Oct. 2, is intended to gauge whether there is interest in having U.P.S. serve as an alternative to marketing mail delivered by the United States Postal Service or by companies like Valpak.

Zawya has reported that "Emirates Post Emirates Post UAE has joined the Dubai Quality Group (DQG) as an Investor Partner in a partnership aimed at reinforcing the quality of facilities provided by the postal service. The move will also enable Emirates Post to implement initiatives and strategic plans to expand its operations through its network of more than 100 post offices, said DQG. "The partnership will provide Emirates Post with the needed consultancy and information to consolidate its position as an organisation concerned with quality in postal and non-postal services, and thereby strengthen the position of the UAE by making available solutions as a developed and integrated service," said Osama Al Rahma, Vice-Chairman of DQG."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
Postal Service Incentive Pricing Program ,
48788–48795 [E9–23024]


Hellmail has reported that:

  • As the Communication Workers Union fights hard to press its case for a modernised Royal Mail that fully involves the workforce, we look at what has changed since the postal strikes of 2007 and why the CWU's message has in many cases, fallen on stoney ground this time around.
  • Royal Mail Customers Looking For Alternatives As Prospect Of National Postal Strike Looms

China Daily has reported that "China's new postal law, which comes into effect from Oct 1, will have a negligible impact on TNT's mail and express delivery business in China, a company spokesman said, adding that the express delivery service supplier will continue its commitment to investing and growing in the country."

According to the New Zealand Herald, "Surging profits at Kiwibank have topped those earned by all of parent NZ Post's other divisions put together, and the bank's customers are helping to keep NZ Post's national network of PostShops open."

Data Collection Online has reported that "DAILY RFID (www.rfid-in-china.com) has recently unveiled its latest RFID PDA-based reader DL720, designed as LF or HF PDAs with optional wireless transfer functions including WiFi, Bluetooth and GPRS to cater for industrial and outdoor applications. The high performance and ease of handling features make the PDA reader DL720 fit for most mobile RFID applications, such as parcel-postal delivery, logistics, garment processing, luggage handling and cashless payments."

September 23, 2009

Marketing Direct has reported that:

The US Direct Marketing Association, one of the world's largest trade bodies, is considering repositioning its entire organization around interactive marketing, including a name change.
"Uncertainty caused by [the strikes] is causing many catalogue companies to cancel mailing campaigns and migrate their marketing expenditure further towards other channels," says Nigel Swabey, CEO of Scotts of Stow.

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

The planned privatisation of Japan Post will be called off, as will the splitting of the gigantic concern - consolidated turnover some 151bn euros - into independent units.
Conflict has erupted in Switzerland over the costs of press distribution. The dispute was triggered by the post’s intention to increase the rates for newspaper and magazine distribution.
In Britain, Royal Mail’s service has been disrupted for weeks as a result of regional and local strikes.
German trade union ver.di is disrupting mail operations - chiefly in north Germany at present - by holding all-day works meetings, and millions of households have not had their mail delivered.
Österreichische Post and Vienna-based software house EBPP - a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Daten Service Centers (RSC) - have published details regarding their new online or hybrid service
Royal Mail’s European parcel network GLS is going into cooperation with Midex. The Lebanon-based express company is taking on delivery on behalf of GLS in 14 countries in the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan). In return, Midex will have use of the European GLS network for its customers.
Around 1,400 unionised aircraft mechanics working for UPS in the USA last week voted in favour of possible industrial action.
Korea Express, arguably the country’s biggest CEP and logistics operator, achieved a turnover of 1.03bn euros in 2008.
In France, employees of La Poste have gone on an ’unlimited strike’ in an act of protest against privatisation plans for the company.
TNT is seeing first signs of an economic recovery in the air freight segment.
Only days after business rival UPS launched an Internet-based printing service (CEP News 38/09), FedEx is now following suit.
Delivery staff working for TNT Swiss Post in Geneva will have to pedal in future. The company announced that so-called ’Cargo Cycles’ were now being implemented in the inner city area.
Last Wednesday saw the first warning strike in the present round of wage negotiations for the German forwarding, logistics and CEP industry.
DHL Express now offers a daily service to Afghanistan.
French La Poste is testing electric quad bikes for city delivery purposes.
Germany’s Hermes Logistik Gruppe Deutschland and eBay have agreed to extend their existing cooperation.
The Estonian Post is providing headlamps for its 825 delivery personnel for safety reasons. The post explained this week that accidents had occurred, especially during early morning delivery, due to the fact that street lights were switched off in some regions, while many building entrances and letterboxes were poorly lit.

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

According to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, "postal workers in Peterborough will stage two further strikes next week."

Guide2.co.nz has reported that "New Zealand Post defended the closure or reduction in services at a handful of stores as it reported a fall in full year net profit to $71.8 million."

The Dubai City Guide has reported that "Dubai Quality Group (DQG) has announced today that Emirates Post have recently joined the group as an Investor Partner. The partnership aims at reinforcing the quality level of services provided by the post and enabling it to implement initiatives and strategic plans in order to expand its operations through its network of over 100 post offices."

According to the APWU, "To date, fewer than 21,000 employees have applied for the incentive or expressed interest."

In its most recent publication of "Facts v. Fiction," the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), once again, has taken off after mailers. For instance, it states the following is true:

Fiction: Postage “workshare discounts” are in compliance with the legal standard that stipulates they cannot exceed the “postal costs avoided.”
FACT: Over the past three years, the USPS has reduced postal work hours by 185 million hours, lowering total mail processing labor costs by 30 percent. During this period, when USPS labor costs decreased significantly, workshare discounts have increased to a level that is now more than significantly more than the USPS cost.

[EdNote: If the Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission were to come to their senses and end the antediluvian method they use for calculating "discounts" and adopted a more PAEA-like approach to determining prices for products for which the costs are known, this whole line of debate over "cost-avoidance" would be mute. But...that means somebody over at L'Enfant Plaza has got to decide to abandon the world of postal regulating that they once knew and come into the 21st century of the marketplace. Yeah . . . . Right. Like that's going to happen soon.]

Roll Call has raised something few probably ever knew: "For more than 50 years, the head of the Government Accountability Office has received a rare perk: full salary for life....which now totals about $300,000 a year for two former comptrollers general. A report recently released by the National Academy of Public Administration concludes that the annuity “contributes” to the officeholder’s independence “but is not strictly necessary for that purpose.” Still, the report adds that NAPA’s panel of experts “has not found sufficient reason for altering the benefit."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "While last year's results showed some of the lowest revenue growth projections seen in the seventeen year history of the survey, this year executives cite the global recession for becoming even more modest in their company and industry forecasts. The global recession's influence has been profound, prompting very modest revenue growth projections. In fact, on average, 3PL CEOs in Europe project negative growth rates for their companies during the next year."

From 24/7 Press Release: "Starting an E-commerce website using drop shipping in the past has been very expensive process with monthly drop ship fees, website developmental fees, until now. The PowerSellers Union has once again changed the scope of E-commerce offering custom built websites at half the cost of other companies, and access to their community. Owner Jason Gammon stated at a recent conference. "What we are doing for E-commerce is opening up opportunities for people to work at home using our drop shippers to sell products with no fees what so ever."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
International Mail ,
48613–48614 [E9–22862]


The Financial Times has reported that "The misery inflicted by the industrial action at Royal Mail is proving to be an opportunity for alternative delivery businesses that have created services to circumnavigate “snail mail”. Parcel2Go, an online brokerage for national courier companies, just had its first £1m revenue month. Richard Adams-Mercer, business development manager, claims that Royal Mail strikes lifted turnover as much as a 20 per cent as business owners searched the internet for alternative carriers."

The CBC has reported that "A federal program that subsidizes the shipping of nutritious, perishable food by air to remote northern communities could someday run without Canada Post delivering the goods, federal officials told N.W.T. MLAs in Yellowknife on Monday. In a briefing with territorial politicians, officials with the Indian and Northern Affairs Department said they are contemplating running the Food Mail Program without the national postal service, instead dealing directly with food suppliers in an effort to shave transportation costs."

Sky News has reported that "The decision to slash British military mail services in Europe and America has been slammed as "venal" and "vile". To save money, subsidised postage is being withdrawn from service personnel and families based from Naples to Brussels. It also means their relatives in the UK will have to pay the full rate to send parcels and letters overseas. The cutback has left one MEP furious that Westminster apparently keeps a first-class service for itself, while expecting those in uniform to pay more to keep in touch with loved ones at home."

According to Time, "A former postal service employee has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 30,000 DVDs that moved through a western Massachusetts post office."

WarwickOnline has reported that "Local postal workers, Mayor Scott Avedisian, and Arlene McNulty, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership (RIMP), are irked at a decision by the local postmaster to restrict employees from partaking in charitable endeavors during business hours."

Hellmail has reported that:

  • According to the Communication Workers Union, there will be further postal strikes today, disrupting many services in the south and east of London.
  • The demands being made by the Communication Workers Union are so unrealistic, you begin to wonder if the union isn't using postal workers as some kind of desperate last-ditch attempt to bring about a new socialist revolution.
  • Speaking to Sky News, Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier condemned postal workers in London for refusing to accept that they should be working all the hours they are paid for and the CWU of trying to scupper attempts to modernise the business.
  • Because Royal Mail’s underlying industry and competitive landscape was misunderstood, the Hooper Report failed to properly identify market and product strengths, instead focusing on declines and volume alone. The report correctly stated declining volume in letters mail, increasing volume in fulfillment mail, and profit margins for fulfillment mail exceeds letters mail, while providing a host of data relative to the letters volume decline. There was little, to no, data on the fulfillment mail or associated analysis. Believing postal services are in the communications industry, the report’s emphasis on letters mail and declines was understandable, but erred. Royal Mail has more market opportunities relative to fulfillment mail, so emphasis should be placed on understanding these markets, which are absolutely essential to the future profitability of Royal Mail.

According to the Daily Mail, "The advantage of paying regular bills by direct debit from your bank account has been brought into sharp focus by the postal strike."

Radio New Zealand has reported that "New Zealand Post's full year profit has fallen by a third to $71.8 million in the year to June. The previous year, the state-owned postal operator posted a $110.2 million profit. Acting chief executive Sam Knowles says the profit fall is mainly because fewer letters are being posted. Total mail volumes fell 6.7% in the year." See also Stuff.co.nz and the National Business Review.

September 22, 2009

The folks at the National Postal Forum want you to "Save the Date." The 2010 National Postal Forum April 11–14, 2010 Nashville, Tennessee. For more information visit www.npf.org/reg8

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Transport Topics has reported that "Doug Duncan, president of FedEx Corp.’s less-than-truckload FedEx Freight unit, will retire in February, the company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday. FedEx did not name a replacement for Duncan, 58, who will step down effective Feb. 28."

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

Update from World Color: "Torrential downpours have flooded the Atlanta, GA area forcing many local highways, roads and bridges to close, slowing the delivery of mail, newsstand and newspapers to the effected areas. Although the rain has diminished for the time being, there are additional storms heading toward the area threatening to worsen the current conditions, especially for the northern and northwestern suburbs of Atlanta. The National Weather Service has extended the flood watch until 8pm this evening, but further delays can be expected if the advancing storms contribute to the nearly 24 inches of rain that many areas received throughout Monday."

DM News has reported that "Direct marketing pros have it worse than your average American when it comes to finding a job, according to a recent survey published by Bernhart Associates Executive Search. The research found that about one quarter of unemployed direct marketing professionals have been looking for jobs for more than 10 months. The median length of unemployment for Bernhart's survey respondents — more than 400 unemployed direct marketers currently looking for work — is nearly twice that of the national median. DM professionals report that they've been out of work for 6.52 months, or about 28 weeks." [EdNote: Well, their counterparts at the U.S. Postal Service are exposed to no such risks.]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Lehigh Valley Live has reported that "A union representative will appear before the Alpha Borough Council tonight to claim the U.S. Postal Service's consideration of moving mail sorting operations from Edison to Trenton or Kearny will negatively impact service all over the region."

From PR Newswire: "John Potter, the chief executive officer of the U.S. Postal Service, will speak at a National Press Club luncheon on October 8, 2009 to discuss the Postal Service's future, including its environmental footprint. The National Press Club luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. and Potter's remarks will begin just after 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session. This event is open to Press Club members and their guests only. Advance reservations should be made by contacting reservations at the National Press Club, (202) 662-7501 or reservations@press.org. Cost of luncheon admission is $17 for National Press Club members, $28 for their guests and $35 for general admission."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "DHL officials said Tuesday they did not lose "significant" amounts of international express business as a result of the carrier's withdrawal from domestic air express service in the United States this year."

The Times has reported that "Cyber criminals have created a highly sophisticated Trojan virus that steals online banking log-in details from infected computers."

Business & Leadership has reported that "The decision by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD to introduce a national postal code system from 2011 will create efficiencies and boost competitiveness for businesses and public services across the Irish economy, delivery company DHL Express has said."

From Marketwire: "William H. Gross, the founder of PIMCO and a stamp collector, has donated $8 million to the National Postal Museum to create a new 12,000-square-foot gallery that will be named in his honor. The new gallery, which will give the museum public space at the street level, is expected to open in 2012, according to Allen Kane, director of the museum."

The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/
  • Should the Postal Service Eliminate Sunday Mail Processing Operations?  With mail volume declining, should the Postal Service reduce mail processing operation to 6 days a week, rather than the traditional 7 days, and allow employees to have Sunday off?  Tell the OIG your thoughts.

Marketing Direct has reported that "The retail marketing director of BT, one of the UK's biggest spenders on direct mail, and the marketing director of insurer More Than, have called on Royal Mail postal workers to end the strike, or else face defection by direct mail users to other channels."

From the Federal Register:

New Postal Product ,
48323–48324 [E9–22692]


As one writer at the Chicago Tribune has conceded, "junk mail is largely responsible for keeping the U.S. Postal Service afloat; without it we'd have another institution to bail out." [EdNote: If that's the case, then it really isn't "junk." Is it?]

The Connexion has reported that "postal workers are striking across France today over plans to open up La Poste – a move which unions fear will lead to privatisation. However, although five unions have called the strike it is not clear how many workers will respond or how effective it will be. The disruption started in Paris – where 140 jobs have been lost this year – and it was estimated by management and union sources that between 20%-40% of staff walked out this week. None of the 185 post offices was closed. A mass meeting of workers is due to take place this afternoon at the postal service HQ in Montparnasse followed by a protest march to the Senate." See also France24 and Reuters.

The September 2009 issue of the Universal Postal Union's Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB) Update has been posted on this site.

Bloomberg has reported that "Italy’s postal service, the country’s biggest employer, has proposed an innovative way to cut costs and usher out older workers: nepotism. Under a draft plan detailed to unions, postal workers at 140 branches who agree to early retirement can cede permanent job contracts to their children. The “heir” must be at least 30 years old with a high school diploma. Talks on the policy are at an “advanced stage,” and it could be implemented by early October, said Walter de Candiziis, head of Failp-Cisal, the union that first suggested the plan in 1997."

Hellmail has reported that "CODE Plus, Inc. (CODEplus) and Systar have announced the launch of STARplus, a new Postal Activity Monitoring (PAM) tool. Employing the right tool can give postal operators unmatched control over monitoring and measuring processes within the postal supply chain—from collection and retail to delivery—so that they can make continual improvements in order to reduce cost and improve operational performance quickly and significantly during this challenging time. STARplus leverages operational, financial, and other key indicators in identifying what drives value and then provide the facts necessary to make informed decisions."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Press Release: "World Color Press Inc. ("Worldcolor") is pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel J. Scapin as President of Logistics and Premedia."

September 21, 2009

Hellmail has noted that "The CWU hit back this week at what it described as an attack on the credibility of union leaders by some national newspapers as the dispute at Royal Mail intensifies.A series of articles in recent weeks, notably from the Telegraph and Daily Mail, have poured scorn on the union's threat of a national postal strike, underlining the fragile economy of the UK since the banking collapse and the effect that localised strike action was having on business and credit card payments. The CWU said Royal Mail's argument in the dispute was become weaker but that both it (royal Mail) and the media were trying to undermine the credibility of union leaders." [EdNote: So, the union responded by...calling for another strike.]

Again??? The BBC has reported that "Postal workers in the west of Scotland have staged another wildcat strike in an ongoing dispute about drivers not crossing official picket lines. Royal Mail said a number of staff at its Glasgow Mail Centre had taken "unofficial and unlawful" action." [EdNote: Well, the American national pastime is baseball. I suppose the U.K.'s is postal strikes.]

According to The Australian, "Today, a national savings agency could offer a variety of competitive financial instruments including most, if not all, banking services at low cost and with neighbourhood access via Australia Post. Britain has had such an agency since 1861 (a public-private partnership that manages about 9 per cent of the domestic savings market). At its peak, the US Postal Savings System was the country's largest single savings bank. This competition for funds would force banks to cut costs and improve services."

Parcel2Go has reported that "The Royal Mail's reputation has been damaged by the latest postal strikes, which have brought the nation's postal services to a halt. According to the YouGov BrandIndex, the company's Buzz, which measures whether people have heard positive or negative things about the brand, fell to a low of -14 last week. This is the lowest Buzz rating for the firm in the past six months, with the industrial action over jobs, pay and services damaging the Royal Mail's standing with the public."

RTE News has reported that "The business community and the National Ambulance Service have welcomed the Government's announcement that it is to introduce postal codes across the country. The Government said the introduction of the system would cost €10m - €15m and it is hoped that it will be in place by 2011. Danny McCoy, Director General of employers' body IBEC, said postal codes would greatly benefit businesses and consumers." See also the Irish Times and SiliconRepublic.

Rag Content has asked: "The mailing industry has finally learned the cost and projected savings of the USPS' Flats Sequencing System (FSS). In the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) audit on the retest of the FSS First Article Test, the USPS' total cost of developing, purchasing, and deploying 100 FSS machines to 41 sites is $1.4 billion. According to the OIG, this is expected to generate operational savings of $599.5 million annually. Now, the flats industry has to sit and wait, to see what the Postal Service will do once it achieves these savings. The flats industry was promised that these savings would be passed on to reflect additional workshare activities and savings, but with a cash-strapped Postal Service forecasting a loss of $10 billion in FY2010, what will happen to this $599.5 million annually?

The Times of India has reported that "French postal unions called on Monday for unlimited strike action at post offices in Paris, a day ahead of a nationwide protest against proposed reforms to the country's state-owned postal service."

FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. has announced the formal introduction of its Design & Print Center solution, a digital self-service tool for creating and ordering custom business cards, letterhead and marketing collateral. This new application features thousands of design templates and is now available in-store and online, making it easy for small business customers to get professional print products that help create brand identity and build business. In addition, the tool is ideal for creating personal stationery and social calling cards.

Media Daily News has reported that "While recent analysis shows that magazine subscriptions rose slightly from 2008-2009, offsetting drops in newsstand sales over the same period, a review stretching back to the first half of this decade reveals a steady decline in both newsstand sales and subscriptions, beginning in 2002 and 2005, respectively. The direction of the trend suggests that while publishers have been able to stabilize circ numbers in the short term by marketing subscriptions more aggressively, they still face a long-term secular decline in print circulation that will be difficult to reverse."

The Financial Times has reported that "Japan's new government is poised to submit legislation to halt the scheduled initial public offerings of Japan Post Bank, the world's largest bank by deposits, and its sister insurance company, according to the financial services minister."

According to the Yorkshire Post, "The various wildcat strikes across the country in recent weeks have already played havoc with the post – some estimates suggest that up to 20 million letters and parcels may be sitting around in warehouses waiting to be delivered. The Communication Workers Union is now proposing to follow an official route but also one that is very traditional – they are balloting their 100,000 members on a national strike. The central problem for the CWU is that strike action will lead many customers, particularly businesses already battered by the recession, to seek alternatives. Sympathy alone will not prevent custom being lost."

According to Dead Tree Edition, "It may be time for the U.S. Postal Service to go back to the drawing board on the Flats Sequencing System, which faces trouble on two fronts. USPS is pressing ahead with installation of the football-field-sized FSS machines, even though the system recently fell short of standards for the second time in an acceptance test. But then there's the second problem with FSS: Not only is it not yet living up to its design, but the design may already be obsolete. The system was designed under the assumption that flats volume would continue growing into the future. Large postal rate increases, competition from other media, and the economic recession have reversed that trend, causing flats volume to decline at an annual rate of about 11% the past two years."

The Economic Times has reported that "Post Office would not more limit its banking system to old and traditional technology and would adopt Core Banking System, on pattern of other commercial banks by the end of current financial year. "The deposits in Post Office banks are not being used for any commercial purposes like extending loans to people and all the deposits were being utilised by the Government of India for welfare schemes only", Kumar said while revealing the differentiation between the commercial banks and post offices. Apart from banking sector, Postal Department would emphasise on insurance sector especially in rural areas."

Samaylive has reported that "A bill to regularise private courier services would be introduced in the coming session of Parliament, Union Telecommunications and IT minister, A Raja said today."

Ocala.com has reported that "U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat that Mel Martinez just vacated, spoke Sunday to a group of about 30 at the Marion County Democratic Party headquarters in Ocala. He cited Medicare as evidence that affordable, quality health care can be attained through the government, and the U.S. Postal Service as proof that "public options" are worthwhile. Mailing a simple letter would cost more than a dollar if not for a public option, he said."

The Washington Post has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service sent Metro a bill for $770 last week and told the transit agency that its ability to receive business reply mail (those postage-paid envelopes) from an address it uses in Alexandria had expired in July. Metro, which rushed to hand-deliver a check to pay the overdue bill Friday, blamed the Postal Service for poor communication. A spokeswoman said no one knew money was owed until a letter dated Sept. 10 arrived."

The New Vision has reported that "Posta Uganda has been lauded for the big transformation it has undergone since it was established two years ago. Aggrey Awori, the information and communication technology minister, said the firm, which started with a lot of difficulties had utilised its assets well."

September 20, 2009

The Times has reported that "Consumers could be hit with late credit card payment fees of more than £150m as postal strikes leave bills sitting in sorting offices."

Bloomberg has reported that "Japan’s new government may act this year to freeze the breakup and privatization of Japan Post, the state-run service that’s also the world’s largest bank by deposits, Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei said. “We plan to submit a bill to an extraordinary session of parliament to freeze plans” for selling shares in units of the postal group, Kamei said in an interview on NHK television today. A date for the session hasn’t been set."

The Guardian has reported that "A national postal strike will put six-day-a-week letter deliveries at serious risk, the government's independent adviser on the Royal Mail says today in a furious assault on the government's inability to modernise the service. Richard Hooper, author of a major report to ministers that called for part-privatisation of Royal Mail, told the Observer he found it "immensely frustrating" that the government was unable to act on his recommendations – and the country now faced a crippling strike."

The Rome Sentinel has told its readers that "For the past four decades, letter carriers and other postal employees have had no more loyal friends than Rep. Lacy Clay and his father, former Rep. Bill Clay, two Missouri Democrats who have represented that state’s First Congressional District since 1969. The senior Mr. Clay even was chairman of the House Post Office and Civil Service committee for his last four years in Congress. So when the time comes that Clay says the Postal Service must "transform itself to survive as a viable entity," things must be serious, indeed. They are."

September 19, 2009

The New York Times has reported that "In 14 states and the District of Columbia at least a tenth of the work force was unemployed in August, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. Compared with the same time last year, unemployment rates increased in every state and the District of Columbia, fueling expectations that the many government efforts to tame the recession will not prevent a jobless recovery. “We’re not really seeing recovery anywhere yet, and it’ll still be awhile before we see much of a difference,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research."

The Telegraph has reported that "Consumers are entitled to be given a book of 6 first class stamps, worth £2.34, as compensation if their letter is lost or delayed by three days or more. People that suffer from lost post are entitled to compensation worth as much as 100 first class stamps. However, consumer groups said Royal Mail made it very difficult to claim compensation and that millions of inconvenienced customers would end up receiving nothing, despite the service admitting to millions of letters already delayed. On top of this, Royal Mail has been given special dispensation from the postal regulator to avoid paying any large business compensation. During the last strike all compensation to bulk mailers, such as catalogue retailers and websites that sent out regular parcels, was suspended and it is likely this will be repeated."

Hellmail has reported that:

  • With a speedy resolution to the present postal dispute looking increasingly unlikely, would the government be sufficiently prepared with contingency plans to get the mail moving again? As someone pointed out in the office earlier this week, we did have a period when the Army stepped in to form a basic fire service with the use of the legendary 'green goddesses' but would that and could it apply in the case of postal services.
  • Northen Mail launched its new web site today, with a comfortably warm introduction to its home page. The company, which offers a range of services since it became a postal operator in 2007, dates back to 1985. Northern Mail has its own hybrid mail service called 'e2-Post', enabling users to mail directly from their PC desktop, and the e-Trader service, ideal for anyone sending bulky letters and parcels and seeking a cost-effective collection and delivery service.

The Guardian has reported that "Postal strikes drive customers to Royal Mail's rivals."

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

  • Flats Sequencing System Contractual Remedies (Report Number CA-AR-09-012).  We audited the retest of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) First Article Test (FAT) to determine whether FSS performance justified advancing to the field installation and acceptance test phase of the program.  The audit revealed that although FSS machine performance improved since the original FAT test, the system failed to meet key statement of work performance parameters...we believe deploying FSS machines to additional sites is premature.. http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/DA-AR-09-012.pdf

September 18, 2009

Postmaster General Jack Potter told U.S. News that "advertising mail is what allows us to finance universal service. If you eliminated advertising mail, then stamp prices would be much, much higher because we do make a profit on that mail. There's a real lack of understanding of how much that advertising mail contributes to our economy. For every dollar you spend on mail advertising, you get a $12 return, on average....There have been many myths about the environmental impact of mail. I think it's grossly overblown. There are more trees in America today than there were several years ago. There's more recycled material in the mail now than there has ever been. There have been many studies about the impact of mail, and it is negligible. People [falsely] think that electronic mail incurs no environmental costs, that we never throw electronic components away and that energy costs nothing."

According to the Jackson Citizen Patriot, "The U.S. Postal Service is looking seriously at closing Jackson's postal distribution center (estimated casualties: 50 jobs). Until Thursday, the center was slated to be shut down. Now, postal officials will review operations there, at the urging of U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer. If Jackson's distribution center ultimately must close or shed jobs, however, let's not see postal officials stop there. Any move ought to be part of a larger strategy. The Postal Service ought to start getting away from the expensive tradition of having post offices in every town, hamlet and burg. Any meaningful effort to save money should focus on these, rather than closing facilities that will slow mail delivery for everyone."

Bernama has reported that "Pos Malaysia Bhd announced Friday a collaboration with the Taipei Investors Association in Malaysia (TIAM) in an effort to extend its products and services to the members."

The Guardian has reported that "Robert Hammond, of the watchdog body Consumer Focus, said: "Given the situation, banks, utilities and other service providers should give their customers some flexibility if payments are delayed in the post. To avoid additional charges, customers could also use alternative ways to pay, such as by phone, online or at a bank or post office. "It is in both the union's and management's interest to resolve the dispute as soon as possible to give customers an incentive not to turn to alternative delivery methods permanently." In its tips to consumers, the organisation recommends sending payments and urgent papers, including tickets and legal documents, by courier or special delivery. Its sister organisation Consumer Direct has guidance online for suppliers whose goods arrive late or damaged, and customers whose documents are delayed in the post."

Marketing Week has reported that "Leaving any judgement on the CWU’s case for strike action aside, it is clear that any interruption in mail deliveries would cause businesses both considerable inconvenience and money. It would also further rob Royal Mail of brand equity at a time when it is under increasing pressure from rivals such as TNT Post, as well as leading direct marketers to question whether direct mail is a strategy worth the potential hassle."

The Times of India has reported that "Private courier services are painting themselves in the colours of India Post. That is not because they want inspiration from the government-run service. It is more because having their vehicles painted like postal service vans allows them to avoid paying toll. However, the department is now set to stop this and has asked district authorities to launch a challan drive against such vehicles."

The Postal Service is building on its vision for Intelligent Mail® services. Four new and exciting strategies have been added to enhance the Intelligent Mail Vision! Check it out on RIBBS at ribbs.usps.gov. The link is as follows: http://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/IMVision2009.pdf. The four new areas that we’ve added are: · Measure and Improve Commercial Mail Performance · Drive Product Innovation · Sharpen Operational Insight · Enrich the Customer Experience The updated 2009 Intelligent Mail Vision highlights areas that concern you. I invite you to explore the entire document to realize the vision “to enhance the value of mail by using information and insight from the mail to deliver increased customer value and drive operational efficiency.”

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

  • This week, the House of Representatives overwhelming approved (388-32) approved H.R. 22, the United States Postal Service Financial Relief Act of 2009. The final bill varies slightly from previous versions by requiring the Postal Service to pay $1.4 billion for its postal annuitant's health benefits, compared to the original $5.4 billion in PAEA.
  • PRC approves USPS proposal for a First-Class Mail "sale."
  • A report on the comments that have been filed by the Association for Postal Commerce in regard to Postal Regulatory Commission Docket No. RM2009-3: Consideration of Workshare Discount Rate Design.
  • Recently the Association for Postal Commerce sat down with the Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway to discuss issues facing the current postal system, industry, and the PRC.
  • The U. S. Postal Service has laid out a “Vision” document that details how Intelligent Mail services and data will help it grow revenue, better manage products, reduce operational costs, measure and improve service performance, drive product innovation, sharpen operational insights, enrich customer experiences, enhance mail security without compromising privacy, reduce investment costs, enhance revenue accuracy, and improve address quality.
  • The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (IG) recently concluded its nationwide audit of the USPS' 2009 National Rural Mail Count.
  • The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (IG) released its report on its self-initiated audit of the Federal Express (FedEx) transportation agreement. The Southeast Area incurred about $8.6 million in unnecessary costs, and has the potential to save the USPS $43.4 million over a 10-year period if the USPS implements the IG's recommended changes.
  • The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation has taken a look at how well the U.S. Postal Service has fared in this economy when compared with the performance of other private sector business.
  • Federal Express (FedEx) this week released its first quarter earnings, as well as its new shipping prices for 2010. Operating income for the quarter was down 50%. In looking ahead, FedEx announced for its FedEx Express an average 5.9 percent rate increase for 2010, along with other changes, surcharges, and fees.
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "There is now growing evidence that we have passed the bottom in two of the Postal Service's key businesses, delivering advertising and parcels."
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews.
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The BBC wants to know: "Royal Mail's postal workers are voting on a national strike. But with ongoing localised walkouts, how can they be sure their ballot papers will arrive?"

Media Daily News has reported that "The decline in newspaper ad revenues -- now several years old -- will continue for at least another year, according to Fitch Ratings, which issued the gloomy prediction in an overview of the media business released earlier this week."

Crienglish has reported that "Cuba expressed on Thursday its satisfaction with the result of the first round of talks with the United States to normalize the postal mail between both countries." See also the Financial Times.

The Telegraph has reported that "The national postal strike is set to throw the pensions and benefits system into chaos, with the Government forced to pay for couriers to ferry more than 300,000 cheques to post offices - and then force people to pick them up."

According to The Mirror:

  • The two sides blundering into a potentially disastrous national postal strike should see sense and talk peace. We will happily suggest a conciliator if the parties cannot come up with an independent figure to broker an agreement. The Royal Mail is part of our country's fabric. And a national strike during a recession will be in neither side's interests - and earn the contempt of the public.
  • Postal workers are being balloted on a national strike, which could be devastating for them and the customers they serve. This dispute is the fault of Royal Mail’s arrogant, bullying bosses, determined to drive down wages and working conditions in a recession – even though the business is profitable. Where is the Government minister responsible, Business Secretary Milord Peter Mandelson?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph has reported that "a postal worker who stole packages containing pornographic DVDs and women's underwear and stashed them in his loft has been warned he could face jail. Royal Mail investigators received a tip-off in May this year and raided Alec Clark's former home address in Peterborough to find 10 packets containing sex toys and 60 pieces of lingerie, along with receipts from adult companies, hidden in the attic. ADVERTISEMENT The haul, which he had accumulated over 10 years, also included a pile of 24 explicit DVDs."

According to the London Daily News, "London is to bear the brunt of the battle between the CWU and the Royal Mail with 6 million items in the post in London."

Forbes has reported that "The United Parcel Service Inc. and others received a $331.7 million contract from U.S. Transportation Command to provide international airlift services, the Pentagon said late Thursday. Others teaming up with UPS include ABX Air Inc., Alaska Airlines Inc., a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group Inc., Kalitta Air LLC, National Air Cargo Group Inc., Northern Air Cargo, Ryan International Airlines Inc. and Southern Air Inc. Article Controls Work will be performed worldwide and is expected to be completed by September 2010."

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

Express operator TNT is enhancing its service capacity between China and Europe with the addition of a new dedicated B747-400ER freighter. Non-stop flights will operate between Hong Kong and TNT's European air hub in Belgium. This allows for connectivity with TNT's air and road network for delivery throughout Europe. This will allow faster transit times, control and visibility over shipments moving between Asia and Europe, while optimising its costs and fleet utilisation.
FedEx has announced that it will increase shipping rates for its FedEx Express unit by an average of 5.9% for US domestic and US export services, effective from January 4, 2010. The rate increase will be partially offset by adjusting the fuel price at which the fuel surcharge begins, reducing the fuel surcharge by two percentage points. Rates and surcharges for FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost also will increase for 2010. These changes will be announced later this year. Additional changes will be made to other FedEx Express surcharges effective Jan. 4, 2010.

The Telegraph has reported that "Thousands of motorists could escape speeding fines because of delays caused by the postal strike."

Hellmail has reported that:

  • Businesses are warning that a national postal strike could force smaller companies to cease trading and force others to give up on Royal Mail altogether.
  • The push for part-privatization of Royal Mail Group (RMG) continues, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Business Secretary Lord Mendelson using the Hooper Report (officially known as "Modernise or decline, Policies to maintain the universal postal services in the United Kingdom", 16 December 2008) as substantive evidence the Postal Services Bill (PSB) is the correct approach to resolving the many problems at RMG. Even the opposition party believes part-privatization and the PSB will solve the problems. What if a number of the assumptions and conclusions in the Hooper Report are erred?
  • The government is destroying the quality of service in the Mail industry following EU directives to liberalise the Mail industry across Europe.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Within months, a nearly decade-long process to privatize two of Japan's largest financial institutions will come to a dead halt. Leading the revanchist charge is newly appointed postal and financial services minister Shizuka Kamei. An opponent of privatizing Japan's postal system, including Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance, since the start, Kamei's finally found himself in a position to stamp it out."

TRUSTe has reported that "Comprehensive analysis of the privacy practices of America’s largest brands found eBay, Verizon and the U.S. Postal Service to be the winners of the 2009 Most Trusted Companies for Privacy Award, commissioned by Ponemon Institute, an information security research company, and TRUSTe, the most widely recognized privacy trustmark company on the Web."

The Financial Times has reported that "FedEx has declared that a global economic recovery was under way, which it said would fuel demand for the company’s package deliveries. The forecast came as the US logistics company, considered a bellwether for the US economy, said that quarterly results had exceeded its own expectations, reflecting corporate America’s optimism for the immediate future.

Ethanol Producer Magazine has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service announced it will add 1,000 E85 flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) to its fleet as part of a one-for-one replacement of 6,500 aging vehicles at postal offices and facilities across the country. The remaining 5,500 vehicles will be replaced with gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles and fuel-efficient, four-cylinder vehicles. With approximately 220,000 vehicles, the USPS operates and maintains the largest civilian fleet in the country. The purchase will bring the total number of alternative fuel-capable vehicles in the USPS fleet to more than 43,000, of which 37,000 are FFVs."

WDEF has reported that "The local postal workers union asks for your support speaking out against the possible closure of four local offices. Union reps say closing the offices will cut too many jobs and hurt those communities."

According to one writer for Hernando Today, "At least a decade ago, I began writing about what I saw to be a looming disaster for our national Postal Service. Indeed, as recently as Feb. 20 of last year, there was another of my columns on that subject. I then wrote that the Postal Service had been, and was still, ineptly and carelessly managed. My allegation was based on their flawed economic and business management policy, which routinely awarded unjustified and unnecessary raises to postal workers then tried to cover the added expense by increasing the cost of services. Sadly, today it seems that my dire predictions are coming true. Our present Administration, which seems ready and willing to nationalize just about any independent business, may well save the Postal Service by returning to the time when tax money was used to subsidize the inefficiently-run service. There is no question, in my mind, at least, that we need a national postal service, but if we must use tax dollars to keep it afloat, then we must, at the same time, force the Service to get its labor costs in line, while also eliminating inefficiencies and waste."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "Eight local post office branches have been removed from a list of potential closings, cutting the number of Cleveland-area branches with an uncertain future in half. Postal Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Ruth Goldway announced the trimming of the list at the start of Wednesday's hearing at the Independence Civic Center. The commission was in town for one of several hearings it will hold nationwide on post office closings before giving an advisory opinion."

September 17, 2009

The Universal Postal Union has reported that "After last year’s successful launch of a money-transfer service between the Posts of Spain, Chile and Uruguay, nine new Latin American countries are set to join the project. The directors general of the Posts of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru pledged their commitment during a workshop in San José, Costa Rica, last week. Guatemala was an observer at the workshop, also attended by postal representatives from Spain, Chile and Uruguay, pioneers of the service launched in July 2008. The new project, part of the UPU’s regional development plan for the area, has two pillars: ensuring that the operational, legal, financial and technological frameworks are in place on the ground; and defining a system of compensation for the participating countries."

The Guardian has reported that "A depressing sense of deja vu greets the news that the Communication Workers Union, which represents most of Royal Mail's 150,000 workers, is balloting members for industrial action. It is less than two years since the last national postal strikes over pay and proposed changes in working to eradicate what the chief executive, Adam Crozier, described as "Spanish practices", such as claiming overtime when finishing early and being asked to carry out other tasks to complete a shift. That dispute resulted in a deal between Royal Mail and the CWU that was long on good intentions ‑ such as the need for a "fresh start" in industrial relations ‑ but short on specifics."

Mmegi has reported that "Botswana is about to have a National Postal Code and Address System. The Marketing and Communications Manager for BotswanaPost, Keoagile Rafifing, told Mmegi in a telephone interview yesterday that the system will be launched by the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology."

According to The Telegraph, "There is...much more to the episodic destruction of the Royal Mail than a bunch of intransigent union bosses in search of a place among the Awkward Squad. To understand how an institution with a 500-year history has been reduced to an invalid of enterprise on a life-support machine, one needs to examine the contribution of vacillating management, perfidious government (Conservative and Labour) and the European Union."

The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved a request by the U.S. Postal Service (Docket No. R2009-5) to to offer eligible companies a 20 percent postage rebate on qualifying presorted First-Class letter, flat, and card volumes mailed between October 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. Under the proposal, which the Postal Service calls the First-Class Mail Incentive Program (Incentive Program), qualifying volume is defined as a single company’s First-Class Mail volume over and above a predetermined threshold.

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "There is now growing evidence that we have passed the bottom in two of the Postal Service's key businesses, delivering advertising and parcels."

FedEx Corp. will increase shipping rates for FedEx Express by an average of 5.9 percent for U.S. domestic and U.S. export services, effective January 4, 2010. The rate increase will be partially offset by adjusting the fuel price at which the fuel surcharge begins, reducing the fuel surcharge by two percentage points. Rates and surcharges for FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost also will increase for 2010. These changes will be announced later this year.

FedEx Corp. today reported earnings of $0.58 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31, compared to $1.23 per diluted share a year ago. “Better-than-expected FedEx International Priority® volume, decisive management actions and our dedicated team members helped drive financial performance above our initial expectations in the first quarter,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “For more than a year, we have vigilantly managed costs without sacrificing service, invested wisely and minimized job losses so that FedEx will emerge a stronger, more profitable company as the global economic recovery takes hold.”

As the Worcester News put it: "The Communication Workers Union (CWU) wants a job security agreement in place before it agrees to Royal Mail’s modernisation plans. The Royal Mail, meanwhile, says the union is blocking change and that an agreement on pay and modernisation already exists. It is a classic industrial dispute – and that means the real losers are the rest of us. In the middle of a deep recession, small businesses and hard-pressed families are suffering as cheque payments and credit card statements pile up at sorting offices around the country. And the situation will only worse if the current action becomes an all-out strike. We are amazed that a union in this day and age believes an employer will sign an agreement on job security."

As The Telegraph has noted, "Royal Mail and Communication Workers Union blame each other for postal dispute."

The BBC has published a Q&A on the Royal Mail dispute.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF today announced the appointment of Daniel J. Brutto as its newest board member. Brutto, who serves as president of UPS International, brings 34 years of operations, finance, marketing and business development experience to the Fund, which serves as the primary fundraising arm for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Dutch postal and express group TNT NV unions said Thursday they need more time to come up with alternatives to TNT's plan to cut 11,000 jobs at its postal unit by the end of 2012."

International Finance Centre has reported that "Jersey Post has released its latest performance statistics which show that over the first six months of 2009 nearly 100% of local mail was delivered within 24hrs. The company also beat its four other delivery targets for mail to/from Guernsey and the UK."

PC Advisor has reported that "A database that contains the UK's 1.8 million postcodes along with other information such as longitude and latitude references has been posted on the web."

Management Today has predicted that "With management and unions still apparently miles apart, a national postal strike looks almost inevitable... The prospect of a full-scale walk-out by Royal Mail staff moved a step closer today, after the Communication Workers Union asked its 100,000 members to vote on a proposed national strike. The various wildcat strikes across the country in recent weeks have already played havoc with the post – some estimates suggest that up to 20m letters and parcels may be sitting around in warehouses waiting to be delivered, which is bad news for any businesses that rely on the service. Negotiations between management and unions seem to have reached a total impasse – but the worry for both sides has to be that further disruption will only hasten its decline." See also Sky News, The Guardian, and Business Week.

According to Media Post, "Looks like Wal-Mart Stores is shaking up the $254 billion prescription-drug business again. The company, which began testing a mail-in prescription program last spring, says it will now expand the program across the country, offering a 90-day supply of many generic medicines for just $10."

Roll Call has reported that "The Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) to be secretary of the Army on Wednesday." Congratulations, John!!

The latest digital version of Postal Technology International is now available.

According to Hellmail:

  • Hybrid mail could well be a next paradigm shift for document production and distribution. The overall volumes are in fact huge. There are numerous hybrid mail solutions available on the market. Most solutions promote their simplicity via a virtual print driver, and for mail merge requirements, an upload facility. Postal services the world over are beginning to offer hybrid mail solutions, as are printers and courier services. There already exists organisations which will deliver internationally. Indeed, the distribute and print model for individual letters, an idea which has been promoted for over 20 years, may finally be upon us thanks to the arrival of robust and industrial scale hybrid mail solutions.
  • EU Postal Liberalisation Directive is frequently blamed for the difficulties now faced by the Royal Mail in terms of competition, but the principle is in fact being applied across all member states, even if some countries have, for one reason or another, lagged behind on opening up their own postal markets. Whilst it has had some impact, the greatest by far has been the rapid development in digital communications and our apparent demand for the latest and greatest in everything mobile. The digital revolution has certainly played a key part in volume decline, the growth in mobile phone ownership alone having already reached 1 billion subscribers by 2002 and expected to reach some 4.5 billion by 2012, although we may already be experiencing saturation point this year and the recession having an additional impact on take up. However, 61% of the world now uses a mobile phone and with the development of more complex software, more advanced power packs, and increases in internet speed, our ability to communicate over enormous distance, sending even greater quantities of data, has never been greater than it has now. [EdNote: In the U.S., it's now become fashionable to blame the Postal Accountability Act for the Postal Service's woes.]
  • The Isle Of Wight is to gain a new postal operater under Postcomm's existing licencing framework. 'WightPost', headed by Peter Camplin, will carry a unique mail identification code marking Wightpost as a licensed operator and allow it to provide all types of postal service, issued for a rolling ten year period.

The Postmaster General has told a National PCC Day audience that the Postal Service is "working closely with Congress and the Administration on initiatives that are critical to the future of our business. We are seeking legislation in three key areas. The first would reduce the immediate financial strain resulting from a law that increased our costs by more than $5 billion a year beginning in 2007 to prefund retiree health benefits. With more than 450,000 retirees, the Postal Service has already set aside a reserve that’s essentially sufficient to fund these benefits for each of their lifetimes. I am optimistic that Congress will act on this issue – which does not require the appropriation of any funds – particularly after the house overwhelmingly passed HR22 yesterday. We will now work with the Senate and Administration on this short-term action and then with the House, Senate and Administration on payments in future years. Our next priority is legislation that would allow us to adjust the capacity of our system to bring it in line with reduced mail use....The law that created a self-supporting Postal Service some 39 years ago didn’t come with all of the restrictions that are making it so hard to succeed today....[T]he status quo is unacceptable. The Postal Service must have the ability to manage its business, to adapt quickly to the needs of our customers and the marketplace. And our business model must change to reflect the reality of a volatile economy and a communications marketplace that’s been undergoing a transformation as profound as anything that has ever happened before."

September 16, 2009

The Telegraph has told its readers, "For the past few months, the union has staged a series of walkouts at sorting centres around the country, in protest at management plans to modernise the service. For many of us who now communicate principally by email, this action has had little discernible impact. One of the more bizarre aspects of the dispute, however, is that the owner of the business – the Government – has had precious little to say about the disruption. Ministers should have been far more robust in their denunciation of the union's tactics and its antediluvian defence of the Spanish practices that disappeared in most other industries decades ago. If the strike goes ahead, it will be the second national stoppage in two years; the last one cost £300 million in lost orders, bank charges and administration costs. The Royal Mail cannot go on like this, and our Trappist ministers should say as much. It must be made clear to postal workers that they are being asked by their union to strike themselves into oblivion."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his newly appointed cabinet have one major task: to pull Japan out of its absolute and relative structural economic decline. The good news is that the Democratic Party of Japan's landslide victory has given the new ruling party a mandate and a parliamentary majority so strong that policies can be passed quickly. The bad news is that the new leadership team is populated with antireformers, socialists and union leaders who combine an open hostility to free markets, deregulation and entrepreneurship with a romantic longing for a somehow simpler, fairer economic and social system. Prime Minister Hatoyama has also assigned Mr. Kamei to re-reform Japan Post. In that position, he will likely stop the postal privatization process and probably begin to reverse it. This would be a significant mistake."

Reuters has reported that "The United States and Cuba will discuss on Thursday the possible resumption of long-suspended direct postal service in another small step toward seeking better relations after 50 years of hostilities."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Brazilian postal workers kicked off a nationwide strike Wednesday as government officials scrambled to prepare a new wage offer. A total of 30 of the nation's 35 postal union locals were on strike as of Wednesday morning, according to a statement by the National Federation of Postal Workers. The striking locals cover about 70% of the nation's 110,000 postal workers. The federation said the strike was set to last indefinitely."

The U.S. Postal Service is co-sponsoring a series of free customer webinars highlighting the benefits of Direct Mail with five online Direct Mail Service Providers. Delivered by industry experts, the webinar series is designed to provide customers with smart and imaginative solutions on how to plan, design, and launch an effective direct mail campaign.

From PR.com: "Harvey Software has announced that its flagship Computerized Parcel System (CPS™) shipping software now provides its most complete ever support for United States Postal Service® shippers. Currently, the USPS, with its host of flat rate Priority services, is making a strong bid to gain the small package business from on-line stores, mail order businesses and others. Shippers can use all USPS services to their best advantage with CPS, a fast, easy-to-use system that supports both domestic and international post office services. CPS supports those who manifest, those who print Internet postage directly on their shipping label and even those who apply stamps or a meter tape. CPS also allows shippers to use the UPS Mail Innovations service, which includes the post office as part of its final delivery system."

According to Media Daily News, "U.S. ad spending declined for the fifth consecutive quarter during the second quarter of 2009, and while the rate of erosion moderated slightly from the previous quarter, a top industry economist says it still isn't clear whether demand for advertising is actually improving. In fact, a MediaDailyNews analysis of quarterly spending data throughout the recession indicates that U.S. ad spending has receded for eight of the 10 quarters since it began dipping in the first quarter of 2007. Among the major media tracked by TNS MI, only Internet display advertising (+6.5%), and newspaper free-standing inserts (+4.6%), managed any growth. TV declined 10.0%, magazines plummeted 20.9%, and newspapers and radio dropped 24.2% and 24.6%, respectively. Outdoor media also declined 15.7%."

Advertising Age has reported that "A year after the Lehman Bros. collapse sent financial markets and consumer spending reeling, conspicuous consumption isn't dead after all among the 23.9 million U.S. households with incomes of at least $100,000. Of course, it's still hurting: The 2009 Ipsos Mendelsohn survey of the affluent, being released a year to the day of the Lehman collapse, finds consumers in that income bracket planning less overseas travel than in 2008 (down 10%); fewer are planning on buying new cars (down 18%); and are less inclined to invest in securities (down 5%)."

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

Intense conflict is brewing between the trade unions and Belgium’s La Poste over the future of delivery staff. La Poste wants to begin to outsource large parts of delivery operations to so-called ’district deliverers’ at the end of this year. Unlike traditional postmen, this new staff category will consist of pensioners, students and temporary workers, who will distribute mail - to letterboxes only - in the area where they live.
It is now official that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has permission to open mail without first obtaining a court order. Last week, Moscow’s Supreme Court rejected a complaint against such practice.
In the run-up to the ’Shop Floor Talks’ between German trade union ver.di and Deutsche Post planned for this week, the union has again threatened to take industrial action.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, head of Brazil’s post ECT, officially handed over the draft for a new Postal Act plus a plan for the modernisation of ECT to communications minister Helio Costa last week.’The post must be made competitive’, said the minister at Wednesday’s handover, adding that although ECT had a monopoly on letters, the post was still suffering from international competition in the parcel segment.
Last Thursday, representatives of mail service providers belonging to Stuttgart-based publishing house Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck met with Dutch TNT in Berlin in order to discuss a hybrid post concept.
The merger of domestic parcel operations between Japan Post and Nippon Express planned for October has officially been postponed.
Despite the slow economy, e-commerce in China is enjoying significant growth.
After a test carried out by a German Sunday paper gave Deutsche Post a poor rating for transmission times (CEP News 35/09), Cologne-based radio station »1Live« went on to test five parcel services - DHL, Hermes, DPD, UPS and GLS - earlier this month. While GLS and UPS failed to deliver 3 and 1 parcels respectively within the standard transmission time, the result for DHL and DPD was much less impressive. Only four out of ten parcels arrived within the period of time advertised, while three arrived late and another three had not arrived at all by the end of the test. DHL suffered the embarrassment of one parcel that travelled only five kilometres through Cologne but had not arrived at all by the end of the test.
Small enterprises in Britain are complaining about the poor payment behaviour shown by TNT and DHL. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) criticises the fact that TNT has extended its payment terms to 60 days, while DHL demands 3% of the invoice amount for paying on time.
China Post Group has announced the founding of an express company in Tibet.
Germany’s Association of Courier, Express and Postal Service Providers (Bd- KEP e.V.) is organising a workshop on ’The Future of Courier and Mail Service Networks’ in Hanover on 29 September alongside the international Post-Expo 2009 fair. First and foremost, the workshop aims to show smaller operators how to survive against competition from the big service providers and Deutsche Post in the mail market.
The French Socialist Party is launching a ’major mobilisation campaign against the privatisation of the post’.
Portugal’s post Correios has recently began offering Geocontact, a service for unaddressed advertising mail.
Last week Canada Post extended the appointment of Moya Greene as president and CEO.
Mark Hughes has been appointed new CEO of Itella NLC in Russia. The Finnish post’s subsidiary stated last week that Mr Hughes was previously managing director of DHL in Russia.

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

Reuters has reported that "The 1,400 U.S. mechanics who maintain United Parcel Service Inc's worldwide fleet of 263 aircraft have authorized a strike, union officials said on Tuesday, but contract talks will continue later this month. The vote represents a ratcheting up of the pressure in negotiations between the two sides just as UPS, the world's largest shipping company, enters its busiest season."

The Winston-Salem Journal has told its readers that "The U.S. Postal Service should cancel any consideration of closing its Center City branch in downtown Winston-Salem. Customers of the branch can help by signing a petition against the move, and by visiting the branch more often."

The Telegraph has reported that "Some letters and parcels are taking up to two weeks to be delivered as the postal strikes continue to bring chaos to the national post system, according to postal union sources."

3news.co.nz has reported that "While you might throw unsolicited mail straight into the recycling, there are others who actually enjoy poring over each glossy page. But a recent survey showed that as many as 80 percent of people who have 'no junkmail' stickers on their letterboxes still get it, and that's enough to drive some people postal."

From PR-Inside: "The United States Postal Service - SWOT Analysis company profile is the essential source for top-level company data and information. United States Postal Service - SWOT Analysis examines the company's key business structure and operations, history and products, and provides summary analysis of its key revenue lines and strategy.

CBonds has reported that "Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it had affirmed its 'BB' long-term issuer credit and 'kzA+' Kazakhstan national scale ratings on Kazpost (JSC), the state-owned national postal operator in Kazakhstan. The outlook is stable."

Kyodo News has reported that "Shizuka Kamei, Japan's new minister in charge of postal services and financial affairs, expressed intention Wednesday to review the nation's postal privatization reform."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union announced today that ballot papers for narional strike action are being sent out to all 121,000 postal workers across the UK on thursday) as the dispute between the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail continues." See also IBTimes and Sky News.

The Washington Post has reported that "The Smithsonian Institution restated its policies on renting its facilities to outside groups Tuesday, acknowledging that it had made an error in allowing the Federation for American Immigration Reform to hold an event Tuesday night at the National Postal Museum. "It was a mistake," said Linda St. Thomas, the chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, which oversees the Postal Museum, a facility near Union Station dedicated to the history of the U.S. postal service and stamps. "This was a violation of the special-events policy that says it is unacceptable to have groups which are partisan, political or religious in nature use the Smithsonian space," she said."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "Wal-Mart Stores is turning to the transportation industry for leadership in its fast-growing Asia business, naming DHL Express senior executive Scott Price as president and CEO of Walmart Asia. Price has been CEO of DHL Express in Europe since July 2007 and before that was CEO for DHL Express Asia-Pacific and president of DHL Japan."

The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "Yukio Hatoyama made final adjustments Tuesday to the roster of ministers for the Cabinet he will form after taking over as prime minister today. One of the biggest surprises Tuesday was the naming of Shizuka Kamei as state minister in charge of postal as well as financial services."

According to Domain Name Wire, "USPS has prevailed in a dispute over the domain name USPS.mobi, in a case heard by National Arbitration Forum. Now for the forty-four cent question: will USPS use the domain it just won?"

The Daily Mail has reported that "Thousands of families and firms are facing misery because of the postal strikes. Credit card and store card statements are among more than 20million letters trapped in a backlog as the chaos escalates. The delays are leaving many people open to punishing bank penalty charges and even black marks on their credit records. Small businesses risk being hit with heavy overdraft charges as cheques sent to them fail to arrive." The Mail has characterized the British postal system as "the last of the dinosaurs."

With concerns by Royal Mail bosses that widespread industrial action by postal workers could see a mass exodus of business clients, and worsen its financial position, Steve Lawson, the editor for Hellmail Postal News warned today that far from protecting jobs, an extended period of strikes could actually see greater damage to services and increase the scope for mandatory job losses.

According to Metro, U.K. "Postal services are set to be hit by further walkouts amid calls for the Government to step in to break the deadlocked row over jobs and pay."

The Associated Press has reported that "The House passed a bill Tuesday to let the struggling U.S. Postal Service cover a budget shortfall by reducing its annual payment to a health care fund for retirees by $4 billion. Under current law the Postal Service is required to transfer $5.4 billion to the Retiree Health Benefits Fund by Sept. 30, the end of the budget year. Postal officials have said they don't have enough money to make the payment. The House voted 388 to 32 to reduce the transfer to $1.4 trillion, which would keep the Postal Service from defaulting on the payment. Officials said the money is available because the fund is on track to have a surplus. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is considering similar legislation." See also Federal Times.

WickedLocal Randolph has reported that "Congressman Stephen Lynch -- who had been expected to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate tomorrow -- has made a last-minute decision not to enter the race, his campaign spokesman said. Lynch spoke with his family last night and decided that he didn’t have enough time to raise enough money or adequately prepare for the race, said spokesman Scott Ferson."

From PR Newswire: "Endicia is now offering free USPS supplies direct from www.Endicia.com/store. This new feature, which launched July 13th, makes Endicia(R) an even more convenient way to do business and handle shipping needs."

The Star has noted that "many may opt for e-mails instead of snail mails today but the postal service still plays an important role as handwritten letters, postcards or parcels are always appreciated by the recipients. Even though we have entered the broadband era, the growth of online shopping that involves posting merchandise to the customers has given greater significance to courier service."

Wakulla.com has reported that "A two month joint investigation between the Criminal Investigation Division of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service has culminated in the arraignment of April Taylor. Information received by the agencies and investigated revealed Taylor, 30, was using her position as a mail carrier in Wakulla County to intercept personal mail and then used that mail for her own personal gain."

September 15, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
A PostCom Postal Podcast

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway in a discussion of various postal questions and issues.

WLUK has reported that "About 50 people gathered outside of Green Bay's main post office and processing facility on Tuesday to protest its possible closure. The U.S. Postal Service is conducting a study to determine whether the facility is still necessary. Protestors say they are upset because closing the facility would mean lost jobs, slower delivery times, and the loss of the Green Bay postmark.

According to Logistics Management, "UPS, the world’s largest transportation company and operator of the world’s 12th-largest fleet of aircraft, is negotiating a new labor contract with its 1,200 aircraft mechanics who maintain UPS’s fleet of 262 planes. Recently those workers represented by Teamsters Local 2727 in Louisville voted overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization vote by a 90 percent margin to help jump-start those negotiations that began three years ago. Another round of negotiations was scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Minneapolis. Air contract negotiations are notoriously complex, but a UPS spokesman says many side issues were largely settled and it’s now time to negotiate economic issues, which he called the “meat and potatoes” of the contract."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The President of the American Postal Workers Union has told his members that "Advocates of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) — legislation that has brought the USPS to the brink of insolvency — are now asserting that labor agreements are a major contributor to the agency’s expected deficit of $7 billion in Fiscal Year 2009. Such a suggestion would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "The Teamsters union, already fighting legal and legislative battles to organize FedEx workers in the United States, said Monday it is launching a “large-scale campaign” to bring FedEx workers in Canada into the union."

September 14, 2009

The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. Mystery Shoppers. Like most retailers, the Postal Service uses mystery shoppers — customers unknown to the retail staff who fill out evaluations on their shopping experience — to determine how well retail units are performing. Given the variety of customers and types of transactions, the need for a uniform approach to customers is important. Is it appropriate, however, to include items generally viewed as “upselling” in the mystery shopper program? Click on this OIG blog to vote. You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. You can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

In the Daily Free Press, Moe Lepore, General President Boston Metro Area Local 100 American Postal Workers Union has told Boston University students that their campus post office is being studied for closure.

Politics.co.uk has reported that "Commenting on the continued disruption to postal services caused by walkouts and strikes, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: "If the government is serious about helping businesses get through this recession, it needs to get a grip on these postal strikes. The disruption has dragged on for far too long and neither the Royal Mail nor the unions involved have shown enough leadership. The net result is that businesses are suffering at a time when they can least afford it."

The Local has reported that "German publisher Georg von Holtzbrinck has teamed up with private logistics companies to create a 'hybrid mail' service using the internet for quicker delivery at a lower cost, according to weekly news magazine WirtschaftsWoche. According to the magazine, Berlin’s Pin Mail, Freiburg’s Arriva, Main-Post Logistik from Würzburg, and Netherlands service Post TNT are meeting this week to discuss plans to the combination of e-mail with traditional "snail mail" that could revolutionise postal services. The meeting in Berlin on Thursday will focus on bringing the new product to all of Germany, with a focus on small and medium-sized companies."

Capital Business has reported that "Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali took office as the new Post Master General on Monday with the assurance that he was ready for the task ahead. However the immediate former Police Commissioner who held a meeting with his Board, declined to lay bare his strategies for the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) saying he needed time to settle down."

According to Federal Times, "The Postal Service can’t continue making its scheduled payments to its retiree health benefits fund due to its financial woes and a deficit expected to top $7 billion this year. One bill, HR 22, would suspend those payments for three years and will be passed by the House floor this week. The problem lies in the Senate — unions dislike the Senate version, S 1507, and their influence could persuade some senators to sideline the bill. Either way, expect floor action quickly because the next payment to the retiree fund is due Sept. 30, and the Postal Service can’t make that payment."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "After decades of wrestling for dominance in the U.S. shipping industry, United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. are squaring off on another front: the growing world of online printing. UPS is rolling out marketing Monday to highlight a push into Web-based printing, in which clients can send documents such as business presentations to UPS retail stores via the Internet to have printed copies made. FedEx already offers online printing at its FedEx Office/Kinko's locations." See also Business Wire.

As the Wichita Eagle has noted, "After a year of economic crisis and an even longer slump, the nation's retailers are facing consumers who are more reluctant to buy. Whether it's because of job losses, uncertainty about employment, banks tightening lending, high debt or eroding income, U.S. consumers aren't spending as much."

Reuters has reported that "HSBC said on Monday it is partnering with Vietnam's state-run postal service, Vietnam Posts Corp, to deepen its reach in the country of nearly 86 million people through the network of post offices. The partnership allows retail clients of HSBC Holdings Plc's (HSBA.L)(0005.HK) locally incorporated HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd to make credit card and other payments at post offices around the country, while corporate clients can receive cash payments and data from their own customers at post offices."

According to IBTimes, "Workers at Royal Mail are to continue with a series of localised strikes this week ahead of a ballot by the Communication Workers Union for a nationwide strike. Workers at the CWU have been striking on and off in different parts of the country since June in opposition to Royal Mail’s modernisation plans."

The Mirror has reported that "Firms which post millions of mailshots yesterday pleaded with the Government to settle the postal dispute which has seen mail "sorted" on the street. Local walkouts over pay and jobs have hit services and in the incident pictured above, letters were strewn outside a sorting office in South West London. Shocked passers-by took photos." See also the Daily Express.

The Independent has reported that "Businessmen have urged the Government to intervene in the postal dispute, warning of the "damaging" effects strikes were having on recession-hit companies. As members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) prepared to vote this week in a national ballot for strikes following months of local walkouts, the Direct Marketing Association said the Government should take action to help to resolve the dispute. In a letter to the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, the trade body's head of membership, Robert Keitch, said: "It is quite clear that businesses cannot sustain these interruptions indefinitely. Should a national postal strike take effect, this would have a significant impact on businesses that rely on issuing invoices and receiving payment via post." He added: "We are seeing evidence that the economy might be staging a recovery from the recession and yet strike action could be the final blow for many struggling companies."

Graphics Arts Online has reproduced an open letter to the President and Congress pleading for help in determining the Postal Service's future.

The Daily Express has reported that "militant postal workers are stepping up their action to bring chaos to the mail system this week ahead of a crucial vote on a nationwide walkout."

September 13, 2009

Business Daily Africa has reported that "Traditional money transfer service operators are losing their grip on the market as more Kenyans turn to mobile phone-based platforms that offer instant movement of cash, enhanced security and low transaction costs. Official data on cash movement in the economy shows that nearly half (47 per cent) of all money transfers in Kenya are taking place through the mobile phone – a significant leap in use since the first such platform, M-pesa, was launched in the country two years ago. Postal Corporation of Kenya’s (PCK) money order service appears to have taken the biggest knock with the latest shift. The service that held 21 per cent of the money transfer market before the advent of mobile phone-based money transfers in March 2007 now has near zero usage."

FWDailyNews has a historical retrospective: "The trip-the first to deliver U.S. mail by flight-didn’t quite go as Prof. John Wise had planned. Amidst great fanfare, Wise, a Philadelphia native and pioneer in manned flight, on Aug. 17, 1859, was prepared to show that mail could be delivered cross-country as his balloon would be lofted by the winds from Lafayette to his expected destination of New York City. Estimates were that 20,000 people had gathered in Lafayette, IN for the grand event. A photograph of the time shows the hot-air balloon, in among Lafayette buildings of the town square, prior to its launch. No doubt with anticipation at a fever pitch, the balloon was sent aloft. The great-and first-delivery by mail by on its way! It came down near Crawfordsville, IN."

According to Hellmail, "Postal workers could be in for a rough time over the coming weeks with mounting criticism of plans to begin a national postal strike at Royal Mail. With a difficult recession and only months away from Christmas, sympathy for the plight of workers has already taken a dent this week after both the Daily Mail and the Telegraph launched scathing attacks on union members for trying to bring the network to a crawl and of using underhand tactics to disrupt deliveries."

The Daily Mail has told its readers "So it has come to this. Royal Mail managers sort letters in a Wimbledon gutter – strikebreakers stooped like medics over the wounded in some makeshift field-hospital. Trapped between dithering Ministers, incompetent bosses and greedy unions, this is the reality of our beleaguered postal service."

Transport Canada has said that "Canadians will benefit from a new Service Charter for Canada Post following today's announcement by the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport). The Government of Canada created the Service Charter to outline its expectations concerning Canada Post's service and makes these expectations known to Canadians. The new Service Charter covers universal service, rates, delivery, access to postal services, security, outreach and consultation, and response to complaints."

The Telegraph has wryly asked the question: "Will anyone notice a postal strike? There was a time when the thump of mail on the doormat would be met with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Nowadays when you get back from a holiday, going through the post is low on your list of priorities. I suspect the striking postal workers haven't realised how much times have changed. "What's that? You're going to strike until your demands are met? Well, if you must. Perhaps you could drop us an email to let us know when you've finished."

September 12, 2009

Parade has noted that "For more than 200 years, citizens have relied on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail through storms of all kinds. But changing technology, a global recession, and rising debt now threaten the national mail service. By any measure, the U.S. Postal Service’s financial condition is dire. Some suggest that the solution lies overseas: Germany, Britain, and Japan have opened their postal services to competition from private companies in recent years."

According to the BoyGeniusReport, "Early last month we reported on a policy change at T-Mobile that we weren’t exactly happy with. In a nutshell, T-Mobile decided it would force its subscribers to enroll in paperless billing lest they wish to pay an additional fee for hard copies each month. T-Mobile announced yesterday that it is reversing its decision on the matter."

The Financial Times has reported that "FedEx told investors yesterday that stable fuel prices and a modest recovery in the world's economy had helped lift the package delivery company's earnings well above expectations for the first half of its fiscal year."

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers across the UK have gone on strike again as part of a long-running row over modernisation plans." [EdNote: Did the sun come up over England? Yes. Well, then somewhere in the UK the CWU is on strike.]

The Rutgers University Center for Research in Regulated Industries will be holding a postal colloquium on November 20, 2009. The colloquium will take place in the offices of the Postal Regulatory Commission located at 901 New York Avenue, Washington, DC. More information to follow.

A Call for Papers is being issued for the 18th Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics sponsored by the Rutgers University Center for Research in Regulated Industries. Conference Date: June 2-5, 2010; Conference Location: Haikko Manor, Porvoo, Finland; Abstracts Due: December 15, 2009.

According to BNET, "An internal document from Time Inc. obtained by NBC Bay Area shows the magazine giant, publisher of Time, Sports Illustrated, People and other titles, wants to start competing with Amazon's Kindle and other electronic readers before the end of the year. It's a big shift in strategy by Time, which earlier this year said it would not introduce its own e-reader. But things have changed, and Time's plans for the e-reader market are on a fast track. According to the in-house presentation, Time Inc. is seeking to unveil its plans within the next three months."

September 11, 2009 

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx issued an upbeat new view of the economy Friday, saying its earnings could end up nearly double earlier projections in part because of gains in international express shipping. The company said it is seeing “a continued modest recovery in the global economy,” although rates remain under pressure across all domestic and international businesses."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer reportedly, through an amendment as a substitution for H.R. 22, want the House to approve language that would require the Postal Service to make only a $1.4 billion payment for FY 2009 toward its retiree health benefits obligation. This relief would be for one year only. Nonetheless, it would "save" having to make an additional $4 billion payment to fully satisfy the requirement that's a part of the Postal Accountability act. Word has it this will all take place on Tuesday.

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

  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "recent news stories have highlighted some of the absurd results that current labor contract provisions and civil service rules create as the Postal Service deals with workforce management today."
  • This week, USPS' Vice President of Ground Shipping Jim Cochrane spoke during the Parcel Forum USPS Shipping Costs Webcast on the current parcel market. He discussed the preliminary competitive outlook, what you should be thinking, recovery, shipping through USPS, and planning for 2010.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on September 2, 2009, issued a proposed rulemaking that would require the U. S. Postal Service (USPS) to report in greater detail the service performance for all its market-dominant products. The USPS today largely reports service performance at the class level, but the PRC’s proposal would require separate reporting for each market-dominant product. The PRC also proposes reporting further be broken out, for some products, by service standard groupings or by Destination Entry versus End-to-End mail within a market-dominant product. Initial comments on the PRC’s proposed rule are due 30 days from when it is published in the Federal Register, and reply comments will be due 60 days from when it is published.
  • According to Dr. Tatiana Vazulina, Parascript, LLC, The only opportunity for posts to withstand increased competition is to raise the bar for performance and efficiency standards of mail sorting and the quality and variety of services offered. Having the advantage of directly servicing the most consumers of any communication-related industry on earth, posts have the opportunity to convert expensive, paper-related, immobile postal mail service into an advanced and more robust form of hybrid service, offering consumers choices about paper or other media.
  • Rag Content has told its readers that "in reading about the UK's current postal troubles, as well as the challenges faced by other posts around the world, I began to wonder what things would be like if American postal workers were entitled to go on strike. What sectors of the economy would be most greatly affected and would commerce come to a punishing halt? How we use a postal system in the United States differs somewhat than elsewhere around the world, so one has to wonder just how a postal strike would affect the nation."
  • Paid to do nothing. CSC awards $46M USPS contract. USPS Published new brochure on AEC and AEC II. Possible Green Bay's postal distribution center closure. FedEx Smart Post introduces returns service.
  • 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.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Upcoming postal conferences, meetings, and events.
  • New member announcement.
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According to one Bristol businessman writing for the Evening Post, "members of the general public...do not appear to realise the fundamental problem at Royal Mail – it seems to be one of the worst managed businesses in the country. Not only do I think that it is badly managed but I also regard it as over-managed. To me, an outsider, it looks like there are far too many managers. This comes right from the very top of the Royal Mail. So much so, that I have visions of thousands of meeting rooms filled with overpaid incompetents pontificating about how to run the business.

Parcel2Go has reported that "industrial action organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) can "only damage" the Royal Mail, the company has claimed. In a statement, the postal organisation has stated that it is "still committed" to entering discussions with the union and warned that the strikes would only have a negative impact on its parcel delivery services. Royal Mail added that all of the changes it has made to services in recent months were agreed with the CWU in official agreements."

Marketing Direct has reported that "The Direct Marketing Association (DMA-UK) has written to Lord Mandelson, the business secretaryasking him to intervene in the current stand-off with Royal Mail to end the ongoing strike action, which the DMA says is damaging direct mail. The trade association, which has warned of the damaging effects of the strike action on UK business and specifically on direct mail, is also calling on members to follow its lead by contacting their local MPs to demand action. See also Marketing Week.

Marketing Daily has reported that "About the fast-approaching holiday season, Mike Duke says this will be "a late Christmas. There will be deferred spending. The customer will use every bit of intelligence, comparison shop, do lots of research on the Internet." Duke addressed the Goldman Sachs Sixteenth Annual Global Retail Conference in New York on Thursday."

Hellmail has reported that:

  • The Communication Workers Union yesterday informed Royal Mail it was to go ahead with a national ballot of postal workers for strike action, a move that could potentially bring the UK postal service to a standstill in October, two months before Christmas, a period when businesses rely heavily on postal services. Ballot papers will be posted to all 130,000 postal workers next week. The ballot officially opens on the 17th September and closes on the 8th October.
  • Postcomm, the UK postal regulator, today published research, conducted by NERA Economic Consulting and Accent, on the social value of the post office network. The report provides a quantitative analysis of customers’ willingness to pay for the post office network and the services provided by post offices, derived from a survey of households and businesses. Significantly, the report showed that customers place a high value on the existing network of post offices although it did not address further questions related to the case for public funding, such as the net cost of providing the current network or how the value of post offices compares with the value of other services (such as education and health care).

According to BoingBoing, "A South African IT company got so fed up with the national telco's notoriously poor Internet service that they decided to set up a race that pitted the telco's network against a carrier pigeon. The pigeon won."

The following reports 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.
  • Management Advisory – MVA Reduction Target-Setting Process (Report Number HM-MA-09-002).  http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/HM-MA-09-002.pdf. We sought to determine the best practices used by private companies to establish motor vehicle accident (MVA) reduction targets.  We determine the best practices used by two benchmarked companies and the Postal Service did not consider factors such as geographic location, rural versus city routes, and weather when establishing MVA reduction targets.  Instead, they included geographic location and weather, along with human behavior, in their MVA root cause analyses.  In addition, both the two benchmarked companies and the Postal Service used a mileage driven metric to determine its MVA reduction targets.
  • Air Networks – Federal Express Transportation Agreement – Southeast Area (Report Number NL-AR-09-007). http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/NL-AR-09-007.pdf

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "The Freight Transportation Services Index rose 1.6 percent in July from its June level, the first monthly increase since February and the largest increase since January 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Thursday."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

September 10, 2009

From PR Newswire: "Deutsche Post DHL announced that Thomas Kipp has assumed the role of worldwide CEO of DHL Global Mail. Lee Spratt will continue to serve as CEO of Global Mail's Americas division. With the appointment of Kipp, Deutsche Post DHL Board of Management member Jurgen Gerdes is entrusting him with the responsibility of overseeing all of Deutsche Post DHL's international mail business. Kipp has been advising Deutsche Post since 1999 and has been a member of the company's Divisional Board for Mail since 2006. Most recently, he was responsible for the European mail business as the Deutsche Post DHL Board of Management member for Global Mail Europe. He has also been in charge of Global Mail's business operations at its Bonn headquarters and will continue to hold both of these responsibilities."

According to Reuters, "It's probably one of the last groups you'd expect to stake out a presence on YouTube, the Internet video channel characterized by irreverent rants from the guy next door and unwitting B-roll from mainstream news. But last month the Small Business Administration, a government agency better known for bureaucracy than cutting-edge technology, put out the word that it had indeed begun to launch informational videos on YouTube, the youth-oriented Web portal, here www.youtube.com/sba. The first instinct might be to chuckle. Anyone who has followed the SBA throughout the travails of the recession realizes the agency has been under scrutiny over the effectiveness of its primary mission of delivering financial support to a vast array of small companies. Could this be a bit off point? The reaction is exacerbated upon discovering that the first 10-part series posted to the SBA YouTube site, entitled "Delivering Success," was co-produced with another federal behemoth not typically associated with leading-edge practices - The U.S. Postal Service."

According to Rag Content, "In reading about the UK's current postal troubles, as well as the challenges faced by other posts around the world, I began to wonder what things would be like if American postal workers were entitled to go on strike. What sectors of the economy would be most greatly affected and would commerce come to a punishing halt? How we use a postal system in the United States differs somewhat than elsewhere around the world, so one has to wonder just how a postal strike would affect the nation."

Press Release: "Air Cargo World (www.aircargoworld.com), the global news authority on air logistics and freight transport, has announced it is to launch two new information resources for the air cargo community. The North America Truckers, Forwarders & Express Delivery Services Guide will be published in February 2010, followed by the Worldwide Airports & Airline Services Guide in November 2010. The content for these two guides will comprise the information currently published in its five annual directories."

Media Daily News has reported that "From 2002-2009, weekly magazines have suffered a bigger decline in overall paid circulation (paid subscriptions and newsstand sales) than their monthly brethren, according to a MediaPost analysis of figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations covering this time period."

From Business Wire: "FedEx SmartPost announced today that it is introducing a new and convenient way for consumers to return items back to a retailer using the U.S. Postal Service for package pickup. Consumers will gain the convenience of Postal Service(TM) access points for a return pickup -- collection boxes, Post Offices(TM), and Free Package Pickup from home or business addresses."

The Erie Times-News has reported that "U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has sent a letter to Postmaster General John Potter expressing "deep concern'' about a U.S. Postal Service plan that could close 37 post offices in Pennsylvania. Casey, D-Pa., asked Potter to "work collaboratively" to prevent the closures."

IB Times has reported that "The Royal Mail has rejected claims by the Communication Workers Union that recent postal strikes have created a backlog of over 20 million items. However a Royal Mail spokesman dismissed the figure saying, "The amount of mail delayed in the capital is absolutely not the 20 million figure claimed by the union but nearer to four to five million letters, which we expect to clear in the next few days."

The Guardian has reported that "A fresh row over the postal strikes broke out today as union leaders confirmed plans for a national ballot in the bitter dispute over jobs, pay and services. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will start voting next Wednesday on whether to back a nationwide walkout, with the result expected on 30 September – during the Labour party's annual conference. Royal Mail said the decision to press ahead with the ballot was "wholly irresponsible" because talk between senior management and the union leadership were still ongoing." See also Sky News.

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "Legislation in the House (H.R. 22) and Senate (S-1507) is designed to temporarily relieve the USPS of its federally mandated obligation to prefund retiree health care benefits out of its operating budget. The USPS fiscal year closes Sept. 30, which is when a $5.4 billion health-care retiree payment comes due. If the pending legislation is not passed, USPS probably can’t make this payment. What happends then?"

Business Daily has reported that "President Kibaki on Wednesday came under yet another scathing attack by Parliament over the appointment of heads of State corporations, following his Tuesday’s naming of Major General Hussein Ali as the Post Master General. Several MPs questioned the deployment of the former Commissioner of Police, saying the appointment was in disregard of the State Corporations Act, which provides for the hiring of heads of parastatals. They claimed the position was not competitively advertised and recruitment was not done by the Board as required by the Act."

September 9, 2009

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Cuba has authorized public Internet access at post offices across the country, though it has yet to apply what would be a landmark loosening of cyberspace rules in a nation where information is strictly controlled."

The BBC has reported that "The Royal Mail has denied it has plans to seal postboxes in Bristol after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) claimed the action was likely."

The National League of Postmasters headquarters, state officials and others have received inquiries about the reduction in grade being implemented for some Postmasters to reflect their change in status from exempt to non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Answers to these questions can be found on the League's web site.

Press Release: "In the coming months, GrayHair will be releasing round two of its successful PostCom Postal Podcast Series. This series will again be moderated by PostCom’s President, Gene Del Polito and will feature not only the expertise of GrayHair Software but also will include leaders in the mail and direct marketing industries. Some of the hot topics that will be covered in Series 2 include discussions on e-Docs, Mailer IDs, Service Codes, and the 5 Day delivery plan. The series is co-released on PostCom’s website (http://www.postcom.org/) and on GrayHair’s (http://www.grayhairsoftware.com/) so stay tuned to each site for more details.

From PR-Canada.Net: "WhitePages (www.whitepages.com) today announced that the Ban The Phone Book campaign (www.banthephonebook.org) has surpassed 12,000 signatures in less than one month following survey results indicating that 81 percent of consumers are willing to embrace "opt-in" programs to receive the white pages phone book. According to WhitePages, if every US household stopped receiving the white pages phone book, millions of trees and up to $17 million in taxpayer funded recycling fees would be saved every year."

Media Daily News has reported that "Media spending in the second quarter of 2009 declined steeply compared to the second quarter of 2006 -- but the same period saw an even larger increase, in percentage terms, in Internet revenues. It's worth noting that -- with the exception of newspapers -- the percentage share of most traditional media in overall spending has remained roughly the same."

AFP has reported that "The German logistics group Deutsche Post is mulling the purchase of Dutch letter distributor Sandd along with other possible European deals, a press report said on Monday. Deutsche Post is also looking at Adrexo in France, DX Services in Britain and Letterbox in Finland, plus companies in Denmark and the Czech Republic, the business daily Handelsblatt said, citing sources close to Deutsche Post, which owns the DHL courrier service. French rival La Poste is also interested in Sandd, which is the second biggest courier distributor in the Netherlands."

According to the Washington Post, "In this new era of frugality, well-to-do shoppers have gone into hiding and stowed away their splashy logos. But they may hold the key to a consumer recovery. Affluent shoppers are the most important segment of consumer spending, which in turn drives the national economy. The top 20 percent of the nation's households -- with income of at least $150,000 -- account for 40 percent of all spending, according to government data. That makes them a crucial spoke to any turnaround."

According to In2Town, "The theory that sophisticated direct mail is the sole preserve of large companies conducting bulk mailings, no longer stands up. With an ever-increasing range of new marketing technologies available small organisations can reap the benefits of this cost-effective marketing medium."

The Youngstown Vindicator has reported that "Postal customers and informational pickets from the postal clerks’ union expressed their displeasure concerning the proposed closing of the West Side post office."

According to the BBC, "Recent postal strikes have caused as many as 20 million pieces of mail to become stuck in the post office system." The Communication Workers Union said it "strongly urges Royal Mail to engage in meaningful negotiations to agree changes for the business. The mail backlog is now bigger than at the height of the national strike of 2007 with well over 20 million items backed up in London alone." [EdNote: Looks like the U.K. could use a dose of the "Reagan vs.air traffic controllers" solution.]

The Baltimore Sun has reported that "The Baltimore County Council has banned delivery of advertising circulars to residences. The legislation, which passed on a 5-to-2 vote Tuesday and will take effect Jan. 1, exempts U.S. Postal Service deliveries and those by private mail services, as well as campaign literature and newspapers. Violators could face a $500 fine for the first offense, with a $1,000 fine for each additional offense. The bill originally also covered fliers left on car windshields, but that was taken out of the final measure. Councilman John Olszewski, who sponsored the bill, would make an exception for fliers printed with a "conspicuous notice" that reads, "If you no longer wish to receive this publication, please call the following toll-free or local number."

CNSNews has reported that "The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee says it is time to do something to make the United States safer from the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). "The fact is that we are still not properly prepared to meet this bioterrorist threat, despite measures that have been taken since the 2001 anthrax attacks,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), “and that is what brings us to the legislation that we introduced today, which would implement many of the recommendations of the Graham-Talent Commission.” Among the proposals: an expansion of the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver medical countermeasures; the provision of emergency “Medkits” to emergency responders and their families and increased bio-security measures at laboratories that handle dangerous pathogens."

Parcel2Go has reported that "A new wave of postal strikes that is set to take place in the UK has been announced by the Communication Workers Union. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has release a list of the locations being affected by strikes across the rest of this week. According to the body, a range of London depots are to be affected by action taking place until tonight (September 9th), which may in turn lead many to seek post office alternatives. Further afield, areas include Birmingham, Bridgend, Carlisle and Coventry will be affected by 24-hour strike action involving network drivers at the weekend."

The Daily Camera has reported that "The Regional Transportation District is investigating complaints about an RTD bus plastered with political posters that was part of Louisville's Labor Day Parade, while the U.S. Postal service determined that a mail truck covered with similar posters was a mistake. The two vehicles, driven by postal service and RTD employees, bore posters that read “health care can't wait” and “no more business as usual.” Both also had banners supporting the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations — a national trade union center — and the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would create a new system for organizing unions." See also TheDenverChannel.

As the Washington Post has noted, "Joseph Kennedy's decision to not run for his uncle's U.S. Senate seat means several other Bay State pols will soon join the contest. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is considering a run for the U.S. Senate. Among those considering a run in Massachusetts is Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, 54, a South Boston native first elected to the House in 2001 to replace the late Rep. Joseph Moakley (D). Lynch has taken out nomination papers, but said he must weigh family matters before deciding to run. The Eye's readers should take note of a possible Lynch candidacy because he chairs the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia. That makes him a go-to guy on every major debate about pay, benefits and safety issues of concern to federal employees -- and also on the financial future of the U.S. Postal Service.

From Swiss Post, "Send and receive e-mails with IncaMail just like a registered letter securely, conveniently, and verifiably without installing further software. You make sure that only the intended recipient can read the message. In addition, you receive a digitally signed Post receipt on request."

According to Postal Sanity, "Within the next 50 years standard mail may virtually disappear by turning virtual."

From PR Web: "QSI Corporation, designer and manufacturer of rugged industrial and mobile data terminals, announce their new rugged TREQ®-M4 mobile data terminal is chosen by LoadTrek.net, a leader in transportation management software. The first deployment of the in-cab terminal is for Matheson Postal Services. One of the largest contract carriers for the United States Postal Service, Matheson is a diversified national transportation carrier serving the USPS since 1964. Matheson offers specialized hauling, time sensitive material handling and transportation, less-than-truckload freight delivery, underwing airport operations, and terminal handling services."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL this week announced an expansion of its partnership with fashion weeks around the world to include the prestigious London Fashion Week being held later this month (September 18-22). DHL pointed out that it was already the official logistics partner of the series of high profile fashion weeks in ten leading cities around the world, including New York, Milan and Sydney. Since September 2008, it continued, the company had also supported Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden, London, a platform which aimed to find and nurture undiscovered British designers and was part of the official London Fashion Week calendar."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

According to the Australian Newsagency Blog, "While best practice around the world is the open competition for the postal service and retail post offices being dominated by, well, postal services, successive governments in Australia have allowed and even encouraged the 100% government owned and protected Australia Post to compete more with private enterprise. Yesterday’s news that Australia Post is to sell insurance is more evidence of selective interpretation of what is permissible under the Act which governs Australia Post. Australia Post benefits from government protection. Their retail outlets get rent deals, special landlord treatment, better buying and cheap access to customers who have nowhere else to go for the right to stand in a line for mediocre service."

The Japan Times has reported that "The government effectively delayed Tuesday the planned Oct. 1 integration of the parcel delivery operations of Japan Post Service Co., the mail arm of Japan Post Holdings, and private-sector trucking firm Nippon Express Co."

The Visalia Times-Delta has reported that "Postal inspectors have interviewed the Visalia letter carrier who delivered a package suspected of carrying a pipebomb to a local office in Visalia Tuesday."

The Economic Times has reported that "Indians working abroad may soon be able to send cash directly to their relatives at their doorsteps through the widespread postal network. The department of posts is set to enter into an agreement with Eurogiro, a global network of banks and financial institutions, for direct money remittance through post offices."

VIPLoan has reported that "It was long anticipated and at last the same has come to the fore. The introduction of travel insurance for “gap year gatecrashers” has been done by the UK Post Office. The insurance is aimed at over-65s who wish for to travel abroad frequently, provides year-round, multi-trip cover."

September 8, 2009

The Journal Times has reported that "Postal employees are holding an informational picket today to protest the potential closing of the Downtown Racine post office. The pickets began shortly after 10:30 a.m. outside the Downtown office, 603 Main St. They were organized by the American Postal Workers Union Local 778, which represents clerks, maintenance workers and drivers. Many of the roughly 25 people holding signs were workers who came after their morning shifts ended. They were joined by retirees, parents and even supportive postal customers."

Check out the new website for the International Mailers Advisory Group (of which PostCom is a member).

The USPS has published a new brochure on two key USPS address management programs: AEC (Address Element Correction) and AEC II.  According to the Postal Service, "it explains the mailer benefits of the programs as well as how the programs work. It also provides contact information for more information and how to get started."

The latest 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/
  • Nationwide Wage Uniformity Part 2.  Last week, the OIG’s blog asked about pay comparability.  This week’s blog asks whether nationwide wage uniformity should continue, and if not, how the change should be implemented.  Readers are invited to comment on some of the consequence of nationwide wage uniformity and to visit the blog to vote.
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at:  www.uspsoig.govYou can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286

According to Dr. Tatiana Vazulina, Parascript, LLC, "Today’s world—characterized by globalization, liberalization, deregulation, and technological advances—challenges posts’ monopolistic position as the sole providers of postal services. Their only opportunity to withstand increased competition is to raise the bar for performance and efficiency standards of mail sorting and the quality and variety of services offered. Having the advantage of directly servicing the most consumers of any communication-related industry on earth, posts have the opportunity to convert expensive, paper-related, immobile postal mail service into an advanced and more robust form of hybrid service, offering consumers choices about paper or other media. This will enable both the postal industry and customers to benefit from opportunities technological progress is creating in the communications market (the Internet, for example), and the trend towards convergence of e-commerce and communications (home shopping, hybrid mail)."

It's the last day to register for the second in a series of three PARCEL Forum Webcasts!

Advertising Age has reported that "E-commerce has never reached even 1% of Procter & Gamble Co.'s sales, but now the company is looking to increase that share more than fivefold as it seeks to capitalize on its growing investment in digital media." [EdNote: There was a time when P&G was one of the largest mailers in the nation of coupons and product samples. Postal product pricing sure took care of that.]

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "Recent news stories have highlighted some of the absurd results that current labor contract provisions and civil service rules create as the Postal Service deals with workforce management today."

From PR Newswire: "CSC has won a contract to provide technical and management support for the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) Mail Transportation Equipment Service Center (MTESC) in Detroit, Mich. The contract has a three-year base period and two two-year options, bringing the estimated total seven-year value to $46 million."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Freedom Graphic Systems, Inc., 1101 S. Janesville Street, Milton, WI 53563-1838, which will be represented by William J. Sloyan, Vice President Technical Service.

Media Daily News has reported that "Bucking conventional wisdom, a new survey of small and mid-sized advertisers from a media buying agency found that 33% of respondents said they expect to increase their ad spending compared to 2008. However, this unexpected positive finding was tempered somewhat by other execs who said they planned to decrease ad spending in 2009."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "BotswanaPost has launched an ambitious initiative dubbed the "Journey to excellence" in a bid to foster productivity and ensure the quasi-government outfit meets the challenges facing the postal and mail industry."

According to the Financial Times, "The possible closing of more than 400 post offices across the US in an effort to cut costs could further dent the struggling commercial property market as rising retail vacancies continue to weigh on prices."

Nazret has reported that "The Ethiopian Postal Service (EPS) said it has a plan to collect 131 million Birr from provision of services to customers during the current Ethiopian fiscal year. Speaking about the 2002 E.C action plan of the organization, EPS General Manager, Gidey Gebreyohanis said on Monday his organization envisages collecting the stated amount of income this year by improving the quality of its services to customers. Besides, he said, the organization will be striving to improve public access to postal service, boost its institutional capacity, and to improve the positive image of the organization during the reported time."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

New Postal Product ,
46016–46019 [E9–21438] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Competitive Postal Products ,
46044 [E9–21476] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Postal Technology International has reported that "Itella Logistics’ parcel and transport services were given new, consistent names in English as of 1 September 2009. The main products provided for companies are now called Itella Express and Itella Economy. As a result of the renewal, the Keltainen Kuljetus service names have also been replaced by new ones. The new names are Itella Express Morning, Itella Express Business Day, Itella Express Flex and Itella Express City. Itella Express Point is an entirely new service – a quick delivery for shipments retrieved from an Itella outlet. The service meets the needs of online retailers in particular and is initially available in Finland in Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen. The renewal does not apply to international services, EMS, Priority and Economy, or foreign freight. The Parcel to the Doorstep and the Postal Parcel, both paid in cash, will remain unchanged."

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph has reported that "more than 400 postal workers were expected to go on strike in Peterborough today (Tuesday) – the largest number since industrial action began two months ago."

PhillyBurbs believes that "If the government can spend hundreds of billions to prop up banks and automakers, it surely can do the same for an institution as vital as the post office."

Reuters has reported that "The 1,400 U.S. mechanics who maintain United Parcel Service Inc's worldwide fleet of 263 aircraft will hold a strike authorization vote next week, on the cusp of the company's peak shipping season." See also Gerson Lehman Group.

From Business Wire: "Melissa Data, (www.melissadata.com), a provider of data quality and data enrichment solutions, today announced MatchUp Object, an API toolkit for finding and preventing duplicate records that is now multiplatform. With this news, Linux, Solaris, AIX and HPUX users can benefit from the advanced deduping power of MatchUp Object to find more duplicate records and gain a single accurate view of each customer."

The Times of India has reported that "Renovation is happening in the postal service in a massive scale. India Post and Accenture signed an agreement last week under which the latter will develop a single software to replace 20 existing ones. This software will connect all post offices across India. To ensure speedy delivery of mails in large numbers, India Post has introduced three flights, with a fourth one set to join in soon. "Inefficiency is due to lack of staff (in India Post). We have cleared 9,000 vacancies to solve this problem. India Post will wear a new look with more and more young people joining it," said Radhika. A chief insurance officer has been appointed to invest funds directly. Even post offices in rural areas will be computerized and ATM cards issued."

Solve Climate has reported that "Government researchers have confirmed the ideal testing ground for electric cars: the U.S. Postal Service. Now all they have to do is find the money to pay for it."

September 7, 2009

Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service, struggling with a massive deficit caused by plummeting mail volume, spends more than a million dollars each week to pay thousands of employees to sit in empty rooms and do nothing. It’s a practice called “standby time,” and it has existed for years — but postal employees say it was rarely used until this year. Now, postal officials say, the agency is averaging about 45,000 hours of standby time every week — the equivalent of having 1,125 full-time employees sitting idle, at a cost of more than $50 million per year. A thicket of union rules prevents managers from laying off excess employees; a recent agreement with the unions, in fact, temporarily prevents the Postal Service from even reassigning them to other facilities that could use them. So they sit — some for a few hours, others for entire shifts. Postal union officials estimate some 15,000 employees have spent time on standby this year. They spend their days holed up in rooms."

AllGov.com has reported that "By the end of this month, when its fiscal year ends, the U.S. Postal Service will have lost $7 billion in 2008-2009, and it will need a loan from the U.S. Treasury just to pay for health benefits for retired postal workers. USPS’s cash on hand, which will be $700 million in the red by September 30, will make it impossible to meet a $5.8 billion obligation to cover retiree health benefits unless Congress adopts emergency legislation raising the Postal Service’s ability to borrow more money."

Hellmail has reported that "New figures released by Comreg last week, showed that Irish postal operator An Post achieved an 85 per cent success rate for mail delivery by the next working day during April and June this year. This represents a two percent improvement on the first quarter (83%) and a five percentage point improvement on Q2 last year (80%)."

The Otaga Daily Times has noted that "New Zealand Post is today launching the KiwiStamp, which for the first time does not carry a face value. The KiwiStamp holds its value even if postage increases."

According to the South London Press, "postal workers are threatening continued strikes, resulting in sporadic deliveries of mail. Royal Mail operations director Paul Tolhurst said: “It is now more clear than ever that the CWU is focusing all its efforts on political posturing. Their determination to damage services and undermine the future of the business is increasing." See also the Whitney Gazette.

The New York Times has noted that "With a circulation of just over 8 million at last count, Reader's Digest is still one of the most popular magazines. Reader's Digest has not ignored the Web. In fact the magazine thinks its reputation for brevity can help lure information-saturated readers. Its Web site's average unique visitors per month -- a critical gauge of online traffic -- rose 23 percent year-over-year in July to 1.2 million, according to the tracking firm comScore. (The magazine says online ad revenue doubled in that period. There's already an electronic version of the magazine on Amazon's Kindle electronic reading device, and an iPhone app is coming soon."

Computerworld has reported that "Just weeks after one of its divisions opted to replace Microsoft software with Google Apps, NZ Post is preparing to expand a proof-of-concept trial of open source on the desktop. The project is about freedom and diversity in the choice of operating systems, not about specifically moving towards an open-source desktop, says NZ Post’s technology innovation manager, Barry Polley. NZ Post already uses some open source software, for example Red Hat Linux in the company’s datacentre, but not on the desktop. The trial is initially using Ubuntu 9.04, Polley says, but Linux Mint is being tested as a longer-term candidate."

September 6, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has noted that "State and local governments stood out as safe havens for workers during the recession's early stages. Now even they are laying off employees." [EdNote: Maybe they should all go to work for the Postal Service. Heaven knows they'll be insulated from the adverse effects of a depressed economy there.]

The Sun-Sentinel has told its readers that "Last week, U.S. officials said they and their Havana counterparts would include negotiations on resuming direct mail delivery when they meet again Sept. 17. Wow, what a breakthrough. What a concept. Allow us, however, to bring people up to speed a bit on the telecommunications revolution that's taken place since 1963, when direct mail was suspended. Most people, especially younger ones, don't send snail mail. They e-mail. They text. They tweet. They exchange photos and comments on Facebook and other social media websites. All that's when they're not talking on cell phones, by the way. So pardon us if the prospect of resumption of direct mail service sounds a bit akin to allowing the Pony Express to sail a route across the Florida Straits, too."

September 5, 2009

The Winston-Salem Journal has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has added Winston-Salem's Center City Post Office, at the corner of Town Run Lane and Second Street, to the list of post offices around the country to be closed. Center City is the only Winston-Salem Post Office on the list. Yesterday, the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership -- a nonprofit organization that advocates for downtown -- sent out a letter and petition urging the Postal Service to keep the branch open."

Yokwe Online has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service revised its standards and custom label requirement due to new Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) issued by the U.S. Census Bureau."

September 4, 2009

According to Dead Tree Edition, "The U.S. Postal Service is a bit schizophrenic when it comes to talking about the Flats Sequencing System. It has provided lots of information about the new technology but not answered some basic questions that have been kicking around for a couple of years."

Mail volumes are declining but the role of the mailroom is, coversely, growing. As Markus Becker of Swiss Post Solutions explained to FM Report’s editor, the integration of information management and application of leading edge technology promises an exciting digital future.

Press Release: BÖWE BELL + HOWELL has announced the release of their new Web site at www.bowebellhowell.com.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

As Advertising Age has noted, "The strategic goal behind every print advertisement is probably a bit different. Some ads are designed to build an image, some are written to drive readers to a website and some announce limited-time offers. But most marketers hope the time, money and creativity that goes into developing their advertising campaigns moves the needle in terms of sales. It noted that "What Matters Is Context, Price and Brand Perception."

The Institute For Research On The Economics Of Taxation has a new paper out on "How Does The Sales Decline At The Postal Service Compare To Those At Large Private-Sector Businesses? How Do The Responses Compare?" The author concludes that "Until now, a major, albeit de facto, pillar of the Postal Service's business model has been that revenue growth would compensate for inefficiencies that serve political ends but do not advance the agency's core mission. However, the growth-will-counterbalance-wasteful-spending pillar of the business model is now broken. The Service can be financially solvent while fulfilling its core mission, but only if Congress allows it to better manage its costs."

The PMG has announced the selection of John T. Edgar as Vice President, Information Technology Solutions. Prior to this appointment, John was the Manager, Corporate IT Portfolios, and recently led the IT organization’s efforts to implement the IMb/Full Service programs. He is leading IT's efforts to fully modernize usps.com and its suite of supporting applications and services for consumers and small businesses. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Lehigh University, is a licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia, and was a Government Computer News Technology Leadership Award winner

KFSM 5News has reported that "The federal Postal Regulatory Commission is recommending the closure of three Oklahoma branches, and two others are being considered for elimination. All the branches or stations targeted for closure are in the Oklahoma City or Tulsa areas and were placed on a revised list released by the commission this week. In Tulsa, the report indicates two stations will close — the Gilcrease station on west Edison and the Tulsa Whittier location on south Lewis. In Oklahoma City, the delivery operations at the Santa Fe station on SW 134th Street also will be moved. The revised list shows two other stations are being considered for closure — Southwest station on south Agnew in Oklahoma City and another branch at 4801 S. I-35 Service Road."

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service, this week, released three separate documents updating its list of retail offices under review for consolidation. One was a news release on September 2, the other two were separate filings at the PRC on September 1 and 2.
  • The Postal Service published its unaudited July results with the Postal Regulatory Commission. USPS lost over $865 million dollars in July 2009. This loss is in addition a year-to-date loss of $4.7 billion for the first nine months of 2009.
  • A recent article that was critical of the U.S. Postal Service published by the Wall Street Journal provoked responses from a deputy postmaster general, a postal union president, and a former Postal Service area vice president.The Postal Service posted its latest version of the Guide on Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats this week. The Guide provides a framework for continuing to implement the suite of Intelligent Mail barcodes.
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer noted that the Postal Service is in the midst of a major restructuring of the smallest of its operating networks, the one that handles sortation and transportation of bulk mail. The implementation of the new National Distribution Center network in the northeast both reduced costs and improved service quality. The positive results has caused the Postal Service to accelerate the program's completion.
  • For postal operators, these are difficult times and most are having to reinvent themselves, consolidate, or even cut services.
  • This week, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC) released a white paper on the Federal Budget Treatment of the U.S. Postal Service. The paper highlights how the USPS is considered off-budget but is still caught up in a budget-scoring process.
  • The folks at Rag Content have charged that "[r]ather than bringing order to a disordered system, the Commission is setting the stage to a pre-PAEA food fight among the "winners" and "losers" of past years' rate designs. Where PAEA was intended to bring postal rate bickering to an end, the Commission, in one fell swoop, has brought it back."
  • 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.
  • 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

Channel5belize has reported that "The Belize Postal Service has uncovered an international money order scam rooted in Africa but cultivated in the USA and Belize. Fake money orders in sums of five hundred US each were sent supposedly from one Edgar Dumigan of Illinois to at least three Belizeans. But the stamps show that the money orders actually originated from Lome’, a city in the African City of Togo. Three thousand dollars worth have been cashed before the Post office closed in on the scam."

Macauhub has reported that "Portugal’s postal service, CTT, plans to launch express delivery services in Angola and Mozambique by the end of the year, with an investment of 1 million euros in each market."

According to Jim Adams, writing for Foster's Daily Democrat, "The present dilemma of the U.S. Postal Service, which includes closing post offices and eliminating Saturday, is a prime example of how Congress can fix a problem....Congressman Henry Waxman, Democrat from California, introduced into the bill a requirement for the Postal Service to prefund its retirees' health benefits to the tune of $5.4 billion a year over a 10-year period: $54 billion over 10 years. Now with the rate increases necessary to fund this $5.4 billion mandate and the decline in volume due to the economy, Congress has created the perfect storm. What the anthrax terrorist attacks of 2001 could not do, the Congress has done in just a little over two years.

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union lent its support today to proposals by the Federation of Small Businesses to improve the long term future of the Post Office® network. The CWU, which represents staff in Crown Post Offices and the whole of Royal Mail Group, is keen to see an expansion of services provided by post offices."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
U.S. Census Bureau Electronic Export Information Requirements:
  Sending Shipments Between or to U.S. Territories, Possessions, and Freely Associated States ,
  45763–45765 [E9–21306] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  Sending Shipments Internationally ,
  45760–45763 [E9–21307] [TEXT]  [PDF]

WorldNetDaily has noted: "The other day, at my local branch of the United States Postal Service, a devoted USPS customer told me in high decibels to go back whence I came. Although I speak and write English at a level this yahoo could not aspire to, I do the former sans an American accent. In the chauvinistic, provincial mind of my post-office foe, my accent condemned me. Even more of a liability was my apparently un-American, unpatriotic audacity. I stood up to a USPS bureaucrat, who has, for the past seven years, faithfully fulfilled her role as a bully. Incidentally, the Asian service clerk in question had not managed to master Pidgin English, but somehow I doubt that the brassy American postal patriot would have dared to order her out of the country. For well over a decade, I have been sending snail mail from North America to South Africa, where friends and family still reside (and where the accent originates). Having used the Canadian, South African and European equivalent services, I can safely say that there is no viler or more inhospitable dump than the United States Postal Service."

According to the New York Post, "It's enough to make you go postal. Five New York City letter slingers face crazy commutes of up to seven hours a day after being transferred in July to remote Long Island outposts like Montauk and Shelter Island, The Post has learned. Using trains, automobiles and even boats, the US Postal Service workers rise in the dark at 3 a.m. for their bleary-eyed voyages, and don't get home until as late as 10 p.m. in some cases."

The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has reported that "The primary debate that over the future of the Postal Service will be whether it is time to seriously consider privatization. Independent of the value of a mail delivery as a governmental or private sector service, the private sector option will not be viable as long as members of Congress from both parties see personal political value in interfering with Postal Service operations, prices, or service. The value of interfering with postal management decisions come from the positive news stories in local newspapers and on TV. No member of Congress can pass up good press. Any interview or press statement supporting a local plant and its workers or retention of a local post office is good press. Good press relating to constituent service raises the Congressperson's visibility and positive ratings and may even endear him or her to voters of opposing political viewpoints."

Dead Tree Edition has noted that "The Postal Service should consider not accepting money from Congress so that it would be free to eliminate Saturday delivery and close rural post offices, a new report says. Postal officials are laying the groundwork for five-day-a-week delivery but have had trouble winning permission from Congress. They can move forward on that and other controversial measures without Congressional approval, according to a report issued this week by USPS’s Office of Inspector General."

The Washington Post has reported that "The National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents most of the folks who walk the streets and drive the mail trucks, will honor six of its own in late September for acts of heroism performed while on duty."

The U.S. General Services Administration announced it has awarded a contract for express and ground domestic delivery services to United Parcel Service. The contract aims to save taxpayers more than a billion dollars over the next five years. [EdNote: Well don't that beat all. The U.S. Postal Service is strapped for cash, and a federal agency gives their business to UPS.]

September 3, 2009

Advertising Age has reported that "In a potential advance for the forces of paid content, The Economist is introducing a trial program today that lets New Yorkers use their cellphones to order overnight home delivery of the new issue at the regular newsstand price. Those who order by 9 p.m. are guaranteed a hand-delivered copy by 6 a.m. the next morning -- in time to beat the commute. The Economist's on-demand delivery service aims to make it easier for occasional readers to buy on demand. It also can't hurt at a time when magazines' newsstand sales have been hammered by the recession, which has made people more careful with spending and less apt to visit stores."

The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer told its readers that "this blog's previous post, "Management Approaches to Restructuring,' generated substantial number of comments regarding my use of the word "layoff" to describe Canada Post's planned 15% reduction in positions in Winnipeg. The original memo used the word "cut" to describe Canada Post's planned reduction in full time position and that word follows CUPW's labor agreement that guarantees jobs to full time employees. A subsequent investigation into the labor agreements and data available from CUPW and the Postal Service provide some insight as to how Canada Post will achieve the reduction without layoffs."

Hellmail has reported that:

The standoff between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union in the UK continues, with Royal Mail pushing home its tough message that change is essential for the future of the service and the underpinning of the universal service, and that further dithering merely compounds the problems it faces. The CWU in turn, maintains that workers are seeing such drastic changes to working conditions, it will settle for nothing less than detailed discussions on those changes or the company can expect further industrial action. The cost of localised and national strike action at Royal Mail is enormous, with not just a loss of revenue, but the potential for further lost business as more companies switch to e-billing or use private couriers and parcel firms. The strikes also cost workers money in lost wages, the union in expenditure, business through late cheque payments and a reduced delivery service, as well as companies such as TNT Post which feed into Royal Mail's delivery network.
The Finnish postal service (part of the Itella group) is to look at how the funding of the future universal service will affect the organization of the Group’s domestic functions. The review is to be carried out due to Itella's preparations for the revisions in the postal services legislation which will come into force at the beginning of 2011.
Belgian postal operator La Poste, has reported a difficult half year, with a fall in mail volume of 4.5%. It said that a careful approach to spending had however, limited the damage caused by the economic downturn.
Norway Post has reported that earnings before non-recurring items and write-downs for the first half-year 2009 were higher than those for the same period in 2008 and ended at NOK 381 million. Electronic substitution and the economic downturn had a negative effect on revenues, however extensive efficiency measures and cost cuts led to an improvement in earnings.

Joy Online has reported that "The Acting Managing Director of Ghana Post, Nicholas Dery, says findings and recommendations made by a committee set up to investigate complaints at the company are being implemented."

The Royal Gazette has reported that "Postal workers will visit neighbourhoods in the coming weeks to ensure all residents are compliant with the new Post Office regulations. As of Monday, all homes were required to display a prominent house number, and place mailboxes as close to the roadside or boundary entrance to the property as possible. Government has warned that: "Non-compliance will result in non-delivery of mail."

Bloomberg has reported that "Yesterday, the U.S. Postal Service pared the number of urban and suburban facilities it may shut from about 3,600. The Fell’s Point’s branch is among three Baltimore area post offices on the original list that were spared. Two remain. The proposed shutdowns are part of a cost-cutting effort by the Postal Service, which faces a loss this fiscal year of at least $7 billion. The reduction by almost 90 percent in the number of post offices, stations and branches being considered for closure shows the challenge confronting the service as it tries to reconcile political opposition to shutting facilities with its mandate to make a profit."

The East London Advertiser has reported that "postal workers were on duty two nights without pay after they refused to stop deliveries and decided to sort parcels instead. The workers at the huge East London sorting centre at Bromley-by-Bow involved in a long dispute with Royal Mail said they needed to continue their work to make sure deliveries were maintained. Some 29 workers were taken 'off pay' as they insisted on carrying on with their work rather than switching to sort packets instead, according to the Communication Workers' Union."

The Daily Pennsylvanian has reported that Pennsylvania "University's Mail Services will no longer accept unsolicited mail from the U.S. Postal Service for redistribution to the college houses. Business Services spokeswoman Barbara Lea-Kruger said the decision is a way to effectively reduce paper waste and promote better recycling. Since 2007, Penn Mail Services has recycled "no value" mail, which is addressed to "occupant" or "resident," according to Lea-Kruger. About 35 percent of mail delivered to Penn each week falls into this category."

According to the Washington Post, "The U.S. Postal Service removed more than 200 sites Wednesday. The Postal Service's list is an update from one it released in late July, which named 677 facilities as being possibly closed. After that report was leaked to reporters by congressional staffers, it launched a firestorm of outrage from those who live in affected neighborhoods, as well as their congressional representatives. The Postal Service is required to provide the information to the Postal Regulatory Commission, which is reviewing closure and consolidation plans. Earlier, the Postal Service advised the PRC of up to 1,000 sites facing the possibility of closure. Final decisions will be made after Oct. 2, and postal officials have said privately that they expect no more than 200 facilities to be on the final list."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The Reading Eagle has reported that "Kenhorst and the U.S. Postal Service are trying to come up with ways to fix a delivery problem that has temporarily kept some residents from getting their mail. Residents from various streets have complained that mail isn't delivered to their homes when a vehicle is parked in front of the mailbox. The post office has a policy that carriers should not get out of their vehicles to deliver to a blocked mailbox. Instead, carriers are told to skip the delivery and try again the next day. A few Broadway Boulevard residents reported last September that they did not receive mail for up to six days at a time. The residents argued that they had no control over who parked on the street in front of their mailboxes."

September 2, 2009

Dow Jones has reported that "French carmaker Renault SA  Wednesday said postal and express group TNT NV is considering using Renault's electric vehicles for its operations in the Netherlands. Vehicle development will start now and they will be available and operational by 2011, Renault said."

The Star Tribune has reported that "Should you have to pay to get your bills the old-fashioned way, through the mail? That's what a growing number of companies are deciding, in their effort to force customers to get their bills online and thus save money on mailing. Plenty of companies have offered discounts or promised to plant a tree in your name if you pay your bills online."

The New Haven Independent has reported that "“They’re not only post offices, they’re community centers,” said U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, promising to fight for two beloved centers that are on the chopping block. Lieberman, who heads the Senate committee that oversees the postal service, Homeland Security, promised to try to keep the Hill and Westville branches open. He made the remarks during a tour Monday of the city’s firing range. “I’ve talked specifically to the postmaster general about this… about these two and about the others that are on the list in Connecticut. The senator said that he has urged the postmaster general not to close Connecticut branches if they are being used. “If they have to close stations or branches then we understand that, but don’t just take some down in Connecticut because you’ve got to take some down everywhere,” he said. Lieberman promised to keep working on the matter. “I’m trying hard to stop it,” he said."

In a news release, the Postal Service announced today that 413 retail stations and branches remain under consideration for possible consolidation. (The complete list is posted on the Postal Service's web site.) Today’s announcement updates a study begun earlier this summer that examined a wide range of stations and branches in urban and suburban areas across the country, focusing on offices in close proximity to determine where consolidations might be feasible, while maintaining customer access to postal services. This seems to be in conflict, with what the Postal Service filed yesterday at the Postal Regulatory Commission, that says "the updated list will reflect that over 750 stations and branches were identified by the pre-screening process as discontinuance study candidates." The USPS has yet to released its updated 750 list to the PRC (LR N2009-1/4). [EdNote: Does anyone over there really know what's going on and who's saying what? How many other versions are out there? Any wonder why Congress questions the veracity of what it's told?]

According to the Washington Post, "The Postal Service has cut more than 200 sites from its list of facilities for possible closure, including one site in Maryland, the next step in a process that began earlier this summer amid uncertainty over how many sites it would close. Officials will now consider the fate of 413 retail stations and branches, down from a list of 677 facilities released in late July."

From PR Newswire: "Experian((R)) today announced that a federal court in California denied a motion by LifeLock Inc. to reconsider the court's prior ruling which found that LifeLock's practice of setting 90-day fraud alerts for consumers with the three main credit bureaus is unlawful. Experian filed the lawsuit in 2008 alleging that LifeLock activities were contrary to certain provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Experian has requested a permanent injunction, for which a decision is pending. "Experian is pleased the court continues to recognize the unfair business practices of LifeLock which Experian believes has resulted in a false sense of security and unnecessary costs to consumers," said Kerry Williams, Group President, Experian Credit Services and Decision Analytics. "Experian will continually seek to ensure that consumers understand their rights and opportunities regarding their credit histories and have access to a variety of services to help protect their personal information."

Eyefortransport has reported that "DHL has launched direct LCL (less than container load) services connecting Ho Chi Minh City to Hamburg, Genoa and Los Angeles. Operated by DHL's in-house carrier, Danmar Lines, the new weekly direct LCL services shaves up to a week off transit times."

As the Postalnews Blog has noted, "Unaudited financial statements files with the Postal regulatory Commission report that the Postal Service lost an additional $865 million in July. That’s better than the $1.3 billion loss reported in June, but brings the total fiscal year to date net loss to $5.6 billion, with two months left left to report in the fiscal year, which ends September 30."

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

France’s La Poste suffered a slight decline in turnover (10.3bn euros; -2.3%), while profits caved in during the first half. Last week the French post reported an operating result of 453m euros (-34%). A 4.4% decline in mail volumes represented a noticeable negative factor. Business mail volumes were said to have declined by over 6%, leading to a 4.8% drop in turnover for the mail segment (5.67bn euros).
Schweizerische Post suffered a marked profit decline during the first half due to a slight decrease in turnover and the effects of the general economic downturn.
By testing delivery times, German weekly »Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung « (30.08) has challenged the mail delivery quality claimed by Deutsche Post. Repeated claims by the post that more than 95% of all posted letters reach their addressee on the next working day are confronted with the result of the newspaper’s test, during which only 61% of 99 posted letters were delivered on the following working day. The post’s divisional board member Uwe Brinks said he was ’shocked’ by the outcome.
Declining turnover figures due to electronic substitution and the general economic downturn have caused a clear drop in profits for Posten Norge during the first half.
Belgium’s La Poste has managed to ’limit the damage’ caused by the economic crisis by applying cost-cutting measures.
German trade union Ver.di is getting ready for a wide-ranging battle in the conflict concerning temporary wage freezing and extended working hours for Deutsche Post employees.
From hope-bearer to problem child: express service provider Trans-o-flex, bought by Österreichische Post for over 200m euros in 2006, is now deep in the red.
Five French trade unions - CGT, Sud, CFDT, FO and CFTC - have called for La Poste employees to protest against privatisation of the post on Tuesday 22 September, ’a national day of strikes and rallies’.
Toll New Zealand, a subsidiary of Toll Holdings, is entering the New Zealand express market.
Profits caved in by 90% for Slovenská posta during the first half 2009.
The Latvian post has seen consignment volumes slumping dramatically. Last week Latvijas Pasts reported a 41% drop in mail volumes, while parcels were down 20%.
Parisians may be able to go to a Metro station to collect their mail in future. La Poste began testing the service in the 18th arrondissement this Tuesday in conjunction with local public transport company RATP. Registered clients can collect their undelivered mail at the Metro station until 11.30 p.m. A text message is sent as soon as a consignment has been deposited. The trade unions are opposed to this idea and took industrial action against it in July. [EdNote: Of course, they did.]

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.)

In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal:

  • APWU President William Burrus wrote: "To set the record straight: Congress—not email or bad management—put the U.S. Postal Service in a financial bind in 2006, when it directed it to "prefund" retiree health-care benefits. That mandate—a burden shared by no other federal agency or business—costs the Postal Service more than $5 billion a year. Without the prefunding requirement, the Postal Service would have had a surplus of $1.2 billion for its 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. Congress should reverse this onerous requirement. Electronic communication is not rendering the USPS obsolete. Mail volume reached its height in 2006, well after Americans began using email and the Internet on a mass scale. Mail volume has slumped by approximately 18% since then, but the loss is almost entirely due to a recession-driven decline in business mail.
  • Former USPS Area Vice President David Bakke wrote: "As a former vice president for the U.S. Postal Service, I have seen firsthand the consequences of the $20 billion wealth transfer from postal customers to the postal labor unions. The $20 billion covers only salary and benefits while significant additional costs have resulted from contract negotiations and arbitrators' decisions that have layered in myriad work rules and procedures which are difficult to manage in the best of circumstances. The livelihood of tens of thousands of business owners and employees depends on the cost-effective delivery of bills and advertising. Yet a few short years after legislation streamlining rate-setting and providing inflation-based rate caps, the Postal Service is considering a rate increase in spite of the absence of inflation. Prior to asking customers to again bear this cost, it would seem reasonable to ask labor unions to make some modest sacrifice from this monopoly wealth transfer."
  • Former Deputy Postmaster General Michael Coughlin wrote: "In its August 22 editorial, "A Better Way to go Postal", the Journal has resorted once again to an anti-government, anti-union diatribe in addressing what is becoming an increasingly serious problem with one of this country’s more important institutions, the United States Postal Service. USPS, and the public it serves, does indeed face a daunting challenge, but serving up the traditional "bromides" of monopoly, inefficiency, out-of-control stamp prices, bad union contracts and the contrasting success of UPS and FedEx, offers nothing in the way of solution and clouds the discussion with a barrage of misinformation."

The BBC has reported that "Postal charges in Guernsey are to rise by 40% over the next two years. Guernsey Post's chairman gave advance warning of the expected price increase in his annual report. Despite reporting an operating profit of more than £1m last year, Dudley Jehan said the company had no choice but to raise its prices. He said it was agreed with the Royal Mail, as Guernsey Post moves to a system of charging according to the size of mail items as well as weight."

The New Zealand Herald has reported that "Freightways will deliver parcels in this country for Australia Post, which will increase its market share as the business was previously with rival CourierPost. Freightways' managing director Dean Bracewell said Australia Post was the biggest parcel mover in this part of the world, and like all postal operators was moving more and more into the international package industry. Australia Post previously used CourierPost, a joint venture between NZ Post and DHL."

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph has reported that "postal workers in Peterborough are set to strike for the third time from Thursday (3 September)." See also the Cambridge News and the Wiltshire Gazette. [EdNote: Maybe the purpose for these strikes in the U.K. is to demonstrate that there is no real need for a post in Britain any longer. So . . . how are is the CWU doin' in conveying that message?]

The Brisbane Times has reported that "Pallet supplier Brambles Ltd has appointed the former chief executive of international express delivery service provider DHL Express as a non-executive director. John Mullen, who is also the main board member of German postal service Deutsche Post World Net, would take on a non-executive director role with Brambles from November 1."

Hellmail has noted that "TNT Post is celebrating five years of success since it launched its services in the UK in August 2004. In that time, the company has experienced incredible growth from delivering 300 million items in its first year to over 2.5 billion today. With a 14 per cent market share, it has consistently been the leading competitor to Royal Mail and now employs over 800 people."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
New Postal Product ,
45327–45330 [E9–21208] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
45486–45487 [E9–21303] [TEXT]  [PDF]
45487 [E9–21304] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Service
First-Class Mail Incentive Program ,
45325–45327 [E9–21072] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers have formed a picket line outside a sorting office in Swindon as they begin a 24-hour strike. More than 800 members of staff are expected to walk out of the Dorcan mail centre with two more strikes planned for Monday and Tuesday next week."

The Viriginian-Pilot has reported that "Some U.S. Postal Service offices will close by 2 p.m. Friday and will limit hours during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. Some offices will limit retail hours on Saturday."

The National Business Review has reported that "Google’s free and corporate email and online document services have been misbehaving for more than three hours this morning, with New Zealand users - including the recently signed postal carrier - hit since around 6am. NZ Post recently became Australasia’s largest user of the $US50 per user per year Google Apps Premiere. And while inhouse email and document sharing systems seldom enjoy, 100% uptime, the this morning’s outage is still a rude welcome for NZ Post’s 2100 staff."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

September 1, 2009

The Associated Press has reported that "At package delivery behemoths FedEx and UPS, last fall's meltdown and the worst recession in a generation has meant a sharp drop-off in the number of documents and packages sent overnight. And it's not just the delivery companies' biggest customers. Small businesses and consumers are opting for slower shipments to save money."

From GISUser: "Pitney Bowes Business Insight, the leading global provider of location and communication intelligence solutions, today introduces the newest versions of its geocoding tools to help organizations display and analyze important business data with greater speed and accuracy."

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

The Central Penn Business Journal has reported that "Priority Systems of Middletown, PA has introduced a product line called E-Billing. E- Billing Presentment and Payment solution can help billers achieve significant reductions in costs associated with paper, printing and posting of bills and statements. By removing paper, mailing and manual processing, operating costs can be reduced by between 65-85%, with minimal capital outlay. The cost saving potential of replacing paper bills and statements with electronic documents is undisputed. The primary challenge today in realizing these cost reductions, is not in the logistics of replacing paper with online, digital and electronic formats, but in building customer adoption of paper turn off strategies."

Rag Content has asked the question: "Is the [Postal Regulatory] Commission "over-regulating?"

The Australian has reported that "Australia Post is expanding into the $24 billion general insurance sector as part of a financial services strategy that could ultimately see the nation's postal service with a foothold in banking." See also the Brisbane Times and The Age.

The Southend Standard has reported that "postal workers have voted for a further one-day strike over job cuts and working conditions. Thousands of Royal Mail workers from across south Essex were balloted on industrial action on Friday and 90 per cent voted to stage a 24-hour walk-out, beginning at 5am on Monday."

Hellmail has reported that:

For postal operators, these are difficult times and most are having to reinvent themselves, consolidate, or even cut services. Not all is doom and gloom however, and there is evidence to suggest that post will be with us for some years yet. Hybrid mail could in time, help integrate traditional postal services with our present obsession with everything digital, once everyone latches on. Such services are now already being offered by all the major postal operators but Swiss Post has gone one step further by teaming up with Earth Class Mail to provide customers a way to access their post from practically anywhere using a mobile phone or computer. Using vetted operatives, letters can be opened, scanned and made available, well, from the relative comfort of any armchair Such apparent leaps in technology, whilst not exactly rocket science, do give an insight into the way in which we are likely to use postal services in the future, although all these ideas do rely on almost universal access to the digital world.
From today, the Polish Postal service (Poczta Polska) becomes a sole joint-stock company called Post Poland SA, with the Polish Treasury as the sole shareholder. Post Poland SA said that the change would enable to service to fully develop with increased options on raising investment capital. "The newly established company, which has taken over the rights and obligations of the former Polczta Polska, will be able to use the word "post" in the name and use the registered trademark" said Andrzej Polakowski, president of the company."

According to Marketing Direct, "Dun & Bradstreet, Teradata, Equifax and Pitney Bowes have been ranked higher than household brand names Ford and Starbucks in the latest profitability ranking of public companies by credit rating firm Standard & Poor's."

Blogging Stocks has reported that "The United States Postal Service has been heavily promoting it's flat rate deliveries based on the the size of the box instead of the weight in an attempt to retrieve some of the business that it has lost to Federal Express Corp (NYSE: FDX) and United Parcel Service.(NYSE: UPS) over the years. The increasing use of the internet has reduced snail-mail traffic, hurting USPS revenue, while the internet has increased the traffic of package delivery services as sites like Amazon.com and eBay continue to expand their businesses and new enterprises and existing traditional companies expand their web presence."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

International Business Times has reported that "The Communication Workers Union has launched another week of postal strike following the biggest week of industrial action that saw 20,000 Royal Mail workers participate. Millions of letters and parcels are expected to be delayed across the country. London was particularly hit hard on Friday August 28 and Saturday August 29 with 4,100 and 7,500 workers participating on respective days. The row over pay, job cuts and working condition between the CWU and Royal Mail managers have lead to a series of strikes that have disrupted mail delivery and collection. The union also opposes plans for part privatisation of Royal Mail that is backed by the government."

Reuters has reported that "The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union urged shareholders of Fedex Corp to back its effort to separate the positions of chairman and chief executive at the U.S. package delivery giant. The proposal to revamp the company's top leadership is one of several resolutions up for vote at the company's annual meeting, which will take place in late September in Memphis, Tennessee."