News

January 24, 2017

POSTAL/INDUSTRY NEWS

Industry Alert: Update to the Publication for Streamlined Mail Acceptance for Letters and Flats and Address Quality Census Method. The Publication for Streamlined Mail Acceptance for Letters and Flats was posted in July of 2016.  Valuable feedback was provided from the Industry.  The Publication will officially be posted as a proposed rule through the Federal Register Notice process in March of 2017 and comments will be accepted. The Postal Service also published a proposed Address Quality Census Method and Assessment Process Federal Register Notice in July of 2016, which also received many valuable comments.  Another proposed notice will be sent through the Federal Register Notice process in February of 2017 and comments will be accepted. In order to give the Industry the opportunity to review both proposed notices the USPS has posted a draft version of the Publication for Streamlined Mail Acceptance for Letters and Flats on PostalPro at:  http://postalpro.usps.com/node/581.  The proposed Address Quality Census Method and Assessment Process Federal Register Notice  draft is posted on PostalPro here:https://postalpro.usps.com/node/1141.

 

Federal Register: Postal Service - Notices: Product Changes - Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 8230 [2017-01557] [PDF]

NATIONAL NEWS

PRWebTEC Mailing Solutions LLC receives the first certification for online postal processing through the United States Postal Service for their MailPreparer® portal (http://www.MailPreparer.com). The certification is the result of extensive testing by the United States Postal Service and allows users to be confident recommended solutions meet stringent “full service” requirements to receive “the best pricing on automation discounts.”  TEC’s solutions are more affordable than entry-level on-premise postal software and produce a much better work product so less first-class mail gets returned. Less standard mail ends up in the land fill which is an aspect many smaller mailers don’t think about. Users of on-premise postal software in the $1500- $3000 price range that mail less than two million pieces of mail a month are encouraged to evaluate the recommended USPS cloud-based solutions.

WashingtonPostTrue to his campaign promise, President Trump ordered a federal hiring freeze on Monday. Trump’s order says “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.” The directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management were told to “recommend a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government’s workforce through attrition."  Government data shows that turnover has averaged about 210,000 jobs a year over the past five years, out of a workforce of just under 2.1 million. Of those who leave each year, about 75,000 on average quit, 65,000 retire and 55,000 leave because their appointments expire, which is common among temporary employees. About 10,000 are fired. The other separations are due to various reasons, including layoffs and deaths.

January 23, 2017

POSTAL/INDUSTRY NEWS

Office of the Inspector General: No Pipe DreamDelivery companies are literally digging deeper to develop new systems for getting packages quickly to customers with one futuristic idea having roots in the past. Amazon received a patent for a system to deliver goods via a dedicated network of underground tunnels, according to recent news reports. The 33-page application lays out the specifications for a network that could transport packages via conveyor belts or rails, or even through pneumatic tubes, explains GeekWire. “The system could connect rail stations, airports, fulfillment centers, locker storage sites and, of course, customers,” avoiding the congestion of traditional transportation networks. In the late 19th century, the U.S. Postal Service experimented in a handful of cities with pneumatic mail, mail sent through tubes propelled by compressed air.

NATIONAL NEWS

PostalNewsUSPS surpassed its projections of delivering 750 million packages during peak season, according to new data. On Dec. 19, one of the season’s busiest days, the Postal Service delivered more than 34 million packages. Other peak season numbers: 1) Employees across the nation spent 1.1 million hours on city streets delivering mail and parcels Dec. 19. 2) Throughout peak season, employees drove more than 200 million miles — the equivalent of driving around the world 8,000 times. 3) The San Francisco, CA, Napoleon Street delivery unit processed the most peak season packages.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INDIA: WebIndiaGoa will be the first state in the country to provide electronic transmission of postal ballots to service voters in the Assembly polls. Goa would become first state where all service voters will be covered under our first electronic transmission of postal ballots. Returning officers will transfer the postal ballots to service voters by electronic means so that service voters can download it, fill it and send it back via e-mail to the returning officer. This will cut lot of delay in transmission of postal ballots.

January 22, 2017

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INDIA: TimesofIndiaAurangabad division's first bank of postal department is coming up at Juna Bazar in the city. It will be operational in April 2017 and offer all banking facilities accept loans and credit cards. The Aurangabad division of the postal department comprises of eleven districts and for the past few months, the postal department is launching various initiatives apparently to prepare grounds to make its foray in banking sector effective.

January 21, 2017

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: CBCNEWS:  "I love driving across town to pick up my missed deliveries — said no one ever," is how Eric Martin felt when he came up with the idea for Boxr, a "smart bench" that doubles as a secure mailbox. The bench has a lock activated by a keypad. The homeowner can then share that code in the delivery instructions for mail orders. Martin also envisions the box being used for food deliveries. Martin plans on reaching out to Canada Post and other mail delivery companies to get them on board.

January 20, 2017

POSTAL/INDUSTRY NEWS

Industry Alert: Mail Service Disruption In Downtown Los Angeles, CA. The following retail units in the Downtown Los Angeles, CA area are closed due to the Women’s Demonstration in regards to today’s Presidential Inauguration. 500,000 protesters are expected to attend. Please note that these locations are retail units only, with PO Box service and retail operations.
Arcade 90013  Drop Shipments have been diverted to Alameda 90012
Federal Finance 90012 Drop Shipments have been diverted to Alameda 90012
Macy’s 90017   Drop Shipments have been diverted to Foy 90017
Bunker Hill 90071 Drop Shipments have been diverted to Foy 90017
Arco 90071  Drop Shipments have been diverted to Foy 90017
Normal business hours will resume Monday, January 23, 2017.

 

Industry Alert: Process for Mailings Prepared Using Pre-Price Change Mailing Standards; Submitted Post-Price Change on or after January 22, 2017. With the upcoming price changes that go into effect on January 22, 2017, there may be instances where mailings have been prepared using the pre-price change mailing standards and will be presented on or after January 22, 2017. Examples of the mailing standards that are affected are: 

  1. The USPS will be combining 3-digit and Automated Area Distribution Center (AADC) presorts into a single AADC presort level for First-Class Mail automation and presorted letters and cards and USPS Marketing Mail (Standard Mail) automation and presorted letters for both regular and non-profit mailings. 
  2. FSS-specific pricing structures for Periodicals, USPS Marketing Mail (Standard Mail) and Bound Printed Matter flats are being eliminated.   An optional endorsement line (OEL) will be required on each FSS scheme mailpiece. USPS Marketing Mail (Standard Mail) High Density, High Density Plus and all Periodicals carrier route flats (including saturation) will be required to be included in the FSS sort. 

Exception Requests - If any mailings are impacted because of these or other changes, mailers and/or mail service providers (MSP) should request an exception to the Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) through their local Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU). The customer’s written request must be on the customer’s letterhead and state the specific problem, the mailpiece owner, the affected mailing standard(s); including mail class and processing category, the proposed date(s) of mailing, the mailing job ID #, the mailing/submitting Post Office, and when the problem will be resolved. MSPs with multiple mailings of multiple mailpiece owners, and multiple mailing/submitting Post Office locations, must submit the request to only one of those Post Office locations.  

For mailings that will be submitted with the pre-price software and mailing after January 21, 2017, the mailer will be required to submit a manual postage statement with the postage calculated with the new prices along with the attached Price Change Adjustment Worksheet that will display the pre-price change total postage, the post price change total postage and the difference or postage adjustment amount.

Federal Register: 

  • Postal Service: Parcel Select Negotiated Service Agreement, 7884 [2017-02308] [PDF]; Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 7884 [2017-01311] [PDF]
  • Postal Regulatory Commission- Notices: New Postal Products, 7883-7884 [2017-01421] [PDF]

NATIONAL NEWS

NonProfitTimesThe Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM) has asked the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to request more information from the United States Postal Service (USPS) and also to change the procedures for its 10-year regulatory review of the rate-making system. ANM, along with the MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, filed a motion yesterday with the PRC. The alliance requested more data, including estimates and calculations of the USPS’ actuarial liabilities, real estate valuations, and scorecard performance metrics of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS). Such information would help everyone comment more intelligently to the PRC questions about how well the objectives are being met.

TheConversation: It might seem strange, but UPS delivery vans don’t always take the shortest route between stops. The company gives each driver a specific route to follow and that includes a policy that drivers should never turn through oncoming traffic (that’s left in countries where they drive on the right and vice versa) unless absolutely necessary. UPS have designed their vehicle routing software to eliminate as many left-hand turns as possible (in countries with right-hand traffic). Typically, only 10% of the turns are left turns. As a result, the company claims it uses 10m gallons less fuel, emits 20,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide and delivers 350,000 more packages every year. The efficiency of planning routes with its navigation software this way has even helped the firm cut the number of trucks it uses by 1,100, bringing down the company’s total distance travelled by 28.5m miles – despite the longer routes.

ExhibitorOnlineOrbus Exhibit & Display Group has partnered with UPS to participate in the Carbon Neutral Shipping program. The Carbon Neutral Shipping program is a service offered to businesses by UPS to minimize the impact that shipping has on the environment. UPS’ Carbon Neutral Shipping program offers businesses the option to ship packages as carbon neutral, as a means of reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) impact that shipping has on the environment.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ALLAHABAD: Nyooz: Customers of any private or public sector bank can withdraw cash from ATM machines set up by the postal department while those having debit cards issued by the post offices could do so through any of the bank ATMs. The Allahabad division of postal department has started providing inter-operable service to its customers after switching over to core banking solution. There are over 35,000 debit card-holders in UP.Postal department is still expanding its ATM services at head post offices and its branches across the country.

NIGERIA: WorldStageNewsThe Nigeria Postal Service NIPOST, has assured Nigerians of it prepare-readiness to provide market-driven postal and people oriented services through innovation and technology to boost commerce and further diversity the nation’s economy. The postal agency further said that the exponential growth in marketing accounts forms about thirty percent of mail in the Nigeria post adding that it is determined to ensure full deployment of technology backed payment solutions that would guarantee it market shares. NIPOST promised to accustom Nigerians to the benefit of doing business and commerce with the postal industry considering the existing value-chain which includes the network reach, logistic and warehousing, real estate, financial services and financial solutions.

TANZANIA: Exchange: The government of Tanzania has declared its consideration in the radical-tracking of the usage of the national addressing and postcode system, in the goal of playing a pivotal role in e-commerce development. This calls upon Tanzanians to make maximum use of the postal services as an ingredient to catalyze e-commerce and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

January 19, 2017

PostComMembers !! 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.

POSTAL/INDUSTRY NEWS

Industry Alert: Bishopville, SC Post Office Closed.  Effective immediately, the Bishopville Main Office located at 451 N Main Street, Bishopville, SC 29010-1473 will be closed for repairs until further notice.  Until the Bishopville Post Office reopens, alternate retail services and mail service for Post Office Box customers will resume tomorrow from a mobile unit located on-site.  Hours of Operation for the mobile unit will be Monday through Saturday, 9:00 am until 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm until 4:30 pm. Distribution and Clerk Operations will be moved to Darlington Main Office, SC 29532. Until a full assessment of the Bishopville Post Office building has been completed and the needed clean up and repairs made, there is no current timeline for resumption of postal operations for this office. The Postal Service regrets any inconvenience to its customers and will work to restore operations for this office as soon as possible. Customers can call 1-800-ASK-USPS or go to the Postal Service’s Website www.usps.com to get the location of other nearby Post Offices and approved postal retail service providers.

Office of the Inspector General:  Mail Processing Operations at the Roanoke, VA, Processing and Distribution Center:Our new audit report responds to a Congressional request to review the consolidation of the U.S. Postal Service’s Roanoke, VA, Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) into the Greensboro, NC, P&DC. The request noted that there was a significant increase in constituent communications regarding lost or delayed mail in the affected congressional districts. Additionally, we received comments from over 500 individual respondents to our Audit Asks web page related to delayed or lost mail as well as other delivery issues. The OIG initiated an audit of one of the consolidations, examining whether the consolidation of the Roanoke P&DC into the Greensboro P&DC, along with relaxed service standards for First Class Mail, affected customer service and whether there was a business case for consolidation. We determined the partial consolidation of Roanoke P&DC mail processing operations into the Greensboro P&DC did not adversely affect customer service, but did see a reduction in service standards. Read the full report here: http://go.usa.gov/x9yEf

Industry Alert:  PTR Release 11.0 Deployment - System Outage on Sunday, January 22, 2017. On Sunday, January 22, the U.S. Postal Service will implement Release 11.0 changes to the Product Tracking and Reporting (PTR) system.  Release 11.0 overviews have been provided during previous eVS/PTR - MTAC meetings.  To effect this change, a system outage will occur on January 22nd  from 8:00 PM (ET) through 11:30 PM (ET).  All ingest, staging, reporting, and outbound processing will be suspended during this outage period. The USPS Tracking site and Call Center interfaces will be available and functioning throughout the outage window.

Federal Register: 
  • Postal Service - Proposed Rules: Inspection Service Authority; Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment, 6276-6277 [2017-00204] [PDF]
  • Postal Regulatory Commission- Notices: Income Tax Review, 6662 [2017-01196] [PDF ]

NATIONAL NEWS

PRNewswireBeginning March 1st a new United Stats Postal Service (USPS) Discount program lets all US-based direct mail companies qualify for up to 5% off their clients' postage costs when they sign on to integrate their clients' campaigns with Google ads using DirectMail2.0. DirectMail2.0, a white-label software available to US-based direct mail companies has been approved for two USPS postage discount programs for 2017. The first discount program is the Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion, which offers 2% off postage for first-class mail with no quantity restrictions. The second discount program is the Direct Mail Starter program, which offers 5% off postage (up to 10,000 pieces) to businesses and nonprofits who are not currently using direct mail.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

BRAZIL: BNAmericas: Brazilian state postal service Correios is set to launch its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) operations next month, beginning with the city of São Paulo. Belo Horizonte and federal capital Brasília will be next in line for the service. The goal is to reach all the states in the country by the end of this year. 

UNITED KINGDOM: LatribunadecanariasRoyal Mail said that it is "seeing the impact of overall business uncertainty in the United Kingdom on letter volumes, in particular advertising and business letters". Royal Mail has blamed "business uncertainty" for a collapse in United Kingdom letter revenues, with shares falling 5% on opening to their lowest level for a year. Letters revenue was down 6%, a clear sign of the difficulty facing the business.

January 18, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Industry News: 2017 Price Change Takes Effect This Weekend Reminder Notice for Industry Members: The 2017 Price Change for Market Dominant, Competitive Products, and Special Services will take effect this weekend, on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Industry News: Small Number of Washington, DC 5-Digit ZIP Codes Will Not Be Delivered

Due to Presidential Inauguration. Certain routes within the Presidential Inauguration security area in the following ZIP Codes, will not see delivery on Friday, January 20.  They are:

Name

ZIP

Southwest Post Office

20003 and 20004

Main Office

20001

Section 2

20002

Ward Place

20006, 20036, and 20037

Normal operations will resume on Saturday, January 21, 2017. 

NATIONAL NEWS

BLS.govThe Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

MassLiveThe Postal Service will raise the price of its first-class "forever" postage stamps by 2 cents on Sunday, Jan. 22. The price of a stamp will go from 47 cents to 49 cents. The price will not change for postcards, for mail to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

FederalNewsRadioCurrent and former federal and postal workers are hearing plenty of targeted bad news. They are hearing and reading that pay raises will be frozen and hiring will be stopped. Future hires could be a sorry, scared lot if Congress dumps civil service rules and makes them “at will” employees — meaning they could be fired almost anytime, for any reason. And Congress might also revive an 1876-vintage gem  that would allow any member of Congress to cut the salary of any member of the federal civil service.

NWLaborPress: Postal unions declared victory this month when the United States Post Office notified the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) that the “Approved Shipper” program at roughly 500 Staples stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. Late in 2013, USPS set up post offices staffed by Staples employees in 82 Staples stores — a move postal unions called a first step in privatizing the Post Office. APWU launched a Stop Staples campaign, staging protests at Staples stores throughout the country. The demonstrations were followed by a national Staples boycott. The union filed unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) arguing USPS was improperly subcontracting bargaining unit work to Staples. The NLRB agreed, and on Jan. 4 it ordered the Postal Service to discontinue its retail relationship with Staples.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

BURMA: IrrawandyBurma’s postal service has increased public trust after receiving technical expertise from Japan, said the Japanese parliamentary vice-minister for internal affairs and communications. Japanese specialists conducted a comprehensive review and survey on the Burmese postal service and introduced a system called “Kessoku,” which aimed to optimize operation schedules for precise and efficient deliveries. Delivery times for express mail between cities—which had averaged 2-3 days in the past—were shortened to 1.1 days and deliveries of ordinary mail—which had taken 4-5 days—were shortened to 1.6 days.

IRELAND: Post&ParcelIreland’s Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has indicated that it is “concerned” about An Post’s 2017 price increases. An Post, following the proposed repeal of the price cap, is planning price increases in 2017 of the order of 14%-35%. ComReg had concerns because: “large mailers are very price sensitive and will move to electronic substitutes”; and “there is limited scope to gain significant additional revenue from SMEs”.

ZAMBIA: LusakatimesZambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) says Zambia’s Postal Sector has great potential to steer economic development both at national and international levels. The sector in Zambia has greater potential to contribute immensely to the national development, and has since implored players in the postal services sector in Zambia to embrace technology and innovation to improve on efficiency and service deliver. The postal infrastructure in Zambia and international levels has a solid track record of trust with customers which has been built and nurtured from time immemorial.

January 18, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Office of the Inspector General: Flexible WorkforceLike many other large organizations, the U.S. Postal Service relies on non-career employees to supplement its workforce and reduce staffing costs, though these positions often have a higher turnover rate. This week’s blog looks at the findings of a recent OIG audit, which learned that by employing best practices and lowering the monthly turnover rate from 3.6% to 2.9%, the Postal Service could have reduced its hiring and training costs by $23 million in FY2016. Read our full blog and learn more here.

NATIONAL NEWS

PostalReporterThe Richmond Main Post Office has forced employees to work off the clock, deleting or altering their hours to keep overtime low in violation of federal labor law, a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of 17 local letter carriers alleges. The suit says the U.S. Postal Service has slashed its staffing and labor costs by $10 billion over the past decade, making it difficult for carriers to finish their routes during their scheduled shifts. At least in part due to budget reductions, management and supervisors are under pressure to keep labor costs down by not paying overtime premiums.

BitcoinThe US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the law enforcement arm of the US Postal Service, has listed a job opening something called an “Intelligence Gathering Specialist.” Candidates must understand bitcoin, darknet markets and how to analyze the information stored on a blockchain. The listing hints the agency is sharpening its cyber crime efforts. The USPIS prefers candidates with experience evaluating internet information in social media, chats, forums, darknets, Tor network, news feeds, internet relay chats and other web materials.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

JAPAN: NikkeiAsianReviewA second offering of Japan Post Holdings shares in the works for as soon as summer is the critical next step toward postal privatization, though a market downturn could bring significant delays. The ministry, long the postal companies' sole owner, sold off the first 20% stake in Japan Post Holdings for 1.4 trillion yen (around $11.6 billion at the time) in November 2015. Proceeds up to this amount are anticipated in fiscal 2017 as well, according to the ministry's special-account budget draft. By fiscal 2022, the plan is to hold roughly one more share sale, bringing the government's stake in the holding company to a little over a third. The government is set to use 4 trillion yen from the stock sales, including the 2015 offering, to pay for recovery efforts linked to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

SOUTH AFRICA: ZDNETSouth African startup WumDrop has launched a new precision service that delivers parcels to GPS coordinates taken from a customer's phone, rather than a physical address. The Deliver2Me service, which relies on old-fashioned trucks and bikes to drop off packages rather than drones, is launching with the backing of a local retail group but has been on trial since November. Founder Simon Hartley says during the testing phase, the firm boasted "100 percent accuracy" for delivery, beating traditionally-addressed deliveries over the same space of time.

January 16, 2017

WashingtonPost: The U.S. Post Office says some District of Columbia customers will see changes in service because of the presidential inauguration. Six facilities will be closed Friday and some postal zones won’t get mail. Operations are to return to normal on Saturday.

January 15, 2017

TransportTopicsNewsAmericans for Modern Transportation, a new coalition of shippers and retailers led by FedEx Corp. and Amazon.com intends to press congressional lawmakers this year to approve nationwide access of twin 33-foot trailers. While the group argued the longer combination trailers would be safer and gain greater fuel efficiency, opponents balk at sharing roadways with the longer combinations.

January 13, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register: Postal Service - Proposed Rules, Seamless Acceptance Program, 4231-4232 [2016-32057] [PDF]

Office of the Inspector General: Inbound International Mail Operations – [Redacted] Service Center. An update from the December 29, 2016 posting. 

Office of the Inspector General: Developing a Successful Enterprise Information Security Policy: The information security landscape is constantly changing and, as such, it is critical that the Postal Service maintain information security policies that protect its critical applications and infrastructure. With an information security framework based on industry best practices in place, the Postal Service should maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its information technology.

Industry Alert: Burlington, TX Post Office Closed for Repairs. Mail being temporarily forwarded to the Rosebud Post Office. Effective immediately, the Burlington Post Office, located at 14 Church Street, Burlington, TX 76519 will be closed for repairs of a collapsed ceiling until further notice. Until the Burlington Post Office reopens, alternate retail services and mail service for Post Office Box customers with ZIP Code 76519 will be provided during normal business hours by the Rosebud Post Office, 206 N 5th Street, Rosebud, TX 76570. Business hours for the Rosebud Post Office are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Until a full assessment of the Burlington Post Office building has been completed and the needed clean up and repairs are made, there is no current timeline for resumption of postal operations for this office. The Postal Service regrets any inconvenience to its customers and will work to restore operations for this office as soon as possible. Customers can call 1-800-ASK-USPS or go to the Postal Service’s Website www.usps.com to get the location of other nearby Post Offices and approved postal retail service providers.

Industry Alert: Washington, DC Post Offices Closed Due to Presidential Inauguration.  The following units will be closed on Friday January 20, 2017.  There will not be any retail operations (including PO Box mail) at these locations:  

Name Address ZIP
Tech World Finance Unit 800 K Street, NW  20091
McPherson Station 1750 Pennsylvania Ave, NW   20006
Ben Franklin Station 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW 20044
Farragut  Station 1800 M Street, NW 20033
Martin Luther King Station 1400 L Street, NW 20043
Washington Square 1050 Connecticut Ave, NW 20035

 
NATIONAL NEWS

Yahoo! :  Shippo, the leading API platform for shipping, today announced they are the first to launch USPS ePostage for general access. Through USPS' new ePostage program, Shippo enables any business to access USPS shipping services online. This is the first license of this type issued since 1999, marking an important step for USPS and Shippo as they drive innovation in shipping for ecommerce businesses, marketplaces and platforms globally. Through its current agreement, any Shippo customer can access the USPS directly, relying on a seamless and transparent process for shipping.

Post&Parcel: FedEx Vice President for Operations and Service Support Gloria Boyland has been named to the new US Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT). The ACAT team, which is comprised of 25 leading professionals and experts in their field, serves as a critical resource for the DOT in “framing federal policy for the continued development and deployment of automated transportation”.

LandLineMagazineTruckers Against Trafficking announced this week a new partnership with UPS Freight to harness the power of the trucking community to help address human trafficking in the United States. Through this partnership, which will be deployed throughout 2017, all of UPS Freight’s more than 8,000 drivers will receive training on how to recognize and respond to signs of human trafficking activity. The announcement follows the completion of a pilot project between TAT and UPS Freight across 10 states in December, which successfully trained 1,500 drivers on the proper response and available resources to combat human trafficking. UPS Freight will also support TAT with quarterly in-kind transportation of TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project, which uses a semi-tractor trailer equipped with educational resources to serve as a mobile educational exhibit on human trafficking.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

IRELAND: FORAA DUBLIN-BASED company has launched a new mail service aimed at businesses that is looking to break An Post’s stranglehold on the market. Dublin-based CityPost has unveiled its ‘iPOST’ service, which it said will provide a “one-stop-solution” for businesses, providing services such as free printing, envelopes and processing. Letters will cost 66c each to send by iPost, which is slightly less than the cost of a standard 72c stamp. The mail will be delivered by CityPost An Post, dependent on location. An Post already offers its own mass-mailing system to companies, which CityPost is paying to use.

January 12, 2017

PostComMembers !! 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.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission: The following is a Press Release.  Today (January 12, 2017) the Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) released its Annual Report to the President and Congress providing an account of the activities undertaken by the Commission during 2016. Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), the Commission is required to address in its report information concerning the operations of the Commission, including the extent to which regulations are achieving the rate setting objectives of the PAEA. The law also requires the Commission to include an estimate of the costs incurred by the Postal Service to provide certain services that the Postal Service would not otherwise have provided except for the requirements of the law.

The report details the many accomplishments of the Commission of the past year. Chairman Robert Taub said, “We will build upon the agency’s strong foundation of accomplishments for even further milestones in staff achievement, the timeliness and quality of work products, and the efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations.” As this Annual Report is the first one issued to the new Congress and Administration, Chairman Taub also noted that “the Commission looks forward to a productive dialogue on how to ensure a vital and efficient universal mail system for years to come.”

Download a complete copy of the Commission’s 2016 Annual Report at www.prc.gov. http://www.prc.gov/docs/98/98653/2016%20Annual%20Report%20Final.pdf

NATIONAL NEWS

Forbes: In terms of actual volume, we need to look at the latest numbers for email king MailChimp, versus the U.S. Postal Service,  the contest isn’t even close anymore. By MailChimp’s tally, its customers sent out 242 billion emails last year. That exceeds the Postal Service’s latest annual count for handling physical mail by 57%, or 88 billion pieces. What’s more, the Postal Service requires 493,381 career employees and another 131,732 temporary workers to get its job done. MailChimp’s systems are so automated that the Atlanta-based company gets by with slightly more than 500 employees, total.

Fortune: FedEx announced earlier this week that it signed a multi-year deal with Walgreens to add about 8,000 Walgreens stores as points of service delivery.  “After what FedEx called a ‘small-scale’ this spring, drop-off and pick up of pre-packaged and pre-labeled will be available at almost all Walgreens stores by the fall of 2018.  One key benefit of such services is that shippers can leave a package when someone isn't home to accept it, thereby lowering the number of failed delivery attempts, which are costly to the likes of FedEx and UPS and create backlogs. And in the case of Walgreens, the ubiquity of its stores was a selling point for FedEx.”

PostalNewsDonald Trump’s demand that the Republican Congress immediately repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, could have serious implications for postal workers. Most at risk would be non-career employees not eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program. Some of those employees have received coverage under a USPS sponsored plan that was set up in order to comply with the ACA. Career postal workers and retirees won’t be unaffected by the repeal of Obamacare.

The StreetThe tone in retail has been pretty downbeat over the past few days, with announcements from companies like Macy's and J.C. Penney reporting disappointing holiday sales.  By these results, it would appear as though there was a real slowdown in the economy. But luckily, online sales were able to surge higher during the season, with online sales racking up an absurd $91.7 billion during the two-month span between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. Those figures climbed 11% from the same period a year ago and show that the e-commerce market remains strong. Looking to a few of the more popular shopping days during that period, Cyber Monday accounted for $3.4 billion in sales, up 12% year-over-year, while Black Friday sales of $3.34 billion climbed an impressive 22%.

CNBC: The Social Security Administration announced in a blog post that it would send fewer statements in the mail in an attempt to cut down costs.  Only individuals who are 60 and over, who aren't receiving benefits and who don't have a My Social Security account online will get paper statements. This measure will reduce the cost of processing and mailing statements by $11.3 million in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the blog post.  This latest move marks the second time Social Security has trimmed its mailing schedule for statements. Back in 2011, the agency stopped mailing its annual paper statements to save on costs. After a wave of criticism and a push from Congress, in September 2014 the agency resumed sending paper statements to workers who aren't receiving benefits and who haven't signed up for an online account.

 

January 11, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission: Notices: New Postal Products 3365, [2017-00406] [PDF]

Industry Alert: Final Mailer Scorecard Hotline Call on Friday, January 13, 2017 at 2:00pm (ET) - The Mailer Scorecard Hotline Webinars that were scheduled for every Wednesday and Friday at 2:00pm (ET) will soon be discontinued.  The final call will be held this Friday, January, 13, 2017.  Teleconference information:  Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US)  Conference Code: 472 163 0566. Go to https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?MTID=m2dd28be6eb27b3fcc6c6c0e34ad2bf0f.  If you have any questions concerning the Mailer Scorecard or the Full-Service Assessments, contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

PublishingExecutiveMore than seven years after it began rolling out, the billion-dollar system that was supposed to revolutionize how publications and other flat mail are handled is still making the U.S. Postal Service less, not more, efficient. In fact, the Flats Sequencing System’s performance, already well below plan, declined even further last year, according to a recent USPS report. Buried in a USPS report issued just before New Year’s were the latest ugly facts: FSS throughputs declined 6% last year, and the proportion of FSS mail that was sorted on older equipment or manually rose from 40% to 43%. “Mail Pieces At-Risk” also rose 6%, affecting 1 of every 18 magazines, catalogs, and retail flyers. Previously, postal officials have blamed declining mail volumes and flimsy mail pieces for the poor performance. Neither of those issues are going away.

WashingtonPost: National Postal Museum director, Allen Kane, retires after 14 years leading Smithsonian branch. Kane embraced the possibilities he found at the museum, which opened in 1993 and is one of the smallest in the Smithsonian complex. He dramatically expanded its exhibition space by opening the world’s largest stamp gallery. He increased the staff and the number of exhibitions, displayed rare and internationally famous stamps, and created a website focused solely on renowned stamps and collections. He improved fundraising and built a network of volunteers who help curators develop and create exhibitions. Colleagues credit Kane’s management skills and personality for strengthening the institution, which has 6 million objects in its collection, the second largest in the Smithsonian. Last week, the Smithsonian named Marshall F. “Marty” Emery, the museum’s manager of public relations and Internet affairs, as acting director until a national search for a permanent director is completed.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: CalgaryHeraldAn Ontario-based company, Drone Delivery Canada, aiming to become Canada’s first provider of drone parcel delivery services is about to begin commercial testing in the wide-open skies of southeast Alberta.  The company will use the Alberta location to test its systems with the goal of progressing to commercial rollout of its drone delivery logistics platform. The company, which has already signed deals with office supply giant Staples and automotive supplier NAPA Auto Parts — both of which are interested in using new technology to expand their logistics capabilities — hopes to develop an unmanned aerial delivery system that will eventually allow corporate and government clients to deliver packages across Canada via drone.

CHINA: FinanceMagnatesPostal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) has launched a blockchain-based asset custody system developed IBM using its Hyperledger Fabric. The system already executed more than 100 real business transactions on the blockchain since it went live in October 2016, involving the buying and selling bonds. The PSBC says that during the trial period, the system demonstrated blockchain’s ability to help streamline the traditionally complex credit verification process and manage risk, helping financial institutions operate more securely and efficiently. The blockchain solution enables the real-time sharing of information by multiple parties and eliminates repeated credit verification, which reduces the operation process by about 60%-80% based on performance improvement data from PSBC.

ESTONIA: EstoniaNews:  The e-receipt project of the Estonian postal company, Omniva, was shortlisted for the European Business awards for innovation. This year, about 33,000 companies from 34 countries applied for the European Business Awards that, according to a statement by Omniva, is Europe’s largest business competition since 2007. The e-receipt portal is a system that enables end users to manage receipts and related documents, such as letters of guarantee and product manuals, in a single web environment. The users will be able to reduce problems and costs related to paper receipts, thereby increasing the quality of customer service. It also enables customers to send receipts directly to accountancy.

INDIA: UMMIDRecently the postal department of India has commemorated great deeds and achievements of eight personalities of Bihar by releasing stamps on them. But the most surprising thing about this was the omission of Syed Mahmud, one of the foremost freedom fighters from Bihar. The most conspicuous omission was of Syed Mahmud. The presumption is that whoever has prepared the list of Bihar series of postal stamp, is either ignorant about Syed Mahmud’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle, or the usual communal mindset prevails in such selections and omissions may have prevailed.

NIGERIA:DailyTrustThe Post-Master General (PMG) and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Asiwaju Bisiyi Adegbuyi, has reiterated his commitment to reposition the agency for effective service delivery.  He made the pledge in Bauchi on Wednesday  while speaking to journalist saying that measures are being put in place to integrate more technological innovations into NIPOST operations. The Post Master General dismissed the fear being expressed about an alleged looming staff retrenchment and also raised the alarm over alleged plans by some persons to sabotage efforts being made by NIPOST to improve service delivery in postal services.

UNITED KINGDOMPackagingEuropeBlake, the postal packaging experts have opened their second ‘Hub of Excellence’ in Leeds. This follows the opening of their first hub in Edinburgh in October last year. Managing Director, Michael Barter said, “The primary reason for creating the Hubs of Excellence was to ensure Blake is geographically available in some of the most strategic business locations across the UK. Being ‘onsite’ ensures we can develop relationships with those in-the-know with regards to print, envelopes and the postal packaging."

January 10, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Industry Alert: Proposed Electronic Induction (eInduction®) Language Changes to Domestic Mail Manual. The Postal Service proposes to revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to add language regarding streamlining the processing of drop shipments and expedited plant load mailings. Industry members may submit comments through the Federal Register Process on or before February 8, 2017. Please refer to the following link for more information on the proposed changes and for directions on sending comments through mail, personal delivery, or email: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/09/2016-32056/electronic-induction-einduction-option

Federal Register:  Postal Service: Production or Disclosure of Material or Information, 2896 [2017-00106] [PDF

January 9, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Industry Alert:  Retail Offices have Resumed Operations in Alabama District.  All offices listed below have resumed operations as of Monday, January 9, 2017

MPOO Office Name                                         ZIP
0 Birmingham AL - Bluff Park Finance Unit 35260
0 Birmingham AL - Cahaba Heights Br - Postal Store 35243
0 Birmingham AL - Center Point Branch 35215
0 Birmingham AL - Crestline Branch 35213
0 Birmingham AL - East Lake Station 35206
0 Birmingham AL - Fairview Station 35208
0 Birmingham AL - Forestdale Branch 35214
0 Birmingham AL - Greensprings Finance Unit 35219
0 Birmingham AL - Homewood Finance Unit 35209
0 Birmingham AL - Hoover Branch 35244A
0 Birmingham AL - Irondale Branch 35210
0 Birmingham AL - Meadowbrook Branch 35242
0 Birmingham AL - Midfield Branch 35228
0 Birmingham AL - Mountain Brook Finance Unit 35253
0 Birmingham AL - South Highlands Finance Unit 35205
0 Birmingham AL - Tarrant Branch 35217
0 Birmingham AL - Vestavia Finance Unit 35216
0 Ensley AL 35218
0 West End AL 35211
0 Woodlawn AL 35212
1 Pelham AL 35124
1 Trussville AL 35173
1 Anniston AL 36201
1 Anniston AL - Oxford Branch 36203
1 Jacksonville AL 36265
1 Piedmont AL 36272
1 Roanoke AL 36274
2 Fairfield AL 35064
2 Helena AL 35080
2 Northport AL 35476
3 Tuscaloosa AL 35401B
3 Tuscaloosa AL - Skyland Station 35405

 
Office of the Inspector General: Adding to the IG Arsenal.  When one thinks of the legacy of Louis XIV of France, one thinks of the palace at Versailles, the growth of French literature and the arts, and……the concept of the inspector general.  Originally used as a way for the king to review his military, it was imported by George Washington in colonial times and expanded to other areas of government over the past 50 years.Today there are 73 federal inspectors general with the mission of detecting and preventing fraud and misconduct in their agency’s program.  Last month, Congress modified the tools available to the inspector general with the passage of the IG Empowerment Act of 2016. We discuss the new law and what it means for the future of government oversight in our new blog. You can read it and share your thoughts here.


Industry AlertAttention Business Customer Gateway and PostalOne! Users: PostalOne! & BIDS Release 45.0.0.0 – PostalOne! & BIDS Release 45.0.0.0 is complete and the PostalOne! system is available.  Reminder: A new Mail.dat® client download 45.0.0.0_PROD will be required after this release.  All previous versions of the Mail.dat client will be expired. If you have any questions please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085.

NATIONAL NEWS

Post&ParcelCalifornia Congresswoman Susan Davis has re-introduced her bipartisan resolution which aims to “protect” door delivery by the US Postal Service (USPS). In a statement issued on Friday (6 January), Congresswoman Davis said: “Ending door delivery of mail is not good for postal customers, businesses, or the Postal Service. “I’ve heard from constituents who are forced to use cluster mailboxes and they report all kinds of problems with them.  My constituents with door delivery are very vocal about wanting to keep this critical service.” Davis added: “Eliminating door delivery would drive mail and revenue from the Postal Service, devaluing postal mail in the long run as individuals and businesses advertisers would likely send less mail.”

Washington&Lee: A team of students from Washington University in St. Louis is hoping to address both issues with First Class Meal, a prototype program that would improve food access and equality by pairing mobile technology with the physical resources and distribution networks of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The group centered its proposal in Los Angeles. Though the city and county boast dynamic food cultures and proximity to California’s productive farmlands, more than 1 million residents currently lack food security — the highest such concentration in the nation. Nonprofits such as Chefs to End Hunger and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank face great demand but limited warehouse space. Meanwhile, in recent years, dozens of local postal branches have been reviewed for possible closure or consolidation. The students propose adapting those branches to collect, store and distribute food. When items are ready for pickup, local residents and area food banks could potentially use a mobile app to notify USPS workers, who would then collect — and perhaps even deliver — food items alongside mail.

GeekWireNestled among drones, audio equipment, and robots on the CES show floor is an organization you wouldn’t expect to find...U.S. Postal Service. The mail carrier was there to show off its new Precious Cargo Box, a funny-looking upgrade to the standard package with polyurethane blobs designed specifically to protect electronics. The box comes in three sizes, designed to house a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. USPS also demoed some future innovations including a talking blue collection mailbox that can provide info about nearby locations, weigh packages, and more.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

SINGAPORE: NewsInfo: Former Postmaster General Josefina Mendoza-Dela Cruz of the Philippine Postal Corporation was charged with 15 counts of violation of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) law for failing to remit to the state corporation one employee’s loan amortization. According the charge sheet filed before the Sandiganbayan, the Office of the Special Prosecutor accused Dela Cruz, area director Bernardito Gonzales, and accountant Arlene Bendanillo of allegedly conspiring and confederating with one another to commit the criminal offense of failing to remit to the GSIS at least P35,178.45 worth of loan amortizations. 

UNITED KINGDOM: StreetInsider: UPS today announced the purchase of Freightex, a U.K.-based asset-light provider of truckload, less-than-truckload, specialized and refrigerated over-the-road services. The acquisition immediately establishes UPS’s presence in the growing U.K. and European third-party logistics (3PL) over-the-road brokerage transportation market and launches a new global and regional UPS growth platform from an established base of customers and carriers. Shippers of all sizes and industries today rely on Freightex for the efficient movement and visibility of goods across the U.K. and Europe every day. The company has eight locations across the U.K. and Europe and uses an asset-light model to match customers’ outgoing freight shipments with available trucking capacity in its network of carriers.

January 8, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Industry Alert: Post Offices Prepare to Reopen in Greensboro District on Monday, January 9, 2017. Winter Storm Helena – 8:00a.m. Update. Retail ImpactsAll offices listed below will reopen on 1/9/2017

 Hanes Mall Post Office (Winston Salem – 27103): 
 Alamance Post Office (27201): 
 Columbia Post Office (27925): 
 Candor Post Office (27229): 
 Four Seasons Mall Post Office (Greensboro – 27407): 

 
NATIONAL NEWS

PostalNewsA bill introduced by GOP congressman Todd Rokita of Indiana would eliminate civil service protections, including the right to union representation for all new federal employees, including new postal workers. A key provision of Rokita’s “Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency (PAGE) Act” states: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any employee in the civil service (as that term is defined in section 2101 of title 5, United States Code) hired on or after the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act shall be hired on an at-will basis. Such an employee may be removed or suspended, without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. 

HeraldBulletin:  Mail carriers are “the most endangered job” in the country, according to a Careercast.com survey that looked at U.S. Department of Labor Statistics data to determine careers with the lowest career growth outlook. The USDLS expects to see a 28 percent decline in mail carrier jobs by 2024, resulting in the loss of around 136,000 jobs over the next eight years.

January 7, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Industry Alert: Retail Closures in Alabama District (Inclement Weather) 

MPOO Office Name                                         ZIP CLOSED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER 1/7/2017
0 Birmingham AL - Bluff Park Finance Unit 35260 X
0 Birmingham AL - Cahaba Heights Br - Postal Store 35243 X
0 Birmingham AL - Center Point Branch 35215 X
0 Birmingham AL - Crestline Branch 35213 X
0 Birmingham AL - East Lake Station 35206 X
0 Birmingham AL - Fairview Station 35208 X
0 Birmingham AL - Forestdale Branch 35214 X
0 Birmingham AL - Greensprings Finance Unit 35219 X
0 Birmingham AL - Homewood Finance Unit 35209 X
0 Birmingham AL - Hoover Branch 35244A X
0 Birmingham AL - Irondale Branch 35210 X
0 Birmingham AL - Meadowbrook Branch 35242 X
0 Birmingham AL - Midfield Branch 35228 X
0 Birmingham AL - Mountain Brook Finance Unit 35253 X
0 Birmingham AL - South Highlands Finance Unit 35205 X
0 Birmingham AL - Tarrant Branch 35217 X
0 Birmingham AL - Vestavia Finance Unit 35216 X
0 Ensley AL 35218 X
0 West End AL 35211 X
0 Woodlawn AL 35212 X
1 Pelham AL 35124 X
1 Trussville AL 35173 X
1 Anniston AL 36201 X
1 Anniston AL - Oxford Branch 36203 X
1 Jacksonville AL 36265 X
1 Piedmont AL 36272 X
1 Roanoke AL 36274 X
2 Fairfield AL 35064 X
2 Helena AL 35080 X
2 Northport AL 35476 X
3 Tuscaloosa AL  35401B X
3 Tuscaloosa AL - Skyland Station 35405 X
  
Industry Alert: Retail Closures in Greensboro District: Winter Storm Helena – 8:00a.m. Update. 
State of emergency declared for the state of North Carolina. Snow and ice accumulations vary across the state from 1 to 7 inches.
Retail Impacts:
  • Hanes Mall Post Office (Winston Salem – 27103): Closed. The mall will not open today.
  • Alamance Post Office (27201): No power (Hours: 9:30a.m. – 11:30a.m.)
  • Columbia Post Office (27925): No power (Hours: 9:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.)
  • Candor Post Office (27229): Open, No internet service.
  • Four Seasons Mall Post Office (Greensboro – 27407): Closed. The mall will not open today.

Federal Register:

Postal Service: Electronic Induction (eInduction) Option, [2016-30409] [PDF]

NATIONAL NEWS

Transit TimesSnow disrupted operations at the FedEx Express Memphis hub overnight and prompted Delta Air Lines to cancel four Jan. 6 afternoon flights between Memphis and Atlanta. Numerous FedEx flights and some passenger flights in and out of Memphis International Airport were delayed by the snowstorm.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

FRANCE: PCMag"Voyeur" is a French word, but surely it means the same thing in France as it does here, right? No respectable business would want to be associated with it, I always assumed, least of all a postal service. But as I trudged up a flight of stairs at CES here on Friday afternoon with a code unscrambling filter in my hand, I realized how wrong I was. My destination was a movie theater built into the booth of La Poste, the French postal service. This was no ordinary theater, though. The screen was embedded in the booth's floor, and the audience stood on a catwalk above it, looking down through the rectangular filters that we were given on the way in. Almost immediately after the movie started, it was clear that this was going to be the most unique thing I experienced all week, even at a trade show known for its quirks.

January 6, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Office of the Inspector General: Internal Controls Over Local Purchases and Payments – Gloucester, VA, Post Office: We’ve released a new audit report on internal controls over local purchases and payments at the Gloucester, VA, Post Office. Read it here: http://go.usa.gov/x9ZGu

Federal Register:

Postal Service: Electronic Induction (eInduction) Option, [2016-32056] [PDF]

Postal Regulatory Commission
  • FY 2016 Annual Compliance Report, 1764–1766 [2016–32053] [PDF]
  • Postal Service Performance Reports and Performance Plans, 1763–1764 [2017–00024] [PDF]

NATIONAL NEWS

PostalNewsPostal inspectors regularly meet with carriers to remind them to be aware of unsafe situations and to report suspicious activities, such as vehicles that follow them or parcels that go missing along their routes.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

GERMANY Post&Parcel:  DHL Parcel and smart are expanding the coverage of their “smart ready to drop” in-car parcel delivery service in Germany. The idea is that smart drivers can buy goods online and then arrange for them to be delivered by DHL Parcel to the boot of their smart cars. Both the smart driver and the DHL parcel courier use specially designed apps. The vehicle owner uses the smart app to generate a single-use transaction authorization number (TAN) which they enter in the “c/o” box when stating their delivery address for purchases in an online shop. The DHL parcel courier is informed of the preferred delivery location via an app, receiving time-limited access to the recipient’s car.

ROMANIA:RomaniaInsiderRomania’s National Communications Authority (ANCOM) could open the sector of universal postal services to private operators starting 2019. The state-owned Romanian Post currently holds the monopoly on postal services market. With a network of over 1,200 postal units, the Romanian Post is currently the only player that can deliver letters and parcels in all the villages and towns in Romania until the end of 2018. ANCOM launched yesterday in public debate the strategy plan that will regulate the postal services sector between 2017 and 2020. It will analyze, until the end of 2017, if the universal postal service can be provided by other companies except for the Romanian Post.

January 5, 2017

PostComMembers !! 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

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register:

U.S. Postal Service

  • Rules: International Mailing Services - Mailing Service Price Changes 1206 [2016-31525] [PDF]
  • Proposed Rules: Requirements for Authority to Manufacture and Distribute Postage Evidencing Systems - Customized Postage Products, 1294-1296 [2016-31856] [PDF]
USPS Industry AlertPostalOne! Release 45 and Price Change Webinars Additional Session Scheduled for January 6th at 10:30 AM (ET): Due to the incorrect link provided for the January 5 webinar, an additional session has been scheduled for tomorrow, January 6th at 10:30 a.m.  All webinars will be recorded and links to the presentation and webinar recordings will be posted on PostalPro.
  • PostalOne! Release 45 Business Related Changes and January 2017 Price Change 
Date/Time:  January 6, 2017; 10:30 am – 12:00 noon eastern
Meeting Number: 749 065 001
Teleconference information: Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US), Conference Code: 260 841 5474
  • January 2017 Price Change
Date/Time:  January 10, 2017; 12:00 noon – 1:30 pm eastern
Meeting Number: 744 605 628
Teleconference information: Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US); Conference Code: 260 841 5474

Date/Time:  January 18, 2017; 1:00 – 2:00 pm eastern
Meeting Number: 742 572 157
Teleconference information: Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US); Conference Code: 260 841 5474


NATIONAL NEWS

ConsumerReportsStaples is getting out of the post office business, though not willingly. After years of protests by postal workers, the U.S. Postal Service is ending the arrangement under which Staples sold postal services, acting as sort of an auxilary post office. The USPS said in a letter to the APWU that the cancellation will be effective in March 2017. Staples will be removing all signage and will discontinue postal services at the national retailer’s roughly 500 U.S. locations that handle postal services. In exchange, APWU is calling off the boycott of Staples effective immediately.

WSJThe U.S. Postal Service reported a wider loss for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 as growth in shipping and package volume boosted revenue but also led to higher spending. USPS has been competing for share in the growing market for package delivery spurred by an increase in e-commerce against shipping giants UPS and Federal Express, which also have been hit by higher costs. Postmaster General and Chief Executive Megan J. Brennan said the USPS spent $1.4 billion in the latest fiscal year for building improvements, vehicles, equipment and other capital projects, an increase of $206 million from the year-earlier period.

IoMPostIt's vital that you differentiate your brand and products from the competition, especially the brand leaders, if you want your mailers to hit the mark. Your killer proposition needs to be strong enough to appeal to new or existing customers, while still being in line with your brand and the products you're promoting. Once you have your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), you need to define not only the benefits it offers to the customer, but also what these mean. You need to convey your USPs in a language and style that suit your company and its brand. Grasp the opportunity presented by each Direct Mail item and use your USPs to your advantage by presenting them in a style that will engage and appeal to your audience. 

GeekwireAmazon has patented a system for delivering goods via a dedicated network. Amazon’s patent application for a dedicated network delivery system, above or below ground, was filed almost three years ago. The patent was finally issued and published a little more than a month ago. The 33-page application lays out the specifications for a network that could transport packages via conveyor belts or rails, or even through pneumatic tubes. There’s no indication that Amazon is actually planning to build such a network anytime soon, but other companies are thinking about it.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CAMBODIA: WebIndiaThe state-owned Cambodia Post will launch an online shopping platform in March in a move to tap the current rise in e-commerce activity. Cambodia Post has a nationwide delivery and transport service, so an online shopping platform would be convenient for both sellers and customers.

January 4, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register: 

Postal Service

  • Notice: International Product Changes [2016-31854] [PDF]
  • Product Changes: Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement [2016-31853] [PDF]
  • Product Changes: Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement [2016-31850] [PDF], [2016-31851] [PDF], [2016-31852] [PDF

Postal Regulatory Commission: New Postal Products, 888[2016-31846] [PDF],898[2016-31892] [PDF]

NATIONAL NEWS

ReutersAmazon.com Inc shipped 50 percent more items during the past holiday season than the prior year for third-party vendors and doubled the amount for 2016 overall. More sellers are paying the company to store, pack and ship goods through its fulfillment service. Amazon more than doubled the items it delivered for other sellers in 2016 from the year prior to exceed 2 billion. Active sellers using the fulfillment service rose more than 70 percent in the year.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UPU: LexingtonInstitute: Modest Progress with new Postage Rate System - The Congress created a new rate structure governing the shipment of small packages, which will be treated differently than letter mail beginning in 2018. Industrialized countries will be paid a higher-than-inflation rate increase for packages weighing up to 4.4 pounds under the changes.  In regards to Public Safety risks - UPU’s new small packages classification would improve the security of incoming international mail, even help deter terrorism by facilitating the future transmission of advance electronic customs data to customs authorities. Lastly, Postal Operators worldwide anticipate service cuts - As traditional letter mail volumes have fallen and consumer buying patterns have shifted, national postal operators have had to rethink their business models and what “universal service” means in the digital era.

NIGERIA: TheGuardianTo aid mobile and financial inclusiveness especially in rural communities, banking services will be added to the operations of the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), the national postal carrier which delivers mails to businesses and citizens. Financial inclusion is the delivery of financial or monetary services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. NIPOST banking and insurance services are at par with countries like South Korea, Singapore and China who provide banking services along their postal services.  

INDIA: HindustantimesThe postal department recently started three international business centres in Bhopal, and a month on, officials has discovered that the parcels sent by residents to their kin abroad more often than not contained food. Apart from food, residents send their kin documents, followed by clothes and gifts.

INDIA: Merinews: While ordinary postal services are exempted from levy of service tax, postal department has to pay service tax on some select premium services like Speed Post (including Speed Post Gold) and Express Parcel Post. Charging service tax from Department of Posts that too only on some select postal services by the Department of Revenue is like transferring money from one pocket to other of the central government resulting in unnecessary paper work and procedural aspects involving huge man-hours. The Union finance ministry should abolish service-tax even from premium services like Speed Post (including Speed Post Gold) and Express Parcel Post. Also it is time to popularise Speed Post service over private courier-service by having uniform Speed Post tariff for both local and non-local service.

January 3, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Office of the Inspector General: Top 10 Postal Stories of 2016:There was no shortage of postal news in 2016, from the price rollback on market-dominant products to the political showdown over the Board of Governors. We put together a top 10 list of postal stories, in reverse importance, on our blog. Tell us what you think is the top story of the year at here.

USPS Industry AlertDenver, CO MPA Redirection. The Denver Mail Processing Annex (MPA) (NASS 800pf) located at 20101 E 36th Drive, Aurora, CO 80011, will cease operations as of midnight, Friday, January 6, 2017. Beginning Saturday, January 7th, all Flats Mail (i.e., Periodicals, Standard, Package Services) will be redirected and dropped at the Denver P&DC (NASS 800) located just  10.2 miles away at 7540 E 53rd Place, Denver, CO 80266. The Denver P&DC will accept mail originally destined for the Denver MPA. If you have any questions, please contact the FAST Helpdesk at FAST@usps.gov or call on 1-877-569-6614.

NATIONAL NEWS

Postal ReporterUSPS has expanded its Surface Visibility (SV) program to an additional 114 sites, bringing the total number to 437 across the nation. The program is part of the Postal Service’s broader efforts to better use technology and promote the SV application, which improves scanning and makes it easier for business customers to know the whereabouts of their mail and packages. To further close visibility gaps, USPS also has expanded SV scanning capability to 65 peak annexes and five contracted sites, providing these locations with more flexible technology that uses the cellular network. 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

SINGAPORE: Channel News AsiaAs part of efforts to encourage people to send greeting cards during Singapore's four major festivals, SingPost is lowering postage rates in the lead up to Chinese New Year. In a media release on Tuesday (Jan 3), the postal service provider said the festive rates apply to stamped and franked greeting cards posted between Jan 7 and Jan 29, 2017. It will cost S$0.70 to send greeting cards - weighing up to 40 grams - to anywhere in the world, allowing customers to save up to S$0.65.

MALAYSIA: New Straits TimesPOS Malaysia Bhd is willing to sell a stake in courier unit Pos Laju, its jewel in the crown, if the price is right. Pos Malaysia group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said unlike most national postal companies in other countries, Pos Laju was the market leader and commanded 40 per cent of the Malaysian courier market. “Pos Laju is the jewel in the crown. This year, courier revenue is set to overtake that of traditional postal services,” he said in an interview recently.  Shukrie said Pos Malaysia was open to strategic partnerships.

January 2, 2017

NATIONAL NEWS

ABC newsFederal regulators have fined UPS $73,800 for safety violations at the company's airplane hangar in Louisville. The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/2ivul8E ) reports the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company in October after the violations were found during an inspection. One involved an open-sided platform without proper safety railings. The other violation was related to workplace sanitation conditions. UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot says in a statement that the company addressed the concerns immediately after they occurred.

ecommercebytesThe start of 2017 marks the beginning of what promises to be another busy year for the Postal Service. Throughout the year, the organization will continue its focus on its four core business strategies: delivering world-class customer experiences; engaging, equipping and empowering employees; innovating; and investing in the future.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Ireland: Herald.ieThere has been a massive increase in the amount of drugs being seized in the country's postal system over the last three years by customs officers. Exclusive figures obtained by the Herald show that up until November 7 more than €1.5m of drugs were intercepted in An Post offices nationwide during the first 10 months of 2016. 

Ireland: Irish ExaminerThe Minister for the Environment, John Boland, recommended in September 1986 that draft legislation to introduce postal voting on health and occupations grounds should not be proceeded with. Mr Boland told other ministers he had grave reservation about the measure as there had been was serious organised abuse in a number of areas during the previous year’s local elections. He claimed the worst reported incident occurred in Donegal where only 635 out of 3,325 applications for a postal vote were accepted. Mr Boland said the abuse took place at every stage of the process, despite various in-built safeguards to make postal voting as secure as possible. Applicants’ signatures, medical certificates and signature of peace commissioners were forged, said Mr Boland.

January 1, 2017

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register: 

  • Postal Service: International Product Changes: Inbound PRIME Tracked Service Agreement [2016-31767][PDF] 
  • Postal Regulatory Commission: New Postal Products [ 2016-31769] [PDF]
  • Postal Regulatory Commission: Rate Adjustments [2016-31770] [PDF]
 
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