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Postal News and Information from Around the World

May 27, 2015 

Government Accountability Office: Report to the Ranking Member, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate -- U.S. Postal Service Improved Management Procedures Needed for Parcel Select Contracts

What GAO Found: In June 2014, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) established standard procedures that departments should follow to manage all negotiated service agreement (NSA) contracts, including Parcel Select NSAs. Although the procedures, in part, address some leading contract management practices, such as defining performance management activities, they lack documentation requirements and clearly defined management responsibilities for some activities. For example, the procedures do not require USPS to document some key management decisions, such as USPSs decision to forego additional revenue when a mailer did not ship a minimum volume of packages, as contractually required. Documenting such information could improve future decision making and enhance accountability for the effective and efficient use of USPS resources. USPS acknowledged that the procedures contained gaps when they were initially established. Reviewing and updating the standard procedures to include documentation requirements and clearly defined management responsibilities would provide additional assurance that USPSs Parcel Select NSAs are effectively managed. USPSs costing method for Parcel Select NSAs does not account for package size or weight or use contract-specific cost estimates. Each Parcel Select NSA is required to earn sufficient revenues to cover USPSs costsreferred to as attributable costs in the postal context. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which annually reviews compliance, determined that each contract met this requirement. However, USPSs analysis of attributable costs for Parcel Select NSAs is limited, because USPS has not studied the impact of package size or weight on specific contracts or developed contract-specific cost estimates.

Package size and weight information: USPS does not collect information on the size of NSA packages and has not studied the impact of package size and weight on USPSs delivery costs for specific contracts. However, larger and heavier packages can increase USPSs costs. For example, carriers must walk packages that are too large for a centralized mailbox to the customers door, which increases costs. Moreover, mailers use size and weight to inform their own business decisions. For example, one mailer continually assesses package size and weight to make cost-effective decisions about the delivery method it chooses. If mailers route larger or heavier packages via Parcel Select, collecting and studying such information could improve USPSs analysis of attributable costs for Parcel Select NSAs.

Contract-specific cost estimates: USPSs method to determine attributable costs uses average cost estimates for the Parcel Select product instead of contract-specific cost estimates. USPSs use of averages further limits its analysis of the extent to which each Parcel Select NSA covers its attributable costs, because USPS had not studied the extent to which the size and weight of packages shipped under individual contracts deviated from the characteristics of packages USPS used to estimate the average.

USPS officials questioned whether the benefits of developing contract-specific cost estimates would exceed the costs; however, USPS has used less intensive methods, such as sampling, to improve estimates for other products in the past.

Government Executive: Amid a barrage of pressure from across the spectrum of postal stakeholders, the U.S. Postal Service has indefinitely postponed dozens of facility closures scheduled for later this year. In each of the last two sessions of Congress, lawmakers in both parties pleaded with postal management to postpone or delay the consolidations, which would have cost thousands of jobs and essentially eliminated overnight delivery. Postal unions and large mailers have fought against the closures. USPS had dates set to shutter each of the remaining phase two facilities, but in the most recently updated, publicly released schedule, the dates for 68 of those plans have been changed to TBD -- to be determined. The new round of consolidations has caused outcry from customers and unions that say service standards have been negatively impacted even more than anticipated. USPS declined to comment on the reasons for the postponements.

The Cannabist: An Oregon Court of Appeals panel has ruled that a U.S. postal inspector and Portland police had no legal authority to intercept a mans package based on their contraband hunches and a police dogs reaction after sniffing the item. The Oregonian reports Wednesdays ruling is expected to affect a long-standing practice of having a postal inspector and two police officers pulling aside and examining express-mail packages at a Portland International Airport postal cargo center without first obtaining search warrants.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Americans have grown up with Saturday mail delivery, and we think many would miss it if was stopped. Nonetheless, delivering mail only on five days a week is one of several changes the United States Postal Service needs to make. The days of long handwritten letters between friends are all but gone, but our nations mail will go on. However, it should be delivered only five days a week. Like it or not, Saturday mail deliveries should stop.

KFDM: In the aftermath of torrential rain and overnight flooding that has crippled Houston City, shut down highways and left thousands stranded, the US Postal service will make mail deliveries where possible. As water recedes in impacted areas and conditions improve, we will make every attempt to deliver mail in areas where delivery was not permissible due to flooding. Each day, Houston City Post Offices deliver mail to approximately 2.1 million residential and business customers in the 770 ZIP Code areas. Houston City post offices have 2,435 city letter carriers and 240 rural carriers who deliver four million letters and packages to residents of Houston City daily.

Boston Globe: A longstanding bid to move the US Postal Service sorting facility out of the way of a South Station expansion essentially remains stuck on the tracks and may also jeopardize a second project: building a new boulevard that would let thousands of Olympics spectators walk along Fort Point Channel to the main stadium.

May 26, 2015 

Toledo Blade: Toledo Councilman Steven Steel today demanded that the U.S. Postal Service restore the sorting of outbound mail from Toledo and halt any plans to eliminate other mail processing operations at the sorting facility on St. Clair Street. "I think the notion of consolidating mail sorting service and eliminating mail sorting service has been a failed experiment. I think it is time for the postal service to admit that it is a failed experiment," Councilman Steel said during a news conference in Government Center. The councilman said he plans to introduce a resolution at today's council meeting urging the Postal Service to restore full service to the processing and distribution center on St. Clair in the Toledo Warehouse District.

eCommerceBytes: Stamps.com revealed that its planned acquisition of Endicia is still proceeding through the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review process. CEO Ken McBride said during the company's recent quarterly earnings call, "We are currently in the regulatory review process with the Department of Justice and the timing of that process remains uncertain." The pre-merger review process is set up so that the US DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission can determine whether acquiring and acquired firms are competitors, or are related in any other way such that a combination of the two firms might adversely affect competition.

BBC: Postal staff in New Zealand are to get electric tricycles to help them deliver greater volumes of parcels. The three-wheelers, which have been designed to drive on the pavement alongside pedestrians, are being issued to staff in the North Island city of New Plymouth and will eventually be rolled out right across the country, Radio New Zealand reports. There'll also be electric four-wheelers which will cost around NZ$20,000 ($14,500; 9,500) each, which some sections of the media have dubbed "Postman Pat cars" after the British children's TV character. NZ Post official Ashley Smout told the radio that the vehicles became necessary because the rise of online shopping meant that delivery staff are carrying larger parcel loads on their rounds while fewer people are sending letters. With a capacity of up to 300kg (660lbs), the vehicles allow postal and parcel rounds to be combined for greater efficiency, the New Zealand Herald says.

Daily Nation: The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology has renewed the contract of the postmaster general in spite of objections from two state agencies. ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, in a letter addressed to Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua last week, extended Dr Enok Kinaras term for three years. The Postal Corporation of Kenya board had evaluated Mr Kinara, whose term expires in August and rejected his quest to have another go at the helm of Posta based on his poor performance. Correspondence seen by the Nation between the two State agencies indicates the move to renew Dr Kinaras term is in disregard of the boards recommendation and contrary to stipulated procedures.

CBC: It'll be a historic day in Hamilton courts on Tuesday as Canada Post faces off against the city over where it can put super mailboxes. Canada Post is installing community mailboxes across Hamilton Mountain as part of a nationwide plan to phase out urban door-to-door mail delivery. But the city wants a say in how they do it and has gone to court to assert those rights. Canada Post rejects this notion, saying federal legislation gives it a mandate to deliver the mail, and that trumps municipal powers. The fight is being watched by many other municipalities across the country, all of which are facing similar plans from the postal service to install super mailboxes.

May 25, 2015 

Stuff: New Zealand Post will next week introduce high-tech three and four-wheeled vehicles to deliver mail and parcels in the city. The vehicles can handle as much mail as four posties and will be trialled in New Plymouth before being rolled out around the rest of the country next year. NZ Post chief operating officer for delivery, Ashley Smout, said a decline in residential mail and an increase in parcels were behind the beginning of the vehicle service and New Plymouth was chosen as the test ground because of its geography.

The Globe and Mail: In Canada Post Corp. president Deepak Chopra's world, the parcel business is like American Pharoah, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Delivering your cable bill or letters from grandma, on the other hand, is more like Upstart, the horse that finished dead last in the Derby. "You have to place your bets on horses that can win," Mr. Chopra said as he defended the controversial decision to end home mail delivery at the Crown corporation's annual meeting last week. And the parcel business, he insisted, is a "winning horse," while letter mail is in "epic decline." A year and a half after Canada Post announced its plan to become financially viable, Mr. Chopra is making it clear that Canada Post's fortunes are now inexorably tied to parcels. The big question is whether Mr. Chopra can generate enough revenue in the expanding world of e-commerce to offset the demise of mail, its main business.

May 23, 2015 

National Postal Mailhandlers Union: May 22, 2015- The USPS announced significant changes to the Phase II-2015 USPS Network Rationalization Consolidation initiative. With the exception of the Houston P&DC and Queens P&DC, the USPS has suspended all remaining closures and consolidations to a date to be determined. The National Office of the NPMHU has requested a meeting to discuss the implications of this decision. Additional information will be disseminated as it becomes available.

National Association of Letter Carriers: Last week, a private mail delivery company in the UK called Whistl announced it was suspending delivery operations, on the heels of its loss of a private equity investor's funding. Whistl (formerly called TNT Post) was established as a joint venture of Dutch postal operator PostNL and a private equity company called LDC (part of Lloyd's Banking Group). In 2012, Whistl became the first private company in the UK to introduce large-scale end-to-end delivery of mailthe pickup, processing and delivery of mail. The company began delivering bulk mail in the major UK cities of London, Manchester and Liverpool, and said its goal was to have 42 percent of UK addresses covered by its end-to-end services by 2019. Last month, LDC pulled out of the joint venture. Whistl's difficulties follow the recent collapse of a private parcel delivery company in the UK called City Link. Many of the new private delivery companies rely on contracted delivery employees, or employees on so-called "zero hours" contracts, establishing a model of temporary, irregular employment in the postal sector. The companies also have been accused of "cherry picking" that is, focusing only on the most profitable delivery areas, to the detriment of nationwide universal service provision.

Motley Fool: In an earlier article, I looked at the three big changes facing FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service in the shipping marketplace. Two of them, the shift in consumer preference toward slower/lower-cost delivery options and burgeoning e-commerce deliveries, have contributed to the growth of FedEx's SmartPost and UPS's SurePost. Both services offer lower-cost ground delivery options and use the U.S. Postal Service, or USPS, for final delivery to residential consumers. As such, SmartPost and SurePost both carry risk due to their reliance on the USPS. The U.S. Postal Service is increasing its efforts to compete with both companies. In truth, SmartPost and SurePost contribute much more in volume growth than they do in profit. The question for FedEx and UPS is whether they want to carry on increasing SmartPost and SurePost shipping volumes . . . or rein in volume growth by trying to shift retailers to their traditional ground offerings.

Wall Street Journal: Proponents of getting the mailman more involved with financial services say it could help solve two persistent problems: expanding scarce banking services to the "underbanked" while aiding the depressed finances of the postal service. Including banking in post office services has been explored in the past by the Postal Service inspector general and is backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) as a way to bring basic banking services to low-income areas. The Postal Service declined to comment Friday. It's unclear how much impact the new report may have though. The postal service already has one program for sending money abroad, "Dinero Seguro," also called Sure Money. But while Dinero Seguro allows customers to wire money to nine Latin American countries, it is "languishing" while the money transfer business continues to grow, according to the Inspector General Report.

Economic Times: The Department of Posts (DoP) is likely to soon start a Rs 1,370-crore mega project that will allow India's 1.3 lakh postmen in rural regions to use network-connected handheld terminals for postal delivery  The devices will have a biometric module to authenticate an individual's identity using the Aadhaar number, solar-powered panel for charging terminals and a thermal printer to instantly print receipts.

May 22, 2015 

Independent Community Bankers Association: Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden R. Fine released this statement following the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General's proposal to significantly expand the number of financial products it offers and possibly to become a licensed bank.

"ICBA strongly disagrees with the assertion that the answer to the U.S. Postal Service's growing operational, management and financial troubles is entering the banking industry. The Postal Service has rung up billions of dollars in losses, is defaulting on required payments to its retiree health-care plan, can't borrow another dime from the U.S. Treasury and receives an estimated $18 billion annually in taxpayer subsidies and special privileges. "The Postal Service's role in delivering the mail does not make it a good fit for handling credit or lending to consumers. The idea of trying to salvage a floundering operation by venturing into a new business with inherent risks and for which the Postal Service has no qualifications or expertise defies logic, reason and prudence. "Financial services are being provided competitively in the private sector. The last thing we need is more government intervention in Americans' personal financesone that would further put taxpayers on the hook for the Postal Service's mounting losses. The Office of Inspector General's proposal would be a disaster waiting to happen. "Furthermore, The OIG's office should cease playing the role of business consultant to USPS and instead focus on evaluating and improving USPS' existing programswhich is the traditional role of an Inspector General."

American Postal Workers Union: The Postmaster's Advisory Committee (MTAC) is made up of approximately 150 appointees from the largest multi-national companies and mailing industry groups. These corporations and their associations are often comprised of former Postal Service executives, members of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the USPS Board of Governors. Such individuals have inside knowledge, personal connections and influence in the Postal Service. As a result, they are able to effectively lobby the Postal Service and Congress for changes that benefit their new corporate employers. Notably, many of the MTAC advisory committee members are also media spokespersons. In addition, many of the corporations belong to more than one business association. As a result, the larger corporations frequently have more than one representative at the MTAC meetings. Similarly, there are many former corporate representatives now working in high-level management positions at the Postal Service. This revolving door of corporate representatives, along with the influence of big-business, helps promote changes that benefit corporations in the postal industry often at the expense of postal workers and the public good.

Quad Graphics Blog: Standard Mail flats will experience a range of change from a decrease of 1% to an increase of 6.5%. Periodical flats will have a range of change from a decrease of 7% to an increase of about 15%. The wide range for Standard Mail is due to the transition to FSS pricing. The FSS price is greater than the non-FSS carrier route price, so clients that have large percentages of carrier route and/or high density volume will realize increases of about 4-6% for that portion of the mail (about 20% of the total volume on average). However, the 3- and 5-digit portion will see decreases of about 1-2% because that mail will also be paying the FSS price which is lower than non-FSS 3- and 5-digit prices. If you're confused, join the crowd. This is why we have been cautious in making any statements about what a particular mailing might experience for an increase. Every client and every mailing has to be analyzed on its own merits, and depending on which price cells the volume currently falls into and the price cells it will end up in under the new structure, the impact can and will vary greatly.

Newsmax: The United States Postal Service's plan to replace its entire fleet of more than 200,000 mail trucks at once doesn't make any sense, lawmakers said Thursday. During a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, representatives from the government and the private sector testified and said the vehicles do need to be replaced. But a smarter, more cost-effective solution would be to do so over time, according to The Daily Caller. The problem, however, is there might not be enough money for the Postal Service to buy the vehicles. And even if the agency were to buy a new fleet, they would need replacing in another quarter century. With mail service becoming old-fashioned and outdated, some think the high cost of replacing the entire fleet would not be financially smart. The USPS turned down an offer to refurbish its fleet in 2011 at a cost of $3.5 billion. "We found in 2011 that the Postal Service elected to not replace its delivery fleet about 175,000 vehicles at that time largely because it would cost about $5 billion," said Lori Rectanus, the director of physical infrastructure for the GAO. The USPS "also chose to not refurbish the vehicles, which would have cost about $3.5 billion." The latter option would have added as much as 15 years to the life of the vehicles. The USPS has been losing money for some time as mail delivery is replaced by email and other electronic communications. See also Federal News Radio.

House Subcommittee on Government Operations: "Issues Facing Civilian and Postal Service Vehicle Fleet Procurement"

Joseph Corbett, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, U.S. Postal Service

  • The Postal Service currently maintains a diverse fleet of delivery vehicles including Long Life Vehicles (LLV), as well as delivery vans and light trucks. Going forward, it continues to require a diverse and flexible fleet of vehicles capable of operating in a full range of climates, regions and operational conditions.
  • The planned useful life of LLVs when acquired was 24 years. The fleet has continued to provide needed delivery service, but at very high maintenance costs and increasing risk of parts supply problems and structural fatigue.
  • In its order granting the Postal Service an exigent price increase, the Postal Regulatory Commission noted that "capital outlays must be increased in order for the Postal Service to maintain and continue to develop the Nation's needed postal services," and that "[l]ow levels of capital investment have impaired the Postal Service's ability to maintain and improve business assets". The Commission went on to specifically state that "the consequences of continued low levels of liquidity and related low levels of capital investment are significant to the entire postal system. If the Postal Service is unable to repair, maintain, and replace its fleet of delivery vehicles, it could very quickly lose its ability to meet the delivery requirements of the Universal Service Obligation."
  • In its report entitled "U.S. Postal Service: Actions Needed to Strengthen the Capital Investment Process, GAO-14-155 at 2 (Jan. 2014)," the Government Accountability Office stated that the Postal Service's "limited resources have constrained its funding for capital investments to fulfill its primary mail-delivery mission and restructure and modernize its operations.
  • As packaging and shipping 2 continue to be an area of revenue growth, it will be important for USPS to invest in vehicles to effectively serve that market and meet its mission of providing prompt, reliable, and efficient mail service to all areas of the country.
  • In order to effectively meet the needs of our customers and employees, the Postal Service must invest in and maintain its existing infrastructureof which our delivery fleet is a critical component.
  • The Postal Service is currently in the initial phases of a multi-year process to acquire a long overdue new delivery fleet.
  • The Postal Service plans to release its RFP for prototypesopen to eligible suppliersin the near future.
  • The prototype RFP will be flexible as to fuel source.
  • After testing and evaluation during the prototype phase, and possible technical revisions, the Postal Service will issue a production RFP and make a contract award or awards.
  • For the Postal Service, the question is not how can we afford to purchase new vehicles at this time, the question is how can we afford not to make this investment as we fight for viability. In fact, it is a fiscally responsible decision.

U.S. Postal Service v. Postal Regulatory Commission, No. 14-1010: In response to an earlier letter filed by the U.S. Postal Service with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the following letters were submitted with the court by the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Association of Magazine Media, and the Association for Postal Commerce.:

  • Postal Regulatory Commission: Whether or not this Court has issued its mandate, if the Postal Service prevails in this litigation, it can ask the Commission to relieve the Postal Service of its obligation to notify its customers that the surcharge is scheduled to end, and can seek review in this Court if such a request is denied. If the Postal Service nevertheless concludes that expedited issuance of the mandate is essential for some reason, it can file a motion for such relief after this Court issues its opinion. But in the absence of a concrete motion based on this Court's opinion, there is no basis for immediate issuance of the mandate, which would unnecessarily complicate the orderly consideration of whether a petition for rehearing is warranted.
     
  • Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers et al.: This responds to the Rule 28(j) letter filed by the USPS on May 19. The mailers also hope that the Court will issue its decision soon. The USPS assumes, however, the decision will (1) vacate Commission Order No. 1926 and (2) authorize the 4.3 percent rate surcharge to remain in effect pending remand. Neither assumption is warranted. First, vacatur would be unjustified even assuming arguendo the most favorable possible outcome for the USPS: grant of its petition for review and denial of the mailers'. The USPS has not shown that "the agency's decision is so deficient as to raise serious doubts about whether the agency can adequately defend its decision at all," Verizon v. FCC, 740 F.3d 623, 659 (D.C. Cir. 2014). The USPS does not contend that any limit on the rate surcharge would be ultra vires, but merely that the Commission failed to explain adequately the specific limit imposed. The Commission could "redress" any "failure of explanation on remand while reaching the same result." Lilliputian Sys., Inc. v. Pipeline & Haz. Mat. Safety Admin., 741 F.3d 1309, 1313 (D.C. Cir. 2014). Second, the Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over rates filed by the USPS; hence, the Court has no authority to prescribe a different, longer-lasting surcharge pending remand. Burlington Northern Inc. v. United States, 459 U.S. 131 (1982).

From the Federal Register: 

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
2976129762 [201512383] [TEXT]  [PDF]
2976029761 [201512384] [TEXT]  [PDF]
29761 [201512385] [TEXT]  [PDF]
29760 [201512581] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Products; Amendments ,
2975929760 [201512382] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  29762 [201512406] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  29762 [201512407] [TEXT]  [PDF]

 

flag Housing Wire: A new white paper from the USPS' Office of the Inspector General lays out a series of distinct paths that would allow the post office to enter the banking and financial services sector. In the white paper, the USPS-OIG suggests five different approaches for the post office to expand into financial services.

The Star: Lower mail volume hit Pos Malaysia Bhd's performance for the financial year ended March 31, 2015, leading to a 20.1% fall in net profit to RM127.05mil despite revenue growing 4.7% to RM1.49bil. In its unaudited financial report to Bursa Malaysia on Friday, the postal service provider said the courier segment overtook mail as its biggest profit contributor during the year after operating profit from the latter segment plunged by almost half (44.8%) to RM79.5mil. "The underlying trend reflected lower mail volume from prepaid and ordinary mail segments, which accounted for approximately 86% of the total mail volume. This has also taken into consideration the one-off surge in mail volume last year arising from the 2013 general election," Pos Malaysia said.

CHML: Notwithstanding the fact that there are some legitimate concerns about how Canada Post is rolling out their community mail box program, not too many people thought it was going to become a federal election issue. But, the NDP, always willing to jump to the front of the parade on any unionized workers issue, are trying to pander to a minority of disgruntled Canadians who are losing door to door mail delivery. There's nothing wrong with trying to support a populist cause, but the NDP plan, and we're being generous calling it a plan', is typically long on rhetoric and short on details.

Telecompaper: Marta Leandro from Portuguese regulator Anacom was elected President of the Council of the European Communications Office (ECO). The appointment took place at a meeting of the ECO Council in Biel, Switzerland earlier this month. Portugal was since November 2013 the vice-chairman of the Council. Based in Copenhagen, the ECO is the permanent office of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT).

May 21, 2015 

Wall Street Journal: Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate increases for health plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law’s impact. In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates by 30.4% across its products. In Oregon, Moda Health, the largest insurer on the health exchange, seeks an average 25% boost. All of them cite high costs incurred by people newly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.

Government Executive: Two postal unions representing more than 300,000 employees are struggling to reach new collective bargaining agreements with postal management, with one already abandoning negotiations in favor of mediation. USPS’ contracts with both the American Postal Workers Union, which represents nearly 200,000 employees, and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, which represents about 116,000 workers, were set to expire Thursday. Both unions agreed to extend the existing, 2010-2015 agreements until a settlement is reached. APWU and postal management decided to extend negotiations for one more week in hopes of reaching a deal. The NRLCA, however, reached an impasse with the Postal Service, and a mediator will now step in.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 41.0.2.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.0.2.0 will deploy on Thursday evening May 21, 2015 between 5:00PM CT and 8:00PM CT. This release includes fixes for items originally deployed in Release 41.0. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment. There is no mandatory Mail.dat® client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.0.2.0 will be posted to https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm by Friday morning May 22, 2015.
  • PostalOne! Release 41.0.2.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur also on Thursday evening May 21, 2015 between 5:00PM CT and 8:00PM CT. TEM validation will occur on Friday morning May 22, 2015 between 8:00AM CT and 10:00AM CT.

Attention Business Customer Gateway  Users: Program Registration Release 14.0.0.1 " will be deployed to Production from 00:00 am (Midnight) to 4:00 am CDT on Sunday, May 31, 2015. There will be an outage and the Online Enrollment Service and Incentive Program accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during that time.

Wall Street Journal: A new study by U.S. Postal Service overseers [see report referenced immediately below] says the agency could add $1.1 billion in revenues through small expansions of its existing banking offerings, and could potentially generate ten times that if it gained legal authority to act more like a bank. The white paper, released Thursday by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, comes as the USPS is at a critical stage in negotiations with two of its unions. Postal unions are encouraging the agency to add more banking services to its portfolio, a model touted as successful at postal agencies in other countries. In the latest study, the Inspector General notes that the Postal Service is already the largest paper money order provider in the U.S., selling money orders amounting to $21 billion in its fiscal 2014. It also offers international money transfers, some check cashing and prepaid cards. The agency could easily expand those offerings without needing new legal approvals, the report suggests. For example, it could add the option to wire money electronically between post offices, as well as ATMs for customers. The Inspector General’s report acknowledges there are a number of hurdles to any plans to expand banking services to local post offices. The agency would likely need approval from regulators to expand existing offerings, as well as additional approvals"from Congress and perhaps even banking regulators"for adding other services outside its current legal authority.

Office of the Inspector General: More than a quarter of households in this country either don’t have a bank account, or have an account but also rely on often expensive alternative financial services like check cashing and payday lending. These underserved households are looking for more affordable options, and the U.S. Postal Service may be able to help. In a January 2014 white paper titled Providing Non-Bank Financial Services for the Underserved, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) explored how postal financial services could save Americans time and money, help banks and other businesses connect with customers, and create new revenue for the Postal Service. In a new follow-up paper titled The Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services, the OIG assesses potential approaches the Postal Service could take for expanding the financial services it offers.

The Hill: The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service could make billions more each year if it were to get into the banking business, according to its Inspector General. In a new report released Thursday, the watchdog said that even without under existing legal authority, the nation’s post offices could reap over $1 billion a year by offering financial products like electronic money transfers. And if the Postal Service received expanded authority to offer a broader range of financial products, as is done in some other countries, it could pull in as much as $10 billion more per year, according to the report. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee with jurisdiction over the mail, said Thursday Congress should let post offices get into banking as part of the next postal reform bill.

Federal Times: The Postal Service and two unions are struggling to reach new contracts as the groups battle over the pay and benefits of current and future Postal Service employees. The American Postal Workers Union said the main block on a new deal was Postal Service demands for a new lower pay scale and reduced benefits for future employees, as well as cuts to current employee pay and benefits. But the Postal Service Postal Service and the APWU agreed to extend negotiations past the May 20 expiration of the current contract. The new deadline is May 27. During that time, the original contract will remain in effect. In a statement to its members, the NRLCA said it had appeared that the union and the Postal Service were making progress on a deal, but contract talks stalled over wages, cost-of-living increases and the maintenance of benefits.

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USPS Shipping Products and Services Webinar Series May 26, 2015, 11a.m. EDT Join us as the Postal Service continues to host its series of informational webinars on a variety of products and services. The webinars will focus on service enhancements, features, benefits, how to get started, and onboarding information to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively use the service. Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11a.m. EDT " Delivery Instructions Delivery Instructions allows the recipient of a package to electronically authorize through USPS.com for a carrier to leave a package at a specific location, leave with neighbor, hold at a Post Office or reroute their package to a new domestic destination. Customers can also request that shipments be delivered through one of our expedited products in one to two days; Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail and pay the difference in the postage from the ground service. Speaker: Sherri Evans, Manager, Shipping Development Participant information is provided below: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 (11:00 a.m. EDT) Delivery Instructions Attendee Information: US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 17345167 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=eccdaf0f327a1d6a01786b053cee41468 If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate logins below: Alternate URL: http://usps.webex.com Event Number: 996 934 473

The Hill: When it comes to the U.S. Postal Service, the organization’s decline has been well documented for years. Last year the Postal Service lost $5.5 billion, marking the eighth consecutive year of multi-billion dollar losses. Further, for consumers, the Postal Service is still failing to meet performance targets for First-Class mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and more according to a recent federal review. As the agency seeks to regain solid footing for its balance sheet and service standards, it’s clear that improved management at the top is necessary. In the last several months the Postal Service has made ill-advised efforts to expand into offerings that are unrelated to its primary letter mail responsibility and interrupt areas where such products are already provided. As it currently stands, the Postal Service’s security standards are not up to code. The agency does not comprehensively trace the senders and receivers of all items that it handles. More specifically, it does not electronically track packages sent through foreign postal services. There are also financial implications, as U.S. Customs is unable to collect billions of dollars annually due to unreported foreign goods entering the U.S. via the Postal Service. The deficiencies in package tracking create concerns for public safety with the potential for unsafe products and food, and other hazardous materials (potentially weapons or chemicals) to enter into the United States. During his tenure former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder expressed great concern about the shocking amount of drugs that pass through the U.S. Postal System.

Engadget: When it's not busy sending its delivery personnel on the New York subway, Amazon has quietly been working to expand its one-hour delivery service. From today, customers in Manhattan, the company's first Prime Now location, can shop at a number of local businesses and have fresh food delivered within 60 minutes.

Wall Street Journal: The stingy investment in U.S. infrastructure in recent years hasn’t made much sense to logistics and transportation companies, and it may appear even less adequate if businesses look more closely at the way infrastructure dollars are spread around the country. Companies are operating national supply chains but doing that in a system fractured by state and local interests. The rise of e-commerce is becoming a double-edged sword for builders and owners of logistics real estate.

Wall Street Journal: Don’t bet on a decline in fuel costs too quickly. The WSJ’s Nicole Friedman reports prices rebounded on Wednesday on news of unexpectedly large drops in U.S. crude oil and petroleum products supplies. The inventories are declining after hitting a record high in April.

NBC New York: Federal authorities charged a U.S. postal worker after he allegedly trashed about 2,000 pieces of mail in Queens, a source in the Queens district attorney's office confirmed. Norberto Cintron, a Queens Village mail carrier, is assigned to the post office at 20-920 Jamaica Avenue, the source said.

From the Federal Register: 

  • Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products,
    29352 [2015"12269] [TEXT
    29351"29352 [2015"12270] [TEXT

U.S. Postal Service Collective Bargaining Update:

  • The United States Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) have agreed to extend contract negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. Although the contract with the APWU expired at midnight Wednesday, May 20, the Postal Service and the APWU have mutually decided to extend the negotiations deadline by one week to May 27, 2015. The APWU represents more than 196,000 employees who work as clerks, mechanics, vehicle drivers, custodians and some administrative positions.
  • On May 20, negotiations on a new labor contract between the United States Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) came to an impasse. The parties will continue to follow the current agreement until a new contract is reached through the dispute resolution process. The NRLCA represents more than 116,000 employees who deliver mail primarily in rural and suburban areas.

Politico: Intra-party warfare is reaching a boil as Congress struggles to conclude a messy session of legislating and head home for a week-long vacation. It all amounts to a last-ditch scramble during the most rigorous work period of the young GOP Congress. With the outcome uncertain, palace intrigue is running high, and relations across and within party lines are frayed.

Washington Post: The Florida postal worker who landed a gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol last month was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Washington on six felony and misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 9 1/2 years in prison, prosecutors announced. The indictment includes that charge, another felony count of operating without an airman's certificate, three misdemeanor counts of violating national defense airspace and one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle falsely labeled as a postal carrier.

Castanet: Canada Post Group delivered a profit in the first quarter, turning around a loss from the same period last year even as the national postal service faced a steeper decline in the volume of letter mail. The group, which includes financial results from Canada Post, Purolator and other businesses, reported Thursday a profit before tax of $22 million versus a loss of $37 million in the comparable period a year earlier. Revenue increased 10 per cent to $2.06 billion from $1.87 billion. Canada Post's main business, which focuses on letters and parcels, also saw improved results on higher prices for stamps and parcels. That segment of the business saw earnings rise to $24 million before taxes compared with a loss of $27 million a year ago, while revenue grew 6.4 per cent to $1.64 billion. Letter mail volumes fell 8.4 per cent, or by 41 million pieces, compared with the year-earlier period. Canada Post has been moving ahead with a plan to phase out door-to-door delivery across the country, though the initiative has met with some opposition. Residents and local city officials in both Hamilton and Montreal have squared off against the plan with the postal service, while the postal workers' union has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court calling the service cancellation unconstitutional. In March, Canada Post said it had converted 100,000 addresses that had door-to-door delivery to community mail boxes in 2014 and planned to convert about 900,000 addresses this year.

Canada NewsWire: Canada Post's annual public meeting in Ottawa is billed as an opportunity for Canadians to "speak directly to senior leaders of the company about present and future policies and direction." This year's meeting saw some tough questions being posed to Canada Post executives from people opposed to the cutbacks. "When our money-making post office is trying to impose massive service downgrades on Canadians, you'd expect to hear better reasons for it," said Mike Palecek, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, who attended the meeting. "Instead, we keep hearing the same tired old talking points that just don't stand up to scrutiny." Palecek pointed out that the senior executive of Canada Post, Deepak Chopra, is a Harper appointee and that cuts to postal service are becoming a federal election issue for many angered at losing their home delivery, rural post offices and affordable postage rates. "To change these cuts, we need to change this government," said Palecek. "The Harper government is driving the postal train wreck and it needs to stop and get off before more people lose their services." The New Democratic Party promised this week to restore home delivery to the million Canadians who lost it in 2014. The union says that would be far cheaper and easier compared to the cost of switching millions more to centralized mailboxes.

BBC: Royal Mail has reported an increase in full-year profits, with cost cuts helping the company in a "challenging" market. It reported £740m in annual adjusted operating profit before transformation costs, up 6% from a year earlier. Revenues in the year to 29 March were barely changed at £9.4bn. UK parcel volumes grew by 3%, although revenues from its parcels business rose by just 1%. Letter volumes fell by 4%, with revenues from letters down 1%. The company expects this year to follow a similar pattern to last year, with strength coming in the second half. Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: "Our trading environment remains challenging." Competition in the UK parcels and letters market is fierce, the company said.

Professional Pensions: The scheme had a surplus of £3.2bn at 29 March under the IAS 19 accounting standard compared with £1.7bn in March 2014 and £2.1bn as of 28 September 2014. Royal Mail said the increase was largely driven by return on assets, particularly the rise in the market value of gilts and derivative assets used to hedge inflation and interest rate risk.

May 20, 2015 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 


These are numbers for this years, National Postal Forum attendance: 3,259 attendees " included in this number are 944 exhibitors, 325 USPS Reps. and 1,933 mailing industry attendees.

Democrat News: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill May 12 called on her colleagues and the U.S. Postal Service to make preservation of rural post offices and delivery standards a priority during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee roundtable on the Postal Service in the digital age.

My Print Resource: At the National Postal Forum in Anaheim, CA, Neopost USA is unveiling its new corporate identity as well as its business communications management hardware and software solutions " specifically intelligent document handling solutions, shipping and tracking solutions, and customer communications management and mailing solutions. "The National Postal Forum is the best public event for Neopost USA to reaffirm its commitment to the United States Postal Service as an industry partner and to publicly support USPS programs and strategies," said Vincent DeAngelis, Neopost USA's Vice President of Postal Relations. "A very good example is the fact that Neopost USA fully embraces the USPS' Intelligent Mail package barcode strategy. Our NeoShip solution and our corporate parent's ProShip solution give customers of all sizes the peace of mind they expect and deserve for fully USPS-compliant physical mail and shipping solutions."

Post & Parcel: America's community newspaper industry raised concerns before Congress yesterday, regarding the standard of rural mail delivery. The National Newspaper Association said the drop in rural mail standards was predictable, with a slow decline seen over the past three decades. But the Association's chief executive Tonda Rush told the Senate's Government Affairs committee yesterday that the ongoing consolidation of the US Postal Service mail network is now accelerating the problems, leading to "enormous complaints" from rural publishers. Rush explained that with local mail facilities closing, rural mail now has to travel much greater distances to be sorted, which impacts on delivery time. "We're losing subscribers, and we're hearing a lot from publishers about the economic impact on small towns of the rural mail service declines," she said. With Congress doing nothing for years to help reform the federal agency in the light of current mail trends, USPS has been planning to close about 82 more of its mail plants in 2015 to save an estimated $750m a year more. "We're very fearful of what we will encounter if the 2015 closures proceed," said Rush. "Certainly the experience so far has not been positive. We believe that 99% of our problems have been created by the decline of the network."

Today: Replacing your smartphone battery just got harder. Fearing cargo fires like one that caused a United Parcel Service freighter to crash into the desert near Dubai in 2010, at least 18 airlines have banned freight shipments of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries this year. Pilots are pushing for the cells to be taken off all passenger flights until they can be transported more safely. Removing lithium-ion batteries from parts of the US$6.4 trillion (S$8.5 trillion) global air freight market risks disrupting supply chains for a technology used to power products from Apple iPhones to Lenovo Group laptops. As many as 30 per cent of the 5.5 billion cells made each year are shipped by plane, and cargo bans have already affected supplies of defibrillator power-packs in Australia and New Zealand, according to a group representing battery-makers.

From the Federal Register: 

  • Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 29105 [2015"12119] [TEXT]

Investors Chronicle: UK Mail (UKM) has reacted to competitive postal markets by outlining plans to improve service, efficiency and innovation. Key to this transition is the ongoing process of moving into a new automated hub in Coventry. This should provide extra capacity and reduce operating costs, but it also prompted boss Guy Buswell to warn - somewhat ominously - that this year's results will be more weighted towards the second half.

The Observer: The managing director of The Gambia Postal Services Corporation (GAMPOST) has explained that government's decision to transform the postal service into an autonomous entity, public enterprise, was based on the premise that by so doing the post will become more efficient and profitable thereby respond effectively to the ever changing needs of consumers and the competitive environment it operates in.

Financial Times: Airline pilots, train drivers, postal workers, insurance industry employees, even the security couriers who fill up Berlin's automatic cash dispensers " it has seemed, lately, as if anyone in Germany who feels an urge to go on strike is doing so. So far this year, about 350,000 workdays have been lost to strikes, more than double the 150,000 lost in the whole of 2014. No longer is it accurate, if ever it was, to paint Germany as a rock of consensual, public-spirited industrial relations set in a European sea of British unrest, French cussedness, Greek indolence and Italian disorder. The rising militancy explains the nature of a labour relations bill that Germany's government, a grand coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, intends to pass on Friday in the Bundestag. The measure will tighten collective bargaining rules and discourage strikes, at least when they involve no more than a restive minority of a company's employees. Specifically, the bill aims to restore the "one company, one union" principle, which has been one of German industry's distinctive features since the second world war, but which, in some sectors, has been diluted over the past five years.

The Toronto Star: Canada Post is refusing to disclose any information related to complaints about mail delivery last year or the end of door-to-door home delivery. The Star filed two separate requests under the federal Access to Information Act and despite months of wrangling over the wording of the requests Canada Post flatly rejected the requests and is keeping all records secret. The Star asked for aggregate data and a summary of the types of complaints related to both mail delivery in 2014 and the switch to community mailboxes. In recent years, the post office has come under fire over its plan to end home delivery as well as mail delivery, in general, including service during Toronto's 2013 ice storm, when residents complained about no mail delivery for weeks at a time, well into January 2014.

Post & Parcel: Royal Mail has extended acceptance times for its two-day tracked parcel delivery service to allow major business customers to drop parcels off any time up to midnight, five days per week. The UK universal postal service provider said the extended hours for its Royal Mail Tracked 48 service will apply across the country, for items dropped off at 39 mail centres and eight regional distribution centres around the country.

CEP News: In Norway, the country's three biggest media companies prepare for an entry into the parcel business. High-ranking managers from Amedia, Polaris and Schibsted said in an interview with Aftenposten that the three companies together already could reach 91% of the households in Norway with their own delivery staff. Moreover, the newspaper and magazine volumes had been declining for years, while the distance-selling market was booming.

May 19, 2015 

Springfield News-Leader: Operations at Springfield's mail processing center on Chestnut Expressway are on track to move to a Kansas City facility this summer, despite efforts by Missouri's senators to delay the closure. Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and Roy Blunt, a Republican, were two of 30 senators who urged Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to hold off on the consolidations in a December letter, saying the agency had not adequately examined the impact the closures would have. In a letter to leaders of a Senate subcommittee last month, McCaskill and four other senators again requested the postponement of the USPS closures through the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Committee Members Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) hosted a roundtable to examine, analyze, and discuss the various challenges facing the Postal Service in rural communities across the country. Members heard from representatives from the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, National Association of Postmasters of the United States, Postal Regulatory Commission, and the National Newspaper Association. You can watch a webcast of the roundtable here.

Sen. Carper: "Our Constitution requires that the Postal Service deliver mail to the last mile. This means that no matter how rural or remote the address, Americans will get their mail. However, as the Postal Service has made changes to service to address its financial condition, service to rural communities in particular has suffered. While delivery to our most rural communities certainly presents unique challenges, it also presents an important competitive advantage and opportunity that can help the Postal Service thrive. I hope today's discussion provided members a chance to better understand rural postal issues and help begin the process of addressing these challenges in the context of comprehensive postal reform this Congress. We must help the Postal Service move in a more thoughtful direction, better leverage its 200-year old distribution network, and understand new ways we can help it maintain service without putting rural communities at a disadvantage."

Sen. McCaskill: "Rural post offices are part of the identity of rural America. The obligation for the Postal Service to provide universal service to the American people doesn't just apply to Americans in big cities and urban centers"it applies everywhere."

Sen. Tester: "By reducing services, making product deliveries less timely, and increasing the burdens on customers, it's difficult to see a good path forward for the Postal Service. But Congress can ensure that the Postal Service becomes financially solvent by making a few basic policy changes so the USPS can remain an important part of rural communities into the future."

Sen. Heitkamp: "In North Dakota and other rural areas across the country, farmers and hardworking families may live 20, 30, or even 40 miles from the nearest town. But where they live shouldn't prohibit them from getting their mail in a timely manner. Getting our mail in a timely manner enables small businesses to ship their products, helps families and seniors get needed prescriptions, and allows individuals to access services beyond their communities. And these needs are amplified in rural communities that are disproportionately impacted by poor mail delivery. To make sure rural America doesn't get left behind, we need to pass comprehensive legislation that makes needed reforms to the Postal Service and truly works for rural communities in North Dakota and across the country."

USA Today: Package-delivery giant UPS (UPS) will pay more than $25 million to settle charges it submitted false claims to the federal government in connection with delivery of Next Day Air overnight packages, the Department of Justice said Tuesday. UPS provides delivery services to hundreds of federal agencies through contracts with the General Services Administration and U.S. Transportation Command, which supports Department of Defense agencies. The company guaranteed next-day delivery of packages by specified times under those contracts, federal officials said. However, UPS concealed the company's repeated failure to meet those delivery guarantees from 2004 to 2014, federal prosecutors said. The subterfuge allegedly prevented government customers for seeking refunds for late deliveries. Government officials charged that UPS knowingly recorded inaccurate delivery times on packages to make it appear that the shipments had been delivered on time.

Direct Marketing News: The Postal Service's new acting CMO, Jim Cochrane, admitted that, like all marketing channels, mail faced challenges. But he argued that it's gotten its data act together and is better poised to engage in the digitally dominated marketing world than it was just a few years ago. "We're focused on data and analytics. In the past it was a field of dreams, but now 90% of our mail volume is using IMb [Intelligent Mail barcodes] and packages are getting close to that," Cochrane said today at a press conference at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim. Cochrane, who spent the bulk of his 41 years at USPS in operations roles, said he himself is amazed at how far the Postal Service has come toward completing its mission of "informed visibility." Plenty more needs to be done, of course. Cochrane said that the Postal Service faces a constant challenge in harnessing data due to the vastness of its system, which he described as "one of the biggest IT operations on the planet," employing up to 3,000 applications. Randy Miskanic, Cochrane's successor as CIO, admitted that the challenge was too great to keep up with all the technological advances for capturing and deploying data. "Marketing goes through a lot of change. We have to take a hard look at the primary issues marketers are facing and lean the process accordingly," Miskanic said. "We have to focus on what brings in the revenue."

The Richfield Reaper: The Provo processing center is scheduled for closure July 2015. Central and southern Utah will be impacted the greatest. All mail from Delta to Fillmore to Provo will be processed in Salt Lake. All mail from Price to Blanding to Moab will be processed in Grand Junction, Colo. And, all mail from Richfield to Kanab to St. George will be processed in Las Vegas. Mail will now take one week or longer for delivery to all of these towns. In implementing these changes, they have ignored the pleas of 51 senators " including Orrin Hatch " and 178 members of the House of Representatives who asked for a one year moratorium in service cuts and the closure and consolidation of mail processing facilities. Ruth Goldway, postal regulatory commissioner since 1998, criticized the latest service cuts, and said "The Postal Service is required to give the highest consideration to the requirement for the [most] expeditious collection, transportation, and delivery of important letter mail." This burden falls particularly hard on individuals in rural America and those who have limited or no access to the Internet " they do not pay their bills online; they pay their mortgage and other payments by mail. This slower delivery will subject those who pay by mail to incur late fees.

eNews Park Forest: In a joint letter today to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, Oregon's congressional delegation expressed serious reservations about proposals to close mail processing centers in Bend and Eugene. "Oregon has already lost mail processing plants in Salem, Klamath Falls, and Pendleton, with two more locations in Eugene and Bend set to be consolidated this year. If these mail processing plants close, mail will have to flow through either Portland or Medford, even when their destination is in the same town it originated in," said the letter, which was signed by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley as well as by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader. "This causes delays in mail delivery, increases the amount of mail the Portland location must process, and forces mail carriers to cover larger distances and work longer hours. These plant closures not only put stress on the existing processing locations but also put rural jobs at risk," the letter said. The letter was written in response to a meeting on May 13 in which six members of Oregon's congressional delegation " Sens. Wyden and Merkley and Reps. Bonamici, Blumenauer, DeFazio and Schrader " met with Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman to discuss the latest plans for reducing the Postal Service's chronic budget deficit and specifically to learn what the impact will be in Oregon.

In a letter to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Postal Service wrote the following:

USPS seeks review of Postal Regulatory Commission Order No. 1926, which authorized USPS to recoup only a fraction of its requested rate adjustment for losses suffered "due to" the Great Recession. That order is arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law because it misconstrues the governing statute and grossly underestimates USPS's actual recession-related losses. Since January 2014, USPS has been collecting the artificially low amount authorized by the Commission through a 4.3% rate surcharge. As of March 31, 2015, USPS had collected approximately 78% of the authorized amount. See May 15, 2015 Notice of Revenue Collection (Ex. A). USPS expects that it will recoup the entirety of the artificially low amount by early August, at which point it must lift the surcharge. USPS must also provide 45 days' notice before lifting the surcharge. See PRC Order No. 2319 at 5-6 (Ex. B). Thus, absent a decision or other action by this Court, USPS would need to notify its customers of a prospective rescission as early as mid-June.

USPS very respectfully notes that these timing considerations could have significant practical implications for the parties. Changing postal rates on a nationwide basis is an expensive and complicated process. If USPS is correct that the Commission's calculation of recession-related losses was too low, it would be far more efficient for the current 4.3% rate surcharge to remain in force for the period necessary to recoup the legally correct amount of the adjustment, rather than be removed in early August only to be re-imposed shortly thereafter.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Committee members Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). A bipartisan roundtable on rural postal issues held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Presenters: Tonda Rush, Chief Executive Officer, National Newspaper Association (NNA); Margaret Cigno, Director of the Office of Accountability & Compliance (OAC), Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC); Anthony Leonardi, National President, National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS); Jean Marc Favreau, Counsel, National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. PostCom has made an extemporaneous recap of comments available on this site.

Office of the Inspector General: Investing in Reverse Logistics: It's Only Logical With all those designer shoes, cutting-edge electronics, and trendy toys shipping into our homes via ecommerce, it's only logical that sometimes the shoes won't fit, the electronics won't work, and the kids will have already moved on to the next hot toy. The bottom line is that some of the stuff we buy needs to be returned. And that's known as reverse logistics. We suggested the Postal Service put its excess facility space to good use by offering shipping and return services to businesses that have combined inventory storage and shipping needs. Finally, the Postal Service could offer customers an alternative delivery option in which they could pick up purchases at any of the 32,000 post offices. This would appeal to those who want packages sent to a location of their choosing, rather than wait for the item at home or work. Are you a frequent returner? What do you look for in returns service? What could the Postal Service do to ease the return or forwarding of goods?

Direct Marketing News: "Readers Sound Off on the Digital Postal Service" Custom mail for consumers, direct mail triggered by clicks for digital advertisers, and partnerships providing rides home for wedding-goers are some tips offered by experts.

Direct Marketing News: The digitalization of the U.S. Postal Service is officially underway. Better use of data for the benefit of direct mailers and citizens alike was the common theme driven home by the Postmaster General, CMO, COO, and VP sales of the Post Office during the opening keynote address at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim.

KOKI: A bad road is causing trouble for people in an Inola neighborhood. Monday, they learned if their street isn't fixed in 30 days their postal service is going to be cancelled.

ABCNews: "Here's Why You May Never Need to Go to a Post Office Again"

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 28716"28717 [2015"11990] [TEXT]

GlobeNewswire: The United States Postal Service launched an integrated marketing campaign today called "Watch Us Deliver," which highlights recent improvements to Priority Mail™. The campaign also features the new Watch Us Deliver Dashboard (WatchUsDeliver.com), which showcases the latest innovations of USPS and features a stunning collection of live counters, impressive postal facts and entertaining modules, like the Live Eagle Cam"a 24/7 stream of rescued American Bald Eagles "Independence" and "Franklin." From free package pick-up, improved tracking technology, to Sunday delivery , the U.S. Postal Service continues to enhance its package delivery services to capitalize on the continued growth of e-commerce. "This campaign is designed to build on the strong momentum in our package delivery business and to highlight the many ways the Postal Service is changing and improving to better serve the American public," said Betty Su, Executive Director of Brand Marketing. "We're excited to communicate about the compelling reasons to do business with the Postal Service."

Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service is working on new services to notify customers when mail or parcels are being delivered to their mailbox. A new service called Real Mail Notification has been trialled in Northern Virginia since last year, and is soon to be tried out in New York, which will allow people to check on what is in their physical mailboxes in the same way they might check their email or Facebook account. The Postal Service is also working on its My USPS service, which notifies customers about incoming parcels and allows them to manage their deliveries. US Postmaster General Megan Brennan highlighted the new services in her speech to the National Postal Forum yesterday, as she declared that the mail industry had to accelerate its innovation in order to engage with the digital world.

Sudan Vision Daily: Sudan is scheduled to host the African Union conference for mail services to be attended by 29 African nations and delegations representing the Universal Postal union, African Telecommunications Association, regional associations and many service providers, companies and aviation associations. The event will be attended by Lieut. Gen. Bakri Hassan Saleh, First Vice-President. Speaking at a press conference, Dr. Tahani Abdallah, the Minister of Science and Communications, said the conference is aimed at upgrading postal services, benefiting from technology and re-affirming Sudan's effective role in African organisations, underlining the importance of an e-government and promoting Sudan's candidacy for African and Universal Postal councils. The minister said the conference aims to broaden the scope of cooperation between stakeholders and customers to contribute to materializing electronic trade and how to protect African interests at international arena, postal development and cooperation, developing human resources and enhancing stamps collection in Africa.

Fox News: There's a business opportunity gleaming just south of the border, perfectly ripe for ecommerce disruption. According to a study by Internet Retailer, Latin America is the second fastest-growing ecommerce market in the world. Even Amazon, with its finger ever on the pulse of great opportunities, raked in $475M in Latin American web sales in 2013, indicating that the market's growth is no passing fluke. And at the heart of Latin America's ecommerce growth lies Brazil. Once you've decided what you want to sell, you'll need to decide how to ship it. An option is to use the global postal network for delivery, meaning the U.S. Postal Service handles shipping within the U.S. and then passes it off to the local post in Brazil for delivery. The postal network is a good option for lightweight, residential deliveries that weigh less than 66 lbs. Businesses typically spend less with this option, and all shipping fees are disclosed upfront. It's worth noting that traditional postal networks can sometimes take upward of 20 days for delivery because items need to clear customs. However, there are other services available that allow businesses to deliver products via the postal network in as little as eight to 10 days.

The Yeshiva World News: The Israel Postal Authority is in the midst of implementing a fiscal rehabilitation program which results in the closure of many branches, including in Yerushalayim. While the service boasts improved service and increased efficiency, a growing number of capital residents' are complaining of not receiving mail. There are a growing number of complaints of mail not reaching its destination, packages that are never delivered and mail being dumped in piles on streets. Persons wishing to mail a letter are finding it increasingly difficult as a growing number of mailboxes have ‘inactive' stickers on them, making near to impossible to find a mailbox in some areas other than visiting a post office.

CNN Money: QIWI plc has announced a launch of a strategic partnership and joint money transfer service with Russian Post. Now, QIWI and Russian Post clients can make money transfers through QIWI Kiosks, website and Visa QIWI Wallet mobile application and receive cash in any of 42,000 post offices across the country. Money transfers are made in Russian rubles with a limit of 15,000 rubles, including the fee, per one operation. Transfers may be received in a post office on the next business day after the transaction1. Moreover, the sender may order an additional service for delivering the money transfer to the recipient's address.

May 18, 2015 

Linn's Stamp News: "The Postal Service gave up about $100 million in the delay in postal rate increases due to filing errors." That troubling statement comes from an official at the Postal Regulatory Commission. It underscores the difficulties U.S. Postal Service had this spring securing approval of its annual rate increases. The USPS had seemingly crafted a way to get the most out of the allowable increase without boosting the 49¢ price of a first-class letter. But there were a mix of other rate increases for publications and packages that the commission refused to endorse. It refused not once but twice, declaring that the Postal Service had failed to show its requested higher rates complied with the law. The agency's filing was a mess, the PRC said, warning the USPS it must get its act together.

Wall Street Journal: As online shopping grows in popularity, more parcel-delivery services and retailers, plagued by the failed-package-delivery problem, are experimenting with ways to eliminate the often inefficient, maddening "last mile" of the supply chain altogether. E-commerce hasn't turned out to be as profitable as delivery companies had hoped. Dropping off items purchased online at homes scattered across a neighborhood adds time, miles and costs to each delivery, while Amazon.com Inc. and its peers are able negotiate low prices based on their huge volumes. Dropping off packages in bulk and creating incentives for consumers to fetch their parcels at nearby retailers or locker banks dramatically improves the economics of delivery. FedEx offers a 24-hour locker system called "Ship&Get" in 31 cities in Texas, as well as in Memphis, Tenn., situating most lockers outside FedEx stores or Walgreens pharmacies. UPS is testing out brown-and-yellow, ATM-like smart lockers adjacent to a Staples store and an Aldi supermarket. DHL started building self-service lockers in Germany in 2001. Since then, the company has installed 2,700 locker banks, mostly in train stations, and opened 12,000 staffed parcel pickup points, including newsstands and small shops. The company hopes to expand the locker program elsewhere in Europe and the U.S.

Printing Impressions: Wilen Direct, a leading direct mail solutions provider, has been awarded the United States Postal Service's prestigious 2015 Innovation Award. The award, presented at the National Postal Forum, is one of three "best-in-class" awards that the USPS presents annually to companies that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in the industry with creative use of postal products and services.

Postmaster General Promotes Convergence of Mail and Digital Technology at the National Postal Forum -- In a keynote speech today at the National Postal Forum"the annual mailing industry trade show"Megan Brennan, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service, promoted opportunities for the mailing industry to leverage the rapid adoption of digital and mobile technology by today's consumers. "We've become a device-oriented culture, with laptops, tablets, smartphones and now even watches providing digital and mobile experiences in every aspect of our lives," said Brennan. "The good news is that our industry has a big role to play in that digital future." As consumer trends point to a continued mobile convergence, Brennan advanced the idea that mail can serve as a powerful complement to digital marketing campaigns and play a more prominent role in multi-channel marketing efforts. "When we extend that physical experience of mail into a mobile experience, mail delivers much greater value for the sender and receiver," said Brennan. Citing the technology advances that enable a piece of mail to launch a website, video, or an interactive experience with technologies like augmented reality and QR codes, the Postmaster General believes mail can be a powerful tool for marketers to spark product discovery and drawing consumers into the digital ecosystem of their particular brand. Brennan also revealed that the Postal Service is developing a daily digital notification of mail to be delivered to customers. The project " known as real mail notification " is being piloted in Northern Virginia and enables consumers to use a mobile device to see what's arriving in their physical mailbox. The Postal Service also unveiled several new promotions to spur wider adoption of industry best practices, including the Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion, which is designed to encourage use of advanced inks, papers, sensory features and interactive mail-piece elements; and the Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion, which is designed to encourage the use of QR codes, augmented reality and other features that leverage mail to spark mobile experiences. Click here to view the full transcript of the Postmaster General's keynote address. A video of Brennan's full speech will be posted online when it is available at about.usps.com/news.

MTAC and the U.S. Postal Service Working Together to Enhance the Value of Mail -- MTAC Receives the U.S. Postal Service Partnership for Growth Award.  The U.S. Postal Service recognized the Postmaster General's Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) this week for excellence in driving technology, innovation and supporting growth for the mailing industry. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman presented the Partnership for Growth Award to MTAC at the annual National Postal Forum. The prestigious award recognizes innovation in a rapidly evolving technology environment. "Our collaboration with MTAC is incredibly valuable," said the Postmaster General. "It has endured for 50 years because it allows the Postal Service and the mailing industry to work better together, and it allows us to grow stronger together with a shared commitment to invest in our future." MTAC's leadership has enhanced the value of mail through product development, mail preparation and entry, visibility and service performance measurement, and payment acceptance. MTAC work groups have played instrumental roles in modernizing the mailing industry as the Postal Service evolves through technology. "MTAC is deeply honored to receive the prestigious Partnership for Growth Award," said MTAC Chair Chris Lien. "We've enjoyed a successful relationship with the Postal Service for a half-century, and we look forward to continuing our work together to improve quality, strengthen service and move the mailing industry into the future." MTAC and USPS share technical information with mailers and receive their advice and recommendations on matters concerning mail-related products and services. This enhances the value of mail for customers and expands the use of products and services for the mutual benefit of mailing industry stakeholders and the Postal Service.

Federal News Radio: Working for the federal government can be downright dangerous. Too often, fatal. All IRS personnel, and government (OSHA, meat, mine, wage and hour, health) inspectors never know what to expect when meeting their public. Park rangers sometimes risk life and limb getting customers out of a jam. Federal law enforcement personnel are often a risk. Some Social Security customers, age notwithstanding, can get out of hand. Big time. Especially when it is discovered they have been cashing their deceased mother's checks for a decade. But when it comes to the danger-is-my-business beat, few places can match the U.S. Postal Service. It's huge (600,000 plus people). It's everywhere and it delivers. Some employees spend up to 6 hours a day in a vehicle that makes frequent stops. At one point in its history, the USPS had more accidents per year than the peacetime U.S. Marine Corps. While many of the problems are car related, postals face many industrial-type accidents processing the mail. And dog bites! Big deal.

Politico: The mad dash for Memorial Day is on. Capitol Hill is " again " barreling toward deadlines on must-pass legislative items, this time on government surveillance powers and federal money for roads and bridges. The Senate, particularly the GOP, finds itself in a bind over surveillance, even as the chamber remains bogged down in a contentious fight over trade that's scrambling party lines and eating up valuable floor time. "We got too many deadlines and not enough time," said Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of Senate Republican leadership.

Wall Street Journal: Merchants say the app gives them instant access to customers world-wide. Vendors...use the U.S. Postal Service's ePacket program, which cuts shipping costs by processing goods overseas before they are sent to the U.S. In many cases, it can cost no more to ship a package to the U.S. from China than from elsewhere in the U.S. Like many users, he said the low prices help justify having to wait nearly a month for delivery.  [EdNote: It's a wonderful deal . . . . One that's paid for by cross-subidies from market-dominant mail service fees.]

Post & Parcel: Velopost, a company which operates bicycle postal delivery networks in Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh, is trialing its own post box collection service. The company has installed its first post box at the Bristol Tourism Office on the Waterfront. Customers can purchase Velopost postage stamps from the Tourism Office and then use the post box to send mail to local Bristol addresses through the Velopost network. A company spokesperson told Post&Parcel that the plan is install up to about 30 mail boxes in the Bristol area. "When we started our service in 2011, it was just for businesses and we were collecting the post from businesses premises. But with the post boxes we can also offer a service for the general public." Velopost collects and delivers post within two to three days, at a cost of 36p (including VAT) per item. In addition to its fleet of bicycles, Velopost operates electric Nissan Leaf vehicles for delivering larger items and ferrying mail between its hubs in Bristol and Bath.

New York Times: With traditional mail services in decline, post offices around the world are scrambling to reinvent themselves for the digital age. â€"Sitting on that burning platform, we looked around and said, "where could we develop?" said Wolfgang Baier, the chief executive of SingPost. "There are at least two business trends unfolding before us. One is the death of mail," said Frank Lavin, chief executive of the e-commerce consultancy Export Now. "The second is this boom in e-commerce."

Newstalk1010: Canada Post and the city of Hamilton are bracing for battle -- and municipalities across the country are watching to see who wins. The fight is over just how much of a say local governments can have over where new community mailboxes can be installed. In the face of declining traditional mail volumes, Canada Post announced a plan in December 2013 to end door-to-door delivery and gave itself five years to implement the move to community mailboxes. In Hamilton, after hearing resident complaints over where mailboxes were being placed, city council amended a bylaw which now requires Canada Post to obtain a permit to install the mailboxes on municipal land.

Supply Management: The government has announced grant funding to Mole Solutions for a nine-month feasibility study in Northampton. It will assess the viability of transporting goods in driverless steel carts via underground tubes, powered by magnetic waves produced by electricity. This technology already works above ground with maglev trains, and could be employed underground to propel freight from the town's outskirts to inner town nodal points. The technology could revolutionise the logistics industry and reduce traffic and air pollution.

May 17, 2015 

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • Update - PostalOne!® Release 41.0 Production Deployment- The PostalOne! System will not be available at 12:00 PM CT as previously advised due to a few issues that have been identified. We will notify you when the system becomes available. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.0 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm .
  • PostalOne! Release 41.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur on Monday, May 18, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6:00AM CT and 4:00PM CT. TEM validation will occur on Monday, May 18, 2015 between 11:00AM CT and 4:00PM CT.

The Times of India: In a rare observation coming from the official auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General has appreciated the functioning of the postal department. The reason: deliveries of speed post letters which are more reliable and faster than private courier services.

The Sunday Times: Six days a week, cyclists clad in green jerseys and laden with bulging pannier bags climb the hills of Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh on their morning rounds. The Velopost cyclists deliver letters from GP surgeries, dentists, small businesses and councils, each covering about 25 miles in a shift. Part of a family-owned Somerset printing company, Velopost is one of the newest challengers to Royal Mail's 500-year dominance of Britain's postal service.

Journal of Commerce: Workers at Germany's postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post have launched a new round of strike action, according to the German labor union Verdi continuing this year's wave of industrial action. German workers have already been on strike for twice as many days this year as they were in the whole of 2014, putting Europe's largest economy on course to set a new record for industrial action.

Telegraph: Royal Mail is expected to reveal the brutal impact of fierce competition in Britain's postal market this week when it unveils a dramatic slump in profits. City analysts expect Royal Mail to report a 16pc fall in annual operating profit before one-off charges to £562m despite the demise of two rivals. The weaker performance by the 500-year-old postal service is expected even though it has taken on extra parcel volumes following the collapse of CityLink in December last year and the suspension of delivery services by Whistl last week. It is now handling more than 2m extra letters a day.

May 16, 2015 

Nightly Business Report: Postal Service package push -- Morgan Brennan tells us about the USPS's multi-billion dollar turnaround plan.

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest members:
FCL Graphics
4600 N. Olcott Harwood Heights, IL 60706 represented by Jenna Galecki Director of Postal Affairs
Bell and Howell
3791 S. Alston Avenue Durham, NC 27713 represented by  Timika Brown Marketing Communications Manager 

 PostCom Members !! The 2015 National Postal Forum special issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 28307"28308 [2015"11860] [TEXT] 28307 [2015"11861] [TEXT]

Journal of Commerce: Teamsters union efforts to organize the largest U.S. trucking company, $5.8 billion FedEx Freight, ran into trouble last week in a strongly pro-union town, Chicago. City and road truck drivers at the less-than-truckload carrier's Chicago Heights, Illinois terminal voted against union representation May 8, the company said in a statement. Chicago Heights is the sixth facility where the Teamsters have lost a National Labor Relations Board election since the union began its campaign at FedEx Freight last fall.

Nikkei: Japan Post Holdings' banking and insurance units reported profit growth for the fiscal year ended March, even as its mail delivery business stumbled on rising costs. Japan Post Holdings' net profit inched up 1% to 482.6 billion yen ($4 billion) for the term ended March 31. But at mail subsidiary Japan Post Co., net profit fell by half, with its postal and parcels operation suffering its first operating loss in three years.

Journal of Commerce: Germany's postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post has launched a new round of strike action, according to the German labor union Verdi, continuing this year's wave of industrial action. Workers across most German states are taking part in the walkout. Verdi is expecting "significant disruption," Uwe Speckenwirth, Verdi department head for postal services, told German media, adding that many consumers will be missing their letters and parcels.

May 15, 2015

AdWeek: Actor Danny Glover was on the KTVU morning news yesterday in support of the postal worker's union, which is looking to drum up support since the contract with the USPS expires next week. While Glover was telling viewers about his mom and dad, who were postal workers, anchor Tori Campbell cut him off mid-thought, saying they were almost out of time. She quickly asked Glover what his goal was. "Well, you should have given me more time. That's the first thing," said Glover. "So why don't you go on. If you don't have enough time, then why bother? Just don't give me two minutes." Campbell apologized, saying the station didn't have enough satellite time for a long interview.

Army Times: Free mail has been authorized for U.S. service members and Defense Department civilians serving in support of operations Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic states and Inherent Resolve in Iraq. Under a policy announced May 15 by Army Postal Programs, free mail of 13 ounces or less can be sent from Estonia, Latvia and Iraq by the authorized personnel. Contractors are not eligible for free mail privileges. To use the benefit, mailers must hand write the word "Free" in the upper right corner of the items mailed from the designated locations.

CBSLocal: A "strong, sweet" odor forced the evacuation of a New Jersey post office and brought hazmat crews to the scene Friday morning. The incident happened at about 9:30 a.m. at the United States Postal Service office on Route 130 in Hamilton Township, Mercer County. According to a USPS spokesperson, workers were evacuated after a "strong, sweet odor" was detected inside the building's annex. It was not immediately known if the odor was coming from the mail area or kitchen. Chopper 3 HD was over the scene of the post office where it showed hazmat workers dressed in protective yellow suits examining postal trucks and bins outside the building. The hazmat workers were also seen entering the building. There were no immediate reports of any injuries. The exact cause of the hazmat investigation was not immediately known. The incident remains under investigation.

+++ The Passing of Former PRC Chairman George Haley +++

We note with sadness the passing of former Postal Rate Commissioner George Haley, age 89. Haley was elected to the Senate in 1964 as a Republican representing Kansas City, Kan., and served one term. Haley was close to Martin Luther King Jr. Haley attended Morehouse College in Atlanta with King, graduating in 1949. He went on to earn a law degree from the University of Arkansas in 1952, one of just two blacks at the school. According to The History Makers, an African American history collection, Haley endured overt racism but was a top scholar and wrote for the law review. Haley joined the law firm of Stevens Jackson in Kansas City, Kan., which provided assistance on the desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education. Haley ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1966 and later joined a law firm in Washington D.C. before establishing his own practice in 1981. Haley served under six presidents, including as chairman of the Postal Rate Commission under President George H.W. Bush and as U.S. ambassador to Gambia from 1998 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. The ambassadorship was poignant because Alex Haley had traced the family's history to Gambia for the book Roots.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission:

  •  NOTICES Changes in Postal Prices , 28015"28016 [2015"11684] [[TEXT]]
  • Meetings; Sunshine Act , 28015 [2015"11978] [TEXT]

eCommerceBytes: Two republicans on the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to the US Postmaster General demanding she turn over details about the agency's competitive products operations. (See item below.) While it is lawful for the Postal Service to offer competitive services, its market dominant services can't subsidize them, and that's what's at the center of the investigation.

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: In a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Mark Meadows wrote:

Since fiscal year 2008, competitive products volume has grown from 1.574 billion pieces in fiscal year 2008 to 3.448 billion pieces in fiscal year 2014. Market-dominant mail volume has declined dramatically over the same period, from 201 billion pieces to just 152 billion pieces. As a result, the Postal Service now relies on competitive products for 22.5 percent of its total revenue, more than double the percentage in 2008. While the Postal Service's recent package related revenue growth has provided a muchneeded financial bright spot, the Postal Service must abide by the necessarily complicated legal framework to ensure compliance with the statutory prohibition on cross-subsidization of competitive products by market-dominant products and revenue.

Under this regulatory scheme-established as a result of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (P AEA)-the Postal Service is required to account for the costs attributable to market-dominant and competitive products separately. Competitive products are then required to cover all attributable costs, plus a share of the "institutional costs," at a rate determined by the Postal Regulatory Commission. Additionally, the Postal Service is required to pay a portion of competitive products revenue to the market-dominant side of its ledger to approximate any federal taxes owed on what would be considered competitive-side profits if the Postal Service were a private-sector company. The growth in competitive products revenue makes the PAEA's related provisions far more important than expected at the time of enactment. Opportunities for unlawful crosssubsidization exist in a number of areas. In fact, some of the Postal Service's actions and public statements have heightened the Committee's concerns about cross-subsidization. For example, a "Frequently Asked Questions" document the Postal Service produced regarding its Phase 2 Network Rationalization plan stated:

"[C]ost savings realized through this and other initiatives should better position the Postal Service to make the needed investment in package processing and other automation equipment, and in our delivery fleet, which will help us to grow our package business."

Given that Postal Service "package delivery" products are almost solely competitive in nature, it is important to ensure the bright line separation between market-dominant and competitive products is maintained. To help the Committee better understand the state of the Postal Service's competitive products operations, we are requesting information regarding competitive products' assets, revenue, service performance, and other materials. Specifically, please provide the following documents and information no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 26, 2015:

1. Service performance comparisons for each competitive product for fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2014.
2. A list of all capital assets over $10 million purchased since October 1, 2007, and a depreciation schedule outlining how each purchase was subsequently expensed to market-dominant and competitive products.
3. A detailed explanation of the planned cost attribution to market-dominant and competitive products for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Acquisition Program.
4. A detailed explanation of why cost attribution, as a percentage of total costs, has declined since the passage of PAEA.
5. Proforma financial statements in an Income Statement format proscribed by Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles for the following products: First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, each Competitive Product, and other for fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2014.
6. The Postal Service's methodology used to attribute costs for packages delivered on Sundays, including how USPS determines which costs are attributable and institutional and how USPS allocates attributable costs to market-dominant and competitive products.
7. The Competitive Products Enterprise Statement of Allocated Assets and Liabilities required by 39 CFR §3060.14 for fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2014.
8. The Income Report, the Financial Status Report, the Identified Property and Equipment Assets Report, and the Competitive Products Report that were required to be filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission pursuant to 39 CFR 3060.20 for fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2014.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal investigative oversight committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and may at "any time" investigate "any matter" as set f011h in House Rule X.  When producing documents to the Committee, please deliver production sets to the majority staff in Room 2157 of the Rayburn House Office Building and the minority staff in Room 2471 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee prefers, if possible, to receive all documents in electronic format. An attachment to this letter provides additional information about responding to the Committee's request.

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Committee members Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), will host a bipartisan roundtable on rural postal issues on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.  Presenters: Tonda Rush, Chief Executive Officer, National Newspaper Association (NNA); Margaret Cigno, Director of the Office of Accountability & Compliance (OAC), Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC); Anthony Leonardi, National President, National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS); Jean Marc Favreau, Counsel, National Rural Letter Carriers' Association

Wall Street Journal: FedEx lost a motion in a legal case that is an important test of how much responsibility parcel carriers bear for the contents of the packages they carry. The WSJ's Laura Stevens reports a judge on Thursday denied a motion to dismiss federal charges of conspiracy to distribute illegal prescription drugs, refusing to go along with FedEx's argument that it is protected as a common carrier. Also at stake is a fine that could be double the $820 million that the Department of Justice says FedEx took in from "rogue Internet pharmacies."

Financial Times: Interfering with the mail is a criminal offence that could bring a heavy fine or imprisonment. Trying to compete with Royal Mail can also be costly, as Whistl discovered this week. The only rival to offer door-to door letter delivery suspended its services and 2,000 staff after racking up heavy losses. Nick Wells, Whistl chief executive, blames Royal Mail's "anti-competitive and predatory pricing" practices for its difficulties.

The Australian: It's hard to imagine today, but in the 19th century the most admired and emulated entity in the world was a postal service: the German -postal service. It was considered one of the wonders of the modern world, a harbinger of the efficiency and integrity of an amazing future.

The Japan Times: Japan Post Co. said Friday it will increase its basic Yu-Pack parcel delivery fees by 4.8 percent on average starting Aug. 1, the first price hike in 23 years. The measure is designed to cover rises in delivery and labor costs. The basic fees mainly apply to services for individuals. The postal unit of the gargantuan Japan Post Holdings Co. delivers some 500 million parcels a year under the Yu-Pack service. The hike means about 70 million of them will be subject to new pricing.

Canada NewsWire: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers welcomes the announcement today from the New Democratic Party of Canada, that if elected, they will restore home mail delivery to those whose service has been cut by the Conservative government.

The Jakarta Post: Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) Group's Disaster Response Team (DRT) will extend its deployment till May. The extension comes after another heavy earthquake hit the region on 12 May and causing additional devastation to the area. The 18-strong team of volunteers from DHL, all logistics experts and trained in disaster management, were deployed in three waves and tasked with improving logistics operations at Tribhuvan Kathmandu International Airport for incoming relief supplies. Over the last three weeks, the DRT handled over 2,000 tons of incoming relief supplies, sorting and moving goods with limited equipment into centralized airside warehouses run by the United Nations World Food Programme for further distribution by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Malta Independent: MaltaPost has successfully upgraded the security of its website after a report published in the last edition of The Malta Independent on Sunday highlighted a number of security weaknesses, turning its website into one of Malta's most secure in the process.

CBC: The backlash against Canada Post is growing, with four mayors in the greater Montreal area joining the legal battle against the Crown corporation's decision to phase out urban home mail delivery by 2018.

Post & Parcel: Dutch postal service PostNL has introduced automated parcel locker terminals at transport hubs in the Netherlands. The company is working with Polish parcel locker supplier InPost on the project, which has seen self-service parcel pick-up and drop-off points introduced in Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport. The lockers have also appeared at railway stations in Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Breda, Eindhoven, Leiden and Almere. The service, operated under the brand "Pakketautomaten" gives customers the chance to collect parcels, including e-commerce purchases, 24 hours a day, seven days a week while they go about their travels.

Post & Parcel: A special task force acting on behalf of Ghana's Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC) arrested 13 illegal courier service operators in Accra this week. Courier companies operating in Ghana are obliged to register with the PCSRC and have a valid licence.

Postal Technology International: TNT Italy has launched a bike delivery service to cover a designated traffic restricted zone in the city center of Milan, Italy. TNT's five cyclists will replace the four vans that formerly served the area, generating an overall CO₂ reduction of between 110 lb and 176 lb per day. Each biker will travel an average of 12 miles each day, the equivalent of approximately 3100 miles per year. Making nearly 80 stops daily, the cyclists will maintain a level of productivity similar to levels achieved previously by the traditional vans. TNT's bike delivery service uses "Fixie" bicycles, or bikes with fixed gears rather than multiple gears, provided by BH Bikes. These bikes are light (26 lb), practical and easy to drive in the congested downtown area.

May 14, 2015

Timberjay: What a mess. That's the only way to describe the current status of mail delivery in our area in the wake of the closure of the Duluth processing facility last month. It's a far cry from the "seamless" transition promised by postal service spokespeople back in February when they confirmed plans to shutter Duluth's mail processing center. If the past few weeks are any indicator, however, I'd say the seams are pretty frayed right now. Easily, one

WANE: The U.S. Postal Service released its top 30 dog attack city rankings in advance of National Dog Bite Prevention Week next week. Across the country, 5,767 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year. "There's a myth we often hear at the Postal Service: Don't worry, my dog won't bite," said Postal Service Manager of Safety Linda DeCarlo. "Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership." Big cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Dallas all make the top five list from 2014. Others include . . . .

WorkersCompensation: Officials recently delivered some bad news for the U.S. Postal Service at one of its locations in Chicago (2643 N. Clark). Earlier this year,the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Chicago North Area Office initiated an inspection of the mail sorting facility after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions. OSHA found workers were exposed to various electrical hazards and issued two repeated, four serious and one other-than-serious violation with proposed penalties of $63,540. "The Postal Service has a responsibility to make sure equipment is maintained in good working order," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines. "Each year hundreds of workers are injured by electrical hazards in the workplace. The Postal Service needs to re-evaluate this facility and correct these hazards immediately."

usps logo DMM Advisory:  New ACS™ Ancillary Service Option and Intelligent Mail® Barcode Service Type IDs.  Beginning July 25, 2015, a new ACS™ Ancillary Service Option and new Intelligent Mail® barcode Service Type IDs will be available. Change Service Requested (CSR) Option 2 for Standard Mail® letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter flats: • Intelligent Mail® barcode is required. • CSR Option 2 is only available with ACS . • Undeliverable mail (UAA) will be forwarded when there is a current change-of-address on file. • A Forwarded Fee will be charged for each piece that is forwarded (see https://ribbs.usps.gov/acs for more details). • All other UAA mail will be discarded. • Provides an ACS notice for both forwarded and discarded mail. • Avoids returned mail and weighted fee charges. More information on this new ACS ancillary service option can be found at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/acs. Intelligent Mail® barcode Service Type ID information for this service can be found at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/stids.

Office of the Inspector General:

The Postal Service wants to improve the customer experience in an effort to increase loyalty and revenue. It hopes to improve customer satisfaction by anticipating customers' behavior and predicting their future needs using a major management initiative: Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency (DRIVE) Initiative 25 - Improve Customer Service. We are conducting an audit to find out whether DRIVE 25 used established DRIVE project management processes such as establishing aggressive goals, measuring and reviewing performance, and conducting proper oversight. 1. What can the Postal Service do to ensure the success of this DRIVE initiative? 2. Do you know of steps other companies or industries have taken to achieve similar goals? 3. What elements of customer service should the Postal Service track to ensure the success of this initiative?

Postal Service executives depend on data to manage their business strategies and daily activities. They need efficient access to quality data to ensure they are making the most informed decisions for the organization. We've been conducting a series of audits of the data postal officers use. And we're planning next to focus on the chief operating officer and executive vice president's (COO) use of data. The COO is responsible for the daily activities of 491,000 career employees working in more than 31,000 facilities supported by a fleet of over 200,000 vehicles. Are you familiar with the COO's use of date? How does the COO use data to manage activities and mitigate risk? Does the COO have the right tools and data to make informed decisions? What information do you think the COO should focus on for effective decision making?

Postalnews.com: From an APWU report -- The Postal Service's second quarter performance scores are in " but you wouldn't know it from looking at their website. Instead of posting a press release bragging about on-time delivery scores " as management typically does " the results are tucked away at the bottom of the Postal Regulatory Commission's daily filings page and buried on an obscure page on the USPS website. So what exactly is the Postal Service trying to hide? The results are bad " very bad. The APWU has not yet had the chance to fully analyze the official, published reports, but we know from an analysis of preliminary results that on-time delivery of first-class mail dropped dramatically in early 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

Associated Press: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will test a new unlimited shipping service for online shoppers this summer that will be priced below Amazon's $99 per year Prime service. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the shipping subscription service will cost customers $50 a year. Products will arrive in three days or less.

If you missed the Pre-MTAC Mail Prep and Entry and Visibility/Service Performance Measurement/Addressing Focus Session webinars on May 6 and 7, they are now available on the MTAC page on RIBBS under MTAC Notes and Presentations, 2015. Links to the recordings are available on the title page of the presentations.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

MISAsia: Snail mail in Singapore will soon take a shorter time to be delivered, with Singapore Post's (SingPost) deployment of Toshiba Asia Pacific's new integrated postal automation system. The new system -- which replaces 26 older machines -- comprises 16 various machines that can rapidly sort letters, mail packages and flats such as publications. The machines leverage Toshiba's optical character recognition (OCR) system to identify and read mail addresses and barcodes to process 42,000 letters per hour with high accuracy rate, said Toshiba. - See more at: http://www.mis-asia.com/tech/industries/snail-mail-in-singapore-gets-a-boost-from-toshiba/#sthash.5fEgE7mg.dpuf

Post & Parcel: Austrian Post has said a "subdued" economy and "intensified" competition is hampering its parcels business. The company issued its financial results for the first quarter of 2015 showing that growth in the parcels business is more than countering the ongoing decline in the mail business caused by the electronic substitution for physical letter volumes. But Austrian Post said high levels of competition, particularly in Germany where 55% of its parcels business is generated, is putting pressure on prices and its market shares and hitting growth despite the boost from the growing e-commerce industry.

Wall Street Journal: One reason Italy's gross domestic product and labor productivity have stalled is the lack of competition. Overregulation, lack of transparency and anachronistic economic rents guaranteed by the law have combined to stifle growth. Barriers to competition hamper growth by increasing costs, reducing incentives to invest in innovation and limiting social mobility. Costs in the Italian service sector, for instance, are significantly higher than the rest of the European Union, and even higher than Italy's own manufacturing sector, which is exposed to the pressures of international trade. Liberalization would drive down costs and free up resources for more productive investments, leading to higher GDP growth, increased investments and more jobs. In the postal sector, any legal monopolies still held by Poste Italiane, such as its monopoly in the delivery of judicial notifications, would be eliminated. This is an important measure toward the privatization of the national postal service through the removal of potentially anticompetitive regulations.

Tamebay: NetDespatch has helped Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury to speed up their order processing and despatch procedures. The implementation of a cost-free web-based solution seamlessly integrates with the company's ecommerce system, XSellco. The solution has eliminated input errors and expedited overall order fulfilment.

Reuters: The chief executive of Portugal's postal service CTT said on Thursday preparations to open a postal banking service are going well and he is confident it will be done by the end of 2015.

May 13, 2015 

Associated Press: Those birthday cards, bills and other first-class stamped mail often are taking a little longer to get to their destination. Newly-released figures from the U.S. Postal Service show a decline in on-time delivery for first-class stamped mail for the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year. An independent organization that tests service performance for the Post Office found about 63 percent of first-class mail that would typically take three to five days - a letter sent from Washington to Boston, for example - arrived on time. That's down from about 84 percent during the same period in 2014. The Postal Service says horrible winter weather that grounded flights and disrupted service in many parts of the country was part of the problem.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 41.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.0 will deploy on Sunday, May 17, 2015. This release includes new business functionality, updates to existing functionality, and database maintenance activities. This release will require an extended maintenance window. The PostalOne! system will not be available from May 17, 2015 12:00 AM CT(midnight) through 10:00 AM CT. There will be a mandatory Mail.dat® client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.0 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm .
  • PostalOne! Release 41.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur on Monday, May 18, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6:00AM CT and 4:00PM CT. TEM validation will occur on Monday, May 18, 2015 between 11:00AM CT and 4:00PM CT.

Press Release: Bell and Howell understands that mailing operations that handle small parcels have different needs than those that mainly handle large ones. The company's new Smalls ParcelMgr™ sorting system will help maximize U.S. Postal Service discounts for organizations that routinely ship more than 2,000 small parcels (under 5 lbs.) per day. Smalls ParcelMgr support numerous USPS® rate categories including First Class package services, priority mail and flats; and Bell and Howell's software suite is evolving to meet future needs of parcel shippers. Smalls ParcelMgr can add speed and value to organizations such as eCommerce and prescription fulfilment operations, flats mailers and operations that send padded mailers under 16 oz. or polybags in volume. The Smalls ParcelMgr system is designed to meet all USPS regulatory requirements for parcels mailing, including the Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMpb). Users can minimize operational expenses by automating the labeling process to earn even larger postal discounts. For shippers that receive intermixed flats mail and parcels from their customers, ParcelMgr automatically processes "on the fly" using the most economical shipping method based on a customer's business rules, and can simultaneously process different types of mail and parcels.

Attention Business Customer Gateway Users   Program Registration Release 14.0.0.0 " will be deployed to Production from 00:00 am (Midnight) to 10:00 am CDT on Sunday, May 17, 2015. There will be an outage and the Online Enrollment Service and Incentive Program accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during that time.

Daily Journal: Federal regulators are criticizing the U.S. Postal Service's decision to close the Yantic Post Office in 2012, saying officials did not properly consider public input. Elisabeth Shellan, a public representative for the Postal Regulatory Commission, issued a seven-page report Monday recommending the commission reconsider the closing. The commission is scheduled to vote on the appeal on June 17.

Los Angeles Times: The on-demand pickup, packaging and posting service Shyp launched in Los Angeles on Wednesday, bringing with it a 20,000-square-foot packing and shipping facility in Commerce, and plans to employ dozens of delivery contractors. Founded in San Francisco a year ago, the start-up aims to solve what co-founder Kevin Gibbons described as the most "painful" part of shipping an item " packing something and taking it to the post office.

Updated USPS Extra Service Forms New and Updated Forms Available Soon. As part of the Postal Service's ongoing efforts to simplify products and services, effective May 31, 2015, several updated and two new Extra Service forms will be implemented. Certain new or revised Extra Service forms can either be printed by customers at: http://about.usps.com/forms-publications/welcome.htm (PS Forms 3606, 3606-D, 3665, 3806, 3811-A, and 3877) or ordered online at: https://store.usps.com/store/ (PS Forms 153, 3800, 3811, 3813, 3813-P, and 3816). These Extra Service forms will be available for printing or ordering by customers on May 15, 2015, but are not intended for use until May 31, 2015. For mailers who privately print Extra Service forms, the same certification process as stated in DMM 503.1.7.2 must be followed for the new or revised forms.  The available new and revised forms are:  

Extra Service PS Form #

Extra Service Form Name

Change Status

153

Signature Confirmation Receipt

Updated

3606

Certificate of Bulk Mailing (International)*

Updated

3606-D

Certificate of Bulk Mailing (Domestic)*

New Form

3665

Certificate of Mailing " Firm (Domestic)*

New Form

3800

Certified Mail Receipt

Updated

3804

Return Receipt for Merchandise

Updated

3811

Domestic Return Receipt

Updated

3811-A

Request for Delivery Information/Return Receipt

Updated

3813

Insured Mail Receipt $500 and Under

Updated

3813-P

Insured Mail Receipt Over $500

Updated

3816

Collect on Delivery

Updated

3877

Firm Mailing Book for Accountable Mail*

Updated

The Hill: The Obama administration is threatening to take "alternative options" to close military bases if Congress continues through its annual defense bill to block the Pentagon from conducting another round of closures. On Wednesday, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness and management support, announced the Senate's version of the bill would also prohibit base closures. [EdNote: To anyone listening to yesterday's HSGAC round table, this should have a familiar ring.]

Wall Street Journal: Office space in Silicon Valley isn't the only real estate that's gotten scarce in the booming technology market. The U.S. organization that distributes some of the Internet's most important virtual property is running out of inventory. Some savvy companies have been stocking up, but the shortage could mean headaches"and significant costs"for U.S. businesses looking to expand on the Internet. The limited supply of new Internet Protocol addresses is nearly gone. Asia essentially ran out in 2011, and Europe a year later. North America's allotment is due to dry up this summer.

Direct Marketing News: At a Senate committee roundtable convened by postal reform advocate Tom Carper (D-DE) yesterday, perhaps the most sensible, quick-fix solution to the Postal Service's financial ills was offered up by James Sauber, chief of staff of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC): Stop buying government T-bills with the retiree healthcare fund and put it in the hands of private investors instead. On a panel asked by Carper to name their top two suggestions for saving the Postal Service, Sauber had but one to offer. "Think about requiring the [Office of Personnel Management] to invest the fund in something more sensible. Healthcare costs are growing five to seven percent annually and Treasury securities are yielding two to three percent," Sauber said. Sauber pointed out that both the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and Amtrak had established safeguards to allow them to invest healthcare assets in low-cost index funds that provided higher returns. Were the Postal Service to do the same, according to an analysis done at NALC'S behest, the Postal Service's Retiree Healthcare Benefit fund's funding percentage would rise from 94% to 118% over the subsequent decade, Sauber said. "This is a significant policy innovation that would allow us to reduce pressure on raising postage rates and cutting services. And it just makes good business sense."

KSBY: The U.S. Postal Service is warning its customers about a scam. Officials there say customers have been receiving bogus emails, claiming to be from the USPS, about a package delivery or online postage charges. The emails contain a link or attachment that can install a virus on your computer if opened. Officials say that virus could steal your personal information. Postal inspectors say, if you get an email like this, just delete it. To report a postal-related scam, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS or send an email to spam@uspis.gov.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 27352 [2015"11478] [TEXT]

Federal News Radio: $1.5 billion. Let that sink in for a minute. That's how much money the Postal Service lost in just the first three months of 2015. Enough to fund the Internal Revenue Service for more than one entire month. Poof! Gone. Francis Rose Postal Service salvation proposals have included cutting delivery days, changing the benefits package, emphasizing services like package delivery and even some ideas that seem far out of the USPS' business lines, such as data mining and banking services. But even the most radical of these solutions doesn't get at the real problem. America doesn't need its Postal Service as much as it used to. It doesn't need as much Postal Service as it has today. And it will need even less Postal Service a decade from now. So rather than picking around the edges like most postal reform measures do, Congress' efforts should focus on solutions that will make the Postal Service healthy in 2030 and beyond, not just in the next few years. True Postal Service reform should include three concepts . . . .

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a bipartisan briefing that explored the challenges and opportunities facing the Postal Service in the digital age. Members heard from key stakeholders including the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, the National Association of Letter Carriers, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hallmark, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, about the hurdles facing the Postal Service in an era dominated by electronic communications and what tools the agency needs to innovate and thrive in the 21st century. You can watch a webcast of the roundtable here.

"For years, the Postal Service has worked hard to compete in the digital age " keeping prices as low as possible, generating new revenue where it can, and taking significant steps to reduce its costs. The Postal Service needs to continue to grow through innovation," said Sen. Carper. "Despite its serious financial challenges, the Postal Service is doing what it can to not just remain relevant, but to thrive. It's partnering with Amazon.com to delivery groceries in some communities and deliver packages overnight in a growing number of zip codes " including on Sundays. It's helping UPS, FedEx, and other private shippers to grow their businesses by taking packages the last mile. However, it can only do so much within its legislative and financial restraints. The Postal Service needs freedom and flexibility to grow through innovation and explore additional ways to make money in the digital age by leveraging its unique 200-year-old distribution network. As we learned during today's discussion, that opportunity can only come through comprehensive reform from Congress. I look forward to continuing this important and constructive conversation on what Congress needs to do to help the Postal Service." Senator Carper held a bipartisan briefing on the Postal Service's financial status last month. A third roundtable, which will focus on rural postal issues, is planned for Tuesday, May 19 at 2:30 PM.

Hellenic Shipping News: Italy will try to jump-start its privatization plans by providing potential investors with key details of assets such as the postal system and national railways by the end of June, Premier Matteo Renzi's economic adviser said.

Post & Parcel: People living in rural Estonia can now withdraw cash from their bank accounts through a new service provided by local mail delivery staff. Omniva, the state-owned postal operator that still runs its domestic postal services under the name Eesti Post after last year's rebrand, launched the new service at the end of April. The service sees mail carriers using portable card payment terminals to allow customers to withdraw cash using their bank cards and a PIN number. Customers can take out up to EUR 400 each time, but have to submit an order to Eesti Post's customer service centre by phone ahead of time. The new offering improves the availability of cash in rural areas.

Post & Parcel: Israel Postal Company is cutting back on its national network of mailboxes, in response to a sharp decline in the volume of mail being sent through the red boxes. Local sources report that there are currently about 4,000 mailboxes in Israel and the company plans to prune the network down to about 2,500. However, many believe that the cuts may go much deeper, judging by the scale of closures in Jerusalem, where the downsizing has begun.

Wamda: The lack of standardized postal addresses means more time spent trying to deliver orders, and in worst case scenarios means undeliverable orders, a huge challenge for e-shop owners, restaurants and businesses whose business models rely on deliveries. The field should be wide open for imaginative and creative entrepreneurs to make locations easily identifiable. In fact, some entrepreneurs have tried to do this over the last few years, but they had limited success. Some companies, like Aramex and BoxStop, are getting around this problem by having orders delivered to a locker or a convenience store where customers can collect the delivery themselves.

May 12, 2015 

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Roundtable: "The Challenges and Opportunities for the Postal Service in a Digital Age" The briefing will be a roundtable discussion analyzing the challenges and opportunities facing the Postal Service in the digital age. Members will be able to use this briefing to assess the hurdles facing the Postal Service and identify the tools the Postal Service needs to innovate and thrive in the 21st century.

Presenters:

  • Donald Hall, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Hallmark
  • Jim Cochrane, Acting Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, U.S. Postal Service
  • Tammy Whitcomb, Deputy Inspector General, U.S Postal Service Office of Inspector General
  • Lori Rectanus, Director, Physical Infrastructure, U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • James W. Sauber, Chief of Staff, National Association of Letter Carriers

PostCom has made available an extemporaneous recap of comments.on this site.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

  • Position Available: The Postal Regulatory Commission has an exciting employment opportunity for a highly motivated, highly skilled person with experience as a Financial Analyst.  This Office is responsible for promoting United States Postal Service transparency and accountability by establishing and maintaining a modern system to regulate rates, ensuring Postal Service compliance with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), making recommendations based on the analysis of financial reports from the Postal Service, and preparing annual and periodic reports to Congress. The Office of Accountability and Compliance serves the Commission and Commissioners, the Postal Service, mailers, the U.S. Department of State, and the American public.
  • National Payroll Hours Summary Report Pay Period 10-FY2015
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92259/Letter_Payroll_PP10FY15_20150511161225.pdf
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92259/NationalPayrollSummary_PP10_2015.xlsx
  • Revenue, Pieces and Weight by Classes of Mail and Special Services for Quarter 2, Fiscal Year 2015,Compared with the Corresponding Period of Fiscal Year 2014  http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92258/Fy2015Q2_RPWsummaryreport_public_PRC%20Methodology.xls
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92258/Letter%20RPW%20Q2%20FY15_20150511161709.pdf
  • Quarterly Performance Reports for Quarter 2 of FY 2015
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92257/Letter_QuartPerf_Q2FY15_.pdf
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92257/QuarterlyPerfQ2FY15_.zip
  • Docket No. R2013-11 -- Presiding Officer'Sinformation Request No. 17

    "To further clarify the amount of exigent surcharge revenue collected, the Postal Service is requested to provide a written response to the following request. The Postal Service shall file revised workpapers for its Revenue Collection Report for Quarter 1 FY2015 to reflect any corrections resulting from its responses to the following questions. The Postal Service shall also make conforming changes to the workpapers filed withits Revenue Collection Report for Quarter 2of FY 2014, its Revenue Collection Report for Quarter 3of FY 2014and its Revenue Collection Report for Quarter 4 of FY 2014. The next quarterly report, the Revenue Collection Report for Quarter 2of FY 2015, is due on May15, 2015. The Postal Service should ensure that it is consistent with the corrections the Postal Service makes to previous reports in response to the questions below.The informationrequested should be provided no later than May 15,2015."

The Hill: Postal workers are rallying for expanded hours that would lead to more stable jobs. The American Postal Workers Union, which represents many of the behind the scenes postal workers like counter clerks and those who sort through mail but not the letter carriers, is organizing a nationwide protest Thursday. Hundreds of postal workers in more than 85 cities will protest in front of local post office buildings. They'll urge customers to sign postcards declaring "I stand with postal workers" that they'll later deliver to the postmaster general. Actor Danny Glover, who used to work for the post office, will join the protests Thursday in Washington, D.C., to call for longer hours.

PRNewswire: Consumers and businesses can now manage their postal mail and packages online, 24/7, from anywhere by signing up for a mailbox address at any shipping store in the iPostal1 network, soon to include all 50 states. With a digital mailbox, also known as a virtual mailbox, customers can forward mail and packages with more control and flexibility, see a scan of mail content, and add a phone or fax line to create a virtual office. Today, individuals or families that want secure package delivery or the privacy of an alternative address and phone number, students on the go, expats living abroad, frequent travelers, RVers and boaters, as well as those who spend time at second homes or need to manage mail for elderly parents are all benefiting from the ease, immediacy and control of an iPostal1 digital mailbox. PO Box renters will definitely love the convenience of an online PO Box, which means not having to go to their PO Box location to know what mail they've received. Customers get a mailbox address at a shipping store that works just like a street address, where their mail is received and stored. Via a mobile app for Apple and Android, or on any tablet or computer, customers receive a notification when new mail arrives and see an image of the outside of every item in their mailbox. With just a tap or click, they can forward mail or packages, scan or store a document, recycle or shred unwanted mail, or deposit a check. Monthly digital mailbox prices start at $9.99.

US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit: The case on price cap implication of Full Service Intelligent Mail barcode has been remanded to the Commission to "enunicate an intelligent standard and then reconsider its decision in light of that standard."

"The principal issue in this case is whether the Commission is correct in its view that its rate cap authority extends beyond the regulation of posted rates to regulation of Postal Service operational rules that have "rate effects." The Postal Service contends that the Act and applicable regulations plainly forbid the Commission from characterizing mail preparation requirements as "changes in rates." In addition, the Postal Service argues that the Commission's Order on Price Adjustments is arbitrary and capricious because the standard that it invokes to determine when changes in mail preparation requirements constitute "changes in rates" is incomprehensible.

"In our view, the Act and applicable regulations are ambiguous with respect to whether the Commission's authority extends to the regulation of operational rules that have "rate effects." We therefore reject the Postal Service's claim that the "plain meaning" of the Act and regulations positively forbid the Commission from counting an operational change that has rate effects as a "change in rates." The Commission's interpretation of the Act thus does not fail under Step One of Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). We agree with the Postal Service, however, that the Commission's Order cannot survive arbitrary and capricious review. The standard enunciated by the Commission to determine when requirements changes are "changes in rates" seems boundless thus, unreasonable; and the Commission's inconsistent application of the standard in this case proves the point."

Gizmag: In an age of Twitter, Facebook, and texting, a physical mailbox may seem like a relic of the dead (letter) past, but postal theft is still a big problem and people still get annoyed at fruitless journeys to the curb. The Gate smart mailbox is a 21st century variation on the old switch-and-doorbell mailbox alert setup that not only lets you know when the post arrives, but is also intended to combat theft.

eCommerceBytes: The USPS has touted its efforts to cut costs, but it's also getting hammered on the issue of slow and undeliverable mail. A bipartisan group of senators told Postmaster General Megan Brennan that slow mail delivery and poor service was hitting rural America hard. And a new report is out from the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) saying the Postal Service is failing to stem the rise in undeliverable mail.

Heartland.org: "Big Government Advocates Say They Want More Competition " Their ‘Solutions' Result in Less"

KRMG: Have you ever moved and not filed a forwarding address with the Postal Service? Or maybe you keep getting letters for someone who used to live where you are now? Did you ever send a letter with an error in the address? If you answer ‘yes' to any of those, it might make you shrug your shoulders as no big deal, but to the Postal Service it means big money, with figures showing the mail system spent $1.5 billion in 2014 simply due to wrong addresses on letters. "As many as 40 percent of people who move do not inform the Postal Service," internal investigators reported, which means the Postal Service has to expend energy " and resources " to deal with that undelivered mail.

Bidness Etc.: Bidness Etc estimates that even with the TNT acquisition, FedEx may have a hard time keeping up with UPS. The latter has already started increasing operations in the region by expanding its fleet. FedEx is currently awaiting approval for the deal from the regulatory authorities to proceed to the second step.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 27205 [2015"11367] [TEXT]

Office of the Inspector General:

  • U.S. Postal Service's Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency Initiative 43 " Building a World-Class Package Platform -- "In fiscal year (FY) 2011, the U.S. Postal Service established 36 Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency (DRIVE) initiatives to improve its business strategy. DRIVE initiatives are to be bold and aggressive and have measurable outcomes. DRIVE Initiative 43 " Building a World-Class Package Platform has 10 projects that are supposed to increase cumulative package volume by 35 percent. Our objective was to determine whether the DRIVE 43 Initiative used established DRIVE project management processes. Read our report."
  • Highway Contract Routes " Extra Trips in the Greater Indiana District -- The U.S. Postal Service uses highway contract routes (HCR) to transport mail between its facilities and other designated points. The Postal Service uses Postal Service (PS) Form 5397, Contract Route Extra Trip Authorization, to authorize extra trips and PS Form 5429, Certification of Exceptional Contract Service Performed, to certify trip completion and payment due the supplier. This is the second in a series of reports on HCR extra trips. Our objective was to assess HCR extra trips in the Greater Indiana District. Read our report.


The latest issue of Mailing Systems Technology is now available online.
 

USPS Webinar Schedule Week of May 11, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

11:00am EDT Print and Deliver Shipping Label Service Attendee Information: US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 17345128  Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=eaea37f39e55e0ab387f690b97de44291

1:00pm EDT May 2015 Price Change (all classes) US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 38308730 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=edd13c51fc1551adfbc519a79b6f78e7a

2:00pm EDT Customer Supplier Agreements Note: Registration is required.  US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (877) 294-2949 Conference ID: 28422383 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e596db1429162916782b2ebd63122b758

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1:00pm EDT May 2015 Price Change (Periodicals only) US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 38308746 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb03b6d8ead186aa4b93d6b048d32eb1e

 Thursday, May 14, 2015

1:00pm EDT May 2015 Price Change (all classes) US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 38308747 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec1491e0a3588092a123c8ca949daecbc

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) will hold a bipartisan roundtable titled "The Challenges and Opportunities for the Postal Service in a Digital Age" on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The briefing will be a roundtable discussion analyzing the challenges and opportunities facing the Postal Service in the digital age. Members will be able to use this briefing to assess the hurdles facing the Postal Service and identify the tools the Postal Service needs to innovate and thrive in the 21st century. To watch a live stream of the roundtable meeting, please go to http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/media/minority-media/member-roundtable-the-challenges-and-opportunities-for-the-postal-service-in-a-digital-age.
WHAT U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) hosts roundtable: "The Challenges and Opportunities for the Postal Service in a Digital Age."  Participants:  (1) Donald Hall, Jr. President and Chief Executive Officer Hallmark (2) Tammy Whitcomb Deputy Inspector General U.S Postal Service Office of Inspector General (3) Lori Rectanus Director, Physical Infrastructure U.S. Government Accountability Office (4) James W. Sauber Chief of Staff National Association of Letter Carriers

USPS 2015 Promotion Schedule Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion Dates Revised. On May 7, 2015, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the proposed prices and classifications for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services which include the full 2015 Promotion Calendar. While none of the promotion requirements have changed, the dates for the Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion have been revised. All 2015 Promotions will be implemented as follows:

 

 Earned Value

Emerging & Advanced  Technology

 Color Transpromo

Mail Drives Mobile Engagement

Registration Period

Closed

March 15 " November 30, 2015

April 15 " Nov. 30, 2015

May 15 " December 31, 2015

Promotion Period

May 1 " July 31, 2015

June 1 " November 30, 2015

June 1 " Nov. 30, 2015

July 1 " December 31, 2015

Eligible

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail and Standard Mail

First Class Mail

Standard Mail

Federal Times: The Postal Service has saved about $200 million so far this fiscal year as gas prices remain lower than expected, according to the agency. Joseph Corbett, the chief financial officer at the Postal Service, said in a conference call with reporters May 8 that if the low gas prices continue the agency could save a total of $400 million in fiscal 2015. The Postal Service, which has over 200,000 delivery vehicles, is one of the largest federal fleet owners within government, and so fluctuations in gas prices can significantly impact the bottom line.

WHAV: "Stop Postal Executives From Destroying Our Postal Service"

National Postal Mail Handlers Union: Paul V. Hogrogian of Local 300 has taken the oath of office to serve as the next National President of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. On Friday, May 1, 2015, Hogrogian officially began his service as National President. "I am deeply honored to serve as the National President of this great Union," said Hogrogian after his installation. "I am excited about my new job, and looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead."

Kuwait News Agency: Chiefs and undersecretaries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) post authorities on Tuesday discussed a host of topics for promoting services among the member states. On top of the agenda of the two-day 29th meeting of the GCC Committee of Post Authorities Chiefs and Undersecretaries in Doha was preparing an action plan for promoting postal institutions and opening up fresh prospects for enhancing e-commerce among the member states. Participants also addressed means of promoting joint products such Gulf EX service to enhance clients' confidence and secure a better future for the post industry. Addressing the opening session, Qatar Postal Services Company (QPost) Chairman and Managing Director Faleh Al Naemi said he hoped discussions would lead to developing pan-GCC postal services for the good of the Gulf peoples.

Herald Sun: In a memo to staff, Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour has revealed letter volumes have slumped further in the past nine months but he says the organisation is committed to its post offices and will pump fresh funds into the network. It comes after Mr Fahour last week volunteered to forgo a bonus of more than $2 million, with other executives giving up bonuses totalling about $1.5 million. The postal authority will today announce plans to boost payments to post offices by $51.4 million over four years. It plans to lift the minimum payments it makes to almost 1000 small independent post offices and post offices integrated into shops such as newsagents " mostly in rural and remote areas " to ensure they remain viable. Australia Post will also boost the amount it pays post office operators to handle parcels. But the higher payments rely on the federal Parliament passing a series of reforms to regulations governing the postal service " including a hike in basic stamp prices from 70c to $1.

Canada NewsWire: A disturbingly high number of safety concerns and personal injuries " some requiring medical treatment " are being reported by those who have lost their home delivery and been forced to transition to Canada Post's new mega-mailboxes. Approximately one hundred thousand households lost home mail delivery in 2014. A poll conducted by Stratcom* found that around 1 out of every 5 (21.3%) of respondents reported experiencing an accident, such as a slip or fall, either at the mailbox or going to and from the mailbox. 8.5% of those accidents required medical attention. "Our money-making post office needs to consider the consequences of its ill-advised plan," said Mike Palecek, National President of CUPW. "Clearly, there are already serious concerns and a surprising number of personal injuries, which warrant further investigation."

The New Indian Express: In a bid to make the postal service customer-friendly, the Indian postal department on Monday launched the India Post mobile app that would enable one to track speed post, electronic money orders and parcels sent through the postal service. The citizen-centric Android Mobile application of Department of Posts was developed by Centre for Excellence in Postal Technology. A postal department official said that through the mobile application, the user can track his mail or parcel besides conduct a search for post office. The tracking facility is made available on this mobile app for speed post, registered letter, insured letter, value payable letter, insured value payable letter, registered packets, registered periodicals, registered parcel, insured parcel, value payable parcel, insured value payable parcel, business parcel, express parcel and electronic Money Order (e-MO) The user can track these by entering the articles number and touching the Track button.

Telecompaper: Lithuanian Post has launched its mobile application for Android devices, reports Vz.lt. The application is available for download on Google Play and enables customers to receive information on services, track postal routes and the status of dispatches and locate the nearest post office. Lithuanian Post claims that the monthly audience of its website exceeds 1 million

AFP: German postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post (Other OTC: DPSGY - news) said Tuesday it is sticking to its full-year earnings targets despite only a "moderate" start in the first quarter. "Although Deutsche Post DHL expects global growth to be moderate at best in 2015 and continues to make substantial investments in its long-term success, the group has confirmed its targets," the company said in a statement. Underlying or operating profit was projected to increase to between 3.05-3.2 billion euros ($3.4-3.6 billion) in 2015, it said. And for 2016, the group reconfirmed its forecast of a rise in operating profit to 3.4-3.7 billion euros.

Canada NewsWire: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has elected Mike Palecek, a postal worker from Vancouver local, the union's new National President. Jan Simpson became 1st National Vice-president " the first black woman to sit on CUPW's National Executive Board. Palecek is CUPW's youngest national president ever. He promises to bring a new energy and vigor to the fight against Conservative cuts to the postal service, saying "We are going to bring the fight to the Tories in the run-up to the federal election." "We are going to make sure that every person who loses door to door delivery, every citizen that has to pay higher postage rates, everyone that has their local post office closed or downsized, knows that the blame for this lies squarely with Stephen Harper and his Conservative government." Palecek promises a more aggressive stance for the union in the fight to protect public services and jobs.

Toronto Star: New data from Canada Post due to be released Tuesday found that, in 2014, about 76 per cent of Canadian households shopped online. Of those figures, about a quarter of Canadians have become "frequent" shoppers, which means they're buying on the Internet four to 10 times per year, the data says.

Business Insider: "Lloyds Bank just did Royal Mail a huge favour- by killing its competition."

Economic Times: Underscoring the importance of India Post, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today claimed that even Maoists don't target the postal network for the fear of losing people's support. "People of the country still trust the postal department. I want to tell you a very sensitive thing... there is so much of Maoist violence, but still, the attacks on post is low because they (Maoists) also know that if they try to attack it, the people will be unhappy with them," Prasad said.

The Hindu Business Line: India Post on Monday launched a mobile application and an e-commerce centre at Safdarjang, New Delhi that will handle e-retailing exclusively. Equipped with modern technology, the India Post centre will be capable of handling 30,000 parcels per day. Online companies such as Amazon, Paytm, Yepme, Snapdeal and the like are already using the Postal Department's services for their parcels. The mobile app for India Post is Android-based and includes features such as real-time tracking, post office search and postage calculator. Through such facilities, the parcels can reach up to far-flung and remote areas of the country. India Post has over 1.55 lakh post offices, of which more than 1.39 lakh are in rural areas.

May 11, 2015

Utica Observer-Dispatch: The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a new stamp to raise awareness of missing children - an idea that was generated locally nearly 20 years ago. The stamps will be available starting Monday, May 18, a few days after the local Ride for Missing and Exploited Children on Friday. "We are all partners together to help find our missing children," said Wendy Fical, program director for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children New York - Mohawk Valley Office. "Law enforcement, families and volunteers all unite together to help. We support the stamp 100 percent."

Postal Innovation Platform: The latest issue of the Postal Innovation Platform newsletter is available online. In this issue, contributions from David Williams, Inspector General USPS, Matthias Finger, Professor EPFL/MIR, Arjen Heeres, COO, Quintiq Etay Oren, CEO CommuniThings, Bernhard Bukovc, Postal Innovation Platform, John Callan and Robert Reisner.

Miami Herald: "Q&A with Frank Appel of Deutsche Post DHL"

BBC: Private postal business Whistl - formerly known as TNT - has suspended its door-to-door delivery service in London, Liverpool and Manchester and is consulting 2,000 workers on redundancy. The move follows a decision last month by potential investment partner LDC not to fund its expansion plans. Whistl will continue to provide a service, but will revert back to using the Royal Mail for the "final mile". Royal Mail has complained in the past that competitors such as Whistl operate at an unfair advantage because they do not have to provide delivery to the whole country for a single price.

May 9, 2015 

Washington Post: Slow mail delivery and poor service are hitting rural America hard, and the U.S. Postal Service needs to pay attention, a bipartisan group of senators from rural states told Postmaster General Megan Brennan this week. Three months into her new role as leader of the financially struggling mail agency, Brennan heard a long list of service complaints from senators from Vermont to North Dakota. They can be summed up this way: The mail is late, and it's getting later. "You mail a letter in Helena," said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who attended Tuesday's meeting, "and it really has to go 90 miles out of the way to get to a destination a few blocks away. It gets to be a death spiral."

Business Newswire: Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) reacted with alarm after the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) released its second quarter financial report in which it documents a net loss of $1.5 billion. The results indicate a loss of more $2.2 billion for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2015. The pattern of losses that has characterized the postal budget continues apace; the agency has lost more than $50 billion in the last eight years. "USPS officials continue to oversee an agency which is not covering its costs," said CAGW President Tom Schatz. "Furthermore, agency executives persist in a misguided belief that financial salvation lies in starting new non-postal businesses." "The Postal Service's substandard accounting, billion-dollar losses, and declining service quality highlights the need for the agency to focus solely on its letter mail products. Straying from its original mission will only compound the USPS's problems and bring us even closer to the possibility of a taxpayer bailout," concluded Schatz.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 26959"26960 [2015"11330] [TEXT]

Toronto Star: Canada Post takes the Soviet approach and sees us as 35 million problem customers, I get that. But it has given up, while insulting our intelligence as it abandons the mission. Under FlexDelivery, when you buy something online you "choose when and where to pick up your package. Never miss a delivery." Canada Post, if I wanted to "pick up" my packages, I might as well go to a "store" and "buy" them. I wrote off the $47 cutting boards, endured being called unreasonable, and renewed my vows with gentle Amazon Prime, which reassured me I'd get a refund someday, and they alone had my credit card information, no worries.

May 8, 2015 

Sen. Thomas Carper: "Today's financial report shows that despite a thriving " and growing -- package delivery service, which grew by 14.4 percent, longstanding financial burdens and an ongoing decline in First Class mail continue to threaten the Postal Service's long-term sustainability. Today's news shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. As I have said before, while Postal Service leadership has done what it can to cut costs, keep prices competitive, and right-size the enterprise, it is critical that Congress works together to pass a bipartisan and comprehensive bill as soon as possible. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress, the Administration, and stakeholders to fix the serious, but solvable challenges facing the Postal Service."

24/7WallStreet: Despite growth in shipping and package volume and revenue, the real issue is that total volume and revenue from other products have declined. Total mail volume of 37.7 billion pieces was down by 420 million pieces from the 38.2 billion pieces counted for this same quarter last year. Shipping and package volume was up 14.4%, while First-Class Mail volume fell by 2.1% and Standard Mail volume fell by 1.1%. The USPS has again said that its ongoing capital investments remain a priority. It is hard to consider government agencies, or government-oriented entities, on a non-GAAP basis like they are a public technology company.

National Association of Letter Carriers: "Today's results show the impressive Postal Service financial turnaround continuing in full force. The quarter's $313 million operating profit puts black ink for the first half of the year above $1.4 billion " surpassing all of last year's operating profit. "Equally encouraging is what produced the operating profit " continuing revenue growth as an improving economy and rising online shopping drive better performances in letter mail and package deliveries. Package revenue is up a striking 11.2 percent this year; first-class letters and standard mail also are up. "This three-year trend in operating profitability makes clear the need to strengthen " not degrade " the now-profitable networks. We hope to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the administration and the new postmaster general to build on the progress achieved in the last Congress, within the mailing industry and among major stakeholders on consensus postal reform that promotes a strong and vibrant Postal Service.

Government Executive: For the sixth consecutive quarter, the U.S Postal Service turned an operational profit when accounting for its controllable costs. But the agency still lost a total of $1.5 billion from January through March due to outstanding liabilities. USPS was profitable by $313 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015, and operational revenue was up $233 million over the same period last year, the agency announced Friday. The growth was due in part to the temporary emergency rate increase on postal products that took effect last year, but also aided by a 14.4 percent increase in package volume.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy: The Postal Regulatory Commission approved higher nonprofit postage rates Thursday that charity magazine publishers say will impose onerous new financial burdens. The new rates take effect May 31. Charities that send out letters and small pieces such as postcards, a category known as nonprofit standard mail, will pay about 2 percent more in postage under the new rates. However, publishers of well-known magazines such as Consumer Reports, Guideposts, and National Wildlife will see much higher increases. Charity publishers fought hard to hold down the hike for nonprofit periodicals. It appeared they were making headway when the Postal Regulatory Commission sent the proposed rate increases back to the U.S. Postal Service twice " a move that experts said was unprecedented. But in the end, the Postal Service made only minor adjustments to its initial rate proposal.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 41.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.0 will deploy on Sunday, May 17, 2015. This release includes new business functionality, updates to existing functionality, and database maintenance activities. This release will require an extended maintenance window. The PostalOne! system will not be available from May 17, 2015 12:00 AM CT(midnight) through 10:00 AM CT. There will be a mandatory Mail.dat® client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.0 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm.
  • PostalOne! Release 41.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur on Monday, May 18, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6:00AM CT and 4:00PM CT. TEM validation will occur on Monday, May 18, 2015 between 11:00AM CT and 4:00PM CT.

The Hill: The U.S. Postal Service's package business spiked by more than 10 percent in the first three months of the year, as the rise in online shopping drives increases in the struggling agency's revenues. USPS outlined several successes in its most recent quarterly report, including a $223 million increase in revenues over the first three months of 2014 and a $160 million decline in expenses. The Postal Service reported having just 22 days of operating cash in reserve at the end of March, far less than it says it needs. Plus, the decline in expenses in the first three months also came largely from a drop in workers' compensation expenses, an issue largely out of USPS's control. Postal brass has called on lawmakers to give the the agency more power to grow revenues and cut expenses, but there's little momentum for legislation on Capitol Hill.

Attention Business Customer Gateway Users  In preparation for the new pricing and classification changes for all market-dominant mail classes and competitive products that take effect May 31, 2015 the Postal Service has scheduled two software releases for the PostalOne! system. The first release is scheduled for May 17, 2015 to allow mailers the opportunity to submit files for mailings scheduled to mail on or after May 31st. The second release is scheduled for May 31, 2015 to implement the new pricing and classification changes. Between May 17th and May 31st the following file versions will be supported for files containing mailing dates prior to May 31, 2015 and for updates to files previously submitted.

  • Mail.dat 14-1 Mail.XML 15.0A Beginning May 17th and onward the following file versions will be supported for new file submissions with a postage statement mailing date on or after May 31, 2015.
  • Mail.dat 14-2 (only if claiming new pricing/products on postage statement)
  • Mail.dat 15-1 · Mail.XML 16.0 (only if claiming new pricing/products on postage statement)
  • Mail.XML 17.0 Plant-Verified Drop Shipment Update With this upcoming price change, plant-verified drop shipment (PVDS) mailings will be verified and accepted as follows:
  • Current Prices " PVDS mailings verified and paid for before May 31, 2015, using the current prices, will be accepted at destination entry postal facilities through June 14, 2015, when presented using eInduction or eVs processes or with appropriate documentation (PS Form 8125 or 8017).
  • New Prices " PVDS mailings may be verified and paid for beginning May 17, 2015, using the new prices, provided the shipments are not deposited at destination entry postal facilities until May 31, 2015, or later, when presented using eInduction or eVs processes or with appropriate documentation(PS Form 8125 or 8017)
  • For mailings with electronic documentation, mailers must enter a Mail Arrival Date that is on or after May 31, 2015.
  • For mailings with hard copy postage statements, USPS acceptance employees must enter a Mail Arrival Date that is on or after May 31, 2015.

USPS has released its Q2 financials for FY15. Quick facts:

  • USPS has a net lost of $1.4 billion for Q2 USPS made $313 million controllable income
  • USPS has 22 days of operating cash on hand For the first six months of FY15,
  • USPS has a controllable income of $1.437, compared to $1.026 for the same period last year
  • For the six months ended March 31, 2015, operating revenue was $35.7 billion, an increase of $1.0 billion, or 2.9%, compared to the same period last year. Shipping and Packages revenue was $7.8 billion for the six months ended March 31, 2015, an increase of $784 million, or 11.2%, compared to the same period last year. Shipping and Packages volume was 2.3 billion pieces for the six months ended March 31, 2015, an increase of 290 million pieces, or 14.2%, compared to the same period last year, bolstered by the record number of holiday seasonal packages delivered.
  • For the first six months of the FY, USPS saw a growth in Standard Mail, International and Shipping Services. 

Washington Examiner: Cybersecurity weaknesses still leave United States Postal Service employees vulnerable to identity theft, even after a data breach last September resulted in the theft of more than 800,000 workers' personal information. Employees can expose sensitive information, accidentally or intentionally, because they have unnecessary digital access to off-limits areas, according to a Postal Service inspector general report released Monday. Also, the Postal Service doesn't consistently test some components of its cybersecurity. Heavy redactions in the report make it difficult to tell exactly how postal workers could expose such information. Despite such heavy consequences, the Postal Service doesn't regularly ensure its cybersecurity systems are efficient.

MSN: Can packages save USPS? CNBC's Morgan Brennan takes a look at the Postal Service's attempt to compete for business by providing a high tech new fleet geared toward same-day delivery.

The Street: As the big three U.S. airlines seek limits on the three subsidized Middle East carriers' aggressive expansion in the United States, they have encountered a powerful adversary with seemingly contradictory positions on subsidies for competitors. FedEx (FDX - Get Report), one of two members of the global oligopoly of overnight package deliverers, is a $46 billion (revenue) company that likes to play politics, particularly in support of reduced trade barriers and increased restrictions on labor unions. Now it is playing both sides of the fence, supporting the subsidized Gulf carriers but opposing its own subsidized competitors.

The Inquistr: U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason sentenced Amancio Zamora Agcaoili, a U.S. Postal Services employee, to 30 months in jail and three years of supervised probation after he pled guilty to Social Security Disability fraud and other crimes to the tune of $365,831.50, according to the United States Department of Justice. Agcaoili, a 57-year-old Alaskan native, faked his injuries, received payments from two different programs, lied to each of the programs about the payments and lack of injuries, and double dipped, among other crimes to which he pled guilty.

From the Federal Register: 

Postal Regulatory Commission
PROPOSED RULES
Automatic Closure of Inactive Dockets ,
26517"26518 [2015"11061] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
26588 [2015"11066] [TEXT]  [PDF]
26588"26589 [2015"11079] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
RULES
International Mailing Services:
  Approved Price Changes ,
  26447 [2015"11068] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  26589 [2015"11067] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Direct Marketing News: "What if the Postal Service Reemerged as a Digital Startup?"

Mailing Systems Technology: Does the future of transactional documents include actually printing them? Maybe not, according to some companies I heard from recently. An in-house document operation and a service provider both shared their strategies for concentrating on digital delivery rather than traditional print and mail. For them, printed statements, bills, notices, or other transactional documents are no longer receiving top billing.

Press Release: Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Mark Takai (D-HI) yesterday sent a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) urging an investment in a modern and efficient Postal Service fleet as they begin the process of replacing their aging mail delivery vehicles. The USPS recently began a three-year process to procure more than 180,000 new vehicles through the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Acquisition Program. While this program represents an important step to modernize the fleet and improve fuel economy, more is needed. "We believe stronger and more specific requirements must be included in the upcoming Request for Proposal to realize the full potential for efficiency, durability, and clean vehicle technology," the members wrote. "Our nation's largest civilian fleet should serve as a global leader in efficiency and innovation. We therefore urge you to invest in an advanced high-efficiency vehicle fleet that will ultimately save money, reduce carbon pollution, and continue to deliver for the American people."

Business Standard: To cash in on growing online shopping trend, India Post Delhi circle will start its e-commerce centre from Monday. This processing centre will handle exclusively all the e-commerce business. India Post will also launch a mobile application for android phones that will help people in real time tracking of accountable articles, post office search, postage calculator, etc through Mobile Phone.

CustomsToday: Chinese postal and express service companies saw their revenue up 23.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, according to information released by the State Post Bureau on Thursday. Private express firms' market share continued to grow, with their business volume reaching 85.8 percent in the first quarter, up 4.2 percent year-on-year. Express service in central and western China showed stronger growth rate of more than 30 percent thanks to the country's strategic policies to support the development of the region. Meanwhile, express service within cities grew by about 50 percent in business volume and revenue, indicating the sector's structural changes due to more expansive stocking stations and more convenient transportation.

Post & Parcel: Christoph Mueller has stepped down as Chairman of An Post, to concentrate on his new role at Malaysia Airlines.

Postal Technology International: DHL Express has introduced a new vehicle to its fleet in the Netherlands to help further improve the company's carbon efficiency. The Cubicycle is a quadracycle with a removable container with a cargo volume of 1m³ (35ft³). The Cubicycle is built by recumbent bicycle manufacturer Flevobike, based in Dronten, and features electric power assistance allowing for faster acceleration from a starting position. The first Cubicycle has been deployed in the Dutch city of Almere.

StarAfrica: Namibia's Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya on Thursday urged the new board of the Namibia Post and Telecommunication Holdings (NPTH) to fast track the implementation of the Cabinet decision to dismantle the company. In July 2014, Cabinet resolved to dissolve NPTH and redistribute its properties and liabilities. NPTH was registered in 1992 in terms of the Post and Telecommunications Companies Establishment Act 1992 as the holding company of the state-owned entities in postal and telecommunication sector " Namibia Post Limited, Telecom Namibia Limited and Mobile Telecommunications Ltd.

May 7, 2015

USPS Shipping Products and Services Webinar Series May 12, 2015, 11a.m. EDT " Print and Deliver Shipping Label Services Join us as the Postal Service continues to host its series of informational webinars on a variety of products and services. The webinars will focus on service enhancements, features, benefits, how to get started, and onboarding information to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively use the service. Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 11a.m. EDT " Print and Deliver Shipping Label Service Print and Deliver Shipping Label Service (formerly Return Call Tag), provides an option for permit holders to electronically request that a USPS return label be generated and delivered by the Postal Service to their customer (the label end-user). Speaker: Sherri Evans, Manager, Shipping Development Participant information is provided below: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 (11:00 a.m. EDT) Print and Deliver Shipping Label Service Attendee Information: US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 17345128 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=eaea37f39e55e0ab387f690b97de44291

Postal Service Statement on Postal Regulatory Commission Ruling. Today's ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approving the proposed prices and classifications for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services enables the Postal Service to move forward with a new pricing strategy to capitalize on strong mail and package growth. The new pricing and classification changes for all market-dominant mail classes and competitive products take effect on May 31, 2015. Additionally, the Postal Service is able to move forward with the remaining calendar year 2015 Promotions: Color Transpromo, Emerging and Advanced Technology, and Mail Drives Mobile Engagement. More information on the new 2015 pricing and the PRC's ruling is available at www.prc.gov .

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS RANKING MEMBER TOM CARPER Roundtable:
"The Challenges and Opportunities for the Postal Service in a Digital Age" --  U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) will hold a bipartisan roundtable titled "The Challenges and Opportunities for the Postal Service in a Digital Age" on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The briefing will be a roundtable discussion analyzing the challenges and opportunities facing the Postal Service in the digital age. Members will be able to use this briefing to assess the hurdles facing the Postal Service and identify the tools the Postal Service needs to innovate and thrive in the 21st century. WHO Donald Hall, Jr. President and Chief Executive Officer Hallmark; Tammy Whitcomb Deputy Inspector General U.S Postal Service Office of Inspector General; Lori Rectanus Director, Physical Infrastructure U.S. Government Accountability Office; James W. Sauber Chief of Staff National Association of Letter Carriers

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

  • R2015-4: The Commission concludes that the proposed prices for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services, as amended by the Response to Order No. 2378 and further amended by the Response to Order No. 2398, do not violate the price cap in 39 U.S.C. § 3622(d) and are consistent with, or justified by an exception to, the workshare discount limitations in 39 U.S.C. § 3622(e). The Commission also concludes that the proposed classification changes are consistent with applicable law and regulations.

    PRC Approves USPS Price Adjustments for Certain Market Dominant Products.
    Today the Postal Regulatory Commission issued Order No. 2472 approving the Postal Service's price adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services. The prices are scheduled to take effect May 31, 2015. In Order Nos. 2378 and 2398, the Commission remanded the price adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services to the Postal Service for non-compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. In today's order, the Commission approves the Postal Service's revised price adjustments and classification changes, which now comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. In addition, the Commission directs the Postal Service to propose several methodologies relating to changes approved in Order No. 2472. The Commission approves several changes to workshare discounts and the Mail Classification Schedule in Order No. 2472, some of which necessitate the development of methodologies to be used in data reporting. The Commission directs the Postal Service to file the following within 90 days: (1) The Postal Service is directed to file a proposed methodology for determining the costs avoided for the Presorted FSS workshare discounts. (2) The Postal Service is directed to file a proposed methodology for determining the costs avoided for the 5-digit pallet presort Standard Mail Carrier Route flats workshare discount. (3) The Postal Service is directed to file a proposed methodology for determining the bottom-up costs for the new Periodicals Mail Carrier Route bundle and container entry options. The Commission's regulations require that the Postal Service use accepted analytical principles in its data reporting to the Commission. 39 C.F.R. part 3050. The Commission's complete analyses of the Postal Service's Market Dominant price adjustments for fiscal year 2015 are located at www.prc.gov in Docket No. R2015-4.
     
  • R2015-4 PRC-LR-R2015-4/11 - Compliance Calculations for Package Services
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92221/FY%202014%20BPM%20Mail%20Processing_.xlsx
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92221/FY%202014%20MM-LM%20Mail%20Processing_.xlsx
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92221/Preface_.docx
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92221/R2015-4%20Package%20Services%20Cap%20Calculations_.xlsx
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92221/R2015-4%20Package%20Services%20Worksharing_.xlsx
  • R2015-4 PRC-LR-R2015-4/10 - Compliance Calculations for Periodicals
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92220/PRC-LR-R2015-4 10.zip
  • R2015-4 Order No. 2472 - Order on Revised Price Adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services Products and Related Mail Classification Changes http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92217/Order%20No.%202472.docx
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/92/92217/Order No. 2472.pdf

TechCrunch: The folks at Gate want you to know when the postman is coming. Their new product, available now on Kickstarter, is a smart mailbox sensor that tells you when someone is digging in your post box or dropping off letters. The system, which mounts to both traditional "rural" mailboxes as well as in-door "flap" models, pings you when the mail is coming and can even estimate an ETA for your next delivery. While I can't imagine wanting to know when my mail was coming with any degree of accuracy, there are plenty of people and places where the mail-person's visit is an important part of their day. Early adopters can grab it for $199 right now and it installs in a few minutes and charges via solar. It ships in December. [EdNote: Heck, PostCom Director Emeritus Bill Hoyt did something similar years ago with a bell and a string.]

Postalnews.com: Video: PMG Megan Brennan message for postal employees

Dickinson Press: A bipartisan coalition of U.S. senators met with the U.S. Postmaster General Wednesday to discuss issues of declining postal standards in rural communities across the country. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., brought together the group representing several rural states to speak with Postmaster General Megan Brennan about mail processing facility closures and service standard reductions in areas in states like Texas, Michigan, Maine, Kansas and Montana. A recent audit by the Office of Inspector General found that postal service in North Dakota rarely met national service standards in recent years, due primarily to high employee turnover and increasing rural carrier overtime. Heitkamp has brought attention to rural postal service issues through her Fix My Mail campaign, which she says has highlighted mail delivery times three or four times longer than standards set by the U.S. Postal Service. Heitkamp said in a statement Wednesday's meeting was the first time the Postal Service committed to working on rural mail issues.

DC Velocity: Has the book been finally closed on a parcel consultant's nearly five-year fight with FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. over charges that the two giants violated antitrust laws by boycotting the consultant's business? The consultant, Portland, Ore.-based AFMS LLC, considered by many to be the patriarch of the field, has vowed to appeal a federal district court ruling last week throwing out its motion against FedEx and UPS. It may not be easy, though. That's because Judge Jesus G. Bernal dismissed the case "with prejudice," meaning AFMS can never again bring a cause of action based on the same claim. The legal battle dates back to August 2010, when AFMS sued the carriers on grounds they colluded to boycott third-party consultants who negotiated rate discounts on behalf of their shipper clients. AFMS also alleged that FedEx and UPS threatened shippers who continued to use intermediaries with the loss of their rate discounts. AFMS said the carriers' actions destroyed the ability of consultants to compete in the marketplace, and that many suffered severe drops in revenue and income stemming from the carriers' strategies.

The Nation: The digital age offers new business opportunities to the growing number of e-commerce start-ups, but these companies need to do homework on rules and restrictions that could derail their businesses, said an executive of FedEx Express.

Office of the Inspector General: "Have You Ever Needed to Track Down a Lost Mailpiece?"

Have you ever lost an item in the mail? The Mail Recovery Center (MRC), located in Atlanta, GA, is the last place undeliverable mail is sent prior to final disposition. The MRC will attempt to match the items with lost item claims customers file through their local post offices. If MRC staff is able to identify the sender or recipient, staff members repack and ship the mailpiece. If not, the mail content is retained for an established holding period. Once the holding period elapses, the MRC sells, auctions, donates, or discards the items. How was your experience when requesting a search for a lost item? Have you ever interacted with the MRC? What was the process like? Tell us your success stories!

The Street: Borderfree stock more than doubled Wednesday after the international e-commerce services provider announced it would be acquired by Pitney Bowes for about $395 million. Borderfree, headquartered in New York, helps U.S. retailers including Bloomingdales, Sephora, Macy's (M), Under Armour (UA) and Pottery Barn transact with customers across more than 100 countries and territories and north of 60 currencies.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. worker productivity fell in the opening months of 2015, the latest sign of sluggish economic growth at the start of the year. The productivity of nonfarm workers, measured as the output of goods and services per hour worked, decreased at a 1.9% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter from the previous period, the Labor Department said Wednesday. From a year earlier, productivity was up 0.6%.

Liberian Observer: The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MOPT) has disclosed plans to introduce the national postal address system and E-government program in enhancing internal operations in the country. He explained that the postal address program will ensure that everyone living in Liberia has a unique address for easy contact for the provision of public services. He further noted that the postal financial services or money order project is also underway to provide access to remittances through postal facilities around the country.

WMPowerUser: The Snowden revelations has resulted in a great distrust in Germany in service which uses American infrastructure such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messaging. This has resulted in an attempt to create local services which are secure and do not travel outside of the country. The result of one of these efforts is SIMSme, a secure and private messaging system with true end-to-end encryption " guaranteed by Deutsche Post, the German postal service. SIMSme offers all the features that you have come to expect from a modern and advanced messaging app

The Baltic Course: More than a half of incoming postal items in Lithuania is received from China and in total it made 54% of the receiving postal items flow in the first-quarter of 2015, states BC Lithuania Post (AB Lietuvos pastas).

The Baltic Course: Recent studies confirm that the cost of delivery is still an obstacle to shopping cross-border. Shipping costs is the most common reason (57%) in Europe for not completing an online purchase. Over 60% of companies that are willing to sell online say that too high delivery costs are a problem (see the newly released Eurobarometer on e-commerce). Tariffs for cross-border small parcel delivery charged by postal operators are often two to five times higher than domestic prices. The Commissioner provided an example: it costs €32.40 to send a 2kg parcel from Belgium to Austria, which is over five times the price of €6.40 within Belgium. From Austria to Belgium it costs €14.40 " over three times the price of €4.50 within Austria. Thus, competition appears to be the most appropriate and effective way of addressing today's concerns in terms of affordability. However, for such competition to unfold in a fair and efficient manner, all market participants " retailers, delivery operators as well as consumers " need to enjoy a certain degree of price transparency. Price regulation is only a means of last resort, where competition does not bring satisfactory results, and is not considered at this stage. Close monitoring is essential in order to identify and address any market failures. The Commission will review the situation within the coming two years.

Interfax-Ukraine: Nova Poshta private express delivery operator expanded parcel collection points by 20% in April 2015, opening 334 points in 58 settlements of Ukraine, to 2,006 points (including automated parcel terminals), the company's press service has reported.

HGV Ireland: The dramatic rise of online shopping and increase in parcel and packet traffic in Ireland may explain why the proposed Eircode postcode is so limited- claims FTA Ireland today. Neil McDonnell, FTA Ireland General Manager commented: "This is an issue of concern for FTA Ireland and its members. While standard mail volumes are going through a structural and unstoppable decline, parcel volumes are likely to continue to expand for the foreseeable future. E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. It is for this reason that a structured postcode is so important for Ireland. A random postcode will simply not provide the necessary or achievable savings for the distribution sector in delivering sustainable, cost effective solutions." FTAI has long voiced its concerns over the Eircode system outlining the issues that it would raise for the freight and logistics industry, and delivery operations in Ireland.

AirCargoNews: The air cargo industry must "move into the next century" and speed up the process of digitisation or risk losing marketshare to integrators and start-ups. Speaking during a debate on the use of digital technology at the Air Cargo Europe, a panel of industry participants agreed that air cargo could do more to make use of e-commerce and digital processes. First up, Lufthansa Cargo Lufthansa Cargo board member products & sales Alexis von Hoensbroech, who comes from a passenger background, said he was surprised by the lack of digitisation amongst cargo airlines. He also had a stark warning for the industry if it failed to keep up with integrators.

Wall Street Journal: The European Union unveiled a signature plan to unite the region's fragmented online markets and crack down on possible abuses by U.S. Internet firms, a move policy makers hope will boost the economy and help spawn Internet giants to rival Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. The plans, six months in the making, are a cornerstone of efforts by the EU's recently appointed executive arm to jump-start growth. They contain 16 initiatives ranging from an overhaul of the region's telecommunications rules to harmonized copyright and tax regimes, to cybersecurity and even better parcel delivery.

May 6, 2015 

Mailing Systems Technology: Address Management Modernization Strategies for Lower Costs and a Better Customer Experience - a webinar sponsored by Pitney Bowes. Thursday, May 7, 2015 2:00 PM ET | 11:00 AM PT. Register now for information on the key areas for optimized and synchronized delivery of your customer communications.

Office of the Inspector General: The USPS Office of Inspector General established an " Audit Asks" web site to provide an opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on our projects. Web site visitors can register comments and upload documents related to our project on the Postal Service's Mail Recovery Center (MRC) at the link below. We will consider and use this information as appropriate during the course of our work. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me at 636-345-9722 or Alma Rodriguez, Auditor-In-Charge, at 703-248-7838.

A Presentation: The Future of the USPS Ecosystem A Story of Resilience To Now & the Game Changers To Come by Robert A. F. Reisner in remarks to the Quad Graphics Annual Meeting April 30, 2015

Be sure to listen to PostCom's latest webinar: "NPF 2015 Heading to Anaheim - Leave Your Boots Behind" Webinar Recording | Slides

usps logo DMM Advisory: Domestic Mailing " Price Change This week, the final rule domestic mailing services (market dominant) price change Federal Register Notice for the May 2015 price change was posted on the Federal Register web site. New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products " On April 16, 2015, the Postal Service™ filed a notice of mailing services price adjustments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), effective May 31, 2015. This final rule contains the revisions to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to implement the changes coincident with the price adjustments and other minor DMM changes. See the entire notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-05-04/html/2015-10029.htm. It will be posted on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com on Friday, May 8. The proposed pricing files are posted on Postal Explore® at pe.usps.com under the May 2015 Price Change Information header in the left navigation bar.

MyCentralJersey: Ten years ago, the U.S. Postal Service rejected North Plainfield's bid to get its own ZIP code. They tried again last year (the USPS allows communities to lobby for a ZIP code change only once every decade), but the Postal Service denied the petition last month. Now a congressman is taking their cause to Capitol Hill. "I do not believe the residents of North Plainfield can wait another 10 years," said U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. 7th District, who introduced a bill that would force the Postal Service to grant the borough its own code.

Universal Postal Union: CALL FOR TENDERS Provision of qualitative, in-depth market research with 25 global merchants to understand how direct marketing and direct mail and catalogues in particular are used to drive e-Commerce sales.

The Canadian Press: Canada Post is launching a new feature that gives online shoppers greater control over their parcels. The postal service says FlexDelivery will allow customers to decide exactly which post office gets deliveries for their online orders. That means a pair of shoes once mailed to your home while you were still at work can now be routed to an outlet near your office.

Financial Times: Brompton, the British fold-up bike manufacturer, recently put the finishing touches to five customised designs to be sold in China " one sporting the colours of the Union Jack; another traditional English racing green, complete with a Brooks leather saddle. The bikes, along with about 40 other British brands including Clarks shoes, Austin Reed clothing and Cow & Gate baby formula, will be promoted and sold through a Royal Mail online "shop front" on Tmall, a website operated by Chinese ecommerce company, Alibaba. For Britain's recently privatised mail operator, which is under pressure from stiff competition in the parcels market, and an irreversible decline in letters volumes, the tie-up with Tmall is an ambitious move to capture the delivery market to China, already the biggest international buyer of British products online. Postal operators are scrambling to adapt to the rise of ecommerce and China, with a 25 per cent share of overseas purchases bought over the internet from the UK, looks a prize market.

MarketWatch: Dutch mail company PostNL NV (PNL.AE) said Wednesday it has begun a strategic review of its activities in the U.K., Germany and Italy, citing "continuous regulatory uncertainties" in the three countries. PostNL said it will give more information around the publication of its third-quarter results in November. The review comes a week after PostNL announced that it ended talks on a U.K. postal delivery service joint-venture with LDC, a deal that would have expanded its Whistl subsidiary in the country. The talks collapsed because of the complexity of the U.K.'s regulatory landscape, the Dutch company said.

CBC: A 19-year-old man is facing charges following an armed robbery targeting a postal worker on Montreal's West Island. Police say a postal worker was approached on Monday in Pierrefonds-Roxboro by an armed suspect, who tried to steal the mail carrier's keys. Two people were arrested, and one is facing charges. This is the second such incident to occur in the last few days in the Pierrefonds area. Police say that on Friday afternoon, another mail carrier was shoved up against the wall of an apartment. They demanded that the worker hand over his keys, before ripping them off his belt. The two men in their 20s got away on foot.

DutchNews: Dutch postal delivery group PostNL booked turnover of just over €1bn in the first three months of this year, a 2% rise on the same period in 2014. However, net profit was down 37% at €34m and the volume of letters fell 13% year on year, the company said. The number of parcel and package deliveries was up 8%, partly due to a rise in international deliveries, particularly in milk powder deliveries to China, PostNL said. This had also been the case in the previous quarter.

Post & Parcel: Toll Group said yesterday that it has now received all regulatory approvals needed for its takeover by Japan Post. The company announced yesterday that the final approval came from New Zealand's regulator, the Overseas Investment Office. Japan Post made a $5bn offer for Toll Group back in February, a 49% premium on the company's share price on February 17, 2015. The state-owned postal service is looking at the acquisition as a major leap into the international logistics market. The Post wants to considerably expand its international business in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond to counter the declining postal market at home. The Toll business includes large logistics operations for the energy and mining sectors, the government and defense sectors, and contract logistics for major corporations. The Group also operates express delivery services, and is growing its business-to-consumer delivery business in the Australian e-commerce market.

The Citizen: A plan for a turnaround of the South African Post Office (SAPO) " including the proposed shedding of more than 5 000 jobs " was presented to the Portfolio Committee of Telecommunications and Postal Services on Tuesday.

Tame Bay: The EU wants a single European delivery network and have proposed a road map to streamline postal delivery. Somehow they're aiming to make parcel deliveries cheaper, although quite how the carriers will view this seeing as the cost of delivering to say Italy is way more than a parcel going from Reading to Milton Keynes!

The New Indian Express: More than 300 postal department employees were punished for non-delivery of money orders in 2013-14, Lok Sabha was informed today. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the postal department had received 80,000 complaints out of a total of 10.9 crore money orders worth Rs 12,241 crore sent in 2013-14 through the post offices in the country.

May 5, 2015 

Attention Business Customer Gateway Users  Program Registration Release 14.0.0.0 " will be deployed to Production from 00:00 am (Midnight) to 10:00 am CDT on Sunday, May 17, 2015. There will be an outage and the Online Enrollment Service and Incentive Program accessible via the Business Customer Gateway will be unavailable during that time.

Air Cargo World: The hazardous cargo committee of the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations, heard a detailed presentation last week in Montreal about the dangers presented by shipping lithium ion batteries on freighters or in the bellies of passenger aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers and members of pilot's unions, presented findings by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that found that current fire suppressant systems on aircraft are unable to suppress or extinguish a fire involving a significant load of the batteries. The committee agreed to create a special task force charged with developing safer packaging for the batteries. If it can't come up with something, when the committee meets again in October, it will more than likely craft a formal proposal to ban shipments from passenger planes. Bulk shipments of the batteries, which are used in cellular phones, laptops and a number of other everyday electronic devices, can number up to tens of thousands of batteries in one shipping container.

Today, Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced two new detail assignments to the Executive Leadership Team.

  • Jim Cochrane will serve as Acting Chief Marketing and Sales Officer (CMSO). With over 40 years of experience, Jim's understanding of customer requirements, combined with a well-rounded business acumen, will enable him to better position the U.S. Postal Service in today's marketplace.
  • Randy Miskanic will serve as Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO). Randy will continue the advancement of new mail intelligence, engineering systems, information technology systems, payment technology, and corporate information security to meet the changing needs of today's marketplace.

    These changes will allow us to fully leverage the Postal Service's core strengths and continue our long-term strategies for the future.

FirstLook: CBRE, a giant real estate company partially owned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, is costing the U.S. Postal Service millions of dollars a year in lease overpayments, and its exclusive contract should be immediately canceled, the service's inspector general has found. Eyebrows rose when the USPS made the contract with CBRE in June 2011 for all real estate transactions. Blum chaired CBRE at the time; he stepped down last year, but remains a director and a major shareholder. Feinstein, D-Calif., has always denied involvement in the deal, which proved lucrative as the cash-strapped Postal Service looked to its excess real estate to finance operations. The contract enables CBRE to market and sell properties, and conduct negotiations for leases of postal buildings. Prior to the contract, USPS negotiated leases directly with landlords. Now, CBRE often represents both the Postal Service and the landlord in negotiations, known as "dual agency transactions." The inspector general's report described something akin to a shakedown, with a kickback thrown in.

Government Executive: For each of the last several sessions of Congress, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has committed himself to shepherding a major reform of the U.S. Postal Service to President Obama's desk. Each effort has fallen short, but his resolve has not waned. In the 114th Congress, Carper is starting from scratch to bring relief to the cash-strapped agency. The problems facing the Postal Service remain the same: a combination of liabilities owed to its increasing cadre of former employees and declining revenue resulting from Americans using the mail less than they have in decades. With limited exceptions, mail volume continues to slide while the burden of future expenditures on former and current workers is not lightened. The problems facing a legislative overhaul too are familiar: a wide array of parochial interests voiced by labor unions, large-scale mailers and rural customers, leading to a clash -- and if history is any indicator, a stalemate -- among the lawmakers representing those interests. What differs this time around is the approach. Aides to Carper -- the leading crusader for postal reform on Capitol Hill for years, especially now that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has stepped down from his role as head of the House committee with postal oversight -- tell Government Executive the senator is truly trying to give all members an opportunity to offer their perspectives and help craft legislation. Carper Postal Service managers, as well as representatives from the USPS inspector general's office, Postal Regulatory Commission and Government Accountability Office, for a briefing on postal finances to educate his fellow senators. Now the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee after Republicans took control of the Senate this year, Carper and the new chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., both attended the meeting, as did other committee members and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. The goal, according to the aides, was to hear the facts on the ground from the same source. Carper recently joined the Democratic caucus, and a majority of Republicans, in supporting an amendment to the budget that advised the Postal Service to delay the facility closures scheduled for this year.

Visibility/Service Performance Measurement/Addressing Focus Session Webinar Wednesday
May 6 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (EDT)
The Visibility/Service Performance Measurement Focus Group will host a webinar for MTAC members that will include all of the regular updates normally given during the focus group meetings at MTAC. We look forward to seeing you at the next MTAC meeting at the National Postal Forum on Wednesday, May 20. Please note the MTAC meeting at NPF is a condensed meeting. This pre-MTAC webinar is your opportunity to receive the updates normally provided at the quarterly meetings. Instructions for participating appear at the URL below. Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 37548896 Direct URL:
https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e350e732ad24df3c4490ba457010d68ea

PostCom Members!! The latest issue of PostCom's Postal Executive Summary has been posted on this site.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

Post & Parcel: A newly-released industry paper has argued that "employee engagement" and "job flexibility" are key to developing productivity in the postal and logistics sector. Published under the auspices of The Work Foundation, a Lancaster University think tank, "The Productivity Imperative, Towards a 21st Century Model of Postal Service Delivery" is authored by Elmar Toime and Adrian King with Steve Bevan of the Foundation. The report argues that although much progress has been made in recent years through technology deployment and network rationalisation, "future gains from these sources will be smaller and take longer to realise". "The core issue now is how to align work flow to paid labour hours and that future success will be met by creative solutions to a range of labour issues," said Toime. "Postal operations are characterised by high fixed cost structures exacerbated by falling mail volume trends. To add to the problem a high proportion of costs are labour related and these costs are often higher than the market due to the public service heritage of employment conditions. It is harder to bring about change in this environment." The authors argue that postal companies should now embrace what they call "employee-centric flexibility".

Lexington Institute: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) lost $754 million in Q1 FY 2015 despite an increase in revenue. The loss is more than double the agency's $354 million deficit in Q1 FY 2014. However, it is significantly better than the $1.3 billion loss posted in the same period two years ago. The Service's quarterly revenue grew $767 million, or 4.3 percent, relative to Q1 FY 2014. The growth was driven by increased holiday season package deliveries and higher prices. Standard Mail volume was 3.5 percent greater than during the same period last year. Standard Mail and First-Class Mail revenues increased 7.6 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

DC Velocity: Drones get all the headlines, but there are other ways to get orders into customers' hands quickly without relying on costly parcel services. While drones may be a possibility in the future, I believe they will be only one part of the solution to the last-mile puzzle. Another might be greater reliance on the U.S. Postal Service for small-package delivery, as it already delivers to nearly every address in the country daily. Retailers should also encourage customers to pick up at a store, possibly offering discounts and incentives to do so. Uber-type delivery services will also spring up, with ordinary citizens serving as part-time delivery people. I also believe there will be greater use of kiosks, which have been successfully deployed in Europe and Asia. The kiosks are typically located at places where people gather regularly"transit stations, city centers, supermarkets, big box stores, etc. Customers might be able to place their orders online, possibly from work, and then pick them up at a kiosk on the way home. With a bit of creativity, shippers can meet consumers' demands for same-day delivery while keeping the service affordable for all involved.

Direct Marketing News: A new report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Postal Service poses the theory that single-piece First Class Mail volume"which plummeted 61% since 1995 to 23 billion pieces"may have found its base level. What's more, the investigation into First Class mail trends finds them regionally divergent, with some areas still mailing the same amount of letters that they did 20 years ago. "The rate of decline is slowing or has stopped, even in many of the areas that have lost the most mail volume. This suggests that there may be a new base level of demand for First Class Mail nationwide," says the report.

PRNewswire: Endicia, the leading provider of online shipping technologies and services, today announced its latest innovation for international shipping: Endicia Global Service™. This new service eliminates the pain points associated with shipping to Latin America, such as delays in customs, high shipping costs, lack of tracking visibility and complicated customs forms. A beta release of Endicia Global Service with support to Brazil is available immediately. General availability for Brazil is scheduled for this summer, with the service expanding to support additional countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands by the end of 2015. With Endicia Global Service, packages sent to Brazil from the United States can now clear customs in hours instead of days, typically arriving in the customers' hands in eight to 10 days.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • End User Data Loss Prevention

    What The OIG Found. We determined the DLP and mobile device management systems do not operate effectively to prevent internal users from sending sensitive information outside the Postal Service network. Sensitive information includes personally identifiable, financial or proprietary information, and other business-sensitive data. Although the DLP system does block some emails based on established rules, it [several words redacted] sensitive information. Current mobile device management security policy does not prevent internal users  from accessing [several words redacted]  using Postal Service mobile devices. This lack of controls exists because the Postal Service has not implemented a solution to [several words redacted]. In addition, business groups are not aware of all DLP services designed to identify sensitive information in documents. In addition, management has not established formal procedures to ensure continuous quality assurance testing of DLP rules or implemented mobile security controls. As a result, the Postal Service is at risk of internal users compromising sensitive employee, customer, and business information, which could lead to financial and legal consequences.
    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management implement procedures to require continuous quality assurance tests and reviews to update DLP policies and rules, and a solution to allow the DLP system to [redacted] containing sensitive information. We also recommended management implement DLP procedures and communicate them to employees; and implement a mobile technology solution that [heavily redacted].
     
  • Getting Closer to Seamless Acceptance

    Here's the good news: Mailers accept and support the U.S. Postal Service's Seamless Acceptance (SA) program. And here's the bad news: Implementing the program hasn't been very seamless. Ongoing data integrity problems, among other concerns, have delayed full implementation of the program. We found evidence of inaccuracy in the data and mailers raised similar concerns, prompting them to ignore the data, according to our recent audit report. Not the most auspicious start to a program designed to increase the efficiency of commercial mail entry, verification, and payment. Still, everyone involved wants the program to succeed. SA is expected to make mail acceptance faster and less complex, standardize the acceptance and verification process, and allow for a trend-based quality measurement system.

Channel News Asia: One woman is suing the country's postal agency for gender discrimination after her application for the job of courier was rejected based on her gender. After the two-day trial with China Post, the agency asked Ma Hu to get a medical check-up and return at a later date to sign the contract. But that never happened. The postal agency decided not to hire her, explaining it was because she was a woman. So she is now suing China Post's Beijing branch for gender discrimination, asking for an apology and 50,000 yuan (about US$8,000) in damages.

Post & Parcel: Emirates Post has said more than 1.2m customers have been making use of its new online services each month. The postal operator in the United Arab Emirates said the growth came after a big plan to make its electronic platforms compatible with all types of mobile phone. The company said its project was sparked by a UAE government initiative aiming to make the public sector more accessible to mobile devices, with the UAE currently enjoying one of the highest penetrations of mobile phones in the world. The smart government initiative aimed to boost customer satisfaction across various sectors to improve living standards overall.

Caixin: The State Council has approved a plan for the state-owned post office to restructure its management " a move one expert says could help the behemoth compete with the country's many private delivery firms. The plan will see China Post Group cancel the registrations of 31 postal companies " one in each of the country's provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities " and transform them into branches, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a notice on April 29. The group will then be responsible for all the assets, debts, personnel, contracts, and other rights and obligations of the former companies, an executive of China Post said.

Post & Parcel: Postal workers in Germany staged another strike on Saturday as part of their ongoing dispute with Deutsche Post, while their Spanish counterparts held a 24-hour strike on Monday. In Germany, the labour union Verdi is objecting to Deutsche Post's plans to expand the parcel delivery service using workers who will be on a lower pay scale than other group employees. The Germany postal workers had already staged two strike days in April. Deutsche Post management and the union representatives are scheduled to hold further talks in Berlin on 8-9 May. In Spain, the unions CCOO, UGT, CSIF and Sindicato Libre organized Monday's action to protest about job losses and the stalemate in their salary negotiations with Correos. According to local sources, a further five one-day strikes have been planned for May. Most "job losses" have been achieved by not replacing retiring employees, rather than by redundancies.

May 4, 2015 

National Journal: Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders unceremoniously launched his long-shot bid for the presidency on Thursday, becoming the first official opponent to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. As a self-described socialist-Democrat, Sanders is a staunch advocate for increasing the role of government. In his career in the House and Senate, he has weighed in on an array of issues affecting federal operations, typically coming down favorably on the side of federal employees. Sanders has also played a critical role in reforming"or not reforming, as the case may be"the U.S. Postal Service. The liberal hero has galvanized left-wing support for several years to ensure postal legislation provides growth opportunities rather than service cuts.

Office of the Inspector General:

What The OIG Found. Customer service operations in the Postal Service's Chicago District are inefficient. During FY 2014, 12 of 13 facilities had actual workhours in excess of estimated workhours and eight of 13 had lower efficiency rates than the national goal of 82.5 percent. Additionally, in FY 2013, all 13 facilities had actual workhours in excess of estimated workhours and 12 of 13 had lower efficiency rates than the national goal of 87.5 percent. Retail managers did not use reports from the variance model or refer to performance goals to manage workhours because they were not familiar with the reports or the goals. Additionally, although employees knew they were supposed to clock into a new operation when moving from one task to another, they did not always do so because other duties took priority. This distorted customer service efficiency variance results and made it difficult for managers to be effective. We are not projecting a dollar impact because the variance systems were not fully functional during our review due to the Postal Service cyber intrusion reported in November 2014.
What The OIG Recommended. We recommended the vice president, Great Lakes Area, train customer service supervisors on the customer service variance model and its reports and emphasize required time clock procedures. We are not making a recommendation related to performance goals because the Great Lakes Area is piloting an effort to post performance goals at all units.

  • Vehicle Maintenance Facility Efficiency Nationwide " Capping Report

    What The OIG Found. Vehicle maintenance facilities were not operating at peak efficiency and were not efficient when compared to the established targets. Specifically, undistributed labor, work order hours that were more than the timecard hours, was 11 percent of total maintenance labor costs and exceeded the established target of 3 percent. Also, overhead (supervisory and support) labor costs were 24 percent, of total maintenance labor costs, which were lower than the established overhead target of 30 percent. The VMFs had 109 vacant administrative and supervisory positions. These conditions occurred because of management's lack of oversight in monitoring mechanic workhours, as well as not reaching the workhour targets due to administrative and supervisory vacancies. Improving oversight and right sizing staff at vehicle maintenance facilities would increase overall efficiency, saving the Postal Service 431,129 workhours at a cost of over $21.8 million annually.
    What The OIG Recommended.We recommended management reduce 431,129 undistributed workhours for maintenance and repairs. We also recommended management right size staffing at vehicle maintenance facilities to improve operations.
     
  • Government Mail - Management Advisory Report.

    What the OIG Found. The Postal Service has opportunities to increase revenue by enhancing its sales and marketing efforts to government mailers. Mailers we spoke with identified pricing, product, and service considerations that influenced them to use the Postal Service's competitors, but we found that the Postal Service has opportunities to gain an advantage in the area of prices, products, and service performance; and could provide better value in certain instances, such as for products weighing less than one pound. The Postal Service may also be able to capture revenue by promoting its mailing partners' capabilities. For example, we found that 72 percent of federal agency mail was presorted. Mailing partners may be able to offer additional presorting services to lower the cost of government mailings. These partners could also offer more flexible payment options, such as paying after the service was provided. Factoring in mailing partners' capabilities as part of Postal Service marketing efforts could be mutually beneficial: it could help the Postal Service retain government mail revenue and lower government mailers' postage costs. We estimate a revenue impact of [redacted] million in FY 2015 from the Postal Service enhancing its sales and marketing efforts toward government mailers.
    What the OIG Recommended. We recommended the Postal Service enhance sales and marketing efforts toward governmental mailers. This could include more effectively promoting Postal Service prices, products, and service performance and promoting its mailing partners' capabilities.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: The Postal Regulatory Commission has appointed Anne Siarnacki as a Deputy General Counsel. She joins General Counsel, David Trissell and Deputy General Counsel, Christopher Laver.

Domestic Mailing Services Products Price Change Federal Register Final Rule Published Today Today the Postal Service published a Federal Register final rule on New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products, effective May 31, 2015. The Postal Service is aware that mailers are interested in the requirements surrounding the price and classification changes outlined in the proposed rule published February 5, 2015 (80 FR 6573-6615). In the event that the Postal Regulatory Commission does not affirm the Postal Service's prices for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services, an amended final rule will be published at a later date.

Washington Post: With first-class mail in a death spiral, the U.S. Postal Service is shrinking post office hours, closing sorting plants and reducing its workforce. But there's one corner of the country where the mail business has defied expectations, and the Postal Service was woefully unprepared: western North Dakota, where oil was discovered beneath the Bakken Shale formation, the population boomed and the demand for mail service exploded. The once-sleepy state now represents one of the biggest challenges for Megan Brennan, who started as postmaster general in February. With more letters and packages to deliver and long lines at local post offices that are inadequate to meet a population that has grown 7.6 percent in five years, the Postal Service has rarely met national standards for mail delivery, according to a new report by Inspector General David Williams.

Mobile World Live: Japan Post Group is breaking new ground far beyond mail delivery by tapping into its key asset " its ability to cover the "last mile" to virtually every citizen. It recently announced it is leveraging its nationwide infrastructure of 24,000 post offices and workforce of 400,000 to expand its innovative in-person monitoring initiative for the elderly from the physical to the virtual world. The country is undergoing a historic generational shift that is causing an imbalance in its labour force and putting strain on extended families.  At the same time, the nation faces severe depopulation and younger people are abandoning small towns and villages. The population is forecast to plunge from 127 million to 90 million in 50 years. This would reduce the country's workforce from 65 million to 46 million, which means that to keep output at the current level workers would have to do the job of 1.3 people, said Shigeki Suzuki, director general of the Global ICT Strategy Bureau. Japan Post is using its vast network of mail carriers to check on elderly customers and keep families updated about their well-being. It is now teaming up with IBM and Apple to give senior customers iPads and custom apps from IBM. Its Watch Over service, which is offered for a nominal monthly fee, will begin as a pilot project in the second half of the year and aims to reach four million to five million customers in Japan by 2020. With mail delivery decimated by email and digital documentation, government postal services around the world should take notice.

May 3, 2015 

Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service is pushing its ability to hire low-paid City Carrier Assistants to the limit " and apparently beyond the limit. The agency had 3,300 more CCAs in April than allowed in its labor contract with the National Association of Letter Carriers, a report USPS issued last week indicated.

May 2, 2015 

L.A. Biz: In a city notorious for its urban sprawl and hellish traffic, Angelenos may find that it's not worth the time and energy to run errands like this one. Dotodo " as in, "door-to-door" " has raised $1.2 million in unusual cross-border financing for an on-demand app for local delivery. "It's a marketplace where people can send merchandise and items and packages, and messengers can bid for those shipping jobs," founder Andrew Szabo told me in an exclusive interview this week. "We're creating a free marketplace for these packages." There are already several courier apps on the market, of course, including PostMates in San Francisco and Zipments in New York, and Uber has expanded its ridesharing service to include messenger delivery in the Big Apple. But Dotodo distinguishes itself with its free marketplace business model.

From the Federal Register: Postal Service RULES Mailing Standards: Domestic Mailing Services Products , 25528"25569 [2015"10029] [TEXT]

Federal Times: The House voted 226 to 197 to pass the budget, with all Democrats and 12 Republicans voting in opposition. House and Senate Republicans have been working to reconcile budget proposals that included significant benefit cuts, but the unified version passed by the House and to be voted on in the Senate dropped a plan to increase federal employee pension contributions to six percent or more of salaries. The House budget had also included proposals to 10 percent through attrition and increase Postal Service employee contributions to their health insurance premiums as well as decreases the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan's government securities fund (G Fund) and encourages the elimination of the Federal Employee Retirement System annuity supplement. None of those proposals made it into the final version, released by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

Postalnews.com: The Senate approved a motion on S. Con. Res. 11 introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that instructs budget conferees to insist on a deficit-neutral fund to halt mail processing center closures, restore overnight mail delivery, and protect rural services. A deficit-neutral amendment may not increase the nation's deficit. The non-binding instructions were approved 85-11 in a resounding bipartisan vote on April 15.

Democracy Now: As independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announces his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, we speak to former presidential candidate Ralph Nader. "We don't want a coronation of Hillary Clinton," Nader says of Sanders' run. We also talk about his new book, "Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015." The book is dedicated in part to the workers of the U.S. Postal Service.

Wall Street Journal: As e-commerce beats ever-quicker, more efficient routes to customer doorsteps, retailers continue to grapple with a secondary problem that directly hits their bottom lines: product returns, also known as reverse logistics. Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, said product returns are a problem for the association's membership. "Americans think they have a constitutional right to have their products returned," Mr. Shapiro said in an interview at the Milken Global Conference this week. He said a friendly returns policy is the second most important factor, after price, for online shoppers. "But there's an obvious cost associated with it," he said. So companies have employed programs to try to stem the return flow of their goods. But the reality is that returns aren't going away, Ms. Roberson said. "The more e-commerce grows, the more returns are going to grow," she said. "It's just the nature of the beast." Return shipments are growing for the U.S. Postal Service and United Parcel Service Inc. Best Buy Co. recently estimated that returns, replacements and damaged goods represented about 10% of revenue, costing the company $400 million last year.

Government Executive: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., unceremoniously launched his long-shot bid for the presidency on Thursday, becoming the first official opponent to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Sanders has also played a critical role in reforming -- or not reforming, as the case may be -- the U.S. Postal Service. The liberal hero has galvanized left-wing support for several years to ensure postal legislation provides growth opportunities rather than service cuts. He introduced a measure last Congress that -- contrary to a committee-backed, bipartisan proposal -- would block the Postal Service from moving forward with planned facility closures, require Saturday mail delivery and eliminate the agency's mandate to prefund retirees' health benefits. The senator has proven to be a thorn in the side of other lawmakers looking to assuage the various parochial interests of postal management, unions and customers. Sanders has said "providing fewer services and poorer quality is not the way to save the Postal Service," and has spoken out against job cuts at the agency, arguing "good-paying postal jobs" can help protect the middle-class in local economies.

BT.com: The 175th anniversary of the world's first postage stamp is being marked with a new set of stamps. The Penny Black went on sale on May 1, 1840, for use on letters being delivered anywhere in the UK, a system that is still in place today through the one-price-goes-anywhere universal service. The stamp would cost £3.07 in today's terms. The Penny Black was part of huge changes in the postal service, including charges by weight for a letter to go anywhere, as opposed to prices being worked out by distance and number of sheets in a letter. (See also The Telegraph)

Economic Times: Thousands of workers at Deutsche Post staged another strike on Saturday over the company's plans to expand its parcel delivery service using staff on lower pay, labour union Verdi said. Deutsche Post said the strike, the third this month, meant that about 2 million letters and 40,000 parcels would not be delivered on Saturday, only a tiny fraction of the usual daily volume.

May 1, 2015 

Direct Marketing News: "PRC Chief Tells What Will Keep the Postal Service Going"

Postalnews.com: The USPS Office of Inspector general has issued a report claiming to show wide geographic variations in the decline of first class mail volume since 1995. Unfortunately, the report bases that conclusion on data that appears somewhat questionable. Given that the whole point of the OIG report was to document geographic differences in mail volume trends, the unreliability of the geographic breakdown makes it hard to give the conclusions much credence.

Washington Post: A coalition of civil rights organizations is pushing the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to provide greater workplace accommodations, such as light duty, for pregnant employees. In a letter to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the National Partnership for Women & Families said, "The Postal Service continues to maintain a legally indefensible position that allows for discriminatory treatment against its own employees." The Postal Service disagreed. USPS "policy fully complies with existing law related to the accommodation of employees with workplace limitations, including pregnancy-related limitations," said Darlene Casey, a Postal Service spokeswoman. "Employees with pregnancy-related limitations may also, if eligible, apply for light-duty assignments under the terms of applicable collective-bargaining agreements and postal policies." Casey said the Postal Service "will fully consider any changes to our policies which may be warranted . . . in cooperation with our unions and employee associations."

Postal Technology International:

  • Amazon has launched its new business-to-business (B2B) marketplace called Amazon Business, selling hundreds of millions of products such as traffic signs, industrial deep fryers, 55-gallon steel drums, dent pullers, and IT and lab equipment. Amazon Business customers will benefit from free two-day shipping on tens of millions of eligible items with orders over US$49, as well as multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions and dedicated customer support. Businesses will also be able to place orders and finance purchases using a pay-in-full credit line or a revolving credit line.

City A.M.: Royal Mail shares shot up 5.3 per cent yesterday on news Lloyds private equity arm LDC had pulled out of investment talks with the owner of rival postal service Whistl. LDC said its decision to end discussions with Dutch postal operator PostNL was due to "ongoing changes in postal market dynamics and the complexity of the regulatory landscape". The investment had been intended to fund the expansion of Buckinghamshire-based Whistl's current end-to-end (E2E) operations. LDC is part of Lloyds, which is 20 per cent state-owned, while Royal Mail is 30 per cent state-owned. LDC said that after 16 months of on-going discussions with PostNL "UK postal market dynamics have changed and this has affected the viability of the original business case of the joint venture".

Postal Technology International:
 

  • Australia Post released its Apple Watch app, providing a new way for online shoppers to collect parcels and receive delivery status alerts. With a touch of their watch, shoppers will be able to view parcel delivery information and track their parcel, and customers will also be able to use their mobile devices to open parcel lockers by scanning their watch.

Ecns.cn: Express delivery services in the world's second largest economy are booming, with private couriers named the major players, official data showed Thursday. The postal business model has changed over the six years ending 2014, with the number of packages transported by express delivery surging by 820 percent and accounting for the movement of 63.9 percent of all post in the country, according to the State Post Bureau (SPB). Based on the number of packages sent in 2014, the SPB averaged that for every person in China, 10.2 express delivery packages are sent. Private firms hold 85.6 percent of the express delivery market and made 154.1 billion yuan (25.2 billion U.S. dollars) in revenues in 2014, 75.3 percent of the whole sector's revenues. Experts attribute the surge in express delivery services to booming e-commerce, led by Alibaba's Taobao, the country's largest online retail marketplace.

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