October 28, 2016
Industry Alert: Deployment of FAST Release 188.8.131.52. The Postal Service is deploying FAST Release 184.108.40.206 on Sunday, October 30, between 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. The FAST system will be unavailable during this time.
The release contains the following:
Tuscan News Now: The effort to try save the main post office on Cherrybell Stravenue in Tucson has brought a North Carolina congressman to the Old Pueblo. Mark Meadows is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations that oversees the U.S. Postal Service. From our ballots to our utility bills, when we mail anything it is trucked to Phoenix for processing, then trucked back to Tucson. That's been happening since the Postal Service consolidated outgoing mail processing in Phoenix in February of 2013. Before then, outgoing mail was processed at the Cherrybell station. Meadows came to Tucson for a tour of Cherrybell and a roundtable discussion about saving the main post office and bringing back outgoing mail processing.
SWITZERLAND: SwissInfo: The Swiss Post’s announcement to close 600 traditional post offices follows a trend across Europe, although there are marked differences between countries.
NIGERIA: The Guardian: Bulkpost Venture, an arm of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has pledged to continue generating about N500million to the government’s coffers annually, in in spite declining volume of mails across postal industry. Similarly, Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuyi, post master general, NIPOST, said that the new leadership of the agency will abide by the global standards set by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) as well as deploy technology to block leakages and increase the revenue base.
NORWAY: Post&Parcel: PostNord has reported a 4% drop in net sales for the third quarter (Q3) – but the fall in mail volumes was offset to some degree by strong growth in B2C parcels.Commenting on the results, Håkan Ericsson, President and CEO of PostNord, said: “Our results are dominated by continued challenges, above all in the form of sharply falling mail volumes, but also by tough competition in the logistics market. Measures are being taken to further cut costs and to create new income streams through an attractive Nordic end-to-end offering. [Interim Report]
CANADA: Vancouver Sun: The government-appointed task force on the future of Canada Post released a very disappointing report in September. The overall aim seemed less about how to improve Canada Post so it serves Canadians better and more about how to cut services and save money. Many of the task force’s suggestions would undermine the main role of Canada Post, which is to provide a public service to Canadians. Our post office ensures that everyone, regardless of geographic location, has access to an affordable means of communication. It unites people and communities across our vast land. The service of delivering letters to all places in Canada at a common price still remains vital to both citizens and businesses. With rapidly increasing parcel delivery, despite a decline in letters, the business of delivery still remains a very relevant one.
That said, Canada Post revenues could be enhanced if it were to offer more services, as do most other postal services around the world. Of all the new service possibilities, the biggest and most profitable one, which the task force’s report declined to fully recommend, is postal banking. Overall, the report is negative on starting a new post office bank, although it does open the door to providing new financial services and to partnering with banks and credit unions in rural and remote locations.
SIGNAPORE: International Business Times: Singapore Post shares touched a two-year high on Friday after regulators approved Alibaba Group Holding's stake increase in the company. China's largest e-commerce company will have a 14.4 percent stake in the postal delivery company.
October 27, 2016
PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online. Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none? Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. See what you've been missing.
Industry Alert: Crosby, MS Post Office Reopens Today: Flooding Caused Temporary Closing. JACKSON MS -- Postal officials have announced that the Crosby, Mississippi, Post Office located at 136 West Pine Street, Crosby MS 39633, reopened today, October 27. The Post Office temporarily suspended operations after severe weather caused flooding and water damage. Hours of operation at the Crosby Post Office are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. Postal employees also remind customers that the Postal Service website — usps.com — is like an online Post Office at your fingertips, and is open for business 24/7. The Postal Service’s smartphone app makes it even quicker to use the most popular functions onusps.com, anytime and anywhere. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Huffington Post: Millions of Americans can’t get bank accounts, so they can’t even cash a check. Many millions more might have an account but can’t get even a small loan. The numbers (below) are just outrageous. These millions are forced to turn to predators like the payday loan and check cashing industry. Even those who can get full-service accounts are scammed by the likes of Wells Fargo. Meanwhile We the people are prevented by our captured-by-Wall-Street Congress from setting up the obvious solution that would solve so many problems: Postal Banking.
Output Links: The National Association of Advertising Distributors and Mailers Hub have announced they have entered into a strategic partnership under which both organizations will offer a combined enrollment and a broader portfolio of services. Under their strategic agreement, NAAD and Mailers Hub will offer a single enrollment that provides access to the benefits of both providers but at a significant cost savings compared to separate enrollments. As part of their agreement, Mailers Hub will provide its full portfolio of services to NAAD members and serve as its representative for postal affairs. In turn, NAAD will offer Mailers Hub subscribers access to professional advisors on human resources and related issues, and significant discounts on its address list products and registration at its conferences. Mailers Hub and NAAD will collaborate to enhance the content of future conferences and optimize the benefits of time invested by attendees. For 2017, Mailers Hub and NAAD will produce a Mailer Strategies Conference in April in the DC area and a general conference in October in the Providence (RI) area.
TechCrunch: Only a month after Google expanded its home delivery service, Google Express, across a wide part of the Northeastern U.S., the company is today bringing its Amazon competitor to a number of new states in both the Southeast and Northwest. As of today, Google Express is launching in portions of Alabama, Kentucky, Utah, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. With these added regions, Google Express will now reach 70 million more people, the company says. Combined with the markets where the service was already live, Google Express today covers around 90 percent of the United States.
West Seattle Herald: "Mail theft on the rise and package delivery security more important as holidays approach"
FederalNewsRadio: What would a standalone health plan for postal workers and retirees mean for other government workers at Interior, the FAA, the General Accounting Office, Pentagon and the IRS and other agencies? What impact would it have up to 2 million postal workers, dependents and retirees left 8 million member Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for their own plan or plans? Would any new postal-only plan or plans, still in the planning stage, strengthen or weaken the FEHBP program that is considered the gold standard of employer-sponsored health plans? Earlier this week, the government announced that premiums for plans in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) would be going up an average of 26 percent. In January, by contrast, FEHBP premiums will rise an “average” of 6.2 percent for workers and retirees. The government will continue to pay 72 percent of the premium for the average non-postal worker and retiree and even more than that for clerks, letter carriers, mail handlers and other postal employees.
What would a stand alone health plan for postal workers and retirees mean for other government workers at Interior, the FAA, the General Accounting Office, Pentagon, IRS and other agencies? Would any new postal-only plan or plans, still in the planning stage, strengthen or weaken the FEHBP program that is considered the gold standard of employer-sponsored health plans? James Sauber, vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, will answer those questions when he joins host Mike Causey on this week’s “Your Turn”.
NBCDFW: Amazon will sometimes use special carriers to drop off packages to customers and sometimes they'll put those packages in your mailbox, but a local post office says that's not allowed. And if it happens, they'll take it. Just in time for the big day, McSweeney says she received an email indicating the package had been delivered. When she checked her mailbox, though, it was empty. Someone had taken the package, but it wasn't anyone McSweeney would have suspected. A note left on her doorstep revealed the package was confiscated by the U.S. Postal Service. To make matters worse, McSweeney had to pay a postage fee to get her package back. She talked to a manager who said: "No one is supposed to use your mailbox other than the postal service," she said the manager told her. "I said, 'But this is my mailbox, right?' He said, 'It's your mailbox, but it's our conveyance device.'"
SWITZERLAND: Post & Parcel: Swiss Post has announced that it aims to extend the number of its access points from the current 3,700 to at least 4,000 by 2020 – and this overall growth will be accompanied by the continuing development of branches from traditional post offices into the “proven agency format”. Swiss Post said that it “envisages a network of 800 to 900 traditional post offices by 2020″ ( it currently has 1,400) – and added: “The exact number depends on the outcome of discussions with the cantons and municipalities.” However, Swiss Post said that it will “avoid closing post offices without replacing them, and will provide alternative solutions in all cases”. The number of postal agencies – “branches with partner” – will increase from 800 to 1,200-1,300. These will continue to be supplemented by access points such as the home delivery service, My Post 24 terminals, business customer points and other acceptance and collection points.
UNITED EMIRATES: Gulf Today: Emirates Post Group is devoting greater attention to its core mail services in post offices, as well as innovative non-postal services, in light of the global trends of falling revenues from traditional postal streams. Over the past few years, EPG has introduced of a number of non-postal services at post offices, including payment of utility bills, Etisalat and du services, RTA services such as parking and Salik cards, airline ticketing for Air Arabia and flydubai, delivery of National ID cards, payment and delivery of US visa fees, and applying for international driving permit.
October 26, 2016
Attention PostalOne!®, FAST Users: PostalOne!/BIDS Release 220.127.116.11 will deploy on Sunday, October 30, 2016 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be available during this time. MicroStrategy reports will not be available. (1) FAST Release 18.104.22.168 will deploy on Sunday, October 30, 2016 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. The FAST system will not be available during that time. (2) SASP Release 22.214.171.124 will deploy on Sunday, October 30, 2016 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. If you have any additional questions please contact the help desk at 800-522-9052.
ZIMBABWE: The Financial Gazette: Douglas Zimbango, the country’s postal services utility managing director (MD), the Zimbabwe Post (Zimpost), has left after serving 10 years at the helm of the wholly government-owned company. The development comes at a time when the emergence of new forms of communication platforms has hurt the postal business in Zimbabwe. The company is under pressure from a growing mobile telecommunications industry, which has resulted in less use of its traditional services. Zimpost is among hundreds of African State-controlled, old model postal outfits now under threat of being pushed out of business for failing to adapt its business to global telecommunications. The new information technology-based platforms and innovations have hit revenues and volumes at Zimpost.
NORWAY: Views and News from Norway: The Norwegian postal service is quickly becoming a shadow of its former self. After a wave of post office closures earlier this year, more loom now as well.Posten is also closing post offices in Tønsberg and at Nordstrand in Oslo. What’s left of postal services will be offered on a much smaller scale through so-called post i butikk, with postal counters set up in some grocery stores. The closures cut costs for Posten at a time when the number of letters sent through the postal system has been cut in half, replaced by electronic communication.“ Meanwhile, the few remaining post offices in Oslo, for example, are often packed with customers who face postal rates that are double those in the US and spotty delivery.
October 25, 2016
The Brookings Institution: "The Postal Regulatory Commission’s $50 billion decision" -- Come December, the diminutive Commission will begin making a decision that will directly affect $50 billion in commerce. The PRC regulates the U.S. Postal Service, a 500,000 employee operation that collects $69 billion a year in revenues . . . . Presently, sales of market-dominant products and service generate three-quarters of USPS’s annual revenue—which amounts to more than $50 billion. Magazine publishers, catalog companies, and other big mailers are nervous. They wonder what the PRC will decide and how it will affect their postage costs. With USPS running deficits, they fear that higher postage rates are coming. A small increase can be hugely expensive—a 5 cent price increase for a mailer sending 500 million mail pieces per year amounts to $25 million. Some conservatives, meanwhile, are on the horns of a dilemma. Having an unelected regulator make a $50 billion decision sticks in their craw. But, absent congressional action, that is exactly what will happen. The Republican-led Congress is trying to move postal reform legislation, which would limit the PRC’s revision of the ratemaking system. A number of groups on the right, however, have opposed the legislation for other reasons. (I myself find the package milquetoast because it does not grapple with the USPS’s existential problem—falling demand for mail.) Will the lame duck Congress hash out a bill and send it to the President’s desk? Time will tell. Most certainly, the Postal Regulatory Commission already is pondering the current rate system and will be ready to start devising the new one very soon.
October 24, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Mailers Technical Advisory Committee: Postmaster General Announces New Vice President, Marketing; Announcement brings new MTAC Postal Co-Chair. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan announces the promotion of Steve Monteith, who previously served as executive director of product management for mailing products and shipping services, to now serve as Marketing Vice President. He will oversee Brand Marketing, Customer Engagement and Strategic Alignment, Customer and Market Insights, Industry Engagement & Outreach, Product Management — Mailing Products and Services, Product Management — Shipping Products, and Stamp Services. In this new position, Monteith will report to Chief Customer and Marketing Officer Jim Cochrane. As the Vice President, Marketing, Steve will also assume the role of MTAC Postal Co-Chair. The rest of the MTAC Executive Committee will remain in their current positions with Erv Drewek in the role of Industry Co-Chair and Judy de Torok as Postal Vice Co-Chair.
Orlando Sentinel: Even in this age of the Internet, television, radio and other media, old-fashioned mail remains one of the top ways for candidates or political campaigns to connect with voters. "The most effective way to reach a voter is to knock on their door," said Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst for the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "But second to that is using mailers. … It gives candidates a way to target their information to specific voters." Candidates are becoming increasingly aware of that. As of last week, the U.S. Postal Service had handled more than 82 million pieces of political mail this year in the region that includes includes Orlando, Daytona Beach, Tampa and Sarasota. That's a nearly 28 percent jump from 2012, the last presidential election year. A recent survey by the Postal Service showed that 60 percent of voters immediately read political mail about a candidate or issue. Skelley said "mailers are a lot cheaper" than TV advertising, particularly in large markets such as Orlando where ad rates are more expensive than in rural areas. And in competitive political markets, most of the TV and radio advertising time slots were purchased months ago.
NIGERIA: The Nation: Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu has said a reform, which the Federal Government will introduce in the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), will generate thousands of jobs. Shittu stated that the ministry planned to establish NIPOST banks in 1,500 postal agencies across the country, NIPOST insurance, NIPOST transports and logistics services, NIPOST property and development company, NIPOST e-commerce, NIPOST e-government services and internal services. “We want to engage in NIPOST E-Commerce. E-Commerce has come to stay not only throughout the world, also in Nigeria. If I live in Saki and I want to buy something in Lagos. Instead of travelling from Saki to Lagos, why can’t I buy online and get NIPOST to bring the goods to me, and I pay NIPOST.
October 23, 2016
Mobile Marketing Watch: Now that 96 of the Fortune 100 companies use third-party logistics (3PL) providers to handle shipping, it has become obvious that there must be concrete and verifiable benefits. “When you take the burden of actually getting your product to your customers off of your shoulders, you are able to focus on what you do best,” according to RSF, which provides industry leading cloud-based order fulfillment for B2C and B2B eCommerce retailers. “Very few people go into business simply because they enjoy managing inventory and shipping products. However, these processes are a necessary part of doing business. As you may have already learned, however, managing your storage, shipping, and returns can quickly take over your already-busy schedule.” A 3PL company allows firms to delegate these processes to professionals and focus on the true purpose of a business, with the benefit of knowing customers’ needs are being met and that products are being professionally inventoried and shipped.
October 22, 2016
Supply & Demand Change Executive: FedEx recently announced that even more packages will qualify for its dimensional pricing structure. With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, online retailers are already up against intense operational pressures. Now, many are struggling to determine how to respond to the new pricing standard. The big question on everyone’s minds: Is there anything e-commerce brands can do to reduce the impact of dimensional pricing on shipping costs?
Newsday: Small businesses have grown accustomed to seeing carriers increase shipping rates each year, which has forced them to ship and package smarter to reduce costs. In particular, the size of a package and how much space it occupies on trucks — calculated by the dimensional weight — has been a focus of carriers as they look to pack their vehicles as much as possible. And now another key change in the formula used to calculate dimensional weight by one major carrier will force shippers to again re-evaluate how efficiently they package items.
October 21, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Mailers Technical Advisory Committee: The USPS is making changes within its Marketing and Deputy Postmaster General organizations to better serve customers. “Although the entire organization is responsible for delivering excellent service and customer experiences, the following changes will sharpen our focus to more effectively reach and engage our customers, and bring their voices and rising expectations more prominently into our strategy development,” PMG Megan J. Brennan wrote in an Oct. 20 memo. Highlights:
• Jim Cochrane, who previously served as chief marketing and sales officer, will now lead his organization as chief customer and marketing officer.
• Within this group, Cliff Rucker, who previously served as sales vice president, will become sales and customer relations senior vice president. He will continue to oversee Sales, while taking on added responsibility for the Business Service Network and Customer Care Centers.
• Steve Monteith, who previously served as executive director of product management for mailing products and shipping services, will now serve as marketing vice president. He will oversee Brand Marketing, Customer Engagement and Strategic Alignment, Customer and Market Insights, Industry Engagement, Product Management — Mailing Products and Services, Product Management — Shipping Products, and Stamp Services.
• The vice president position that oversees Consumer and Industry Affairs has been eliminated and the Consumer Advocate function will report to the chief customer and marketing officer. This is designed to elevate the voice of residential customers throughout the organization.
• The vice president position that oversees Global Business will also be eliminated and the organization is being modified to better align with core business units.
• Gary Reblin will continue to report to Cochrane as vice president overseeing Product Innovation.
Linn's: If you live in an urban area, you’ve seen them dashing about your town on Sundays.Those little red, white, and blue postal trucks are delivering parcels for Amazon.com.To hear Postmaster General Megan Brennan tell it, those trucks represent the future of the United States Postal Service. Parcel delivery, Brennan believes, is the future of the USPS. It is the one segment of the mail that has grown dramatically, while first-class letters continue to decline. Fueled by booming Internet sales, Amazon and other retailers are flooding the USPS with parcels. Two former senior analysts at the Postal Regulatory Commission, however, are raising a red flag over those Sunday deliveries. In a paper presented this past spring at a conference on e-commerce in France, Robert Cohen and John Waller argue that those Sunday deliveries probably are not profitable for the deficit-laden Postal Service.
Trucks.com: The neighborhood mail truck is a relic of a vintage time — before mobile phones, back when Winona Ryder was the reigning screen queen and most millennials didn’t yet exist. The boxy Grumman Long Life Vehicle has delivered letters and packages since it was designed for the U.S. Postal Service in the 1980s. Of the 215,000 mail trucks in rotation, 140,000 are at least two decades old. A 2014 audit from the office of the USPS inspector general found that the current fleet can only meet delivery needs through fiscal year 2017. So this fall, USPS is pushing forward with a refresh.
National Postal Museum: “From Royal Mail to Public Post” opened today, Oct. 21, at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. The exhibition, open through Jan. 16, 2017, chronicles postal reform in the United Kingdom.
Modern Materials Handling: Management consultants at McKinsey & Company, maintain that the parcel market in the U.S. is set to double by 2025, with Same-day delivery and instant delivery to accounting for one-fifth of the demand. Furthermore, a new study reveals that one in two customers is willing to pay extra for faster delivery. These are the research findings contained in “Parcel delivery. The Future of Last Mile.” The analyses surveyed over 4,700 consumers in the U.S., Germany, and China.
MALTA: Times of Malta: A public consultation entitled ‘Postcodes to be considered as an integral part of a postal address’ has been launched by the Malta Communications Authority.When a postcode is included in a postal address, postal sorting and delivery operations are greatly facilitated, increasing efficiency of the postal operator. Postal articles without a postcode would still be processed, however the inclusion of a postcode reduces the potential of mis-deliveries and other delivery related errors, the MCA said during the launch of the consultation.
October 20, 2016
PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online. Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none? Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. See what you've been missing.
USPS Industry Alert: Facility Access & Shipment Tracking (FAST) Enhancements
USPS Industry Alert: 2017 USPS Promotions Overview & 2017 Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion Webinar - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 2:00 p.m. EDT. Pre-registration is required. Lines are limited so please sign up today!
The USPS Mailing Services team invites you to attend an informational webinar on Wednesday, October 26th to review the upcoming 2017 Promotion Calendar and to provide the details on the 2017 Earned Value promotion (promotion enrollment begins November 15th, 2016). The 2017 promotions will continue to build upon the engagement strategies of past promotions, to demonstrate that direct mail continues to be a relevant part of the marketing mix and to encourage customers to adopt and invest in technologies and innovations that enhance how consumers interact and engage with mail. Interested mailers and mail service providers should plan on attending to learn about the exciting, new opportunities that the 2017 promotions will offer, as well as the new requirements for the Earned Value promotion.
Click here to register for the webinar or use the URL: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?RGID=r48bc82940fbd83ac9c26474ab082c311 - Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US) Conference Code: 553 970 9242 Meeting Number: 815 481 208. More information and full descriptions of the 2017 Promotions can be found by clicking here or visiting the URL: https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mailingpromotions.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp: U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today called on U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to take concrete steps to protect quality mail delivery and service in Amidon and Halliday now and in the future following the news of the anticipated post office closure in Amidon and service disruption in Halliday. Heitkamp pressed Brennan to make sure her agency is listening to the needs of the Amidon and Halliday communities, and to communicate a comprehensive plan on how the needs of both communities to access the full array of postal services will be met.
“No North Dakotan should have to see their standard of service interrupted or their local post office disappear – but too often, many rural families and businesses experience disruptions – without much prior warning, explanation, or future plan in place from USPS,” said Heitkamp. “That’s unacceptable. Today I called on Postmaster General Brennan to address the recently announced post office challenges in Amidon and Halliday – communities that rely heavily on mail service. It’s absolutely critical that the Postal Service not only listens to their concerns, but communicates a solid plan on how their service will be maintained. When I brought Postmaster General Brennan to Bismarck two months ago, I know she heard the challenges expressed by our business owners and community members loud and clear – and I’ll keep pressing to make sure the Postal Service puts the lasting solutions we discussed to work for mail service folks can count on.”
Federal Register: Postal Service
U.S. Postal Service: USPS: The Postal Service’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, covering the fiscal years (FYs) 2017 to 2021, is intended to provide our stakeholders, including Congress, our employees, our business partners, our customers and the American people, with:
The Washington Times: The U.S. Postal Service has launched an investigation after a metro Atlanta resident says she filmed a worker dumping hundreds of pieces of mail in the woods. Kellie Campbell of DeKalb County tells WSB-TV (http://2wsb.tv/2dQ81mT ) she recorded the postal worker walking near a fence and dumping several bins of mail into a ditch. Campbell called the Postal Service, which sent workers to collect and deliver the mail. In a statement, the Postal Service condemned the unlawful disposal of mail and said it was investigating the incident.
The Wall Street Journal: Newspapers are suffering an accelerating drop in print advertising, a market that already was under stress, forcing some publishers to consider significant cost cuts and dramatic changes to their print and digital products. Global spending on newspaper print ads is expected to decline 8.7% to $52.6 billion in 2016, according to estimates from GroupM, the ad-buying firm owned by WPP PLC. That would be the biggest drop since the recession, when world-wide spending plummeted 13.7% in 2009. That decline is hitting every major publisher, increasing pressure on them to boost digital-revenue streams even faster to make up for lost revenue and, in some cases, even reconsider the format of their print products and the types of content they publish.
AUSTRALIA: News.com.au: Australia Post may be back in the black financially, but the postal giant remains the second-most complained about entity under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. And no mail and slow mail are the two big issues still sending consumers postal. The latest report from the ombudsman says while it has fielded less complaints than last year — (5113 in 2015-16, down nine per cent from 5613 in 2014-15) but still almost three times more than in 2006, when the Postal Industry Ombudsman was appointed. “In general, the number of complaints has grown steadily since the PIO was established,” according to the report.
UKRAINE: Interfax Ukraine: Ukrposhta intends to submit a bill permitting the company to open current and deposit postal accounts for clients and issue payment cards, using which one can buy goods and pay for utility services, Ukrposhta Director General Ihor Smeliansky has said. "This concerns the expansion of financial services of Ukrposhta via amending the law on postal service. The amendments would permit the company to open deposit and current accounts, pay for utilities, issue payment cards and provide encashment services. Ukrposhta would not issue credits," he told reporters on Wednesday. He said that the initiative would permit Ukrposhta to provide financial services to 30-40% of Ukrainian population who does not have access to them now due to remoteness of bank departments.
October 19, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
USPS Industry Alert: FAST Recurring Appointment Cleanup
USPS Industry Alert: Postal Service Announces 2017 Shipping Prices
USPS Industry Alert: Proposed Structural Changes for the January 2017 Release. The USPS has posted the following updated documents which contain key information on the Proposed Structural changes for the January 2017 Release here: (1) Release Overview: This document outlines the changes that are under consideration for the January 2017 release. A change log is included.(2) Release Schedule: This document lists the key milestones for the January 2017 release. Also available for review are: (3) January 2017 Release Notes (4) Postage Statements – January 2017 Proposed Changes (5) FSS Crosswalk – January 2017 Proposed Changes (6) Domestic Mail Manual – Red-lines (7) Postal Service Technical Specifications & Guides (8) Publication 199; Intelligent Mail Package Barcode – January 2017 Proposed Changes (9) Publication 205; Electronic Verification System (eVS®) Business and Technical Guide – January 2017 Proposed Changes (10) Federal Register Notices (11) Structural Change Requests for Idealliance® Mail.dat® & Mail.XML™
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
U.S. Postal Service: Key information on the Proposed Structural changes for the January 2017
New Jersey 101.5: Amid one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in generations — and one in which the Republican presidential candidate has claimed that the balloting process if “rigged” — thousands of New Jersey voters are at risk of not having their votes counted in November. Clerks in at least three Republican-heavy counties have reported that hundreds of mail-in ballots were erroneously returned to voters instead of being delivered to the county election boards. The problem is with new Post Office equipment that was unable to properly read the mailing address on some — but not all — ballot envelopes mailed by voters. Voters and county election officials began noticing the problem in late September, prompting counties to send out subsequent batches of newly designed mail-in ballots with an updated envelope barcode that postal officials say would prevent the error.
October 18, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: "Facility Access & Shipment Tracking (FAST) Enhancements"
Postal Regulatory Commission:
USPS Industry Alert: 2017 USPS Promotions Requirements Now Posted on RIBBS. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the six USPS Mailing Promotions for 2017 this past June and the detailed participation requirements documents for all six are now available. The 2017 promotions continue to build upon the engagement strategies of past promotions and they also provide some exciting new opportunities. It is extremely important for potential participants to review the new documents for key updates to ensure that they are producing mailpieces that meet the specific guidelines for the offered incentives or discounts. Mailers can find the latest requirement documents, get webinar information, enrollment details and other important information on the Promotions & Incentives RIBBS website by clicking here or visiting the URL: https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mailingpromotions. Questions on the 2017 promotions can be sent to the Mailing Services Program Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Government Executive: Political campaigns are increasingly sending advertisements through the mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service, which said the uptick has been a boon to its revenue. Political mail revenue jumped to $268 million from October 2015 through July 2016, up more than 50 percent from October 2011 through July 2012, when the total was $176 million. The Postal Service has emphasized political mailing as a growth opportunity, and has noted it left opportunities on the table during the 2012 election cycle. In meeting with political mailers, the IG found some businesses described the Postal Service’s recent performance as “abysmal.” A whopping 75 percent of the mail service providers with whom the auditors spoke voiced concerns over the agency’s operations. A USPS official conceded to the IG that concerns over missed delivery standards “have led many mailers to shift from mail to other forms of advertising.” The sales director for a San Diego-based political mailing company, U.S. Mailing House, put his complaints more bluntly to Government Executive earlier this year. “The equipment is old and the employees are fat and lazy,” said the sales director, whose company delivers 1 million pieces and four truck loads each day for clients across the country. He added the problems have increased “dramatically” in recent months and years.
WCPO: No, Ohio postal workers are not destroying absentee ballots for Donald Trump. That’s according to the United States Postal Service, which has been bombarded with complaints and questions this week after a man claiming to be a postal worker tweeted images of “Trump ballots” being destroyed.
Nonprofit Times: "Nonprofit Postage On Way Back Up"
Dead Tree Edition: A quiet boycott by some mailers helped persuade the U.S. Postal Service to change how it charges for publications, catalogs, and other flat mail. As a result, many mailers will pay lower postage bills next year, printers will earn more money from their co-mail programs, and the USPS is likely to benefit as well.
Washington Post: On Sunday afternoon, as the political press debated whether Donald Trump was attacking voters' confidence in an election he continued to call “rigged,” a denizen of “Weird Twitter” named @randygdub made the online equivalent of an eye-roll. It was not the most credible of pranks. For one, @randygdub's Twitter profile had him living in California, not Ohio. ("California is a diversion,” he explained/joked in DM today.) For another, the “ripping up ballots” line was perfectly in sync with a persona that mocked Trump supporters for believing any rumor that flew in from the Internet. But as The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff was first to recount, the “ripping up ballots” tweet rocketed through the bloodstream of conservative media. On Monday morning, blogger Jim Hoft, whose Gateway Pundit website regularly wins links from the Drudge Report, ran with the @randygdub tweet with no apparent attempt to check its facts. “An Ohio(?) man who describes himself as a postal worker bragged online this weekend about destroying Donald Trump absentee ballots,” Hoft wrote. @randygdub triumphantly retweeted it. Within an hour, Hoft's story was featured at the top of the Drudge Report — and @randygdub retweeted it. To anyone who wanted to spend a few seconds clicking through, a major conservative news source had just pranked itself. But a few hours later, Rush Limbaugh shared the “postal worker” story with his millions of listeners, accusing the media (apart from Drudge) of ignoring a damning story of political corruption.
Los Angeles Times: There's not much of a mystery what happened here: Some folks who should've known better got hoaxed by a rando from the Internet. Let's start from the beginning, with the culprit.
Salon: Rush Limbaugh and a host of other right-wing “news” websites have a breaking story — brought to you by a Twitter troll. Jim Hoft, the right-wing blogger behind the popular conservative website Gateway Pundit, published a story on Monday claiming that a postal worker in Ohio bragged about destroying absentee ballots that voted for Donald Trump. There’s a problem: That supposed postal worker is @Randygdub, a well-known Twitter comedian.
FedSmith: A Twitter user claiming to be a Postal worker recently made posts about how he enjoyed destroying Donald Trump ballots for absentee voters that he found in the mail. The story was picked up by several media outlets, one of which was the Drudge Report. The original post read, “I love working at the post office in Columbus, Ohio and ripping up absentee ballots that vote for Trump.” So was this story real? Did a Postal employee really destroy Trump ballots? Apparently not. Turns out the Twitter user, who goes by the handle @RandyGDub, has a history of posting jokes on his Twitter page. According to the Daily Beast, “@randygdub’s Twitter bio says he’s from California. And it takes about 60 seconds to go through his timeline and see that many of the tweets there are, well, not meant to be taken literally.” The Daily Beast also said they contacted the user directly and asked him if he was a Postal employee, to which he replied, “lol no.”
UNITED KINGDOM: Daily Record: Royal Mail has secured a new £60 million framework deal to provide all postal services to Scotland's public sector bodies. The framework, awarded following a competitive tender by Scottish Procurement, means Royal Mail will be the suppler of Scottish Government, local authority and public body postal services. Scottish Procurement, said the contract value over the three-year framework and one-year option to extend is valued at £60 million and represents a saving of around 6.5 per cent over the four years. The new framework is split into two lots covering physical and hybrid mail and scheduled and regular bulk mail. Associated print work will be carried out by Royal Mail’s partner CFH Docmail Ltd, based in Livingston.
Attention PostalOne!® Users:
Postal Regulatory Commission:
RM2016-12 Parcel Shippers Association Comments on the Rulemaking on Analytical Principles Used in Periodic Reporting (Proposal Four)
RM2016-13 Comments of Amazon Fulfillment Services, Inc.
SINGAPORE: The Motley Fool: In early August this year, Singapore Post Limited released its results for the quarter ended 30 June 2016 and held an earnings briefing. The mail services provider lik ely needs no introduction, as it should be well-known by Singaporeans. The company organises its business into three major segments: Postal, Logistics and eCommerce. There were two slides from Singapore Post’s earnings presentation which I thought investors should see. The first slide shows the eCommerce logistics network that Singapore Post has been able to put together through acquisitions. Progress has been made in the US as well through its latest acquisitions. Lim highlighted how Singapore Post has secured a foothold in one of the world’s most important eCommerce markets.
NETHERLANDS: Ecommerce News: Dutch postal service PostNL has started a test with its parcel and letter machines in Almere, a city located in the center of the country. The machine contains a letterbox with two openings and several parcel lockers which can be used to send and receive parcels. Just as many other postal services across Europe, PostNL has fewer letters to process, while delivering more and more parcels to consumers. The postal service thus started the experiment with the parcel and letter machines to see if they can fulfill the consumers’ changing needs.
October 16, 2016
AUSTRALIA: Australian Financial Review: Privatisation of national postal services has been in vogue in the last three years, posing a medium-term question about what the Turnbull Government does with Australia Post. The Ahmed Fahour-led postie service has upped its commercial nous in the past year as it dealt with a slump in its traditional letters business. But now that Australia Post has returned to the black, albeit marginally, no doubt the boffins at treasury will be assessing whether a medium term exit makes sense.
INDIA: Nyoooz: Its festival season, its shopping time - both, online and offline. With more customers turning to portals to book gifts, buy articles, agencies that deliver these parcels to customers make special arrangements for the season so that the shoppers get the goods well before Deepavali. In the recent years, Postal Department is handling delivery for several e-commerce firms. It has partnered with portals such as Snapdeal, Amazon.in, Myntra, Shopping Zone, and Naaptol and has a special tie-up with Amazon.in for same day delivery in Coimbatore. While Cash on Delivery parcels are handled by the postmen in the morning hours, the other parcels are delivered on Sundays and holidays too and it is outsourced.
October 15, 2016
Federal Register: Postal Service
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Postal Regulatory Commission:
UNITED KINGDOM: Huffington Post: Royal Mail is 500 years old this year, an anniversary marked with some fanfare last month. Today however, is three years since Royal Mail was privatised - and this is an anniversary we’re unlikely to be hearing much about. The government has good reason for keeping it quiet because the sell-off of Royal Mail is a damning indictment of its approach to key industries and public services. So let’s take stock: what has the impact been on our postal service?
October 14, 2016
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Houston Chronicle: The surge in online shopping around the holidays, by now a familiar story, has growing consequences for brick-and-mortar retailers. Online sales are expected to grow more than 17 percent this season to $94.71 billion, according to eMarketer. That's the highest projected increase since 2011, and the forecast far outpaces growth projections for overall retail sales, which eMarketer expects to rise 3.3 percent to $884.5 billion this season. If e-commerce sales jump as anticipated, they would account for more than 10 percent of holiday retail sales for the first time this year.
Retail Dive: A new University of Washington research center, the UW Urban Freight Lab, is working with shipper United Parcel Service, retailers Costco and Nordstrom, and the Seattle Department of Transportation to study urban product delivery challenges.
NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand Herald: New Zealand Post is reassuring customers across the country their post is safe, following a number of incidents where mail has gone undelivered, dumped or stolen. The postal agency tonight moved to clamp down on fears around the delivery of mail, saying it takes the security of mail "very seriously". It comes after a series of incidents in recent weeks - involving both posties and members of the public - which have left people concerned over their mail.
SINGAPORE: Singapore Business Review: SingPost's postal business to remain buoyant amidst digital disruptions. International mail revenue poised for a 3-year CAGR of 11.4%. While domestic mail revenue has largely plateaued over the years in the face of digital disruption, SingPost's postal segment remained well supported by growth in international mail revenue, says UOB KayHian. The research firm noted that the positive performance of domestic mail revenue was largely driven by higher outbound volumes from Alibaba. According to UOBKayHian, as an indication of scale, in its latest financials release, Alibaba’s international sales increased 123% yoy to Rmb1.1b in Apr-Jun 16, and it is expected to grow as Alibaba looks to increase overseas e-commerce revenue to 50%.
SWITZERLAND: Swissinfo: The Swiss Post will include limited Sunday deliveries among its offerings, working with taxi companies to make the service possible. The new delivery service, currently only available through certain retailers and in certain cities, is the continuation of a pilot project launched last year designed to test Sunday postal service. Swiss law does not allow the Post to deliver items on Sundays, so taxi companies will be used to make the deliveries.
October 13, 2016
Mailers Technical Advisory Committee: The U.S. Postal Service has published the final program requirements for the 2017 Promotions & Incentive programs.
2017 Promotion Calendar At-A-Glance
USPS Press Release: According to a new survey, more than half of swing voters responding (58 percent) said direct mail is either “very helpful” or “somewhat helpful” in deciding how and whom to vote for, beating out television (55 percent), online (48 percent) and email (46 percent). Approximately one of three registered voters surveyed identified as a swing voter. Among those surveyed, 14 percent said they were “undecided,” and 18 percent said they “might change their minds.” Not only do swing voters find mail helpful, the majority of them read it. The online survey, conducted by Summit Research, found 54 percent of swing voters surveyed say they read political direct mail immediately upon receiving it and 24 percent will save it to read later. There’s opportunity for campaigns: 52 percent of swing voters surveyed say they’ve not received any political mail at their residences. In comparison, 80 percent of these swing voters report seeing political television ads.“When political races are tight, campaigns need to know what influences swing voters,” said Cliff Rucker, vice president of Sales for the United States Postal Service. “Political mail spending has increased nationally by 50 percent since the last presidential election. As campaigns use more mail, it’s all the more reason to explore mail’s impact.”
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
As a result of this audit, management initiated the process to destroy the obsolete money orders and change locks; and secured keys to compartments in vaults.
What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management establish a process to ensure employees follow the required procedures for retail floor stock counts, inventory accountability records, shipment records, and duplicate key and password maintenance. We also recommended management provide all RAs with the required bait money orders and follow the procedures to destroy obsolete money orders. Finally, we recommended management implement procedures to transfer and maintain security over accountable items stored in the station’s vault.
U.S. Government Accountability Office:
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products, 70711–70712 [2016–24713] [TEXT]
Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday that it wants to bump up the price of a stamp by 2 cents, returning it to 49 cents following the April rollback of a temporary surcharge. The Postal Service said in a statement that it had filed notice of the move—slated to take place after the holiday mailing season—with the Postal Regulatory Commission, which needs to approve it. The change would bring the price of a 1-ounce letter up to 49 cents from its current 47 cents. Additionally, international letters retreated 5 cents, to $1.15, while the price of postcards fell 1 cent, to 34 cents. The Postal Service’s proposed move would leave the price of postage for international letters and postcards unchanged at the lower levels.
NEW ZEALAND: Post & Parcel: New Zealand Post has been commissioned Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) to equip its sorting centres with mixed-mail sorting machines and associated software. Three new Open Mail Handling Systems (OMS) will be installed in Auckland and in Christchurch, where they will be used for sorting letters, flats, newspapers, open and plastic-wrapped magazines and small parcels. With two induction lines, the OMS can process up to 25,000 items of mail every hour. Siemens will also implement a suite of software packages that will control all mail sorting operations across the whole country. New Zealand Post’s existing sorting machines will be integrated into the overall system so that they can interoperate with the new software.
October 12, 2016
U.S. Postal Service: Postal Service Announces 2017 Mailing Services Prices -- Single Price for Commercial Letters up to 3.5 ounces, Adjusts FSS Pricing; Allows Extra Weight for Standard Flats
USPS Industry Alert: Special Pricing and Costing Webinar Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Please join the USPS Pricing and Costing team on Tuesday, October 18 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) for a high-level overview of the Market Dominant Price Change filing. This webinar will feature Sharon Owens, VP, Pricing and Costing and Steve Monteith, Executive Director, Product. They will share information regarding the regulatory reason for the Market Dominant Price Change filing, which products are impacted, and which are not. Attendees will also have an opportunity to submit questions to the panel during this webinar. If you would like to submit your questions before the call, you can submit them to IndustryFeedback@usps.gov.
Attendance is limited to the first 500 participants, so we ask your cooperation in having multiple attendees log-in from one computer in a conference room, if possible. For those not able to attend, or log-in, the recorded October 18, 2016, Market Dominant Price Change Webinar will be made available on the Industry Outreach, Webinar Archives tab on the RIBBs website. Please see instructions to participate below: Registration required. Instructions for participating in the webinar appear below: Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 866-381-9870 Conference ID: 94463228. Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8df4b52f40f75f1c2ef215c910deb0fb. If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate logins: Alternate URL: http://usps.webex.com Event Number: 990 986 129
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne! Oracle Database Quarterly Patching will deploy on Sunday, October 16, 2016 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. The PostalOne! System will not be available during this time.
USPS Industry Alert: Facility Access & Shipment Tracking (FAST) Enhancements
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
USPS Industry Alert: Test Period for Postage Assessment Notifications. As a reminder, the USPS will begin Assessments for Full-Service Metrics beginning in November 2016 for October data. On September 12, 2016 the USPS turned on the capability for Full-Service mailers to test the receipt of automated notifications when they exceed their monthly threshold for the Full-Service metrics. Another set of notifications will be sent after 6:00 PM (CT) on October 11, 2016. These notifications are for test purposes only and no action is required. More information about the assessment process can be found in section 6.0 of the Publication for Streamlined Acceptance for Letters and Flats found here: Publication for Streamlined Mail Acceptance for Letters and Flats. In the automated notification process the USPS is sending postage assessment notifications to email addresses associated to BCG user roles in the following order of precedence: · Verification Assessment Evaluator (Business Service Administrator (BSA) or User Role) if no VAE is identified notification is sent to; · BSA for Manage Mailing Activity if there is no BSA for Manage Mailing Activity notification is sent to; · BSA for alternate PostalOne! service; Audit Mailing Activity, eVS/PRS Customer, Scan Based Payment Customer Prior to the November 2016 Assessment date, USPS is encouraging mailers to review their current user roles within the Business Customer Gateway. The document posted here provides you with step by step instructions to review, change and add user roles within the Business Customer Gateway.
To ensure mailers are prepared for the October 2016 assessment date, the Postal Service will continue outreach to every mailer and support the Mailer Scorecard Hotline calls. We encourage mailers to access the Full-Service Mail Quality Metrics and reach out to local USPS BMEU staff for assistance. Any irregularities or questions with the Mailer Scorecard should be reported through the webinar hotline calls, PostalOne! Helpdesk at 800-522-9085 or via email at email@example.com. Include the phrase “Mailer Scorecard” in the subject line of the email.
Below is dial-in information for the Mailer Scorecard Hotline Webinar that will be held every Wednesday and Friday at 2PM (EDT) through October 2016. Go to https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?MTID=mef6ed0d2d8023631b8a1f19aba177b27 Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-8607461 (US) Show global numbers: https://www.tcconline.com/offSite/OffSiteController.jpf?cc=4721630566 Conference Code: 472 163 0566
Washington Post: How long will it be, do you think, until companies such as Amazon start delivering packages to you by drone? If that prospect seems fantastical to you, you're not alone. According to a survey published Tuesday by the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General, 57 percent of people are either neutral about it or think it's a bad idea. Seventy-five percent of people think drone delivery is five years away at best; the rest think it will take even longer, if it happens at all. There are some good reasons to think this timeline is accurate, which we will get into below. But the survey also reveals something else: Our skepticism of the technology may be a factor. That finding, which has been expressed in policy as a relatively slow approach to drone testing, helps shed important light on how technology adoption works more broadly. Here's how.
Fox23: Mail issues in Bixby, Okla. have prompted Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s office to get involved. For the past few months, residents in different areas of Bixby say they have either not received their mail or it’s been delivered to the wrong address or their mail is late. The issue has become so bad, that city councilor, Richie Stewart reached out to Congressman, Jim Bridenstine’s office for help.
CBS St. Louis: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, along with Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, has proposed a new bill addressing post office closures. The bill would prevent the U.S. Postal Service from using its emergency suspension process to indefinitely close post offices without notice to the community, opportunity to appeal, or a time frame for reopening or permanently closing a facility. Five St. Louis-area post offices and 34 other Missouri locations would be protected under the new bipartisan legislation. Of the 650 postal facilities that were “temporarily” closed under emergency suspensions since 2011, 511 remain closed today. Residents in those communities have not been told by postal service officials whether or not those post offices will reopen.
Econotimes: UPS today announced the expansion of its earliest morning package delivery service, UPS Worldwide Express Plus™. By expanding its reach to 28 new countries and enhancing service to cover more postal codes in 25 existing countries, shippers can reach the top 20 economies in the world1 earlier than ever before. Businesses in the industrial manufacturing, automotive, healthcare and retail industries use the service for urgent shipments. The UPS Express Plus service offers guaranteed delivery on the next business day as early as 8:00 a.m., depending on the destination. In the 25 existing countries, shippers can reach more customers in many global business centers. The service is not limited to the largest cities. This expansion now makes the service available in 3,000 additional postal codes in the United Kingdom and 2,000 more postal codes in Canada.
October 11, 2016
UNITED KINGDOM: Post & Parcel: Royal Mail has responded to the claims made in a Daily Mail article that it has been failing to crack down on scam mail senders contacting potential victims via the postal service. In an official statement issued yesterday (10 October), Royal Mail said that it has “closely examined” the list of companies suspected by the Daily Mail of sending scam mail and has already passed it to the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that they can investigate further.
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: Post & Parcel: In a statement issued today to sum up the Universal Postal Congress which took place in Istanbul over the past three weeks, the Univeral Postal Union’s (UPU) UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said: “The message to us has been that the UPU must transform and the Post must be able to transform itself if we are to be relevant in the future.” Around 2,000 representatives from 155 countries participated in the Congress, where they discussed more than 450 proposals. Following on from all the discussions, they adopted the Istanbul World Postal Strategy, which sets the course for the UPU’s work over the next four years. As the UPU explained it: “The strategy—based on integration, innovation and inclusion—strives to improve interoperability of postal network infrastructure, ensure sustainable and modern products, and foster market and sector functioning.” Member countries also adopted the Istanbul Business Plan, which guides the implementation of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy by setting work proposals, targets and financials for carrying out the strategy’s goals.
SINGAPORE: The Straits Times: Singapore Post has implemented a raft of measures aimed at improving corporate governance, in line with recommendations from an independent review. The postal and e-commerce group has appointed three new non-executive independent directors to its board, and has also "substantially implemented" all recommendations made in the corporate governance review, it said yesterday.
NIGERIA: Vanguard: The Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, has said that it would commence nationwide clampdown on illegal courier operators across the country.
NIGERIA: Nigeriana: In its attempt to remain relevant and be profitable in world of IT, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has introduced delivery of agricultural goods. The federal government-owned postal service also included in its delivery package, pharmaceutical drugs and cosmetics. Others are automobile spare parts, electronics and electrical parts, computer and accessories, furniture and household items, beverages and assorted food items. With the introduction of the service, the organization has effectively diversified from mere mail delivery and money service.
RUSSIA: Russia Beyond the Headlines: Postal workers have always been of great importance for such a vast country like Russia. For people in far-flung corners, they are the only lifeline tying them to the mainland.
UNITED KINGDOM: Financial Times: Royal Mail executives are to be summoned by the government following allegations that it delivered scam letters aimed at conning vulnerable people out of money. The UK’s dominant postal service has been accused of making money from distributing mail, sent by international criminals, that defrauded victims out of large sums of cash. Letters included messages from fake clairvoyants, prize-draw scams and illegal advertisements for unlicensed health remedies, according to claims published on Monday in an investigation by the Daily Mail. The newspaper alleged that bogus correspondence from overseas fraudsters, deliberately targeting vulnerable and elderly people, made its way into the delivery network after being collected and sorted by Whistl, the group formerly known as TNT Post. It reported that scammers paid companies to print letters in bulk, sent in envelopes bearing Royal Mail’s logo, and that recipients lost money after responding to fraudulent offers.
October 10, 2016
Linn's: Here’s an important stamp date: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. That’s when the United States Postal Service has told mailers it wants to implement its next rate change. But it’s unknown if the Postal Service will use its annual rate change to seek an end the 47¢ first-class stamp. It’s well known that the cash-hungry USPS has been upset that Congress has turned a deaf ear to its repeated pleas to reinstate the 49¢ first-class stamp that it won as a temporary measure in 2014. And postal officials have made clear to mailers that they want to maximize the annual price increase when the new rates are imposed in January.
Wall Street Journal: Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) Rep. Pat Tiberi (R., Ohio) Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.) -- We wholeheartedly agree with Arthur Herman and John P. Walters’s “Why Drug Runners Love the U.S. Postal Service” (op-ed, Sept. 30) that one of the biggest obstacles in our efforts to stop illicit drugs from entering our country is loopholes in our own U.S. mail system. What they don’t mention, however, is that there is already bipartisan legislation out there to shut down these loopholes. It’s called the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, and it will help stop dangerous drugs from being shipped from China to traffickers here in the U.S. In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. than any year on record—on average now of about 120 people every day. Together we must work to stop this epidemic. It’s time for the House and Senate to pass the STOP Act.
UNITED KINGDOM: BBC: The Daily Mail says letters sent via bulk mail contracts appear trustworthy as they feature Royal Mail branding on the envelopes. People are said to have lost money after responding to the fake offers. Royal Mail says it is illegal for it to open letters, preventing it from stopping fraudulent post deliveries. The firm said it understood the "upset and disquiet" that scam mail causes the public. "We have closely examined the list of companies suspected by the Daily Mail of sending scam mail. We have already passed it to our partners in the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that they can investigate further," the company said. It is alleged the scammers pay a company to print their letters in bulk. They contain messages from fake clairvoyants, prize-draw scams and illegal advertisements for unlicensed health remedies. If printed abroad, the letters are then taken to the UK and firms here sort and mass transport them to Royal Mail, which makes the final delivery to peoples' homes. The Royal Mail logo is printed on the envelopes.
CHINA: China Securities Journal: China's state-owned mail service operator has outperformed its global counterparts in profits for two years in a row, it told Xinhua Sunday. The China Post Group Corporation raked in over 32 billion yuan (4.8 billion U.S. dollars) in profits in 2015 with a year-on-year increase of 12.6 percent. Its revenues gained 8.1 percent to reach 437.6 billion yuan, second in the world.
October 9, 2016
CNN Money: By the time you take an Amazon delivery off your stoop, walk into your home, find a pair of scissors and open the brown box, you've already spent nearly as much time handling the package as Amazon's employees. With 22 years of experience in e-commerce and an obsession with efficiency, Amazon has brought remarkable optimization to the warehouses where it stores, packages and ships goods. On a typical Amazon order, employees will spend about a minute total -- taking an item off the shelf, then boxing and shipping it. The rest of the work is done by robots and automated systems.
Universal Postal Union: Marking World Post Day, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has stressed that putting customers at the heart of its service and adjusting to rapid technological modernization remains the top priority of the postal services worldwide. “Modern information and communications technologies have created a new type of consumer, for whom delivering at the doorstep is not enough; they want service when and where they need it. The demand is for more flexible and personalized services,” stated UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein in a message for the Day, marked annually on 9 October. The UPU, a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established 142 years ago, serving as an example of globalization. Its main purpose was and remains to serve as a “means of creating a seamless network for communicating across borders, allowing the Post to deliver the world,” said Mr. Hussein. He added that innovations can sometimes be disruptive, yet, the Post's main objective is to turn these challenges into opportunities and continue satisfying the customers' needs. To achieve this goal, “the Post must continuously transform and find new ways to go beyond simply delivering to the customer's doorstep.”
NIGERIA: Nigeria Today: The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), at the weekend said it has introduced an electronic money transfer platform in order to meet the demand of its clients, especially the rural dwellers.
October 8, 2016
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission - Product Lists; Update, 70014–70018 [2016–24511] [TEXT]
USPS Industry Alert: The latest issue of the USPS publication "Mail Spoken Here" has been posted on this site.
USPS Industry Alert: Test Period for Postage Assessment Notifications. As a reminder, the USPS will begin Assessments for Full-Service Metrics beginning in November 2016 for October data. On September 12, 2016 the USPS turned on the capability for Full-Service mailers to test the receipt of automated notifications when they exceed their monthly threshold for the Full-Service metrics. On October 11, 2016 another set of notifications will be sent. These notifications are for test purposes only and no action is required. More information about the assessment process can be found in section 6.0 of the Publication for Streamlined Acceptance for Letters and Flats found here: Publication for Streamlined Mail Acceptance for Letters and Flats. In the automated notification process the USPS is sending postage assessment notifications to email addresses associated to BCG user roles in the following order of precedence: Verification Assessment Evaluator (Business Service Administrator (BSA) or User Role) if no VAE is identified notification is sent to; BSA for Manage Mailing Activity if there is no BSA for Manage Mailing Activity notification is sent to; BSA for alternate PostalOne! service; Audit Mailing Activity, eVS/PRS Customer, Scan Based Payment Customer if none it is sent to
Prior to the November 11, 2016 Assessment Date USPS is encouraging mailers to review their current user roles within the Business Customer Gateway. The document posted here provides you with step by step instructions to review, change and add user roles within the Business Customer Gateway. To ensure mailers are prepared for the October 2016 assessment date, the Postal Service will continue outreach to every mailer and support the Mailer Scorecard Hotline calls. We encourage mailers to access the Full-Service Mail Quality Metrics and reach out to local USPS BMEU staff for assistance. Any irregularities or questions with the Mailer Scorecard should be reported through the webinar hotline calls, PostalOne! Helpdesk at 800-522-9085 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the phrase “Mailer Scorecard” in the subject line of the email.
Below is dial-in information for the Mailer Scorecard Hotline Webinar that will be held every Wednesday and Friday at 2PM (EDT) through October 2016. Go to: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?MTID=mef6ed0d2d8023631b8a1f19aba177b27 Teleconference information: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US) Conference Code: 472 163 0566.
WRC: Residents in a single-family home development in Silver Spring, Maryland, say they couldn't count on mail carriers to deliver their mail. “Mail delivery is an uncertainty every day,” resident Nevin Martell said. Sometimes they would receive nothing at all. Other times they'd receive their neighbors’ mail or expected deliveries would go missing altogether. There's also no consistency with postal carriers, he said. “There’s been a rotating cast of people who have been delivering our mail,” he said. After numerous calls to the post office and the post master with no change, Martell called NBC4 Responds.
October 7, 2016
USPS Industry Alerts: Reports on further impacts to USPS operations will be posted to USPS Service Alerts website accessed through the RIBBS webpage, http://ribbs.usps.gov/ and http://about.usps.com/news/service-alerts/.
American Postal Workers Union: APWU President Mark Dimondstein scored an overwhelming victory on Oct. 6, winning re-election with 84 percent of the votes cast.
AZFamily: A north Valley community is on alert after a rash of mailbox break-ins. Since September, at least 10 mailbox break-ins have been reported in the Anthem community. All of the crimes involve cluster or community mailboxes.
Albany Herald: The U.S. Postal Service Gulf Atlantic District is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew by advising customers that normal service operations in the path of the storm may be affected in the event of unsafe conditions such as high winds, flooding, or impassable roads. Postal Service employees in the USPS Gulf Atlantic District’s Northern Florida and South Georgia area will be working around-the-clock to secure the mail, postal facilities and equipment in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. The Gulf Atlantic District includes all ZIP code locations with the first three digits 298, 304, 308-310, 312-320, 322-326, 344, and 398. Post offices in North Florida and South Georgia with the first three ZIP code digits beginning 322, 320, 315, 314 and 313 will be closed Friday and Saturday. There will be no mail delivery, mail collections or retail services available. Full Post Office operations for these locations will resume at the normal time on Tuesday, the day after the Columbus Day Holiday.
AUSTRALIA: Western Advocate: Australia Post has kicked off a major overhaul of its financial accounting systems in a move that could pave the way for the oft-mooted privatisation of its lucrative parcel division. Internal documents seen by Fairfax Media reveal preparations have been made to create a separate legal entity for courier operation StarTrack and the parcels business, and to clean up its financial records – important groundwork for any future sale. The postal workers union fears Australia Post is preparing for a sale, and Fairfax Media can reveal that late last year senior Australia Post finance staff were already working on a restructuring operation called "Project Bridge" to update internal financial reporting systems.
October 6, 2016
KCRG: The National Retail Federation expects online sales to go up another seven to ten percent this year. And while many retailers add seasonal workers at this time of year, delivery companies will likely hire more than most once again.
TURKEY - SIERRA LEONE: Awoko: As the ministerial conference of the Universal Postal Union commenced on Monday 3rd October 2016 in the Turkish city of Istanbul, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux, in concert with the Consultant Managing Director of SALPOST, Samuel Koroma and Chairman of the SALPOST board, the erudite lawyer Brima Koroma, has bagged an agreement with Turkish Post and Telecommunications (PTT) that will facilitate the transformation and development of Sierra Leone Postal Service Limited(SALPOST) to a modern postal service.
GERMANY: Reuters: German logistics giant Deutsche Post has quietly designed and made its own electric delivery van, exploiting sweeping changes in manufacturing technology which could upend the established order in the auto industry.For the moment, Deutsche Post is using the vehicles itself to meet growing demand for e-commerce deliveries without adding to air pollution in German cities, replacing conventional Volkswagen vans.But having decided to go it alone with the project - upsetting VW "beyond measure" - the group will soon decide whether to start selling the Streetscooter model and join those set to compete directly with established carmakers.
October 5, 2016
USPS Weather-Service Alerts: The U.S. Postal Service has issued mailer alerts concerning possible post offices affected by Hurricane Matthew.
October 4, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: USPS Shipping Information Systems - Webinar Series - IMpb Compliance Quality Metrics - Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 11:00a.m. – 12 noon (ET). Join us as the Postal Service continues its series of informational webinars on IMpb Compliance Quality Metrics targeted for implementation January 2017. The webinars will benefit customers who ship parcels with USPS, particularly small to medium customers who ship Competitive Products – Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, and Parcel Select Lightweight. Speaker: Juliaann Hess, Mgr. Mail and Package Information Systems. Registration required. Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870; Conference ID: 78736053 If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate login: https://usps.webex.com; Event Number: 990 234 378.
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products, 68474–68475 [2016–23912] [TEXT]
Fortune: In late September, the package delivery giant and a drone startup, CyPhy Works, said they had successfully tested a drone delivery, in which a flying robot delivered an asthma inhaler to a children’s summer camp on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Staff from UPS and CyPhy programmed a flight path for the drone that let it fly autonomously from the city of Beverly, roughly 25 miles outside of Boston, to the summer camp on Children’s Island. This 3-mile-long trek over part of the Atlantic Ocean took roughly 8 minutes for the drone to complete. Still, just because UPS completed the drone test doesn’t mean it’s ushering in an era in which drones will be routinely used to deliver toilet paper, sandwiches, and other goods to people in major urban cities.
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: Business Day: Kenya’s Bishar Hussein has been re-elected as director-general of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) for a second term.
UNITED KINGDOM - UNITED STATES: CityA.M.: Postal giant Royal Mail has ventured into the US market by buying a next day delivery company in a deal that will cost the former state-owned company $90m (£70m). Golden State Overnight Delivery Service Inc (GSO) which operates in principally in California, was bought by Royal Mail through its European subsidiary General Logistics Systems (GLS). Although letter deliveries at parent Royal Mail are declining, GLS has reported double-digit revenue growth and GLS's chief executive Rico Back said that the purchase was in line with strategic expansion goals
South Africa: BDLive: The Courier and Freight Group (CFG), a subsidiary of the South African Post Office (Sapo) which was placed under provisional liquidation in May, is to be incorporated as a division within its parent company. CFG, which operated Sapo’s courier, freight and logistics business, was hit hard in the 2015-16 financial year due to tough competition by rivals and has been loss-making for several years. Sapo group CEO Mark Barnes, writing in the group’s annual report tabled in Parliament on Monday, said the only way to ensure CFG’s survival was for Sapo to incorporate it as a division. Sapo acting chief financial officer Nichola Dewar told Business Day that CFG had been taken out of provisional liquidation as from October 1 as a result of Sapo having committed itself to take over its assets and liabilities as well as its staff.
Universal Postal Union: Post & Parcel: Member countries of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have agreed to adopt a new terminal dues system, following discussions at the UPU Congress currently taking place in Istanbul. The terminal dues system (which was established by the UPU’s 1969 Tokyo Congress) compensates destination countries for the cost of handling, transporting and delivering letter-post items across borders. In a statement issued on Thursday (29 September), the UPU said: “Starting in 2018 bulky letters and small packets, classified as E-format, will be compensated differently from other letter-post formats. “With increased volume of small packets being exchanged through the letter-post networks due to e-commerce, UPU member countries have been seeking a new rate structure of compensation for handling of higher volumes of heavier items.”
Digital Journal: US Global Mail- the leader in expat mail forwarding- today launched: US DELIVERED. A service for International Shoppers who wish to buy products from the US easily. The service offers a free US address to people living overseas so they can buy items in USA and have them delivered to a local address as many shippers will not ship overseas. US Delivered receives such packages and then ships them onwards to customer's overseas. The service offers free package consolidation (bundling of packages and items together) to help save on international shipping costs and rates up to 80% off retail international shipping rates. "One of the most exciting features about our service is our free Track-Me-Home service with guaranteed delivery," says Tashi Nibber, CEO of US Delivered. "This allows customers to track their packages from the time of delivery to us, to their doorstep. It takes guesswork out and provides a firm and guaranteed delivery commitment to the customer."
October 3, 2016
Transport Topics: The low-growth U.S. economy remains durably in place and will probably continue plodding on as business leaders are hesitant to make the sort of investments that would boost gross domestic product, in general, and truck freight volumes, specifically. “It’s a very fragile world now,” consulting economist Diane Swonk said at the Management Conference & Exhibition of American Trucking Associations. Swonk said this year will probably be the weakest year for U.S. growth since the Great Recession ended. She said there are signs the economy is now “moving in the right direction, but it’s going slowly, like running in mud.”
Associations Now: Millions of consumers are on mobile, but marketers that want to reach them are facing a big challenge: It’s hard to determine what constitutes marketing success on a smartphone or a tablet. To come up with new kinds of mobile metrics, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) this week announced a new think tank, with the support of a number of brand-name companies, including Coca-Cola, Unilever, T-Mobile, American Express, and Hilton. The MMA Marketing Attribution Think Tank (MATT) intends to tackle a series of issues troubling marketers, the first being multi-touch attribution, a marketing approach that tries to understand the entire path of a customer’s journey. It’s something that’s much harder to understand on mobile than on the desktop. “Multi-touch attribution will be the anchor of future marketing attribution. However, it’s an area where marketers lack the depth of knowledge and experience to evaluate solutions,” MMA CEO Greg Stuart told Mobile Marketing Watch. “Add in a highly fragmented pool of solution vendors, each delivering a different modeling technique, and it’s nearly impossible for marketers to confidently select and apply the right solutions for their business.”
Washington Post: In an effort to battle Venmo, Square Cash and other third-party cash-transferring services, some of the nation’s largest banks joined forces this year to roll out a service that lets consumers send one another money within minutes. The transfer service has been rolled out quietly over the past couple of months by big banks including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One and U.S. Bank. Customers of participating banks can use their mobile banking apps to send money to friends using their email address or phone number and have it processed in the same day. Starting next year, most consumers with money in their Venmo or PayPal accounts will be able to instantly move that cash to their bank accounts.
Wall Street Journal: Package-delivery giants are trying new tactics to handle the holiday rush without going on a hiring binge. FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. have invested in technology and capacity the companies say will allow them to smoothly process millions of parcels, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Loretta Chao writes. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is typically the busiest for both carriers, and they have struggled in the past to quickly sort and ship a massive surge in online orders. Prior to last year, FedEx and UPS addressed the rush by hiring ever-larger armies of temporary workers. This year, temporary hires are projected to be in line with year-ago levels, with new sorting centers, improved automation technology and software expected to keep the distribution network humming.
Wall Street Journal: Consumers’ shift to online shopping may be close to claiming more brick-and-mortar victims. Fitch Ratings has identified seven retail chains, including several mall staples. All suffer from similar problems, including growing online competition, declining mall traffic and pressure from discounters.
Quad Graphics: When considering how the USPS may move mail during the fall mailing season, the first factor to consider is how it has been performing, year-to-date. Generally, USPS service is much improved in 2016 as compared to the previous two years. If you recall, 2014 was marked by the effects of Load Leveling, which changed the way the USPS moved the mail through processing and resulted in some different in-home curves than we had been seeing since 2012. Operation Plan Change in 2015 caused delays throughout the first half of the year and made planning for fall 2015 very difficult. Since January this year, we have seen much more consistent delivery week-to-week and facility-to-facility. We have not had any facility on our list of poor performers for more than two weeks in a row since late April.
Maine Public: A longstanding mail carrier for Swan’s Island and Frenchboro has been restored to his position after he lost the contract over a dispute with the U.S. Postal Service. For nearly three decades, LJ Hopkins delivered both mail and freight items to island residents. But last spring, USPS told him he could not combine the deliveries. After Hopkins filed suite, the postal service amended the contract. But Hopkins’ attorney Keith Harriton says the ultimate victory was when Hopkins was awarded the position last Thursday.
Post & Parcel: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has announced that it plans to hire between 35,000 and 40,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season.
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: eCommerceBytes: Disappointing news for online sellers looking for a level playing field when it comes to shipping costs - the Universal Postal Union (UPU) said yesterday that member countries have agreed on the proposed Terminal Dues that came out of the main UPU committees in February. US sellers say thanks to Terminal Dues, their counterparts in China can ship packages to shoppers in this country at a lower cost than they themselves pay, and some have voiced their concern that the ever growing number of ecommerce packages coming from China drives up domestic shipping rates since they don't cover costs. Jim Campbell, a lawyer in Washington who works with private carriers, is an expert on terminal dues, provided some context about what will change under the Terminal Dues proposal. "Put simply, the UPU Congress in Istanbul has this week agreed that post offices in industrialized countries should continue until at least the end of 2021 the practice of charging substantially less for the delivery of inbound international mail than for the delivery of similar domestic mail. "For USPS, it looks like the effective discount for delivery of foreign small packages weighing up to 4.4 lbs will be about 50 percent. For small packets from the big Asian ecommerce countries, this is an improvement of sorts since the effective discount today is about 70 percent. "In 2006, Congress committed the U.S. to a policy of promoting and encouraging "unrestricted and undistorted competition" in international postal services. Given the increasingly competitive, ecommerce oriented nature of international postal services, it seems to me highly questionable whether this new UPU agreement meet the criteria established by U.S. law." [Editor's Note: The folks at eCommerceBytes have introduced a new paid-subscription version of their publication. It's worth checking out. To find out more, just visit eCommerceBytes.]
October 2, 2016
The Motley Fool: Prices are going up. Around the time of the company's first-quarter 2017 results in late September, FedEx Corporation followed rival United Parcel Service, Inc in hiking selected shipping rates by 4.9% -- a rate far in excess of inflation. What's going on? What does it mean for investors in both stocks? And what can customers expect from pricing in the future? The pricing increases will grab the headlines, but in reality they are part of a series of actions both companies have been taking to maximize profitability. In short, FedEx and UPS need to take these measures because they are seeing margin pressure as a result of burgeoning e-commerce delivery growth. That pressure shows up in different ways. The need to expand capacity to deal with increased costs brings about higher operational costs -- at least initially eating into gross profit margins. E-commerce demand during peak season is putting pressure on both companies to have the right capacity in place at the right time -- UPS in particular has had issues with this subject. E-commerce vendors are packaging inefficiently and increasingly shipping large, difficult-to-deliver items, such as trampolines or gym equipment.
October 1, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: Jackpot CRID/MID Process for Mail Service Providers (MSPs). Full-Service eDoc submitters are required to accurately identify the Mail Owner and Mail Preparer in the eDoc. Currently, MSPs often profile volumes that meet the less than 5,000 piece By/For Exception as themselves being the mail owner. This causes By/For Error Code 7140 (Mail Owner and Mail Preparer are the same entity) to be logged. MSPs who prepare mailings that include mail owners with less than 5,000 pieces per owner and are meeting 90% full-service of eligible volume, may request authorization to use a JACKPOT CRID/MID for identification of this volume. Correct use of this authorized JACKPOT CRID/MID will eliminate error code 7140 reporting for mailers that are preparing mail under the By/For Exception rule when a mail owner is presenting fewer than 5,000 pieces to the USPS in a mailing. To request this authorization, MSPs must complete a Customer Application Form and contact the PostalOne! Helpdesk via email at Postalone@usps.gov. The complete Jackpot CRID/MID authorization process and the Customer Application Form can be found on PostalPro at: http://beta.postalpro.usps.com/node/2299.
Editor's Note: There's a new postal podcast that deserves a look-see. You can find a sample at: https://soundcloud.com/g8toron/postal-views-podcast-49-usps-its-all-good
Washington Post: The enrollee share of premiums in the health-care program for federal employees and retirees will rise 6.2 percent on average in 2017, an increase about in line with the general trend for employer-sponsored health insurance, the government announced Wednesday.The announcement of premium rates in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program comes in advance of an annual open season, which this year will run Nov. 14-Dec. 12, during which enrollees may change plans or change types of enrollment for the following year. Also, employees who are not currently enrolled may join the program, although retirees generally may not newly join.The increase in premiums overall averages 4.4 percent, but because of the way the formula works for setting the government and enrollee shares, the enrollee share on average is increasing by more than the government share. The government pays about 70 percent of the total premium and enrollee pays the rest; the U.S. Postal Service pays a somewhat larger share for its employees, although not for its retirees.
September 30, 2016
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
GCN: Any smart city initiative requires an extensive, mobile, networked infrastructure to collect data – and that’s where the United States Postal Service thinks it can help. A new white paper from the USPS Office of the Inspector General proposes five pilot programs that would demonstrate how USPS can help advance smart city tech. The research is meant to find more value in the existing USPS infrastructure and maybe even increase the agency’s bottom line, but it’s too early to tell, said Paola Piscioneri, the director of global digital and innovation resources at the USPS OIG.
WRCB: A former postal worker has reached a plea deal after she was accused of keeping nearly 2,700 pieces of undelivered mail inside her Sullivan County home. News outlets report that Kathy Gross pleaded guilty to an obstruction charge in Greeneville federal court on Tuesday. She faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
CBS Sacramento: Two people have been arrested after a large marijuana grow in Lincoln was busted thanks to the help of the U.S. Postal Service. On Sept. 27, the Special Operations Unit and U.S. Postal Inspectors served a search warrant at the home where they found approximately 60 marijuana plants, sixty-five pounds of processed marijuana, and concentrated cannabis. They also found firearms, at least two of them assault weapons.
GoByTruckNews: The founders of the postal system paved the way for a new era of communication, the inventors of barcode and conveyor belt revolutionized industry, and the pioneers of parcel and express logistics laid the foundation for globalization and eCommerce. The motto for the 2016 voting period for the Logistics Hall of Fame was “Historic Milestones of Logistics,” and in total, 13 big names from the field of transport, intralogistics, information technology and insurance will be welcomed to the pantheon of the world’s most famous logisticians this year. “The new members complete the timeline of milestone achievements in logistics and illustrate how logistics has made life better and safer over the course of time,” said Anita Würmser, executive jury chairperson of the Logistics Hall of Fame. The first logistics milestone goes back to the year 1490 and is well known, too. The new inductees include Franz von Taxis (1459-1517) and his nephew Johann Baptista von Taxis (1470-1541). At the end of the 15th century, they created the first cross-border communication system, laying the foundation for the international postal system and the rise of the Thurn und Taxis family . . . .
Wall Street Journal: When you think of drug trafficking, the neighborhood mailman probably isn’t what springs to mind. But thanks to archaic international rules and outdated systems, the U.S. Postal Service is unwittingly facilitating the spread of illicit pharmaceuticals—at taxpayers’ expense. The USPS delivers packages from all over the world with few questions asked. As international shipping has exploded in the past decade, especially from China, the postal service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been overwhelmed by the size and scale of the screening problem. How bad is it? Last year the consulting firm LegitScript did 29 test buys from illegal online pharmacies. Every illicit package, most originating in India, was sent through a government-sponsored shipping service. Once they reached American soil, all were delivered by the USPS. Customs didn’t stop or intercept any of them. One obstacle lies in the obscure regulations of the Universal Postal Union, the United Nations agency empowered to coordinate international shipments. Under its rules, the USPS must deliver international mail to its final destination, unless directed otherwise by a law-enforcement agency like Customs and Border Protection. Companies overseas that send packages to the U.S. are required to supply customs information, but many parcels come into the country without proper forms, let alone electronic-tracking data. Drug traffickers have been clever about disguising their shipments with labels like “shampoo” or, in the case of a pill press, “hole puncher.” Overworked agents can’t identify every suspicious package in customs sheds that more and more resemble the warehouse scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The worst part is that American taxpayers wind up subsidizing many shipments from overseas.
Forbes: US Postal Service (USPS) consumers are seeing declining service standards. They know their packages don’t arrive on time. What they may not realize, however, is that this may also cost them their vote. 38 states require absentee ballots to be received by election day. However, USPS rules have changed and that first class letter mail, like absentee ballots which were once consistently delivered the next day in the same community, are now routed through distant regional processing centers. These centers are often in different states and hundreds of miles away. If that isn’t bad enough, despite setting more relaxed quality and delivery standards, a recent post office inspector general’s report showed a 51% increase in mail processing delays. In short, USPS has lowered the bar for success and then dramatically missed the new lower bar.
UNITED KINGDOM: Bristol Post: An autistic teenager is donating thousands of stamps to charity after almost 20,000 people from across the world sent him birthday cards and presents. Bristol-born Ollie Jones had the surprise of his life when postal workers turned up at his house with crates of cards on his 15th birthday. The teenager was inundated with 18,750 messages of friendship after his mum, Karen made a heartfelt Facebook plea for support. The 48-year-old from Knowle said that it felt like she was 'stabbed in the heart with a knife' when Ollie made himself two cards ahead of his birthday because he wouldn't receive many. The overwhelmed teen is now passing on the kindness by donating the thousands of stamps which were attached to the envelopes to the Children's Hospice South West.
IRELAND: Leinster Express: Some recovered stolen items are waiting for years to be returned to their owners in Laois, but Gardaí have come up with a clever way to easily return stolen goods right back home. They are urging the public to write their Eircode number on their property and take photos of it as evidence, so that if it is stolen and then recovered by Gardaí, it can be traced back right to their front door, using the postal code.
CANADA: National Post: Justin Trudeau is scheduled to be in Brussels a month from now to finally sign the massive trade agreement with the European Union that has been eight years in the making. But he won’t make the trip if there is no deal to ink — and there is a very real prospect the whole agreement could yet come unstuck. If it does the culprit will likely be faulty glue on the envelopes of Austrian postal votes that has caused that country’s presidential election to be postponed until December.
September 29, 2016
+++The Passing of Dr. Michael Crew +++
It is with great sadness that we must note the passing of Rutgers University Professor Michael Crew. Dr. Crew had been a fixture in the American and International postal communities through his work as the director of the Center for Research in Regulated Industries. He was a friend and mentor to many as well as an active participant in the ongoing debate over the role, the regulation, and the future of mail as a medium of communication and commerce in today's changing world. He will be sorely missed.
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
USPS Industry Alert: USPS Shipping Information Systems - Webinar Series - IMpb Compliance Quality Metrics - Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 11:00a.m. – 12 noon (ET) Join us as the Postal Service continues its series of informational webinars on IMpb Compliance Quality Metrics targeted for implementation January 2017. The webinars will benefit customers who ship parcels with USPS, particularly small to medium customers who ship Competitive Products – Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, and Parcel Select Lightweight. The next webinar scheduled in the series is: IMpb Compliance Quality Metrics – Recap. Speaker: Juliaann Hess, Mgr. Mail and Package Information Systems Registration required. Dial-in: (866) 381-9870; Conference ID: 78736053. Register here: Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1dd623c881bd60b58a667e51309fd996 If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate logins below: https://usps.webex.com Event Number: 990 234 378
Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service got the go-ahead today to continue trying out the grocery-delivery business for another year so that it can experiment with different pricing and service models. The USPS told the Postal Regulatory Commission that it's still trying "to determine the operational feasibility and the desirability of making Customized Delivery a permanent product." The PRC approved an extension of the two-year market test for a third year, through October 2017.
InvestorPlace: Google Express, the speedy delivery service from Alphabet Inc, is expanding to more areas in the Northeast. Google Express is now available to all residents living in New York City and the rest of the state. The expansion also includes other states along the East Coast. This starts with Maine and stretches down to Virginia. Google Express is mostly partnering with major retailers, such as Costco Wholesale Corporation, Kohl’s Corporation, Whole Foods Market, Inc. and others. It plans to expand its service to the rest of the United States by the end of the year. It said this is easier with major retailers and that it wants to add more local shops after it completes its expansion,
ARMENIA: Public Radio of Armenia: The National Postal Operator of Armenia “HayPost” CJSC today announced the launch of an unprecedented service in the history of Armenia. Starting from the 1st of October 2016, HayPost will carry out regular scheduled mail and cargo transportations to and from Europe.
UNITED KINGDOM: The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport: DHL Express will put its prices up by an average of 4.9 per cent in the UK from 2017. The international parcel delivery service said extra revenue generated from its annual price increase would be invested back into its network to deliver significant value for customers.
CHINA: Wall Street Journal: The race is on to unite merchants and consumers around the world, allowing people in any country to transact with just one click. And while a range of firms such as Wal-Mart and eBay are in the game, as well as special-purpose groups such as the W3C consortium that focuses only on payments, the main players are Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Jack Ma of Alibaba. Amazon recently announced it will cut delivery times for small items from China to U.S. consumers to five days. Meanwhile the United Nations named Alibaba’s founder as special adviser on youth entrepreneurship and small business to the Conference on Trade and Development, or Unctad, the main U.N. body for economic initiatives. Beyond this long title is a subtle shift in thinking. The U.N. has started to approach international e-commerce in the same way the world community looked at international surface mail when the Universal Postal Union was set up in 1874. Prior to the UPU, mail could move internationally only through bilateral treaties. The agreement set a common standard for pricing across all nations, and the International Telecommunications Union did the same for phone calls and data. At the U.N., Mr. Ma’s core message is to apply a similar approach to e-commerce. Nobody is yet advocating an international regulatory body, but standard approaches in customs clearance, data fields and so on will sharply reduce the costs and risks for companies to enter new markets. Wary of the tendency of government organizations to impede trade rather than to facilitate it, Mr. Ma is quite clear that this initiative shouldn’t be government-led. “Let the business people drive it,” he said in his talk at the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.
UNITED KINGDOM: Post & Parcel: Spring Global Delivery Solutions (Spring) has become the first UK-based postal operator to offer e-commerce businesses radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking on goods sent internationally. Spring’s Tag & Trace solution provides online retailers with a low-cost tracking option for low value goods sent around the world. An RFID tag is attached to the retailer’s packet or parcel, enabling the consumer to follow the delivery journey and receive information on the goods being shipped. Tag & Trace features up to 13 tracking events along the logistics chain, allowing customers to see when the goods arrive in the destination country, when it’s awaiting customs clearance, and when the goods are out for last-mile delivery.
September 28, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Federal News Radio: Will a proposed new separate health plan for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and retirees and their spouses and dependents prompt major changes for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for all other federal employees? A new study by the Heritage Foundation says a postal reform bill in Congress would mean extra costs for retirees in the federal health plan and for American taxpayers who subsidize about 75 percent of the premiums paid by postal workers.What makes this report solid, in the eyes of many, is its author, Walton J. Francis. He’s well known to federal and postal workers and retirees as the editor of CHECKBOOK’s Guide to Federal Health Plans for Federal Employees & Annuitants. The in-depth (14 page) report is entitled “Postal Service Health Benefits and FEHBP: The Urgent Case for Getting Reform Right.” The “reform” in the title stands for the pending Postal Service Reform Act (H.R. 5714) before Congress. Enactment of the plan, Francis says, would mean “shifting postal retirees’ primary health care coverage from the FEHBP to Medicare.”
Wall Street Journal: Tackling the delivery business, Amazon executives publicly say, is a logical way to add delivery capacity—particularly during the peak Christmas season. But interviews with nearly two dozen current and former Amazon managers and business partners indicate the retailer has grander ambitions than it has publicly acknowledged. Amazon’s goal, these people say, is to one day haul and deliver packages for itself as well as other retailers and consumers—potentially upending the traditional relationship between seller and sender. Some executives refer to the initiative as “Consume the City,” a nod to the company’s plans to build a massive delivery network that could eventually compete with such partners as UPS, according to people familiar the matter.
This Is Money: Royal Mail has a fight on its hands after DHL owner Deutsche Post today snapped up UK Mail to form the UK's second-biggest mail and parcel firm. The German postal giant said that it is snapping up UK Mail for £242.7million, as part of a European expansion drive. Only Royal Mail itself is now a bigger postal operator in the UK. Deutsche Post board member Jurgen Gerdes said: 'The ongoing expansion of our parcel network in Europe is driven by increasing demand within our e-commerce customer base for cross-border deliveries.
BBC: German postal firm Deutsche Post has agreed a deal to buy UK Mail for £242.7m, which will see it compete with Royal Mail for parcel deliveries. The purchase is part of a European expansion drive by Deutsche Post.
September 27, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
U.S. Government Accountability Office: Information on Designated Postal Operators and Universal Service in Selected Countries (Full Report: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/680028.pdf)
What GAO Found. Based on the information GAO obtained about postal service in 10 selected countries, 9 of the 10 countries formally selected their current designated postal operator either directly or indirectly via statute. All 10 countries have one postal operator registered with the Universal Postal Union (UPU). All 10 countries include similar elements in their definitions of the universal service obligation, but have wide variation in how they implement elements of their universal service obligation. When defining their universal service, all 10 countries mentioned one or more of the following: the types of products to be delivered, pricing, or how often mail was to be delivered and collected. While all countries defined and implemented service as nationwide, the information we obtained also showed that each country implemented other specific elements of universal postal service differently: product range, consumer access, delivery and collection, pricing, and service quality. In addition to how countries define and implement universal postal service, GAO found information that indicated the selected countries also varied in how they fund universal service, either by requiring the designated postal operator to fund universal service out of its own revenues or by paying the designated postal operator out of public funds to cover those costs. Each of the 10 countries has a government agency that regulates the country’s designated postal operators to ensure that these universal service obligations are met. However, based on the information GAO obtained, the countries use a variety of mechanisms to ensure this obligation is met. For example, all but one country publishes performance information for the designated postal operator, and 5 countries give the postal regulatory agency the power to direct postal operators to take actions to fulfill the universal service obligation or fine the designated postal operators if these obligations are not met.
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Lexington Institute: Declines across categories of mail continue to cause gradual shifts to the U.S. Postal Service’s role in Americans’ everyday lives, according to data from the Service’s most recent Household Diary Study. Letter mail sent by households saw the steepest declines, hastening subsequent changes to the economics of the Postal Service’s business, because that product had previously posted the agency’s strongest transactional profits.
Washington Times: The new drug mules aren’t gang members or down-and-out ex-cons or even children trying to make a quick buck. In fact, the latest players in drug trafficking often wear a uniform, drive a government car and are due to collect a taxpayer-backed pension when they retire — from the U.S. Postal Service. Authorities say that the ongoing opioid epidemic is being fueled by the mail, tracing paths from India or China right to Americans’ doorsteps. “It comes from our postal system and their postal system into the United States. Unbelievable — the poison is coming in the mail to our communities,” said Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, in a recent floor speech.
Bloomberg: FedEx Corp. named Dave Bronczek to the newly created post of chief operating officer starting in 2018, positioning him as a possible successor to Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith. Bronczek, 62, will also assume the role of president, a title currently held by Smith, FedEx said in a statement Monday. The heads of the shipping company’s operating businesses will report to Bronczek, who has served as chief of the FedEx Express air cargo unit since 2000.
KGW: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is calling for a review of a government surveillance program that allows postal workers to monitor the mail. Mail covers allow postal workers to record information from the outside of every letter that comes or goes from a particular address. The information is then turned over the law enforcement agency that requested it. Unlike other government surveillance programs, like wiretaps, the use of mail covers does not require a judge’s approval. A 2014 federal audit found the United States Postal Service failed to follow key safeguards while running the mail covers program.
September 26, 2016
PostCom is proud to annouce its newest members: International Bridge, Inc. and King Solutions, Inc.
International Bridge is based out of Orem, Utah and provides international solutions which includes air transportation, rapid customs clearance, robust real-time tracking, and delivery direct to the consumer’s address. Domestically, International Bridge connect clients with their consumers in traditionally difficult to reach locations through our small-parcel delivery solutions that serve all of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and APO/FPO locations, and will be represented by Shoshanna Grove (formerly with the PRC).
King Solutions is based out of Dayton, MN and is a leading provider of international freight transportation, retail project management, global logistics, mail consolidation, fulfillment and warehousing, and will be represented by Michael Patterson.
National Postal Museum: Allen Kane, Director of the National Postal Museum (NPM) will be retiring in January 2017. Allen became director of the NPM in 2002 after serving more than 30 years with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in a variety of senior leadership positions. At the USPS, one of the accomplishments of which Allen is proudest was his management of the Gulf War Crisis Team, which ensured the successful delivery of 2.5 million pounds of mail per day to US troops.
In his fourteen-year tenure at the Postal Museum, Allen has overseen many remarkable exhibitions and public programs while also making the museum a world-renowned research resource. His most notable accomplishment was the development and opening of the William H. Gross Gallery in 2013, which doubled the size of the Museum and made the NPM the largest center for philately in the world. During his tenure, the NPM exhibited many rarely seen and internationally famous stamps, as well as important collections such as the Benjamin Miller Collection and the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II. He arranged for the long term loan of the U.S. Postmaster General's collection and for the acquisition of the world's rarest stamp, the British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta. The award-winning collections website Arago made its debut during Allen's tenure, providing unprecedented access to the philately and postal history collections of the Museum and encouraging expert involvement in their curation. The NPM built on that participatory model in developing website features for acquiring oral histories of postal workers and for documenting the incredibly broad and robust mailing industry. Allen strongly encouraged research and educational programs with sister Smithsonian museums, readily welcomed school groups, initiated the building of the Byrne educational loft, and began the Maynard Sundman lecture series.
Most recently, Kane led a major research effort to tell the story of "America's Mailing Industry," partnering with mailing industry associations, the U.S. Postal Service and hundreds of companies in the industry. The research project launched as a virtual exhibition and will also include a physical exhibition at the museum in Washington, D.C.
The Atlantic: For more than a century, media organizations working in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio have relied on advertising to report and publish the news. It was a sometimes awkward, and often fruitful, symbiosis of needs. The news created an audience of readers, the advertiser paid to piggyback off that audience, and this commercial tag-team subsidized both reportage and readership. That’s precisely why anybody in the news business should be more than a little alarmed at the recent migration patterns in advertising, exhaustively documented in the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media report. In a sentence, digital is eating legacy media, mobile is eating digital, and two companies, Facebook and Google, are eating mobile.
Air Cargo News: DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight forwarding operation within Deutsche Post DHL Group, has launched a new urgent shipping offering: DHL SameDay Speedline.
September 24, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
WMDT: Shipping illegal drugs through the mail happens every day all over the world, without efficient security measures in the U.S. Postal System to stop it. Now congress is calling the on the Obama Administration to come up with a way to combat the movement of these items. According to the U.S. Senate committee on Finance, non-letter class mail that comes into the U.S. through foreign postal services, is not subject to the same screening standards as packages entering through private carriers. Therefore, illegal drugs such as heroin are being brought into the country almost every day. Congress is now calling on the Obama Administration to do something about it.
Atlanta Journal Constitution: United Parcel Service gave four of its top executives 10 percent pay raises and extra stock awards that will likely be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. The pay committee on the Atlanta shipping company’s board of directors said it boosted the pay and future pay targets of CEO David Abney and other top executives “to improve the competitiveness of UPS executive compensation.”
Internet Retailer: Mondays might feel a lot different this holiday season, at least for FedEx Corp. delivery drivers. The fast growth of e-commerce and the shift it creates in demand for delivery services will again affect the peak holiday season. Last year during peak season, FedEx delivered more than 350 million packages, and the 2016 holiday season is expected to drive another record peak shipping season, T. Michael Glenn, president and CEO of FedEx Services, told analysts this week during FedEx’s earnings call for the fiscal first quarter 2017 ended Aug. 31. FedEx is listed as the shipping carrier for 313 Top 1000 clients, behind United Parcel Service Inc., which is the shipping carrier for 421 in the Top 1000, according to the 2017 Leading Vendors to the Top 1000.
CBS News: Wondering about the health of the U.S. economy? Wonder no more: One of the clearest indicators of how the economy is faring is the level of business activity at FedEx and UPS. Revenues and margins are rising at both FedEx, which provides air-express services for packages and freight in more than 220 countries, and UPS, the world’s largest express-delivery company, thanks to the recovering U.S. economy and the rapid growth of online shopping. Shares of the two companies also have been on the rise.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. said Friday it successfully used a drone to deliver medicine to an island near Boston, jumping into a race with competitors such as Amazon.com Inc. to test drone delivery inside the U.S. The delivery of an inhaler on Thursday was conducted in partnership with CyPhy Works, a drone maker in which UPS holds a stake. The delivery kicks off a wider test by UPS of using drones for commercial deliveries to remote or difficult-to-access areas. UPS’s delivery marks the first major commercial delivery conducted via drone in the U.S. since the Federal Aviation Administration implemented long-awaited rules in late August authorizing businesses to start using small drones.
September 23, 2016
Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne! Release 126.96.36.199 will deploy on Sunday, September 25, 2016 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be available during this time. There is not a new mail.dat client for this release. There is planned software release and database patching for the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) and Business Intelligence Database (BIDS) systems on Sunday September 25, 2016. During the upgrade MicroStrategy reports will be unavailable on Sunday September 25, 2016 from 3:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT. There could be potential delays to SLAs on Sunday September 25, 2016 and Monday September 26, 2016 for the following data: · Full Service Address Change Service (ACS) Data Distribution; · Mailer Scorecard – Electronic Verification (Full Service, Move Update, Entry Point and Nesting/Sortation); · Mailer Scorecard – Seamless; · Container Visibility; · Tray Visibility; · Start-the-Clock (STC)
Postal Regulatory Commission: Today the Postal Regulatory Commission introduced a new Strategic Plan that will guide the Commission in its planning, activities, and initiatives over the next five years. The Plan outlines the agency’s vision to promote a robust universal mail system through objective, accurate, and timely regulatory analyses and decisions. The Strategic Plan was developed following a vigorous and inclusive process which incorporated input from all Commission employees.
Acting Chairman Robert Taub said, “Strategic planning and goal setting is important for any organization; such efforts help to articulate priorities and focus key efforts. The coming years present many potential changes, and challenges, for the Commission. I am confident this Plan provides the Commission a clear and comprehensive course to meet our mission to ensure transparency and accountability of the Postal Service and foster a vital and efficient universal mail system.”
The Plan identifies four strategic goals, key objectives, and performance indicators to measure progress: Strategic Goal 1: Deliver accurate and objective analyses and decisions to ensure transparency and accountability of the Postal Service. Strategic Goal 2: Actively engage with Congress and stakeholders in support of a dynamic postal system. Strategic Goal 3: Provide an optimal internal infrastructure to support management of priorities, workload, and emerging requirements. Strategic Goal 4: Recruit, develop, and retain a diverse, high-performing workforce. The Strategic Plan for 2017-2022 is available on the Commission’s website, www.prc.gov.
U.S. Postal Service: The Temporary Emergency Committee of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service (“TEC”) will meet Sept. 27 in open session at Postal Service headquarters, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC. The public is welcome to observe the meeting beginning at 2:00 p.m. EDT in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. The TEC is expected to discuss the following items:Call to order and remarks of the Chairman of the Board; Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO; Approval of previous minutes; Committee Reports; August YTD Financial Report; Postal Q3 Service Performance Report; Approval of the Strategic Plan; Approval of the October 11, 2016 tentative agenda; Adjourn. Open session meetings of the TEC of the Board of Governors are available on live audio webcasts at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/bog/welcome.htm. Three hours after the conclusion of the open session meeting, a recorded audio file will be available for listening. In compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, the audio webcast will be open-captioned.
GovConWire: The U.S. Postal Service has awarded contracts worth $37.4 million combined to six companies to produce a total of 50 prototype next-generation delivery vehicles for USPS. USPS said Sept. 16 half of the prototypes to be developed under the agency’s NGDV acquisition effort will include hybrid and new technologies such as alternative fuel capacity and represent various vehicles sizes and drive configurations. Contractors will have one year to develop and create the prototypes that USPS aims to test over a six-month period in various climates, topography, population centers and delivery environments to demonstrate the vehicles’ capacity to meet operational needs. The six prime suppliers for the NGDV acquisition program are: AM General, Karsan, Mahindra, Oshkosh, Utilimaster, VT Hackney, USPS also looks to post a request for proposals for commercial off-the-shelf right-hand drive delivery vehicles in a move to explore a variety of available options during the research phase and evaluate COTS vehicles proposed resulting from the RFP.
NEPAL: The Himalayan Times: A meeting of the Council of Ministers today decided to increase the salary of postal service employees by 25 per cent, effective from July 16.
DENMARK: Copenhagen Post: The struggles of the national postal service Post Danmark look set to continue following the announcement that 770 employees are losing their jobs. The postal service revealed that it 520 employees would be given their redundancy papers next week, while 250 have already been let go and will leave with the next two months. The 520 are expected to leave in March 2017. “We are going through a continuing process in which the number of letters is falling dramatically,” Hans Erik Lindkvist, the head of HR in Post Danmark, said according to DR Nyheder.
CANADA: Canada NewsWire: Brenda McAuley, President of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association appeared before the Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates yesterday evening to make the case for the need for postal services in rural Canada. She referred to studies showing that, when Canada Post tried to provide postal services by contracting out to a franchise in rural Canada, over half of them disappeared. "All that was left for those residents was a collection of boxes at the side of the road. That's hardly vibrant Canadian infrastructure", she told the Committee. Ms. McAuley told the Committee that 95% of the workers in question are women and allowing Canada Post to be weakened in rural Canada would leave these persons without meaningful jobs.
September 22, 2016
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products, 65413–65414 [2016–22867] [TEXT]
Denver Post: Amazon Locker has arrived in Denver. The online giant’s self-service package pick-up option quietly rolled out in the Mile High City in August, an Amazon spokesman confirmed this week. Three 7-Eleven convenience stores — two in Denver and one in unincorporated Adams County — have been equipped with the secured package cabinets, designed to thwart failed home delivery attempts and package thieves when you can’t be around to accept your online bounty.
SLOVENIA: Sta: Postal operator Pošta Slovenije and DHL Parcel Europe have signed a multilateral contract on the expansion of partnership between Slovenian and German postal operators in parcel delivery, making Slovenia a part of the extensive Parcel Connect network.
September 21, 2016
U.S. Postal Service: The Postal Service takes issue with the audit report’s content, analysis and tone, specifically the inaccurate findings that do not correctly reflect the benefits of Network Rationalization. The Postal Service agrees with the report’s conclusion that since mail service scores have significantly improved since the operating window change was made in 2015, the Postal Service should not revert back to the prior operating window and implicitly, service standards. The OIG report’s use of outdated service performance results, combined with a non-statistically valid mailing test may lead to inaccurate conclusions about performance. In fact, since Network Rationalization was implemented, the Postal Service has not only improved mail service across the country, it has achieved record levels of service across the majority of service categories.
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
MTV: Neither gaffes nor polls nor ads nor gloom of news stays this literature on its swift journey to its appointed place in your mailbox. We speak, of course, of political mailers, the most contagious plague of the campaign season, the electoral earworms that always manage to find their way to your front door. Their reds and blues tire the eyes, as do the relentlessly cheerful politician head shots that adorn them. They do not care if you throw them away without reading them. The mail will continue to arrive. Most voters do not like getting political stuff in the mail. The Postal Service, on the other hand, strives to convince candidates that snail mail is still the most crucial ingredient of a successful election in this age of tweets, and that those who ignore it do so at their own peril. Anybody who is anybody is doing elections the old-fashioned way.
The Press of Atlantic City: A postal carrier who worked in Cape May County was sentenced to a year in prison Tuesday for his role in a scheme to steal $200,000 in blank money orders, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Bearing Arms: When gun owners purchase firearms, some purchase their guns from dealers in other cities and states. In order to obtain the weapon, many guns are shipped via the United States Postal Service (USPS). “Guns do go through the mail system. Mailers have to follow all postal regulations to send those guns through the mail, but there is no special handling procedure for guns in the mail system,” Scott Balfour, an Assistant Special Agent with the U.S. Post Office of Inspector General, told WREG. During Holidays and other times throughout the year, the USPS is extremely busy processing packages and mail. To help keep up with the flow of mail, the USPS often hires part-time, non-exempt employees to help with the rush and keep a backlog down. It was discovered that one of these over-flow employees in Memphis was stealing packages that contained firearms. Whenever the carrier suspected a parcel had a gun in it, he would put the package aside and open it when he had the chance. He would remove the weapon from the package, seal the box and send the empty box to its final destination. According to WREG’s report, it was known that the USPS employee would sell firearms from his home in South Memphis. AR-15s and .380s were sold, according to witness reports.
eCommerceBytes: It may come as a surprise to learn that postal services from around the world are openly wondering if Amazon is friend or foe. It's normal for online merchants to have mixed feelings about Amazon - it can be a viable channel partner, and it can also be a fierce competitor. But as Amazon is taking more control of the shipping and delivery of its products, some believe it's a natural step for Amazon to offer those services to other online retailers as well - a possible threat to shipping carriers and postal services. The topic came up during the Universal Postal Union (UPU) World CEO Forum in Paris earlier this month. During the discussions, participants debated whether e-retailers and e-marketers should be treated as friends or foes, with several CEOs sharing their models for collaborating and competing with private companies.
DC Velocity: FedEx Corp. threw a curveball at the U.S. parcel-shipping market last night by announcing an expansion of the universe of packages subject to a costlier pricing formula. Effective Jan. 2, FedEx will change the formula used to calculate rates on domestic air or ground parcels based on their dimensions, rather than their actual weight. Currently, FedEx determines a package's dimensions by multiplying its length, width, and height in inches and dividing the sum by 166. On Jan. 2, the divisor resets to 139. Under FedEx's current formula, a parcel that measures one cubic foot, or 1,728 cubic inches, would yield a "dimensional weight" of 11 pounds, rounded off to the next highest weight. The same parcel, with a divisor of 139, would yield a dimensional weight of 13 pounds, a near 20-percent increase. The shipper would pay the higher of the parcel's dimensional or actual weight. In addition, any applicable fuel surcharges would apply to the higher dimensional weight charge, thus adding to the shipper's costs. This is the first time in more than six years that FedEx has changed the divisor for domestic parcels, which for years prior had been set at 194. Last night's announcement brings the domestic divisor in line with the measure used for FedEx's international shipments.
Colorado Springs Independent: A cabal of corporate predators and Koch-headed ideologues are scheming to take "public" out of this pubic agency and strip "service" out of the Postal Service by spreading a diabolical Big Lie. Their bogus claim is that this essential public service is a hopeless money loser, sucking billions from taxpayers every year. Unfortunately, our lazy media establishment keeps spreading their lie. For instance, there's an August New York Times article falsely asserting that "the Postal Service has sunk deeper underwater — net losses for the second quarter of 2016 were $2 billion." Bovine excrement!
WHMI: A local township’s quest to consolidate down to one zip code has been stymied by the United States Postal Service. The Hartland Township Board of Trustees expressed frustration with the mail service during regular meeting, Tuesday night. The township which covers a 6 mile by 6 mile area and houses roughly 15,000 residents is currently saddled with 7 different zip codes. The Board believes that getting that number down to 1 or 2 could greatly reduce confusion with citizens and businesses. The township went through a formal appeals process and offered different alternatives to the USPS’s national offices in Washington D.C. but recently received word that all their requests were denied.
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: China Economic Net: Representatives from the world's postal sector started their 17-day congress on Tuesday, targeting the adoption of significant reforms to compete with the fierce competition. The 26th Universal Postal Congress, the supreme authority of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), is aiming for a new world postal strategy for the three-year period from 2017 until 2020. "The congress promises to be a turning point for global postal services," said UPU's Director General Bishar Hussein during his address at the opening session. "Indeed, rapidly changing technologies have created new market realities, which in turn are driving alternative service options and a whole new set of customer expectations. The Post and the UPU are in the spotlight: they must now, more than ever, evolve to remain relevant," he added. In his opinion, global postal services need to develop in a manner which enhances network infrastructure inter-operability in order to ensure sustainable and modern products. He appealed to member countries to encourage the sector towards effective functioning to meet the fierce competition, highlighting the necessity for reforms.
September 20, 2016
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
The Hill: Last spring, the Republican National Committee (RNC) unveiled an ingenious new fundraising technique: mailing solicitations that were disguised as delinquency notices. Envelopes were stamped with "NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY" in large bold red print with the return address. The envelope had the stark appearance of official government mail. "Office of Records" suggested the letter came from a governmental agency. "Assessment" gave the impression the letter was notice of an overdue property tax bill. The enclosed invoice was marked "PAST DUE," which was circled in red. An undated letter began: "This NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY has been sent to you because the Republican Party has contacted you multiple times to ask for your support for the 2016 campaign ..."
Following criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, the letters stopped in May. Then, on Sept. 1, The Dallas Morning News reported they had resumed. By all appearances, the letter violates federal law. The U.S. Postal Service website states:
Title 39, United States Code, Section 3001, makes it illegal to mail a solicitation in the form of an invoice, bill, or statement of account due unless it conspicuously bears a notice on its face that it is, in fact, merely a solicitation. This disclaimer must be in very large (at least 30-point) type and must be in boldface capital letters in a color that contrasts prominently with the background against which it appears. The RNC invoice complies with none of these requirements. The RNC has at least a decade-long record of skirting or violating federal law with its fundraising mailings.
As director of the United States Mint, I oversaw a large direct marketing operation that mailed millions of letters each year in support of our numismatic programs. As with door-to-door fundraisers and salespeople, the greatest challenge a mail order company faces is to get in the door to make a pitch. If the consumer slams the door in your face, you're done. For direct marketers, inducing a customer to open a letter is the equivalent of getting past the front door. Over the years, direct mail companies have made a science of getting consumers to open letters. Most of their techniques are above board, some are legal but unethically suspect, and some violate federal law. These letters are sent in massive quantities. If the deception increases response rates by only a few percentage points, the payoff is huge. Once someone has made a contribution, the RNC will fine-tune subsequent solicitations, increasing the odds that a donor will give again and again, multiplying the RNC's return on investment in the scam.
TURKEY: Universal Postal Union: The 26th Universal Postal Congress, where important decisions will be made to shape the future of the postal sector, is being held in Istanbul between September 20 and October 7, 2016. Nearly 2,000 delegates from 192 countries will attend the Congress, which is taking place in Turkey for the first time. A UPU Ministerial Conference is also planned for October 4 with the attendance of ministers from nearly 50 countries.
LITHUANIA: Post & Parcel: Lithuania Post has reported that a growing number of its customers are choosing to receive news about their registered postal items by SMS messages or e-mail. Nearly one notification in three sent by Lithuania Post about a received item is now electronic.
IRELAND: Post & Parcel: An Post has called on Ireland’s postal regulator, ComReg, for an urgent review of the current price cap on postal charges. In a letter sent to ComReg last week, An Post’s chief executive Donal Connell warned that the company will struggle to meet the universal service obligation (USO) because of its mounting costs and falling revenues. Connell warned that the price An Post can charge for incoming cross-border mail from outside the EU (which was fixed by international agreements) is too low to cover the company’s costs.
September 19, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: The September 19, 2016 issue of Mail Spoken Here has been posted on this site.
Robotics Tomorrow: Unmanned Life and Prime Competence announced, at the Postal Innovation Platform Conference, the place to be for all key actors in postal innovation, that they have started the pilot deployment of the world's first autonomous drone-based sorting center for Post NL. It's time for disruptive innovation in the postal and e-commerce logistics sector and the enthusiasm this proposal found in Istanbul represent another proof of that. The Unmanned Life and Prime Competence joint initiative will introduce a combination of drones and autonomous ground vehicles to be used indoors for postal sorting.
Wall Street Journal: Every year, America’s office workers print out or photocopy approximately one trillion pieces of paper. If you add in all the other paper businesses produce, the utility bills and invoices and bank statements and the like, the figure rises to 1.6 trillion. If you stacked all that paper up, it would be 18,000 times as high as Mount Everest. It would reach nearly halfway to the moon. Forty years ago, at least, we were promised the paperless office. In a 1975 article in BusinessWeek, an analyst at Arthur D. Little Inc., predicted paper would be on its way out by 1980, and nearly dead by 1990. The reality is the high-water mark for the total number of pages printed in offices was in 2007, just before the recession. For the first time in history, there is a steady decline of about 1% to 2% a year in office use of paper. Add in the dip in use during the most recent recession, and as of 2016, we are already 10% below the peak of the number of pages produced by office printing and copying in 2007. The persistence of paper in the workplace—60% of which isn’t optional printing, says Mr. Shane—represents business processes that change slowly, if at all. It is the small- and medium-size businesses that have been the slowest to get rid of paper—in other words, to fully digitize their workflows. There is also the fact that paper is awesome. It is the only input and display technology we have that weighs almost nothing, costs pennies, is readable in almost any light, and doesn’t require an internet connection. It is the epitome of portability and durability.
Martinsville Bulletin: If you care for a peek into some unquenched annoyance and aggravation, read through the 513 (and counting) customer complaints about mail service in the Roanoke region. Those are detailed on a website the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General set up back in July. The frustration voiced there is something I can identify with. Sometimes, getting even basic information out of the postal service is difficult, if not impossible. I’ve reached out to five different postal service spokespeople in three different states. I talked to four people. None has answered a simple question. Given all that, I can certainly empathize with postal customers’ frustration about late and missing mail. That raises a raft of questions regarding bureaucratic fiefdoms, accountability and chains of command.
The Street: It would be a mistake to think FedEx benefits directly from Amazon's success. It doesn't. Amazon accounts for just 3% of FedEx revenue. FedEx's largest customer is the United States Post Office, which benefits from the growth at Amazon and from the growth of all of e-commerce websites. The USPS delivers 50% of all e-commerce packages in the United States. Recently, the USPS aggressively raised prices by double digits on its small parcel delivery program. The postal service is expanding its capabilities to seven days a week, especially since the service believes customers want two-day delivery every day and not just on business days. The postal service serves 156 million addresses six days a week and 70 million to 80 million on Sunday. The USPS expects e-commerce demand will increase 15% this year (on top of last year's 15% growth) and it plans to hire 35,000 people just for the holidays. FedEx benefits in two ways. First, FedEx is the largest customer of the postal service, and the two keep finding ways to co-operate to save money. Secondly, the postal service has been increasing prices on the bottom end of it its package delivery service, giving FedEx more room to raise its prices.
INDIA: The New Indian Express: With days of unrest over the Cauvery issue heavily disrupting normal life in Mandya, and to some extent in Bengaluru, the Rail Mail Service (RMS) Division of the Bangalore Postal Circle was not in a position to deliver parcels there for three consecutive days. Speaking to Express, a top postal official said, while the local RMS office inside the premises of the Bengaluru City railway station dispatches mails and parcels from Bengaluru across the country through the luggage rakes in trains, department vans make the delivery when it comes to Mandya and Mysuru districts. A source said, “Staff shortage is also putting much strain on us. Like every government department, we desperately want more hands to help us out.”
IRELAND: Irish Examiner: The company’s chief executive, Donal Connell, has called on the postal sector’s regulator, ComReg, for a review of the existing prices cap on postal charges. In a recent letter to ComReg, Mr Connell said the company was continuing to sustain substantial losses in providing a national mail delivery and collection service due to increasing costs and falling revenues. An Post suffered a €32.3m loss last year. The An Post chief executive said the company had been able to cross-subsidise such losses in the past from other income but was now clearly unable to do so.
IRELAND: The Irish Times: The Government needs to commit to supporting the postal network for it to stay open, the Irish Postmasters’ Union has said. Union secretary general Ned O’Hara said the government was not managing the service, on behalf of the people of Ireland, very well.
September 18, 2016
Investing.com: United Parcel Service plans to expand its 3D printing service to Asia and Europe, the U.S. shipping company has told Reuters, in a bid to fully embrace and get ahead of a trend that threatens to eat away a small but lucrative part of its business. Aside from its main package delivery service, UPS gets an undisclosed portion of its revenue from storing and shipping parts for manufacturers. If those customers were to switch to 3D printing their own parts, that business would face a drastic reduction. To counter that threat, UPS has chosen to get on board the 3D revolution, and is now looking to offer a service in which UPS will print out plastic parts - anything from nozzles to brackets to prototype soap dispensers or multi-faceted moving parts - around the world and deliver them.
Riverhead Local: Congressman Lee Zeldin brought the chairman of the House committee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service to Flanders yesterday to meet residents who’ve been seeking a separate zip code for their area for more than 15 years. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and sponsor of the Postal Service Reform Act, sat down with residents outside the Big Duck on Flanders Road yesterday evening to hear their concerns and reassure them their request is moving forward. Residents of Flanders, Riverside, and Northampton cited problems with lost mail, confused visitors, and first responders being unable to find houses that have the same or similar addresses as those in the Riverhead Town portion of the 11901 postal code. Chaffetz’s Postal Service Reform Act includes a provision — added at Zeldin’s request — that mandates a new zip code Flanders, Riverside and Northampton by September 2017. Chaffetz reassured the group he’d work hard to get the local zip code issue resolved even if his bill does not become law.
UNITED KINGDOM: Coventry Telegraph: A man conned Royal Mail out of thousands of pounds by printing out fake postage stamps and using them to mail hundreds of parcels from Hillfields Post Office. Nurudeen Werra, of Redcap Croft, Holbrooks, avoided £11,000 of charges by setting up the elaborate scam using the so-called SmartStamp system. That was a system by which customers could open an account online and pay for postage in advance before printing off a postage label with a unique bar code. When the police searched Werra’s home they seized laptop computers and paperwork including a number of Royal Mail receipts. And at the flat in Wren Street they found enveloped addressed to Fred Noel, which was one of the sender names he had been using, and many more Post Office receipts. On the laptops were found 222 files which appeared to be SmartStamps, created using CorelDRAW design editing software.
September 17, 2016
Attention Business Customer Gateway and PostalOne! Users: Update: Test Period for Postage Assessment Notifications. On September 12, 2016 the USPS turned on the capability for Full-Service mailers to test the receipt of automated notifications when they exceed their monthly threshold for the Full-Service metrics. As part of the test on September 12th the system sent notifications to all users linked to CRIDs exceeding thresholds provided the users had VAE access. On October 2, 2016 the system will be modified to only send notifications to the VAE linked to the applicable CRID. We apologize for this inconvenience. The next test period for Postage Assessment notification emails is scheduled for October 11, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: Full-Service Mail Quality Metric Assessments and Mailer Scorecard Hotline Webinar -- In May 2016, the Postal Service announced the postponement of the July 2016 Full-Service assessments to allow the industry additional time to access, utilize, and test the Full-Service Quality Metrics within the Mailer Scorecard. The Postal Service has worked closely with the industry to complete the testing. The USPS will begin assessments of Full-Service Mail Quality Metrics over the established threshold beginning in November 2016, based on October 2016 data. Full-Service Assessment is a removal of the Full-Service discount on pieces exceeding a Full-Service Mail Quality metric threshold within a calendar month. Reference section 4.2.2 Full Service Verifications via the following link to access information on the assessable metrics: Guide to Streamlined Mail Acceptance For Letters and Flats Reporting. To ensure mailers are prepared for the October 2016 assessment date, the Postal Service will continue outreach to every mailer and support the Mailer Scorecard Hotline calls. We encourage mailers to access the Full-Service Mail Quality Metrics and reach out to local USPS BMEU staff for assistance. Any irregularities or questions with the Mailer Scorecard should be reported through the webinar hotline calls, PostalOne! Helpdesk at 800-522-9085 or via email at email@example.com. Include the phrase “Mailer Scorecard” in the subject line of the email.
The Mailer Scorecard Hotline Webinar that will be held every Wednesday and Friday at 2PM (EDT) through October 2016. Attendee Dial-In: 1-855-860-7461 Conference Code: 472 163 0566 Attendee Direct URL: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?MTID=m2dd28be6eb27b3fcc6c6c0e34ad2bf0f
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Attention PostalOne!® Users: The phone system at the National Customer Support Center will be undergoing maintenance, Saturday, September 17th, from 8am-10am, Central. This may affect your ability to reach after hours support. If you are unable to reach after hours support through the 800 number (800.522.9085) during this time frame, please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can attempt your call again at a later time.
USPS Industry Alert: Update: Test Period for Postage Assessment Notifications. On September 12, 2016 the USPS turned on the capability for Full-Service mailers to test the receipt of automated notifications when they exceed their monthly threshold for the Full-Service metrics. As part of the test on September 12th, the system sent notifications to all users linked to CRIDs exceeding thresholds provided the users had VAE access. On October 2, 2016 the system will be modified to only send notifications to the VAE linked to the applicable CRID. The next test period for Postage Assessment notification emails is scheduled for October 11, 2016
Postalnews.com: The United States Postal Service (USPS) publicly began the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) acquisition program in January 2015 with a Request for Information (RFI) and kick-off meeting open to all interested technology and automotive suppliers to respond and participate. Following a review of the responses to the RFI, 15 suppliers were determined to be prequalified to submit proposals to develop NGDV prototypes. After a rigorous evaluation process, the Postal Service today awarded contracts to six prime suppliers who together will produce 50 prototype vehicles as part of the next phase of the NGDV acquisition process. The six selected suppliers include AM General, Karsan, Mahindra, Oshkosh, Utilimaster, and VT Hackney and the contract awards are valued at $37.4 million. The suppliers also have the discretion to team or subcontract with additional suppliers, and it is anticipated some will do so to develop the finished prototypes.
Wall Street Journal: Consumer prices moved higher in August, offering fresh evidence that U.S. inflation may be firming after years of sluggish price growth. The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from ice cream to college textbooks, increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in August from the prior month, the Labor Department said Friday. Excluding the often-volatile categories of food and energy, so-called core prices rose 0.3%, the largest increase since February. The strong gains reflected a sharp increase in medical-care prices—up 1%, the largest one-month jump in the category since February 1984.
September 16, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: CASS Cycle O Decision. After review and discussion of the issues involved in performing a CASS Cycle O certification process, a consensus decision of USPS and mailing industry representatives determined there were no compelling reasons or need to undertake a mandatory CASS Cycle O effort at this time. Accordingly, it is proposed that address hygiene software with CASS Cycle N certification will remain valid through July 31, 2019. A decision whether to perform a CASS Cycle O certification effort for implementation, effective August 1, 2019, will be announced prior to August 1, 2017. To maintain CASS Cycle N certification through July 31, 2019, address hygiene software vendors must submit a request to extend the expiration and listing of their CASS Cycle N-certified product(s) prior to April 30, 2018. The address hygiene software vendor will be required to stipulate in the request that they have not made any logic changes in their software that would have altered the results from their last CASS Cycle N certification test. Should the address hygiene software vendor be unable to stipulate to this effect, they will be required to pass a Stage II test based on CASS Cycle N requirements prior to April 30, 2018 to extend product certification through July 31, 2019.
Wall Street Journal: Cautious consumers, retrenching manufacturers and scant signs of inflation are diminishing optimism about a breakout in economic growth in the final stretch of the year. Retail sales declined last month for the first time since March and manufacturing production slipped, government data released Thursday showed. Meanwhile, prices businesses receive for their goods and services were unchanged last month, a sign of still-soft demand at home and abroad. Companies also remain cautious about building up too much inventory, new figures showed. Recent economic gauges, including evidence of a slowdown in August hiring, suggest the economy could be constrained for the rest of the year to a growth rate only slightly above the expansion’s overall 2% pace—the weakest of any since World War II.
Fortune: Package delivery company United Parcel Service said on Wednesday it plans to hire around 95,000 seasonal employees for its crucial peak holiday season this year, unchanged from the past two years as improvements to its network should help it handle rising e-commerce volumes.
Ocala Star Banner: Although most of us take it for granted, America's postal service is an amazing bargain. For only 47 cents, you can purchase a "Forever" postage stamp. Buy one 47-cent stamp, and postal workers will deliver your envelope to any address in the country by plane, train, bus, boat, truck, car, bike, pushcart, mule, on-foot, or all of the above. Stick it on a letter, document or other missive, and our phenomenal network of postal workers and letter carriers will deliver it within a few days right to the specific mailbox of your addressee in any of the approximately 43,000 zip codes covering every nook and cranny of this vast country. For 47 cents! Also, that "Forever" stamp from our public postal service means it's good for first-class delivery next year, next decade or forever -- protecting you from future increases in stamp prices. What a deal!
Cleveland.com: The U.S. Postal Service has been asked by residents of Northeast Ohio to investigate a Houston-based oil and gas lobbyist that used some of their names without permission to bolster support for a pipeline through the state.
CANADA: National Post: To be sure, Canada Post’s finances are in a dire state, notably its $8-billion pension deficit. Given the costs of restoring home delivery — another $1.2 billion annually, according to the panel — it sounds hard-headed and businesslike to say it has to go. Two-thirds of the country already uses community mailboxes; why shouldn’t the other third have to suffer the same fate? But this has the issue back to front. The point is not to make the level of service contingent on Canada Post’s finances, nor is it the job of the post office’s customers to serve the needs of Canada Post. If Canada Post finds it too hard or tiresome or costly to deliver the mail, the only sensible response is to let someone else do it. Between the false alternatives of shutting down service or handing the keys to the treasury to the postal workers, there is a third: open the mail to competition, as many other countries have done. This may puzzle some readers. Isn’t there already competition? What are all those private courier companies about? But the competition in this case is between two different sorts of business. By law (Section 14 of the Canada Post Corporation Act) Canada Post possesses the “exclusive privilege” to carry letter mail. Competitors are permitted to carry letters of “an urgent nature” — but not for less than three times the price of a stamp. This never made much sense, and makes even less sense now. If people are willing to pay someone else to deliver the mail that Canada Post won’t, why should they be prevented from doing so? Why on Earth are we still protecting Canada Post’s monopoly on a service it refuses to provide?
POLAND: Post & Parcel: Anna Streżyńska, Poland’s Minister of Digital Affairs, and Andrzej Adamczyk, the Minister of Infrastructure and Construction, have signed an agreement with Poczta Polska (Polish Post) and Poczta Polska Usługi Cyfrowe (Envelo) for strategic cooperation in the field of state digitalisation. The agreement concerns integration of administrative information systems, used by the citizens, with the Envelo postal platform. This is the first agreement of this kind on the market. Poczta Polska is about to become a pillar of the e-state construction.
September 15, 2016
Nextgov: The Postal Service’s focus on customers is not new—Benjamin Franklin was its first postmaster general—but in today’s era of retail behemoths like Amazon and Wal-Mart and delivery giants like FedEx and UPS, improved customer service has helped keep the Postal Service competitive. At times, the Postal Service has provided the best customer service in government, and currently sits third in Forrester’s most recent Customer Experience Index among federal agencies, behind the National Park Service and the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. What’s key, though, for the Postal Service is how it competes with private-sector competitors because, as Jim Cochrane, chief marketing and sales officer for the Postal Service explained Monday, money spent with other deliverers is revenue the cash-strapped Postal Service isn’t collecting. And right now, the extreme emphasis on customer service has it competing quite well.
EUROPE: Post & Parcel: PostEurop has welcomed the European Parliament’s decision to adopt a resolution on the application of the Postal Service and support a sustainable universal service. Jean-Paul Forceville, Chairman of PostEurop (which represents national postal operators across Europe), said: “We welcome the European Parliament’s recognition that the Postal Services Directive provides member states with the flexibility necessary to address local specificities and ensure the long-term sustainability of the universal service obligation (USO). “Each member state defines the USO to suit its own circumstances and this enables postal operators to innovate to meet new demands and the ever-changing lifestyles of our customers.”
UNITED KINGDOM: Mirror: CWU members are taking strike action in the Post Office today. They are taking this action because the Post Office is at crisis point. This year alone we face 2,000 job losses, the closure of sixty of its flagship Crown office branches and the closure of its Defined Benefit pension scheme with 3,500 active members. These things are the result of a relentless programme of cost-cutting and the Post Office has become a case study in the limits of current industrial thinking in both government and UK business. While the Post Office will point to its profit margin and reductions in government funding, the truth is that the board has no plan to secure the future of the service in the face of the significant changes we are seeing in the postal industry and wider society. Simply cutting costs is not sustainable.
September 14, 2016
USPS Industry Alert: Priority Mail Flat Rate Precious Cargo Boxes™ Offer More Secure Shipping Options
Publishing Executive: D. Eadward Tree -- Unless Congress stuns the world by doing something about the U.S. Postal Service other than naming more post offices, publishers on average will experience slightly lower postal rates in 2017 than this year. In fact, for all of the “Three Ps” of print magazine publishing — Postage, Printing, and Paper — publishers should be more concerned about disruptions than price increases next year.
Heritage Foundation: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently considered the Postal Service Reform Act (H.R. 5714). The bill proposes shifting postal retirees’ primary health care coverage from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to Medicare. Proponents call this a consensus proposal for integrating the FEHBP with Medicare. It is not. The proposal’s impact on postal retirees and taxpayers alike could be substantial.
WXYZ: We have a U.S. Post Office privacy alert to tell you about. It's a loophole that could put your mail and personal information in the hands of criminals. It all starts with a change of address form.
NEW ZEALAND: Otago Daily Times: New Zealand Post is making further cuts to its delivery network. It announced yesterday more rural routes would shift to five-day instead of six-day delivery from November. After the cut, about a quarter of rural customers would be on five-day delivery, up from about 15% now.
CANADA: The Toronto Star: What is to be done with the post office? A government task force report released this week doesn’t exactly answer the question. But it does provide some hints as to where Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal government may go. Door-to-door mail delivery. During last year’s election campaign, the Liberals promised to stop Canada Post from replacing urban home delivery with widely unpopular community mail boxes. In its 94-page discussion paper, the four-member task force notes, without comment, that permanently cashiering the conversion to community mail boxes would cost Canada Post $320 million a year. Fully restoring home mail delivery for those who have already been moved to community mail boxes, it says, would cost the Crown corporation $1.2 billion annually. To put that figure into perspective, it notes that individual stamp prices would have to go from $1.00 to $1.50 to cover this cost. Or, conversely, each household receiving door-to-door delivery could be charged $124 annually for the privilege. My guess is that the government won’t want to go anywhere near these extra levies, particularly given the fact that polling commissioned by the task force found that 69 per cent of Canadians think the conversion to community mail boxes should continue apace. What can the Liberals do to square all of this with their campaign promise to “save home delivery?”
ROMANIA: Actmedia: The number of postal deliveries sent via post offices in and out of Romania in 2015 was 657 million, up by 5 percent compared to the previous year and the total value of postal services amounted to 2.4 billion lei, 4.43 percent higher compared to 2014, reveals the Report of statistical data on the postal services, published on Wednesday by the National Authority for Management and Regulations in Communications of Romania (ANCOM).
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: Post & Parcel: Posts attending the Universal Post Union’s World CEO Forum in Paris last week stressed the importance of partnership in capitalising on e-commerce opportunities. According to a UPU statement, participants debated whether “e-retailers and e-marketers should be treated as friends or foes”, and some of the CEOs also shared their models for collaborating and competing with private companies. Correo Argentino CEO Jorge A. Irigoin explained that, while online marketplaces are partners of the Post now, they are likely to expand into logistics in the future.
RUSSIA: Post & Parcel: Russia-based drone delivery startup Copter Express has signed up to use the what3words system. The partnership between Copter Express and what3words will mean that the drone delivery company’s customers will be able to locate and specify their pick-up points using their what3words addresses. what3words is a global address system which divides up the world into a grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares, where each square has a unique pre-assigned 3-word address.
September 13, 2016
RV Business: Campers no longer have to worry about who is checking their mail while they are on the road, thanks to a new service being offered by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). KOA Postal Mail Services, powered by USZoom, offers campers a virtual mailbox solution when they are traveling, providing a safe, convenient and reliable way to manage their regular postal mail, according to an announcement from KOA. “By using this service, campers can enjoy their RV adventures without worrying about the bills, letter and packages that might be piling up at home,” said KOA Vice President of Brand Development Lorne Armer. “With a click of a button, they will be able to manage their postal mail from their smartphones or online, 24 hours a day and seven days a week from wherever they are.”
Washington Post: Willie Nelson: country-music legend, outlaw, policy wonk? The singer, set to perform at the Farm Aid concert in Virginia this weekend, is lending his recognize-it-anywhere voice to the surprisingly nerdy issue of postal reform, supporting efforts to keep post offices open and protect the mail service from cuts and privatization. In a video for A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, Nelson describes how his affinity for the issue is rooted in his memories of the PO in his hometown of Abbott, Tex., which he visited nearly every day as a boy — along with his dog — and spent time with neighbors.
Smithsonian Institution: The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has launched a new virtual exhibition, “America’s Mailing Industry,” telling the story of the partnership between the U.S. Postal Service and private industry, who together have helped American citizens and businesses communicate and conduct business for more than 200 years. It is the story of a partnership that helps people shop, ship, deliver, communicate and conduct transactions, gain information, seek entertainment, build relationships, enhance communities and foster citizenship. The mailing industry consists of all those that communicate with customers and constituents through the U.S. Mail on a large scale—from direct marketers, to publishers, to nonprofits, to public entities—as well as all the businesses that help prepare mail, such as ad agencies, print shops, software vendors and transportation providers. The partnership between the mailing industry and the postal system is a critical part of the American economy, as its total economic value exceeds $1 trillion and it employs almost 8 million people.
At the heart of the mailing industry is the U.S. Postal Service, which has delivered for America for more than two centuries. An explosion of mail in the late 19th and early 20th centuries drove the Post Office Department (through post offices) and large-volume mailers to work together to begin to handle mail more efficiently. Mailers used new methods of paying for postage, which reduced mail handling by postal clerks and enabled the presorting of mail by destination, speeding dispatch and delivery. Mail volume continued to grow to such an extent that by the 1960s it threatened to overwhelm post offices when deposited in bulk by businesses at the end of each work day. This pushed the Post Office Department to embark on a concerted, nationwide campaign to enlist the aid of large mailers in leveling out the daily “mountains” of mail. So began a unique public–private partnership, unprecedented in scope and scale, which continues to this day.
“America’s mailing industry is quite possibly the most successful government–private sector partnership in our nation’s history,” said Allen Kane, director of the museum. “We are excited to tell this story, as most people don’t even know the industry exists.”
“This exhibit,” said PostCom President-Elect Jessica Lowrance, “fills an enormous vacuum, when it comes to the general public’s understanding of the businesses that sustain the operational and fiscal vitality of the nation’s universal mail system.” “It has been PostCom’s privilege to help get this exhibit off the ground,” she said.
In order to present a comprehensive and understandable look at the complex and vast world that is America’s mailing industry, the museum partnered with researchers and experts from the U.S. Postal Service, mailing-industry associations and private companies to present stories of success and service to American consumers and businesses. The virtual exhibition offers stories of the mailing industry that focus on how companies, entrepreneurs and multigenerational family businesses, in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, have helped to create and enhance commerce and communications channels throughout American history.
In order to enhance this comprehensive story, the National Postal Museum invites companies and organizations that are part of America’s mailing industry to submit their stories. These stories will provide additional resources to this important research project, allowing industry members to chronicle their histories to be viewed by National Postal Museum website visitors. Submitted stories will be subject to Smithsonian curatorial review and museum guidelines created for the project. (The National Postal Museum has limited resources, so the publication of stories will not be immediate. Rather, stories will be reviewed and published as soon as feasibly possible.) Future plans include the design and construction of an on-site physical “America’s Mailing Industry” exhibition at the museum.
CANADA: Pensions and Investments: Canada Post Pension Plan, Ottawa, could be moved into Canada’s Public Service Pension Plan to reduce its funding problems under options listed by a federal government task force on the overall future of Canada’s postal service. The discussion paper said one option was to return the C$21.9 billion ($16.9 billion) Canada Post plan to the C$84.7 billion PSPP, Ottawa, from which the postal service plan was spun out in 2000. Another option was removing the solvency funding requirement and moving to funding based solely on a going-concern basis. Solvency funding annually requires plans to be funded as if the plan were to be terminated at the start of that year, while going-concern valuations assume the plan will never be terminated. Under Canadian law, pension funds must be funded based on the higher contribution required by either of the two valuation methods.
CANADA: Toronto Sun: Canadians are more likely to accept community mail boxes and a switch to getting mail every other day than they are paying annual fees or pricier stamps, says the chair of the task force that looked into the future of Canada Post. Françoise Bertrand headed the four-member panel that delivered a major discussion paper Monday on the financial state of the troubled Crown corporation — one that includes options to generate revenues and save money. That paper lays the groundwork for a House of Commons committee that will begin a cross-country tour this month. Its mandate is to hear what Canadians need from their national postal service and it is expected to deliver a report with recommendations by year’s end. In an interview, Bertrand told the Citizen she had been taken aback by the speed at which Canada Post’s world is changing, as rapidly falling mail volumes shift it from a letter-carrier business with a monopoly to a parcel-delivery business operating in a fiercely competitive market.
CANADA: CBC: A task force studying the national mail carrier says Canada Post isn't financially self-sustainable under its current structure. And it says transformational changes are needed to prevent taxpayers from having to prop it up. The four-member panel issued a discussion paper Monday that suggests a number of ways the letter carrier can turn its business model around, including distributing legalized marijuana and cutting back on door-to-door delivery in favour of community mailboxes — an initiative launched by the Conservative government in 2013 but scrapped by the current Liberal government. The report also suggested charging fees to those who opt to have mail delivered directly to their door. A House of Commons committee has scheduled cross-country hearings this month to hear Canadians' views of what they want from the postal service. The ideas contained in the discussion paper are meant as a launching pad for those public consultations.
September 12, 2016
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Sourcing Journal Online: Global business-to-consumer e-commerce is growing leaps and bounds. And the primary reasons for the booming growth include emerging markets where consumers often find it hard to access coveted products locally and are seeking the convenience of online shopping over brick-and mortar. Most American small businesses, however, cannot always take full advantage of the surging market. Less than 1 percent of the 30 million American firms participate in cross-border sales, a figure lower than in many other industrialized nations. Managing cross-border sales is complex, expensive and risky if not properly executed, and small- to medium-size businesses (SMB) are underserved with fewer resources to handle the additional complexity. This explosive growth has convinced many retailers to embrace e-commerce in order to fulfill the demands of consumers, who have all the power in today’s retail environment. However, global sales opportunities also present the challenge to deliver a positive customer experience while combating high shipping fees, hidden costs, inaccurate duties, import and export regulations, and product restrictions.
Last year, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) published a report on cross-border e-commerce, identifying the “major challenges in global e-commerce centered on logistics, customs clearance, regulations, market visibility, security, and technology” and the organization’s inability to meet the expectations of international shippers. At that time, the USPS’s international business accounted for only about 1 percent of its total mail volume and scaling to grow with the e-commerce boom would not have been possible without technology investments. Similarly, the International Post Corporation (IPC), the leading cooperative association for the global postal industry, released its 2016 Online Shopper Survey. This profound announcement from its Brussels headquarters clearly noted the need for postal organizations all over the world to improve technology in order to beat the prevailing private sector providers currently handling the bulk of international retail deliveries—DHL, FedEx, UPS and others. For postal services to strengthen their competitive advantages in the cross-border e-commerce market, primary gaps must be addressed with a combination of technology, trade compliance knowledge and automation. On the highest level, postal services need these key building block capabilities to build out an e-commerce infrastructure . . . .
Wall Street Journal: E-commerce hasn’t just reached rural America, it is transforming it by giving small-town residents an opportunity to buy staples online at a cheaper price than the local supermarket. It also provides remote areas with big-city conveniences and the latest products. Consumers increasingly are shopping online instead of driving, often long distances, to stores. Online shopping also brings with it deals and new entrepreneurial opportunities. These consumers, however, are the most expensive to serve for both retailers and delivery companies. The longer the drive and the fewer the packages per stop—known as delivery density—the lower the profit for the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx. To offset the cost, UPS and FedEx charge an extra $4 per package for remote residential deliveries. The prevalence of free shipping to consumers and the need to price items the same online and in stores, typically leaves retailers bearing this additional cost. For retailers, that adds to already steep costs.
September 11, 2016
Newsroom America: President Barack Obama has announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: Robert G. Taub – Commissioner and upon appointment designated Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission.
CNBC: On its website, Americans for Securing All Packages features a "Who We Are" section explaining that the group is a "coalition of families, health care advocates, security experts, businesses and non-profits who believe it is time to close a dangerous security gap that leaves our nation vulnerable to foreign attacks and invites illegal and toxic drugs into our communities." The group — a nonprofit that does not have to disclose its donors — officially debuted on the same day Ridge's column appeared. The website lists two senior advisors: Ridge, who was the first assistant to the president for homeland security under President George W. Bush, and Juliette Kayyem, a former Obama administration homeland security official and current CNN analyst. Under the heading for "contact information," the group does not list a phone number or an address. District of Columbia incorporation records, however, show that the group was registered on June 23, and its address is 700 13th Street, NW, Suite 600. That just happens to be the address of a powerhouse D.C. law and lobbying firm called Perkins Coie. On the documents, the incorporator of Americans for Securing all Packages is listed as Ezra W. Reese. He is a partner at Perkins Coie whose online biography says his practice is focused on "nonprofit organizations that wish to engage in lobbying or electoral activity."