Association for Postal Commerce
"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"
"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you are willing to defend."
December 13, 2013
Toronto Sun: We are losing front door mail delivery in Canada, but the big story is why we are losing it. Pension costs. That’s right, those of us who still get mail to our door will lose this service due to the huge cost of the pensions Canada Post needs to pay out.
Lloyd's Loading List: DHL earlier this week tested out a mini drone prototype, the ’parcelkopter’ that could be used to transport emergency supplies of food and aid to remote areas of where a natural disaster has taken place. Equipped with four rotors and navigated from the ground by two technicians, DHL’s drone made a journey of just over one kilometre in two minutes to transport a three kilo shipment of medicines from a local chemist’s to to the express group’s HQ in Bonn, crossing the Rhine en route.
The Town Talk: Congressional leaders have gotten heat for the fact that the 112th Congress was one of the least productive in history. According to the Brookings Institution, the Congress that ended in 2012 passed fewer bills than any since these records were first kept in 1947. The total number of bills passed each year is not a meaningful measure of productivity, particularly if the legislation is about naming post offices and bridges. Indeed, because of bungling by Congress, the U.S. Postal Service is bankrupt and there aren’t many bridges being built these days. What really matters is whether Congress is doing the important things, like passing a federal budget that pays for the essentials of government, including the military, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal courts. It should assure that the nation’s economy has good highways and navigable seaports and rivers. It should quickly act on executive appointments to regulatory boards and agencies to keep the administrative branch smoothly functioning. It should pass comprehensive immigration reform to bring millions of productive people out of the shadows. Congress is failing to do any of those things.
CBC News: Big Brothers Big Sisters of P.E.I. says Canada Post's postal rate increase will have a big impact on the organization. Among many changes Canada Post announced earlier this week, was the news that rates will be rising on March 31 from 63 cents to a dollar for a single stamp or 85 cents if bought in a pack. The group mailing costs will jump about $3,500, said Heather Doran, the organization's communication and development manager. These are some costs that we just can't get around. People need to get their tax receipts. And yes, we'll have to find a way to find $3,500 in our budget," said Doran.
Reuters: PostFinance, the banking arm of Switzerland's state-owned postal services company, on Friday became the latest Swiss bank to say it would work with U.S. officials in a crackdown on wealthy Americans evading taxes through offshore accounts.
Worcester Telegram: The U.S. Postal Service has done a good deal to reform itself, but it needs Congress' help. If Canada can do it, so can we.
Wall Street Journal: China will expand a pilot value-added tax to the railway transport and postal service sectors starting Jan. 1, the Ministry of Finance said Friday.
Logistics Manager: TNT Post, which is part of Dutch post office PostNL, is to roll out an end to end postal delivery service in the UK, following a deal between its parent company and private equity house LDC. The joint venture will provide the funding and expertise for the phased implementation of the E2E-service, following trials in London and recent extension to Manchester. The joint venture will encompass all the current TNT Post UK operations, which includes the downstream access activities. The roll-out of the service will be led by TNT Post’s current UK management team PostNL will have a 40 per cent stake in the joint venture.
The Globe and Mail: Canada Post Corp. chief executive Deepak Chopra might be wishing he was the other, more famous, Mr. Chopra – the New Age guru. The postal boss could use some inner peace right now, as the Crown corporation embarks on a dramatic, and controversial, five-year overhaul that could see him at the helm of a smaller and more marginal business when it’s over.
Santa Monica Lookout: Patrons lobbying for more parking at Santa Monica’s new 7th Street post office will get what they want and more, US Postal officials told The Lookout Thursday. New estimates by US Postal Service engineers show that the north end of the facility at 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard could accommodate nearly 20 onsite parking spaces, doubling the figure originally promised by Postal Service officials on Wednesday. Even Congressman Henry Waxman weighed in the issue, sending a letter to Postmaster General General Patrick R. Donahoe Wednesday outlining residents’ concerns and reminding him that the federal agency promised onsite parking at the location.
The Nation: Twenty-seven countries have halted postal services from Pakistan owing to the security concerns. According to Pakistan Post officials, Thai Airlines has not been carrying letters and parcels from Pakistan to two European and 25 African countries including Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina for last five days. They said that Pakistan Post was bearing loss of millions of rupees though alternative arrangements are being sorted out.
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Politico: The House passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal 332-94, reducing the likelihood of another government shutdown next year.
National Association of Major Mail Users: In a statement released today, the National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) says the steep commercial increases announced by Canada Post will greatly accelerate the erosion of Transaction Mail. NAMMU President, Kathleen Rowe, said “Transaction Mail is over 50 per cent of the revenue of Canada Post, and business is 90 per cent of that. Pricing themselves out of the business market will rapidly de-stabilize revenues the Corporation needs to support other initiatives.” In conclusion, Rowe said “NAMMU will respond formally to the gazetting of the proposed general public rates, and will mount a business campaign with our members to defer and lessen these commercial increases.”
December 12, 2013
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today applauded Canada Post, the Canadian postal service, for moving to phase out expensive to-the-door delivery for paper mail. Chairman Issa, chief sponsor of H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013, has advanced similar reforms. “As technology advances, the Canadian people are changing the way they use paper mail. Canada Post has recognized this reality and responded to it. The Canadian government is supportive of its decision to modernize,” said Chairman Issa. “The American people have also changed the way they use paper mail and the cash-strapped United States Postal Service must respond accordingly. Likewise, Congress and the Administration need to grant USPS the flexibility to modernize its mail delivery and eliminate unnecessary costs.” The vast majority of American homes do not receive expensive to-the-door delivery, but instead receive less expensive curbside or centralized delivery. The Postal Reform Act, which was approved by the Committee in July, would require USPS to transition 30 million delivery points over 10 years. This provision will save the financially distressed USPS at least $4 billion per year and is one of the largest opportunities for USPS savings.
The Canada Post Action Plan:
The Hill: The Postal Regulatory Commission hired headhunting firm The McCormick Group for its executive search services, costing $45,000, according to contract documents. The commission is looking for a new general counsel, a position set to become vacant in January. The position comes with a salary of approximately $180,000. The Postal Regulatory Commission hopes to make an offer by March.
Postalnews Blog: DPMG Ron Stroman has named Sheila Meyers Acting VP, Government Relations and Public Policy. Prior to her new appointment, Meyers served as manager, Government Liaison, where she worked as the Postal Service’s primary contact with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In this capacity, she has extensively interacted with key congressional leaders and their staff regarding the Postal Service’s public policy interests, including the development and House passage of legislation consistent with the Postal Service’s operational and financial needs. Meyers has been with the Postal Service for 34 years. She has experience in a variety of positions, including mail processing, Retail Services, Human Resources, Labor Relations and Government Relations.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Exchange Magazine: Yesterday, Canada Post unveiled five initiatives that together will form the foundation of a new postal system designed to serve busy Canadians and meet their changing needs for postal services. It will also open new opportunities to businesses that are redefining how they connect and serve customers in an increasingly digital world. These changes will begin taking effect in the new year. This comprehensive plan can be achieved without any changes to the Canadian Postal Service Charter. The integrated plan's five main initiatives are....
The Globe and Mail: Worse service, higher prices. Most businesses would go bankrupt with that sales pitch. Yet Canada Post, our government-owned letter-mail monopoly, made it by announcing it will cut household delivery and hike stamp prices. Rather than focus on cutting service and raising prices, Canada needs real postal reform that results in mail services being better managed at a lower cost by private operators.
Office of the Inspector General: Strengthening Advertising Mail by Building a Digital Information Market Report Number RARC-WP-14-002 -- How’s this for a “win-win-win”: By creating a digital platform that rewards recipients for providing feedback about the advertising mail they receive, the U.S. Postal Service could help direct mailers target their ads and catalogs more accurately and recipients get the ad mail that interests them. A new white paper from the Postal Service Office of Inspector General explores and outlines such a concept, which could ultimately help the Postal Service not only sustain its significant revenue from ad mailings, but possibly increase it. The paper includes an appendix by two experts in the intriguing field of attention economics.
Associated Press: For one Alaska city, it’s not rain, sleet or snow that’s affecting mail delivery. It’s a broken postal sorting machine that has prompted officials to fly letters and packages more than 200 miles away to be separated and flown back for delivery. That has left Ketchikan residents to complain about mail getting delivered up to five days late. U.S. Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson said Ketchikan’s sorting equipment gave out and it’s not practical to replace it right now. He said the agency believes it can still provide customers with a good level of service under the current arrangement that calls for mail to be sorted in Juneau.
Surf Santa Monica: U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman is asking the United States Postal Service (USPS) to make good on its promise to provide customers with on-site parking at the relocated postal facility in Santa Monica. In a letter to the Postmaster General Wednesday, Waxman echoed reports published in The Lookout last week that residents fear the on-street parking at the replacement facility at 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard is inadequate and unsafe.
Senator Baldwin Amendment to Strike Section 301 Supports Private Sector Economy, Mail Volumes & Revenues for the USPS Background:
The Mirror: Royal Mail has been accused of “penny- pinching” after ditching a cut-price stamp scheme for the hard-up, despite posting a surge in profits. Last Christmas, the postal giant allowed people on certain benefits to buy 36 first and second-class stamps at 2011 prices – 46p and 36p. It followed the decision to jack up stamp prices to 60p and 50p respectively in April last year. But Royal Mail confirmed it won’t be giving the same help this time.
DVIDS: For service members not going home during the holidays, the Christmas spirit can often be low and this cheerful time of year can feel like "just another month." In today’s technological world, a phone call home or an e-mail to a loved one can sometimes fill the void of being away during the holidays, but not quite as much as seeing your name on a package or a letter. Working around the clock to fill that void, are six Marines at the Combat Center Post Office who work diligently to sort all Christmas and New Year’s mail so that they arrive on time and intact.
American Postal Workers Union: APWU Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy called on the Postal Regulatory Commission to conduct an investigation into delayed mail at the agency’s public meeting on Dec. 11. Mail processing plants are being consolidated all over the country, she said, and have adversely affected the mail service in a very drastic way. The APWU has received reports of lengthy mail delays and of what appear to be management attempts to hide the delays. “You are now seeing the USPS privatize our work, take away good union postal jobs, destroying our service network, and closing post offices to place them in retail stores,” she said. “Postal workers are highly trained to secure the mail, protect the mail, and provide the best service to our customers. “We have to save our service and it’s not only my job, but it is the PRC’s job too,” she said.
Office of the Inspector General: Readiness for Package Growth- Delivery Operations Management Advisory Report - Report Number DR-MA-14-001:
National Association of Letter Carriers: NALC grassroots activists and the American public scored a huge victory on Tuesday when efforts to include elimination of Saturday mail delivery in the emerging budget agreement for 2014 failed. National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando reacted with gratitude and relief. “Thanks to the thousands of dedicated letter carriers, citizens and small-business owners who raised their voices in opposition to this misguided proposal to slash delivery service,” Rolando said, “Congress will not unwisely weaken the Postal Service or undermine our last-mile delivery network. Together, we have not only helped save tens of thousands of good jobs, but we have preserved a path for recovery and growth for the USPS in the future. This is a win for tens of millions of Americans and countless businesses throughout the country that rely on the Postal Service for the world's most affordable delivery service. “Congress must continue to reject any legislation that would lead to the elimination of Saturday mail delivery,” he added.
Post & Parcel: Postal customers in Sweden are set to benefit from further improvements in their service following an extension to the long term support contract between the country’s national postal distribution organisation, Posten, and Lockheed Martin UK. Under the new contract Lockheed Martin UK will provide around the clock monitoring of the systems that control the Swedish mail processing operations. It will also provide a help desk and will distribute software updates and changes to address directories to synchronise with Posten’s requirements.
EV World: The French national postal service La Poste has been operating a fleet of all-electric delivery vans for at least the last half decade. Such EVs are ideally suited for quiet, clean operation in cities, but less so across its sprawling, often quite rugged rural countryside approximately the size of the state of Texas. To make the use of the Renault Kangoo-based electric vehicles more adaptable to the rest of the country, the service is partnering with UTBM to test Symbio FCell fuel cell range extender kits on working postal vehicles on routes of more than 100 km (62 mi) in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France along the Swiss border. In addition to doubling the range of the electric vans, the heat from the Symio FCell stack will be used to provide cabin heat and windshield defrosting, removing a significant electrical load off the batteries in cold weather.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service says no additional cost is expected from a decision to fly mail from one Alaska community to another for sorting. Ernie Swanson said Wednesday that the agency already has flights between Ketchikan and Juneau, and no extra flights have been added due to the change in mail handling. [EdNote: Hummm. Fly mail from one area to another at no cost. Must be a miracle of sorts.]
Attention Postal One! Users:Full-Service Discounts and By/For Information. Electronic Documentation (eDoc) requires the identification of the eDoc Submitter, the Mail Preparer and the Mail Owner for Full-Service compliance. The identification of the Mail Preparer and Mail Owner is called By/For - where the mail is prepared BY a Mail Preparer FOR a Mail Owner. The Mail Owner and the Mail Preparer may be the same party or they may be different parties. For example, when a Mail Owner prepares and submits their own mailing, the Mail Preparer and Mail Owner would be the same. If the Mail Owner chooses to use a Mail Preparer to prepare and submit their mailing(s), the parties would be different within eDoc. eDoc is used to populate the electronic postage statements in PostalOne! What is populated depends on what resides in a particular field the eDoc.
Today, the information fields used to populate the postage statement By/For IS NOT the same information used for the Full-Service By/For. (This will change in a future release). At this time, Acceptance employees are not able to validate Full-Service By/For information. The Full-Service discount will not be denied if the “Org for Mailing Prepared” field is blank, or does not appear to be correct on the electronic postage statement in PostalOne!. Below is a summary of the four (4) reasons the Full-Service discount will be removed. These issues are discovered by Visual Inspection and/or by running the mailing on MERLIN at the time of acceptance.
Reasons for removal of the Full-Service discount include: (1) three or more Intelligent Mail Container barcodes or placards are missing or covered by shrink-wrap. (2) three or more tray/sack labels are missing Intelligent Mail Tray Barcode. (3) four or more mailpieces claiming the Full-Service discount are missing Intelligent Mail barcodes. (5) The loss of an automation discount based on the results of a MERLIN or Manual barcode verification will also result in the loss of the Full-Service discount.
Pensions & Investments: Canada Post Corp., Ottawa, would be allowed to avoid making special contributions to its pension fund for the next four years under regulations to be introduced by the Canadian government. Canada Post recommended the move as part of its five-point plan for financial stability issued on Wednesday.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Anybody who doubts where the U.S. Postal Service is headed should look at what’s happening north of the border. Canada Post announced (pdf) today that it plans to end home delivery in urban areas over the next five years, part of a plan to restore its financial health. In addition, the Canadian mail will increase stamp prices and cut as many 8,000 jobs. Opponents of similar reforms in the U.S. blame the USPS’s fiscal crisis on a congressional mandate to prepay $5 billion to cover future health-care benefits of retirees. But that’s just a side issue. If people would stop communicating via e-mail, text message, and Twitter (TWTR) and go back to writing letters, Canada Post and its American counterpart would be fine. That’s not likely to happen.
Canada.com: "Why you’ll pay $1 a stamp and won’t get mail delivered to your door in urban areas." $1: This is how much you’ll pay for a stamp starting March 31, 2014, if you buy individually. That’s a 59-per-cent increase over the $0.63 you’re paying now. Stamps bought in packages or coils will cost $0.85 each (a mere 35-per-cent increase). Canada Post hopes it can generate an additional $200 million this way. But Denis Lemelin, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, has attacked the increase, saying “skyrocketing stamp prices will make the postal service inaccessible to many people.” For posterity’s sake, a stamp cost $0.46 in 2000.
CTV News: The union representing postal workers says it will fight Canada Post's decision to eliminate door-to-door mail delivery as the company struggles with continued losses. President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Denis Lemelin said the Crown corporation could reduce costs through innovation rather than cutting jobs and scaling back services.
O.Canada.com: Canada Post president and CEO Deepak Chopra is a board member of the organization that highlighted the financial plight facing the Crown corporation and suggested eliminating door-to-door delivery as a way for it to save money. Chopra is a member of the board of directors of the Conference Board of Canada. Chopra is also paid the highest salary range among so-called governor-in-council cabinet appointments, with potential earnings of more than half a million dollars a year as Canada Post CEO. Chopra is paid at the CEO 8 level, meaning he receives between $440,900 and $518,600 a year in salary to head an organization that has nearly two dozen presidents and vice-presidents.
Ottawa Citizen: Canada is the first developed nation to cancel door-to-door mail delivery, a U.S. watchdog group says. “This is a drastic and unprecedented step,” said Don Soifer, director of the Consumer Postal Council, an organization dedicated to bringing “sensible reform” to the U.S. Postal Service. Soifer, who monitors postal services around the world, said Canada is not unique in trying to stem losses as the use of traditional mail plummets. But others are employing other strategies — including full and partial privatization, changes of delivery frequency and the addition of other services — while largely maintaining home delivery. Soifer said all countries face difficult decisions on postal services, including whether mail delivery, like other government services, should be paid for or subsidized by general tax revenue. “If consumers want to maintain a national post (system) and have it be a government entity, then the question becomes who’s responsibility it is to pay for it.”
Digital Journal: "No one would deny that the services provided by Canada Post must adapt to the changing needs of Canadians, but drastic cuts to services don't serve anyone." We need a visionary long-term plan for the postal service that ensures financial sustainability, while prioritizing good jobs and quality services."
The Telegram: Local postal workers are reeling from the news that door-to-door delivery is being phased out. “It’s huge,” said Craig Dyer, who was out delivering mail as he spoke to The Telegram. Dyer is the chief shop steward with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Local 126 in St. John's.
Reuters: Canada's postal service will phase out urban home delivery within five years and hike the cost of postage stamps to try to stem soaring losses, the post office said on Wednesday. Canada Post, like the U.S. Postal Service, is suffering as customers switch to digital communications. In August it said it was on track to run short of cash by the middle of 2014 unless major changes were made. The government-owned corporation - which has a mandate to be self-financing - last month reported a third-quarter loss of C$109 million ($103 million) before tax and said mail volumes had fallen 7.3 percent from the same period in 2012. It must also deal with a C$6.5 billion deficit in its pension plan. About 5.1 million urban households in Canada - a third of the total - get door-to-door mail delivery. Under a five-point plan unveiled on Wednesday, this will be phased out over the next five years and replaced by a system of community mail boxes. See also the Wall Street Journal.
The Republic: Canada's postal service said Wednesday it will phase out home delivery within urban centers within the next five years as it begins to post significant financial losses because of the increasing use of digital communication. Canada Post, a government corporation, said it will replace foot delivery with community mail boxes. About a third of Canadian homes still receive mail to their door. It also plans to eliminate 6,000 to 8,000 jobs during the next five years, mainly through attrition. The postal service expects nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company in the next five years. Canada Post said if left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers.
December 11, 2013
National Association of Major Mail Users: Canada Post has advised their five-point plan to return to financial sustainability by 2019. Key elements for the short term are: The Commercial Incentive rates for Transaction Mail effective March 31, 2014: 69 cents and 70 cents; Roll out of the Cluster Mail Box option where all homes currently receiving home delivery, will be converted to CMB between 2014-2019. The Canadian domestic stamp rate will be gazetted this weekend, and is proposed at: $1.00 per single stamp; Booklet or coil: 85 cents; meter: 75 cents.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs: Business Meeting Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:00 a.m. SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building AGENDA Legislation -- S. 1486, Postal Reform Act of 2013
The Chartered Institute of Logistics Transportation: Postal customers in Sweden are set to benefit from further improvements in their service following an extension to the long term support contract between the country’s national postal distribution organisation, Posten, and Lockheed Martin UK. Under the new contract Lockheed Martin UK will provide around the clock monitoring of the systems that control the Swedish mail processing operations. It will also provide a help desk and will distribute software updates and changes to address directories to synchronise with Posten’s requirements. The support extension, spread over five years, has been combined with a new agreement for Lockheed Martin UK to consolidate its postal operations experience with Posten and to identify new, business enhancing projects to maintain the latter’s leadership position in Scandinavia. Together the two agreements are valued at more than £8 million.
Wall Street Journal: Patrick Donahoe, the U.S. Postmaster General, calls himself an optimist. He has to be. He has the unenviable task of managing an agency that acts as a private company in many ways but needs an act of Congress to introduce certain products or change some employee benefits. That's no easy feat in today's Washington. The U.S. Postal Service has waited for years for legislators to pass a bill to fix its ailing finances. In fiscal 2013, it had a $5 billion loss, ending in the red for the seventh year.
China Daily: China and other emerging markets will significantly influence global trade in the next two decades, the chief operating officer of United Parcel Service Inc said. "The China story and the emerging markets story certainly hasn't been written - that's a story in process," David Abney told China Daily in an interview on the sidelines of the World in 2014 Summit in Manhattan. "All of our multinational customers that we talk to on a regular basis are focused on these emerging markets," Abney said. "You can't mention the word 'emerging markets' without talking about China. It's just got such an influence."
Washington Examiner: Postal Service employees have credit cards that can be used to make cash withdrawals against government funds, and 11 percent of their ATM withdrawals were determined to be "inappropriate," according to an inspector general's report published Tuesday. The cards are supposed to be used for travel, but of 328 "high risk" cash advances examined by the IG, 102 didn't occur on a trip. Unallowable cash withdrawals uncovered by the IG, that Postal Service managers had not detected themselves, totaled $25,430. See OIG report: "Monitoring of Government Travel Card Transactions in the Western Area"
Azerbaijan Business Center: The National Post Operator “Azerbaijan Post” LLC (Azərpoçt) is ready to expand the volume of its postal deliveries within the framework of global e-trade. According to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies, the Operator has already introduced SMS-notification service to notify the recipient about delivery of internet order. “This service has already facilitated the process of receiving international parcels”, - the Ministry informs. The growth of parcels number within the framework of global e-trade is expected in the country after 5-fold increase (from $200 up to $1000) of the cost of private goods imported without customs fee.
The Herald: Zimpost has invested US$2 million purchasing five postal buses to combine the functions of public transport and mail delivery or collection, an official has said. The post-bus concept has been in existence within the postal industry for a very long time. The concept was introduced as a means of providing public transport in rural areas with lower levels of patronage where a normal bus service is uneconomic.
Politico: Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray unveiled a two-year budget agreement late Tuesday night that they say will end years of bitter budget wars on Capitol Hill.The framework amounts to a modest deal that averts another government shutdown, replaces the sequester and provides a level of certainty on spending that hasn’t been seen in Washington for several years. But it doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, which Congress must address sometime next spring. President Barack Obama welcomed the two-year budget agreement unveiled Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, calling it "a good first step" that should remove the prospect of another government shutdown.
December 10, 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and presidential candidate, has inundated the U.S. Postal Service for decades with suggestions. Even in better times, he was concerned that American citizens were being short changed by the agency, which lost $5 billion last year, thanks to the proliferation of e-mail and the added burden of having to pre-pay its retiree health benefits. Today, Nader is more adamant than ever that stamp buyers should have a say in the USPS’s fate. He talked about how to fix the USPS post office and how he relishes going to the post office.
Fierce Government: The Postal Service blamed time constraints for the poor performance of some postmasters in a business engagement program, but the USPS office of inspector general now disputes that conclusion. An OIG audit from earlier this year found wide variation in performance nationwide in the Business Connect program, where postmasters reach out to local businesses through meetings and events. One group of 196 postmasters reported about $27,000 in revenue per Business Connect contact in fiscal 2012, while a separate group of 13,050 postmasters reported an average of $10 in revenue per contact. Postal Service officials attributed the lower performance of many postmasters to time-consuming operational challenges. But in a Dec. 9 report (.pdf), the OIG says there was no relationship between the challenges faced by post offices and the performance of their postmasters in Business Connect.
Wall Street Journal: "Differences in How Men and Women Think Are Hard-Wire" Women and men display distinctive differences in how nerve fibers connect various regions of their brains, according to a half-dozen recent studies that highlight gender variation in the brain's wiring diagram. No one knows how gender variations in brain wiring might translate into thought and behavior—whether they might influence the way men and women generally perceive reality, process information, form judgments and behave socially—but they are sparking controversy [EdNote: Duh! Ask anyone who's married. Who needs the Wall Street Journal to tell them men and women think differently?]
Wall Street Journal: The success of the holiday shopping season—the difference between winners and losers—usually hinges on factors like the economy, fashion, color, price, or a blockbuster new items like tablet computers or videogame consoles. Increasingly, though, another factor is coming into play: Shipping. Package delivery is becoming a competitive weapon in the holiday retail season.
Roll Call: The post office in the Russell Senate Office Building will close at the end of 2013, as the Senate consolidates its postal services. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the post office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will serve all the chamber’s mailing and shipping needs. The decision to shutter the Russell location, found in room 34-B of the building’s brick-walled basement, follows a thorough review of all aspects of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms operation “in an effort to promote greater efficiency and meet shrinking budget allocations,” according to an announcement on the chamber’s internal website obtained by CQ Roll Call.
Transport Intelligence: After 5 days of intense negotiation, the World Trade Organisation Bali Ministerial Conference has ended in success. The so-called 'Bali Package', which consists of a selection of measures to reduce global trade barriers, was finally adopted and represents the first multilateral trade deal which the WTO has been able to broker for 12 years. But what will this mean for global supply chains? The WTO says that the objectives of the Package are: to speed up customs procedures; make trade easier, faster and cheaper; provide clarity, efficiency and transparency; reduce bureaucracy and corruption, and use technological advances. It also has provisions on goods in transit, an issue particularly of interest to landlocked countries seeking to trade through ports in neighbouring countries. The benefits to the world economy are calculated to be between $ 400bn and $1 trillion by reducing costs of trade by between 10% and 15%, increasing trade flows and revenue collection, creating a stable business environment and attracting foreign investment.
Derry Journal: Sinn Féin in Derry has launched its annual Christmas postal service. The party has organised its own post service for Christmas cards in Derry for more than 30 years. This year’s postal service was launched at the Rath Mór Sinn Féin office by councillors Patricia Logue and Colly Kelly. Colr. Kelly said the stamps for this year’s service will commemorate the mass escape from Long Kesh prison in 1983 when 38 prisoners broke out of the high security jail. Speaking after the launch, colr. Kelly said; “The annual Sinn Féin post has been a feature of the Christmas period in Derry now for over thirty years and I would encourage people to make use of it. “Christmas cards will be delivered to any part of Derry City for the minimal price of 20p.
Roll Call: As the contours of a potential two-year budget agreement have emerged in advance of a Friday deadline, those outside the talks are expressing displeasure with both sides — perhaps a sign that a deal really is close. And any deal, although certain to fall far short of the aborted grand bargains of yore, would be remarkable in its own right, ending a year of historic dysfunction in Washington, D.C., with a road map for a return to some semblance of normalcy.
Hazard-Herald: Those living in the Ary and Rowdy communities of Perry County will now have more and possibly closer options when it comes to sending mail after a village post office opened at a local service station last week. Campbell’s Service Station, located on Hwy. 476 in the Ary community, will now offer flat-rate package shipping, mail drop-off, and stamps to customers in the area who do not want to or do not have the time to travel to the post office, said Nick Walker, village post office coordinator with the United States Postal Service. “It benefits the community with the mail collections, the availability of stamps and flat rate packages, and it also helps out the owners Sally and Shirley Campbell as far as increasing the foot traffic, and of course we’re looking forward to benefiting the postal service,” Walker said at the opening on Friday. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) started the village post office program a few years ago, Walker said, in order to help increase revenue in areas where the population may be more spread out making it harder for everyone in the community to reach a fully operational post office on a regular basis.
Sit News: Without apparently any public process, the United States Postal Service (USPS ) made a decision recently to change its longstanding practice for processing mail in Ketchikan and is now flying the mail to Juneau for processing, then back to Ketchikan. In a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said the decision to change how Ketchikan mail is sorted was made several months ago with apparently no public notice. At that time the USPS decided to transport all mail deposited at the Ketchikan post over over 200 miles by air to Juneau where it would be sorted. The Ketchikan-destined mail is then returned by air to Ketchikan. A plan which Begich says is inefficient and does not take Southeast Alaska weather delays into account.
The New Indian Express: A nationwide agitation would be launched against the Government's move to privatise postal services including railway mail and MMS, said president of National Confederation of Postal Employees, Giriraj Singh, on the concluding day of the two-day national open convention here on Monday. Addressing the gathering, he demanded that the Government should roll back its Postal Policy of 2012 at the earliest.
At thePostal RegulatoryCommission:
December 9, 2013
CBS Los Angeles: The fallout from ongoing financial troubles for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could end up reaching as far as the North Pole this Christmas.For the first time in over a century, a number of children’s letters addressed to Santa Claus may go unanswered, according to postal volunteers.
Wall Street Journal: Deutsche Post-DHL AG launched a test flight for drone delivery Monday, just about a week after e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. stirred a media frenzy by saying it would use drones to bring packages to customers. The postal and logistics company said it began a weeklong pilot project on Monday in cooperation with a pharmacy in Bonn, where the company is located. "Our plans are in the early stages and there are a number of scenarios we're evaluating, including delivering medicine that's needed quickly, or to hard-to-reach places," Deutsche Post spokeswoman Dunja Kuhlmann said.
Press Release: DPS magazine has named Bell and Howell – a leading global provider of multi-channel communications solutions for print, Web and mobile delivery – as a winner in its 2013 Top 30 Readers’ Choice Awards. The distinction recognizes companies for their popularity as selected by the magazine’s readership. Using the magazine’s website metric system (www.dpsmagdirect.com), the publication tallies readers’ interest in companies and products throughout the year. This is done via requests made on print and Web editorial and advertisements as seen in the magazine, as well as on the website or in DPS’ weekly e-newsletter. Bell and Howell was recognized for overall reader interest, as well as its featured products: BH™ Mobile Mail, Criterion Apex® DM sorter, and JETVision® Quest.
New York Times: Worldwide, e-commerce sales topped $1 trillion last year, according to the research firm eMarketer. Sales growth in the double digits will almost certainly continue through at least 2016. There is going to be a lot more stuff to deliver out there. What we buy on our smartphones in seconds we want on our doorstep in minutes. Given the explosive growth of e-commerce, some experts say the shipping business is in for big changes. Robots and autonomous vehicles — think Google’s driverless car — could also disrupt the delivery business. Autonomous vehicles, including drones, promise a faster, cheaper option. “The cost of use will be pennies on the dollar compared to today’s delivery systems,” Brad Templeton, a futurist and a member of the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said. This, he added, could very quickly eat into the business of many delivery companies.
Trade Arabia: Bahraini firms hit by a shock 300 per cent increase in overseas postage fees are calling on authorities to reverse the decision, saying it will cost them thousands of dinars and could force them to look for postal alternatives abroad.
Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service has insisted it should be able to break its annual price cap to combat the effects of the “Great Recession” on its mail volumes. The world’s largest postal service is currently seeking regulatory approval for a 6.5% increase to its retail stamp prices for First Class Mail, and a 5.9% increase for its business mail rates. The rate rise, which is well about the rate of inflation on which its annual price cap is based, aims to raise an additional $2bn in revenue to help the Postal Service cope with its current financial crisis. USPS has said it will not need to implement the “exigent” rate increase if Congress passes comprehensive postal reform laws by the end of this month. Last month major USPS customers called on regulators to reject the exigent rate rise, stating that the primary cause of mail volume losses in the United States has been the diversion of communications to the Internet. The mailers argued that the ongoing e-substitution of physical mail volumes was not grounds under US postal law to break the price cap. But the Postal Service has insisted to Post&Parcel that from 2007 to the end of 2010 20% of its mail volume disappeared “primarily” because of the recession.....USPS Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman responds to our article reporting mailers’ demands that US postal regulators reject above-inflation price rise proposals.
Hindu Business Line: Japan has launched an initiative to modernise Myanmar’s postal system by introducing its fast, efficient and precise services in the Southeast Asian country. The initiative is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revitalisation plans featuring exports of its advanced technologies and services to other countries, especially developing countries in Asia.
December 8, 2013
Press Release: UPS®, a global logistics provider and leading advocate for global trade, welcomes today's news of an agreement struck at the World Trade Organization to facilitate global commerce and support growth in developing countries. After years of debate and compromise, the World Trade Organization (WTO) successfully delivered a trade package at the WTO's 9th Ministerial Conference, reconfirming the organization's ability to serve as a forum for negotiation of global trade rules.
National Association of Letter Carriers: NALC has recently become aware of an effort by the Postal Service in different parts of the country to convince customers to agree to change their mode of delivery to cluster box or centralized delivery. The language above makes clear that property owners must sign indicating their agreement with the conversion. If property owners do not sign, they retain their current mode of delivery. Owners’ associations and managers in rental areas may also control the mode of delivery. The final paragraph states that the Postal Service may not arbitrarily change the mode of delivery when a residence is sold.
Jamaica Observer: With the popularity of social media to include technological advances in instant communication like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and various other instant messaging services, many people, especially the young, have confessed to not using the services provided by the Postal Corporation of Jamaica, the postal services' umbrella organisation. Some have even admitted to not seeing the relevance of the existence of post offices and postal agencies.
Marketwatch: Severe winter weather across the U.S. has been blamed for nearly a dozen deaths, more than a thousand canceled flights, and delayed freight deliveries by major shipping companies and online retailers during the busy holiday season. FedEx Corp. said on Saturday that winter weather caused “substantial flight and sort disruptions at multiple hubs” and warned that packages due for Saturday delivery could be delayed. United Parcel Service Inc. said pickups and deliveries weren't available in parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Texas. Similarly, eBay Inc. warned that the weather could delay shipments to Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and Texas. Winter storm warnings were in effect in Northern Nevada, Utah and Western Virginia on Saturday. Northern Virginia, the Washington, D.C. metro area, Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania were under a winter storm watch, according to the National Weather Service.
December 7, 2013
Washington Examiner: What ultimately became of $27,000 worth of mail loaders in Atlanta? The U.S. Postal Service's inspector general is unsure. The Atlanta distribution center lost at least $26,7000 in equipment that could have been traded, sold, recycled or used in parts. Instead, management marked down the 20 loaders as lost, stolen, destroyed or simply "not found." "Ultimately, we could not determine what became of this equipment," the IG reported.
Raleigh Telegram: According to the United States Postal Service, a new contract post office has now opened in Raleigh. The USPS says the new office has virtually all of the services of a regular post office.
Delphos Herald: Postal Reform is a complicated issue and a very personal one. Just think of the numbers of industries and the people whose livelihood depends on the post office. Actually it is harder to come up with a list of industries that are not affected by this massive organization. Almost 40 years ago, I used to tell school groups that if you can think of a job that someone has, there is someone working for the post office that is doing that very same job.
WTLV: Come rain or sleet or snow, you'll get your mail. But ... "Right now, letter carriers are upset because the postal service has changed the letter carrier's starting times to anywhere between 8:30 and 9 o'clock in the morning," said Bob Henning, President of the North Florida Letter Carriers Union Local Branch 53. Henning is a retired letter carrier after 35 years. He said he's seen carriers out as late as 7:30 p.m. "It's very hazardous for us to be out there delivering mail in the dark," he said.
VOCM: Craig Dyer with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says saving money shouldn't be about cutting customer service. Dyer says over the past couple of days, he's received complaints from consumers that they cannot get their parcels at postal outlets because of the large amount of packages that need to be sorted. He told VOCM BackTalk with Paddy Daly, that's because the packages are not being sorted by postal workers anymore - rather they're being sent to outlets, like drug stores.
USA Today: Mark Lipscomb has been delivering mail to people who live along Week's Bay and the Magnolia and Fish rivers here for nine years . His mode of transportation isn't the usual, white U.S. Postal Service vehicle. It's a 15-foot-long Alumacraft boat with a semi-V hull. Lipscomb works the only water delivery mail route in the country.
Washington Post: Total federal employment, including the military and Postal Service, has dropped 0.32 percent per month on average so far this year, according to BLS data. That compares to an average increase of 0.17 percent per month for the private sector and 0.12 percent per month for the overall economy. Even without the Postal Service, the numbers do not look good for the federal government. Federal employment excluding postal workers has declined by an average of 0.3 percent per month so far this year.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY POSTMASTER GENERAL Effective December 9, Sheila Meyers will begin a detail as Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy. Sheila is a 34-year career postal employee who began her career in Seattle, Washington. She has worked in a wide variety of postal operations, including Mail Processing, Retail Services, Human Resources, Labor Relations, and Government Relations. As Manager, Government Liaison, Sheila is the Postal Service’s primary liaison with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In this capacity, she has extensively interacted with key congressional leaders and their staff regarding the Postal Service’s public policy interests, including the development and passage of legislation consistent with the Postal Service’s financial and operational needs.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Effective immediately, Krista Finazzo will be returning to Operations as Manager, Integration & Support. Krista will provide coordination and oversight in the development of defined core operational initiatives for the office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Krista will serve as a liaison to operational officers and be responsible for strategic support and alignment of operational initiatives under the COO’s purview. Previously, Krista served as the Consumer Advocate and Manager, Customer Relations where she was the primary voice of the customer for the Postal Service. A 22-year veteran of the Postal Service, Krista has held several positions within Operations and Marketing at various levels of the organization. Krista attended Michigan State University and received her master’s degree from American University.
The USPS Mailing Services team will hold a webinar on Thursday, December 12 to discuss the upcoming 2014 Promotion Calendar. This webinar is intended for mailers and mail service providers interested in hearing more about the 2014 mailing promotions calendar that was recently approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. We will provide a brief overview of the seven promotions slated for 2014 and describe eligibility requirements and other program parameters. For additional information on the USPS 2014 Promotion Calendar, please visit our RIBBS website at:
December 6, 2013
Attention Postal One! Users: The Memphis Metropolitan area is currently under a winter storm event. The NCSC - Memphis inclement weather policy has been implemented, which impacts the PostalOne! Help Desk. If you should require assistance with PostalOne!, and experience difficulty making contact by phone, please send an email email@example.com and we will respond as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Washington Times: Looks as if a Postal Service facility forgot a key part of reducing waste — recycling. Investigators say that an Atlanta sorting facility ditched 20 of its mail loaders, labeling them as lost, stolen, destroyed or not found. “We estimate the Postal Service lost at least $26,700 in scrap value for this equipment,” said the U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general, the organization’s watchdog.
At thePostal RegulatoryCommission:
New Zealand Herald: Why does New Zealand Post continue to flounder while Deutsche Post, the German postal provider, has significantly outperformed the Frankfurt sharemarket in recent years and Royal Mail, the UK mail operator, has just had an extremely successful IPO? A brief assessment of the three post providers shows that the two European companies have clear e-commerce driven parcel and logistics growth strategies whereas New Zealand Post has been adversely affected by the requirement to contribute substantial capital to Kiwibank, its 100 per cent owned subsidiary.
The Adobe Chronicles: Today, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced its response to Amazon’s drone delivery. It is calling it the Rabbit Express, not to be confused with the bus service to and from New York City. Classified documents obtained by The Adobo Chronicles revealed that USPS has been training herds and herds of rabbits which, with the aid of computer chips, could deliver letters and flat envelopes to addresses within a 50-mile radius of post offices in less than 20 minutes. The documents showed that the cost of the Rabbit Express would be 50% less than what USPS now charges for flat-rate priority mail. The secret training farm is located somewhere in Arizona. If it fits the size and weight of the rabbit, it ships!
RocketCity Times: Walmart today announced plans to install mini surface-to-air missile batteries on the rooftops of all 4,786 store locations across the United States. The missiles will exclusively target Amazon Prime Air drones. The new concept called Walmart Megatron is the latest effort to drive customers back to retail locations. While Walmart’s growth has remained steady, it has been unable to keep pace with online retailers such as Amazon. The Megatron missiles will be miniaturized surface to air missile based on the RIM-174 Standard ERAM. The missiles are 7 inches long and in testing showed the capability to target an Amazon drone up to 10 miles away. The missile batteries are equipped with special camera equipment calibrated to search for the Amazon arrow on the side of the Prime Air drones and fire automatically.
Reuters: Twitter Inc is tying up with a Singapore-based startup to make its 140-character messaging service available to users in emerging markets who have entry-level mobile phones which cannot access the Internet. Users will need to dial a simple code to get a feed of the popular trending topics on Twitter.
Wall Street Journal: Dutch mail firm PostNL is in the spotlight Friday after revealing it had received gross cash proceeds of €507 million ($692 million) after disposing part of its stake in logistics company TNT Express. PostNL sold approximately 15% of the outstanding share capital of TNT Express, at an offer price of €6.20 a share, and will use the proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet via a reduction of outstanding debt. PostNL owned nearly 30% of TNT Express after the demerger of the mail and express delivery business in May 2011. PostNL has had a difficult time of late, with Dutch domestic mail volumes declining sharply. Last month it stated its revenues for the third quarter dropped 2%, while operating income dropped by 12%. That said, the mail firm raised its outlook for the full year, mainly as a result of the cost savings being realized ahead of schedule.
Post & Parcel: A group of 24 postal companies from around the world have launched a new programme that aims to establish a fully interconnected network for shipping e-commerce products across borders. The programme was agreed by members of the International Post Corporation at a meeting of their chief executives in Washington last month. The IPC membership comprises some of the biggest national postal services in the world, including the US Postal Service, Deutsche Post, Poste Italiane, Royal Mail and La Poste Group. It also includes the national postal services of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The IPC revealed this week that the new IPC e-Commerce Interconnect Programme will offer a global shipping platform with full track and trace capabilities offering end-to-end visibility to retailers and consumers alike. The platform will provide retailers with a choice of end-to-end delivery times and features, and a cross-border returns solution allowing consumers to ship unwanted items back. The IPC, a Brussels-based group of cooperating postal companies, said ultimately the project aims to provide consumers with the same kind of shopping and delivery experience when buying online from retailers in other countries as they would expect when buying from domestic retailers.
Business Wire: FedEx Corp. will increase shipping rates for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery by an average of 4.9% effective January 6, 2014. FedEx SmartPost rates also will change. Details of surcharge changes and new rates for FedEx Ground will be available at fedex.com/us/2014rates on December 6, 2013. FedEx previously announced on Sept. 18, 2013 that it will increase shipping rates for FedEx Express by an average of 3.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services also effective January 6, 2014.
Trade Arabia: Postal charges in Bahrain have increased by 300 per cent, a report said. It is understood the new rates, which came into effect yesterday, apply to local mail and anything sent within the Gulf, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication. [EdNote: So much for the benefit of living postal life without an inflation cap.]
Seeking Alpha: "Gold does not have a fundamental intrinsic value, and does not provide any cash flow, a right to future earnings or a promise of repayment at a later date. Furthermore, it has little economic use and is not tied to global consumption." [EdNote: I guess you could say the same today about promises from politicians.]
Politico: Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray are only a few billion dollars in budgetary savings away from a deal that would set spending levels and blunt the impact of across-the-board spending cuts for the next two years, according to sources close to the negotiations. But hurdles remain, as finding those few billion dollars is difficult in an already tight federal budget. [EdNote: Got that? Only a FEW BILLION apart. Incidentally, federal employees are already being prepped on the possibility of another federal shutdown.]
Press Release: Escher Group announces that the South African Post Office has selected the RiposteTrEx™ platform to deliver its eRegistered mail solution following a rigorous tender process. The South African Post Office will, through this platform, provide eRegistered mail services to the country’s more than 51 million citizens. Escher’s solution, RiposteTrEx™ is a secure, scalable high preforming platform for “digital correspondence”. The RiposteTrEx™ platform heralds a new phase in the evolution of secure e-services and digital communication.
The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram
CBSNew York: A Brooklyn man whose brother’s remains were lost by the U.S. Postal Service received some good news Thursday. As CBS 2′s John Slattery reported, the cremated remains of Michael Schecter were located and finally delivered to his brother, Ken. Michael Schecter, an aerospece engineer who lived in Los Angeles, died of cancer last month at age 63. The cremation was handled by the Neptune Society, which said on Nov. 13 it shipped the remains in a box from Valley Village, Calif., to New York City on second-day Priority Mail with the U.S. Postal Service. But the Postal Service lost track of it. The Postal Service told CBS 2: “Thanks to your intervention, we were alerted to a situation that we were able to remedy.” After more than three weeks, the family can now make plans for a memorial service.
December 5, 2013
Press Release: Today, a broad coalition of postal customers and suppliers issued the following statement applauding the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) action on the Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) mandate. The coalition’s statement reads:
Coalition members include: MPA-The Association of Magazine Media, Association for Postal Commerce, Direct Marketing Association, Inc., Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Association of Marketing Service Providers, Major Mailers Association, National Newspaper Association, Printing Industries of America, Quad/Graphics, Inc., R.R. Donnelley and Software and Information Industry Association/American Business Media.
Gifts and Dec: Nickelodeon and the United States Postal Service are launching SpongeBob MailPants, a letter-writing program that will help encourage kids to write, send and receive mail during the holiday season. The campaign, which runs now through Jan. 4, 2014, will include 30 custom-wrapped SpongeBob mailboxes, which will be placed in 13 cities nationwide. Kids can get special postage-paid, customized SpongeBob postcards at more than 25,000 Post Office locations nationwide to send out through the U.S. Postal Service. In addition to the postcards, 30 mailboxes are being wrapped in a custom SpongeBob design in cities, including: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, NC, Chicago, Dallas, Hollywood, FL, Kirkwood, MO, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, FL, Philadelphia; and Washington.
Anchorage Daily News: A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service says the agency has sent a couple clerks from Juneau to help ease staffing problems at the Skagway post office. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday asked Skagway residents to report any service disruptions or other concerns with the Skagway office to a special email address.
Ars Technica: Underscoring the growing sophistication of Internet crime, researchers have documented one of the first known botnets to target point-of-sale (PoS) terminals used by stores and restaurants to process customers' credit and debit card payments. The infections observed by IntelCrawler, by contrast, are much more advanced. They allow attackers to corral large numbers of PoS devices into a single botnet. The interface makes it easy to monitor the activities of infected machines in real time and to issue granular commands. In short, they are to PoS terminals what ZeuS, Citadel, and other banking trojans are to online bank accounts. The code helping to streamline the process has been dubbed StarDust. It's a major revision of Dexter, a previously discovered piece of malware targeting PoS devices that has already been fingered in other real-world payment card swindles.
Bloomberg: The U.S. Postal Service plans to test same-day delivery in the New York metropolitan area for the next year, expanding a pilot program it started a year ago in San Francisco to win business from online retailers. The Postal Service disclosed its intention to expand the same-day distribution test to the biggest U.S. metropolitan area in a regulatory filing yesterday.
Santa Monica Lookout: US Postal Service officials said Wednesday they are close to striking a deal to sell the 75-year-old building that was once home to Downtown Santa Monica’s main post office.
Business Wire: UPS Capital(R) Corporation, a business unit of UPS(R) which helps customers manage risks and protect finances, today announced a new service, UPS Capital C.O.D. Delayed Deposit. The service is designed to improve how and when companies that accept C.O.D. can deposit their customers' checks. This new service provides a safe, secure, technology-based solution to control the timing of individual check deposits.
Memphis Commercial Appeal: A federal judge in St. Louis has denied a request by FedEx Corp. to reconsider his September ruling permitting a group of former FedEx Ground Package System drivers to seek damages based on the company’s misrepresentation that they were independent contractors.
Transport Intelligence: The Communication Workers Union and the newly privatised mail provider stated yesterday (Wednesday 4/12/2013) that they had reached "a negotiators agreement in principle…on pay, legal protections, industrial stability and pensions". However the details of the agreement will only be made public when the trade union presents the proposal to its members in order to gain their approval through a vote. According to press reports the new deal includes a commitment to an increase in pay of over 8% and possibly guarantees on security of employment. Both have previously been issues of dispute between the two sides and the trade union was given in October some limited support by its membership to organise strikes over the issue. This latest agreement must be significant for the future of Royal Mail particularly in terms of its cost base. Whilst the pay increase is substantial, it is likely to be spread over three-years. However the issues around employment may be more important especially if they effect the flexibility of the work force or the ability of Royal Mail to reduce its size.
Financial Times: The BBC’s history of sizeable pensions is set for further scrutiny by MPs after the government nominated one of the primary beneficiaries as the next chair of the regulator Ofcom. Dame Patricia Hodgson, currently the deputy chair of the communications watchdog, has been entitled to an annual pension of £119,000 since leaving the BBC in 2000. She would be paid an additional £142,500 a year if confirmed as Ofcom’s next chair – a three-day-a-week position. Executive pay has been a key issue for both the BBC and Ofcom in recent years amid a squeeze on budgets and the salaries of junior employees.
CBS New York: A Brooklyn man whose brother died in California last month is still waiting for his cremated remains to be sent back to our area. He blames the U.S. Postal Service for losing his loved one. The cremation was handled by the Neptune Society, which said on Nov. 13 it shipped the remains in a box from Valley Village, Calif., to New York City, on second day Priority Mail with the U.S. Postal Service. It was supposed to be shipped by plane. A spokeswoman for the Postal Service concurred, saying the package was scanned into a California postal facility. However, that’s also where the trail goes cold. The package hasn’t turned up at the postal building at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The Postal Service is trying to trace it.
December 4, 2013
The Milwaukee Business Journal: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is championing an amendment to the postal reform bill that would curb large increases in postal rates for bulk mailers. Baldwin visited Quad/Graphics in Sussex Wednesday morning and spoke with Milwaukee Business Journal reporters and editors Tuesday to talk about the impact of the amendment on Wisconsin’s economy. She outlined how the amendment would give postal customers “pricing predictability” and benefit forestry, paper and printing companies throughout the state like Quad/Graphics.
The Scotsman: Royal Mail will deliver its maiden half-year results as a listed company on Wednesday as Business Secretary Vince Cable and business minister Michael Fallon face MPs on the Business Select Committee at Westminster.
Slicktext: To understand why SMS Marketing open rates are high, one needs to understand why SMS open rates are high in the first place, from three perspectives – the sender, the carrier or the mobile company and the receiver. From the sender's perspective sending an SMS is attractive for a number of reasons. That includes all of the following: Asynchronous – the sender can send a message even when the recipient is not available to react to that message at that exact time. Mass – the sender can create and send hundreds or even thousands of messages programmatically and send them in a matter of seconds. Personalizable – since the sender can programmatically generate the sms, they can personalize it too in various ways easily. [EdNote: And if the recipient has explicitly told his telecom carrier not to pass on commercial SMS, as a marketer, you're flat out of luck.]
Slicktext: SMS Marketing Facts Consumers prefer to use coupons they have been provided via SMS Marketing rather than email SMS marketing is more beneficial than email marketing. The average mobile message is read within 3 minutes of time. Over 90% of the population of the world uses cell phones, with an amazing 80% of them carrying their cell phone with them the biggest part of the day. Although you will need a smartphone for MMS marketing, SMS marketing works for any type of phone. Yes, most people have smartphones, but don't leave out those that do not. 78% of all businesses use SMS marketing to communicate with customers as well as other businesses. Around 92% of people communicate personally via text message.
Pocketlint: As if controlling a quadrocopter with a camera from your phone wasn't high-tech enough, or Amazon dropping packages to your door with them didn't amaze, now they're getting smarter. Well, sneakier at least. SkyJack is a hardware and software spec list written by hacker Samy Kamkar for creating drones that fly near other drones, hack them, and recruit them under its control. And with Amazon talking of making deliveries with drones this seems like a worrying time for this to appear.
The New York Times: Newsweek, the struggling weekly magazine that ceased print publication last year, plans to turn the presses back on. The magazine expects to begin a 64-page weekly edition in January or February, said Jim Impoco, Newsweek's editor in chief. Mr. Impoco said in an interview that Newsweek would depend more heavily on subscribers than advertisers to pay its bills — and that readers would pay more than in the past.
The Zimbabwean: Is there still a place for the post in Zimbabwe? The government remains quiet on plans to resuscitate – or not – the country's postal and stamp service, which has virtually collapsed in the face of modern technology.
Wall Street Journal: Community groups and elected officials across the country are protesting as the cash-starved U.S. Postal Service shuts down and sells post offices in a bid to raise money and cut expenses. But few cities are going as far as this one. The Postal Service over the summer began moving ahead with a plan to sell its 1914 Beaux-Arts post office in the heart of Berkeley near the old city hall and a park named after Martin Luther King Jr. The move drew howls from residents worried that the building would turn into condominiums or office space, even drawing dissidents to camp out for days by the columned building entrance. Now, opponents are gaining traction with an unorthodox zoning restriction: that the mustard-colored building must remain open to the public.
Postalnews Blog: Video: PMG's State of the Postal Service Message -- A message to all employees of the United States Postal Service from Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.
Techtree.com: Now there are schemes that are being planned to save India Post, India's postal system from extinction. And this may be its best chance ever, as e-commerce site Amazon has rolled out a pilot project with the country's premier postal service to test a cash-on-delivery model, reports the Economic Times. Amazon is clearly trying to penetrate into tier two and tier three cities with a model it already tried in the US (yes, it uses US postal services to deliver on Sundays) — of the 150,000 post offices in India, 89% are located in rural areas. Amazon already offers COD on some of its products — those tagged with "Fulfilled by Amazon" and "Eligible for Cash on Delivery" listing on the product details page.
The Guernsey Press: A proposed deal has been agreed between the Royal Mail and union leaders on pay, pensions and other issues linked to the privatisation of the postal group. The Communication Workers Union had been threatening industrial action, but held off calling strikes so talks could be held. After "extensive" negotiations, the two sides announced that a proposed agreement had been reached.
Roll Call: House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers said Tuesday that he is "somewhat optimistic" that the members of a bipartisan, bicameral budget conference committee will deliver on a broad spending agreement by their Dec. 13 deadline.
MNI: A State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday decided to further expand the value-added-tax reform pilot program to the railway transportation and postal service sectors, effective January 1. According to a State Council statement, the move will reduce the tax burden for transportation businesses as well as logistics costs for the entire economy.
The Hill: House Democrats of all stripes are lining up against a stopgap spending bill that further entrenches the blunt sequester cuts. GOP leaders could bring a vote as early as next week on a short-term continuing resolution (CR) likely to adopt the $967 billion sequester-level spending cap urged by many Republicans. But the pushback from Democrats this week has been near universal, with liberals and centrists alike vowing to join party leaders in opposition to any such measure.
National Postal Forum: Ever thought about advertising or sponsoring at the National Postal Forum? The National Postal Forum Program and Exhibit Hall Guide will be combined into one publication that will be distributed on-site to over 4,000 mailing industry professionals. The NPF Program/Exhibit Hall Guide contains detailed information on the keynote address, business sessions, special events, product and contact information for all exhibitors, floor plans and all information needed to take maximum advantage of the NPF Forum. Registration Bag Insert Promotion Put your company product and services information in the hands of mailing industry personnel who are attending the Forum to learn about and purchase the latest in mailing industry technology. Approximately 2,000 National Postal Forum attendees receive, on-site, a registration bag filled with the official NPF Program/Exhibit Hall Guide and other Forum information. Sponsorship Information Sponsorships are your unique opportunity to reach out to all National Postal Forum attendees. Combine sponsorship recognition with NPF exhibition participation and increase the success of attracting your target audience.
Burnham-On-Sea: Huntspill and Highbridge Scout Group are gearing up to launch their popular low-cost Christmas card delivery service across the Burnham-On-Sea area. The service has been provided by the group for many years and is one of their key fundraising activities, requiring hours of work by the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and their parents, as well as a group of dedicated helpers. Cards are delivered to Pawlett, East and West Huntspill, Highbridge, Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow at a cost of just 20p per card. "This annual service is not only our main fundraiser but is also seen as a service for the community. [EdNote: Don't try this in the U.S., Bucko. You'll get in Dutch with the USPS monopoly police.]
Mobile Storm: When it comes to online and mobile services, consumers value their privacy. But they also value a good discount. The findings of a new study commissioned by TRUSTe and conducted by Harris Interactive reveal that 9 out of 10 Internet users in the United States are concerned enough about their privacy to take steps to shore up their mobile security or online privacy. But contrary to conventional wisdom, which holds that consumers are so protective of their digital privacy that they are wholly resistant to marketers gaining access to user data for advertising purposes, the facts suggest otherwise. 41% of connected individuals are admittedly willing to allow marketers to gain access to personal data in return for discount shopping opportunities.
eCommerceBytes: The USPS rolled out its Metro Post same-day delivery service in New York on Monday beginning with two customers that have both online and retail presences. The USPS had rolled out its Metro Post early-stage pilot program in San Francisco this time last year with a single retailer - 1-800-FLOWERS.com. At the outset, the Metro Post trial was available only to a select group of large retailers with stores in San Francisco.
PC World: The U.S. House of Representatives needs to take more time to debate and rewrite a bill targeting so-called patent trolls because several provisions would hurt legitimate patent holders, several critics of the bill said Tuesday. The House is scheduled to vote on the Innovation Act as soon as this week, but members of the higher education, venture capital and other industries called on Congress to refine the legislation before passing it.
The Verge: Amazon made headlines Sunday night when it announced it was working on small drones that could someday deliver customers packages in half an hour or less. But the e-commerce giant isn't the only company researching how to harness the potential of small unmanned aircraft: The Verge has learned that the world's largest parcel service, UPS, has been experimenting with its own version of flying parcel carriers. [EdNote: See what happens when propeller heads get to rule the world. You end up with drones.]
TechCrunch: Based on my pure anecdotal experience and spend, and this Wired article, I think that Amazon and Bezos should straight up win the award for best PR stunt ever for this drone thing, and I am not alone. Hell, even UPS and FedEx thought the marketing gimmick was lucrative enough to fast follow.
Save the Post Office: "Shining the light on NSAs"
PR Newswire: APC Postal Logistics, a leading provider of international parcel and mail delivery services, has launched a new West Coast facility this month in Bell, CA. The new, fully-operational, sales and warehousing facility is strategically located in a commercial hub near LAX airport. Designed to process and export both parcels and mail, the facility will serve as the nexus of the company's West Coast sales and operations.
Washington Times: How does a venerable operation get something so colossally wrong? I mean, we are talking about missing the proper address by 2,225 miles, from one side of the country to the other. And it's not just some crappy little "wish you were here" postcard mailed out from Detroit that winds up in the Dead Letter Office for seven decades. This was a postage stamp that was to commemorate all of America's other achievements, like liberty, self-governance and a slavish devotion to the rule of law. The post office issued some 5 billion stamps of the phony Lady, according to the Associated Press. What's worse is that even after the post office was exposed by inflamed philatelists, postal officials decided to keep the stamps of the bogus statue. Attorneys for the designer of the Vegas Lady say that the knock-off was chosen because she was more "fresh-faced," "sultry" and "sexier."
The Bergen Record: Now that we're getting deeper into the holiday shopping season, we checked in with Amazon and the USPS to see how many packages have been delivered the past few Sundays, and how many might be delivered from now until Christmas — three Sundays away. But no one was willing to give numbers.
Fierce Government: Budget constraints caused the Postal Service to leave some of its facilities in disrepair, a Nov. 27 USPS inspector general report says. Between fiscal 2009 and 2012 financial challenges led to a $382 million decrease in the Postal Service building repair budget. By not completing necessary repairs, the Postal Service exposes itself to increased costs in future years, the report says.
December 3, 2013
PostCom Members! The latest issue of PostCom's Postal Executives Summary, December, 2013 Volume 2 Issue 37 has been posted on this site. Please feel free to share it with others within your company.
Wall Street Journal: Amazon.com Inc. wants to deliver packages by unmanned flying vehicles it calls octocopters. But the plan faces some obvious headwinds. Besides logistical challenges of managing fleets of drones, legal experts point to safety risks and issues such as whether people on the ground might take umbrage to Amazon's aircraft flying over their property. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos revealed the plan in a televised interview Sunday on "60 Minutes," noting that it needs Federal Aviation Administration approval and will take at least four years of technical work. He said he hoped to develop the vehicles to make deliveries to doorsteps within a 10-mile radius of a warehouse about 30 minutes after an order is placed. Bezos pointed to the drones' advantages in urban spaces where they could presumably eliminate some delivery trucks. While acknowledging challenges ahead, he also said expressed confidence. "It will work and it will happen," Bezos said.
AdWeek: This year, the Grinch may go postal with an extraordinary rate increase. The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission is expected to decide whether to allow the U.S. Postal Service to raise rates above the annual inflation rate increase on Dec. 22, on the eve of the holidays. The proposed exigent increase would raise postal rates three times the rate of inflation for magazines, newspapers and other mail-dependent media beginning Jan. 26, adding hundreds of millions in costs. It could also depress mail volume, which has already declined in the last seven years due to increases in digital distribution for correspondence, advertising, billing and payments.
Business Day: Delay by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to mandate financial institutions to commence remittance of the N50 – stamp on all bank receipts, in the form of bank tellers, and electronic transfers with values of N1, 000 and above, is hindering about N2 trillion in postal revenues to government. In January, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), in strategic partnership with the School of Banking Honours (SBH) had appointed three banks to drive this initiative as mandated by the Stamp Duty Act 2004 (amended in 2010) and NIPOST Act 2004.
Compass Cayman: While Amazon is flirting with standards now met only by the most reckless of pizza delivery drivers, Cayman's postal service continues with its long "lead times." To wit: In order to ensure that packages will arrive in many countries before Christmas — three weeks hence — people have to mail their packages today. For the sake of comparison, a period of three weeks was long enough for a letter sent in 1860 from the East Coast of the U.S. to arrive in California via the legendary Pony Express.
Dead Tree Edition: United Parcel Service recently praised "impressive efforts by the Postal Service to reduce costs and improve productivity" but criticized USPS's request for emergency rate hikes. The Postal Service's request for "exigent" rate increases on "Market-Dominant" mail is "an unsustainable business model which can only lead to continued postal deficits and more requests to exceed the rate cap," UPS wrote in a filing last week with the Postal Regulatory Commission. Instead, USPS's "Competitive" products should bear a larger share of the agency's institutional costs, according to UPS, which is a major competitor, customer, and vendor of the Postal Service.
Business First: Employees at United Parcel Service Inc. are expecting a big week this week thanks to the holiday shopping rush. Many retail websites were holding sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, and that trend continued with Cyber Monday, when some of the biggest online price breaks are expected. Those sales added up to big business for UPS, which bases its UPS Airlines division in Louisville and operates its largest air sorting hub, Worldport, here. The company expects to make 129 million deliveries this week, Mike Mangeot, manager of public relations for Louisville-based UPS Airlines, said in an e-mail. About 30 million pickups from customers are expected around the world today.
Wall Street Journal: Portugal's government has set the initial public offering price of its 493-year-old postal service Correios de Portugal SA at 5.52 euros ($7.49) a share to raise EUR580 million from the sale.
December 2, 2013
Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service‘s inspector general is seeking public opinion about the recently released Harry Potter stamps as a test of how Americans feel about a new commercial direction for postage. Inspector General David Williams is asking stamp fans to weigh in on its blog and wondering whether the fictional British boy wizard created by author J.K. Rowling will "cast a spell" on young collectors as the Postal Service hopes.
Kashmir Times: In an endeavour to make the delivery of parcels faster and more convenient enabling real time (online) tracking of parcels, the Department of Posts today launched Express Parcel Service in the select cities of country
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: PRC hearing transcripts.
Wall Street Journal: Federal regulators Monday approved Deutsche Post AG's (DPW.XE) request to raise postal rates next year, as the company tries to offset declining mail volumes and higher labor costs. The German mailing and logistics group will raise the price of stamps for regularly sized domestic letters, to EUR00.60 ($0.82) from EUR00.58, in addition to increasing fees for select mail forwarding services, packages and international mail.
Postalnews Blog: You may remember that in 2011 the US Postal Service issued a Statue of Liberty "forever" stamp. You may also recall that shortly thereafter, it was revealed by Linn's Stamp News that the statue pictured on the stamp wasn't the famous one in New York Harbor, but rather, a replica that stands outside a casino in Las Vegas. In a memorable statement, the USPS admitted that while there may have been mistakes in selecting and describing the stamp design, "We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway". Those words may come back to haunt the agency, because the sculptor of the Las Vegas statue is now suing the USPS for copyright infringement. [EdNote: Seems as if the USPS has been suffering a string of stamp faux pas.]
Yahoo! Small Business Advisor: The number of emails sent from mobile devices has significantly increased over the last 5 years. The biggest problem businesses will discover is that their email signature will not be appended to mobile emails. If you chose an email signature software which is server-based, every email which passes through the server will include the appropriate branding, including mobile emails. Because millions of emails are sent everyday, it is very important to include a legal disclaimer, another thing that email signature software allows you to automatically include on every email.
Wall Street Journal: In their search for new ad revenue, many news outlets have embraced "sponsored content"—advertisements that are meant to blend in with regular editorial content. Now regulators are taking a look at the practice.
New York Times: Even as the universe of printed matter continues to shrivel, the book — or at least some of its best-known features — is showing remarkable staying power online. The idea is apparently embedded so deeply in the collective unconsciousness that no one can bear to leave it behind.
Waikato Times: The Waikato Times will be delivered to country subscribers by their postie from tomorrow as the newspaper and NZ Post work together to ensure the future of rural delivery services. The switch to six day a week delivery by NZ Post's rural contractors has been welcomed by NZ Post and Federated Farmers. The state-owned enterprise's Hamilton-based head of provincial contract management Stuart Kane said winning the contract to deliver the Times to rural letter boxes in the greater Waikato was "really positive" for NZ Post. "Rural delivery services, particularly in the Waikato, face some pretty challenging issues. It couldn't have come at a better time - it's a really important development for both contractors and customers. "This will help secure the delivery service for Rural Post and the Waikato Times . . . it will help future-proof the service for both."
The Courier: Ballarat MP Catherine King has called on the federal government to ensure Australia Post maintains next day mail delivery in Ballarat. Speaking in parliament yesterday, Ms King said Australia Post was planning to cut next day delivery in regional centres which was leading to postal delays in Ballarat. She said smaller towns in her electorate had been reporting waits of between six and seven days to receive mail.
USA Today: Amazon.com is testing delivering packages using drones, CEO Jeff Bezos said on the CBS TV news show 60 Minutes Sunday. The idea would be to deliver packages as quickly as possible using the small, unmanned aircraft, through a service the company is calling Prime Air, the CEO said.
Helsinki Times: Drastic changes in the postal sector are projected to result in a decrease of 7,000 jobs. Postages for letters will increase considerably at the turn of the year, postal and logistics services provider Itella announced on Thursday. The postage for a first-class letter is to increase from 0.85 to 1.0 euro and the postage for a second-class letter from 0.75 to 0.90 euro. The price of second-class postage stamps will thereby increase by 20 per cent. The prices charged from business customers will similarly increase. Magazine delivery charges, for example, are to increase by 10 per cent. The price increments will be reviewed by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), which monitors the availability of statutory postal services.
Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service has shelved plans to require business mailers to use its full service Intelligent Mail barcode in order to claim discounts for machine-sortable mailings. The Postal Service had wanted to bring in the requirement for use of the barcode to improve the tracking capabilities of business mail services and the efficiency of the postal network. The Postal Regulatory Committee said the barcode requirement would have constituted an extra cost for businesses, and therefore was effectively an extra price increase for using postal services, which should be limited within the same inflation-based annual price cap.
In complying with the ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission, USPS accused the Commission of overstepping its authority and "improperly" involving itself in postal operations under US postal regulations. The Postal Service told regulators: "The intent of the Congress in passing the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was to afford the Postal Service true pricing flexibility, unencumbered by the Commission's own vestigial views on pricing. The Commission's findings on the Full-Service IMb issue ignore that Congressional intent, inappropriately expand the scope of the price cap, and erode whatever pricing flexibility the Postal Service purportedly enjoys." In a message to customers, USPS went further in stating its disagreement with the regulators' "ill-conceived" decision.
Miami Herald: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is not anticipating another partial government shutdown next year, he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
December 1, 2013
The Hill: The mailing industry is stepping up their efforts to defeat a rate increase proposal from the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, pressing the agency's regulator this week to rule against the plan. USPS said in September that it was reluctantly seeking to increase the price of stamps more quickly than the rate of inflation, to help it deal with the long-lasting impact of the most recent recession. But a dozen organizations that represent heavy users of the mail – including nonprofits, magazines, newspapers, catalogers and direct mailers – say the Postal Service's rationale for the rate increase is deeply flawed.
Reuters: The Fed, still struggling to boost the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession, remains intent on assuring investors that easy monetary policy is here for the long haul. Households and businesses, in the Fed's view, need low borrowing costs to get spending and investment back on a self-sustaining path.