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Postal News from July 2011:

July 31, 2011 

Need another postal news site to check, then check out Rural Connect, a news line for rural carriers.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph: If the U.S. Postal Service has its way, postal facilities across southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia could go the way of the dinosaur.

Pocono Record: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is calling for more transparency by the U.S. Postal Service in considering closing 3,700 post offices, including facilities at Pocono Manor and Skytop resorts. Casey requested that the Postal Service submit a plan to ensure that public input is given significant weight as facilities are considered for closure.

Register Guard: If the U.S. Postal Service were an ocean liner, it would be listing to one side with passengers scrambling for the lifeboats. But most Americans, distracted by the debt crisis and still routinely collecting their daily mail, are unaware that the agency is teetering on the brink of insolvency. Congress has been understandably distracted by the standoff over debt ceiling and deficit negotiations, but members should not forget the need to address the Postal Service’s troubles.

Hellmail: The investigation by the European Commission as to whether taking on the pension deficit would be permissable under rules governing state aid and how or where privatisation might benefit the market in general are worrying - not least for the government which adopted Richard Hooper's analysis as a complete guideline for reform and desperate to get the complex nature of Royal Mail's troubles out of its hair once and for all. On the flipside it is difficult to picture an alternative strategy that would go a long way towards underpinning the Universal Service and even those keen to keep the Royal Mail in state hands don't appear to have a plan that really works on paper let alone in reality.

July 30, 2011 

CTV: Bureaucrats be warned: that person with a lost wallet or passport application might be a plant. The public face of the public service better be smiling when secret shoppers fan out across the country. The federal agency that gives Canadians a single point of access to a host of government services wants to know whether staff on the front lines are cheery and helpful. So the bureau called Service Canada plans to hire secret shoppers to see whether it lives up to its name.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The Postal Service has struggled for years with drastically declining mail volume Linda Woolley, Direct Marketing's executive vice president of operations in Washington, said the organization is more concerned about the Postal Service cutting service to five days. "Direct Marketing really, really wants the Postal Service to be an economically viable organization," she said. "We hope and think there are many things that they can do before they get to cutting from six days to five days."

Journal-News: For rural America, the post office is more than a convenient place to mail letters. It's income in areas where jobs are scarce, a place to pay the bills, and at times, a neighborhood spot to socialize. From Alaska to Maine, residents in rural areas are holding their collective breath after the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service said this week it was considering closing 1 in 10 of its retail outlets to save money.

Frederick NewsPost: The U.S. Postal Service is losing money hand over fist -- an estimated $8 billion for the second year running. None of the service's cost-cutting measures of recent years has seemed to be of much help. The Postal Service's latest budget-reduction initiative, however, may actually really help stop the flow of red ink -- but not without some pain and suffering for the post-office-using public, as well as the organization itself.

Azerbaijan Business Center: Azerpoct, national postal operator of Azerbaijan, plans to accede to the Global Monitoring System of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) - UPU Global Monitoring System. According to the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology of Azerbaijan, it is linked with the fact that since 2014 UPU will perform calculations on international correspondence not only on volume of traffic, but also on the quality of delivery.

VT Buzz: Vermont’s congressional delegation — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., object to a U.S. Postal Service proposal to close 14 post offices in Vermont. The trio acknowledged the budget challenges facing the Postal Service, but argued there were better ways to save money. See also Times Argus.

Political News: U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) is urging the United States Postal Service (USPS) to examine the potentially harmful effect possible post office consolidations and closures could have on rural communities. In a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahue following the release of a report by the USPS identifying 34 possible post office closures in Maine, Senator Snowe has requested the Postal Service examine potentially harmful consequences for rural communities at risk of losing their post offices and report back on their findings.

Journal Tribune: It used to be that every small town would have a Main Street with its own little church, school, general store and post office. So far, we’ve seen many of those churches closed due to dwindling membership, schools closed due to consolidation and stores closed due to competition from the new big box down the way. The post office is the final holdout – and now some of those are slated to fade into the past as well. In closing these offices, the USPS does not plan to leave rural customers high and dry, however. Postal services and products would still be available in most cases through “village post offices,” which are proposed to be set up in nearby stores, libraries or town halls. These village post offices would be able to sell stamps as well as accept flat-rate packages and some other packages. More serious business, like passports, would be available at the nearest free-standing post office. It seems the best approach would be for the government to restructure how the USPS operates and how it is funded, but for now, the only way the service is going to remain solvent is to accept its federal responsibilities as they currently are and figure out how to cut costs. As in any other business, there is no way that this will not result in a loss of jobs and services to customers. There’s just no way around it.

Hellmail: A senior figure within The European Commission said this week that he doubted whether existing UK coalition government plans to take on Royal Mail's pension deficit and privatise the state-owned postal operator will be enough to prevent distortion of competition in the market. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he accepted that reform of the UK postal market was essential but is concerned that the current plan would give Royal Mail an unfair advantage. Under EU rules, any significant changes in the market, particularly with respect to State aid, require formal approval.

American Thinker: The poor Post Office never receives a compliment, only criticism. The abuse is piled on, segueing into the malaise perceived in government. No matter the size and scope and general success, the Post Office is singled out as the best example of why we have gone to hell in a handcart. To make matters worse, the USPS is subjected to a national auto da fe if it raises its prices to survive. Americans capitulate to a knee-jerk emotional tirade if the cost of a stamp is raised two cents. It's carried on the evening news in the same breathless hyperbole as a major earthquake or a juicy political sex scandal. Post Office executives are harassed and shamed, commentators are outraged and normal people act as if the end is near. But if UPS or FedEx or the rest raise prices, no one objects.

Washington Post: The post office still delivers 40 percent of the world’s mail to 150 million homes. We need to seriously consider what we will lose by squeezing it to death. Congress is now considering positive, not just punitive, legislation that would, among other things, address the pre-funding requirement. It wouldn’t solve all of the USPS’s problems, but it would at least slow the immediate drain and keep the service from having to close offices and lay off workers. We could keep Uncle Sam on his route.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission   NOTICES Post Office Closings , 45882–45883 [2011–19380] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Hellmail: The Royal Mail has asked the UK postal regulator, Postcomm, to amend the compensation arrangements for lost and damaged items by reducing the present 12 month claim period to just 90 days with a view to reducing this to 60, and controversially, for permission to allow postal workers to leave some mail with neighbours (initially on trial basis) when the recipient is not at home to sign for an item or where the item is too big to put through the letterbox. See also The Telegraph.

Attention PostalOne!® Users. Friday, August 5, 2011 through Monday, August 8, 2011 the PostalOne MicroStrategy reporting environment will be unavailable to internal and external users during an extended maintenance window.   The maintenance window will begin Friday, August 5, 2011 at 8PM CDT and will end Monday, August 8, 2011 at 8AM CDT.  During the outage internal users will not be able to access Verification and Performance Reports for Business Mail Acceptance, Electronic Mail Improvement Reporting and Service Performance Measurement.  External users will not be able to access the Mail Data Quality Reports.  After completion of the maintenance the Mail Data Quality and Service Performance Measurement data will require additional processing to apply the data  updates that have been held during the weekend outage.    The catch up processing is expected to be complete by end of day on August 9, 2011. External Customers please call  PostalOne! Help Desk at (800) 522-9085 if you have any further questions

July 29, 2011 

Patriot Ledger: Reaction to news that some local post offices may close offers in a way a microcosmic look at why coming up with a plan to reduce the federal deficit is proving so difficult: We can’t afford what we have, but nobody wants to be the one to sacrifice.

DMM Advisory: FAST Appointments for Mixed Periodicals Drop Shipments. Periodicals mailers can now schedule their Facilities Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST®)) Mixed Periodicals appointments (Periodicals mixed with Standard and/or Package Services mail) as if they were scheduling a 100 percent Periodicals appointment, anytime a facility is open and staffed. In a future release, FAST will be enhanced to allow the scheduling of Mixed Periodicals appointments within a facility's hours of operation. In the meantime, mailers should follow the workaround outlined in the Creating FAST Appointments for Mixed Periodicals job aid on RIBBS® to ensure that their Mixed Periodicals appointments are created correctly.

National Association of Letter Carriers: In a recent conference call discussing his company’s performance, Kurt Kuehn, Chief Financial Officer of United Parcel Service (UPS), said the proposed closing of about 3,600 post offices could benefit the Postal Service’s chief competitor. “I think any time a competitor pulls back capacity and access, it’s an opportunity,” Keuhn said. “So clearly, we will look at the gaps that are there, and we’ve got a wonderful footprint with the UPS Store and offering consumers and small businesses good access.”

Auctionbytes:  PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway told EcommerceBytes "it seems to me that there is a very heavy impact in rural America," she said. "It's not clear how fair this distribution is in terms of its reach across America." Additionally, she worries about the Postal Service's plan to transition more locations to so-called Village Post Offices, retail outlets that would offer certain postal supplies and services but that would be owned and operated by private businesses. The Village program is essentially a rebranding of a model the Postal Service has been developing for years, under which several thousand retail locations have been in private hands and known as "contract postal units," or CPUs. The Postal Service plans to lean more heavily on privately operated facilities as part of its broad-ranging cost-cutting plan. "Our concern is to the extent that they go to CPUs, how will we assure universal service in the future?" Goldway said.

Washington Post: Have something to say about the U.S. Postal Service’s announced plans this week to consider closing more than 3,700 post offices? The Postal Regulatory Commission is set to begin reviewing the postal plans, including soliciting public comment. The regulatory commission will begin scrutinizing the USPS plans immediately, it said, as well as during its hearings, though the schedule has yet to be issued. As the commission noted, USPS is required by law to seek an advisory opinion on proposed changes to nationwide service. Changes can’t be enacted until 90 days after filing its request for that advisory opinion. The regulatory commission is taking public comment on its web site at www.prc.gov. and plans to announce its hearing schedule soon.

Herald News: We recognize the reality of the times, and that some post offices will need to be closed in coming months and years in order to keep the greater service viable. We hope, though, that the process will be fair and thoughtful, and as painless to as many people as possible.

WJR: Despite what some government officials have billed as a possible financial Armageddon looming four days away and with no viable deal yet reached to raise the debt ceiling, lawmakers took a break from the debt debate Thursday night and turned their attention to post offices. Eight post office naming bills came to the House floor just two days after the U.S. Postal Service announced its plans to close nearly 3,700 post offices this year in order to deal with its $8.3 billion budget deficit.

ITWeb: To stay competitive in an industry adjusting to deregulation, the Portuguese branch of Chronopost has implemented a Zetes ePOD solution to improve parcel traceability and thereby enhance its customer service.

The Warsaw Voice: Polish private postal operator I.D. Marketing in mid-July bought rights to distribute addressed and unaddressed mail in the Czech Republic and Slovakia from the Dutch company PostNL. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but Robert Kusiak, president of the supervisory board of I.D. Marketing, told the Voice that it ranked among the top three Polish business deals in those countries. PostNL, which is a mail, parcel and e-commerce corporation based in The Hague, said in a press release that the company “will concentrate its European activities on addressed mail in the large countries where it has strong market positions: the UK, Germany and Italy.”

Bloomberg: Royal Mail Group Ltd.’s pension aid from the U.K. government is under investigation by European Union regulators. “We must ensure that the state measures do not provide undue advantages to Royal Mail as this would distort the conditions of competition among postal operators,” said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in a statement today.

From the Federal Register:

Journal and Courier: The U.S. Postal Service has been the dinosaur of innovation and competition. The USPS was slow in coming to the digital age. One would have thought that the drive to turn a profit would have forced innovations 30 years ago when the federal government cut the postal service loose from taxpayer funding. But it didn't. The longer USPS waited to innovate, the more drastic the changes needed to be and the more frequently it increased the price for stamps. This lumbering giant now is getting around to making tough decisions that should have been made 25 years ago.

KBZK: Senator Jon Tester wants to know why the head of the U-S Postal Service made $800-thousand dollars last year while the organization is dealing with a multibillion-dollar shortfall. Tester believes big salaries of top executives should be on the chopping block first -- when looking to cut Postal Service costs.

Norwich Bulletin: Closing branches that cost more to keep open than the revenue they generate has to be done.

David C. Williams, Inspector General, United States Postal Service, has been named by President Obama to the Government Accountability and Transparency Board. The Board, first announced by the President and Vice President in June as part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, will focus on rooting out misspent tax dollars and making government spending more accessible and transparent for the American people. The President named several of the nation's top watchdogs and leaders on government accountability to the board, which will be led by interim chairman Earl Devaney. The Board will recommend a broad range of strategies to make spending data more reliable and accessible to the American people. They will also make recommendations to broaden the Administration's use of cutting edge technology to crack down on fraud, and focus on integrating data systems and using data for better decision-making. In doing so, the Board will offer a comprehensive vision for the management of federal spending that will fundamentally change how government works. And it will ensure that this vision is executed in the most cost-effective, efficient and logical manner.

American Postal Workers Union: "The American Postal Workers Union will stand with our neighbors in demanding that post offices, stations, and branches remain open – and expand the services they offer – wherever they are needed,” APWU President Cliff Guffey said. The USPS announced July 26 that it plans to study 3,700 post offices, stations and branches for possible closure. “Closing post offices and slashing service to the American people is not the answer to the Postal Service’s financial crisis,” Guffey said. “The USPS is well aware of the cause of its financial difficulties,” he added. “They cannot cut their way to fiscal health.” “Congress created the crisis when it slapped the USPS with a $5.5 billion obligation that no other government agency or private company is forced to bear,” he said, referring to the requirement that the USPS pre-fund a 75-year retiree healthcare liability over a 10-year period. “And Congress has refused – so far – to allow the USPS to apply billions of dollars in overpayments to its pension funds to the pre-funding requirement.” “The federal government is forcing the Postal Service into bankruptcy by holding billions of dollars of USPS money,” Guffey added. “Unfortunately, the USPS response is misguided. Closing post offices, stations, and branches will not save the Postal Service.”

Washington Post: Some government workers on the social network GovLoop are ambivalent about proposals that would require the U.S. Postal Service to cease mail delivery on Saturdays in an effort to save money. Complicating factors include whether the Postal Service would eliminate both delivery and pickup on Saturdays and whether post offices would remain open.

My Fox Tampa Bay: The U.S. Postal Service is investigating complaints from Winter Haven residents about missing mail. Many people say their mail has disappeared.

Lufkin Daily News: Rural post offices may not be profitable, but they certainly provide a much-needed focal point in many small towns across America. The postal service said once offices are closed it would contract with local businesses to provide service. Getting the mail to and from rural America is the hard part. We are confident local folks could provide the end-user services. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 40 percent of Americans think the government should sell the USPS to a private concern in an effort to reduce the deficit. While there probably are not may buyers lining up to purchase a business that will lose $9 billion this year, if it happened the public could probably expect drastic changes in service and pricing as the new owners developed their business plan. As a daily newspaper, we certainly understand and appreciate what it takes to make regular deliveries almost every day of the year. While we lament the possible closing of post offices, especially those in rural areas and particularly the one in Valentine, we understand how the world of delivering information and products is changing. The USPS is faced with decreased revenue and increased costs, exacerbated by email and other competitors. If we expect it to break even, much less survive, changes will have to be made.

New Orleans City Business: This future demands foresight that goes beyond closing and consolidations, which likely will lead to more job losses. The latest round of cutbacks is expected to save $200 million annually and cost up to 4,500 jobs. That’s likely just a start, as Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says half of the nation’s network of 32,000-plus post offices will be evaluated for closure within the next decade. Beyond that, no one from the higher ranks of the USPS, nor anyone with the governing Postal Regulatory Commission, is offering a long-term remedy to what has been a very negative prognosis for quite some time. That’s unfortunate, not only for those who feel the standard of service has declined over the years but for USPS employees who now face limited job prospects and a threatened pension.

Gadsden Times: For the USPS to survive — to those who think its existence is constitutionally mandated, the Constitution says Congress “can” establish a postal service, not that it “has to” — its management, its nearly 600,000 employees and its union need to accept that the world in which the agency flourished no longer exists, and find a way to be relevant, competitive and profitable in the 21st century. We think that will take a reinvention, not bandages.

July 28, 2011 

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The Jersey Journal: Assemblyman Ruben Ramos said Hoboken needs to keep three post offices which are in danger of closing, in a letter to Postmaster Patrick Donahoe. If the three post offices close, it will leave one post office in Hoboken, which Ramos said would not be able to handle the additional business.

The Washington Post: Police say a man used the postal service to mail the remains of his friend’s son from Rio de Janeiro to northeastern Brazil for reburial. Police spokeswoman Morgana Cruz says postal workers in the state of Ceara detected the bones when they did an X-ray scan of the box containing them. Cruz says an exhumation order was inside the box together with the bones that belonged to a 22-year-old man who died four years ago. She did not know how he died. She says the young man’s parents had asked their friend in Rio de Janeiro to send their son’s remains for reburial in the city of Vicosa. She said no one was arrested because neither the sender nor the receiver knew that it’s illegal in Brazil to use the postal service to mail human remains.

Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs: Nominations Of Hon. Mark D. Acton And Robert G. Taub To Be Commissioners, Postal Regulatory Commission

  • Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) Opening remarks.
  • The Honorable Mark D. Acton to be a Commissioner Postal Regulatory Commission The nominee will be introduced by the Honorable George A. Omas
  • Robert G. Taub to be a Commissioner Postal Regulatory Commission The nominee will be introduced by the Honorable John M. McHugh

Tim O'Reilly, USPS Vice President and Controller, conveys the following message to provide additional information and clarification regarding the Postal Product Costing workshop scheduled for mid-August: The Postal Service is holding a four-hour workshop on Postal Product Costing on Tuesday, August 16th at the Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland. The Postal Service is analyzing how it develops and reports product costs, specifically those costs that support pricing - both the cost by product and the workshare cost avoidance estimates. This workshop will provide initial stakeholder input, and future opportunities for stakeholder participation are anticipated. Arrangements for the August 16th workshop were based on the number of invitations we extended, which were limited in order to facilitate a hands-on brainstorming session and break-out groups with participant-led discussions. Unfortunately, the capacity of the meeting room and the number of rooms available for break-out sessions are limited. For these reasons, only those persons who received an invitation directly from the Postal Service will have a guaranteed spot at the Bolger Center workshop. To ensure that all MTAC representatives benefit from the workshop discussion, Mr. O'Reilly will attend the MTAC General Session meeting on August 18th at USPS headquarters and share general findings and highlights from the workshop.

The International News: National Assembly's Standing Committee on Postal Services lead by its Chairman Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla paid a visit to the office of Postmaster General Rawalpindi and Rawalpindi General Post Office (GPO) on Thursday. Postmaster General Northern Punjab Circle, Rawalpindi Dr. Naseer Ahmed Khan briefed the committee about the performance and postal operation in Northern Punjab circle Rawalpindi.

Post & Parcel: US mail software specialist GrayHair Software has launched a new service for business mailers that combines a problem-solving consultancy component alongside its existing mail tracking systems. The New Jersey-based company tells Post&Parcel that it has assembled a team of postal experts who will be able to swing in to action to tackle any problems in the mailstream identified by GrayHair’s SelectSolutions real-time tracking platform. The new MailWatch service, as it is called, will provide alerts to situations that can include delivery failures or natural disasters, before responding to help minimise delays.

Daily Caller: Closing post offices is a small step towards cutting costs and “rationalizing” the retail network, which the USPS management recognizes as critical. However, that won’t be enough to overcome economic reality — let alone the control freaks in Congress. Ultimately, if the USPS is to continue operating like a business instead of becoming just another taxpayer-funded bureaucracy, Congress is going to have to hand the reins over to the private sector. That means privatizing the United States Postal Service.

Sun Herald: Postea Inc., a technology provider for the postal, mailing and logistics industry, announced that the United States Postal Service has begun a six-month pilot program of its QubeVuTM 3D imaging system at post offices in the greater Washington, DC area. QubeVu is one of Postea’s latest groundbreaking technologies. It simultaneously captures a mail item's dimensional and shipment-related data, and automatically presents the information (along with images) to the user. A unique combination of image processing and 3D sensor technologies captures dimensions, barcodes, addresses and other shipment-related data, meeting the need for customs and border protection, revenue protection and compliance without losing productivity. Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/07/28/3306839/postea-launches-qubevu-pilot-program.html#ixzz1TPwVsWyf

Folio: Thought the postal battle had achieved temporary détente? Think again. The U.S. Postal Service this week asked the Postal Regulatory Commission to let it implement an exigent rate increase averaging more than 4 percent across most classes of mail in order to make up for volume lost during the recession, reports anonymous blogger Dead Tree Edition. When it comes to the "Three P's"-printer, postage and paper, postage costs have exploded in recent years, Cygnus Business Media vice president of operations Tom Martin told FOLIO:. "In 2000, printing was 45 percent to 55 percent of costs, paper was probably 20 to 25 percent of costs, and postage was between 30 to 32 percent. If you look at today's costs, the printer has probably lost 15 to 20 points because the printer is probably sitting with only 32 percent of overall costs. Paper hasn't changed that much but the number that has changed tremendously is postage. That's probably sitting at 46 percent of overall costs depending on the magazine."

Survival Guide for Small Business: This year the United States Postal Service (USPS) increased rates for packages. This increase falls in line with UPS, FedEx, and other shipping companies. These increases in rates puts pressure on small business owners who rely on shipping as a form of product delivery.

PrintWeek: The announcement by the US Postal Service (USPS) that it is considering closing more than 3,600 post offices across the country triggered plenty of headlines across America, but direct marketing experts and others suggest it will likely have little impact on direct mail volumes.

The Consumerist: "How Is FedEx SmartPost So Freaking Slow?"

Docket No. N2011-11. Post Office Closing Plans

"The Postal Regulatory Commission will immediately begin its review of the Postal Service’s plan to consider closing approximately 3,700 post offices. The Postal Service is required to ask the Commission for an Advisory Opinion on any change in nationwide service it proposes. An initial schedule for the Commission to decide this case (Docket N2011-1) will be issued shortly.

"The Commission will hold public, on-the-record hearings to analyze and cross-examine the Postal Service’s proposal and supporting evidence. During the process, mail users and interested members of the public may offer supporting or opposing views, both informally and as part of more formal, technical presentations. The Commission will also solicit public comments through its website. The Service cannot implement the changes until 90 days after filing the request.

“The Advisory Opinion process is the opportunity for the public’s concerns over the process to be heard, and for the Postal Service to be given the direction it needs to continue to provide good service to the nation,” said PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway. “The Commission supports the Postal Service’s efforts to become more efficient, but with regard to post offices, significant changes must be done within the framework of the legal requirement to provide universal service.”

"The public is invited to share their views via the Commission web site, www.prc.gov, by clicking the “contact PRC” tab to access a convenient online customer service form. To participate more formally in the process and to file documents to be included in the online public record, interested parties should click the “Filing Online” tab and follow the appropriate instructions."

Washington Post: Editorial

"The biggest crisis surrounding the U.S. Postal Service is the fact that no one seems to notice how bad the crisis is. Further delay in addressing the system's troubles is literally unaffordable. Facing a deficit of $8 billion this year, the Postal Service will default on its obligations by October and leave taxpayers footing the bill unless serious changes are made.

"The only bill before Congress that offers any opportunity to fix this is the Ross-Issa Postal Reform Act of 2011. Is the act perfect? By no means. But the bill includes a mechanism for fundamental change, as well as several reforms that the Postal Service sorely needs: a shift to five-day delivery, which would save an estimated $3 billion over the first four years; a requirement that the financial predicament of the Postal Service be taken into consideration in any arbitration; and the ability to renegotiate existing contracts if the Postal Service's finances require it.

"Unlike at least one other bill aimed at the Postal Service, the Ross-Issa bill does not depend on a recently discovered windfall of up to $50 billion that some actuaries claim was overpaid by the Postal Service some years ago—a cache that has given those unwilling to change the status quo an argument for postponing critical structural reforms.

"The Ross-Issa bill creates two commissions — one to focus on post office closures, excess processing capacity and unnecessary administrative offices, and the other to take charge of the USPS's finances if it goes into default and take whatever measures are necessary to bring it back into the black, including renegotiating collective bargaining agreements.

"On Tuesday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced that 3,653 local post offices are being studied for closure. But closing post offices will not resolve the USPS's problems. Eighty percent of the Postal Service's current costs stem from labor — a higher percentage than more than 30 years ago, when the USPS lacked automation. Some employees still enjoy a no-layoffs clause. Even after recent concessions, they contribute a smaller share of their salary to health-care plans than do most federal workers — a gap the Postal Reform Act would close. And rules preventing arbitrators from taking the financial crisis of the USPS into consideration have resulted in new contracts that give employees raises even in the face of ever-mounting deficits.

"The USPS blames its woes on the requirement that it pre-fund employees' retirement benefits. We have repeatedly supported the prepayment, based on the simple logic that the USPS, at its present rate of decline, will not have enough money to fund the plans when employees retire. This remains the case.
In the long run, the best solution for the Postal Service would be one that cuts it loose of the cumbersome oversight structure that prevents it from efficiently downsizing or competing, allows it to negotiate more sensible contracts and behave more like a private-sector business, and rethinks its universal service obligation for a century where people no longer rely on the mail to pay bills or send messages.

"Currently, taxpayers do not fund the Postal Service. But if present trends continue, they may have to. The Issa bill, while not perfect, supplies several necessary reforms and offers a path to pull the USPS out of the red."

Cato @ Liberty: The USPS is proposing to close 3,700 post office locations across the country, as mail volume falls and the agency is losing billions of dollars. Kudos to Postmaster Patrick Donahoe for trying to cut post office costs, but he does need to expand his horizons to consider more fundamental reforms."

Senator Susan Collins on post office closure plans:

"The fact is, maintaining our nation's rural post offices costs the Postal Service less than one percent of its total budget and is not the cause of its financial crisis. While there are some areas where postal services could be consolidated or moved into a nearby retail store to ensure continued access, this simply is not an option in many rural and remote areas. For example, Matinicus Island is about 20 miles off the coast of Maine and receives mail five -- rather than six days a week -- and then only in good weather. Closing this post office or moving it into a large retail facility is simply not realistic. "It is essential that the Postal Service solicit local input before deciding to close or consolidate a post office, and it must weigh the potential impact of any decision on the community as well as on its legal obligation to provide universal service."

Financial Times: Antitrust officials in Brussels are expected in the next few days to open a probe into the UK government’s plans to privatise Royal Mail. The move comes amid growing doubts about whether the coalition will be able to sell even part of the state-owned postal operator before 2013 because of Royal Mail’s deteriorating finances. The scrutiny will determine whether the UK proposals meet European Union state aid guidelines. EU competition officials are unlikely to complete their probe until the start of 2012 at the earliest. The government has set a target date of March next year for gaining clearance from Brussels. It submitted formal proposals to the European Commission last month.

Livingston Daily: It's clear that the Postal Service cannot break even and still offer the current level of service with the same number of post offices. It's easy to talk about balanced budgets, but Congress generally ducks the kind of decisions that are necessary to achieve that goal.

Associated Press: For rural America, the post office is more than a convenient place to mail letters. It's income in areas where jobs are scarce, a place to pay the bills, and at times, a neighborhood spot to socialize. From Alaska to Maine, residents in rural areas are holding their collective breath after the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service said this week it was considering closing 1 in 10 of its retail outlets to save money. The post office in the rural West Virginia town of Odd is one of more than 3,600 local offices, branches and stations that could be on the chopping block. Residents there say getting by would be difficult without it.

Financial Times: Dithering over the debt ceiling in Washington, weak consumer confidence and slowing growth in Asia are restraining the global economy, according to top executives at United Parcel Service, the package delivery company. Scott Davis, UPS chief executive, said on Tuesday that while fuel prices had declined slightly and Japan appeared to be recovering after this year’s tsunami, a number of factors were creating “uncertainty” and undermining confidence, particularly at small and midsized companies.

Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: UPS comments on Postal Service's financial troubles.

IsleofMan: Isle of Man Post’s first ever digital mail product went live Wednesday. Postal chiefs say ePostbox will radically change the way customers can receive their mail. The customer will be alerted each time a new piece of mail has been received at their ePostbox address and will be able to view a scanned image of the front and back of each envelope. The company signed a landmark contract with Swiss Post earlier this month.

The Hook: The United States Postal Service-- who needs it? Our whole society has gone electronic. With the availability of email, iPads, and smart phones, you need paper mail delivery about as much as you need a hi-fi for your vinyl records. Well, now. If the above statements characterize your opinion, consider this scenario: The USPS has plans to close your post office. Not somebody else’s post office, but your very own. The one that’s so convenient, where you buy your stamps, mail wedding invitations, and send care packages to your college students-- where you stop to chat with your neighbors and check out the bulletin board to see what’s for sale and whose dog is lost. And maybe you have an eBay business so you rent a post office box where customers can safely send you their checks. Yes, you know that the USPS is said to be hemorrhaging money, but surely they can take aim at the many layers of their bloated bureaucracy and start the hunt for wasted money at the top. At the very least, they should pick on someone else’s post office, not yours.

Roll Call: House Republicans in charge of overseeing the U.S. Postal Service say the agency may be playing politics as it considers shuttering all five House-side post offices. Rep. Dennis Ross, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, said the proposal has a whiff of the "Washington Monument" strategy, an old legislative ploy where an agency threatens to close popular services first, but he said he will leave the business to the experts. "If it's a shot across the bow, then so be it. That's politics," the Florida Republican said. "The bottom line is they have overcapacity in their processing, they have overcapacity in their postal facilities and this has to be addressed very seriously." Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa said the Postal Service should consider reducing staff, including its fleet of lobbyists. "They want to cut our post offices, fine. We want them to cut their legislative activist team in half," the California Republican said. "I'm happy to work with the post office. They're closing a post office in my hometown. I may not like it, but I will not disagree with their judgment."

Channelonline: Guernsey Post has announced a loss of almost £900,000 for the financial year ending March 2011. It follows a profit of £300,000 the year before. The postal operator says they did make an underlying operational profit of £200,000 during the year. However, Guernsey Post's Chief Executive, Boley Smillie admits that there will be further job cuts this year in their sorting department - which he says will all be attained through voluntary redundancies and natural wastage. The main loss is due to a number of exceptional costs including an increase of £600,000 in pension scheme costs, legal costs of £300,000 incurred in fighting the Office of Utility Regulation to retain their reserved area, and voluntary redundancy costs of £200,000.

Washington Post: Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation’s population, the lowest ever. The latest 2010 census numbers hint at an emerging America where, by midcentury, city boundaries become indistinct and rural areas grow ever less relevant. Many communities could shrink to virtual ghost towns as they shutter businesses and close down schools, demographers say. Delta Air Lines recently announced it would end flight service to 24 small airports, several of them in the Great Plains, and the U.S. Postal Service is mulling plans to close thousands of branches in mostly rural areas of the country.

The Kansas City Star: Declining sales of 44-cent postage stamps — is only partly what is troubling the U.S. Postal Service. Arrogantly clinging to a no-longer relevant business model is at play, too. 80 percent of the nation’s nearly 32,000 post offices are not profitable. An underlying problem is that postal leadership has considered their work a “service” that will always be there, regardless. It is necessary. As much as I relish a delivered handwritten letter at home, I don’t expect one very often. Friends will email. Call by cell phone. Or expect me to look at their Facebook page. Unfortunately, it seems the United States Postal Service is slow in fully accepting this new reality.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission   NOTICES Post Office Closings , 45301–45303 [2011–19106] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service is seeking permission to implement “exigent” rate increases in January averaging more than 4% on most classes of mail. To yield $2.3 billion annually, the rate increases on the market-dominant classes of mail -- such as First Class, Standard, and Periodicals -- would have to average at least 4.2%. USPS did not specify exactly how rates would change, only that it wants increases that would bring in an additional $2.3 billion in revenue. But mailers groups don’t think the court order means the Postal Service should get another crack at rate increases that exceed the rate of inflation.

July 27, 2011 

Maritime-Executive: The United States Postal Service is honoring the U.S. Merchant Marine by releasing four stamps on July 28, 2011 featuring vessels playing an important role in U.S. maritime history, including a Matson Navigation container ship. The stamps will render a dedication ceremony on the 28th at Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. The Matson ship is based on an undated photograph of the R.J. Pfeiffer, which was launched in 1992, and is depicted passing Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii. The containership illustration is meant to represent the containership era in America’s maritime history, and how without them the global economy as we know it would not be possible.

Radio Iowa: Governor Terry Branstad says he wants to see the US. Postal Service rethink its plan to close post offices in the state. Branstad says he like to see a moratorium put in place and a comprehensive review of the financial problems and what they can do about them instead of closing some 178 post offices. Branstad knows first-hand the importance of post offices, as he and his wife own around one-dozen post office buildings in Iowa.

Lexology: Contractors beware: the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) thinks that $1 out of every $20 spent by USPS on its contractors is fraudulent, and OIG is itching to find it. According to a July 18, 2011 OIG blog article, "conservative business estimates project up to 5 percent of contracted dollars are lost to fraud, meaning $1.45 billion of Postal Service funds are potentially at risk." While these numbers are fanciful, there is no doubt that the OIG is taking this seriously.

MySanAntonio: Sioux City officials say they won't pay the U.S. Postal Service nearly $831,000 to see how and why the postal service decided to close Sioux City's mail processing center and move the work to Sioux Falls, S.D. The postal service has said the decision is based on a study done on consolidating the operations in order to cut losses. The government provides a maximum of two hours of free labor and 100 pages of information to meet document requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, as Sioux City had done. But after the free help, federal agencies start charging.

CJAD: You get your VISA statement which was held up by the postal strike and then make your payment late because of the strike. Now they're charging you a one hundred dollar penalty. What to do? The Canada Post strike last month has some people wondering if they'll have to pay interest and late fees for bills they received late in the game because of the labour dispute. Maura Drew-Lytle of the Canadian Bankers Association says banks did warn clients about paying on time despite the strike but there can be some leeway. "It's up to each bank and each individual company. Generally, you are responsible for paying your bills on time," Drew-Lytle tells CJAD News. Bell Canada says there will be no such flexibility.

Federal Times: The Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday said it opposes a Republican bill that would require federal and postal employees on workers' compensation to retire when they reach the appropriate age. OPM Deputy Director Christine Griffin said at a Senate hearing that Collins' bill would plunge many disabled employees into poverty. Injured employees cannot contribute to their Thrift Savings Plan accounts and would not be eligible for Social Security benefits, she said. Some may lose their health benefits in retirement, Griffin said. And injured employees' pensions would take a significant hit, Griffin said. Federal pensions are based on the average of employees' three highest annual salaries. But because injured employees can miss out on years of pay raises, step increases and promotions, their so-called high-3 would be frozen at the point their injury happened. This could mean an injured employee receiving $4,000 per month in workers' compensation benefits would suddenly be left with a $300 monthly annuity and no health benefits, Griffin said.

If you missed the PostCom webinar on  understanding the postal addressing hygiene “Alphabet Soup," you can still listen to an audio recording by going to:
  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/552934825. You also can find a copy of the slides on this site.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Shoppers go to the Kuhn's Quality Foods store in Cranberry not only to pick things up but to send things away. They buy milk and bread and typical grocery store staples, of course, but also mail packages, buy stamps and conduct other postal business. That's because Kuhn's is one of an ever-expanding group of stores offering such services and products as the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service -- its projected 2011 deficit is $8.5 billion -- seeks to cut costs and still meet customers' needs.

Memphis Commercial Appeal: FedEx Express has completed its purchase of Mexican domestic shipping company MultiPack and has started a phased integration of MultiPack's warehouses, distribution centers and retail outlets into the FedEx network.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. R2010-4: The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), in conjunction with the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Direct Marketing Association, and Magazine Publishers of America have petitioned the Postal Regulatory Commission to:

". . . strike the following portions of the initial comments on remand filed by the Postal Service on July 25, 2011: page 2 (sentence beginning “As demonstrated herein . . .”) through page 3 (first sentence of first full paragraph); pages 24-60 (through end of Section V); page 61 (first full paragraph) through page 64; Attachments 1 through 3; and the supporting Excel worksheets filed with the Commission on July 25. These portions contain elaborate new computations and analyses, not previously in the record of this case, purporting to quantify the financial losses that the Postal Service suffered as a result of the 2007-2009 recession.

"These materials should be stricken on several grounds. First, the new calculations and spreadsheets submitted by the Postal Service are beyond the scope of the court’s mandate in USPS v. PRC, 640 F.3d 1263 (D.C. Cir. 2011) and the Commission’s reopening order (Order No. 757). Second, giving weight to the calculations and spreadsheets at this belated stage would deny other parties adequate notice and opportunity to respond. Third, the Postal Service has no due process right to reopen the evidentiary record. The Postal Service had reasonable grounds for anticipating that it needed to make a strong showing of the causal relationship between the 2007-2009 recession and the above-CPI rate increase proposed by the Postal Service. In any event, the Postal Service always has had, and continues to have, the right to submit any evidence of causation it wishes as part of a new request for an exigent rate increase. . . .

"The Postal Service’s belated attempt to stuff the record in this case is improper for the further reason that has always had the opportunity to make a new showing of causation by filing a new exigent rate increase proposal . . . .

"If the Postal Service wants to submit new evidence on the effects of the recession on the Postal Service’s finances, the Postal Service should file a new exigent rate case. . . . "

WWAY: Rep. Mike McIntyre says he will work to keep the Surf City Post Office open. Yesterday the US Postal Service announced plans to conduct studies of approximately 3,700 post offices nationwide to determine their viability and future. Surf City's was the only post office in our area on the list.

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled a plan to move forward with a study of some 3700 postal facilities for possible consolidation, closure, or substitution.
  • As the author of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), which grants the Postal Service carefully limited authority to file an exigent rate case, I want to emphasize the importance of deciding the remanded issue consistently with the underlying purpose and intent of the law. The history of the exigent rate authority has been well-documented throughout the course of this case, but I want to underscore that the central purpose of the ratemaking provision in PAEA is to incentivize the Postal Service to improve its business model and realize maximum efficiencies and cost savings.
  • In its filing of "Initial Comments" regarding the remand of the PRC's decision on the Postal Service's requested exigency rate hikes. the USPS told the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), in essence, that it wants another bite at the apple. The USPS argued that the data it filed with its exigency request amply documented that the nation's economic recession played a significant (if not the only) role in the Postal Service's dismal economic circumstances.
  • The IDEAlliance, with support from PostCom and other industry associations, has produced a report which provides an industry perspective on streamlined mail acceptance, including both recommendations for success moving forward as well as lessons learned from past initiatives. The paper, “Visioning Streamlined Acceptance,” was presented last week to the USPS Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) leadership team, MTAC executive committee and members of MTAC Workgroup 143 which is tasked with helping identify process changes, feedback and reports necessary to achieve a seamless entry and automated verification approach for letters, flats and parcels.
  • The OIG said that “in fiscal year (FY) 2010, the U.S. Postal Service made substantial progress by reducing 14.7 million carrier workhours from city delivery operations from the previous year. Moreover, during the same period, the Postal Service maintained or improved delivery service.” It recommended that USPS management work to reduce over 2 million additional hours in FY2012, that could have an associated impact of over $88 million. USPS management agreed with the finding, recommendations and opportunities to capture workhour savings.
  • The U.S. Postal Service this week launched its redesigned usps.com web site as well as a new about.usps.com web site which now houses some of the information business mailers are used to finding on the old site.
  • Mailers sound off on exigency remand. Two new cpi figures available. USPS shows $5.6 billion loss for first nine months. UPS shows growth but expresses concern. GADA to hold first webinar. Fedex CEO takes pay cut. MFSA approves five-day. Postal workforce has shrunk.
  • An update on key docket activity at the PRC.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews.
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Business Journal: A representative of the American Postal Workers Union says that businesses, livelihoods and delivery service would be greatly affected should the United States Postal Service shift some of its sorting and distribution operations in Youngstown to Cleveland or Akron. "The postal service is all about numbers and productivity," Frank Antinone, legislative director for APWU Local 443, said in a letter mailed to the press July 23. "It no longer worries about customer service and the sanctity of the mail."

Hellmail: The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) said it welcomed Royal Mail’s announcement that it is now ‘taking additional time’ to consider its proposal to stamp all bulk mail with the message ‘Delivered by the Royal Mail’.

Actmedia: The state-owned Romanian Postal Company (CNPR) honoured its commitments made in the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, of laying off 70 employees in the administrative sector and of shutting down 900 postal units, concluded Minister of Communications Valerian Vreme during a meeting he had on Friday with IMF and European Commission officials.

IBNLive: Allegations are pouring in from various corners that around 7,000 letters sent through the Speed Post service of Department of Posts have been pending at the main speed post centre in Kochi for the last 24 days. It has been alleged by the postal department union members that the delay in delivery of letters occurred after the postal department made the Speed Post service a different entity and cancelled its tie-up with the post offices.

The following mail certificate programs are being offered at MAILCOM Las Vegas, September 25-27, at the Riviera: (1) Mail Systems Management Certificate (2)Postal Mail Management Certificate (3) Intelligent Mail Barcode Certificate (4) Safety & Security Certificate (5) Government Mail Management Certificate (6) Leadership & Staff Development Certificate (7) Inbound/Outbound & Delivery Distribution Certificate (8) Address & Data Management Certificate (9) College & University Mail Management Certificate (10) Office Services & Contract Management Certificate (11) Professional Development Certificate (12) Technology & Information Management Certificate. The MAILCOM Certificate Program gives industry managers the opportunity to grow professionally while learning strategic information that can save their companies money in mail and distribution services. Managers who earn multiple certificates are eligible for MCOM master certification. To register for MAILCOM Las Vegas, go to: www.mailcom.org

The News Tribune: Alaska U.S. senators raised concerns Tuesday with a U.S. Postal Service plan that could result in the consolidation or closure of post offices in rural Alaska. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that while changes are needed within the cash-strapped agency, a post office is a necessity, not a convenience in terms of Alaska's way of life. Most Alaska communities aren't connected to a road system, and often in those areas, the post office is where people go to get prescriptions and food, conduct business and banking, and connect with family and friends, she and Sen. Mark Begich said. "The United States Post Office needs to be very clear about their intent and process," Begich, D-Alaska, said in a statement. "Any reduction in services for these 36 Alaska post offices could have grave consequences for the communities, businesses and families."

The Hill: Lawmakers from rural states responded coldly on Tuesday to a U.S. Postal Service announcement that as many as 3,700 of its offices could be on the chopping block.

TheWeek: The USPS announces that it may close 12 percent of its local branches — hinting that snail mail could be crawling to its demise.

MySuburbanLife: Sweeping changes in the way people communicate with each other over the past decade has dramatically reduced the volume of mail handled by the U.S. Postal Service. Emails are delivered faster and don’t cost the price of a postage stamp. Of course, this was bound to impact the operations of the USPS. And while the governmental entity has the exclusive right to handle first-class mail, private companies like UPS and FedEx have taken a huge bite out of the number of packages handled by the USPS. More businesses are conducting services on behalf of the USPS, such as selling stamps and handling packages. The decision by postal officials to move in this direction has been a direct response to the agency’s growing financial concerns. Budget deficits in the past few years have been in the billions of dollars, and this has necessitated some changes. Employee layoffs and buyouts have been implemented within the USPS, and the agency has been closing facilities. Officials also have considered eliminating delivery service on Saturdays as a way of saving even more money.

Postalnews Blog: Presidents of NAPUS, The League of Postmasters, and NAPS are scheduled to meet with the Postmaster General today. NAPUS President Bob Rapoza said that he will ask for time to discuss the impact on Postmasters whose offices were recently identified to be included as part of a discontinuance feasibility study. A review list for the possible discontinuance of approximately 2800 post offices has raised the anxiety level of impacted Postmasters, who are concerned over what options may be available to them if they receive a Reduction In Force (RIF) notice.

Postalnews Blog: Clerks being detailed to carrier work in Florida.

More on post office closings:

July 26, 2011 

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Associated Press: The Postal Service is considering closing more than 1 in 10 of its retail outlets. The financially-troubled agency announced Tuesday that it will study 3,653 local offices, branches and stations for possible closing. But many of those may be replaced by Village Post Offices in which postal services are offered in local stores, libraries or government offices. More than 90 U.S. Postal Service retail outlets in Virginia are being considered for closure. The outlets are among 3,653 local offices, branches and stations across the nation that will be reviewed for possible closing. 

NASDAQ: United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) executives on Tuesday voiced frustration at the ongoing U.S. political stalemate, while broader economic uncertainty continues to weigh on shippers and logistics companies. The company reported a 26% increase in second-quarter profit, buoyed by growth in China and Europe, but warned that U.S. economic uncertainty is constraining consumers and businesses.

Global Address Data Association will be holding its first webinar featuring Martin Turvey of Loqate and Emma Gooderham of Postcoder and WorldAddresses. The Executive Director, Charles Prescott, will do a short update on GADA activities and the coming work to be conducted at the Universal Postal Union and with the USPS. Title: GADA Brings You Postcodes and Geocodes Date: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/285120534

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Coaltion for a 21st Century Postal Service: The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service views streamlining the system as an indispensable reform, but continues to urge Congress to enact more comprehensive measures that would put the Postal Service on a path to long-term solvency.

News: The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled its plan to move quickly to study for closure some 3700 postal facilities that are not considered absolutely essential to the provision of a sufficient level of universal mail service. The USPS will expand significantly the level of access and convenience to retail postal services through online and commercial retail establishments. For communities currently without a postal retail office and for communities affected by these retail optimization efforts, the Postal Service has introduced the Village Post Office as a potential replacement option. Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, and other appropriate retailers. No locale will lose its Zip Code identity. The Postal Service has redesigned its web site (http://www.uspseverywhere.com) to enable consumers to find which facilities and services are provided at the most convenient outlet. Alternative outlets will be staffed by the local contractor, not union personnel. Displaced USPS personnel will be dealt with through the usual reduction in force process. The list of offices being studied and additional information can be found at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/welcome.htm. These changes could produce some $200 million in overall savings.

July 25, 2011

In comments filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission in the matter of Docket No. R2010-4 (the exigency remand), the Association for Postal Commerce, in league with the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Association of Magazine Media (MPA), said that:

"The D.C. Circuit remanded this case to the Commission for the narrow purpose of determining what degree of causal nexus is required between a requested exigent rate increase and the extraordinary or exceptional circumstances claimed to require that increase. The court took no issue with any of the Commission's findings in Order No. 547. The court agreed with the Commission's conclusion that the "due to" language requires a causal connection between an exigent price increase and the claimed extraordinary circumstances, and that the statute clearly requires the Postal Service to demonstrate some degree of nexus. Further, the court left in place the Commission's findings that the Postal Service had submitted no evidence indicating that its request was casually related to the recession, and that the Postal Service's financial problems were caused in large part by longstanding structural issues, not the recession. In fact, the Court's opinion does not in any way suggest that the Commission should reconsider its decision to deny the Postal Service's exigent rate increase. Consequently, the Commission should rely on its earlier findings, establish a strict causation standard to preserve the integrity of the price cap, and reaffirm its decision to deny the exigent rate increase."

July 24, 2011 

ABC Money News: FedEx's CEO's compensation fell 2 percent in 2011, mostly because his perks were worth less than in 2010, an Associated Press calculation shows. Fred Smith, who also is the company's chairman and president, received compensation valued at $7.3 million for the fiscal year that ended in May, down from $7.4 million in fiscal 2010, according to a filing the company made Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Smith's salary rose 4 percent to $1.2 million, and the value of his stock options rose less than 2 percent to $5.2 million, the biggest chunk of his compensation. But his performance-based cash bonus fell 6 percent to $375,000, and his other compensation slid 37 percent to $428,061. His perks already had dropped almost by half between 2009 and 2010. In 2011, they included retirement plan contributions, tax reimbursements, jet travel, use of a company car, security services, tax preparation services, financial counseling and insurance premiums.


Address Hygiene Tools to Improve Deliverability

Join us for a Webinar on July 27

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:   https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/552934825

Please join The Association for Postal Commerce on Wednesday, July 27th at 1:00 Eastern to discuss the “Alphabet Soup” (ACS™, AEC & AECII®, NCOALink®, etc) of available address hygiene services as methods to improve deliverability are identified and defined. Presenters:

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 Learn how the address hygiene tools can be used to maximize postal and pre-sort discounts.  The information provided applies whether you are a Mail Owner, Mail Service Provider, or both. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

National Association of Major Mail Users:

  • The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Labour Minister, has today appointed the Honourable Justice Coulter Osborne as arbitrator in the negotiations between Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers – Urban Operations Unit.
  • January 2012 Direct Marketing and Transaction Mail Rate Action. Effective January 16, 2012, we will introduce price and service changes to our Direct Marketing and Transaction Mail Services. For your information, attached is a sample of the letter and generic Overview of Changes being sent to our Direct Marketing and Transaction Mail customers beginning July 25, 2011.

[EdNote: Let me get this straight. You do business in Canada and you're not yet a member of NAMMU? Big mistake. Fix it.]

Wall Street Journal: Some 3,653 post offices, mostly in small communities, are targeted for possible closure this year under a plan expected to be released by the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday. The post offices, on a list that that will be made public Tuesday by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, were chosen because they get the "least amount of foot traffic and retail sales" and because there may be local businesses that could provide some postal services to the community, said agency spokeswoman Sue Brennan. "Most of them are in smaller communities, but not all of them," she said, adding that the post offices, about 11% of the total, are spread across the nation.

Senator Susan Collins to the Postal Regulatory Commission on the Remand of the Exigency Case:

"As the author of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), which grants the Postal Service carefully limited authority to file an exigent rate case, I want to emphasize the importance of deciding the remanded issue consistently with the underlying purpose and intent of the law. The history of the exigent rate authority has been well-documented throughout the course of this case, but I want to underscore that the central purpose of the ratemaking provision in PAEA is to incentivize the Postal Service to improve its business model and realize maximum efficiencies and cost savings.

"To ensure the exigent rate authority is consistent with congressional intent, the Commission should require the Postal Service to demonstrate a distinct and close nexus between the proposed rate increase under the Postal Service's exigent rate authority and the exigent circumstance. The Commission should disallow above-inflation rate increases under the exigent rate authority, except when the exigent circumstance the Postal Service invokes is the only significant cause of the proposed rate increase.

"Purpose of Rate Cap and Exigent Rate Authority. The purpose of establishing an inflation-based rate cap in PAEA was to replace the expensive and time-consuming cost-of-service ratemaking system in favor of a more stable and predictable ratemaking system. Additionally, the cap is intended to induce the Postal Service to improve its business model and, ultimately, its effectiveness.

"Acknowledging the need for some degree of flexibility to respond to exigent situations, PAEA includes a narrow safety valve that allows the Postal Service to raise rates above inflation only "due to extraordinary or exceptional circumstances." Congress purposely limited the availability of this mechanism to prevent the Postal Service from using exigent rate increases to circumvent the strict price cap. Moreover, the circumstances under which the Postal Service is authorized to seek rate increases are limited to truly rare, isolated, quantifiable, and distinctive incidents. For example, such circumstances would include terrorist attacks or natural disasters.

"Beyond the determination that an extraordinary or exceptional circumstance has occurred, PAEA requires that the proposed rate increase be "due to" the exigent circumstance. Inclusion of the "due to" clause in PAEA was intended to help ensure that the Postal Service could not use this narrow exception to the inflation-based rate cap as a means to merely increase revenue or make up for a financial shortfall.

"Congress included another safeguard by requiring that the proposed rate increases be "reasonable and equitable and necessary." This requirement in the law was specifically included to help ensure that the proposed increases are closely and quantifiably related to the circumstances that caused the need for the exigent rate increase.

"Applying Purpose to Causation Requirement. In determining the standard for the causation requirement, the Commission should rely on Congress's intent behind the underlying purpose of the inflation-based rate cap in PAEA. Again, the fundamental purposes of PAEA were to incentivize the Postal Service to improve its business model and to operate more efficiently.

"To make the standard consistent with these goals, the Commission should apply a strict standard of ensuring that the Postal Service's proposed rate increases are quantitatively, demonstrably, and causally linked to the exigent circumstances. Such a standard is necessary to ensure the Postal Service is truly using the exigent rate authority as a means to remedy an exigent circumstance, rather than avoiding maximum efficiency. Further, a strict causation requirement is necessary to preserve the effectiveness of the price cap. Allowing the Postal Service to use above-inflation rate increases to cover losses that are due, in significant part, to avoidable or structural problems would violate the separate requirement that the increases be "reasonable and equitable." It is not reasonable or equitable to make mailers pay above-inflation rate increases to recover shortfalls that the Postal Service has incurred as a result of longstanding, non-exigent causes."

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 a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at (703) 248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at (703) 248-2286.
  • National Assessment of City Delivery Performance (Report Number DR-MA-11-002). Results presented for our nationwide city delivery office efficiency review are based on results and recommendations from similar audits conducted during fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The goal of the audits was to identify actions city delivery units needed to take to increase efficiency and reduce costs using the national average percent to standard measure as a baseline. Our benchmarking comparison determined that 21 districts used more minutes per route than the average carrier route in the nation. We deduced that the Postal Service could save more than $88 million in 1 year if its least productive districts would operate at the average productivity level.
  • University Station, Eugene, OR Consolidation (Report Number EN-AR-11-007).In August 2010, the Postal Service approved the transfer of all operations and Post Office Boxes™ from the University Station into the Eugene Main Post Office and later closed University Station in January 2011. We received a congressional inquiry expressing concerning that public inputs were limited during the discontinuance process. During our review, we determined that the Postal Service followed applicable federal law and postal policies to discontinue the University Station operations. Specifically, the Postal Service provided the public adequate notices and opportunities to comment. In addition, the Postal Service considered public comments, and effects on the community, and service in the final determination to close the University Station. However, we identified various concerns with the economic analysis and believe improvements could be made to allow for a more objective evaluation.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week’s “Pushing the Envelope” blog topic:

The High Cost of Low-Cost Mail. The past few years have been tumultuous for the Postal Service, which has experienced declining mail volume and unprecedented financial losses. Our Risk Analysis Research Center has published The Cost Structure of the Postal Service: Facts, Trends, and Policy Implications, which reviews the major components of the Postal Service’s 2010 cost structure and presents insights to the ongoing policy debate about the future of the Postal Service. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Postal Service in reducing costs? Share your thoughts on our blog.

New Audit Projects: A new audit project has been started on the external website.
  • SAP Human Capital Management System Security Assessment – 11RR007IT000. The SAP Human Capital Management system processes and stores personnel transaction records and employee master data for over 574,000 career employees. Specifically, the application manages the following functions: personnel tracking, salary, benefits, recruiting, training, reward, bid management, and work place safety. Our objective is to determine whether application and infrastructure security controls adequately provide for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the SAP Human Capital Management application and data. Specifically, we will perform automated and manual security assessments of software and hardware infrastructure as well as a review of management controls designed to provide for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the system and its data.

MarketingWeek: A clumsy internal marketing move aimed at repairing the brittle relationship Royal Mail has with its staff will not only fail in its primary objective but will damage the long-term relationship it has with another of its core stakeholders- direct marketers.

Newswise: Richard Geddes, Cornell University professor of policy analysis and management, comments on the proposed elimination of Saturday mail delivery from the U.S. Postal Service, which is facing an $8.3 billion budget shortfall. “Reforms in the way the Postal Service is operated must occur to allow it to reduce its costs. This includes reducing delivery days per week, as well as closing unneeded sorting centers and post offices. Congress needs to allow the USPS to make cost cutting decisions without political interference. In the longer term, the Postal Service should be made more like a typical business, which includes reforms such as de-monopolization and privatization.”

ScandAsia: A delegation from Post Danmark visited it Chinese business partners China Post in Beijing. The two national postal services have started a comprehensive cooperation working together in a wide range of areas including knowledge sharing, stamp production and staff education.

If you missed the PMG last night on Fox Business News, you can still catch the video posted on the Postalnews blog site.

Xinhua: The Asian-Pacific Postal Union (APPU) Executive Council meeting opened here Monday. Some 200 participants from 50 countries attended the meeting, including Chairperson of the APPU Executive Council Alison Watson, APPU Director General Edouard Dayan. The five-day meeting, scheduled for July 25-29, will discuss strengthening cooperation between APPU member countries in postal services.

Federal Times: It’s no secret that there are a lot fewer postal workers than there used to be; the size of the agency’s total career workforce plunged 26 percent between 2000 and 2010, from about 787,500 to 583,900. But which crafts took the biggest hit? The agency’s inspector general put together some figures recently and found that a steep drop in the number of clerks accounted for almost two-thirds of that shrinkage. From 2000 to 2010, the ranks of clerks—a category that also includes nurses and motor vehicle operators–nosedived from 291,494 to 164,581. By itself, that’s a 44 percent tumble. Do a little more math and you’ll see that clerks absorbed about 62 percent of the total job cuts in the USPS career work force during that time. The next two hardest-hit employee classes, though, may come as a surprise: The ranks of supervisors and managers fell 28 percent while a more nebulous category described as “headquarters/other” dropped 24 percent. The number of city carriers and mail handlers was down 20 percent, postmasters, 12 percent, and maintenance employees, 11 percent. The only craft to show an increase was that of rural carriers, which rose 17 percent.

Fox Business Channel: Will Americans soon get mail deliveries only a few times a week? Tom Sullivan asks the Postmaster General himself, Patrick Donahoe. Where: Fox Business Channel. When: 7 p.m.

Arutz Sheva: Communications Minister Moshe Kachlon on Sunday will present to the Knesset a law that will expand the services offered by the Postal Bank. A report on Israel Radio said that Kachlon hopes to expand Postal Bank services to assist poorer Israelis who have difficulty maintaining a relationship with large banks. Kachlon's proposal would essentially give the Postal Bank the ability to offer services associated with a commercial bank.

July 23, 2001 

Confirmation Hearing: Thursday, July 28, 2011 02:30 PM Dirksen Senate Office Building, room SD-342. Witnesses Panel 1 The Honorable Mark D. Acton to be a Commissioner Postal Regulatory Commission Robert G. Taub to be a Commissioner Postal Regulatory Commission The nominee will be introduced by the Honorable John M. McHugh

Multichannel Merchant: How could the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service save at least $4.5 billion a year? By moving from door-to-door delivery to curbside delivery, according to a USPS Office of Inspector General self-initiated audit to review modes of delivery. “The cost of doorstop delivery is a nice thing, but a costly and unessential one,” says Gene Del Polito, the president of the Association for Postal Commerce. Centralized delivery (curbside or cluster box) is fast becoming the rule in new housing development areas, he says. “We may be at a time when we need to expand these options across the board and reserve doorstop delivery for those willing to pay for the added service or those for whom other options may be a real hardship” such as disabled people, Del Polito notes.

Marketwire: The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada's Labour Minister, has today appointed the Honourable Justice Coulter Osborne as arbitrator in the negotiations between Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers – Urban Operations Unit.

MSN Money: If a U.S. Postal Service pitch to eliminate Saturday delivery goes through, consumers could see bigger bills -- even as it takes them a few extra days to arrive. Consumers are likely to find expedited shipping for online orders more attractive if there are fewer delivery day options, says L.J. Shrum, chair of the marketing department at the University of Texas, San Antonio. The extra cost seems more reasonable if it gets a purchase to you by Friday, instead of three days later on a Monday. It also increases the attractiveness of free-shipping clubs like Amazon Prime, Barnes & Noble and ShopRunner.com, which include faster shipping options as a benefit to members who pay an annual fee. Retailers have already begun adding new services (and charges) for same-day home delivery

The Jewish Chronicle: Thousands of Jewish Chronicle subscribers were days late in receiving last week’s edition because a new processing machine at a U.S. Postal Service station on the East End, which is supposed to increase efficiency, broke down — twice — and did the exact opposite. Read more: The Jewish Chronicle - USPS mechanical snafu delays Chronicle delivery to thousands

Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service is launching a major review of up to 3,600 post offices across the country for possible closure as it shrinks its network in light of declining mail volume. On Tuesday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will release a list of post offices to be studied for closing, as well as announce “a new concept” for possibly replacing them, postal officials said Wednesday. The Postal Service is expected to file a request with regulators within days for a formal opinion on the review. Spokesman David A. Partenheimer declined to provide details on the review, but in an interview with The Washington Post’s editorial board earlier this week, Postal Regulatory Commission chairman Ruth Goldway said the number of post offices under scrutiny would be close to 3,600. Goldway said she expects some areas of the country to have more closures than others.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission   NOTICES Post Office Closings , 44385–44386 [2011–18611] [TEXT]  [PDF] 44383–44384 [2011–18678] [TEXT]  [PDF] 44384–44385 [2011–18735] [TEXT]  [PDF]

July 22, 2011 

Presort.com: The Board of Directors of the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA) recently voted to support the United States Postal Service (USPS) in its proposed move to five-day delivery service, during its recent meeting held in conjunction with the association’s annual conference in Colorado Springs, CO. In a subsequent letter sent by MFSA President and CEO Ken Garner, the association expressed its support of the Postmaster General’s commitment to reducing postal costs, increasing operating efficiencies, and building mail volume and revenue in cooperation with its members. The letter acknowledged the value of Saturday delivery, but also expressed the recognition that the costs inherent in that service, combined with the current economic pressure on the agency, make its elimination an unavoidable necessity.

Post & Parcel: Russian Post is doubling its investment in upgrading processing infrastructure and its post office network, in order to dramatically speed up delivery times. The company is ready to invest 14bn rubles ($500m USD) of its own and borrowed funds into new high-tech delivery services across its network. But, at the same time the Post is also seeking government assistance – without which, it says, improvement projects can “stretch over many years”.

National Association of Presort Mailers: The National Association of Presort Mailers announced today that Robert Galaher has accepted the position of Executive Director for the association starting August 1, 2011. Bob recently retired from the United States Postal Service after 37 years of dedicated service. Bob has always been a change agent for the Postal Service. Starting out as distribution clerk, Bob moved up the ranks to Manager of Business Mail Acceptance, where he was responsible for the oversight of the national acceptance network processing approximately 12 million mailings yearly with $36 billion in annual revenue. Most recently Bob worked as Manager of Special Projects responsible for developing a plan to identify business and technical solutions to modernize the mail acceptance process, and develop a strategic vision and tactical roadmap for the Mail Entry and Payment Technology organization.

PostalReporter News: NAPUS released the following information: Yesterday, Postal Headquarters officials notified NAPUS leaders that the Postal Service would file a request for an advisory opinion with the Postal Regulatory Commission to study nearly 2,800 post offices for possible discontinuance. The service review list is expected to contain approximately 2,800 post offices and 700 stations. Postmasters will be breifed on July 25 and 26 and list of offices will be be provided to Postmasters at that time. It’s important for Postmasters whose offices are on the list to know that this is part of the required review process, and there is no certainty that all offices on the list will be closed. As the discontinuance study process moves forward, NAPUS will provide information on how Postmasters may be affected if their office is targeted for closing.

PostalReporter News: On Wednesday July 20th the LEAGUE along with the other Management Organizations met with Postal Headquarters regarding a discontinuance plan being rolled out to review about 3600 offices for closure. Of this 3600, 700-800 are stations and the remaining offices are independent Post Offices. Thursday July 21st the plan was rolled out to the Area and District Managers and some of their staff. Those impacted Postmasters should be notified by their Districts that their office is under review prior to July 27th. On July 27th the Post Office will file for an advisory opinion with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on their plan to discontinue post offices, a nationwide service change. At this time a list of all offices being reviewed will be available.

Attention PostalOne!® Users: IMb™ Services Update. Business Customer Gateway outage: The Business Customer Gateway production environment will be unavailable on Sunday, July 24, 2011, from 12:00 am (CDT) to 8:00 am (CDT). During this window, all USPS services accessed through the Business Customer Gateway — including PostalOne!®, FAST®, Mailer ID, Program Registration and eDoc submission via MailXML/Mail.dat — will be unavailable. Tasks performed during this outage include deploying a new version of the Customer Registration system. In addition, to support the launch of the new USPS.com site, minor changes will be made to the header/footer areas of the Business Customer Gateway and to the systems mentioned above. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com). To subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to dmmadvisory@usps.com. Simply indicate "subscribe" in the subject line.

WPBF: The USPS is stopping service at the van parked on Haverhill Rd. in West Palm Beach, the van parked at Juno Beach town hall and the van parked at Palm Beach Gardens city hall. It's all a result of budget cuts and a decline in revenue.

Times of Malta: An increase of 1c on single piece domestic mail up to 50 grammes has been approved by the Malta Communications Authority. The increase will come into effect today week.

Art Daily: George Kramer, a well-known philatelist, has donated $100,000 to support the National Postal Museum’s expansion to create the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery (www.postalmuseum.si.edu/StampGallery). The Smithsonian and the U.S. Postal Service recently signed a lease agreement for the additional space to build the gallery. This new space will be added to the museum’s existing 65,000 square feet and is scheduled to open in the next couple of years.

Wall Street Journal: It takes about two months for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to decide on finalists and dole out Oscars. The Nobel Peace Prize process takes about 15 months, soup to nuts. Yet it takes three full years for the Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee to accept a proposal, design the stamp and issue it. The U.S. Postal Service agrees the stamp process needs some improvement.

ABC News: The U.S. Postal Service is facing an $8.3 billion budget shortfall this year, in large part because of losing almost half of its first class mail to online bill pay and email communication. After laying off 110,000 employees and cutting $12 billion over the past four years, the service is now looking to end mail delivery on Saturdays, a move it said would save $3.1 billion per year.

From the Federal Register: 

New York Times: Until the deficit negotiations took center stage this summer, several members of Congress had another idea about what they wanted to focus on: an overhaul of the Postal Service, which is on the brink of insolvency. “If it wasn’t for the federal debt ceiling and the budget issues, this would be a major, major issue,” said Representative Stephen F. Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat who has proposed a bill that would overhaul the Postal Service’s pension obligations. The Postal Service has been imploring Congress to act for years. The current Congress could be the one to take action. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the Postal Service needs revamping. Five overhaul bills have been introduced — two by Republicans and three by Democrats — with proposals addressing issues like the actuarial assumptions for employees’ retirement benefits and the viability of Saturday deliveries. “The situation at the Postal Service is dire,” said Senator Thomas R. Carper, a Delaware Democrat who has introduced one of the bills. “The option of doing nothing is not an option.”

July 21, 2011 

Dead Tree Edition: An apparently unintended consequence of the proposed bipartisan "Gang of Six" deficit-reduction deal is that it could reduce future inflation-based increases in U.S. Postal Service wages and rates. One section of the plan calls for a "shift to the chained-CPI (a more accurate measure of inflation) government-wide starting in 2012" to calculate changes in inflation. The document adds that, "According to CBO [the Congressional Budget Office], the shift to chained-CPI would result in the annual adjustment growing, on average, about 0.25 percentage points per year slower than the current CPI."

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

  • The time for playing political games should be at an end. There really is too much at stake for the nation and its economy.
  • The USPS on July 12, 2011, published in the Federal Register a revised proposed rule concerning “Changes to Move Update Standards,” which includes changes originally proposed by the USPS in its September 2010 initial proposed rule such as establishing the USPS’ Guide to Move Update as a formal source for additional information on meeting the Move Update requirements. The USPS took out the proposed changes it initially had proposed, however, on the time frame for providing address correction and nixie notices without charge for Full-Service IMb pieces; and has proposed extending the implementation for changes related to COAs filed for MLNA and BCNO addresses to one year from the date of publication of a final rule. Comments to the proposed rule are due to the USPS by August 11, 2011.
  • USPS Board to meet. USPS plans for PO closings. Senator tells PMG rural community mail service should be preserved. USPS looking to get rid of excess real estate. CE contracts to provide USPS electricity. USPS soon may end sixday delivery . . . and it could contract further. CCAGW support Issa bill. USPS hiring rural carrier part-timers. USPS expanding customer retail services access. UPS to benefit from global trade recovery. FedEx increases capital spending. USPS requesting opinion on Post Office closings.
  • An update on news from the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee.
  • An update on DMM Advisories issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • An update on key docket activity at the PRC.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • 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

Post & Parcel: The inflation-based price cap on US postal rates is “showing signs of strain”, the USPS Office of the Inspector General said yesterday. The OIG also suggests reform of the legal limit on increasing postal rates each year for mail products in the non-competitive area. The OIG now suggests adding an “X” factor alongside the CPI price cap, for USPS efficiency gains, a “Y” factor for recurring costs like the universal service obligation and benefit pre-funding, and a “Z” factor for one-off impacts like energy crises or a natural disaster. Responding to the suggestions of the OIG, mailing industry association PostCom told Post&Parcel that the Postal Service could still continue in an inflation-based price cap if Congress acts to give the organisation the flexibility it needs to operate in the current mail market of declining volumes. Gene Del Polito, PostCom president, said of the
CPI price cap: “It’s only showing signs of strain because of the strains the Congress has put the entire Postal Service under.” He went on: “If the Postal Service didn’t have a $5.5bn bogey hanging around its neck, Congress allowed the Postal Service to adjust days to deliver in accordance with actual marketplace need, if Congress would keep away from the Postal Service when it tries to consolidate post offices, there would be more than sufficient available revenue there to still be able to live within an inflation-based cap.”

Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service is launching a major review of up to 3,600 post offices across the country for possible closure as it shrinks its network in light of declining mail volume. On Tuesday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will release a list of post offices to be studied for closing, as well as announce “a new concept” for possibly replacing them, postal officials said Wednesday. The Postal Service is expected to file a request with regulators within days for a formal opinion on the review.

Wall Street Journal: Express Scripts Inc. agreed to buy Medco Health Solutions Inc. for $29.1 billion in cash and stock, a deal that combines two of the largest U.S. pharmacy-benefit managers at a time when health-care services companies are searching for new opportunities in the face of sweeping industry changes.

The China Post: China is the world's third-largest express delivery market and growing, but it has yet to deliver the goods for global giants such as DHL Express. While DHL, FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) are major players in the country's outbound express delivery sector, they have struggled to compete with the local players — small setups with unfamiliar names like Shentong, Shunfeng or Yuantong — for a piece of the domestic delivery action. After a year of continued losses, DHL pulled out of the domestic delivery market about two weeks ago by selling its operations to a tiny Chinese logistics company, to focus on the outbound delivery sector. Said the company in a statement: “Because of overly fierce competition in the domestic courier service sector, foreign companies lack cost advantage.” The problems run deeper. While many foreign companies and brands have been wildly successful in China, those in sectors such as courier service and the Internet have found it particularly difficult to penetrate the country.

The Guardian: Modernisation for the Royal Mail means spending millions of pounds on a large number of high-tech "walk-sequencing machines", which actually slow down the process of delivery. They do, however, remove any vestige of skill from the job; so while they are considerably less efficient at getting the mail out on time, they nevertheless have the distinct advantage that they undermine the workforce, allowing the company to hire more and more casual workers.

Washington Post: The chairman of the commission that regulates the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday she supports a taxpayer subsidy for the financially strapped agency to survive. “Whatever it would be would be small and manageable over time,” Ruth Y. Goldway Told the editorial board of The Washington Post.

Fund Raising Success Magazine: Earlier this week, Blackbaud released its 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report, and the biggest finding of all is that direct-mail giving still overwhelmingly brings in the majority of fundraising revenue.

Washington Post: At some point Congress will pull itself from the muck of debt and deficit, and then it can step into the mire of Postal Service destitution. Faced with losing $8.3 billion this year, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says he won’t be able to pay all his bills by the end of September. This bleak scenario has been repeated for years, with temporary relief arriving just in time. That could happen again this year, but there also are several pieces of legislation that indicate Congress may be getting serious about doing something more than sticking a small patch on a big problem.

Board of Governors Meeting: Thursday, August 4, 2011, at 10 a.m.; and Friday, August 5, at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Washington, DC, at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., in the Benjamin Franklin Room. Thursday, August 4 at 10 a.m.--Closed; Friday, August 5, at 8:30 a.m.--Open; and at 10:30 a.m.--Closed Thursday, August 4 at 10 a.m. (Closed) 1. Strategic Issues. 2. Financial Matters. [[Page 43738]] 3. Pricing. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance. Friday, August 5 at 8:30 a.m. (Open) 1. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings. 2. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. 3. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. 4. Committee Reports. 5. Quarterly Report on Service Performance. 6. Quarterly Report on Financial Performance 7. Tentative Agenda for the September 12-13, 2011, meeting in Washington, D.C.

One of our correspondents has brought to our attention a Giuliani Security & Safety report reviewing the mission of the Postal Inspection Service.

Hellmail: Royal Mail has announced plans to apply a new mark to the mail it delivers. From mid-September all machineable mail will feature the mark ‘Delivered by Royal Mail’ on the envelope. This proposal raises a number of concerns since it will be printed in an area that Royal Mail customers use for their logos and messages creating problems with the existing creative treatments and design of envelopes. The proposed positioning of the mark also appears to conflict with existing Royal Mail specifications such as where to print return addresses and Advanced Cleanmail.

PostalReporter News: The APWU filed four national-level disputes on July 12, based on reports we received from locals and National Business Agents that management has been violating provisions of the 2010-2015 National Agreement. Discussions are ongoing at the national level to resolve these issues; the disputes were filed to protect our interests while discussions continue.

July 20, 2011 

U.S. Postal Service: The USPS will be holding a press conference on Tuesday, July 26 at 10 a.m. to discuss the list of post offices that will be studied for possible consolidation and announce a new post office concept.

Changes to Move Update Standards. The Postal Service is making a concerted effort to listen to and address the concerns and issues of our valued customers in the Mailing Industry. We recently published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled "Changes to Move Update Standards." We have heard from many of you that it would be helpful to have additional time to provide comments on the proposed rule.  Many of you also expressed an interest in discussing the proposed rule at the MTAC meeting (August 16-18). In response to your requests, we will now consider written comments submitted by August 31, 2011.  If you need more time, please let us know.  Any comments received by August 15th will be addressed in a special session during the upcoming MTAC meeting. Your comments and feedback are of great importance to us.

The Indypendent: If 71 package handlers at the FedEx Ground warehouse in Brockton, Massachusetts, win the union election scheduled for August 3, it will be the first time ever for package handlers at the giant non-union shipper. They’re facing a fierce anti-union campaign.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. A2011-13 -- Based on its review of the entire record before it, the Commission concludes that the Postal Service has adequately considered all requirements of 39 U.S.C. 404(d). Accordingly, its determination to close the Rogers Avenue Station is affirmed.

    Concurring Opinion of Commissioner Hammond and Langley: "We support the decision to affirm the Final Determination, but write separately to underscore the need for the Postal Service to address issues raised by participants that challenge the sufficiency of the Postal Service’s Final Determination. Both the majority decision and the dissent note that the Postal Service failed in more than one instance to respond directly to participants’ assertions that the facts relied on by the Postal Service to reach its decision were either inconsistent with actions taken by the Postal Service or erroneous. This unnecessarily complicated the review process, and could be perceived as the Postal Service being dismissive of customers’ legitimate concerns with the decision."

Dissenting Opinion of Chairman Goldway: "The Final Determination contains material flaws which justify remanding it to the Postal Service for further consideration. A fair reading of the Final Determination demonstrates that it is based on questionable facts and analysis. It is not supported by substantial record evidence."

Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service looks likely to ask regulators within days for a formal opinion on its plans to review post offices across the United States for possible closure. The Postal Regulatory Commission said today that it was expecting the USPS to file for the advisory opinion soon, and although the USPS has not yet confirmed the filing, sources on Capitol Hill have suggested that the request could be made around July 27. Postal Regulatory Commission chairman Ruth Goldway told Post&Parcel today that a commitment has been made to USPS to complete an advisory opinion on the matter within 90 days of the USPS filing. The US Postal Service has already briefed staff in both the US Senate and House of Representatives on the retail network review, which forms part of a major effort to “right size” the retail network in the light of declining mail volumes and a reduction in the public use of post offices. USPS has already been reviewing a number of post offices for closure, and last month the chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, Ruth Goldway, wrote to USPS chief executive Patrick Donahoe to express concern that the scale of the review was sufficient to have a nationwide impact.

U.S. Postal Service: Draft postage statements are available for the Jan 2012 price change.

Attention: PostalOne!® Users There was unscheduled outage that impacted the Business Customer Gateway. This outage would have impacted all external business customer access to the following applications through the Business Customer Gateway: PostalOne FAST MDR Mailer ID Program Registration CAPS CLDS This issue has been RESOLVED and all systems are functioning as designed.

Post & Parcel: Australia Post has revealed it is losing millions of dollars covering the cost of inbound parcels as customers seek cheaper products from international online retailers. International letter and parcel post flows are governed by a number of treaties under the auspices of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which is where change would have to come to turn around Australia Post’s losses in this area.

Attention PostalOne!® Users. A Priority Urgent ticket has been opened by the USPS Help Desk for an issue that is affecting several USPS externally facing applications who access services through the Business Customer Gateway. The issue is currently under investigation and the root cause is unknown. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please call the PostalOne Help Desk at (800) 522-9085 if you have any further questions.

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "Congress right now has tied itself in knots over a proposal to extend the nation's debt limit to enable it to borrow to cover the expenses of running the federal government. The federal debt ceiling is about to be reached, and without an increase in its ability to borrow, the federal government may have to default on its debt obligations. The key to unlock the "mystery" of Congress' anguish, of course, is politics. In this case, it's the politics of 2012, the year in which the nation will electing a new Congress and President. Neither Democrats nor Republicans relish giving the other side the kind of concession that may enable it to walk away from this legislative skirmish with anything that looks like a political win. In the meantime, while those in Congress are tussling for a "win," the nation is facing the real prospect of being the patsy that pays the price for the "loss." In a sense, the same sort of game is being played out on the postal stage. The Postal Service is about the exhaust its ability to borrow; its revenues are sinking along with mail volume; and it's stuck with a very costly infrastructure (human and physical), the costs of which it's finding very hard to shuck."

Postalreporter News: In the coming weeks, the Postal Service will begin a comprehensive review of its retail network. The review will examine Post Offices nationwide to determine which offices should be discontinued in view of workload, customer demand, or the proximity of alternate postal products and services in the surrounding area. The USPS is working on improving our’process for studying the need for postal operated retail services. Our new process is standardized and requires examination of the effects of a proposed discontinuance on the community and postal employees, along with the ability to provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to the affected community and economic savings.Factors that changed include the procedures surrounding how a Post Office begins to be studied for reviewj the criteria used in studying an office-such as an office’s workload, customer usage and alternate ccess-streamlining the closing process and improving the community input process. The Postal Service will hold a briefing and a webinar regarding the aforementioned changes and the process that will be used to study Post Offices.

♪♫"Oh I heard it -- Heard It -- Yes, I heard it through the grapevine. . . ." ♫♪  
Word has it that the negotiations to come up with a common bill on postal reform has hit some bumps in the road. It's beginning to look as if a joint Carper-Collins bill will not be ready before Congress goes on summer recess.

Politico: Congress would have to approve any change in the Postal Service’s delivery schedule. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) already have introduced legislation to eliminate Saturday delivery.

Dead Tree Edition: Two of the U.S. Postal Service’s most successful methods for cutting costs – early-retirement incentives and automation – are no longer viable strategies because of USPS’s cash crunch, according to a report released today. “Overall, offering more early retirements for eligible employees would create additional cost savings,” says the report from the USPS Office of Inspector General on USPS's cost structure. It noted a Postal Service statement indicating that savings from buyouts of more than 20,000 clerks and mail handlers two years ago have already doubled the $15,000-per-retiree payouts. “The problem, however, is how to incentivize further buyouts that the Postal Service cannot afford to offer in its current financial state.”

Senator Jon Tester is calling on the U.S. Postal Service to keep mail service available in rural communities should it choose to close a post office. Tester today wrote Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to express his concerns that Montana’s smaller communities will have unreasonably limited postal service as Postal Services continues to cut costs. In his letter, Tester noted that Montana receives more mail than it sends, therefore “evaluating usefulness based upon revenue doesn’t reflect the value of a post office to the community.”

The Mirror: The Royal Mail is not delivering a first class service. Seven out of ten people have received someone else's post while more than half of homes did not get letters in the time promised. And more than two thirds did not get a delivery before 10am, a study found. A Royal Mail spokesman hit back saying: "Our prices are among the lowest in Europe. Most countries do not provide a six-day service or enable customers to post as late in the day as we do. We aim to deliver the mail before 3pm in urban areas."

Detroit Free Press: Falling mail volume and soaring red ink may doom Saturday mail delivery soon and prompt three-day-a-week delivery within 15 years, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warns.

Wall Street Journal: With letters and other forms of standard mail going extinct, the U.S. Postal Service is looking to downsize its real-estate portfolio. The agency has tapped real-estate firm CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. to advise the agency on the 300 million square feet of property that it owns or leases. "We're looking at the whole portfolio across the country and how much we need and where," said Tom Samra, vice president for facilities at the postal service. "We'll be putting buildings on the market and terminating leases, where possible." Over the next six months, Mr. Samra said, the agency and CBRE are looking to craft a plan on how to curtail the portfolio in line with the lower mail volumes seen by the agency. The postal service owns about 8,600 properties and has about 24,500 leases. Already, the agency has said it is starting to close hundreds of post offices.

The Sentinel: If you've ever wanted to use the excuse that your bill got lost in the mail, well, you just may be able to - in Mechanicsburg, at least. Borough officials are banking on hopes that hundreds of sewer bills turn up in the next few days. The bills, mailed out last week, were initially sent out from the borough. However, due to a new postal sorting system, the post office shipped them to Harrisburg, where they were then supposed to be shipped back to Mechanicsburg for delivery. That never happened, with the bills going MIA somewhere in the process. "Hopefully the post office can find them," Borough Manager Pat Dennis said Tuesday. "We're perturbed."

Dayton Daily News: Officials for the financially stressed U.S. Postal Service are studying whether some functions — and possibly jobs — at the mail-processing center near downtown Dayton could be moved to a similar facility in Columbus.

Irish Examiner: Independent postal services company CityPOST has announced a postal solutions alliance with print and mail provider DCK. Under the agreement, CityPOST has transferred its mail fulfillment operation to DCK. Mail marketing will become a trading unit of the DCK business and DCK will also become a reseller of CityPOST’s range of postal services.

The Scotsman: A recent survey by consumer watchdog Which? has accused Royal Mail of "failing many of its customers". Highlighting its "variable" service, "erratic" deliveries and "confusing" pricing system, Which? editor Martyn Hocking added: "It's not cheap either. Since 2006 the price of a first-class stamp has gone up by 44 per cent." The survey of 2500 British adults showed that 72 per cent had experienced letters being delivered to the wrong address. More than half had faced problems with first and second class post failing to arrive promptly and half received a "while you were out card" when they had been waiting at home for the delivery. Royal Mail promises to deliver first and second class post within one and three working days respectively. Its latest published performance figures, for September to December 2010, showed a 92 per cent on-time delivery rate for first class stamped and metered mail, and a 98.3 per cent on-time delivery rate for second class. But the Which? survey reported that more than half of people had experienced late deliveries in the past year.

Hellmail: Yodel is launching an innovative catalogue tracking tool called Houndit to enhance its end-to-end parcel tracking system, providing retail clients with peace of mind that sales collateral is reaching the correct households. ‘Houndit for Catalogues’ was jointly developed and implemented by Yodel and mobile solutions provider Skillweb to enable the cost effective means of tracking, tracing and reporting on the delivery of catalogues. The technology solution will enable each catalogue to be quickly and effectively scanned as they move through the delivery process all the way to the doorstep, improving visibility and facilitating item tracking where it had previously been cost prohibitive. In addition, it will also allow for collection of data where successful delivery is not possible, using the local knowledge of the nationwide network of Yodel Neighbourhood couriers and specialised catalogue delivery agents, to provide added insight for retail clients. Yodel delivers 12 million catalogues on behalf of its clients each year.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Chairman's Message: "The Postal Service has indicated that it intends soon to file a request for an Advisory Opinion on a nationwide plan to review post office facilities for closure. The Commission will welcome comments from the public and will take prompt action on the request for an Advisory Opinion. Once we receive the Postal Service’s formal request for our Opinion, we will post instructions in this column on how to submit comments either formally for the record or informally for our public comment file."

A new report has recently been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) 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. S 

The Cost Structure of the Postal Service: Facts, Trends, and Policy Implications (Report Number RARC-WP-11-007). The U.S. Postal Service is at a critical juncture in its history. In 2010 alone, the Postal Service experienced its largest 1-year net loss of $8.5 billion. The Office of Inspector General’s Risk Analysis Research Center has published The Cost Structure of the Postal Service: Facts, Trends, and Policy Implications. The paper examines significant trends and cost drivers for the three major cost categories of labor, non-labor, and capital. The paper also presents insights with implications for the ongoing policy debate about the future of the Postal Service in the wake of new legislative requirements and record losses in volume and revenue. To learn more and read the paper in its entirety, click here.

July 19, 2011 

BusinessWire: Constellation Energy, a leading competitive energy supplier to residential, business and public-sector customers, today announced that it has signed an agreement to provide electricity to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities in New York, Massachusetts and Maine, continuing a six-year relationship with USPS. Under the competitively bid agreement, Constellation will supply electricity to USPS facilities in the three Northeast states through July 2012. In addition to New York, Maine and Massachusetts, Constellation also currently provides electricity to the USPS in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.

Washington Post: Gang of Six member Sen. Tom Coburn’s deficit reducation proposal unveiled in the Senate Monday would eliminate about one in seven federal jobs, while extending an ongoing pay freeze and making several employee benefits less generous. President Obama Tuesday afternoon said he was optimistic about the bipartisan panel’s overall efforts. While federal salary schedules were frozen for 2011 and will be frozen again in 2012 under a law passed last year, Coburn’s proposal would extend the freeze another year and further would deny bonuses, also ideas that have been raised in other deficit-reduction proposals. It also would freeze for five years the locality pay component of raises that normally apply to most employees. On benefits, proposals include eliminating situations in which federal retirees can return to work for the government and collect both a full annuity and a full paycheck, ending the right to carry unused sick leave into future years, cutting the amount of annual leave that can be carried forward, and basing retiree cost of living adjustments on a less generous formula.

Superior Telegram: The U.S. Postal Service may close some rural post offices throughout Wisconsin. If the post offices close, rural carriers will provide services to communities that lose offices.

Post & Parcel: Brazil’s Correios plans to invest R$4bn ($2.5bn USD) over the next five years to improve postal services and modernise infrastructure.

Post & Parcel: Strike action and lock-out cost Canada Post over $200m.

USA Today: Saturday mail delivery could end soon and in 15 years "we'll be talking about delivering mail three days a week," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told the USA TODAY Editorial Board today. Donahue forecasts an $8.3 billion loss in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 as the nation's drift from paper to electronic communication continues to hammer the Postal Service. Even first-class mail, which had been the top moneymaker, stopped turning a profit when the recession hit, Donahoe says. Donahoe says that "on September 30, I won't be able to pay my bills," Mallenbaum reports. Donahoe told the board that eliminating Saturday mail delivery could happen soon, but stopped short of calling it "likely." USPS also is reviewing 3,600 post offices for potential elimination. Donahoe says the Postal Service will conduct customer meetings and make final decisions next spring.

Village Voice: ​Yesterday, the dying government institution that is the United States Postal Service made one last attempt at staying relevant by offering sneak-peeks of new 2012 stamps over Facebook and Twitter. They will post a new stamp every weekday for some undetermined amount of time. The USPS social-media person must be too old to appreciate the irony in trying to save snail mail on the interwebs, or maybe the Postal Service has finally realized that the only young people who are going to buy stamps are irony-loving hipsters.

DMM Advisory:  Changes to Move Update Standards Proposed. The proposed rule Federal Register notice — the result of extensive collaboration with the mailing industry — revises Move Update standards to include change-of-address notices filed by Postal Service™ employees in addition to customer-filed change-of-address orders. We look forward to your comments on this proposal by August 11, 2011. If you anticipate any difficulties in meeting this deadline, please contact us

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Dissenting opinion of PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway in the matter of Docket No. A2011-19 concerning the Lafayette Postal Facility in Freehold, New Jersey:

"On prior occasions, I have concurred reluctantly in denying applications for the suspension of a post office closure while expressing reservations about the process. The Postal Service recently adopted new rules applicable to discontinuance of all Postal Service-operated retail facilities, including stations and branches. See 76 FR 41413, July 14, 2011. The new rules represent an improvement in the process. Notwithstanding that the Commission and the Postal Service disagree about whether 39 U.S.C. § 404(d) applies to stations and branches, the Postal Service recognizes appeals are being filed and processed. The public and the Postal Service will be better served if affected offices are not closed until completion of the ongoing review process. Particularly in light of the new rules, the Commission will accelerate its efforts to review post office appeals expeditiously. Given the procedural requirements of section 404(d), maintaining operations at a retail facility pending disposition of an appeal will not materially increase Postal Service costs and, in the long run, will avoid unnecessary expenses and public confusion about the process."

Federal Times: Federal employees' job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired, a USA Today analysis finds. Death — rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs — is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations. The federal government fired 0.55 percent of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3 percent of workers annually for poor performance, says John Palguta, former research chief at the federal Merit Systems Protection Board, which handles federal firing disputes.

CNET News: The day after acquiring EchoSign for its electronic signature technology, Adobe Systems and EchoSign are being sued by a company that claims EchoSign's technology infringes on five of its patents. Los Angeles-based RPost this morning filed a lawsuit against Adobe and EchoSign in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, claiming EchoSign relies on patented technology it owns and is infringing on with its services.

Output Links: Pitney Bowes Australia has announced the launch of its new high-definition colour envelope printer, the DP40S, which provides a new standard in customised envelope messaging and low-cost on-demand printing capabilities. The customer communications management provider said its new Pitney Bowes DP40S Colour Printer can help organisations create and better manage the production of their promotional materials and mailings quickly and at an affordable cost.

UPS Press Release: UPS will announce its second quarter results on Tuesday, July 26, 2011, at approximately 7:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. At 8:30 a.m. EDT, UPS Chairman and CEO Scott Davis and Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn will conduct an investor conference call. This call will be open to reporters and the public, on a listen-only basis, via a live Webcast. To listen to the live Webcast: Go to http://www.investors.ups.com. The Webcast audio then will remain accessible on the Investor Relations Website for a limited time.

The Times-Tribune: U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, D-11, Hazleton, has been criticized for something he faulted his predecessor for doing: using public money to send mail to constituents. See also Citizen's Voice.

Which?: A Which? investigation has revealed that Royal Mail is delivering a patchy service to its customers. We surveyed 2,500 adults about their experiences of the postal service. 72% of respondents had had letters delivered to the wrong address; more than half had found first and second class post not arriving when it was meant to or had received a 'while you were out' card when they were actually at home.

Sydney Morning Herald: Australia Post is losing more than $20 million a year on its handling of parcels of DVDs, books, clothes and other popular online-shopping products shipped to Australia by overseas internet retailers. That is in stark contrast to the bumper profit harnessed by the national mail service from domestic parcel traffic and packages sent overseas by Australians, with the volumes of parcels it handles rising 11 per cent a year. That positions Australia Post as a potentially huge beneficiary of the boom in online shopping. But the mounting losses on inbound parcels weighing less than 2 kilograms have moved Australia Post to begin talks with the Swiss-based Universal Postal Union (UPU) on international rules covering parcel handling costs.

Gloucester County Times: It’s tough to lament the impending closing of the Woodbury Heights post office based on economic arguments. The U.S. Postal Service closed 2010 with an $8.5 billion loss, and lost $2.2 billion more in its second 2011 quarter. The days of a post office in every small burg are over.

TheDirectMailMan: The Titanic hit an iceberg and ultimately sank because it moved too slowly to change course in time; the USPS is a very large organization facing similar challenges due primarily to dramatic decreases in mail volume. The encouraging news is that over the course of the last 12 months the USPS has taken some common-sense steps that are encouraging to business mailers.

Manila Standard Today: More than 12,000 employees of Philippine Postal Corp. in 2,000 different post offices nationwide are calling on Malacañang to act on their delayed salaries and benefits.

Channel Online TV: Jersey Post has breached its licence by failing to publish charges for certain bulk mail customers. The company's required to publish its prices 21 days before they come into effect. But in November last year it failed to do so. John Curran, Executive Director of the JCRA (Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority) said: The requirement to publish tariffs is there to help competition develop in the postal market. It also allows us to ensure the prices are fair and note anti-competitive. We now need Jersey Post to take certain steps to address the breach."

Wallet Pop  UK: We're sick of the unreliable service, unpredictable deliveries and mysterious costs of the postal service, according to a new survey from Which? It polled over 2,000 people and asked a further 3,000 to keep diaries of the failings of the postal service. It revealed a catalogue of failings.There were no shortage of problems reported by the survey, which painted a bleak picture of appalling service and failures.

World Trademark Review: Fresh statistics from EU Customs confirm what many brand owners have feared for some time: consumers are buying more and more counterfeits through the mail. EU Customs claims to have seized 48,000 goods from the postal system in 2010, up by a factor of three from 15,000 the year before. Moreover, the authorities claim that seized counterfeits have broken through the billion-euro barrier, leaving brand owners wondering how the problem will be addressed.

Postalnews Blog: According to a post on 21cpw.com, the APWU has placed its Philadelphia Local in trusteeship after the local president allegedly changed the locks at the local’s office, and attempted to block other officers from performing their union functions:

Mobile Marketing Daily: A new mobile advertising study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau presented at its "Mobile Marketplace" conference Monday. The survey of CMOs and other top marketing executives at 300 U.S. companies (not named) of different sizes and across major industry categories confirmed that mobile budgets are still modest but growing. Given what mobile spending there is today, less than half (47%) the companies in the survey are turning to media buying agencies for help. In one telling finding, marketing execs had a hard time coming up with examples when asked to mention specific mobile campaigns they admired.

Post & Parcel: Korea Post and Pos Malaysia have signed a memorandum of understanding seeking to work more closely together to improve services.

Sun Herald: Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Tom Schatz sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to pass H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act of 2011, recently introduced by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

KLTV: The tiny post office serves a city of just over 5-hundred people, some of them disabled. The current building was dedicated in 1990. Easton residents say their post office, even though it's small, is essential. Residents have been told the post office could close in as soon as 30 days. Congressman Louie Gohmert has released a statement on the closing calling it bureaucratic mismanagement.

July 18, 2011 

Print Media Center: Leland Kroll, president, Kroll Direct Marketing Inc.: "The outlook for holiday mailings this season will probably be marginal for mailers not able to “think outside the stamp.” From a postal perspective, there have been a very limited number of new lists introduced to the marketplace. Consolidations continue and list universes are shrinking. Therefore, it is imperative for direct marketers to test a wide array of online secured files in order to evaluate their performance in advance of the holiday season. The online secured list universes continue to grow at a rapid pace, with daily and real-time data feeds being available. Mobile marketing will continue to evolve and capture consumer’s attention and their wallets in a much bigger way. "

Be sure to check out the OIG audit project website: This site provides a forum to discuss ongoing audits of the United States Postal Service and how we can improve upon them. We encourage you to share your ideas, concerns, comments, and documents.

American Printer: Effective July 25, 2011, the USPS will be launching a new and improved website designed for users to find what they need more quickly and easily. The site will feature task-based navigation, "Quick Tools" section, and a number of new or redesigned applications. The web site address will remain www.usps.com, but the site will have a more modern, updated feel with easier and more consistent navigation. The USPS also will be offering a new website, http://about.usps.com, for information about the USPS. This website will contain information such as structure, history, news, policies and procedures. Some of the most frequently used applications will get a makeover, and there will be new applications available for users. See also the Postal Bulletin.

American Postal Workers Union: The APWU has rejected a call from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to cancel a union-sponsored television ad that has been airing on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. “The APWU stands by the ad, which dispels the myth that the USPS is funded by taxpayers,” APWU President Cliff Guffey wrote on July 15 [PDF].

American Postal Workers Union: The APWU has launched the second phase of its advertising campaign with a radio spot, President Cliff Guffey has announced. The radio ad began airing July 18 and will run for three weeks on news and/or talk stations in Washington DC and other markets. The radio spot compliments a television ad that began airing on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News on July 11. The union’s 30-second ad describes the enormity of the job postal workers do, and ends with a simple question and response: Ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? Not a single cent. “The campaign is designed to inform the American people about the work our members perform and to dispel the persistent myth that the Postal Service is funded by taxpayers,” Guffey said.

Hellmail: The Italian Post Office is rolling out a free WiFi service to its network of post offices. Poste Italiane has already installed the service (provided by Poste Mobile) in 22 post offices, allowing citizens to connect and surf for free via notebook, smartphone or tablet. To logon to the service, users only need to fill out a short form and the WiFi password is sent via text message to the users phone. The number of post offices providing free WiFi will be gradually extended throughout Italy.

DMM Advisory:  Advance Copy of L006 Labeling List Available on RIBBS. An advance copy of the L006 Labeling List files is now available for review on the RIBBS® website under Labeling Lists>Important Links. The zip file contains both the human readable Labeling List L006 and the product files in text format. The Labeling List L006 data will be posted on the Postal Explorer® website on August 1 and the National Customer Support Center will disseminate the product files during their regularly scheduled August 1 release. Non-active FSS zones have been included as part of the L006 labeling list for modeling purposes. Non-active FSS zones are ZIP Codes which are planned for FSS processing, but whose scheme assignment is not yet determined. These records are included to provide a complete list of FSS zones, but they should not yet be prepared as FSS scheme containers. Non-active FSS zones are defined where the FSS Scheme Name matches the FSS Facility Name. As FSS schemes are finalized, these records will be converted to the conventional scheme and facility format. If you have any questions about system programming for labeling list L006, please refer to the Labeling Lists Technical Guide. The advance copy of L006 files will remain on the RIBBS website until the next publication of the Labeling Lists, in October 2011. For any additional assistance, please call our Labeling List Technical Support group at (800) 238-3150.

WLTX: If you're looking for a part-time job, the United States Postal Service is offering $19.45 an hour to deliver mail on rural routes. Midlands routes cover parts of Lexington, Newberry, and Sumter, while other routes are available in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg, according to officials. Apparently, the position, titled a "Rural Carrier Associate," is responsible for mail delivery when regular carriers have days off or are on vacation. Officials say "RCAs" also sell stamps, supplies and money orders. See also WPDE.

speaker Now hear this: "This Week In Postal".........the latest podcast posted now!

Help Net Security: Fake emails purportedly coming from financial institutions and the post are currently hitting inboxes and are carrying a malicious .exe file disguised as a Word document. Taking advantage of the users' curiosity, the attachments - named Financial_Statement.exe or Postal_document.exe - are actually a downloader Trojan that, once run, copies itself on the system and injects itself in svchost.exe, and finally tries to download and install a fake AV ("Security Shield") variant on the victims' computer. According to BitDefender researchers, once that is achieved, the victim is faced with the usual barrage of fake pop-up windows saying that the computer is infected and trying to convince the user to buy the product in order to disinfect the system.

The Standard: Australia Post has angered not-for-profit community groups with a new $100 annual fee for cheques, which could spark a protest petition in the south-west. From August 1 business credit account holders who pay the national postal organisation by cheque will be hit with the new charge, as well as a new $15 late payment fee and an increased dishonour fee of $10.

Newspapers & Technology: Transcontinental Inc. said it will swap its Mexican print operation with Quad/Graphics in return for seven print facilities Quad/Graphics now operates in Canada.

Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: In Washington, two clocks are ticking. The clock associated with the debt limit will hit zero days, zero hours, zero minutes and zero seconds on August 2. The clock associated with the Postal Service will hit the same point next year.

SavethePostOffice: The decision to reorganize the Postal Service’s network and close thousands of post offices—16,000 of them over the next six years, according to the Postmaster General—is based on dozens of “retail optimization” studies done over the past few years. There’s no shortage of numbers demonstrating why it’s good business for the Postal Service to do retail out of supermarkets, Office Depots, and kiosks instead of old-fashioned post offices. The math deployed by the Postal Service and its consultants can be quite impressive. In one study called "The Postal Service Retail Facility Location and Size Problem" (pdf here) by Anthony M. Yezer, Professor of Economics at George Washington University, there's a whole slew of numbers and equations. But the logic is cruel, the math is fuzzy, and the numbers don’t add up.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week’s “Pushing the Envelope” blog topic:

Introduction to Contract Fraud – False Claims and Statements. The U.S. Postal Service currently manages over 20,000 contracts worth $29 billion. It is estimated that up to 5 percent of contracted dollars are lost to fraud, meaning $1.45 billion of Postal Service funds could be at risk. With a mission of detecting, stopping, and preventing fraud, we will be using our blog to introduce some common fraud schemes and their warning signs. To learn more about contract fraud and how you can help us, visit this week's blog.

New Audit Projects: LINK here to visit our audit project pages. This week we opened the following new projects:
  • Cost of Appeals for Closing Postal Service – Operated Retail Facilities – 11XG042EN000. In March 2011, the Postal Service proposed regulation amendments to improve the Post Office closing and consolidation process. Both federal law and the Postal Service’s rules prescribe a Post Office closure process. The Postal Service must notify the affected public and hold a comment period prior to closing a Post Office. Should it decide to close a Post Office, the public has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The number of appeals has increased significantly in fiscal years (FY) 2010 and 2011. For example, compared to the preceding five FYs combined, there was a 200 percent increased in FY 2010. While appeal activities have increased, since FY 2000, 90 percent of PRC decisions have resulted in affirming the Postal Service closing decision or dismissing the appeal. Our objective is to assess the costs to the Postal Service to process, administer, and manage closing appeals for Postal Service-operated retail facilities.

CNET News: Adobe Systems, creator of the Portable Document Format standard use for digital documents, has acquired EchoSign, a company specializing in electronic signature technology. The move means Adobe will get new abilities for its document-handling software. Electronic signatures have held promise for years for letting people sign documents without having to resort to the paper-based hassles of scanning, faxing, and mailing, but haven't made major inroads.

Delaware Online: Why is Netflix raising its prices? In part, because the company miscalculated how many people still want to receive DVDs by mail each month, a more expensive service to provide compared with its streamed Internet videos. Netflix has been trying to lure subscribers away from its DVDs by offering cheaper plans that include movies and TV episodes delivered over its Internet streaming service. In November, it began offering a streaming-only plan for $8, its cheapest option at the time. Yet Netflix customers aren't flocking to Internet video as quickly as some analysts said the company expected.

The Telegraph: Complaints about the Royal Mail losing post have risen by more than a third amid claims that more than 120,000 items went missing in just three months. The figure represents the highest level of dissatisfaction among customers in the last three years.

Columbo Page: The media spokesman of the postal trade union coalition Chinthaka Bandara said that the services of the Postal Department are undervalued in fares. He pointed out that the postage for a normal letter is five rupees whilst the actual cost for it Rs. 17. A registered letter costs more than Rs. 100 while mere Rs. 30 is charged for it. A telegram is charged a nominal amount while delivering it costs around Rs. 250 for the Postal Department. He also pointed out that the joint venture of the state-owned National Savings Bank with the Postal Department also incurs expenses around Rs. 300 million per year to the department.

Daily News: The Postal Department in a ground-breaking modernization drive will introduce electronic and online postal services. . “The Department will soon launch what will be Sri Lanka’s first E-postal service,” Deputy Post Master General R D P Gamini told the Daily News yesterday. The public will be able to pay their cell phone bills to relevant phone companies, do instant electronic money orders and track postal information on express and international shipments, among other things, through post offices once the new services are operative. The Postal Department is planning to introduce 17 new postal products. There will be special online mailing facilities for customers.

Asia Pacific Future Gov: An automation system has recently been deployed for Malaysia’s national postal service, Pos Malaysia Berhad, by NEC Corp. in cooperation with Global Technological Support Sdn Bhd.

July 17, 2011 

Glen Falls Post-Star: The federal government is requiring the Postal Service and its employees to pre-fund 75 years of health benefit obligations in 10 years for all current and future employees/retirees. No other federal agency and no private business are required by law to do this. At the same time, Congress is refusing to allow the Postal Service to access and use monies in two pension funds that are permanently and significantly overfunded to the tune of $81.5 billion.

July 16, 2011 

Elburn Herald: With nearly 100,000 places to buy stamps, ship a package or renew a passport, the U.S. Postal Service is expanding customer access to its products and services. It’s not about brick-and-mortar post offices anymore, as postal products move online and into retail outlets, grocery stores, office supply chains and pharmacies. Responding to changing customer needs and a business plan that calls for expanding access to Postal Service products, stores including Costco and Office Depot are offering shipping and mailing services. According to postal spokesperson Sean Hargadon, the Postal Service is changing for the better. “We’re teaming up with hundreds of new stores so customers can do postal business at places where they already shop,” Hargadon said. “Americans have more to do and less time to do it. We know simpler is better—online, on your mobile device, on your way, with an expertise that you can count on.”

Washington Post: Italy cleared a €70 billion ($99 billion) austerity package on Friday to reassure nervous investors that the eurozone’s third-largest economy will not succumb to the debt crisis. It includes increases in health-care fees, cuts to tax breaks and high-end pensions, raises in the retirement age and public-sector salary freezes. The government is also looking into privatizing state-owned companies such as the state railway or postal services once the crisis eases.

Hellmail: The Post Bank Coalition yesterday launched a report outlining how a publicly owned Post Bank could revitalise the post office network and bring trusted banking services to businesses and communities across the UK. With the funding for the post office network unclear and the potential for more post office closures looming, the future of the country’s post offices and the sub-postmasters that run them is uncertain.

July 15, 2011 

Northern Colorado Business Report: The Board of Weld County Commissioners have voted to strongly oppose the United States Postal Service's plans to close or reduce service in New Raymer and Milliken. The Postal Regulatory Commission is considering closing the New Raymer post office completely.

Florida Times-Union: The misinformation circulating about the Postal Service is startling. Some of it was contained, unfortunately, in the July 1 Times-Union editorial "Is bailout the next step?" In short — no, it is not. For starters, the Postal Service doesn't use a dime of taxpayer money and hasn't for more than a quarter-century. Its revenue comes from selling its products and services at the best rates in the industrialized world. Customer satisfaction and on-time delivery are at record highs, and labor costs are declining. Further, the USPS runs a net operational profit delivering the mail. Despite the worst recession in 80 years, despite Internet diversion, the USPS takes in more money from postal operations than it spends. Over the past four years, revenues exceeded costs by $837 million. However, the 2006 congressional mandate that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within a decade — something no other public agency or private firm does.

DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update. MicroStrategy Reporting Environment Outage: On Sunday, July 17, 2011, the PostalOne!® MicroStrategy reporting environment will be unavailable to internal and external users during the scheduled maintenance window of 4:00 a.m. through 8:00 a.m. (CDT) to allow for system maintenance. During this outage, internal users will not be able to access Verification and Performance Reports for Business Mail Acceptance. External users will not be able to access the Mail Quality Reports. PostalOne! Release 27.0.0 Notes have been posted on RIBBS and provide details of the software upgrades made to the PostalOne! system effective June 26, 2011.

Lex18: The U.S. Postal Service plans to conduct a study at the Lexington Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) for possible consolidation of some operations into the Louisville P&DC.

Federal Times: Postal unions and Rep. Darrell Issa are mixing it up again. This time it’s over the California Republican’s bid to scrap a long-standing congressional requirement for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail six days a week. That requirement is basically all that’s keeping the Postal Service from ending most Saturday delivery, a step the agency says will save $3 billion per year. The National Rural Letters Carriers’ Association says the change would cost at least 80,000 jobs

Toronto Star: Canada Post says it's slowly clearing out the backlog from the lockout and the new items that have flooded the postal service since unionized workers were legislated back to work late last month.

A new site you might want to check: http://savethepostoffice.com.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Sixty years after the creation of the plastic credit card, big corporate names are backing a new wave of payments technology—a tap with a phone, rather than a swipe with a credit card. Pretty much every major bank, credit-card company, wireless network operator, and a good number of Silicon Valley players are exploring the cellphone as the next ubiquitous way to spend money.

The Street: Given an increase in global trade and recovery in global economies, UPS will benefit from increased shipping needs. The stock also benefits from lower fuel prices, which could add an additional catalyst if prices decline.

Southern Pines Pilot: When it comes to trying to help save the downtown post office in Pinehurst, the village staff and council seemed to be just going through the motions in their collective effort — mailing it in, you might say. At this point, the closing announced by U.S. Postal Service officials on June 8 looks like a done deal, with little hope for getting the decision reversed. After all, does a town of 14,000 residents really need two post offices? And considering the dire financial straits of the soon-to-be-bankrupt USPS, it may well be that closing the branch is the only viable option.

Bernama: Pos Malaysia Bhd expects to stage a better performance in the second quarter of its current financial year from that of the previous corresponding period.

SavethePostOffice.com: Yesterday the Postal Service released its Final Rule on procedural changes for closing post offices. It contains many interesting points, but none more eye-opening than the Postal Service’s claim that it has no program to study the closing of a significant number of post offices nationwide. Yes, you read that right. The Postal Service is saying that it has not developed “a program to study the discontinuance of large numbers of retail facilities that [has] the potential to effect a nationwide or substantially nationwide change in service.” In fact, the Postal Service says that “unless and until such a program is developed and presented to the [Postal Regulatory] Commission,” concerns about its impacts “are speculative and premature.”

Center for American Progress Action Fund: Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) recently introduced postal reform bill closely follows the strategy of Republican governors who are using budget problems to attack collective bargaining rights and weaken political opponents. This strategy ignores alternative methods of closing budget shortfalls and instead insists that public employee pay is the cause of budget gaps and that collective bargaining must go. Rep. Issa’s proposed Postal Reform Act isn’t the frontal assault on collective bargaining being pushed by Govs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio but instead closely adheres to the strategy of Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to empower “emergency” managers to unilaterally modify collective bargaining agreements. Such powers effectively end any real ability for workers to bargain collectively. Rep. Issa’s bill would create a Solvency Authority that can “after meeting and conferring with the appropriate bargaining representative … reject, modify, or terminate 1 or more terms or conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.” That’s virtually identical language to the Michigan law that allows the emergency manager to “after meeting and conferring with the appropriate bargaining representative … reject, modify, or terminate 1 or more terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.”

Post & Parcel: Argentinean postal company Nexo Correo has assembled a special team of visual communications experts within its marketing department to help customers with design and creative aspects of direct marketing campaigns. The new team is headed up by graphic designer Nadia Ferrari, and forms part of the Buenos Aires-based company’s “comprehensive” direct marketing service for small and medium-sized businesses.

Post & Parcel: Canada Post is set to expand money transfer services available at more than 6,200 post office and postal outlet locations across Canada. It has extended its 10-year relationship with money transfer company MoneyGram to continue existing services. And, the new contract will also mean Canada Post counters offering new next-day bill payment services and emergency fund transfers.

Journal of Commerce: FedEx will increase capital spending 24 percent over the next year, adding $800 million as it replenishes its fleets with new aircraft, trucks and tractors. The transportation giant plans to spend $4.2 million on equipment and plant in its new fiscal year, compared with $3.4 million in the year that ended May 31. That will include spending on aircraft at FedEx Express, network expansion at FedEx Ground and equipment for trucking outfit FedEx Freight. [EdNote: The Postal Service needs to invest to replenish its fleet. Difference is . . . it hasn't a dime.]

July 14, 2011 

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

  • 2010 STUDY ON HOUSEHOLD MAIL TRENDS–The U.S. Postal Service has filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) the latest edition of its Household Diary Study survey, a multi-year market research study of mail that is received by and sent from American households. The recently released study covers household-mail trends during the Postal Service’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, running from October 6, 2009, through September 27, 2010. PostCom presents highlights from the 2010 study.
  • THE NATION'S POSTAL SYSTEM'S IN A HELL OF A PICKLE -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, the time may soon be here for an angry electorate to take congressional names and even a few congressional heads.
  • USPS FACES REFORM LEGISLATION -- An article by Linn's Stamp News postal correspondent Bill McAllister. It appears here with permission.
  • ISSA TO APWU: EXCUUUUSE ME! -- Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in a letter to the American Postal Worker Union (APWU) asks the union to cancel a misleading ad campaign that falsely claims the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not receive taxpayer support when it does, in fact, receive hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money through preferential tax treatment and other benefits.
  • ISSA SEEKS TO STOP APPROPRIATIONS BILL FROM REQUIRING SIX-DAY MAIL DELIVERY -- In a letter from the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, Rep. Darrell Issa argued that a provision in a House appropriations measure that would require the Postal Service to continue to provide six-day mail delivery should be stricken.  
  • POSTAL NOTES -- Fresh direction-- Hub helps businesses create and generate direct mail campaigns. Mailcom seminar summaries available for review.
  • MTAC UPDATE -- An update on news from the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee.
  • POSTAL FACILITY WATCH -- An update on press reports on postal facility consolidations and closures.
  • POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION UPDATES -- An update on key docket activity at the PRC.
  • DMM ADVISORY UPDATES-- An update on DMM Advisories issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • FEDERAL REGISTER UPDATES -- An update on postal rules and notices published in the Federal Register.
  • OIG UPDATES -- An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • OVER THERE . . . . INTERNATIONAL POSTAL NEWS -- A review of postal news from around the world.

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

BBC: At a rowdy press conference in Moscow this week, consumer protection official Alexei Samokhvalov clashed with representatives of Russian Post. He described the situation with parcel deliveries as "alarming" and "farcical". He also claimed the postal service had worked better in Soviet times. Russian Post admits that thefts do occur. But the company strongly defends its record.

The Korea Herald: Korea Post is stepping up efforts to improve the quality of international delivery services in collaboration with other national postal service providers.

Politico: Twenty days left and counting, the August debt ceiling showdown broke along two fronts Wednesday: the political forces of 2010 vs. 2012 and the shape and pace of tax reform in this Congress or the next. A blow-up between Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the end of Wednesday’s White House negotiating session captured the building tension. Watching silently was McConnell, who had used a conservative radio interview earlier in the day to bluntly warn his party it was setting itself up for a fall at the polls in 2012. “I refuse to help Barack Obama get reelected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy,” McConnell told his host, Laura Ingraham.

Hellmail: Peter Kane, Chairman of UK Mail Group plc, made an Interim Management Statement today covering the period 1 April 2011 to 12 July 2011. Reported Group revenues for the first quarter increased by some 5.5% compared to the same period in the previous year. Adjusting for one less working day than in the previous year as well as the increase in Royal Mail prices implemented on 6 May 2011, underlying Group revenues increased by some 4%.

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

Last week French La Poste presented an update of it’s ’Ambition 2015’ investment programme (CEP-News 16/10). The management revised the company’s forecast for its core business upwards. The feared 30% decline in letter volume (compared to 2009) is now expected to occur until 2016.
Last week French La Poste presented an update of it’s ’Ambition 2015’ investment programme (CEP-News 16/10). The management revised the company’s forecast for its core business upwards. The feared 30% decline in letter volume (compared to 2009) is now expected to occur until 2016.
TNT Post and Gruppo Buffetti agreed to co-operate in the Italian mail business in the future.
Canada Post still struggles with the aftereffects of the strike which was ended 2 weeks ago.
Kahala Post Group’s executive committee will meet this week in Barcelona. The representatives of 10 national postal operators will discuss the development of the international parcel market and its future trends during the 3 day meeting. Postal companies from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, China and the USA established the Kahala Posts Group (KPG) network in 2003. In 2006 Spanish Correos and Royal Mail joined the group and French La Poste and Singpost became members in 2009.
The USA and Mexico have put an end to the cross-border trucking dispute which continued for almost 2 decades.
SingPost bought into a Chinese express service.
Austrian companies obviously save money through A-B-A remailings with the Czech Republic. At the end of June daily news »Lidove noviny« reported that this was true for bulk mail. The consignments, earmarked for Austrians, are transported across the border and fed into Ceska Posta’s network by specialised agencies.
The axing of British tabloid »News of the World« bears consequences for DHL, too. British DHL Supply Chain manages the distribution of several print titles in the United Kingdom for parent company News Corporation and now faces a slash of its volumes by 2 million newspapers a week.

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.)

Fox News: The postal workers union is refusing to take down a new ad after Republican Rep. Darrell Issa accused its members of "misleading" viewers by claiming tax dollars do not support the Postal Service. "The ad is accurate," Sally Davidow, spokeswoman for the American Postal Workers Union, told FoxNews.com. The TV ad, which started running this week, has a voiceover claiming U.S. mail delivery doesn't cost taxpayers a "single cent" and is "funded solely by stamps and postage." The problem with that statement, according to Issa, is that the Postal Service enjoys other "implicit subsidies" -- a 2007 Federal Trade Commission report noted that the service does not have to pay taxes, including property tax; does not have to pay vehicle registration fees, and can borrow at low-interest rates through the U.S. Treasury.

July 13, 2011 

The Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has formed MTAC User Group (UG) # 5 Rev., "Addressing:  Technology and Business Strategy" tasked with "the pursuit of excellence in Addressing and application of address information in mailer’s Business Strategy - resulting from improved education and the ability to collectively discuss, propose, and evaluate the costs and benefits of current and future address processes and technology. Support 3 C’s (Correct/Complete/Current) and define and share Best Practices. The User Group will propose MTAC workgroups to resolve any specific industry or Postal Service issues, when necessary. In addition, subgroups may be established to investigate, discuss, and resolve unique issues, as necessary."

The hearing, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 3:15 p.m. in H-313 The Capitol, has been postponed subject to the call of the chair on the following measure: H.R. 2434 — Financial and General Government Appropriations Act, 2012.

Government Executive: In a letter sent Tuesday to House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., requested the committee drop language from fiscal 2012 financial services appropriations legislation that would require the Postal Service to maintain six-day mail delivery. USPS, which faces financial insolvency and a potential $8 billion loss in fiscal 2011, has proposed eliminating Saturday delivery. "The six-day delivery proviso imposes a $3 billion annual unfunded mandate on the U.S. Postal Service, according to the USPS," Issa wrote. "If the status quo continues, the USPS will be insolvent before the end of fiscal 2012 -- placing all USPS operations at risk, not just Saturday delivery." According to Issa, eliminating the provision could save USPS $3 billion annually.

Under discussion at the House Rules Committee today regarding H.R. 2434 -- Making appropriations for financial services and general government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes.: "Provided further, That 6-day delivery and rural 13 delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level." House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Issa will be asking Rules to strike this provision from the appropriations bill.

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 a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at (703) 248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at (703) 248-2286.

Press Release: Quad/Graphics Inc. and Transcontinental Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Quad/Graphics will acquire Transcontinental’s Mexican operations and sell its Canadian operations to Transcontinental (with the exception of Quad/Graphics’ Vancouver, B.C., facility). Further, Quad/Graphics will receive a portion of Transcontinental’s Canadian book printing business that is produced for U.S. export.

Catalogue Exchange: Royal Mail’s letters and parcels and international business lost £120 million in 2010/11—compared with a £20 million profit in fiscal 2009/10. The company said the revenue decline, approximately £2 million a week, was mainly driven by a fall in volumes. This year, Royal Mail delivered 62 million items of mail a day, a decline of some 20 percent. Chief executive Moya Greene says she expects further declines “of around 5 percent a year”.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in a letter to the American Postal Worker Union (APWU) asks the union to cancel a misleading ad campaign that falsely claims the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not receive taxpayer support when it does, in fact, receive hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money through preferential tax treatment and other benefits.

Rural Carrier Updates: Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is requesting that the House Rules Committee rule in favor of stripping the language included every year in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee bill that maintains Six Day Delivery, based on jurisdictional and procedural issues.

Wall Street Journal: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made it clear he sees Netflix's streaming service as the future of the company. Netflix isn't even bothering to launch DVD-rental services as it expands its streaming service into new territories outside the U.S., such as Canada and Latin America. Mr. Hastings has said that Netflix favors the shift to online delivery of movies because the company's costs to stream movies are much less than the postal costs for transporting a DVD to customers in the mail.

Cumbernauld News: A privatisation row has erupted after Labour councillors ended their association with Royal Mail – amid claims that they have jeopardised the job security of working- class men and women. Labour members at Motherwell Civic Centre voted to award a key postal delivery contract to Dutch giants TNT – but the authority’s 22 Scottish Nationalist councillors have expressed “grave concern’’ at the move.

Post & Parcel: Eleven Southern African countries have taken steps towards harmonising postal policy at a ministerial conference in Botswana. Last month, ministers from 11 countries officially committed to universal service and to expanding “access to services…to geographical regions in which the postal service is non-existent or limited”. They also expressed support for providing services that are affordable and accessible with a certain level of quality. Countries participating in the agreement were: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Politico: Washington’s political mood darkened dramatically Tuesday, as the debt ceiling crisis showed signs of spinning out of control and Republicans began looking for an escape path from the default showdown they helped create. Republicans are no longer making any attempt to hide what’s become a deep-seated distrust of the president, but, even more striking, GOP leaders continue to work at cross-purposes with one another — even at the table in front of Obama himself. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set the day’s tone early with a blast aimed at the president but implicitly undercutting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s efforts to craft a $2 trillion deficit-reduction package with the administration. “As long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable,” McConnell said grimly. [EdNote: When you think about the POSTAL crisis, think of it with a similar frame of reference . . . . It's political war . . . . You just happen to be collateral damage.]

Roll Call: Despite dire warnings from the administration, House Republicans still have little interest in handling the political stink bomb of a vote on increasing the nation’s borrowing authority at a time when voters are angry about debt and spending. They say it’s time for the president to draft and present his own proposal. House Republicans are a long way from finding the right mix of cuts to win passage for a debt-limit hike. There is no proposal that satisfies House Republicans. Quite simply, nothing passes their muster.

Russia Today: The Russian Postal Service says it has reached an agreement with the Customs Service that will mean delivery times of parcels from abroad will not increase. Earlier, Russia's Customs Service decided to stop giving priority to postal packages – in order to “increase efficiency.” Customs officials said the Postal Service regularly messes up the paperwork needed to give priority to its packages, so customers should not notice any real difference in delivery times. The Postal Service then issued a statement telling customers they can now expect to wait up to six months for packages to arrive. Russia’s Postal Service is notorious for problems with the delivery and safety of letters and parcels.

Analytiqa: Patton has announced a new logistics programme in partnership with FedEx that offers lower freight costs, faster delivery, new business opportunities, and other benefits to channel partners and end customers in Europe and worldwide. By implementing the International Priority Direct Distribution (IPD) programme with FedEx, Patton's enhanced logistics programme enables customers located within the European Union to receive their orders one day faster on average, at reduced freight cost, and pre-cleared for customs and Value-Added Tax (VAT). Customers who select IPD shipping from Patton's factory (located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, US) can realise up to 50.0% reduction in shipping charges compared with FedEx International Priority. With IPD, Patton also improves customer cash flow by eliminating advance VAT payments.

Analytiqa: DHL Freight now offers its customers an upgraded and uniform way to track shipments across Europe. The increased flexibility of the new Active Tracing system makes it easier for them to check the whereabouts of their road freight. Customers can now receive up to 30 status information events from across the entire transportation chain, from pick-up to delivery. With Active Tracing apps for iPhones and Android smartphones designed especially for small and medium-sized businesses, customers will be able to access this information anywhere and anytime. This represents a significant benefit mainly for companies who transport time-sensitive, temperature-controlled or premium goods such as in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Hartford Courant: "Tariffville Residents Rally to Save Post Office." Since the postal service announced that it would carry out a study to determine whether the Tariffville Post Office should be closed permanently, Hebert and her fellow Tariffville residents say they have done all they can to express their displeasure. They attended a community meeting hosted by postal officials, responded to a survey about their postal needs, provided feedback to the postal service study and wrote to their legislators.

Shelby County Reporter: The United States Postal Service likely will decide the fate of the Saginaw Post Office soon after the decision goes before the service’s regional office in late July, according to a USPS spokeswoman.

The Columba County News-Times: Several U.S. Postal Service employees based in Augusta voiced concern at a Tuesday meeting regarding a proposal to move part of its processing operations to Columbia. A public meeting was held to reveal initial results of an area mail-processing study done in February, which showed consolidating all outgoing mail services from the Augusta Processing and Distribution Center to the one in Columbia would increase efficiency and improve productivity. The plan could save the Postal Service more than $550,000, but it would likely affect seven jobs at the Augusta center.

WAAY: Letters mailed from Huntsville will soon have a new look. Instead of being stamped at the Huntsville Processing Center, beginning in January, they'll read "Birmingham." On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service announced a consolidation that includes some changes for how local mail is handled in Huntsville.

KXLH: The decision to consolidate postal operations in Great Falls and eliminate processing in Helena, Butte, and Havre will not create more jobs in the Electric City. Forty-three postal service jobs will be lost by closing the centers, but USPS officials claims those people will be reassigned to already vacant positions. But compensating for the extra workload at the Great Falls center will not require any additional job positions.

Hellmail: Swiss Post announced this month that its digital mailbox service "ePostbox" is being made available in the UK, starting with the Isle of Man Post Office - its first UK partner.

July 12, 2011 

Yahoo! News: Netflix is raising its prices by as much as 60 percent for millions of subscribers who want to rent DVDs by mail and watch video on the Internet.

Photoblog MSNBC: As local, state and federal officials fight over deficit spending, it is easy to understand how U. S. Postal Service administrators could get to the point of closing small, mostly rural post offices. Postal officials say that technology hurt the postal service. Sales and mail volume have dropped precipitously during the last decade, even in small post offices. However, many people in small communities make the case that their post offices are important social and commercial crossroads. Does our connectedness and sense of community that happens via the Internet make small, rural post offices a thing of the past? What about those who don’t have Internet access? Is it fair to ask these people to pay the price of progress?

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

American Postal Workers Union: The USPS has begun implementing several policies in small post offices that we believe violate the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Although many of the disputes may eventually be decided at the national level, it is important that we challenge violations properly at the local level and make appropriate requests for supporting documentation.

Advertising Age: After several years of proliferating coupon inserts, by far the largest channel for coupon distribution, marketers seem to be tapping the brakes on insert volume and concentrating on other coupon tactics.

National Association of Major Mail Users: The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) today announced the key elements of the Stop-Gap Working Capital Assistance Program proposed last week to Minister of State for Small Business, the Honourable Maxime Bernier. The new funding initiative will give small businesses the necessary relief to the situation brought about by the postal disruption by giving them access to working capital without penalties attached. “This proposed ‘stop-gap’ working capital assistance may take the form of a non-repayable loan or a grant for two months’ working capital; or a long-term, interest-free loan for a more substantial amount, giving more leeway to small businesses to recover and invest in resources to become globally competitive,” said Kathleen Rowe, NAMMU President.

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "the Postal Service now finds itself in one hell of a fiscal pickle." Up to this point, Congress has been particularly good at telling the Postal Service what it won't do. Unfortunately, Congress has yet to say what it will do to ensure that the nation's postal system will continue to serve as a means of conducting communication and commerce.

Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Bernie Schraml, Bloomberg Businessweek's Director of Manufacturing and Distribution has told the Courier Express and Postal Observer that the magazine will more than double the number of weekly issues delivered by alternative delivery when the magazine switches delivery in the Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA, Chicago, IL, and Portland Oregon media markets in August. With the addition of these four markets, Postal Service competitors will deliver around 20% of all of Bloomberg Businessweek's circulation, or around 170,000 copies every week. Mr. Schraml told the CEP Observer that additional markets, will switch to alternative delivery in September with the timing depending upon finalization of negotiations of with delivery firms.

USPS NewsLink: Small businesses in Austin, TX, and Raleigh, NC, looking for an affordable, effective direct mail solution need search no further. Now available is a pilot test of the Postal Service’s “Direct Mail Hub,” an online platform designed to educate small businesses on direct mail and help them generate mailings from start-to-finish. With the Direct Mail Hub, small businesses will have access to a third–party provided tool — DirectMail2Go — to create personalized mailpieces. DirectMail2Go gives customers access to templates, mailing lists, printing, postage and mailing, all with one streamlined platform. It also has the flexibility to incorporate company logos and photos uploaded by the user. “This platform is built to appeal to small businesses that haven’t used direct mail in the past because they considered it too complicated or time-consuming,” said Tom Foti, manager, Marketing Mail. Mailings can be sent as First-Class Mail and Standard Mail cards, letters and flats. Another third-party provided tool — Direct Mail Quotes — will become a part of on the Direct Mail Hub in August. Direct Mail Quotes matches a small business customer’s particular mailing needs to a supplier network of mail service providers. To jump-start awareness of the Direct Mail Hub, the Postal Service is launching an integrating marketing campaign targeted to small businesses in Austin and Raleigh. The campaign encourages them to visit the Direct Mail Hub and consider the value of direct mail in their marketing efforts. USPS representatives are planning other outreach activities as well.

PR-USA.Net: The United States Postal Service has announced a new program. Every Door Direct Mail is a direct mail service that allows mailers to send pieces to every address on a mail carrier's route for a discounted postage price. According to one expert from the direct mail industry, the new program is getting mixed reviews from direct mail professionals. The postage discount and included mailing list is a hit, but there are concerns that the program will not be as effective as regular direct mail for many industries.

Lexology: Sounds crazy, but with a bit of accounting help from Congress, the U.S. Postal Service could go from pauper to prosperous faster than an Express Mail package. Even though the Postal Service is $13 billion in debt, has stopped making certain payments into the federal retirement system, and is projected to become insolvent and lose another $8 billion this year, it could happen. Because over the last 40 years, USPS has overpaid between $50 and $70 billion into the U.S. Treasury, or so says the agency and its independent regulators. Several bills are pending in Congress that could release these funds to the agency.

National Association of Major Mail Users: Canada Post’s largest mail processing plants in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver continue to operate at full capacity. Over the past week, our network of 21 plants has processed approximately 55 million more pieces of mail than usual – representing a 40% increase in output. The backlog of Lettermail from our customers has now been reduced to less than 4 million pieces which will be processed by mid-week. All Canada Post facilities are now accepting mail as usual.

Press Release: FedEx Express EMEA announces the findings of a new study it has sponsored with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU): New horizons: Europe’s small and medium-sized companies look to emerging markets for growth, surveying the views of over 600 European SME executives.

SaveThePostOffice.com: How fast can you close a post office? Not as fast as the Postal Service would like. But luckily for the USPS, they have a new computer tool to help them speed up the process. the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has just released an audit report about the results of a new web-based application called the Change Suspension Discontinuance Center (CSDC) program that the Postal Service has been using. The Washington Post had reported back in March that the Postal service was using a new computer system to facilitate the closing process, and now we have some results. The OIG found that the CSDC program reduces the current “cycle time” it takes to close a post office from 280 days to 218 days, a savings of 62 days. If you’re into the numbers, the breakdown is like this: The program shaves the “authorization to study” from 10 days to 3, the “study period” from 150 to 123, the “HQ review and final determination” from 30 to 12, and the period from the posting of a “final determination” to actual closure, from 90 to 80. (The full study is here.) Much of the time saving is thanks to the computer program’s ability to gather and integrate data from a variety of sources more quickly than in the past. What’s noteworthy, however, is that Postal Service Headquarters is now giving itself just 12 days to evaluate all the information it gathered over the previous months and to come to a final decision.

Post & Parcel: Paul Jackson, chairman, Triangle Management Services, provides an insight and conclusions following a recent trip to New Zealand. He feels that there are many lessons to be learnt from that Post’s transformation. Whilst Mail & Express Review is grateful for input from New Zealand Post, particularly in clarifying financial and other data, the opinions and conclusions are the author’s own.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week’s “Pushing the Envelope” blog topic:

Masters of Innovation. The American marketplace is experiencing constant changes in the ways that companies conduct business and communicate with customers. The OIG plans to examine innovation processes currently used by major U.S. corporations to learn about best practices/processes. What should the Postal Service do to identify business opportunities and customer needs in order to create solutions that lead to financial success and customer satisfaction? We invite you to share your thoughts on this topic on our blog.

DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update. Business Customer Gateway outage: The Business Customer Gateway production environment will be unavailable on Sunday, July 24, 2011, from 12:00 am (CDT) to 8:00 am (CDT).  During this window, all USPS services accessed through the Business Customer Gateway — including PostalOne!®, FAST®, Mailer ID, Program Registration and eDoc submission via MailXML/Mail.dat — will be unavailable. Tasks performed during this outage include deploying a new version of the Customer Registration system. In addition, to support the launch of the new USPS.com site, minor changes will be made to the header/footer areas of the Business Customer Gateway and to the systems mentioned above.

Attention PostalOne!® Users. This Sunday, July 17, 2011, the PostalOne MicroStrategy reporting environment will be unavailable to internal and external users during the scheduled maintenance window of 4AM through 8AM CDT to allow for system maintenance. During the outage internal users will not be able to access Verification and Performance Reports for Business Mail Acceptance and External users will not be able to access the Mail Quality Reports.

Logistics Manager: Royal Mail is set to launch a home delivery service which will allow online shoppers the chance to have goods delivered to a secure, electronic parcel locker known as an iBox. The service, which is being provided in conjunction with logistics firm ByBox, will be available from a select number of online retailers from this autumn as part of a six month trial.

Press Release: UPS Mail Innovations, the business mail services unit of UPS, has announced that tracking information for its shipments now is available on UPS.com, providing recipients an easy way to track the progress of their packages and mail pieces. UPS Mail Innovations manages the pick-up, processing and sorting of companies' outbound flat mail pieces, bound printed matter and parcels weighing less than one pound such as books, CDs, catalogs and small products. UPS Mail Innovations weighs and sorts the mail pieces and applies the postage before delivering the pieces to the U.S.Postal Service (USPS) for final delivery.

National Post: Snail mail is getting an extra push out the door of postal processing plants and into Canadians’ mailboxes this week thanks to more overtime at Canada Post.

Catanduanes Tribune:Some of the 38 disgruntled employees of the Philippine Postal Corporation in Catanduanes have accepted an offer for early retirement from the Bicol regional office but are not themselves sure how much they would receive under the scheme. A postmaster who refused to be identified for fear of reprisal told the Tribune that in the evening of June 17, someone at Philpost regional office sent text messages to Catanduanes postal employees asking them if they would like to avail of the national government’s Rationalization Plan under Executive Order No. 366 approved in 2004. The message informed that those who want to retire early should submit a letter expressing their willingness to do so by June 22 so that their names would be included in the list to be sent to the Department of Budget and Management.

Realdeal.hu: State-owned postal services provider Magyar Posta has issued a public procurement tender for media buying and planning. The Hungarian postal service would spend Ft 759.5 million (nearly €2.9 million) net on these tasks in one year. Tasks include graphics planning and printing, in addition to placing advertisements in print and online media and on outdoor surfaces in Hungary, maybe other members of the EU and Russia, Ukraine and Croatia.

AllGov: Faced with billion-dollar budget deficits, the U.S. Postal Service is considering drastic reductions in the number of post offices nationwide. The impact of this decision could be punishing for African Americans, who rely on government jobs more than other ethnic groups.

Washington Post: When Rep. Darrell Issa assumed the role of chief watchdog of the Obama administration, both sides of the ideological spectrum had big expectations. Liberals thought the Republican from California would be a media-hungry inquisitor who would stop at nothing to embarrass President Obama. And some conservatives believed he would quickly uncover high-level corruption that must be lurking just behind the White House gates. Six months into Issa’s tenure as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, neither side’s predictions have proved quite right — although they still disagree about whether he’s doing a good job. And the congressman has been surprised by the experience.

DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update. Business Customer Gateway outage: The Business Customer Gateway production environment will be unavailable on Sunday, July 24, 2011, from 12:00 am (CDT) to 8:00 am (CDT).  During this window, all USPS services accessed through the Business Customer Gateway — including PostalOne!®,  FAST®, Mailer ID, Program Registration and eDoc submission via MailXML/Mail.dat — will be unavailable. Tasks performed during this outage include deploying a new version of the Customer Registration system. In addition, to support the launch of the new USPS.com site, minor changes will be made to the header/footer areas of the Business Customer Gateway and to the systems mentioned above.

July 11, 2011  

  Daily Monitor: Back in the days, postal services were the easiest and cheapest means through which people keep in touch with their distant relatives. Bills, bank statements and employee appointment letters were all sent via post office boxes. However, the emergency of a digital era that led to augmented use of mobile phones, social networks and computers to communicate, has greatly reshaped the role of mail today. Currently, almost everyone owns a mobile phone or has internet access or both. This leaves one wondering whether or not the future of the once buoyant communication platform is hanging by a thread.

The Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has formed two new workgroups:

  • "Modify Intelligent Mail Container Barcode Construct." The USPS would like to enhance the current IMcb to include destination processing facility information in the barcode. Currently, the IMcb is comprised of 4 data elements – Application Identifier, Type Indicator, Mailer ID and Serial number – and does not include any destination information. The added destination information will enhance visibility and handling of containers (pallets and rolling stock) to yield: (a) Enable commercial mailers visibility into USPS network (b) Improved reconciliation of mailings and revenue accuracy (Seamless Acceptance) (c) Enhanced commercial mail measurement (d) Improved forecasting and processing efficiencies.
  • "Promote Significant Usage of 24-Digit Tray Labels." The USPS would like to expand the use of IMTb on all commercial mail mailings - today, the only requirement is for Full Service. The extension of IMTb to all commercial mail mailings - all trays, flat tubs and sacks - will allow for increased visibility in the network. This will: (a) Enable commercial mailers visibility into USPS network (b) Ensure unique identification of all tray and sack mail (c) Enhance commercial mail measurement (d) Improve forecasting and processing efficiencies (e) Reconcile mailings and ensure revenue protection.
  • "Providing Container, Tray, and Piece Level Detail to Full Service Customers." The value of mail increases when information is timely, reliable, consistent, accurate, and translated into meaningful content. The confirm service offered to mailers today provides limited visibility on mail based on scans received from mail processing equipment. This information is translated differently by CONFIRM subscribers to determine mailing performance which often leads to challenging mailer/USPS discussions. The subscriber does not receive scans from handling units (trays, etc.), transportation, and containers (pallet, containers, etc.). Mailers need mailing information to grow mail.

Press Release: PPI Solutions and Bell and Howell have formed a strategic partnership to provide unique, programmed solutions and secure document and card production to meet and exceed the constantly developing needs within the highly regulated healthcare arena. The clients immediately eligible to take advantage of these combined strengths and resources operate within the health insurance, employee benefits and prescription benefits marketing spaces.

Seminars are now posted for MAILCOM Las Vegas, September 25-27, 2011 at the Riviera Hotel.  Early-Bird Registration deadline is August 5 (save $100). MAILCOM Las Vegas offers the most comprehensive educational program available.  Call 609-264-0120 to register by phone or register online at www.mailcom.org. You can choose from twelve tracks of intensive seminars. Check them out:

1. Mail Systems Management http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track1.htm 
2. Postal Mail Management http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track2.htm 
3. Intelligent Mail Barcode http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track3.htm 
4. Safety & Security http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track4.htm 
5. Government Mail Management http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track5.htm 
6. Leadership & Staff Development http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track6.htm 
7. Inbound/Outbound & Delivery Distribution http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track7.htm
8. Address & Data Management http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track8.htm 
9. College & University http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track9.htm
10. Office Services & Contract Management http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track10.htm 
11. Professional Development http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track11.htm 
12. Technology & Information Management http://mailcom-conference.com/2011/lv.2011.track12.htm  

Haiti Libre: One year on from a new mail sorting centre opening in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the Post is showing signs of recovery. Some 87 employees work in the capital's main postal centre, which processes all incoming and outgoing mail. The facility, a 600-square meter tent-like structure, was built with the help of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and its member countries. "We are very happy to have this centre, which helps us provide services to the population. Little by little we are organizing ourselves," says the Post's director general, Edvard Despeignes. "We receive more mail than is sent out. Monthly, we are seeing a 4-per cent increase in volumes."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  July 13, 2011 - The public is invited to attend the open session of the monthly meeting of the Postal Regulatory Commission at 11:00 a.m., July 13, 2011, at Commission Headquarters, 901 New York Ave., NW, Suite 200. The open session will be audiocast live.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week’s “Pushing the Envelope” blog topic: 

A Future Mail Processing and Transportation Network. The U.S. Postal Service has examined plans to consolidate its mail processing and transportation network. The OIG white paper, A Strategy for a Future Mail Processing & Transportation Network, offers an approach for creating a modernized network that could meet future demand. What should the mail processing and transportation network look like? How many plants will be needed? We invite you to share your thoughts on this topic on our blog.

New Audit Projects: LINK here to visit our audit project pages. This week we opened the following new projects:
  • Innovation Benchmarking – 11WG005CI000. Our objective is to identify and learn about innovation best practices/processes that can be adapted for use by the U.S. Postal Service. We plan to review innovation management in major U.S. corporations to determine how they integrate innovation strategies into their business strategy; create and capture new ideas from internal and external sources; determine which innovations to pursue; evaluate the progress of each innovation initiative; and manage the relationship between the innovation activity and ongoing work.

MoneyLife: The use of simple postal facilities like postcards and inland letters has declined sharply over the past decade, since the introduction of the quicker Speed Post system and private courier services. According to data from the postal department received by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the traffic of postcards has dropped 76% from a little over 336 crore in 1999-2000 to about 78 crore in 2008-09. Similarly, the use of inland letters has fallen 72% from 355 crore to 98 crore in the ten-year period. Postcards and inland letters were the most popular format and in many places the only means of postal communication some years ago. But fewer and fewer number of people use this service today, particularly in urban areas, where private courier services and e-mail is preferred over the post. While e-mail is convenient, private couriers are known to be quicker in delivering letters and packages. It is also possible that the use of these once-common postal facilities has gone down even in towns and villages, with the availability of mobile telephone services that has changed the systems of communication quite dramatically.

Beaumont Enterprise: The U.S. Postal Service plans to consolidate operations in Montana in an effort to save money by moving some mail processing duties in four cities. Officials announced Friday that Miles City mail will be processed in Billings by October, and that mail in Butte, Helena and Havre will be processed in Great Falls by January.

WXVT: United States Postal Service officials have once again proposed moving outgoing mail processing from Hattiesburg to Gulfport. The Postal Service made the same proposal after a 2009 study found that consolidation would save $440,000 per year. A previous attempt came in 1999 but was unsuccessful because there was too much mail volume for the Gulfport processing center to sort without affecting service.

July 10, 2011 

Daily Times: The government will confront a loss of Rs 2 billion due to reduction in commission of Ministry of Postal Services to 0.5 percent from earlier 1.5 percent and the ministry demanded to re-visit the decision.

Sunday Observer: The Africa Regional Project Manager, Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), Malam Yahaya Wambai, said at the weekend that the poor linkage hindering effective mail delivery among West African countries would be solved by 2012.

PoliticusUSA: The ole P.O. is unquestionably falling on hard times as the 21st Century rumbles along. Faced with lower volume and other challenges, the United States Postal Service has been asking for years to be permitted to do what is necessary to remain solvent, but Congress has held firm in its collective refusal. Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware is one of a very few who are listening to USPS and trying to address the systemic problems dogging their attempts to adjust to business conditions and return to profitability. Enter Darrell “I Stole Several Autos” Issa. In a nutshell, Issa’s plan is to not let the Postal Service fix itself. Issa’s plan is to set up two new agencies—one to smash the Postal Service into a wall and one to sell off the pieces. One to loan them money and one to slap their hands for taking it. One to force them into bankruptcy and one to “renegotiate” salaries and collective bargaining agreements afterward.

Knoxville News: The long-threatened end to Saturday postal delivery could be at hand, but Knoxvillians don't seem too concerned. "Going from six days a week to five days a week would save the USPS $3 billion and that would be another way to save," said Beth Barnett, spokeswoman for the United States Postal Service's Tennessee District, "... (but) nobody wants to close a post office."

The Times of India: Ajmer will be the first district in the state where the postal department will issue identity cards to citizens for receiving posts, parcel and even money order. "These cards will be issued on the basis of voter ID cards and with the help of this card people will have smooth transactions of registered and insured articles and payment of money order," said an official.

Arab News: The United States needs to beef up infrastructure spending, likely by more than called for under current proposals, if it is to meet the Obama administration's goal of doubling exports to create jobs and strengthen the economy, a United Parcel Service executive said. UPS, the largest package delivery company, already moves goods equivalent to about 6 percent of the US gross domestic product and 2 percent of global GDP in its trucks and planes.

July 9, 2011 

Postalnews Blog: PMG expects to close nearly half of all US post offices in 6 or 7 years.

Economic Times: A planned overhaul of a 113-year-old postal law proposes to end government monopoly completely in the next decade and a half, but, ironically, sets the clock back for courier companies, which are governed by a different policy at present. The draft Post Office Bill 2011 aims to open the letter mail segment to the private sector in 15 years by withdrawing all exclusive rights to India Post and removing all pricing curbs on private courier companies. The Department of Posts has sent the draft bill for cabinet approval to replace the archaic Indian Post Office Act 1898. The amendment will also provide greater legitimacy to the courier industry.

Asbury Park Press: Friday’s newspaper explored the growing trend of contract postal units — private retailers offering services once limited to your local post office. More of these units, found in pharmacies, groceries and elsewhere, will pop up in a community near you. The next logical step is, we expect, the closure of smaller local post offices. Whenever and wherever it happens, the closures are sure to be met with an outcry from traditionalists.

Andalusia Star News: In about six months, the Gantt post office could be the first in the county affected by the U.S. Postal Service’s recent announcement it plans to close more than 40 post offices in Alabama to reduce costs. Branches in Wing, Lockhart, River Falls and Red Level may not be far behind.

Azerbaijan Business Center: Azerbaijan will be represented at regional conference "Support to countries of Europe and the CIS in strengthening and advancing the process of postal reform". The Conference to be held in Kiev, Ukraine on 6-7 September will discuss the methodology of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in the area of postal reform, and study the European experience in reforming the postal sector, including modernization of the postal operators in developing countries.

Billings Gazette: The U.S. Postal Service on Friday announced a major consolidation of Montana services affecting Miles City and three other communities. Citing the need to cut costs, the Postal Service said it will begin processing Miles City mail in Billings by October, and will roll out similar moves for Butte, Helena and Havre by January. The latter three would lose their processing jobs to Great Falls. See also Helena Independent Record.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Bringing D-FW mail thefts to top inspector's attention."

Lancaster Online: Beginning in January or soon thereafter, the letters you drop in your mailbox in Lancaster will be postmarked "Harrisburg, PA" from now on. The loss of the Lancaster postmark will be the most publicly noticeable effect of the U.S. Postal Service's move to transfer mail-processing jobs out of its Harrisburg Pike plant to Dauphin County.

The Trinidad Times Independent: Post office operations in small rural communities are sometimes closed to streamline operations and cut costs. The post office in Model is not going to be one of them. The Model post office will continue to serve its customers by providing them with retail, Post Office Box, and mail acceptance services. Customers will be able to buy stamps, mail letters and packages, ship items via Express Mail or Priority Mail, purchase special services and deposit bulk mailings at the Model post office. Hours of operation will remain the same. A major change, however, will come Sept. 10, when mail carriers currently working out of the Model post office will begin working out of the Trinidad post office. Model is 21 miles northeast of Trinidad.

Montreal CTV: The postal strike is over but at least one business is still living the crisis. Richard Repper runs a medium-sized business magazine publication company called Presses Commerciale in St-Laurent and reported Friday that posties were still refusing to picking up his mail, which makes it hard to reach invoice his 22,000 Canadian customers. That's a problem because he has 1,500 bills to send out and there's no money coming in if those bills don't get paid.

Trinidad Guardian: The T&T Postal Corporation (TTPost) must respond in the next ten days to the T&T Postal Workers’ Union wage negotiation proposals for the period 2008 to 2010. The union warns if TTPost’s management fails to respond within ten days it will be “at their peril.” T&T Postal Workers’ Union general secretary Reginald Crichlow said the union has not ruled out industrial action.

July 8, 2011 

Bloomberg: The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a civil penalty of $689,800 against FedEx Corp. (FDX), saying the world’s largest cargo airline violated U.S. hazardous- materials regulations.

The Moscow Times: Long before anyone starts worrying about sending Christmas cards and expecting parcels stuffed with presents, the Russian postal service Pochta Rossii has washed its hands of delays in international deliveries. But customs officials say the mailmen’s dire warnings are nothing but a misunderstanding, and new legislation should not affect delivery times. International courier services also say no delays in deliveries are to happen due to the new rules, arguing it makes no difference to them.

PostalVision 2020

The audio recordings from the "PostalVision 2020" conference have been posted on this site. These files can be downloaded or streamed. The video recordings from the "PostalVision 2020" conference  also have been posted. It is extremely important that you note, this is not on a "streaming media" server. Therefore, you must download each file to ensure you're going to hear and see the presentation properly. The videos are listed sequentially. It should be noted, though, that the videos don't neatly break down by speaker. In fact, the video from any session may lop over two video files. Nonetheless, it should be sufficient to give you a good sense of what the conference was about and all that was accomplished.

Postalnews Blog: DPMG Ron Stroman has selected Tom Day to be the Postal Service’s new chief Sustainability officer. The appointment is effective July 11. Day currently is senior plant manager for the Southern Maryland P&DC. Previously, he was senior vice president of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality. Day’s other leadership roles include senior vice president of Government Relations and vice president, Engineering. He also served as manager of the Triboro and Southeast New England districts.

DMM Advisory:  Shortpaid and Unpaid IBI Postage and Shortpaid Express Mail Postage. This week we posted a final rule Federal Register that implements revenue protection procedures for mailpieces entered with shortpaid and unpaid Information Based Indicia (IBI) postage and for shortpaid Express Mail® service postage. The new process provides corrective measures to recover revenue deficiencies from mailpieces with shortpaid and unpaid postage generated by the following postage evidencing systems: Click-N-Ship®, IBI postage meters, and PC Postage® products. The entire final rule can be viewed on the Postal Explorer® website by clicking “Federal Register Notices” in the left blue navigation panel. The effective date is September 6, 2011.

Roll Call: Republicans said the abysmal jobs report today proved their point that now is no time to be raising taxes. Democrats pointed to the same news as evidence it’s no time to be cutting federal spending, either. Both sides signaled their hope that a big budget deal could give businesses the confidence they need to start hiring again — although getting such a deal without deep spending cuts or some new revenue remains an impossibility on the balance sheet and at the legislative level.

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service is a federal agency in crisis. Annual mail volume has declined by more than 40 billion pieces since 2006, accompanied by nearly $6 billion in annual revenue declines during the same period. USPS posted a $2.6 billion loss in the first half of fiscal 2011 and expects to run out of cash by the end of the year. To combat declining funds, USPS is improving technology, cutting legacy systems in favor of more efficient processes and downsizing its workforce.
  • In this paper, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC) presents a high-level approach to design a future mail processing and transportation network based on modeling techniques and stakeholders’ input.
  • The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 705.15 and 708.1.1 to provide a new option for mailers to combine Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats, when bundled and placed on pallets. Mailers using this option may combine different-class mailpieces within the same bundle (comail), or combine separate same-class.
  • According to Dead Tree Edition,"in PMG Donahoe’s Answer to Postal Bailout Criticism, we noted the Postmaster General’s recent article explaining that the U.S. Postal Service’s financial straits are a creation of Congress rather than actual financial losses. But the article omits key points, partly because the Postal Service can’t afford to offend Congress right now with the unvarnished truth. Here are six more things that ignorant critics in Congress and the news media need to consider about USPS finances."
  • PostCom Executive Vice President Jessica Dauer Lowrance is proud to announce the birth of her daughter, Carter Lowrance (6 lbs. 9 oz). USPS cancels exec bonuses. Comment by postal sage Murray Comarow on the Issa bill. Alan Kessler to leave USPS Board of Governors. American Postal Workers Union to launch TV campaign. FedEx doing very well.
  • An update on press reports on postal facility consolidations and closures.
  • An update on key docket activity at the PRC.
  • An update on DMM Advisories issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • An update on postal rules and notices published in the Federal Register.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews.
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The DC Circuit Court will release its instructions ("the Mandate") in the Exigency Case today.

Politico: The unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June, the Labor Department reported Friday morning. The economy added 18,000 jobs last month, the report says.

Yahoo! Finance: Analysts believe FedEx’ earnings and revenue will continue to improve this year on strong demand, improved pricing, moderate economic growth, continued yield (revenue per package) improvement, industrial production growth and diminishing cost headwinds. Industrial production, the main driver of the company’s volume growth, is expected to be higher than the country’s GDP growth. Notably, Express and Ground is also likely to see solid earnings momentum on the back of a profitable Freight business. FedEx is committed to its shareholders in the form of dividends. FedEx’ long-term goals of 10.0% revenue growth per year, more than 10.0% operating margin, cash flow improvement and higher returns on invested capital affirm the analysts’ confidence on the stock.

The Washington Examiner: Rep. Darrell Issa had a few things right in his recent piece on the U.S. Postal Service -- Congress should act now, it bears "a considerable share of the blame" for the Postal Service's challenges, and the USPS is too important to fail. Beyond that, let's just say that the amount of misinformation circulating about the USPS is striking, given that few institutions touch more Americans than it does in delivering mail to 150 million homes and businesses six days a week.

AllAfrica.com: Kenya Commercial bank customers can now make basic transactions at selected post offices countrywide after the bank recruited Postal Corporation of Kenya as an agent. KCB which already has 600 agents under its agency programme dubbed KCB mtaani said initially only seven post offices will offer the services but that with time the programme will be rolled out to the over 500 PCK outlets nationally.

The Saratogian: The National Association of Letter Carriers will demonstrate on Broadway Friday morning in front of Congressman Chris Gibson’s Saratoga Springs office to urge the congressman to support legislation affecting the U.S. Postal Service’s workers pensions and healthcare.

Postal facility watch:

WJBC: Bloomington-Normal President for city letter carriers Tim Brucker and Mailman Al join WJBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the financial situation of the U.S. Postal Service. There has been recent speculation and news reports forecasting reduced delivery days and office closures as a result of decreased demand and budget problems.

Zanesville Times Recorder: Why not privatize the Postal Service? Sell it. Give it away. If necessary, pay somebody to take it. ... A truly private board could make decisions based on efficiency, without interference from politicians who pander for votes in a way that runs up the service's deficits. ... They might keep the service solvent until sometime in the future when it really no longer is needed.

Inside Ireland: CityPOST has announced its acquisition of Cork based postal service provider Document Express Postal Service (DEPS).

North County Times: Businesses should do most of their customer outreach by postal mail and go easy on telephone calls and emails, according to a study co-authored by a UC Riverside researcher, Andrea Godfrey, the UCR co-author, an assistant professor of marketing. "Good old snail mail seemed to be more effective in the long term than phone and email," Godfrey said. The results challenge a popular marketing theory that constant communication with customers is essential to building a strong relationship, Godfrey said. The study carries the emphatic title, "Enough is Enough! The Fine Line In Executing Multichannel Relational Communication." It appeared in the July issue of the Journal of Marketing. Co-authors are marketing professors Kathleen Seiders of Boston College and Glenn B. Voss of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

PRNewswire: Continuing its green innovation and leadership strategy, the U.S. Postal Service released its fiscal year (FY) 2010 Annual Sustainability Report, which demonstrated the agency had exceeded a number of its sustainability goals — including nearly a 30-percent reduction in facility energy use, a 33-percent reduction of supplies purchases and a 133-percent increase in alternative fuel use.

American Postal Workers Union: The APWU will launch a television ad campaign on July 11, with spots airing on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, President Cliff Guffey has announced. This APWU TV ad will air on CNN, MSNBC and Fox in the coming weeks. (Click on image to watch.) The union’s 30-second ad describes the enormity of the job postal workers do, and ends with a simple question and response: Ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? Not a single cent.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

July 7, 2011 

Time News Feed: Who still writes in cursive? That age-old writing method you might never have used since fourth grade will no longer be taught in Indiana schools come fall, thanks to a memo from school officials. Instead, students will be expected to become proficient in keyboard use.

DMM Advisory: Improving the Mail Service Update Process. In response to recommendations from a Mailers Technical Advisory Council (MTAC) workgroup, the Postal Service is improving our Mail Service Update (MSU) process. These improvements include expanding and standardizing information to provide mailers with timely updates on occurrences such as service disruptions due to weather, diversion of drop shipments and scheduled resumption of operations. The updates are made in real time, and in many cases, frequently. To receive MSU notifications via email whenever we make a change, please click on Mail Service Update or send an email to mailserviceupdate@usps.gov. Be sure to put “Subscribe” in the subject line. Each notification you receive will provide you with an opt-out option. Even if you don’t want to receive the “pushed” email notifications, you can always check http://www.usps.com/communications/news/serviceupdates.htm (accessible through usps.com or RIBBS®) for up-to-date, downloadable information.

New Era: Namibia Post Limited (NamPost)’s revenue grew by 13 percent in 2010. The 13 percent growth is in comparison to the 19 percent recorded in 2009. The company’s revenue reached the N$504-million mark in financial year 2008/9 and profit before tax increased to N$14 million in 2008/9. This is contained in the company’s annual financial report for the year 2010 tabled on Tuesday in the National Assembly.

Politico: No deal to raise the debt ceiling is complete without an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget to prevent Congress “from hijacking the promise of American prosperity,” two Senate Republicans are arguing as a bipartisan group of congressional leaders heads to the White House on Thursday. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) say that while deep budget cuts and caps on future spending are key to warding off “fiscal calamity,” an amendment to the Constitution forcing the federal government to spend only what it has is essential.

Wall Street Journal: With debt-reduction talks in disarray, Democrats and Republicans should adopt a new approach: pursue savings by strategically reorganizing the vast federal government. Not only could this produce as much as $1 trillion in savings, but it could create bipartisan momentum to clear the way for harder future choices on taxes and spending. A reorganization package would give President Barack Obama the government overhaul he promised in February, while House Republicans would get many of the bureaucratic reforms they promised in last year's midterm campaigns. Reorganization hasn't been on the table, though, since even members of Congress consider it technical and boring. Yet here's a model that hits a hard target of $1 trillion in savings over the next 10 years: [EdNote: Have a familiar ring? Think not? Then re-read the Issa bill.]

CTV News: Canada Post says it is doing its best to cope with a 40-million-letter backlog in the wake of the recent labour disruption, but the postal workers' union says it is being denied the overtime hours needed to get that mail delivered quickly. The corporation said Wednesday that in addition to the eye-popping backlog, workers are also coping with an average of nine million more pieces of mail per day than they normally would be at this time of year.

CBC: It has been a week since Canada Post employees were legislated back to work, but many Canadians are still checking their mailboxes in vain. Both the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post agree that mail delivery is not yet up to speed, but neither side takes the blame for the delays. Meantime, customers are complaining.

Government Executive: The U.S. Postal Service is a federal agency in crisis. Annual mail volume has declined by more than 40 billion pieces since 2006, accompanied by nearly $6 billion in annual revenue declines during the same period. USPS posted a $2.6 billion loss in the first half of fiscal 2011 and expects to run out of cash by the end of the year. To combat declining funds, USPS is improving technology, cutting legacy systems in favor of more efficient processes and downsizing its workforce.

United States Postal Service Governor Alan C. Kessler has informed the Board of Governors that he will resign his position as a member of the Postal Service Board of Governors effective July 31, 2011. His term had been slated to run until 2015.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

July 6, 2011 

PostalReporter News Blog: Postmasters will be impacted by the suspension of the awards program for employee recognition and incentive awards NAPUS has been informed by Postal Headquarters officials that Postmasters were not included in the recently announced freeze on Postal Service officer and executive compensation, as it relates to the Postal Service’s pay-for-performance program. Postmasters will be impacted by the suspension of the awards program for employee recognition and incentive awards, which will be suspended until further notice.

Advertising Age: The Newspaper Association of America has appointed Caroline H. Little to serve as president-CEO, effective Sept. 6, 2011. Ms. Little succeeds John F. Sturm, who led the association for 16 years and recently announced his retirement.

Federal News Radio: The United States Post Office has been making a lot of changes and shakeups, as it tries to climb out of a multi-billion dollar hole. Tom Shoop, editor-in-chief of Government Executive Magazine, explains what the Postal Services needs to do to get out of its financial troubles.

Smart QR Codes? What are they? Check it out.

The following white paper and blog posted have been today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning the report or blog, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286.

  • A Strategy for a Future Mail Processing & Transportation Network (Report Number RARC-WP-11-006). The U.S. Postal Service has examined plans to consolidate its mail processing and transportation network. However, the fundamental questions still remain: what should the mail processing and transportation network look like to meet future demand? And how many plants will be needed? A former deputy postmaster general suggested that in order for the Postal Service to be fully efficient, its footprint must be much smaller, possibly comprising 150 plants, and 400,000 employees. Another stakeholder said the current network is twice the size it should be. Are these reasonable assessments?
The new OIG white paper, A Strategy for a Future Mail Processing & Transportation Network, attempted to answer some of these questions and offers an approach that can be used to create a future mail processing and transportation network based on modeling techniques and stakeholder input. Our research and analysis showed a network of 135 major mail processing facilities, of which 15 are consolidation hubs, could lower net processing and transportation costs and meet or exceed most existing service performance. Ignoring transition costs, the new 135-plant network would cost the Postal Service around $2 billion less per year to operate than the existing network. Our analysis is not an operational blueprint but provides an outline of a modernized network that could meet future demand. We invite you to share your thoughts on this topic on our blog.

Roll Call: House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is trying to bypass the rules of the YouTube town hall challenge by explaining just how you can vote for his video so he can win ... win! WIN! Bwahaha. The YouTube town hall website says it is “an online platform for members of Congress to debate and discuss the most important issues of the day.” “Visitors can select an issue, watch two short videos expressing competing ideas and then support the one they agree with most,” YouTube explains. The video-sharing site promises not reveal the lawmaker’s party affiliation until after the viewer has voted on the video in order to keep the focus on ideas, not parties.

National Association of Major Mail Users: The most recent update attributed to Canada Post - July 6, 2011. There was a backlog of mail with Foreign Postal administrations as well as the build up of mail with Large Volume mailers. Below is the latest update that pertains to mostly Lettermail (1st Class). Canada Post has spoken to the majority of Customers/Printers are now up to date with their Addressed Admail or Publications Mail deposited into Gateway. Trailers will have to wait in line but they are getting offloaded and the mail is moving.   

Canada Post Working to Process Mail Backlog 

  • Canada Post is facing short-term challenges as it processes the mail that accumulated at large volume mailers and foreign postal administrations during the recent work disruption.
  • Since postal service resumed on June 27, Canada Post’s mail processing facilities have been operating at or near capacity in an attempt to process the accumulated mail as quickly as possible.
  • Our largest plants in Toronto and Montreal are currently operating at full capacity.
  • During the week of June 27 – a shorter work week due to Canada Day – Canada Post processed more than two extra days worth of Lettermail in addition to the volumes normally processed.
  • July is typically a busy Lettermail month for large volume mailers as financial institutions and corporations issue mid-year and quarterly reports.
  • At the same time, accumulated product from large volume mailers, when added to the mail being inducted by consumers and small businesses following the work disruption, has created a short-term capacity crunch.
  • It is expected that processed Lettermail volumes will be above normal levels for much of the month of July. We ask for your continued patience as we work to clear the accumulated mail inventory as soon as possible.
  • Parcels are processed in separate facilities from our letter processing plants in our busiest locations. Inventories there are approaching normal levels. We have tracked some of our parcels moving through the system and find small delays in delivery standards. This is continuing to improve through this week.
  • Canada Post hopes to be operating normally within a few weeks. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Attention PostalOne! Users You are receiving this email to inform you that the PostalOne! Help Desk telephone system will down during the following times: Date: Thursday 7/7/11 System down: 5:00 PM CST System operational: 6:00 PM CST While our phones will not be available for the designated times listed above, please use our email address postalone@usps.gov to contact the PostalOne! Help Desk with any issues .

Directions Magazine: Recently the Steering Committee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) endorsed the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard. The United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard is the culmination of efforts of the Address Standard Working Group (ASWG) formed by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) in 2005, when the FGDC accepted a proposal submitted by URISA to create a Street Address Data Standard. The ASWG worked under the authority of the U.S. Census Bureau, which chairs the FGDC Subcommittee on Cultural and Demographic Data (SCDD). The U.S. Census Bureau is the maintenance authority for the standard.

Defense Video & Imagery Distribution Systems: Being deployed presents numerous adversities ranging from incoming mortars to grueling work days to being home sick. Long hours and high operational tempo often makes it difficult to do something as simple as mailing a letter. One of the biggest morale boosters is staying in contact with family and loved ones and to make this easier, one company brought the post office closer to the soldiers. The 350th Human Resource Company, Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Resolute, celebrated the grand opening of a post office annex near the living quarters on Kandahar Airfield, July 5.

Government Computer News: The National Weather Service, in fact, has just completed a one-year pilot project in which it received weather data from sensors riding on 20 Greyhound buses between New York City and Montreal. The test went so well that the National Weather Service recently awarded a $2.8 million contract to expand the program. According to the primary contractor, Global Science & Technology, 2,000 commercial vehicles will be equipped with sensors beginning in October and will be sending data to NWS in near real time. “We are rolling out coverage on the national level,” said Brian Bell, vice president and general manager at GST. That effort is likely to mark the beginning of programs run by government agencies and private companies to deploy fleets of vehicles that collect a variety of data. [EdNote: This is an idea, incidentally, that has been advocated by PRC postal geek Michael Ravnitzky. At first, there were those who pooh-poohed the idea. This story obviously means the criticisms will have to be reconsidered. As the Good Book says, "A prophet in his own country is without honor."]

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

Swiss trading company Valora (turnover 2010: 2.4bn euros) plans to increase its activities in the postal market. Since December last year, the company’s more than 200 sales outlets in Germany (k press+book, k kiosk and tabacon) already offer postal services. The basis is provided by a co-operation agreement with Deutsche Post which was signed last year.
German enterprises spent significantly less on addressed direct mail in 2010 than in the year before.
Itella expands its business in Norway. On Thursday last week the Finnish post announced the acquisition of Service Senter Media (SSM), a subsidiary of Edda Media Group (turnover 2008: 296m euro), which runs several newspapers, radio and TV stations in Norway. SSM is responsible for the group’s wage, accounting and invoice management services.
Pos Malaysia Bhd’s new main owner has begun linking the services of its subsidiaries with the national postal operator’s network.
Bills sent by e-mail are equated with bills sent by traditional mail concerning value-added tax purposes in Germany since the beginning of July.
The Romanian government wants the post to offer financial and insurance services in the future.
India Post confirmed its plans to establish a postal bank.
Poste Italiane’s services and quality of service already do not enjoy the best reputation in Europe. However, the scandal that was uncovered in Lecce in southern Italy (Apulia) could destroy the company’s reputation long lasting.
The rumours about DHL’s withdrawal from the domestic market in China finally came true.
PostNord continues its shopping spree. After the company already took over one of the ten largest transport and logistics service providers in Norway in May this year - Eek Transport AS - (CEP-News 21/11), the holding company of the Swedish and Danish post bought a company in the Swedish market.
Catalogue portal 123Kataloge.de will be taken over by Swiss Post International (SPI) Germany. The portal was founded by primeMail, the joint venture of Swiss Post and Hermes, in 2008.

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

The Press-Enterprise: Six months into his tenure as Congress' chief investigator, Inland Rep. Darrell Issa has overseen 81 hearings, issued nearly 20 subpoenas and released five lengthy reports criticizing Obama administration policies and actions. But whether the sheer volume of Issa's activity has translated to achievement is up for debate -- and, unsurprisingly, opinions differ along partisan lines. The hard-charging Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has fixed his sights on a wide array of issues. They range from his plan to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service to his investigations into burdensome federal regulations, government transparency lapses and, most recently, the controversial anti-gun trafficking operation linked to the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Service   RULES Shortpaid and Unpaid Information-Based Indicia (IBI) Postage and Shortpaid Express Mail Postage , 39299–39303 [2011–16802] [TEXT]  [PDF

The Jerusalem Post: A smart card that allows users to spend a predetermined amount of dollars, with no connection to a bank account, has been launched by the Israel Postal Company’s Postal Bank.

Newswire Today: NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of maps, traffic and location data enabling navigation, location-based services and mobile advertising around the world, is now offering Postal Code Boundaries in Europe.

UNI Global Union: The Dutch colleagues from the UNI P&L affiliate, ABVAKABO, gave a comprehensive and interesting overview about the history, developments and effects of the postal liberalisation in the Netherlands. In a meeting with colleagues from the postal Trade Unions, Peter Wiechmann, secretary in Abvakabo for the postal sector concluded his presentation by saying: “We underestimated the consequences of postal liberalisation”.

The Moscow Times: The Russian Post said Tuesday that it has busted a trio of postal workers who stole the contents of expensive shipments, stuffed the parcels with junk, and returned them to the sender. The group, which operated in the town of Bogorodsk in the Nizhny Novgorod region, stole valuables worth 1 million rubles ($35,000) from more than 20 parcels, the postal service said on its web site. The workers mostly targeted gadgets purchased from online stores and filled the parcels with bricks, wood chips and pulp paper.

The Guardian: Junk mail. We all hate it don't we? Postal workers probably hate it more than anyone else, as we see more of it than anyone else. You only have a few items a week to deal with, we have hundreds of items a day. Sometimes we have as many as six separate items per household to load into our frames. That could be well in excess of 3,000 items a week. You can't imagine how tedious this is.

Hellmail: UK postal operator, Secured Mail, has appointed Paul Carvell as an independent chairman. Carvell, who is currently executive vice president at operational improvement specialist, Alexander Proudfoot, boasts an impressive CV from the world of logistics. As well as holding senior positions at Christian Salvesen, GE Capital and TDG, he was also CEO of UK Mail, where he took the company into the FTSE 250. Secured Mail, which shifts 400 million items per year, has experienced phenomenal growth over the last few years and last month, attracted capital investment from Next Wave Partners. The business is predicting a turnover of around £50 million this year.

Masthead Online: While postal operations are back in swing following a lockout, the Crown corporation is telling its customers there's currently no guarantee when their mailings will be delivered. Canada Post says its employees are dealing with a backlog of mail from an almost two-week lockout of postal workers, and that large-volume customers are advised to schedule their mail deposits. Meanwhile, the National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) says several of its members "have reported their frustration with staging of mail entry and erratic mail delivery, particularly in Toronto." NAMMU has delivered a "stop-gap" funding request for small mail businesses to Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Businesses, on behalf of the Value Add Mailer (VAM) Council. "The Stop-Gap Working Capital Assistance Program would help these small businesses get back on their feet and deliver resounding, positive effects to the Canadian economy," noted NAMMU.

Government Executive: With less than a month to go before the government begins to default on its obligations, federal employee groups continue to urge congressional leaders and the White House to reject proposals targeting their pay and benefits as part of a deficit reduction deal. A coalition of 25 groups sent letters to President Obama and House and Senate leaders July 1, criticizing a plan negotiators are considering that would require federal workers to contribute more of their salaries to their pension plans, calling the proposed increase a "payroll tax." Federal employee advocates argue such an increase in worker contributions could exceed 5 percent of employees' income. "Federal civil servants are already subject to a two-year pay freeze, despite the fact the nation's debt crisis did not arise out of exorbitant federal civil service pay or benefits," the letters stated. See also the Washington Post.

The Sofia Echo: Bulgaria is yet to decide on the potential privatisation of state-owned postal services operator Bulgarian Posts, Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski said, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) on July 5 2011. Removing Bulgarian Posts from the list of companies that cannot be privatised is only an option for finding a strategic investor for the company, according to Moskovski. The amendments to the country's Privatisation Act, which envision pulling out the asset from the not-for-sale list, already passed the first reading in Parliament.

July 5, 2011 

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on the following:        
This week’s “Pushing the Envelope” blog topic:
  • Postal Service Core Strategy Linkage. This week’s blog looks at the U.S. Postal Service’s Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America: An Action Plan for the Future, released in March 2010 and the new Postmaster General’s four core strategies for the Postal Service, released in December of last year. What do you think is needed to ensure the success of these strategies and the plan? Share your thoughts on our blog.
New Audit Projects: LINK here to visit our audit project pages. This week we opened the following new projects: (Please share any information you may have that would help with these audits currently in progress by clicking on the links below):
  • Postal Vehicle Service Transportation Margaret Sellers P&DC – 11XG017NL001. Postal Service transportation includes both nationwide network transportation between cities and major facilities as well as delivery transportation between local post offices and neighborhood delivery and pickup points. Network transportation that uses Postal Service vehicles and employees is called PVS. Management typically assigns PVS vehicles and personnel to Postal Service network facilities, such as network distribution centers or P&DCs in or near metropolitan areas. PVS operations are normally conducted within 50 miles of the 154 Postal Service facilities with PVS operations. PVS drivers travel about 150 million miles every year. Because PVS operations are local, district, area, and headquarters transportation officials manage them at the facility level.
  • FY 2011 Special Purpose Audit Opinion. – 11BD012FT000. The Postal Service Headquarters Finance Department establishes accounting policies and provides guidelines for recording and reporting Postal Service financial transactions. Internal control and reporting systems have been created to ensure Postal Service management and the public receive meaningful financial information in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The Postal Service prepares financial statements for its annual report, then uses them for submission to the Department of the Treasury. The forwarded financial statements are known as the special purpose financial statements. This audit is performed to support our audit opinion on the Postal Service’s special purpose financial statements as required by the Department of the Treasury.

DMM Advisory:  Combined Mailings of Standard Mail and Periodicals Flats. This final rule Federal Register provides a new option for mailers to combine Standard Mail® flats and Periodicals flats within the same bundle, when placed on pallets, and to combine bundles of Standard Mail flats and bundles of Periodicals flats on the same pallet. Standard Mail service standards will apply to all Periodicals flats pieces entered in these combined mailings. The entire final rule can be viewed on the Postal Explorer® website by clicking “Federal Register Notices” in the left blue navigation panel. The effective date is January 22, 2012.

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

Murray Comarow: "As all postal governors are corrupt and stupid, I was pleased to have them monitored by the PRC commissioners who are honest and sage. It appears that I was wrong about the PRC, since Congressman Issa proposes two more bodies to help manage the USPS: the Commission on Postal Reorganization and an Authority modeled on the D.C. Control Board. Kudos to Issa. The other 16 self-supporting government agencies struggle along with only one government board. How foolish. Each should have four. That would make them more businesslike." [EdNote: Gosh. Do you think he's gotten his tongue out of his cheek?]

 The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. "A Review Of Postal Legislative Proposals With Comments" This is an "open" issue available to all PostCom web site visitors. Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none? See what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

YLE: At least 8,500 letters went missing in the post in Finland in 2009, reports YLE's Swedish language TV news. This is significantly more than a few years ago. In 2006 over 6,000 letters never arrived at their destinations. Since then the amount has gone up constantly. The figures are based on the amount of complaints by postal customers, which suggests that the real number of missing deliveries could be even larger.

Catanduanes Tribune: The chairman of the House Committee on Government Reorganization, Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian, has vowed to look into the complaints of the officers and members of the Postal Employees Union in Catanduanes regarding their unremitted contributions and delayed benefits.

Newstalk.ie: Proposals to introduce a national post code system will be examined by a Dáil committee today. The plan is part of a new Postal Bill being introduced by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte. The Bill also includes a legal guarantee of a delivery service every working day to every address in the state. However, opposition parties say the Bill could lead to higher postal charges for people in rural areas. And the Communications Workers Union says it will put jobs in An Post at risk.

The Business Times: SingPost's subsidiary, Quantium Solutions International (QSI), has acquired a 20 per cent stake in Shenzhen 4PX Express Co for RMB60 million (S$12 million), it announced on Tuesday. 4PX provides international express delivery services, freight forwarding, and import and export of goods and technology. It is also the global distribution partner for eBay and PayPal in the China market.

Dead Tree Edition: In a recent article for Deliver magazine, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe provided an excellent rebuttal to claims of some ignorant Congressmen and commentators that the U.S. Postal Service is seeking a bailout.

Dead Tree Edition: In Donahoe’s Answer to Postal Bailout Criticism, we noted the Postmaster General’s recent article explaining that the U.S. Postal Service’s financial straits are a creation of Congress rather than actual financial losses. But the article omits key points, partly because the Postal Service can’t afford to offend Congress right now with the unvarnished truth. Here are six more things that ignorant critics in Congress and the news media need to consider about USPS finances.

Winnepeg Free Press: Instead of fighting each other for the past month, Canada Post and its unionized employees should have been fighting for their future. Long before the union's rotating strikes and the corporation's subsequent lockout crippled the delivery of paper mail in this country, the revolution in electronic technology had completely changed how Canadians communicate and, along with that, their need for a traditional post office.

National Association of Major Mail Users: Several members have reported their frustration with staging of mail entry and erratic mail delivery, particularly in Toronto. NAMMU was assured today that ALL mail that was in the system at the time of lockout has been processed. Mail delivery will be somewhat erratic at first until that first "bulge" is delivered. Mail induction is being staged to ensure proper processing. We were promised a status report Tuesday.

Financial Times: Royal Mail is indeed a great British company but our European and UK express parcels businesses, General Logistics Systems (GLS) and Parcelforce Worldwide, handle some 420m parcels annually. These businesses are growing and profitable. A key reason is that they operate without regulation and are allowed to compete with the same freedoms as their many rivals in markets where competition is intense and the customer is king. That is why Royal Mail is pressing for a radical change in the regulatory framework for letters in the UK to reflect accurately the total cost of providing the universal service in a sustainable way. Royal Mail is far from a monopoly

Washington Post: Here’s how to negotiate, GOP-style: Begin by making outrageous demands. Bully your opponents into giving you almost all of what you want. Rather than accept the deal, add a host of radical new demands. Observe casually that you wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to the hostage you’ve taken — the nation’s well-being.

Postal Technology International: Swiss Post Box, which has been offered by Swiss Post since 2009, will soon be available to customers throughout the UK. From the Isle of Man it will operate under the name ePostbox from the end of July. As such, the Isle of Man Post Office will be the first licensed partner to market the digital letterbox in the UK. ePostbox is a reverse hybrid mail solution that has been developed by Swiss Post subsidiary SwissSign and Siemens Mobility. Users can select a correspondence address on the Isle of Man and have their letter mail sent to this address. The letter mail will then be processed in a highly secure scanning centre on the Isle of Man and delivered to customers by email, which they can receive via their smartphone, iPad and other devices. Incoming mail can thus be processed and managed easily and conveniently, anytime, anywhere. Whether physical or digital, an electronic letterbox offers customers maximum freedom and flexibility.

Nigerian Tribune: There was confusion in some parts of Lagos on Monday, as retirees of the Nigeria Postal Services shut down major post offices in protest of non-payment of 72 months pension arrears. The protesters vowed to continue with the protest until it became evident that their entitlements would be paid. See also Vanguard.

DMM Advisory: Changes to Destination Entry Periodicals Critical Entry Times. Recently, Periodicals mailers were notified through various channels that national, standardized Critical Entry Times (CET) have been established for destination entry Periodicals mail to provide better service to mailers and to maximize operational efficiency. The four new CETs range from 8 a.m. for mail to Flats Sequencing System (FSS) zones requiring a bundle sort to 5 p.m. for non-FSS zones when no bundle sort is required, and are effective July 1, 2011. Details and additional CET information can be found at RIBBS®>Business Mail Acceptance. A job aid for creating FAST® appointments for mixed Periodicals is available at RIBBS>FAST under “Important Links.” A current list of FSS zones is available in labeling list L006 on Postal Explorer® under Additional Links>Labeling Lists.

July 4, 2011 

PC Magazine: "Why Twitter Will Be the Next Newspaper"

The Globe and Mail: Now that the mail is being delivered again, Canada’s economic prospects have brightened considerably. That is, if you believe the Harper government’s claims that the phony shutdown of Canada Post by its own management constituted a real and present danger to the national recovery. Canada Post’s management wanted to cut wages for new hires and, ultimately, abolish the company’s defined benefit pension plan. The union, naturally, resisted. But fearing back-to-work legislation, it organized rotating job actions rather than an all-out strike. So management shut down the whole operation, precipitating the desired government intervention. The resulting legislation imposed a wage settlement lower than what Canada Post had already offered.

Focus Information Agency: Bulgarian Posts employees are ready to stage protests and strikes to protect their jobs and small, but stable incomes. Protests will take place outside the parliament when the bill amending Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Act is tabled for discussion in the plenary hall. Nikiforov recalled that about 1,000 people were laid off during the 2010 reform in Bulgarian Posts.

Northwest Cable News: Neighbors in the town of Waverly are protesting the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to close their post office. Last month, postal employees informed folks of the possible closure. They also asked for feedback. Some members of the city council feel like it is already done deal.

Leader-Post: "The recent postal disruptions (strikes and lock-outs) show major changes are needed to the Canadian postal system. In recent years postal rates have skyrocketed and the service provided has not kept pace."

Post & Parcel: Marten Buettner, independent postal consultant, provides a framework for successful postal transformation and explains how Pos Malaysia has embarked on a major transformation programme.

BBC: Royal Mail bosses are to be questioned by councillors about the standard of service in a Surrey town. Councillor Denzil Coulson, who chairs the overview and scrutiny committee at Woking Borough Council, said he wanted "clear answers". The meeting, due to start at 1900 BST, was called following complaints from residents about the service. Royal Mail has apologised to residents and said the delays were due to changes to its delivery routes.

GazetteLive: Plansto close Guisborough’s postal delivery office have been defended by Royal Mail but condemned by the town’s MP.

BBC: Scam mail has been arriving in Britain's letterboxes in a steady stream for years, targeting the most vulnerable and robbing many of their savings. But what role does Royal Mail play in getting it to your front door? A BBC Panorama investigation has highlighted that Royal Mail owns 33% of the Netherlands-based company that is enabling large amounts of the scam mail to get into Britain. See also The Telegraph.

Thomson Local: Postal service Royal Mail has said that it is making significant progress in the fight to eliminate scams that can negatively affect customers' perception of B2B direct mail.

Hellmail: In a formal statement on Friday, and ahead of a BBC Panorama programme which examines whether the UK's main postal is reliant on the darker side of the letters business, scam mail, the Royal Mail said it is had made significant progress in its efforts to root out the problem although it did not recognise the term "junk mail", pointing out that direct mail accounts for more than £16 billion in sales for the UK economy every year and the industry employs 280,000 people directly and indirectly.

MarketingWeek: The direct mail industry’s effectiveness in reducing the environmental impact of direct mail will be questioned in the BBC’s Panorama tonight (4 July).

Roll Call: "Ross: Government Must Cut Federal Workforce"

Engadget: At least one country is moving forward with plans to lighten the load on its future generation of Samsung execs. South Korea announced this week that it plans to spend over $2 billion developing digital textbooks, replacing paper in all of its schools by 2015. Students would access paper-free learning materials from a cloud-based system, supplementing traditional content with multimedia on school-supplied tablets. The system would also enable homebound students to catch up on work remotely

Buffalo News: What Postal Service management, the unions, the Postal Regulatory Commission, key Republican and Democratic legislators on postal issues and other stakeholders are asking is simply this: Allow the Postal Service to stop depleting its operating funds to make these payments, and instead permit an internal transfer of funds from its pension surpluses — as any responsible business would do. Once this immediate financial hurdle has been overcome, the entire postal community can focus on how we continue adapting to society’s evolving needs in the age of the Internet, which offers both challenges and opportunities.

The Age: Australia Post is under fire for lifting prices on parcel post, the fourth price rise in two years. From today, the cost of a single 500-gram prepaid satchel will go up from $6.30 to $6.60, while a parcel of more than 500 grams sent interstate will rise from $10.10 to $10.55. Frustrated owners of small businesses say it is increasingly difficult to remain competitive. Mark Fletcher, whose online business imports and distributes personal care items, said the increases amounted to 28.5 per cent since 2009.

Torquay Herald Express: The Royal Mail is planning a shake-up in the way the post is delivered to homes across the Totnes and Buckfastleigh areas. It will mean changes in delivery times, with some people getting their mail earlier and some later than current delivery times. Posties will work in pairs with new trolleys to carry larger parcels.

Radio Netherlands: Mario Frusch, the director of TNT Post Germany – as the company is called across the border – says the German postal market is Europe's most competitive one. "The German postal market is the biggest in Europe in terms of both turnover and address numbers," he says. There are 40 million households in Germany.

July 3, 2011 

PostCom Executive Vice President Jessica Dauer Lowrance is proud to announce the birth of her daughter, Carter Lowrance (6 lbs. 9 oz). Both mother and daughter are doing fine. Congratulations to Mom and Dad, Joe Lowrance.

Edmonton Journal: If there's one union Canadians love to hate, it's CUPW, whose members have been at the barricades since the 1970s, and who apparently haven't heard of this thing called the Internet, which allows people to bank online rather than by snail mail. The more Canadians learn about the sweetheart deals of postal workers, the angrier they get. Canada Post workers can retire at 55, one of the reasons the Crown corporation has issues with unfunded pension obligations and wants to push the retirement age of new hires back to 60. This was a deal breaker for CUPW. What is this, Greece? Actually, it is, since workers are allowed to bank sick days, and are paid for a full day's work even if they deliver the mail in four hours.

July 2, 2011 

Sioux City Journal: Sioux City officials and local labor leaders say the savings the Postal Service will realize by shipping work to Sioux Falls is based on faulty analysis, will come at the expense of postal customers and did not take into account savings that could have been achieved by taking advantage of economic incentives offered by the city.

NEMS360.com: A plan to ship some of Tupelo's mail operations to Grenada earned swift opposition from Mayor Jack Reed Jr. this week, but Mississippi's two U.S. senators - who had joined Reed in opposing an earlier consolidation attempt - offered little resistance this time.

National Association of Letter Carriers: Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia, recently posted on his website a floor statement entitled Postal Service “Overpayment” – Myth v. Fact, where he tried to dispel three alleged myths about the Postal Service’s pensions and retiree health benefits pre-funding burden. Unfortunately, his “facts” are far from factual and do more to confuse and mislead members of Congress than clarify the issues as the latest debate on postal reform unfolds.

Trend: Azerexpresspost Postal Express Service of Azerbaijani Azerpoct postal operator introduced prepayment service of postal fee by customers. The essence of service is that the sending fee is not paid by an addressee or a sender, but by the customer of this service. That is, the customer turns to us in order to deliver the postal item (such as letter) from one address to another, in this case the customer pays the fee for providing this service. Accordingly, in this case, neither the sender nor the addressee act as a customer.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission   NOTICES Post Office Closings , 39141–39143 [2011–16666] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc.'s freight division will raise average noncontractual shipping rates in North America by 6.9% starting next month, as the industry copes with rapidly rising fuel costs. The move follows a 5.9% rate increase in October by its UPS Freight unit, the fourth largest less-than-full-truckload carrier in the U.S. Rival FedEx Corp. also has been raising its rates to cope with high fuel prices. The package shipper said the higher rates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico apply to minimum charges, less-than-full-truckload rates and supplemental charges.

ABC15: Those on a job hunt should be wary of work-at-home programs, according to the U.S. Postal Service. These programs are increasingly exposed as shipping fraud—a scheme that claims to pay home-based employees to ship merchandise abroad, the Phoenix division of the USPS said. Victims often receive counterfeit checks for their work or have their bank accounts drained by wire transfer schemes, said Paul Krenn with the Phoenix Division of the USPS Inspection Service.

The Guelph Mercury: Other countries around the world have already done far more than Canada to modernize their postal systems. Britain is privatizing its Royal Mail. Germany, the Netherlands and Austria have privatized their post offices entirely or in part. The 27 members of the European Union have all agreed to permit in their postal markets something still too rare in Canada’s — competition. These may sound like radical solutions. But the status quo is no option. Canada Post is in danger of becoming Canada past.

July 1, 2011 

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Press Release: As a follow-up to the dire financial situation that has forced the Postal Service to suspend the biweekly payments of its contribution to the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), the Postal Service is moving forward with two new cash conservation initiatives effective July 1, 2011. They are: 1. Suspension of discretionary awards for FY 2011. 2. Freezing of Postal Service officer and executive compensation as it relates to the Postal Service’s pay-for-performance program.

Internet Retailer: To keep costs to a minimum and maintain overall competitive pricing for consumers, retailers often work with multiple delivery companies to provide the best mix of delivery windows and shipping rates. By coordinating deliveries between the U.S. Postal Service and national as well as regional carriers, for example, retailers can get the best mix of shipping zone rates and delivery times, experts say. In addition, merchants can work with outsourced fulfillment companies to use networks of warehouses located nearest their largest concentrations of customers, providing for the lowest delivery costs

Attention PostalOne!® Users There was an outage of the Business Customer Gateway application today between 10:05AM and 10:30AM CT that impacted mailer access to USPS services available through BCG and eDoc submission. Eagan has restarted the Customer Registration/eCap application and the system access to the Business Customer Gateway has been restored. Please pay close attention to your job submissions during this period, and notify the help desk of any issues. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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 a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at (703) 248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at (703) 248-2286.
  • Facility Optimization: Pacific Area Districts (Report Number DA-AR-11-006). We determined that the Pacific Area districts have more than 1.7 million square feet in excess of what their workload suggests they needed. By optimizing the excess space through disposal, the Postal Service could realize more than $170 million over typical and remaining lease terms. Additionally, we determined the Postal Service could reduce its facility infrastructure and generate additional revenue if it were more aggressive in seeking opportunities to fill the space needs of federal entities. In the districts reviewed, our analysis showed that excess space identified at postal facilities might be able to accommodate 84 percent of current federal agencies’ space needs.
  • Mail Volume Measurement for City Delivery Carriers – Greater Indiana District (Report Number DR-AR-11-005). During our review, we found most unit officials properly measured the mail using an approved measuring device while compressing mailpieces. Yet, our review at six of seven selected units found discrepancies (overstatements of 25,576 mailpieces and understatements of 5,723 mailpieces) reported in the Delivery Operations Information System (DOIS) for city delivery routes. Discrepancies occurred because of inadequate district oversight and lack of reconciliation processes. Therefore, management’s reliance on the DOIS cased mail volume data for these delivery units may result in incorrect daily operational decisions.

Billings Gazette: Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. said he would be “more than happy” to work on the retiree benefits issue, but is against five-day delivery. Tester met with Donahoe on Tuesday to discuss the importance of six-day delivery to rural areas.

SeacoastOnline: Opponents of shuttering the U.S. Postal Service's Heritage Avenue processing and distribution facility said that doing so could harm the organization's relationship with small businesses. The USPS is examining the pros and cons of transferring operations at the Portsmouth facility to processing and distribution centers in Manchester and Scarborough, Maine.

Kenora Daily Minor & News: Aside from limits on pay increases — a cumulative 7.25 per cent rather than the 7.7 per cent on offer from Canada Post and 11.5 per cent sought by the union and a mandated four-year contract term; the government's back-to-work legislation contained a third must do directive for the arbitrator that was overlooked by many — a requirement the post office's current pension and benefit deficit ratio not increase. That deficit is nudging the $3 billion mark and represents a roughly 20 per cent shortfall in what the corporation will have to spend on pensions and benefits such as supplementary health care for retirees in the years ahead compared to money it has set aside to that.

Adweek: The U.S. Postal Service confirmed it is reviewing marketing communications covering strategy and creative; media planning and buying; direct marketing and sales support; retail and promotions; and multicultural advertising for the African-American, Hispanic, and Asian markets. While all of the incumbents could not be determined, Campbell-Ewald is the lead on creative, media and direct marketing while Draftfcb, Chicago, handles promotions and retail. Last year, the USPS spent $103 million on measured media, according to Nielsen. (That amount does not include online spending.)

Nasdaq: FedEx Corp. is a holding company with subsidiaries that provide a broad range of transportation, e-commerce and business services under the FedEx brand.

We've broken down our analysis of FedEx into 6 main business segments, which you can explore.

1. FedEx Express Package 
2. FedEx Ground 
3. FedEx Express Freight 
4. FedEx Freight 
5. FedEx SmartPost 
6. FedEx Trade Network & Supply Chain Systems

The largest value drivers for the company are Federal Express package that contributes around 45% to our valuation and almost 30% for FedEx Ground.

The BristolBay Times: Sen. Lisa Murkowski said today that the Alaska district manager for the United States Postal Service has informed her that Juneau mail processing operations will not be moved to Anchorage.

Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service has canceled bonuses and performance awards for executives, officers and other administrative employees.

BusinessWire: GrayHair Software, Inc., a constant innovator in the direct mail industry, is proud to announce it has enhanced its industry-leading mail-tracking reports with the integration of Google Maps into its reporting engine. This integration provides GrayHair’s clients access to the most powerful mapping tool available. GrayHair Software is the largest enterprise-wide provider of USPS® PLANET Code® and Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) tracking. Through their MailTrak™ and SelectTrak™ products, 10-15 billion pieces of consumer and business mail are tracked each year. Both of these applications are delivered via SelectSolutions™, GrayHair’s recently released cloud-based technology platform, which provides clients unprecedented access to these dynamic reporting engines. By using the Google Maps API to bring Google Maps into its mail-tracking services, GrayHair allows its clients access to the most robust mapping engine available on the market. Clients gain use of easily searchable maps to better understand the distribution of their mail. This mapping data allows GrayHair to offer its clients the ability to view down to the street level when performing a single-piece look up. With this feature, clients can now view actual map pinpoints showing the scanned locations of a single mailpiece as it passes through the postal stream.

DMM Advisory: Completing PS Form 8125 Correctly Eliminates Potential Delays. Irregularities in drop ship forms can potentially delay mail acceptance, disrupting mailers’ production and distribution schedules. When depositing mail at a USPS® destination entry facility, here are some important reminders for completing PS Form 8125, Plant-Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) Verification and Clearance. First, make sure that all mailer information on an original (not photocopied) PS Form 8125 is accurately completed. This information includes completed sections for: Class of Mail, Mail Processing Category, Number of Pallets, and Entry Discounts Claimed; plus, Entry Office in the Destination Entry Post Office section.  Also, when the PVDS mailing arrives at the destination entry facility, either the Drop Shipment Appointment Number or the FAST® Scheduler ID must also be completed. For additional information, visit RIBBS®>Business Mail Acceptance>Drop Ship Checklist for Mailers or see Publication 804, Drop Shipment Procedures for Destination Entry.