Association for Postal Commerce
"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"
"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you believe are worth defending."

1800 Diagonal Rd., Ste 320 * Alexandria, VA 22314-2862 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 997 2414

This Month in the Postal World:

March 31, 2014 

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Commission Meeting, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 11 a.m., Commission Hearing Room, 901 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268–0001. Portions Open to the Public 1. Report from the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations on legislative activities and the handling of rate and service inquiries from the public. 2. Report from the Office of General Counsel on the status of Commission dockets. 3. Report from the Office of Accountability and Compliance. 4. Report from the Office of the Secretary and Administration. Public Comment. A period for public comment will be offered following consideration of the last numbered item in the open portion. Portion Closed to the Public 5. Discussion of pending litigation. For more information, please contact: Shoshana M. Grove, Secretary of the Commission, at 202–789–6800 or shoshana.grove@prc.gov

CNN: Gmail doesn't cost any money to use, but it's not free. Google's popular online e-mail service, which turns 10 Tuesday, may not charge for its Gmail accounts. But the company is still collecting payment in the form of massive amounts of personal information about the people who use it. When people send and receive messages using a free e-mail service, they are sharing details about their interests, who their connections are and what their finances look like. And while Gmail may have popularized it, targeted ads based on user data has become the primary business model for many tech companies. It's how social media companies such as Facebook and search engines such as Bing make money as well as a huge number of apps that scrape contact and location information from users. It's also led to a number of similar privacy lawsuits against other companies, including LinkedIn, Yahoo and Facebook.

American Banker: There are a lot of sides to Washington, and from USPS OIG David Williams' vantage point the nation's capital looks far different than it does to folks in the financial industry. There's a big gap between the world Williams occupies every day and the realm he entered in January, when his office released a paper arguing that the Postal Service should start making small-dollar consumer loans and offering new ways for consumers to save. The report's ideas were just as loudly panned by banking lobbyists as they were cheered by prominent congressional Democrats. In a recent interview, Williams shed new light on the origin of the January report, portraying the Postal Service as having been more involved in the project than the agency has acknowledged publicly. He made clear that he sees the payday loan business as bad for America. And he strongly defended his office's proposal, arguing that the Postal Service should partner with banks to serve rural communities and inner cities.

The Star-Ledger: At first, it was mail that was occasionally delivered to the wrong address. Then it started happening on a daily basis. The addresses on the mail mysteriously changed, and letters were sent to the wrong place. Important divorce court documents didn’t get to the intended recipient, and credit card bills were lost. Then wedding presents went to the wrong house. And a dog’s ashes couldn’t find their way home. Residents who live around White Meadow Lake in Rockaway Township have been plagued by mail and delivery mishaps for nearly a year, they said.

Office of the Inspector General: "If You Build It, They Will Come. Maybe." -- That ethereal voice was enough for Ray Kinsella to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield in the movie Field of Dreams. But is this approach a sound business model for same-day delivery providers? It seems to be the model they are following: provide same-day delivery in anticipation that customers will eventually consider it standard practice – and actually want it. Study after study shows consumers shop online mainly because of low prices and free delivery. Consumers consistently rank “fast shipping” toward the bottom of their reasons for returning to an e-tailer’s website. And yet e-tailers, brick-and-mortar stores, startups, and even the U.S. Postal Service have embarked on the quest to provide same-day delivery service.

CNN: For all the talk about how e-commerce is outpacing the performance of traditional retail sales in brick-and-mortar stores, the men and women who could gain the most from the boom in online merchandising are not Web designers or those who come up with clever new shopping apps, but workers who perform one of the oldest jobs in the world: Lugging packages from the curb to someone's front door. It's one task that can't be accomplished in cyberspace.

Global News: The cost of mailing a first-class letter within Canada is going up today – by 35 per cent. Canada Post is raising the price of a stamp to 85-cents, up from 63-cents. While the new price applies when buying stamps in bulk, it will cost $1 to buy a single first-class stamp.

New York Daily News: The attorney general is charging FedEx with violating state and federal law by delivering more than 400,000 cartons of cheap and untaxed cigarettes to consumers across New York State. The filing says the shipments cost the state a 'direct tax loss' of more than $10 million.

The Times: Ministers, investment bankers and senior civil servants are bracing themselves for recriminations this week when the Government’s auditors give their verdict on the flotation of Royal Mail, which appears to have lost taxpayers in excess of £1 billion. In what is likely to be a trying week for the privatised postal network, Royal Mail has pushed through stamp price and parcel charge rises today that its competitors say will show that the former monopoly is trying to profit from its market dominance.

March 30, 2014 

The Hindu: The Postal Department has launched an exercise to train the postmasters and frontline staff on customer care.

Montana Standard: For many years, the United States Postal Service was the best way to move packages from one location to the next. In fact, it is still going strong - as it has since it’s founding in 1775. But there are numerous competitors these days, vying for your business. UPS, another delivery service, delivers to 220 countries worldwide. Founded in 1907 as the American Messenger Company, it also has a long track record of satisfied customers. Of course, everyone knows FedEx. Its overnight delivery service is legendary, but it has other services to assist people who need a quality delivery service. Montana Parcel and Freight offers same day delivery to southwest Montana. So which service should you choose? You can work with the big three providers or a smaller, newer company. Before you drop that package off, here are some things to consider.

Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service’s shift to a more flexible workforce is likely to mean more mail pieces will be marked “return to sender,” according to postal officials. USPS estimates it delivers at least 2.2 billion mail pieces annually that lack complete address information, according to information presented at a session of the recent National Postal Forum. USPS says special handling costs it an estimated $160 million annually What carriers learn about problem addresses is supposed to be captured in the Postal Service's address-management database, but it's an imperfect process.

The Standard: ZIMPOST was once renowned as the leading postal, communication and financial services provider in Zimbabwe with a postal network of over 250 outlets. However, technological developments have since rendered the use of letters for communication between many people obsolete.

March 29, 2014 

Times of India: With election campaigning catching pace, candidates and their supporters need to be ready to face the heat, literally. The soaring mercury is set to trouble those campaigning door-to-door in both urban and rural areas. At such a time, the postal department is set to give some relief to political parties with a novel method. According to a new scheme, the department will deliver pamphlets of candidates in their chosen area through Direct Post.

WABC: Most of us pick up our mail on a daily basis without giving it a second thought, just grabbing it from our mailbox. But for dozens of people in the Bronx, it got much more complicated. Rita Davies relies on her Social Security check and rent vouchers, but the broken bank of mailboxes has left her empty-handed. Her post office is out of her range, nearly a mile away. So every other day she has to have an aide help her get on the Access-a-Ride bus, drive to the post office, and wait in line to get her mail. "They should be doing a better job because they are inconveniencing people!" Davies said. Rita says she and more than 40 of her Co-op City neighbors were given a range of excuses about the broken mailbox locks.

Napa Valley Register: Inside the Staples office supply store in Napa, in the corner beside the photocopiers, is a counter offering package delivery, stamps and other trappings of a post office. But the 20 sign-wielding visitors flanking the Trancas Street store’s entrance were anything but satisfied customers. “The U.S. mail ... is not for sale!” members of three postal workers’ unions shouted in call-and-response fashion in a protest against the U.S. Postal Service’s opening of 84 mail centers inside Staples stores. The American Postal Workers Union, the National Postal Handlers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers partnered for Friday’s mid-day protest — the second in a month outside the Napa Staples, located less than two blocks from the city’s main post office. Amid the passing of customers’ vehicles and periodic honking by sympathetic visitors, protesters alternated their chanting with their demand — that Staples staff its mail centers with existing postal workers and not store staff, whom they called poorly paid and ill-trained. Carrie McElwee, spokeswoman for Staples Inc., referred questions about the partnership and its future to the Postal Service. “As a matter of policy, we don’t provide details on our pilot programs or on our agreements with vendors,” she wrote in an email. A message to Postal Service spokespeople Toni DeLancey and Sue Brennan was not returned.

March 28, 2014 

National Journal: Leveraging new technologies to extend the reach of postal services and developing international standards for mobile payments will take centre stage in future work between the UPU and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Director General Bishar A. Hussein and ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré signed a new memorandum of understanding to this effect at UPU headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, on March 26. "The UPU and ITU are working together to strengthen the capacity of our respective sectors to deliver quality postal services through bringing connectivity to post offices in developing and least developed countries," said Hussein.

WHNT: An Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who won two Purple Hearts and once appeared on the cover of Time Magazine is now at the center of controversy in Lincoln County, Tennessee after she was fired from her job at the Fayetteville Post Office last week. Karah Adams told WHNT News 19 that her three-month postal career came to a sudden end after being accused of lying to her boss on her job application. But Adams said the claim by her supervisor was false, and was used as a cover to get rid of her after she wouldn’t go along with post office corruption she called “blatant.” “A lot of stuff that goes on in the Fayetteville Post Office, it is intimidation and harassment at its best,” said Adams. “I did my job and I did it well.”

Small BusinessTrends: Earlier this year, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service circulated a white paper suggesting the post office begin providing “non-bank financial services to the underserved.” Predictably, bankers got riled up upon hearing the news, telling the debt-ridden USPS to stick to what they are supposed to do and not get involved in an area they know little about. An NPR story quotes Consumer Bankers Association CEO Richard Hunt as calling the idea essentially stupid. He says it is “the typical Washington, D.C., mentality. You’ve got an agency of the government losing money, so what do they say? ‘Well, maybe we should go to a field that we know nothing about ’cause there’s possibly money there.’ That would be like my flying a 747 because I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” Others suggested the plan would be a way to rescue the USPS from financial difficulties. Time Magazine, for instance, says the idea could “save the Post Office from extinction.”

The Star-Ledger: One of the operators of a bulk-mailing company was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Thursday after admitting to defrauding clients of more than $1 million, authorities said. Harold Clevett, a 68-year-old man from Middlesex, pleaded guilty in September to discarding and shredding nearly 3 million pieces of mail he and Clevett Worldwide Mailers LLC were paid to sort, address and deliver for clients, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. Clevett was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release including six months of home confinement, and restitution of approximately $1 million, Fishman said.

Post & Parcel: Russian Post has said its Russian customers can now send mail to the Crimea region under its domestic rates.

Postal Technology International: The latest issue is now available online. More News...

Office of the Inspector General: Fiscal Year 2013 Information Technology Internal Controls  Main Report | Highlights

Wall Street Journal: Some employers increasingly are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace. Germany-based software company SAP AG has been actively seeking people with autism for jobs, not because of charitable outreach but because it believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs than those without autism. It's a worthy initiative, according to disability experts, since 85% of adults with autism are estimated to be unemployed.

Financial Times: As with so many buzzwords, “big data” is a vague term, often thrown around by people with something to sell. High quality global journalism requires investment. But the “big data” that interests many companies is what we might call “found data”, the digital exhaust of web searches, credit card payments and mobiles pinging the nearest phone mast. Found data underpin the new internet economy as companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon seek new ways to understand our lives through our data exhaust. Since Edward Snowden’s leaks about the scale and scope of US electronic surveillance it has become apparent that security services are just as fascinated with what they might learn from our data exhaust, too.

Waltainfo: The Ethiopian Postal Service Enterprise is set to establish permanent post offices in all woredas across the country at the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period. Enterprise Process Chief Officer, Ziyen Gedlu, told WIC today that the opening of the office would help farmers and pastoralists to get postal service within their reach. Efforts are underway to open offices in 150 woredas this Ethiopian budget year, he said.

Motley Fool: Shipping and logistics is a business where capital intensity and network size really matters. The world's largest parcel delivery company, United Parcel Service, is showing its biggest two competitors, FedEx and DHL, why its business structure generates higher margins, and thus superior profitability.

USPS Link: The news media, blogs and social media often comment that some Postal Service initiatives — or recommendations in pending legislation — are steps toward privatizing the organization. No one is planning to privatize USPS. “USPS is doing all it can to grow business, not sell it off,” said PMG Pat Donahoe. “Initiatives like business and retail partnerships will benefit employees by helping build growth and financial stability into the future.” Retail alliances — where USPS sells products and services through Approved Shippers, Contract Postal Units, or Village Post Offices — give customers more choices where and when they can purchase postal products and services. These relationships also secure the long-term future of the Postal Service — a goal all stakeholders want. “These partnerships provide greater value and convenience for our current customers and also will attract new customers,” said Donahoe. “This is good for the organization and for our employees.” Donahoe said USPS is doing what any business that wants to survive and prosper does — adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace and meeting customer needs. “If we don’t adjust, we’ll become another outdated 20th century business — stuck with a rigid business model that doesn’t work,” he said.

The Star: The Canada Post price hikes taking effect next week might do the crown corporation more harm than good, a small business advocate says. Stamp prices increase from $0.63 to $0.85 on Monday, a raise aimed at helping to make up for the decline in demand for mail delivery. The 22-cent jump (a 12-cent increase to $0.75 for businesses using metered postage) might push more businesses online and away from traditional mail, says Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “Price hikes are actually going to cause further erosion in the usage of Canada Post amongst clients,” Kelly says. “Rather than shoring up its finances, I suspect that it’s going to end up weakening them because customers are going to be motivated to move away from postal services.”

Direct Marketing News: The Postal Regulatory Commission's advisory opinion on the Postal Service's load-leveling plan is to take a step back and do a more thorough job of assessing the implications for mailers before putting it into play. USPS had hoped to enforce the plan beginning today, but by law will now have to wait at least 90 days.

Post & Parcel: PostNL has changed the name of TNT Post Germany to bring all its domestic mail services in Germany under one brand name, PostCon. The PostCon brand has already been in use within Germany, with the firm one of the largest bulk mail specialists in the country, but the Dutch postal operator PostNL is now subsuming the activities of TNT Post Germany under the PostCon name. It said the merged brand will retain all existing operational sites. PostCon/TNT Post Germany has been operating since the year 2000, specialising in business letter mail services. Effective 19 March, the company will offer a full range of commercial mail and shipping services, though business-to-business services will remain the core business.

AmericaPost™ is a registered trademark of the Association for Postal Commerce. Interested? Let's talk.

Associated Press: Americans really love their snacks, but will they pay to have them delivered to their mailboxes? That’s the bet behind new snack delivery services that want to inject an element of surprise into the snacking ritual. Rather than letting people pick what they want, the companies usually assemble packages based on the customer’s general preferences.

Politico: It was supposed to be an easy win: The most loathed federal agency engaged in what amounted to discrimination against tea party-backed nonprofits. But 10 months out from the first IRS scandal headline, some Republicans are unhappy with their party’s investigation — and they point a finger at the man who helped sustain the national uproar: Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Annual Compliance Determination Report FY 2013.

The Postal Regulatory Commission issued its 2013 Annual Compliance Determination (ACD) report, an assessment of the U.S. Postal Service’s rates and service in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. This year’s ACD is based on information the Postal Service is required to provide to the Commission and comments from the public.

The Commission notes that the Postal Service has made improvements in the areas of customized service agreements and increased cost coverage and contribution from competitive products. Also, the volume of mail being measured for service performance has increased, and customer access and satisfaction have improved over the previous fiscal year. The Commission also found that customers were generally satisfied with their overall experience when visiting post offices, but were less satisfied with the resolution of complaints. Overall, the majority of the products were found to be in compliance. However, the Commission has identified several compliance issues the Postal Service must address in FY 2014:

 1) Market Dominant Rates and Fees: The Commission finds that 18 workshare discounts did not comply with section 3622(e), which requires the Commission to ensure that workshare discounts do not exceed the costs avoided by the Postal Service as a result of mailers preparing the mail.

2) Competitive Products Rates and Fees: Rates for Parcel Return Service Contract 4, International Priority Mail, International Air Parcel Post, and International Money Transfer Service-Outbound were not in compliance because they did not cover attributable costs. The Commission ordered the Postal Service to take corrective actions.

3) Market Dominant Products Service Performance: Despite overall improvements, the Commission found that a majority of market dominant mail products did not reach their annual service performance targets.

4) In the FY 2014 ACR, the Postal Service must provide a detailed analysis of the progress made in improving Periodicals cost coverage that includes the impact of leveraging its pricing flexibility and implementing operational strategies.

“While the Postal Service has made strides in FY 2013 in service performance,” Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway noted, “it’s important to correct those areas we identified that hurt its financial condition, and also to pay attention to meeting service standards and solving customer complaints.”

Dead Tree Edition: Magazine advertising gains market share in the U.S., but the actual number of magazine copies is declining faster than ever: What in this crazy multimedia world is going on?

March 27, 2014 

THE POSTAL WORLD AWAITS
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) at the National Postal Forum (NPF) provided session attendees with highlights of its soon to be published “2014 Strategic Guide for Flats Planning.” The Guide will outline the USPS’ strategies to “increase the profitability of flats, both for the USPS and for industry users.” Attendees were told:
The USPS strategies focus on product growth, service improvement, and cost reduction/efficiency improvement.

Crain's Cleveland: Research finds that direct mail gets more visibility than email marketing, leading to greater impact and more sales. Successful merchandisers use a combination of marketing tactics to grow their businesses. Strategies abound to help mitigate postal rate increases. Here are some simple steps to help control postage fees and increase the impact of your direct mail investment.

Silicon India: "Dying Careers That You Should Avoid" -- Postal service workers have had hard times ever since the invention of emails and other telecommunication products. This line of work has lost a major chunk of its customers and business market share to much more reliable and faster telecommunication services. There has been a drastic decrease in the volume of postal services in response to the increasing digitalization of mails. The drastic volume reduction has also made it harder to run profitable business and is expected to reach greater depths in the future.

Global Times: The US Postal Service (USPS), traditionally viewed by many Chinese-Americans as a secure job, also has options to retire early. Postal workers are federal workers who enjoy federal retirement coverage in addition to social security. Now the early retirement benefits for USPS include personal retirement welfare and an extra bonus of roughly $15,000.

Telecompaper: The Italian post office (Poste Italiane) has announced that customers of its MVNO PosteMobile carried out a total of 26.6 million financial transactions in 2013, with a total value of EUR 290 million. This compares with 23.4 million transactions carried out in 2012 for a value of EUR 256 million. PosteMobile has become Italy’s leading MVNO since its launch in 2007, boasting 3 million customers and a 50 percent share of the MVNO market. It has substantially increased its financial services and m-commerce offering in the past 12 months. Poste Italiane, which the government plans to privatise next autumn, recorded a EUR 1 billion net profit in 2013, with revenues rising 8 percent to EUR 26 billion, converting it into the world’s most profitable postal operator.

Broadway World: Postea Inc., a technology company that has developed automated dimensioning and enrollment equipment for use in the logistics, e-commerce, and postal industries, announced that it will be working closely with Nightline to explore ways in which its technology can be deployed to assist in automating aspects of Nightline's operations. Established in 1992, Nightline is one of the leading independent express delivery and logistics companies in Ireland, offering national and international same day, next morning door-to-door delivery services. Nightline employs over 650 people and runs a dedicated fleet of over 350 vehicles. Nightline has invested over €5m in facilities, security, technology and equipment in its Irish domestic network and leads the Irish market in web-based track and trace technology. Its dedicated regional depots serve their immediate localities, while feeding into the national and international services through Nightline's two operational hubs, which are strategically located close to Dublin and Belfast airports.

Associated Press: A former postal worker has pleaded guilty to falsely claiming he was disabled to get worker’s compensation benefits. Forty-year-old Christopher O’Brien of Eldersburg entered the plea Wednesday in federal court in Baltimore. If the Court accepts the plea deal, O’Brien will be sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home detention. He also agreed to pay restitution of more than $80,000.

Washington Examiner: Postal employees have spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on gambling, bills and other personal expenses, according to a series of reports by the U.S. Postal Service inspector general. Federal employees may use government credit cards for official travel expenses, but some used theirs to withdraw cash before hitting casinos. Nearly a dozen reports on closed travel card theft investigations were obtained by the Washington Examiner in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Postalnews Blog: The Washington Examiner, the right wing web site that pretends to be a newspaper, has what it apparently thinks is a big scoop this morning. Shocking, isn’t it? Just one problem- it’s not true. In the first place, of course, most people know by now that the USPS isn’t funded by the taxpayer. But the most important fact that the Examiner chooses to ignore is that government travel cards are credit cards issued to employees who travel on postal business. While the cards are intended to be used solely for official travel expenses, the individual employee is responsible for all charges made on the card. So if some stupid manager uses his travel card to get a cash advance at a casino so he can gamble, (as has been done), it is accurate to say that he is certifiably stupid he has violated USPS regulations and federal law, and… he should be fired But it is totally false to say that he has cost the taxpayer, or even the postal ratepayer, any money. That cash advance will appear on his next statement, and Citibank will expect repayment, regardless of whether the advance was made legitimately or not. The USPS isn’t out a single penny.

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

  • The Commission finds that the Postal Service’s Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Load Leveling Plan may provide a potential means of leveling DSCF Standard Mail daily delivery volumes. However, the limited testing is inconclusive regarding the effects of the plan on a nationwide basis. Accordingly, the plan appears to need further development. To that end, the Commission recommends certain actions for the Postal Service’s consideration.
  • In a Stamps.com February 2014 report, “Who’s Winning the Shipping War?” data is provided evaluating the USPS, UPS, and FedEx on tracking events, delivery times and overall costs. Based on the data, Stamps.com said that “[w]hen working with a combination of package sizes and weights, using a mixture of all three shipping carriers is a smart strategy.” It noted, however that the USPS investments in its technology instrastructure has put it “on par with private carriers in package delivery tracking.” And the bottom line – it said its study discovered “that the USPS offers the fastest average delivery times in the areas we tested.”
  • Correction: NPF flats strategy article. DMA/FAST study says direct mail still integral. Print industry is greener than you think. Honeywell awarded MDD contract by USPS. Time for a free-market postal system. Is privatization part of the PMG’s plan? USPS to downsize, but no lay-offs. DM spend down. What will the future look like for the postal industry? If the Brits can do it, why can’t the U.S.? House GOP hearing a farce. The Hallmark version of Touched by a Postal Angel. USPS CIO COMMITTED....to mail, that is. Solidarity forever – or at least as long as the USPS exists. It’s about postal costs, stupid." Weekend at Bernie’s. Catalogers say “Oh yes we can.”
  • An update on notices published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on USPS notices to the mailing industry.
  • An update on key docket activity at the PRC.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews.
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Federal News Radio: The Postal Service's financial problems are the subject of several bills on Capitol Hill to give them more flexibility for making benefits payments, changing their benefits structures, changing their business model and obligations and other options. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, talked to In Depth with Francis Rose at his office on Capitol Hill yesterday about the problems the Postal Service is facing. In our Congressional Spotlight, Francis Rose asked him what he thinks the Postal Service's business operation looks like several years in the future. .mp3

PC Magazine: The newly emergent "big data" meme has never been defined in any meaningful and definitive way. It's the most amorphous new buzz-term that I've seen for a decade. It's one of those "eye of the beholder" terms used to liven up a seminar and eventually soak investors. Let's start by asking what does big data mean? Lots of data? More data than you can handle? Amorphous data? Out of control data? Useful data for analysis? Useless data? Information overload? If you read enough about big data, it is all of the above and more. The key is not the data, but the challenge of how to handle the data and what to do with the data itself. In other words, how can we make this huge pile of data, that we have managed to accumulate, be useful in new and profitable ways? Big data as a high concept will never fully define itself and die a miserable death.

Financial Times: Big data is facing its human moment. Many companies have ambitious plans to use data to make operations more efficient, build stronger relationships with customers or develop new revenue streams. But it will not count for much if they are not ready for the revolution ahead.Business processes have to adapt to accommodate new approaches. Yawning skills gaps must be bridged. Above all, corporate cultures and personal working styles have to be overhauled – starting at the top. Managers accustomed to making gut decisions have to learn the humility that comes from being led by the data. All of this points to the inevitable disappointment that lies ahead for many chief executives who have demanded big data strategies. “While big data is at the top of many companies’ agendas, few of them are getting value out of it today,” says Travis Pearson, a partner at consulting firm Bain. “The expectations are very high, so there will inevitably be disappointments.” Big data’s teething troubles can be identified in a number of areas, starting with business processes. Becoming a data-driven company means bringing a new scientific method to decision-making.

SeeMoreInteractive: Gone are the days when people would walk into a store without any knowledge about a product and ask the sales staff about it, and based on their inputs, they would make their purchase. Modern shoppers are already aware about the products and prefer to buy online than going to a store. In fact, they always look for offers, product promotions to be available in the stores as well as workplaces on various mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, or other new wearable innovations that they use. To match their expectations, a ‘total retailer’ need to be prepared in every possible way. According to a report by PwC, named Achieving Total Retail, such a retailer will embed digital marketing products with suitable formatting so that it can be available on different devices. Retailers today cannot just afford to select between mobile apps and mobile websites. Both are a necessity for total retailers. This is because, different sections of customers are inclined to these two different mediums.

SeeMoreInteractive: According to a recent study, 66 percent, i.e. two-thirds of US consumers are more likely to buy from a shop having a mobile app than the one which doesn’t have an app. The report from Apigee called “The Mobile Mandate for Retail – Three criteria for making the most of mobile apps in retail” suggests that the figure rises to 84 percent when it comes to consumers who regularly use apps for carrying out various tasks.

Venture Beat: Shipping packages is a pain for most of us. For San Francisco’s entrepreneurs, that makes it a big opportunity. The latest startup to alleviate the hassle of posting and packaging is Shyp. The service launched today in San Francisco after several months in private beta. Customers download the Shyp iOS app, take a photo of the item they wish to ship, enter the address, and the type of service they require. A Shyp worker, referred to as a “hero,” picks up the item and takes it to a secure place to be packed and delivered. Shyp determines the cheapest and most reliable shipping service to use, between UPS, FedEx, DHL, or the U.S. Postal Service. You don’t have to box your item. You don’t have to futz with tape, labels, or markers. Just take a pic and push a button.

Nigerian Tribune: The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, considered two proposed bills aimed at opening up the postal services to private operator and checking the excesses of industry players who may want to kill competition and monopolise their markets.

March 26, 2014 

Post & Parcel: Australia Post has launched a new concession postage scheme, offering cheaper stamps for customers on low incomes. The stamps will be available from the end of this month priced at 60c for domestic services, as the standard rate for domestic letters rises 10c (or 16.7%) to 70c. Australia Post said about 5.7m Australians were eligible to register for a MyPost Concession Account from now on. The 60c stamps, the Post’s first ever concession stamp, will be available for the next three years. Customers will be limited to purchasing 50 of the stamps each year, but their registration will give them a MyPost concession card that entitles them to five free stamps. Registered customers will also gain access to concession rates for some other Australia Post services and a digital mailbox, the company said. Ahmed Fahour, the Australia Post managing director and CEO, said: “It is vital that Australia Post ensures we provide an affordable and accessible letters service for all Australians. We remain mindful of the impact to the cost of living of an increase to the stamp price, particularly for those groups who are more dependent on our traditional services. “The establishment of a MyPost Concession Account ensures that our services remain affordable for low income groups while maintaining our essential services for all Australians,” he added.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • N2014-1 Advisory Opinion on Service Changes Associated with Standard Mail Load Leveling
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/89/89493/Docket%20No.%20N2014-1_Advisory%20Opinion.docx
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/89/89493/Docket No. N2014-1_Advisory Opinion.pdf
    "The Commission finds that the Postal Service’s Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Load Leveling Plan may provide a potential means of leveling DSCF Standard Mail daily delivery volumes. However, the limited testing is inconclusive regarding the effects of the plan on a nationwide basis. Accordingly, the plan appears to need further development. To that end, the Commission recommends certain actions for the Postal Service’s consideration..... The Commission urges the Postal Service to undertake a more rigorous cost-benefit analysis, additional field testing and service performance analysis, and volume impact studies before committing to a nationwide rollout of the Load Leveling Plan. The Commission is also concerned that the Postal Service has not generated more support within the mailing community for its plan. A Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) with representatives from 18 different companies was formed to consider options for workload equalization. The committee was unable to come to a consensus that the Load Leveling Plan is the appropriate solution that will smooth workloads across days of the week. The absence of significant support is an indication that the Postal Service may not provide the level of service desired by its customers, and thus may negatively affect mail volumes." PRC Press Release.

PostCom Members!! The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site. In this issue: Mailers Should Focus on Mail Quality Reports – Invoicing Begins with July -- New ACS Services Proposed by USPS -- Big Data, USPS Invoicing and the Impact on Your Business -- USPS Adds RIBBS Feature to Show Updated Files -- IMb Data Brings Business Intelligence -- USPS Shipping Enhancements and Market Trends -- IMpb Requirements to Come -- Improving the Deliverability of Mail -- Business Reply Mail (BRM) Design Tool -- USPS MDA Support Center Process – Keep Those Ticket Numbers!

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Migrating to Full-Service Webinar Series. The Postal Service encourages mailers to migrate to the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail® when mailing First-Class Mail® postcards, letters, and flats, Standard Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter flats Full-Service provides customers with: (1) An additional per piece discount on every Full-Service mailpiece. (2) Address correction information at no additional cost for Full-Service mailpieces, providing Change of Address (COA) information and Nixie (undeliverable-as-addressed) information. (3) The ability to track service performance through reports and scan information. (4) Container, tray and mailpiece visibility. (5) Annual permit fees waived when 90 percent or more of cumulative annual mailings consist of Full-Service mail. (6) The opportunity to use the same permit at any location via our Mail Anywhere program. We have scheduled a series of webinars to assist mailers in transitioning to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. The webinars are designed to walk you through the process and help you get the most out of using Full-Service. We encourage mailers to attend all four sessions in the series. Log on links for the following courses are available on RIBBS under Intelligent Mail Services/Education at https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailpresentations. Full-Service Feedback – Thursday, March 27, 3:30 p.m. EDT

Post & Parcel: Quality of letter mail service in Europe continues to far exceed both the European Union’s speed objective of 85% of intra-EU mail delivery within three days of posting, and its reliability objective of 97% within five days. Performance recorded by the IPC UNEX measurement system in 2013 exceeded these objectives for the 16th consecutive year.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 37.2 Deployment-  This release repairs known issues in PostalOne!® and also includes database maintenance activities. The deployment will occur during the scheduled maintenance window of 4:00 a.m. CT through 8:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, April 6, 2014.  There will be an outage during the maintenance release, i.e. the application will be unavailable. A mandatory Mail.dat® client download will be available immediately following the software update. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 37.2 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2014/releaseoverview2014.cfm .   
     

  • PostalOne! Release 37.2 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur also on Sunday, April 6, 2014, TEM will be unavailable from 4:00 a.m. CT thru 10:00 a.m. CT.

The Herald: The boss of the Royal Mail should forgo a lucrative planned pay rise if controversial proposals to lay off 1600 staff go ahead, Labour have warned. Shadow minister for trade and investment Ian Murray said: "There can be no bumper pay increase for the chief executive of senior staff while people are losing their jobs." The call came as it emerged that the plan, described as "ruthless" by unions, could trigger strike action. The head of the Royal Mail, Moya Greene, is due to receive a large pay rise to her current salary, thought to be around £500,000. But controversial new efficiency plans designed to save £50 million a year have provoked a furious row.

Townhall Finance: "Time for a Free-Market Postal System" --A government-run monopoly is not the best way to get mail delivered. Not surprisingly, some folks in Washington think we should move in the wrong direction by retaining the monopoly and allowing the Postal Service to enter new lines of business.

Courier Post: A Westville man has admitted he diverted almost $500,000 in U.S. Postal Service property to a scrap metal dealer. Daniel O'Connor, 44, was supposed to pick up wire baskets and cages at area post offices and bring them with mail to the USPS regional facility in Bellmawr. Instead, O'Connor said in Camden federal court Friday, he repeatedly sold empty metal containers to a Camden scrap dealer between July 2012 and June 2013.

Liverpool Confidential: An army of 500 posties has been enlisted in Liverpool by the Royal Mail's biggest rival - and will today begin doorstep deliveries in the city. TNT Post, the UK's second largest private postal operator, announced the move which was described by Mayor Joe Anderson as another sign that Liverpool was on the up and "open for business".

The latest issue of Postal Technology International is now available online.

Office of the Inspector General: Fiscal Year 2013 Postal Service Financial Statements Audit – St. Louis Accounting Services Audit Report

From the Federal Register:  Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 16838 [2014–06862] [TEXT] [PDF]

The Wall Street Transcript: UPS has celebrated the official opening of a $200 million expansion of its European air hub facilities at Cologne/Bonn Airport in Germany that will continue to serve as Europe's window into the world of international trade and export. The expansion, which took two years to construct and has already created an additional 200 jobs, constitutes one of UPS's largest facility investments in the company's history and cements its position as the largest employer at the airport with more than 2,500 employees today.

March 25, 2014 

Digital Trends: Detailed within a popular post on Reddit recently, footage from an outdoor security camera captured a United States postal worker chucking a box containing a hard drive against a homeowner's metal garage door on Monday. Posted by a Reddit user named alientity, the video shows the USPS driver in an unmarked minivan pulling up in the homeowner's driveway and hurling the package from the passenger's side window towards the garage door approximately 6 feet. The package bounces off the hard driveway surface once, then bounces off the garage door before coming to rest on the driveway. Operating the vehicle from the passenger's side, the driver appears to momentarily check to see if the package has any visible damage, then backs out of the driveway. Operating the vehicle from the passenger's side is fairly common among USPS drivers since they can deliver mail into standing mailboxes without having to leave the automobile. It's possible that the driver simply didn't want to exit the vehicle due to the cold weather conditions, however there was no snow impeding his path in the driveway. The homeowner also indicated that there was no snow blocking the path to the front door. Assuming the driver had gotten out of the vehicle, the package could have been placed in a less visible position rather than directly in front of the garage door.

Bloomberg Businessweek: If you believe Democratic politicians and their allies in the labor movement, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has a barely concealed agenda to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. Donahoe "can say whatever he wants," Montana Senator Jon Tester told the Washington Post, "but I think he wants to privatize." Why else would Donahoe be so eager to cut costs at the USPS? He's trying to push the post office to the brink of collapse so there will be no choice but to sell the 238-year-old government mail service. Or so goes the theory. But this line of thinking doesn't make sense. There's no chance the USPS will be privatized anytime soon, and here's why....

Lawyers.com: Old barns reflect a metaphor for people who, like the deteriorating structure, need a pause in the middle of the day to consider specialized attention. And people with medical conditions, especially, require that segregated time and peace. For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from being able to fully perform all of the essential elements of one's job, the feeling that one has merely become an old and dilapidated barn becomes a daily sensation. Perhaps it is just a new coat of paint, or a more expensive tin roof. Whatever the needs, people barely give a second glance, except perhaps in moments of guilt-filled but short-lived days. The old barn always stands alone. For the Federal or Postal Worker, waiting on others to "refurbish" the old barn is to procrastinate the inevitable. One must take charge of one's own destiny. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is often the only and pragmatically viable option for the Federal and Postal Worker. Like the old barn that sits out in the harsh sun surrounded by imposing structures of modern life, that lonely feeling of being isolated will only grow more poignantly with time, until one day the developers come to tear down the old structure, leaving only a memory of bygone days.

Federal Times: The Postal Service wants to cut its workforce, expand into new markets and products, and modernize all of its systems as part of its bid to transform itself into a highly-responsive digital organization. The Postal Service plans to shrink its workforce by 10,000 positions in fiscal 2015, according to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. The reductions will be entirely through attrition — there will be no buy-outs or reductions in force — Donahoe said at a media roundtable at the annual National Postal Forum.

Business Standard: India Post is trying to increase business by pushing customers to open post office savings accounts upon maturity or early withdrawal of their small saving schemes. This comes at a time when its chances of securing a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appear bleak due to inadequate infrastructure for banking operations. While India Post, which has about 155,000 branches across the country, has a wider reach, compared with 98,000 bank branches, it has only 287 million accounts, compared with 903 million bank accounts. Considering the entity's banking aspirations, more regular customers are significant. "The process is complicated. They (India Post) have applied under the new guidelines. So, they have to satisfy the new criteria. Also, they will have to do what private banks do," said a finance ministry official.

Egypt Daily News: Postal Authority workers in Cairo's central post distribution point joined the postal workers strike on Tuesday after the arrest of five Postal Authority workers from their homes.

PRWeb: Direct-mail advertisers distribute marketing materials, such as coupons, flyers or samples by mail through the US Postal Service (USPS) and less often through other commercial delivery services. A reduction in corporate profit margins led to cuts in spending on all forms of advertising during the recession. Increased competition from other promotional tools, including the internet, email and text messaging, also hurt the industry. These factors caused demand for the Direct Mail Advertising industry to decline at an estimated annualized rate of 2.1% to $12.2 billion over the five years to 2014.

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO Petitioner V. Postal Regulatory Commission Respondent, For District Of Columbia Circuit LS CaseNo. 1—1D3E Petition For Review

Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb) Webinar Series Transition of Business Reply Mail (BRM) parcels to Merchandise Return Service (MRS). April 8 at 10 a.m. (EDT) This webinar discusses options for permit holders currently using BRM for parcels, and will assist permit holders with their transition to MRS or USPS Return Services. Join us as we describe the options available to BRM parcel mailers to create IMpb-compliant MRS/USPS Return Services labels, as well as the general requirements for the use of MRS/USPS Return Services. Please visit us on the USPS Industry Outreach website to view the upcoming webinar schedule and webinar archive presentations. Instructions for participating in the webinar appear below: Attendee Information: Event number: 999 478 847 Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=999478847&t=a Teleconference information: U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547 Conference ID: 7015053

The Nigerian Observer: In a bid to meet up with global best practices, the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has urged West African countries to brace up for improved postal service delivery. Mr Irimiya Kulawe, NIPOST' General Manager, Counter Department, told newsmen in Lagos on the sideline of the closing ceremony of a two-week international training programme on postal services. The programme, organised by the Nigeria Postal Service, was attended by participants from five countries — Liberia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria. Kulawe represented Nigeria's Postmaster General, Malam Ibrahim Buba, on the occasion. He stressed the need for improved postal service in the sub-region for better patronage and integration.

ITBusinessnet: A-1 Express, a recognized leader in same-day delivery, messenger and transportation services, announces postal mail pick up and delivery courier services. The courier makes the announcement to market to new customers its wide range of courier logistic solutions that are available and expand its services for its current client base. A-1 Express pursues to be the best choice in same-day courier solutions nationwide.

CBC: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers held a public meeting to discuss the phasing out of door-to-door mail delivery Monday night in Charlottetown, but only about 30 people attended. [EdNote: A real ground swell of apathy.]

CIPD: Royal Mail is consulting with unions over plans to cut 1,600 jobs at the newly privatised business. A net reduction of around 1,300 roles is expected – mainly among head office managerial employees – with plans to create 300 new or enhanced roles at the same time. Frontline staff, including postmen and women, will not be affected in the round of redundancies, the first since Royal Mail was privatised in October 2013. The postal service said the cuts, part of a programme of efficiency, are expected to save the company £50 million a year, of which around £25 million will be released in 2014-15 to help mitigate the likely increase of between £70 million and £80 million with the changes to non-cash pension service charges. Moya Greene, chief executive officer at Royal Mail said redundancies were necessary in order for the company to "effectively compete in the letters and parcels markets."

The Standard: Unions today threatened strike action over Royal Mail's "ruthless" plans to axe 1600 jobs, just months after the newly privatised postal operator reported a first-half profit of £233 million. The Unite union, which represents 7000 Royal Mail managers, said it was considering industrial action.

IFA Magazine: Shore Capital has kept a ‘buy' stance on postal services group Royal Mail after the company announced redundancies as part of its so-called ‘Efficiency Programme'. Royal Mail on Tuesday announced it is to begin talks with its unions about cutting a net 1,300 of additional back office jobs. As such, there will be a £100m more of transformation costs in the current year, taking them up to £230m. Shore Capital Analyst Robin Speakman said that the estimated £50m of annual cost savings ‘go some way to ameliorating additional pension costs of circa £75m per annum from next year'.

Daily Mail: Royal Mail is currently running an expensive TV advertising campaign, ‘We Love Parcels', to the tune of The Beatles' All You Need Is Love. The ad boasts that they deliver one billion parcels a year. What it doesn't say is how many they refuse to deliver. On this page last Tuesday I reported that some readers had complained that counter staff were demanding to know the contents of packages being sent through the mail. the Post Office does have a valid list of restricted items which it is unable to carry either by law or for perfectly understandable security reasons. The rules have been drawn up in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority to prevent terrorists planting parcel bombs on planes and cover everything from explosives and ammunition to flammable liquids and certain types of batteries. Staff are required to ask senders if their parcel contains anything on the restricted items list.

Post & Parcel: What will the future look like for the postal industry? A group of thought leaders gathering in Washington DC next month suggest it will take the form of networks of unmanned aerial drones buzzing through our skies, picking up parcels from e-retailers to deliver direct to the doorstep. Meanwhile, the humble letter will form part of a sophisticated digital world of secure online communications that brings together government, business and consumers to finally realize the kind of paperwork-free society that was promised decades ago. Pie in the sky predictions, or realistic forecasts? April 10 and 11 plays host to the fourth annual PostalVision 2020 event, which brings together both postal and non-postal pioneers, experts and visionaries.

CFO Journal: A twin dose of rising fees and liabilities is about to hit pension plans of U.S corporations, writes theCFO Journal's Vipal Monga. Employers not only face a 52% increase in the regulatory cost of administering their pension plans by 2016, but they will also face a $150 billion surge in liabilities from longer-living retirees.

Transport Intellligence: The crisis around the Russian annexation of the Crimea appears to be of such magnitude that it is likely to have a profound effect on the economies across Central and Eastern Europe. As ever logistics will be a primary focus. An obvious problem area will be trade both in the Black Sea region and the Baltic Sea. The consumer boom that Russia has experienced over the past decade has overstretched its port's capacity to handle imports resulting in the growth of trans-shipment ports in Turkey and Romania, handling not just containers but also ro-ro cargoes such as cars. Presumably this traffic will be hit badly. The Baltic trade has also grown vigorously recently. Not just ports in Northern Germany, Poland and the Baltic States but shipping providers such as DFDS, Unifeeder and Grimaldi have significant business into Russia. Of course within this trade Finland occupies a special position. Its efficient, reliable ports are a major access point into Russia and even just a recession in Russia will directly affect such businesses.

Office of the Inspector General: Plugging up the ‘Brain Drain' -- "When long-term, experienced workers leave companies, they take their know-how with them. It's called "brain drain" and it happens at organizations of all sizes and kinds, most notably companies with a large number of baby boomers getting ready to retire and industries that are restructuring. The newspaper industry comes to mind, as does manufacturing, as does the U.S. Postal Service."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
16379–16380 [2014–06439] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Contract Amendments ,
16380–16381 [2014–06434] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  16381 [2014–06446] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Wall Street Journal: Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud. About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group. So-called bot traffic cheats advertisers because marketers typically pay for ads whenever they are loaded in response to users visiting Web pages—regardless of whether the users are actual people. The fraudsters erect sites with phony traffic and collect payments from advertisers through the middlemen who aggregate space across many sites and resell the space for most Web publishers.

Cato Institute: Britain privatized its Royal Mail in 2013, proceeding with an initial public offering of shares that raised about $2.7 billion. The government pursued the reform because the company faced falling mail volume, and it needed to reduce costs and increase innovation. Similar issues face the U.S. Postal Service. With this British privatization—and past ones—people have quibbled with some of the details. But, all in all, privatization in Britain has been hugely successful. Meanwhile on this side of the pond, Republican Darrell Issa is having trouble getting his own nominally conservative party to accept even small changes to the broken government postal system. Perhaps he could kick-start reforms by inviting Moya Greene to give testimony to his high-profile committee.

WPTV: The missing mail mess is impacting seasonal and permanent residents in the Greenacres' Pine Ridge Development. "I haven't gotten my telephone bill for two months," said Phyllis Grabinski. "I haven't received my 1099 which I'm going to need," said Dorothy Widmaier. Farsaze doesn't know when all his bills are due because he doesn't bank online. He relies on the mail to avoid late fees or worse. "I've had my car insurance dropped because it was due and they dropped me," said Farsaze. All of these residents have dropped by the post office to complain, but asked the Consumer Watchdog for help. "Three post offices we went to in one day and got no satisfaction at all," said Grabinski.

March 24, 2014 

2014 Earned Value Promotion Registration Deadline—Monday, March 31, 2014. The 2014 Earned Value Promotion registration deadline is fast approaching. Monday, March 31st will be the last day that mailers interested in participating will be able to register. Mailers can register via the Business Customer Gateway (http://gateway.usps.com). A detailed enrollment user guide and the recording of the informational webinar are available for review at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/general.htm. A full program description can be accessed via: https://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/documents/tech_guides/EarnedValueReplyMailPromotion.htm The 2014 Earned Value promotion provides mailers with earned credits based on the number of qualifying BRM and CRM cards and letters returned during the promotion period. If you have any questions, please contact the program office at earnedvalue@usps.gov

Fedweek: A Postal Service HR management initiative to increase employee availability has not been using established management processes, the USPS inspector general has found. It said the DRIVE 6 (Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency) initiative, is designed to reduce workers' compensation costs by $80 million annually, return injured employees to work, and reduce accidents, reportable workplace injuries and illnesses, and reduce sick leave. However, the five projects comprising the initiative consisted of operations already being accomplished outside of DRIVE, the IG said, adding that they were often characterized as over-resourced or under-ambitious. The IG said that information was not shared with the executive leadership team and did not appear on the executive level dashboard because there was no separation of duties between the DRIVE initiative lead and roadmap owner. The IG recommended that the director for strategic planning establish a process to ensure DRIVE project management rolesare held by separate individuals, and further recommended that management evaluate implementing regular audits and controls for each project at the project management level.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

National Association of Letter Carriers: NALC President Fredric Rolando has sent a letter to the leaders of the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Census, registering the union's concerns about the subcommittee's March 13 hearing on USPS finances. "This hearing was yet another example of how anti-USPS and anti-worker forces in Congress are trying to manufacture a financial crisis to justify massive job and service cuts and to attack our benefits and collective-bargaining rights," Rolando said later. "Guided by Congressman Darrell Issa's (R-CA) postal bill, H.R. 2748, many of those forces at the hearing tried to paint an incomplete and misleading picture of the Postal Service's finances

Federal Business Opportunties: Honeywell Scanning and Mobility has been awarded a USPS contract to supply up to 225,000 Mobile Delivery Devices (MDDs) to replace the current handheld devices used by letter carriers today for package tracking.

Broadway World: Hallmark Channel welcomes five-time Golden Globe(R) nominee Marilu Henner ("Taxi," "Evening Shade") as a special guest-star on the network's new Original Primetime Scripted Series, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is a compelling combination of comedy, drama and romance that follows the lives of a group of postal workers who transform themselves into an untraditional team of detectives to track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their missions take them out of The Office into an unpredictable world where redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow on time. Read more at http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/Marilu-Henner-to-Guest-on-Hallmark-Channels-New-Series-SIGNED-SEALED-DELIVERED-20140324#qkwrODDKeSlLlTCR.99

Federal Times: Jim Cochrane, the Chief Information Officer at the Postal Service On Big Data and the future of delivery: We are committed to the mail. We think mail has an opportunity, in particular [the] direct mail business. Like all advertising, it's going through a period of profound change, whether it's TV or radio or magazines. We think direct mail fits, and fits well, with the digitization of how people communicate. We call it the digital reflection, as hard copies move through our network. We [are] collecting data all the way and trying to marry that up so we can help them stack messages and approach customers in an omni-channel way, whether it's online or TV or direct mail or radio. So a lot of our strategies are really to improve our intelligence on our mail stream — we want to have a smart mail stream, an intelligent mail stream. We are making significant progress on that. We have invested pretty heavily in technology to improve our analytics around mail. So like [for] a lot of companies, the challenge of big data is real. We are approaching 30 petabytes of data in storage, and it's only going to continue to grow. Exponentially it's growing. The challenge is to harness all that data and make information out of it and take all that information and make good analytics.

PR Week: The US Postal Service is soliciting proposals from firms for brand valuation and strategy after reporting a $5 billion revenue decrease in 2013. The scope of work may expand to include counsel on protecting and enhancing the Postal Service brand and key sub-brands, such as Priority Mail and First-Class Mail. The purpose of the contract is to determine critical attributes of the USPS brand and sub-brands, and quantitatively derived estimates of their brand value, according to the RFP released by the USPS on March 10. Applicants are tasked with providing an estimated value of the USPS brand and key sub-brands based on the determined critical attributes, along with worksheets, assumptions, and sensitivity analyses, according to the RFP.

Democracy Now: Former President Jimmy Carter meanwhile has revealed he limits his own email use out of fear he's spied on by U.S. intelligence. In an interview with NBC News, Carter says he avoids emails when corresponding with foreign leaders — instead using old-fashioned "snail mail."

Federal Daily: The National Association of Letter Carriers formally announced it will join other postal unions in a "national day of action" to protest what organizers call the "privatization of postal services" at Staples office supply stores. NALC President Fredric Rolando urged the union's members to join others in opposing a U.S. Postal Service pilot program that locates USPS retail counters manned by non-postal employees in Staples stores. Others participating in the April 24 protest include in the American Postal Workers Union, which launched the effort, and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, which endorsed the action earlier this month. The day of action is part of a larger Stop Staples campaign.

Romania Insider: The Romanian Tax Administration ANAF recently signed a four-year postal services contract with the state -owned Romanian Post. The value of the contract is RON 157.1 million, or some EUR 35 million, including VAT. The contract was awarded following an open bid.

Financial Times: Ask anyone who knows Moya Greene, the Canadian chief executive who last year steered Royal Mail, the UK's 500-year-old postal service, into the private sector, and the same phrases come up. "She's relentless, a force of nature, a tough lady," says one admirer. It took a determined personality to get this behemoth, with £9bn of revenues and 150,000 staff, into a healthy enough state to be floated on the London Stock Exchange, where it went straight into the FTSE 100 index. The goal of privatising Royal Mail had defeated governments for 40 years.  Much remains to test her at Royal Mail, not least the need to continue its efficiency drive, to cope with the decline of mail as a result of electronic media and to handle a competitive threat in mail delivery from Dutch-owned TNT Post.

Target Marketing: "In reality, it would be very difficult for any business to replicate the USPS's infrastructure for delivery to every doorstep in America," says Joel Quadracci , president and CEO of Quad/Graphics, a leading provider of print and multichannel media solutions. "Yet, the USPS continues to behave like a monopoly. Case in point: the exigent rate increase, which will negatively impact volumes, resulting in a situation where further price increases will be necessary to cover costs. Ultimately, this will drive even more volume out of the mailstream." The mailing community is clearly supportive of recent efforts of Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe and USPS management efforts to reduce costs, right-size infrastructure and improve delivery performance—but failing to listen to customers may cause some unwelcome Postal Service backsliding toward a "bailout" mentality. "It is still [about] the overall cost structure of the USPS," says Joe Schick , director of postal affairs at Quad/Graphics. "Its platform needs to continue to be right-sized in order to bring down those costs. The USPS' greatest challenge is getting ahead of the curve and anticipating industry and volume changes before they are here."

Morning Sentinel: The United States Postal Service says that a Pennsylvania hatchery ignored warnings of winter weather delays, apparently causing a shipment of baby chicks to a Mercer farmer to arrive dead earlier this month. click image to enlarge Baby chicks: Dan Charles, of Mercer, tends to his new baby chicks at his farm last week. An earlier shipment died en route. This shipment made it with no trouble. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans click image to enlarge Little chicks: Dan Charles, of Mercer, holds a baby chick that arrived at his farm bright and early last week via the U.S. Postal Service. His first shipment died en route earlier this month. This shipment made it with no trouble. Moyer's Chicks Inc., a hatchery in Quakertown, Pa., was told by postal management before the chicks were shipped "that there may be delays in delivery due to extreme weather and temperatures throughout the Northeast," according to Postal Service spokeswoman Melissa Lohnes.

March 23, 2014 

Daily News Egypt: Suez Governorate's five post offices started an open strike Sunday calling for pay raises and a change in leadership. "The strike has reached 70%," nationwide, said Zinab Ali, secretary general of the Independent Union of Postal Authority Workers.

Financial Times: While shedding assets might be the priority, privatisation will engulf a broader swath of government assets in the years ahead. Long-term secular forces such as ageing populations make most countries' fiscal positions untenable, while fierce global competition and disruptive innovation are also putting pressure on unemployment. These challenges were always going to be formidable, even without depleted fiscal reserves. Governments are left with no option but to privatise both crisis and non-core assets to reduce debt to more sustainable levels. For investors a credible privatisation drive will reduce long-term tail risks surrounding public-sector insolvency. Privatisation drives should improve efficiency, as financial services, transport and energy infrastructure, health, education and postal services are delivered more efficiently.

Save the Post Office: The Postal Service is continuing to implement POStPlan, its initiative to reduce hours at 13,000 post offices and replace their postmasters with part-time workers. At this point, POStPlan has been implemented, or will be implemented soon, at almost 9,000 post offices. Hours at the remaining 4,000 will be reduced over the coming months. By October, the institution of the small-town career postmaster will become a thing of the past at almost half the country's post offices. In the end, there will be something like 3,300 post offices where the postmaster will still be on the job as of September 30, 2014. On that date, these postmasters will lose their full-time jobs as part of a Reduction in Force — i.e., they will be RIF'd. [EdNote: Don't confuse the reference to RIF as meaning lay-offs. To date, not one postal worker has been laid off. The reductions come strictly through attrition. Betcha can't say that about your place of employment.]

The Star-Ledger: To many patrons, it is the post office from hell. Disgusted customers are leaving blistering online reviews about snail-like service and rude, lackadaisical, unprofessional employees. The phone, they say, is always off the hook. Customers I talked to walking out of the facility were just as irate as the ones who left 25 comments on the postal website. "It's got to be the worst post office in Newark,'' said Rose Smith, who is a trustee of a Newark church. "They stop, take a break, come outside.'' Customers said the wait for packages or to get postal products has been as long as an hour, with the line going out the door. On South 10th Street, near South Orange Avenue, Barnes and her neighbors say they've had a merry-go-round of 10 to 15 carriers over the past year and have gone without mail for three days. It was longer than that for Marjorie Morgan last month. She says her diabetes medication was two weeks late and she was about to run out. When it does get delivered, residents say they are not sure if it's the mail carrier or not who brings it, because they rarely wear a uniform. Residents of multifamily homes say things have gotten so backed up that bundles of unsorted mail are just shoved in the first open mail box carriers come across, kind of like, "Here you go, you go figure it out."

Orange UK News: Vince Cable is demanding that the board of Royal Mail limits a pay rise for its chief executive to the same level awarded to the rest of the newly privatised company's workforce. Sky News can reveal that the Business Secretary has informed directors of the postal operator that a salary increase of more than 3% for Moya Greene could prompt the Government to vote against Royal Mail's remuneration policies. The warning has set the scene for an explosive row between Mr Cable and the Royal Mail board, some members of which believe Ms Greene is significantly underpaid as the boss of a FTSE-100 company. Royal Mail reports its annual results towards the end of May, and will hold its annual general meeting during the summer. As a 30% shareholder in the company, the Government would deliver a serious blow to the credibility of Royal Mail directors if it voted against their pay report.

March 22, 2014 

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
International Mail Contracts ,
16065–16066 [2014–06235] [TEXT]  [PDF]
16064–16065 [2014–06236] [TEXT]  [PDF]

March 21, 2014

Vermont Watchdog: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's worried the U.S. Postal Service is running out of cash, but he may be worried more about his own campaign cash. For Sanders, however, these "decent-paying union jobs" translate into high-paying campaign supporters. Since Sanders was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and then the U.S. Senate in 2006, labor unions with ties to the USPS have ranked among the top financial supporters of his political campaigns. The American Postal Workers Union has given $36,200 since Sanders went to work in Washington. The National Association of Letter Carriers has dumped $50,000 into Sanders' campaign coffers.

Independent Retailer: Despite having fewer pages than full catalogs, mini catalogs allow companies to cut mailing and production costs without sacrificing circulation or frequency. The catalogs mail at the cost of a standard automated letter, and provide up to ten pages to promote products. They can cut mailing and production costs by a third, helping to offset the increase in mailing costs. They can also be as effective as larger catalogs in response rate, as well as driving customers to company websites. Though not considered a replacement for full sized catalogs, they can be used on a case-by-case or supplemental basis, to fill the void of a catalog that otherwise might not be sent.

Coastweek: A suitable postal addressing system is a crucial element in creating sustained development in e- commerce, a Kenyan officials said on Tuesday. Principal Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology Joseph Tiampati, said with such a system in place, anyone sending a parcel will rest assured that it will arrive at its intended destination anywhere in the country.

Stuff: The elderly and those living on fixed incomes will be hardest hit by postage cost hikes but some businesses say they may also re-examine their use of snail mail. New Zealand Post yesterday announced a raft of increases to its postage costs as the company battles to maintain a viable postal service. From July 1, sending a standard letter within New Zealand will cost 80 cents, an increase of 10 cents. Posting large letters will increase from $1.40 to $1.60, while the cost of sending a standard parcel will also go up by between 10 cents and $1, depending on the parcel's size. The cost of sending letters and parcels overseas will also increase. New Zealand Post said the cost hikes were needed to maintain a viable network. Letter volumes declined by about 7.5 per cent (63 million items) last year. New Zealand Post put the decline down to people and businesses increasingly using technologies such as email and smart phones to communicate.

The Charleston Post and Courier: Saving the U. S. Postal Service is very much in the national interest, but it is going to mean sacrifices for its workforce and its customers. No other delivery business provides the range of services customers get from the Post Office, which is available in the remotest parts of the nation. But ever since the 2008 recession the Post Office has been hemorrhaging red ink at a recent rate of $5 billion a year with no relief from deficits in sight unless Congress grants its request for radical changes to its business model. The main cause is the collapse of the first class mail business. Volume has fallen by 30 percent in the last decade thanks to the spread of email and competition from private delivery services. A recovery is not in the cards for that line of business. The recent three-cent hike in first class postage rates, to 49 cents, scarcely staunches the flow of red ink. Even with a legislative rescue along the broad lines of House and Senate bills, it is likely to be followed by further increases in the next three years.

Scranton Times-Tribune: A U.S. Postal Service initiative that threatened to pull about 300 jobs from Scranton this year has been suspended indefinitely and likely won't resurface for at least two years, a local union president said. As part of its nationwide plan to consolidate mail processing sites, the federal agency in 2012 announced it would transfer many operations and workers from Scranton's processing and distribution facility to a facility in Lehigh Valley.

PRNewswire: Integer.pl Group - the operator of the biggest parcel lockers' network in the world - has entered an agreement with CX Courier Ltd. - one of the leading courier companies across Hong Kong. The agreement includes: Roll-out of 150 locker locations across Hong Kong by 2015, in a deal worth up to €3.2 million Further option over 150 locker locations (making 300 in total) across Hong Kong by 2016, in a deal worth up to €6.4 million CX Couriers are one of the top five courier companies in Hong Kong with a 20% market share and this new agreement with InPost is part of their growth strategy, as they aim to grow their market share towards 30%, over the next two years. There are some 4.5 million parcels delivered each month across Hong Kong. For Integer.pl Group this is an important milestone commercial agreement as it starts the InPost parcel locker expansion in Greater China.

The Guardian: The HSBC analysts said: The Royal Mail Group has come a long way in terms of its modernisation programme. Most of the big step changes have been made but ongoing investment in improving IT and potential investment in new parcels sorting equipment as well as productivity improvements should help the company to stave off cost base inflation. Mail volumes are declining 4-6% per annum but pricing flexibility alongside decent parcels growth of around 5% in 2015-16 is able to compensate for this. This means Royal Mail can still deliver revenue growth of around 2% per annum.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

March 20, 2014

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

  • The USPS at this week's National Postal Forum, held in National Harbor, MD, told attendees that it is seeing changes in the attitudes of marketers toward the role of direct mail as a means of attracting and retaining customers, and that a "reappraisal of the role of mail in the marketing mix" is beginning
  • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) earlier this week at the National Postal Forum (NPF) provided session attendees with highlights of its soon to be published "2014 Strategic Guide for Flats Planning." The Guide will outline the USPS' strategies to "increase the profitability of flats, both for the USPS and for industry users." The USPS strategies focus on product growth, service improvement, and cost reduction/efficiency improvement.
  • Emil Dzuray, Director, USPS Office of Strategic Planning, gave NPF session attendees an overview of emerging trends in the postal sector which the USPS is observing in terms of how it should react. He said the 3 main categories of trends are social, technology and industry. The USPS recently went through an exercise with its executive leadership, Dzuray said, examining how these trends affect the Postal Service, and identified 23 specific trends it will continue to focus on.
  • USPS Vice President of New Products and Innovation Gary Reblin gave NPF session attendees an overview of how direct mail is changing and integrating with technology, with a peak at how augmented reality and NFC technologies are making mail even more powerful. Reblin said that mail is changing, and four things he attributes the changes to are mobile and its use for commerce; digital integration, eCommerce growth and small business growth.
  • The Association for Postal Commerce has submitted comments to the Postal Regulatory Commission in Docket No. RM2014-3, Treatment of Rate Incentives and De Minimis Rate Increases For Price Cap Purposes. PostCom made three main points: 1) the proposed rules provide needed certainty and essential clarifications; 2) additional clarification is needed with respect to the treatment of certain rate incentives; and 3) inclusion of a true-up provision would further improve the proposed rule.
  • According to the Commission, "This report provides an in-depth analysis of the Postal Service's financial health primarily using information reported in its FY 2013 Form 10-K measured against FY 2012 and its FY 2013 Integrated Financial Plan (Financial Plan). Additionally, data filed with the FY 2013 ACR, such as the Cost and Revenue Analysis report (CRA), the Cost Segments and Components report (CSC), and the Revenue, Pieces, and Weight report (RPW) were all utilized in developing and analyzing the data which form the basis of the financial results."
  • In a defining moment in postal history, non-mail revenue now outweighs mail revenue for postal organizations around the world, according to a a new study from Accenture (NYSE: ACN). As mail volume continues to decline –dropping by 78.5 billion pieces, or 21 percent since 2007—the study concludes that posts must continue to diversify their products and services and more aggressively pursue eCommerce opportunities to be profitable.
  • Discover Financial Services presented with USPS Partnership For Growth Award. Scheme labeling list changes. Post-NPF Post Ops update roundup coming. USPS workforce to shrink. USPS to fix North Dakota oil field service. Coalition calls on USPS to re-address flats. USPS upgrades vehicle management system. Securing high value parcels. USPS gets new mobile hand-helds. Forget five-day. Go for broke. USPS spins web of its own. USPS hires new communications veep. Custom shipping labels. Banking the under-banked now popular. Six-dayers – Claire's got your back. P.O. as a bank; now a bank as a P.O. Ben Franklin was no dummy. UPS chief takes pay cut. Oh dear. This isn't supposed to happen. Government isn't the answer. Between a rock and a hard place. In the postal weeds is out. Kudos APWU. Kudos FEDEX. NALC chief: trumpet the good news.
  • Announcements of postal related filing in the Federal Register.
  • Announcements from the U.S. Postal Service to the mailing industry.
  • PRC docket updates.
  • Announcements on recent reports, projects, and blog entries from the USPS OIG.
  • Postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews.
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

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Anchorage Daily News: Starting early next week, U.S. Postal Service customers in Alaska communities without road access will be able to mail packages at a lower rate than the rest of the country can. A new pricing category, Limited Overland Routes (LOR), represents a rollback of a January rate hike that officials said resulted in disproportionately higher prices for customers in rural Alaska. On Sunday, customers in affected ZIP codes can start using LOR pricing, which drops the cost of mailing heavier packages back to pre-Jan. 26 rates, the Postal Service announced in a Thursday news release.

Fedweek: As a result of downsizing in response to declining mail volume and the retirement eligibility of about 31 percent of its workforce the Postal Service is at risk of losing the extensive knowledge required to manage its vast operations, the USPS inspector general has said in calling for a knowledge management strategy. USPS has about 150,000 retirement-eligible employees, manages over 31,700 retail locations and operates one of the largest IT infrastructures in the world. However, it lacks a comprehensive knowledge management policy or process or a chief knowledge officer to ensure that knowledge sharing is systematic and collaborative, according to the IG. It said that knowledge management elements exist within several Postal Service systems to capture some tacit and explicit knowledge but they are not well defined. A comprehensive Postal Service knowledge management process would enable management to leverage information from throughout the organization for strategic decision-making and new initiatives, the IG said. It also called on USPS to join the Federal Knowledge Management Working Group, which has experts to assist, inform, and support development and implementation of a comprehensive knowledge management strategy.

Taipei Times: The nation's largest postal firm is tapping further into the "stay-at-home economy," Chunghwa Post chairman Philip Ong (翁文祺) said yesterday, adding that the company would cease retail sales of a majority of its third-party products at post offices by the end of this year. Ong said the company would expand its online shopping businesses for stay-at-home customers by integrating all the resources it has, including cash and information flow, 1,300 post offices and its logistics network.

Irish Independent: Wexford councillors are strongly opposed to any attempt to transfer postal services to Tesco. Cllr Pat Codd said commercial supermarkets should not be allowed to take over postal services. Cllr Martin Murphy said that under no circumstances should post services be given to 'the likes of Tesco'. 'If the likes of the large supermarkets want to take over the post office, I think it should be ruled completely out of order,' he said. Cllr Keith Doyle said the possibility of Tesco getting post offices had been mentioned in the press. However, he questioned the legality of any such proposal.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Promoting financial transparency: Analysis of United States Postal Service Financial Results and 10-K Statement for Fiscal Year 2013 "Prior Annual Compliance Determinations (ACDs) included a chapter that reported on the Postal Service's overall financial health, including data on total volumes, revenues, costs, and contribution to institutional costs by product. This ACD analysis identified certain Postal Service financial highlights (or setbacks) for the year under review, but it was not a comprehensive discussion of all the financial data provided by the Postal Service from the Form 10-K filing and the Annual Compliance Report (ACR). This separate financial report provides a more comprehensive financial review. This report provides an in-depth analysis of the Postal Service's financial health primarily using information reported in its FY 2013 Form 10-K measured against FY 2012 and its FY 2013 Integrated Financial Plan (Financial Plan). Additionally, data filed with the FY 2013 ACR, such as the Cost and Revenue Analysis report (CRA), the Cost Segments and Components report (CSC), and the Revenue, Pieces, and Weight report (RPW) were all utilized in developing and analyzing the data which form the basis of the financial results."

Direct Marketing News: for the first time, PRC accountants applied detailed financial analysis ratios to USPS balance sheets and used them obtain an "Altman Z-Score," a measure that financial analysts apply to publicly held companies to determine their probabilities of filing for bankruptcy. A "Z-Score" of 1.1 or less signals Chapter 11 for private businesses. The Postal Service registered a minus-5.0.

ECNS: Local courier firms and air freight agents face stiff scrutiny after a package on a commercial aircraft caught fire early this week, officials said yesterday. Shanghai's postal authority said it will blacklist courier firms and their representatives of domestic airlines if they are found transporting dangerous cargo on flights.

This Day: The Courier Regulatory Department (CRD) of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has placed a ban on Aramex International LLC Limited, a courier company, for alleged multiple unethical practices. NIPOST also banned the courier operator from further operations, until it is able to clear itself of the allegations levelled against it.

The BVI Beacon: The British Virgin Islands (BVI) Post Office needs to focus on modernisation and technology if it is to stay viable, Postmaster Pasha Stoutt told lawmakers during the recent Standing Finance Committee deliberations in the House of Assembly. Moving forward will also require more training of postal workers, she said, adding that the training of five officers in 2013 helped to improve the quality of work the post office produced that year. The postal service is capable of delivering 80 percent of the mail it receives daily within two days, according to the SFC report. However, that record falls short of meeting the United Nation's Universal Postal Union-recommended 90 percent mark, Ms. Stoutt explained.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Bilateral Postal Agreements; Modifications , 15615 [2014–06106] [TEXT] [PDF] New Postal Products , 15615–15616 [2014–06105] [TEXT] [PDF]

National Association of Major Mail Users: In a statement released following the formal announcement by Canada Post of commercial rates effective March 31, 2014, the National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU), said the permanent mitigation of the minimum volume requirements for Machineable Incentive Lettermail and Addressed Admail, will benefit both large and small mailers, and is a positive response to the Association's advocacy. For more information, contact the NAMMU office at 416-977-3703.

WFMY: Not a day goes by without a call or email about a sweepstakes, a lottery complete with money orders and checks in the mail. Some of our viewers know it's a scheme. Others are hoping the money is real and are asking us to check into it. Anytime a lottery or sweepstakes asks you to pay fees and wire money back to them for your winnings, it is a scheme. Last year, the U.S. Postal Service received more than 37,424 mail fraud complaints through the system. But get this, a Federal Trade Commission study shows about 92% of fraud victims *don't* report the fraud. Why can't someone hunt these schemers down? The answer, someone does, U.S. Postal Inspectors.

Radio New Zealand: New Zealand Post says the standard letter rate sent by standard mail will rise by 10 cents, from 70 cents to 80 cents, from 1 July. No caption Photo: PHOTO NZ Large Standard Post letters will rise by 20 cents, from $1.40 to $1.60. Extra large and oversize letters will be merged as an oversize letter; the new postage required to send them within New Zealand will be $2.40 - 40 cents less than the current oversize letter price. Changes to the cost of sending parcels include untracked packages, which will increase by between 10 cents and $1 depending on the size and whether it is self-wrapped or in a postage included bag. Sending overseas, the price of aerogrammes, postcards and medium and large letters to any destination will increase by 10 cents. The price to send extra large and oversize letters overseas will increase by between 10 cents and 30 cents depending on the destination. Parcels sent overseas will increase by an average of 4 percent The price of FastPost and BoxLink will stay the same but the International Economy parcel service will be withdrawn. New Zealand Post says it is working more efficiently but the increase in postage is also necessary to maintain a national postal service in the face of higher costs, more delivery points and lower mail volumes.

March 19, 2014 

Wall Street Journal: FedEx Corp. Chief Executive Fred Smith took a tough line with e-commerce companies on Wednesday, saying they need to shape up sloppy shipping practices or risk losing customers. A significant part of the industry's Christmas-delivery mess, he said, stemmed from problems on the part of retailers. Retailers, he said, claimed that packages had been tendered to FedEx and rival United Parcel Service Inc. for delivery to their customers before they actually were. In addition, labels were often affixed incorrectly or items weren't properly packaged and subject to damage, the executive added, sounding like the Marine Corps veteran that he is, while on an earnings conference call with analysts.

Mobile Payments Today: Poste Italiane, a provider of postal, banking, insurance and payment services in Italy, has implemented CA Technologies' CA AuthMinder platform to provide authentication services for its mobile payment app. The PostePay app allows customers to check their Poste Italiane bank account balances, transfer funds and add funds to prepaid cards and prepaid mobile phones. The app is secured through Poste Italiane's PosteID system which is based on CA AuthMinder. PosteID uses one-time passwords, device-specific credentials and other out-of-band authentication to help verify PostePay users' identities and secure PostePay transactions.

Canada NewsWire: As announced in December, Canada Post is introducing a new tiered pricing structure for domestic and international letters. The regulatory process has concluded and documents will soon be published in the Canada Gazette Part II. On March 31, the price of Permanent (or "P") stamps bought in booklets, coils and panes will be $0.85 per stamp, up from $0.63 today. "P" stamps are valid on standard letters 0-30 g mailed within Canada. A $0.22 stamp will be available as make-up postage for 0-30 g letters for those customers who wish to use previously purchased $0.63 stamps. Permanent stamps, identified with the letter P in place of a value, will continue to be accepted even if they were purchased at a lower price prior to the adjustment. The typical Canadian household buys fewer than two stamps per month which means an estimated additional household cost of less than $5 per year. Customers who wish to purchase a single stamp will pay $1. This represents about two per cent of all stamp purchases.

Wahpeton Daily News: U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says 32 post offices in North Dakota will extend their hours of operation. The senator from North Dakota says the U.S. Postal Service has committed to also install self-service kiosks in Dickinson, Watford City and Williston, the heart of the state's oil country. Officials in North Dakota have been pushing the Postal Service to improve service in the western part of the state, which is bustling with oil activity.

National Association of Major Mail Users: Canada Post announced today modifications to the commercial pricing and specifications effective March 31, 2014: For large volume commercial Incentive Lettermail users, the threshold will be lowered from 5,000 pieces to 1,000 pieces on machineable mail. This is a permanent change. For Addressed Admail users, the threshold will be lowered to 500 pieces. This is a permanent change. NAMMU proposed and advocated these changes with Canada Post and this outcome is significant for many commercial mailers, large and small. Additional details will be provided as they become available. Some accommodation has been made for small business using meter and purchasing stamps.

Dead Tree Edition: Because the Flats Sequencing System is not performing as anticipated, a mailers coalition is urging the Postal Service to rethink how it handles catalogs, magazines, and other flat mail. More than one-third of the mail intended for FSS is actually bypassing the machines, which are also experiencing a reject rate of up to 10%, the coalition noted in an "Industry Memo" last week to USPS officials (republished below in its entirety.) USPS and industry together should revisit some of the most basic assumptions about flat mail, the memo from four major industry groups said. "There is fear that the Postal Service is developing a ‘one-size-fits-all' strategy for the processing and delivery of flats which may be taking the Postal Service and the industry in some wrong directions. We urge the Postal Service to take some time and revisit some of the questions and concerns we are raising about the various flats products you are handling, as well as other pressures upon your delivery system that can influence costs."

Wall Street Journal: I.D. Systems, Inc., a leading provider of wireless M2M asset management solutions, has received a contract from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to begin to upgrade and expand the company's wireless Vehicle Management Systems (VMS) across the USPS mail distribution network. Since awarding I.D. Systems a national contract in 2005, the USPS has deployed the company's VMS technology on more than 5,000 industrial vehicles in over 100 facilities. The new contract has an initial period of performance to September 30, 2014, with a potential value of up to $4 million.

Universal Postal Union: The UPU will help the Philippine Post renovate its Tacloban postal facility, severely damaged by Typhoon Haiyan last November on the island of Leyte.

Business Wire: In a defining moment in postal history, non-mail revenue now outweighs mail revenue for postal organizations around the world, according to a new study from Accenture. As mail volume continues to decline -- dropping by 78.5 billion pieces, or 21 percent since 2007 -- the study concludes that posts must continue to diversify their products and services and more aggressively pursue eCommerce opportunities to be profitable. Achieving High Performance in the Postal Industry: Accenture Research and Insights 2014 identifies three trends in the industry: the need to embrace digital and mobile channels; diversification at scale is the new normal; and parcel growth paves the way for future profits. The changing eCommerce landscape presents important areas for postal agencies to move forward.

Office of the Inspector General: "Controls over Nonprofit Mailing Authorization Management Advisory Report" -- "The Postal Service consistently applied its policies and procedures when approving and denying nonprofit mailer applications in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Pricing and Classification Service Center staff reviewed applications and supporting documents to ensure each applicant provided sufficient evidence that it met one of the categories to qualify it for Nonprofit rate eligibility. We reviewed 170 approved and 198 denied nonprofit mail applications from FYs 2010 through 2013 and found applications were approved when they met all of the Postal Service criteria, such as documenting proof of nonprofit status. Applications were denied when they failed to meet one or more of the criteria, such as the requirement to respond to requests for additional information. The Pricing and Classification Service Center used the same evaluation process to approve and deny applications. Based on the results of our review, we are not making recommendations"

ACTMedia: From walking couriers and undeveloped systems in early 90, when the courier business started its evolution in Romania, to innovations that include drones as couriers, fast packing systems or software applications to facilitate communication between customers and couriers, all these have been discusses during the first conference exclusively dedicated to this sector – Courier&Postal Services Forum 2014 - organized by GOVNET Conferences, a press release sent to ACTMedia by the organizers informs. The conference brought to the fore the courier and postal services market, a highly dynamic market with an annual turnover of hundreds of millions euros and whose fast development will be carried on mostly by the advance of e-commerce.

Standard Digital: What is the future of the courier business in Kenya? The postal parastatal faces difficult times in view of competition in the business and the growth of electronic mail. This question is important in light of the decision by the communications watchdog to begin a crackdown on unregistered courier firms that, by implication, also do not remit the required taxes to the Government. The courier industry went rogue a while back and CCK is coming into the picture rather late. Thousands of parcels are sent via informal courier services operated by public transport companies and individuals. The exact amount of money involved is not clear, but runs into hundreds of millions of shillings. Why are they so successful? The simple answer is cost. Formal courier service providers have proved to be too expensive for most Kenyans, not by choice but because, among other things, they have to pay taxes like responsible companies should. Postal Corporation of Kenya is struggling to keep its courier business afloat because of the growth of electronic mail, mobile money, Internet-ready hand-held mobile devices and ruthlessness of the informal courier business which has robbed it of key sources of revenue. Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000107300&story_title=state-losing-millions-to-informal-couriers.

Atlanta Business Chronicle: United Parcel Service Inc. Chairman and CEO Scott Davis took a 15 percent cut to his total compensation in 2013, the same year the package shipping and logistics giant's profit plunged nearly 82 percent.

speaker Hear ye, hear ye. This Week In Postal...In Style" from the National Postal Forum is posted!

Digital Journal: "Two Former Postal Employees Receive Medal of Honor Santiago Erevia and Jose Rodela to be honored by U.S. Postal Service on Upcoming Stamp Sheet"

Diamonds.Net: Wells Fargo Insurance is working with TransGuardian and the U.S. Postal Service to securely and cost-effectively expedite shipping of high-value parcels, including diamonds and jewelry. TransGuardian develops transportation management software that insures and protects small parcels in transit. The company automates the registered mail process by printing a single Intelligent Mail Postal Barcode (IMpB) label online. The IMpB enhances online, real-time tracking and accelerates the registered mail service. Through its policy, brokered by Wells Fargo Insurance, TransGuardian provides insurance for the first $25,000 and up to $150,000 of registered mail per parcel. Together, this ensures a secure, cost effective, two- to three-day shipping option for high-value parcels.

Bismarck Tribune: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., says the U.S. Postal Service has offered commitments to improve mail delivery and service throughout North Dakota. In a release, Heitkamp said the commitments follow a meeting last week with U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Heitkamp said her office sent the postal service more than 100 stories from North Dakotans about poor mail delivery and service.

Northern Life: While the issue has faded from the headlines recently, Sudbury New Democratic MP Glenn Thibeault went door-to-door this weekend to oppose sweeping changes planned at Canada Post. Thibeault led a group of volunteers on a canvas in areas affected by Canada Post's decision to end home delivery.

FCW: Postal carriers are getting a new mobile hand-held electronic device to track packages and communicate with their local offices. While the main function is to scan packages at delivery, USPS officials are reluctant to call it just a scanner. The Mobile Delivery Device collects and transmits transactional data for packages at the post office and as packages are out for delivery. It can operate over the networks of multiple wireless carriers, as well as internal USPS networks. The next generation device, built by Honeywell, is the leading edge of a larger USPS plan to support the kind of multiple-event end-to-end tracking used by commercial shippers. Carriers will use the device to track their movements and their working time, and can even input vehicle data on the device. "It really becomes more of a work aid than just a scanner," he said. The USPS will deploy about 75,000 of the new devices beginning in August.

Federal Times: Even as the Postal Service pushes to end Saturday letter delivery it is gearing up to expand its package delivery service to every day of the week. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told reporters at the annual National Postal Forum the Postal Service is focused on growing its package delivery business and has seen great success so far. "That is why we are moving toward the seven day model," Donahoe said. He added the Postal Service was even trying out same-day delivery in New York City. "It has caught on like wildfire in New York, we have a whole group of customers there," he said.

Press Release: UPS today announced the opening of a new package sorting and delivery facility in Laredo, Texas, doubling the capacity of its previous building. The new facility will also use advanced technology to increase processing proficiency. UPS customers in South Texas shipping to Mexico can benefit from the new technology by experiencing a one-day improvement in time-in-transit. The new facility is strategically located to improve shipping to Mexico, an extremely important market for UPS and its customers. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, trade between the United States and Mexico has increased 113 percent over the past 10 years, with more than $1.35 billion in cross-border commerce taking place every day. The Laredo facility will allow UPS customers who ship from South Texas to maximize the potential of cross-border commerce by allowing their packages to move more quickly through the UPS system, thus arriving in Mexico sooner.

March 18, 2014 

Direct Marketing News: A big theme at the National Postal Forum is the integration of digital methods into traditional direct mail programs to wring maximum results from expensive print programs—made more so by this year's huge postal rate increase. Right on the money during workshop sessions at the Forum was Rhea Friederichs, solution specialist at the John Roberts Company, who offered a common sense guide to cross-channel campaigning for career direct mailers ready for a little digital diversion.

Multichannel Merchant: The United States Postal Service's Priority Mail will soon be hitting a theater near you after scoring a major product endorsement in Sony Picture's highly anticipated summer blockbuster "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." According to a press release issued by the USPS, in order to promote Priority Mail and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," the Postal Service and Sony Pictures have collaborated on the creation of high-profile, multichannel marketing campaign for the film. Those multichannel campaigns will include direct mail, digital and social media elements, including a television commercial that features Spider-Man overcoming several cityscape obstacles in order to deliver a Priority Mail package. Other promotions, according to the release, include "trucks featuring Spider-Man images in major urban centers, in-movie integrated logo placement, limited-edition Spider-Man Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping Boxes, online and digital banners, Spider-Man postage from self-service kiosks, and retail signs."

Grand Haven Tribune: "Wild turkeys terrorize Grand Haven postal workers"

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Migrating to Full-Service Webinar Series. The Postal Service encourages mailers to migrate to the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail® when mailing First-Class Mail® postcards, letters, and flats, Standard Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter flats Full-Service provides customers with:

  • An additional per piece discount on every Full-Service mailpiece.
  • Address correction information at no additional cost for Full-Service mailpieces, providing Change of Address (COA) information and Nixie (undeliverable-as-addressed) information.
  • The ability to track service performance through reports and scan information.
  • Container, tray and mailpiece visibility.
  • Annual permit fees waived when 90 percent or more of cumulative annual mailings consist of Full-Service mail.
  • The opportunity to use the same permit at any location via our Mail Anywhere program.

    We have scheduled a series of webinars to assist mailers in transitioning to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. The webinars are designed to walk you through the process and help you get the most out of using Full-Service. We encourage mailers to attend all four sessions in the series. Recording links for the two previous sessions and log on links for the upcoming courses are available on RIBBS under Intelligent Mail Services/Education at https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailpresentations. The Business Customer Gateway – Thursday, March 20, 3:30 p.m. EDT Full-Service Feedback – Thursday, March 27, 3:30 p.m. EDT

PRWeek: The US Postal Service has named former McDonald's communications leader Bill Whitman as VP of corporate communications. He will be responsible for all internal and external communications and lead efforts to improve public understanding of the USPS' products and services, as well as its corporate mission, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. Whitman was most recently a consultant in Burson-Marsteller's Chicago office and previously principal at Bill Whitman & Associates. He was tapped as VP and CCO at McDonald's USA in 2008, when predecessor Richard Ellis moved to McDonald's Restaurants of Canada as SVP of communications and public affairs and president of Ronald McDonald House Charities. During his 13-year tenure at McDonald's, he served as senior director of media relations and public affairs as well as director of corporate communications and media relations. His first role at the fast-food giant was senior manager of corporate communications and media relations from 1998 to 2002.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

TechCrunch: Poshmark, the mobile marketplace that lets women swap and sell items out of their own closets, is announcing a big partnership with the United States Postal Service. This marks one of the first times the USPS has worked with a mobile commerce startup to create a custom shipping label. Similar to the way the USPS has partnered with both Amazon and eBay to create custom shipping plans and labels, the USPS has partnered with Poshmark to create PoshPost, a USPS shipping label designed specifically for fashion. With the introduction of the PoshPost label, Poshmark users can now ship any item of fashion under five pounds anywhere in the U.S. for $4.99. Poshmark says that 99.5 percent of orders placed on Poshmark weigh under five pounds.

American Banker: Comparisons between community banks and the U.S. Postal Service may make readers squirm. After all, who wants to be compared to an organization responsible for the phrase "going postal"? Still, lessons can be drawn from its long, rocky history. First, the parallels: Community banks and post offices rely on a network of far-flung, brick-and-mortar offices dotting small towns throughout the U.S. More than economic generators, they've helped build the social and civic fabric of those communities. And now, each is fighting for their survival.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Banks have been consistently uninterested in providing financial services to poorer Americans, but others are increasingly jumping at the chance to do so. The latest is the United States Postal Service (pdf), whose inspector general published a paper last week detailing how serving the so-called unbanked with savings accounts and small-scale loans could provide a valuable public service while shoring up the finances of the vulnerable agency. The Post Office's proposal follows T-Mobile's (TMUS) plan to offer some financial services to its customers, and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) has been offering similar services for several years, along with a few other companies whose main businesses are retail goods and services. These companies are stepping into the vacuum created as traditional financial institutions withdraw from serving unprofitable low-income areas. Banks closed almost 2,300 branches in 2012, and 93 percent of the closings since 2008 occurred in Zip Codes where the median income is below the national average. Payday lenders, pawn shops, and other exploitative businesses have been happy to step in, but the high costs of their services leave them open to competition, and the increasing interest of regulators leaves them vulnerable. As a banker to the unbanked, the Post Office comes with both distinct advantages and drawbacks.

United Parcel Service: Just in time for NCAA® March Madness®, The UPS Store® today announced its own roster of activities to help small business owners compete and win the business game. The company recently launched a new printing services website, making it easy for business owners to design and print reports, catalogs, presentations, marketing materials and more. While the products offered on the site can be shipped directly to customers, some items can also be picked up at a local The UPS Store, offering small business owners the ability to submit a professional grade report or presentation from the office and pick it up a short time later on the way to a meeting. In addition, customers can use the print site to design and print business cards, selecting from hundreds of different templates. During The UPS Store's Print Madness promotion (March 17-April 11), customers can purchase 500 business cards for only $5.

Quincy Herald-Whig: U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill brings town hall tour to Hannibal. She pledged support for keeping six-day delivery of mail and the need to get more money from shippers who are contracting for the U.S. Postal Service to make deliveries seven days a week.

New York Post: Forget "snow nor rain," this mailman was too lazy to deliver the mail in any weather. Ignoring his employer's reliability mantra, a Long Island postal carrier tossed more than a thousand pieces of mail into Dumpsters along his route — just to avoid the nuisance of having to deliver them, authorities said.

Metro Independent: The FCB Banks location at 800 Beltline Road opened a Contract Postal Unit Monday that offers many of the services provided by retail post offices. Services available at the CPU include stamp purchases, insured mail, certified/registered mail (expected to be available by Thursday), return receipts, United States Postal Service Tracking and guaranteed overnight delivery, all for the same price the post office charges. The CPU is open to the public, not just FCB Banks customers.

City A.M.: Royal Mail has seen off competition from two other postal companies to sign a two-year deal to deliver council documents for nearly half of London's boroughs, the firm confirmed yesterday. The postal group, which was part-privatised in a stock market float in October, has provided the service for several boroughs previously, but the new contract spanning 14 boroughs is the biggest of its kind. Royal Mail will offer to deliver council tax letters, polling cards and other important documents for the boroughs, after winning a competitive tender against TNT and UK Mail. The contract also involves so-called hybrid services, where the firm will print and then post documents to residents.

March 17, 2014 

Bloomberg Businessweek: Franklin, the nation's first postmaster general, might not like the idea of poor service, but he would have no qualms about opening post offices in stores. In Franklin's day, there were no free-standing post offices. Almost all of them were all located in taverns and coffee houses. In that sense, the latest USPS plan is more keeping with his original vision than its critics might care to admit. Indeed, opponents of the USPS reform efforts often evoke Franklin's name. They suggest that the USPS shouldn't alter or reduce its operations because it was founded by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the current system is somehow what he had in mind from the start. That's not true. It was cheap to send newspapers through the mail in the early days of the American post office, yet letters were so expensive that most Americans rarely bothered. That didn't change until 1845, when Congress threw out Franklin's old pricing system and introduced cheap uniform letter pages. There was no home delivery back then—unless you paid extra for it.

Federal Times: The Postal Service plans to shrink its workforce by 10,000 positions in fiscal 2015, according to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. The reductions will be entirely through attrition — there will be no buy-outs or reductions in force— Donahoe said at a media roundtable at the annual National Postal Forum at the National Harbor in Prince George's County, Md. "We have been good planners and we use overtime and other things to work our way through that," he said. He said the Postal Service has been able to reduce its workforce by about 320,000 since fiscal 2000 and avoid reductions-in-force because its average employee age is 52 and through careful management. He said the ultimate goal is for the Postal Service to reduce its career workforce from about 485,000 to around 400,000, with about 65,000 full-time non-career workers. But the Postal Service can do that only with the added flexibility provided by legislation pending in Congress. Donahoe said the concept of a separate health plan for postal employees is also a ‘dead issue' and while he thinks it would have provided a better plan at a lower cost it was not worth it if it would get in the way of broader postal reform making its way through congress. "I am fine walking away from it. I am more than happy to compromise and get that bill across the finish line," Donahoe said.

AllAfrica: Stakeholders will tomorrow discuss the findings of the postal and courier market review in Kenya in a forum spearheaded by the Communications Authority.

PRNewswire: In a keynote speech at the National Postal Forum—the annual mailing industry trade show—Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service, today described a changing attitude of marketers toward the role of direct mail as a means of attracting and retaining customers. "We're seeing mail being used in some tremendous new ways—especially as part of integrated marketing campaigns," said the Postmaster General. "All of this is leading to a reappraisal of the role of mail in the marketing mix—and we're starting to see the beginnings of that reappraisal." Providing perspective on the changing media landscape and the use of new technologies to improve the effectiveness of mail for both senders and receivers, the Postmaster General and other senior postal leaders discussed trends in the use of mail and efforts by the Postal Service to spur growth in the mailing industry. "Our industry needs to give all marketers a sense that mail can be used in new ways," said Donahoe. "We need to drive a better understanding of the value mail brings to integrated marketing campaigns." "Mail is the most effective channel for driving customers to a retail location and for driving customers to websites," Donahoe added. "You can use mail to launch a video on a smart phone, or to make quick purchases out of a catalog or a flyer. We're now able to measure and analyze all of these interactions—that's adding value for senders and causing marketers to give mail a fresh look." The Postmaster General urged the mailing industry in attendance to talk with customers about new ways of using data and analytics to optimize return on mail and integrated campaigns.

4-Traders: The Universal Postal Union is gearing up to welcome some 200 people at a major e-commerce forum on 26-27 March 2014 to explore opportunities for unleashing the potential of the online sales boom for all stakeholders. Given their vast networks reaching citizens everywhere, Posts are often the ones e-tailers and consumers rely on to deliver or receive goods purchased online, making finding ways to improve trade through postal services a priority for the United Nations specialized agency. "E-commerce sales are expected to top 1.5 trillion dollars this year. As more merchants sell their products online, easing cross-border shopping and ensuring the smooth delivery of packages worldwide requires solid logistics, customs and payment solutions," says Brazil's Alex Nascimento, chair of the UPU's e-commerce group. "We hope this forum could bring valuable insight into how stakeholders can work more effectively to fulfill the expected economic benefits that global e-commerce promises."

The GreenCar Website: Deutsche Post DHL– a leading organisation in the field of alternative fuel vehicle trials – has signed a letter of intent to explore further use of electric cars with Renault. This new framework includes options to buy Renault Kangoo vans which the German postal firm has already been trialling; currently running no less than 304 Renault electric vehicles including the models of the Kangoo ZE, ZOE and Twizy.

Daily Freeman News: Ulster County town clerks are asking for state help in dealing with U.S. Post Office changes that have lead property owners to receive tax bills later than usual because local mail is no longer sorted locally. The Woodstock Post Office previously sorted local mail for addresses within the town, but new policy moves the mail to a few different locations for sorting.

Online Sentinel: The 25 baby chicks farmer Dan Charles was expecting from a Pennsylvania hatchery didn't come the day they were scheduled to last week and he was concerned. Tracking the order online — which was two-day air from the U.S. Postal Service — he got few answers. When the box, with three air holes and marked "Baby Chicks," arrived the next day, his worst fears were realized. They were all dead. There was no warning or explanation the fragile package of one-day-old chicks was going to be late. "Unfortunately, it's a very common tragedy," said Stephanie Bell, a casework director for the Cruelty Investigation Department of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). "There are serious risks to putting animals in a package and sending them across the country." PETA responds to thousands of reports of animals dying or suffering in the mail each year — most of them in the spring and most of them baby chicks, Bell said.

Times of Oman: A large number of companies which offer postal services in Oman without a licence from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will go out of business. Currently, there are many commercial registered companies which offer postal services but are not licensed by the TRA. "We are currently regulating the postal services within the framework of the government's efforts for the development of postal and related services. The move comes as part of the country's development plans and relevant international treaties related to postal and related issues. The WTO agreement on the development of postal services through regulated competition could be achieved by liberalising the sector and encouraging domestic and international investment in order to enable users to access postal services at affordable prices," he said.

Arutz Sheva: Dozens of employees of the postal authority came to a protest vigil, Monday morning, outside the home of Chief Executive Officer Haim Almoznino. They carried signs calling on Almoznino to quit, accusing him of ruining the authority. They also called for the authority to be saved. The authority's workers' committee claims it has been calling on management for three years to come up with a comprehensive recovery program with no response until a month ago, when an emergency program of dismissals was announced. The union called on Communications Minister Gil'ad Erdan and Treasurer Ya'ir Lapir to get involved, explaining that management had failed.

Human Events: The solution to government – isn't more government. But that's exactly what governments proffer all the time. They pass a government-expanding law – which warps, distorts and otherwise damages the private marketplace. They don't offer to repeal the law – of course not. They instead pass another government-expanding law – to "fix" the mess they made with the last one. Lather, rinse, repeat. You know why the federal government is the only entity delivering First Class Postage? The Postal Service has a legal government monopoly on delivering first-class mail…. (Prospective competitors) are required by law to charge a high minimum price and cannot undercut USPS rates. Nothing like the government gaming the system – to favor the government. And how's their monopoly working? Postal Service Loss Of $15.9 Billion Sets Record

Grimsby Telegraph: Retailers are exploring new ways to bring customers to their doors, securing local jobs and ensuring window shopping is not just a thing of the past. Figures showed 45 per cent of UK online consumers used "click and collect" for Christmas shopping last year. Essentially, shoppers buy and pay for their purchases online, and then collect them at their local stores. The scheme means customers can choose when and where to collect their purchases, rather than wasting time searching different stores for items that may or may not be in stock. And consumers are no longer happy to waste time waiting at home for a delivery, with a vague delivery slot that can span the entire day. Read more: http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/use-click-collect-services-shopping/story-20818675-detail/story.html#ixzz2wDdur8d6

eCommerceBytes: eBay has placed increasing importance on tracking numbers in order to help it learn if sellers ship their orders in a timely fashion. In order to be a Top Rated Seller, for example, eBay sellers must upload tracking within their stated handling time on 90% of all transactions. Tracking also helps sellers in the case of a dispute. But the phrase "between a rock and hard place" comes to mind when considering the position online sellers find themselves when it comes to eBay's requirements, the rock being eBay, and the hard place being shipping carriers. That frequently means the United States Postal Service, for lower volume shippers in particular. The reality is, USPS tracking problems do occur, and eBay judges sellers for factors outside their control.

BBC: The inclusion of a valuable database of postcodes and addresses in the Royal Mail flotation has been criticised by an influential group of MPs. The Public Administration Committee said the Postcode Address File (PAF) was a national asset and should not have been included in privatisation. It includes all known postal addresses in the UK, with 1.8 million postcodes. The committee's report said the PAF was included to boost Royal Mail's value but this was denied by the government. The MPs said the database had been expensive to collect and was of "huge direct value" to the economy. The PAF, a complete set of the nation's postcodes, is valuable because its details can be used by businesses for mailshots and marketing. The committee expressed concern about the credibility of assurances over continued access for small businesses and others, now the database was in private hands. Committee chairman Bernard Jenkin said: "The sale of the PAF with the Royal Mail was a mistake. Public access to public sector data must never be sold or given away again.

March 16, 2014 

PRWeb: The Postal Services industry in Australia used to be the main vehicle for communication in the nation. With changes in technology, this monopoly on communications is long gone. The industry is in a state of transition as participants adapt to a long-term decline in traditional mail. The industry is extremely concentrated and dominated by Australia Post, which is Australia's largest logistics company. Other players in the industry are focused on third-party communications services, of which bulk mail-outs are one communications channel, among many. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Caroline Finch, "the strategies of these two sets of participants have diverged, with Australia Post investing heavily in infrastructure to support a growing parcels business in the past five years." Smaller operators, in contrast, have shifted focus to other areas of communications, with some pulling out of the industry altogether to follow their clients online.

The Hindu: In these times of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, good old snail mail still rules on polling day. Over the next four to eight weeks, when the nation votes the 16th Lok Sabha in, plain post has its own constitutional duty cut out. While most of us will mark our vote on the polling day with the press of a button on the electronic voting machine, this election season, thousands of specially printed postal ballots will travel thousands of kilometres and back to capture the choice of the voter-soldier at the outpost. And these special votes can land at the respective returning officer's place until 8 a.m. on the day of counting. Postage is free.

PostCom Members! The latest issue of PostCom's In the Postal Weeds has been posted on this site.The specific focus for this issue is address quality.

March 15, 2014 

Valley News Live: Every Friday a special delivery addressed to the American Postal Workers Union wheels into Fargo's downtown Post Office. It's the response to Union President John Durham. He sent a message to non-profit Community Living Services expressing his desire to help, but instead of giving money, they asked him to give opportunity. "They came up with the idea of having one of the clients come over and do some work and some help," says Durham. CLS helps integrate those with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the community and now since January 2014, the local APWU found a new communications director in one of their clients.

The Mirror: Postal chiefs have closed a postbox...because dogs keep WEEING on it. Royal Mail workers taped a grumpy note to the postbox reading ‘This box has been closed due to the fact members of the public are allowing their dogs to urinate on the door'. The action was taken after local posties complained to bosses that when they went to open the door to get all the letters out they often found it covered in dog wee. Sandra Richards, 51, said she saw the sign this week as she went to post a birthday card to her granddaughter. "I couldn't believe it when I read it - I mean dogs always wee on postboxes and lampposts, it's the natural way of things.

Paddock Talk: For the fourth straight year, FedEx Corp., Autism Speaks and Dover International Speedway have joined forces, as FedEx will return as the title sponsor of the "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, June 1, 2014. Bookmark and Share The announcement of the renewed sponsorship is coupled with the news that for the third straight year, the Autism Speaks Day at the Races event will be part of the June 1 race. This unique event provides those on the autism spectrum, and their families, with the opportunity to attend a NASCAR race in a comfortable environment. The special ticket package provides seating in a sensory friendly area within the air-conditioned grandstands at the Monster Mile, which offers great views of the race along the backstretch of the track; pre-race appearances by NASCAR drivers and personalities; brief presentations by educational speakers in the morning; food and drink; and much more. The dedicated area provides a quiet zone, with muted lighting in a calmer environment for parents to help their children escape the crowd if necessary. The room features comfortable seating, games, and video screens to help fans keep up with the action on the track or watch family friendly movies.

Mobile Marketing Watch: This year at SXSW, QR codes are everywhere. And while they're nothing new in the digital realm, their growing adoption among consumers and companies is notable nonetheless.

Wall Street Journal: The U.S. government plans to give up control over the body that manages Internet names and addresses, a move that could bring more international cooperation over management of the Web, but will make some U.S. businesses nervous. The Commerce Department said Friday it plans to relinquish its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, which manages a number of technical functions that serve as signposts to help computers locate the correct servers and websites. The action is viewed as a response to increasing international concern about U.S. control over the Internet's structure, particularly in light of the recent disclosures about surveillance by the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

Memphis Business Journal: United Parcel Service has pulled a $1.5 million permit, launching the beginning of its expansion at 3675 Swinnea Road. The project, with a total value of $80 million, will add 140,000 square feet and a 54,000-gallon natural gas fueling station to the already 293,345-square-foot facility, creating 15 new jobs for the area. UPS received an 11-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes benefit from the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis & Shelby County for the project in November. The airport authority and UPS agreed to a 30-year lease in 1997 for land on the east side of Memphis International Airport. The expansion is the first step in the company's plan to increase its presence in Memphis, according to a September 2013 story in MBJ that first reported UPS's plans.

Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Services Inc. plans to increase general rates by 4.4% at the end of March, a move that comes after rival FedEx Corp. also said it would raise its shipping rates. UPS's rate increase, effective March 31, applies to noncontractual less-than-truckload shipments, which carries goods for multiple customers on the same vehicle. The rate increase may vary by shipment characteristics such as weight or class. The higher rates at UPS and FedEx come as the industry faces some challenges, in particular a shift toward lower-pricing shipping services among international customers.

Fierce Government: The Postal Service might require a taxpayer bailout or risk its retirees losing health benefits if the agency continues to fall short in paying its prefunding requirement, warned a Government Accountability Office official. Read more: Retirees could lose health benefits if USPS can't pay prefunding requirement.

Federal News Radio: The U.S. Postal Service has long maintained that requiring it to set aside funding for future retirees' health care costs in the form of fixed multibillion-dollar annual payments is a drag on its dire financial condition. In fact, the agency has defaulted on billions of dollars in such payments in recent years and, absent reform legislation from Congress, will do so again when the next payment comes due in October. But as lawmakers consider efforts to shore up the agency's financial footing, widespread disagreement remains over whether the current prefunding requirement is fiscally responsible, as Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) argued during a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing Thursday, or an "onerous mandate" only required of the Postal Service, as Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) contended. Still, there is at least one area where USPS officials hope to draw from the lessons of TRICARE: better integrating retiree health coverage with Medicare.

Linn's Stamp News: Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, is puzzled. How, he asks, can any organization that is forecasting a $1.1 billion operating profit in the current year be on the edge of bankruptcy? The answer, he and other postal labor leaders are saying, is this could happen only if you are the United States Postal Service. Make no mistake, Rolando is saying, the Postal Service has recorded large losses, thanks in part to the decline of first-class mail. But now the federal agency that is older than the Constitution is making a remarkable recovery, one that Rolando says the mail service should be proclaiming with the all of the enthusiasm of its flat-rate boxes television ads. This is no time to be making still more cuts to the mail system, Rolando is saying. Why then is the USPS failing to tout the news of its own remarkable financial turnaround? Rolando and other postal labor leaders say that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has become so engaged in his battle to win major — and very unpopular — changes from Congress that he dares not back down from his cries for help. Despite all his cajoling, Don-ahoe has found few supporters in Congress.

March 14, 2014 

The Japan News: Japan Post Holdings Co. agreed to raise the monthly base salary of regular employees by ¥1,000 on average, the first pay scale hike in six years. The government-affiliated postal service group reached the accord with the Japan Postal Group Union, which is the largest single labor union in Japan, in their shunto annual wage negotiations. Japan Post Holdings also agreed on Thursday to pay annual bonuses equivalent to 3.5 months' salary, up from 3.3 months for the previous year. In addition, it plans to offer special allowances depending on its business performance.

World Stage Group: Last week as he was driving through Johannesburg, a board member of a multi-billion Euro multinational made a rather bold statement, "Africa is not only the last frontier but possibly the biggest frontier for business". That comment was made by Ken Allen, Global CEO for DHL Express. This probably highlights how serious Africa is being taken in the global boardrooms of large corporations. Charles Brewer, Managing Director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa shares his sentiment and adds, "More than ever, companies are now looking to expand into Africa. More than ever, companies are looking to invest in its diverse markets. More than ever, commercial opportunities abound across the continent. It's clearly time for Africa…"

Northern Life: On Sunday, Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault and other volunteers will be going door-to-door to see how people feel about changes to Canada's postal system.

Salisbury Journal: Postbox thefts feared part of national epidemic. The reason for the thefts is thought to be that there are collectors willing to pay thousands for their own postbox. As a result, a thriving black market in stolen postboxes has developed.

Washington Examiner: Officials with the world's largest commercial real estate company have represented both the U.S. Postal Service and buyers of postal properties on at least 10 occasions, a conflict of interest that should be barred, according to a government watchdog. The agreement allowing Los Angeles-based CBRE Group to profit on both ends of postal property sales "could lead to financial loss to the Postal Service and decrease public trust in the Postal Service's brand," the postal service's inspector general has warned the agency. The IG sent out an "alert" about the issue to USPS management last month. But postal officials refuse to end the practice, with one official denying any conflict of interest had been found.

Politicalnews.me: As the United States Postal Service (USPS) moves ahead with the second phase of the sale of the historic Bronx post office, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand urged USPS to meet with the Bronx community and hear their concerns before deciding on a winning bid. With the review process underway of at least eleven submitted plans, Senator Gillibrand pressed the agency to choose proposals that would transform the City landmark into a space that would benefit the community and grow the local economy in the South Bronx.

Malta Today: Total postal traffic during the last quarter of 2012 decreased by 4.8 per cent and stood at over 10.6 million items, with items received and dispatched by couriers totalled 180,319, an increase of 21.8 per cent over the previous year.

Interfax-Ukraine: Nova Poshta (Kyiv), one of the largest delivery companies in Ukraine, from March 13, 2013 has suspended accepting orders to deliver packages to Crimea, the director of the marketing department Iryna Kholod has told Interfax-Ukraine.

Post & Parcel: Brazil's top labour court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that strike action protesting changes to Brazil Post's healthcare funding system should end. The Superior Labour Court (TST) in Brasilia said the strike was "abusive" and ordered a full return to work effective midnight tonight (14 March). Brazil's National Federation of Postal Workers (Fentect), the umbrella group for the nation's regional postal unions, was told it will be fined BRL $20,000 for every day ($8,500 USD) strike action continues. By majority vote, the judges in the court's specialised section on collective bargaining decided that 15 days' pay would be docked from those workers who went on strike.

EIN Presswire: Worldwide Parcel Services are set to reward regular shippers and users of the cheap parcel delivery service with a wide range of benefits, newly introduced. If customers make 5 parcel orders or more a month with the delivery service, then they can now apply online to see if they are eligible to benefit from the new ‘Preferred Shipper' service put in place this week by Worldwide Parcel Services. In this range of benefits, customers will automatically receive cheaper and faster WPS Euro Economy and WPS Air Express Services as standard. Also available in the package will be faster booking processes and the ability to ship to and from addresses which are, or will, be stored for the customer. As well, parcel sizes will be stored, a repeat and pre-payment facility will be in place and all shipments and invoices will be stored by the parcel delivery service.

Transport Intelligence: In 2012, China's National Post Office granted licenses to FedEx and UPS to operate in China's domestic express market, however, with a catch – each could only operate in select cities. FedEx was granted a license to operate in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Dalian, Zhengzhou and Chengdu while UPS was granted a license to operate in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Xi'an. A bit disappointing but still welcomed progress as both companies had invested heavily in its Chinese infrastructure. According to a recent article, Beijing was "too sensitive" to allow either company to operate from. Instead, FedEx and UPS have been allowed to make deliveries between some other Chinese cities. Since 2012, both companies have remained persistent. In July 2013, FedEx received 29 more licenses and is still waiting for the remaining 21 to get back to serving 58 branches while UPS now has 19 out of its original 33. This slowness of granting licenses to foreign companies appears to favor Chinese-based companies.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Service RULES Service Standards for Destination Sectional Center Facility Rate Standard Mail; Correction , 14401–14402 [2014–05572] [TEXT] [PDF]

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

  • Could Postal Reform Be Delivered This Year? Reserve your FREE Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/978691056 With the recent passage of S. 1486 out of the Senate Committee, will postal reform be delivered this year? Join Jessica Dauer Lowrance, Executive Vice President of the Association for Postal Commerce for a discussion focused on: What is contained in S .1486; What are the pitfalls for the industry; What is the legislative process; and How to reach out to your representatives in Congress.
  • The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing, "At a Crossroads: the Postal Service's 100 Billion in Unfunded Liabilities," on March 13, 2014. The following is the summary of the key points during the hearing.
  • Declaring that "the U.S. Postal Service is under unprecedented attack," the presidents of the four postal unions have formed a historic alliance to fight back.
  • USPS to deploy 75,000 new mobile delivery devices. Heitkamp calls on USPS to make needed service changes in North Dakota. Federal Business Opportunities. Alaska bypass mail program: creating division in the House. Issa's antics again try GOP's patience, complicate party's message. Trissell to become PRC's General Counsel. ‘Prefunding' benefits, new services, and the new USPS. USPS outsources itself to a company doing almost as badly as itself. Clarification: Periodicals flats maximum weight limit.
  • Announcements of postal related filing in the Federal Register.
  • Announcements from the U.S. Postal Service to the mailing industry.
  • Announcements on recent reports, projects, and blog entries of the USPS OIG.
  • International postal news.
  • Postal previews.
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DC Velocity: Amazon.com. Inc. is moving quickly to revamp its delivery network to gain more control over its fulfillment infrastructure while reining in spiraling transportation costs, according to a supply chain consultant with close ties to the e-tailing giant. James Tompkins, who runs Tompkins International, a Raleigh, N.C.-based consultancy, said Amazon has divided the nation into three segments based on population size: The top 40 markets, which comprise about half of the U.S. population; the next 60 largest population areas that account for about 17 percent, and the remaining areas, which account for about one-third. The top 40 markets will be served by a private fleet being built by Amazon to support an expansion of its online grocery business, called "Amazon Fresh," according to Tompkins. The next 60 will be served by an array of regional parcel delivery carriers, he said. The remainder will be served mostly by the U.S. Postal Service, he said.

LifeHealthPro: The top U.S. Postal Service benefits manager has a solution to that organization's retiree health benefits funding problem: "full Medicare integration." Jeffrey Williamson, the chief human resources officer at the Postal Service, presented that idea today at a postal benefits liabilities hearing organized by a U.S. House Oversight & Government Reform subcommittee. The Postal Service has about 1 million employees and retirees.

Government Executive: Republican lawmakers voiced support for continued prefunding of U.S. Postal Service retirees' health benefits at a congressional hearing Thursday, calling the payments necessary to avoid workers losing promised benefits or the costs being deferred to taxpayers. A USPS official told the House Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Census Subcommittee that the agency's total obligations -- including retirees' health benefits and pensions, workers' compensation, debt owed to the Treasury Department, benefits for current workers and other liabilities -- exceed its assets by $90 billion.

NASDAQ: Pitney Bowes Inc. recently announced its decision to provide additional big data applications with its existing Spectrum Technology Platform. The integrated platform will now be able to provide its clients with advanced analytic solutions and master data management (MDM) with the aid of graphical presentations. This platform is designed to enhance the customer experience by providing the firms with more detailed and specific insights from the data. While benefiting the customers, this will also lead to increased profitability for the company and will also reduce the risks. The key features added to the platform are Visual Data Modeling, Process-centric Data Governance, Big Data Readiness, Enhanced Entity Resolution as well as Industry and Application Certifications.

March 13, 2014 

National Association of Major Mail Users: The Privy Council Office (PCO) has posted notification of approval of the Regulations amending the LETTER MAIL REGULATIONS in order to raise the rates charged for postal services, effective March 31, 2014. Details will be published March 26th. This in effect means that under the new tiered structure: Single stamps for letters would cost $1.00 each for 30g Basic Letter Rate (BLR) Stamps in booklets and coils would cost $0.85 each SME using postage meters would benefit from a new commercial discounted rate of $0.75 cents* *The proposed commercial rates are not part of the regulatory process and are at management discretion. Incentive Lettermail rates are proposed to rise 15 per cent, from $0.61 to $0.70 (Machineable); from $0.60 to $0.69 (Presort) on March 31, 2014.

The following has been sent to Megan Brennan, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, USPS by the Association for Postal Commerce, the IDEAlliance, the Association of Marketing Service Providers, and the National Association of Presort Mailers regarding the Postal Service's plans on the processing of flats.

Federal Workforce, US Postal Service and Census March 13, 2014 | 1:30 p.m. in 2247 Rayburn House Office Building "At a Crossroads: the Postal Service's $100 Billion in Unfunded Liabilities" [EdNote: A summary of some of the key points of today's testimony has been posted on this site.]

The Nation: Among the very worst ideas for "reforming" the United States Postal Service are proposals to end Saturday delivery and to shift from at-the-door delivery of mail to a scheme that would force Americans to go and collect letters and packages from central delivery spots. Both approaches would diminish the scope and character of the postal service while increasing the likelihood that private firms will move in to fill the void. The White House budget would also allow USPS to move away from door-to-door delivery to more centralized delivery areas, an idea also panned by Democrats. Plus, USPS could keep a recent temporary increase in the price of stamps – which large mailers loathe – beyond the scheduled two years. American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimondstein says the administration budget echoes "misguided policies… for severe cutbacks that will harm service, drive away business, and eliminate jobs." That's a message that a new alliance of postal unions – the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association – wants to communicate to the president and his budget team.

Press Release: GrayHair Software, Inc., a leader in delivering best practices for address hygiene and postal management, and Window Book, Inc., a leading provider of mailing, shipping and post-presort data management software, today announced an expanded relationship that enables mailers to achieve the full range of benefits available through the Intelligent Mail® barcode.

Research: Royal Mail has made three senior hires in its MarketReach direct marketing services business.

Postalnews Blog: King of hearings Rep. Darrell Issa continues his relentless attack against the United States Postal Service. Ed Schultz and Mark Dimondstein discuss.

Fierce Government: Two internal Postal Service assessments of a program to reduce workers' compensation costs done by the same office produced vastly different results, but the one that rated the program poorly was never seen by USPS executive leadership, a March 7 Postal Service inspector general report says. The USPS Strategic Management Office, which is responsible for tracking the progress of management programs, gave the program a passing score in one of its assessments, the report (.pdf) says. Another assessment, made with the "Duration, Integrity, Commitment and Effort" tool, showed the program was over-resourced or under-ambitious.

TMCNet: The U.S. Postal Service Supplies and Services Purchasing Office, Arlington, Va., has issued a pre-solicitation notice (6HQOIG-14-A-0021) for Customer Relationship Management software solutions. It was posted on March 12 with a response date of April 11.

Interactive Investor: Austrian Post proposed a 6 percent dividend increase for 2013 after a year helped by consolidation of subsidiaries in central and eastern Europe and elections in Austria. The company, whose valuation has been lifted by initial public offerings in the European mail sector, said on Thursday it targeted stable revenues, a core profit margin of 10-12 percent and improved operating profit this year. Annual earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 2 percent to 186 million euros ($259 million), in line with the Reuters poll average of 184 million euros, as Austrian Post cut staff costs and improved efficiency.

The Connexion: Postal workers in one Paris arrondissement refused to deliver campaign leaflets for the Front National on Monday, according to the Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD) and General Confederation of Labour (CGT) unions. The leaflet, which was among a bundle of advertising mailshots, was not in an envelope. Olivier Rosay, of SUD, said: "At least a dozen out of 40 postal workers removed the leaflet before their round." He claimed that La Poste was putting "political propaganda of the Front National" into the hands of the delivery people, effectively turning them into "activists" for the far-right party. - See more at: http://www.connexionfrance.com/la-poste-france-front-nationale-fn-marine-le-pen-far-right-leaflets-delivery-refused-paris-15551-view-article.html#sthash.7IV1mymU.dpuf

Post & Parcel: Swiss Post took a big hit to its profits from its new tax liabilities on converting into a public limited company, but otherwise achieved a "solid" annual result in 2013, it said today. The company, which remains 100% state-owned after becoming a PLC in June 2013, saw its underlying Group profit fall 19% to CHF 626m (EUR 515m) as it became fully taxed for the first time.

Post & Parcel: The head of the Universal Postal Union has called on governments in Latin America to support the postal industry as a way to strengthen the regional economy. Bishar A Hussein, the director general of the UN-affiliated agency supporting the global postal sector, was speaking at a meeting of the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal in Montevideo, Uruguay. He said the postal sector has suffered from a lack of regulation and exclusion from national development policies over the past three decades. Partial or one-off reform efforts in that time have "severely" hampered the postal sector during that time according to UPU analysis, making it more difficult to modernise national postal services and comply with the universal service obligation.

Romania-Insider: Postal services only bring 0.26 percent of Romania's Gross Domestic Product, while the ratio is, on average, 1 percent across the European Union according to data from the Romanian Communication Authority ANCOM, quoted by Romanian media. Postal services totaled some EUR 90 billion in 2012, while in Romania, these services totaled some EUR 337 million. According to ANCOM, express and package sending make half of total postal revenues in Romania, as people have started to send fewer and fewer letters. Even so, letters make the bulk of the volume in Romania – 93 percent. On average, a Romanian sent 26 dispatches a year in 2012. The largest postal services company in Romania is the state-owned Romanian Post.

YLE: The state-owned postal company Itella has decided to cut some 495 jobs following the conclusion of co-determination talks affecting its postal distribution staff.

YLE: The union representing postal workers has strongly condemned a decision by the postal service company Itella to send home nearly 500 workers. The union says the redundancies were avoidable and that Itella could have resorted to natural attrition and retirement.

KBTX: Police are looking into a series of widespread crimes involving mailboxes in surrounding areas of the Brazos Valley. According to news radio station KWHI in Brenham, the U.S. Postal service says mail boxes were burglarized in Brenham, Chappell Hill, Milican, and Old Washington between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Meanwhile News 3's sister station in Waco, KWTX, reports that Milam county investigators are looking into a series of mailbox break-ins at several post offices west of the Brazos Valley - including Milano, Buckholts, Rockdale, Cameron, and Rogers. These two happened over the weekend. Investigators say thieves broke the locks off of drop boxes outside the locations.

The New Jersey Tomato Press: A number of residents have reported late or even missing mail over the past few months in the Caldwells and West Essex. Over the past week, a few anonymous postal workers in the Caldwells have confirmed there are problems with the mail delivery timing and also reported the schedule and work load for carriers and even window personnel has been what they call "stressful". Mail carriers, it turns out, seem to feel they have been overwhelmed with their work load and carrier routes, and have often times late delivering the mail. "The carriers have been struggling for a while now," said one anonymous source, who has worked in the post office in West Essex for numerous years. "Now they are being told to deliver to their regular route, which could be say 200 addresses, and then stay and deliver another route."

CBS Sacramento: The U.S. Postal Service says mixups like the one that returned a package of marijuana to a Sacramento family they didn't ship are becoming more common. Jeff Fitch is a postal inspector for Northern California, and says his office gets several cases like this a week. "One of the things we look for is fake return addresses, and unfortunately what they've started to do is use real people's names and addresses," he said. "It's a money-making venture for them, and they're just seeing us as the delivery service." A quick search of the web shows what to do to sell marijuana through the Postal Service. Unlike FedEx or UPS, deliveries through the the U.S Postal Service can't be opened without a warrant.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Four of five U.S. companies have raised deductibles or are considering doing so as health costs increase, according to a survey of more than 700 employers. About one-third of the companies have already increased deductibles or other cost-sharing provisions like copays, and 48 percent are considering similar moves. Employers are looking for ways to trim expenses as health-care costs continue to rise and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act increases required benefits and imposes new taxes. United Parcel Service Inc. dropped coverage for employed spouses and Home Depot Inc. sent 20,000 part-time workers to government-sponsored insurance websites.

Independent: A school, a shop, a pub, a church, a garage. Put together a variant of any or all of these and you have a rural community that you can call a hamlet, a village or even a town. But for any of these to continue and flourish, the post office can never be far away. The post office brings more than mail. It is the place where elderly people collect their weekly pension, parents collect the children's allowance and people avail of a host of other small financial services geared to their needs. For all our social media, in very many places the post office remains the beating heart of the economic and social community.

Multichannel Merchant: When it comes to shipping to the consumer, merchants are generally focused on three aspects of the fulfillment process: reliability, delivery times, and cost. In a recent executive summary by Stamps.com, a postage vendor of the United States Postal Service, evaluated the three largest shipping carriers in the U.S. in search of who reigns supreme in the world of American shipping. And the answer: it all depends on each merchants shipping needs.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 14307–14308 [2014–05448] [TEXT] [PDF]

ACS fulfillment for Tuesday March 18, 2014 Thru Friday March 21, 2014 Primary Audience: All ACS First-Class and Standard customers What: There will be Low or No First-Class or Standard ACS fulfillment volume When: Tuesday March 18, 2014 through Friday March 21, 2014 Impact: Due to scheduled system migrations there will be Low or No First-Class or Standard Mail Fulfillment Volume For March 18-21, 2014 If you receive a daily ACS fulfillment file containing First-Class or Standard Mail ACS Notices you may receive a low volume of ACS notices or a zero/empty fulfillment file. Once migration has been completed, ACS notice fulfillment will resume and records delayed due to the migration will be included in your next scheduled ACS fulfillment.

The latest issue of PostCom's review of the Postal Service's Service Performance Measurement (SPM) Update for Quarter 1 Fiscal Year 2014 has been posted on this site.

March 12, 2014 

Press Release: ecoEnvelopes (www.ecoEnvelopes.com), the world's leader in innovative, eco-friendly mailing solutions is proud to announce that they have been awarded the 2013 Minnesota Excellence Award by the US Institute for Excellence in Commerce.

BBC: The cost of sending letters within the Isle of Man is set to rise later this month, the Manx post office said. A spokesman said from 31 March the price will increase from 40p to 42p - bringing it to the same level as postage destined for the UK. International post is also set to rise with prices starting at 75p for Europe and £1.21 for further afield. Chairman of Isle of Man Post Geoff Corkish said the changes are partly due to a "decline of mail volumes".

PostalVision 2020: Today is the last day to take advantage of the discount rate at the Westin City Center Hotel where PV2020 4.0 is scheduled Thursday and Friday, April 10-11, 2014 immediately following the PostCom Board meetings scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, April 8-9, 2014. The rate will be available for the evenings of April 7 through April 11. To get the rate guests must: Register for Postal Vision 2020/4.0 reserve hotel online at: PostalVision2020/4.0 Hotel
(https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/StarGroupsWeb/res?id=1309205230&key=A51D) and include the night of April 9 in their reservation.

2014 Mail and Digital Personalization Promotion Webinar. Tuesday, March 25, 2014 3:00 p.m. EDT Pre-registration is required - lines are limited so please sign up today! The USPS Mailing Services team will present an informative webinar about the 2014 Mail and Digital Personalization Promotion. Interested mailers and mail service providers should plan to attend to learn about ways to enhance the value of mail by using variable data printing (VDP) or other print technology that provides varying levels of mailpiece personalization and customization. Mailers have the opportunity to earn a 2% discount on eligible postage and boost brand value, consumer retention and acquisition and improve the overall marketing experience with the Mail and Digital Personalization promotion. Please join us on Tuesday, March 25th to learn more about the program and registration requirements. We will also provide an overview of the remaining promotions planned for 2014. Attendee Information: Click here to register for the webinar or go to https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?ED=244600972&RG=1&UID=0&RT=MiMxMQ== Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 Conference Code: 553 970 9242

Digital Journal: GrayHair Software, Inc., an innovator and industry leader in the development of solutions that improve the lives of business mailers, proudly announces the addition of another leading postal expert, Stephanie Miracle, to its Product Management Team. Ms. Miracle is welcomed onboard as GrayHair's newest Senior Product Manager. She comes to GrayHair most recently from RSA and previously worked with Pitney Bowes and DST Output gathering over 15 years of experience directing product development and multichannel marketing. We look forward to adding her valuable talents and skillsets in commingling technologies, mail tracking and addressing to the team.

The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site. In this issue: USPS to Implement Load Leveling April 10, 2014. Phase 2 of Network/Service Standard Changes Postponed. USPS Adds RIBBS Feature to Show Updated Files. Mail Anywhere FAQ Posted. IMb Full-Service Non-Compliance Assessments for New Verifications to Begin in July. IMb Full-Service Verification Results Can Impact Mailer Eligibility for Other Programs. USPS to Begin testing Hub Concept in March 2014; Implement July 2014. USPS to Begin Monthly Labeling List/ Mail Direction File Updates in June 2014. 5-Digit Scheme Changes Benefit USPS and Mailers. USPS Considering Requiring eInduction Use in 2015. USPS Plans to Ramp Up Seamless Acceptance Testing. IMpb Thresholds and Non-Compliance. USPS to Expand FAST Appointment Availability. USPS Exploring New Parcel Returns Solutions. New Alternate Postage Product. Secure Destruction Service in Pilot Test. New UAA Page on RIBBS. New EDDM Online Features. USPS Raises Periodicals Flats Maximum Weight Limit. OIG Audit Finds USPS' Efforts to Reduce Address Database Errors "Ineffective". PARS for Flats Starting in Spring 2014. USPS Moving to Centralized MDA Help Desk. PostCom's Operations Planner.

Bradford Telegraph & Argus: Calls for the Government to abolish postal voting to combat fraud have divided the district's MPs. George Galloway and Philip Davies have joined a senior judge and MPs from around the country in calling for the system to be scrapped, amid concerns it is being abused to commit electoral fraud on an industrial scale.

Consumer Electronics Net: Code announces the release of its new barcode reader, a scanning sled for use with the Apple® iPhone® 5s. The Code Reader 4405 (CR4405) transforms the iPhone 5s into an advanced data capture device, capable of reading 1D , 2D and Postal barcode symbologies.

Office of the Inspector General: Postal Service Knowledge Management Process Audit Report "We recommended the vice president, Employee Resource Management, develop a comprehensive Postal Service knowledge management strategy. We also recommended the Postal Service join the Federal Knowledge Management Working Group, which has experts to assist, inform, and support development and implementation of a comprehensive knowledge management strategy. "

Postal Technology International: A new energy-efficient LS-4000 sorter from Crisplant, which provides automated sortation technology, will be added to the existing sortation system at Singapore Post's (SingPost) main sorting office in the Paya Lebar region, in the North East of the country. In addition to cutting energy consumption by around 75% compared to conventional sorters, the new LS-4000 cross-belt loop sorter will enable SingPost to increase its capacity and provide added flexibility to handle a higher number of parcels.

Postal Technology International: For the first time in almost five years, Royal Mail is launching a new TV advertising campaign aimed at attracting online business customers to its parcel services. The new campaign claims that online shoppers trust Royal Mail to deliver their orders more than any other national parcel company, according to independent research.

Postal Technology International: Norway's national postal operator, Posten Norge, has announced it is reorganising its operations to meet a more digital future and will be investing in e-commerce and digital mail solutions. To continue making profits as more Norwegians switch to digital mailing alternatives, the postal operator has reformed its post office network. The initiative saw 79 post offices converted into ‘Post in Shops', which offer postal services through counters placed inside retail outlets. The firm is now hoping to secure a contract that will see its digital mailbox service, Digipost, become the country's public digital mailbox. At present almost 300,000 Norwegians use Digipost, which saw three million letters sent digitally in 2013.

Deutsche Welle: Last year, German postal and logistics firm Deutsche Post DHL delivered more parcels than ever before as global online sales surged steeply. The boom caused company profit to jump by more than a quarter. "Deutsche Post DHL has further strengthened its already strong global market position in 2013," Chief Executive Frank Appel said in a statement.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes; Standard Mail Negotiated Service Agreement , 14088 [2014–05310] [TEXT] [PDF]


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American Postal Workers Union: Declaring that "the U.S. Postal Service is under unprecedented attack," the presidents of the four postal unions have formed a historic alliance to fight back. "A congressionally-manufactured financial crisis drains the USPS of vital resources," the union presidents write in a proclamation [PDF] signed over the last several days. "Six-day delivery is under constant threat of elimination. The reduction of service standards and the elimination of half of the nation's mail processing centers has slowed service and wiped out tens of thousands of good jobs. Post offices in cities and small towns are being sold or closed or having their hours cut back. "Our efforts will benefit all postal employees and the people of this country who expect and deserve a vibrant, public Postal Service for generations to come." "Corporate privatizers seek to gain control over larger segments of postal operations – and to get their hands on the Postal Service's $65 billion of annual revenue. The Postmaster General's policies of subcontracting and degrading service are fueling the privatization drive," proclamation declares. "The four postal unions stand together to end the attack," it says. "We stand with the people of our country in defense of their right to a universal postal service operated in the public interest." The Postal Union Alliance commits the unions to work together to protect service and oppose the subcontracting of work and privatization of services. It also vows to expand service to include basic banking, notary, check-cashing and other services; form a common front in the fight for genuine postal reform legislation, and "end the corporate welfare of excessive pre-sort discounts."

Dawn: The government intends to introduce a package of postal reforms in the country in order to streamline the postal services department on modern lines. This was stated by Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Communication Alam Dad Laleka while talking to the media here on Monday. He said reforms in postal services were necessitated to compete with private courier services and restore the public confidence in the postal department. He said the department was working on recommendations which would soon be submitted to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who after his nod, would forward these before the federal cabinet for approval. The federal parliamentary secretary said the idea behind these reforms was to provide maximum facilities of postal services to the people at reasonable rates. Mr Laleka claimed that even now the charges of different postal services were less as compared to rates of private courier services. Apart from this, he said the Pakistan Posts also ensured the delivery of documents in minimum time to its costumers.

TMCNet: .The U.S. Postal Service, Washington, has been assigned a patent (8,661,862) developed by Ryszard K. Mikolajczyk, Chicago, and Taurris D. Baskerville, Schaumburg, Ill., for a "cluster box mail delivery unit having security features." The patent application was filed on June 29, 2005 (11/168,471). The full-text of the patent can be found at http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=27&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140304.PD.&s2=(DC.ASST.)&OS=ISD/03/04/2014+AND+AS/DC&RS=ISD/03/04/2014+AND+AS/DC.

Vanguard: Federal government is taking steps to move the Nigerian Postal Services, NIPOST from the traditional personal delivery system to online platform to facilitate the nation's digital inclusion plan. The Ministry is of the view that despite the daunting challenges being faced by federal government to digitise the nation's moribund postal services, it has the capacity and potentials to open a new vista for robust economic gains if fully digitised with the deployment of it's over 516 branches across the country.

March 11, 2014 

Roll Call: On a panel about big data and transportation — discussing infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, ride- and bike-sharing programs and smart parking — he stressed his belief that change comes from the bottom up, not from the top down. After the session, he related a story of Austin startup Outbox, a service people could sign up for to have their mail scanned and emailed to them. The startup's founders worked with the local postmaster to get forms to legally act as agents for service subscribers. But once the main office of the U.S. Postal Service heard about the setup, it was over for Outbox. "You think about what that could potentially save the post office," Farenthold said. "Set up 100 facilities across the country to scan the mail, and you don't have to transfer the atoms as far." He noted the House has a similar digital mail program. Farenthold, who is chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census, said he is considering scheduling a hearing on whether the Postal Service is open to innovation.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Norway Post chief executive Dag Mejdell. Norway Post isn't doing as badly as the USPS, which lost $5 billion in 2013. But Mejdell says he has to prepare for the increasingly paperless future that imperils all government mail operations. Part of Mejdell's plan is to cut services like Saturday delivery, but he's also introducing new ones. Norway has created a national digital mailbox called DigiPost, where residents can receive utility bills, bank statements, and communications from government agencies without having to log onto the various websites. Norwegians used it to send three million pieces of correspondence in 2013. Mejdell acknowledged in 2011 that DigiPost would likely cannibalize physical volume. But he insisted this was something Norway Post had to risk. "Nowadays, more and more communication is taking place digitally," he said at the time. "Norway Post wants to take part in these developments." There's a lot that the U.S. could learn from Norway. If Congress wants the American postal service to survive for another 238 years, it needs to pay more attention to Norway.

New USPS Shipping Innovation Tools. March 25 at 11 a.m. (EDT) The Postal Service has two new shipping innovation tools. Join us to learn about My USPS.com, a new portal that provides customers with a single, comprehensive dashboard to easily track and manage incoming USPS packages and Click-N-Ship Business Pro™, a desktop software application which allows business mailers to print IMpb-compliant shipping labels and pay postage electronically. Please visit us on the USPS Industry Outreach website to view the upcoming webinar schedule and webinar archive presentations. Instructions for participating in the webinar appear below: Attendee Information: Event number: 995 756 887 Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=995756887&t=a. Teleconference information: U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547 Conference ID: 8921316

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Migrating to Full-Service Webinar Series. The Postal Service encourages mailers to migrate to the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail® when mailing First-Class Mail® postcards, letters, and flats, Standard Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter flats Full-Service provides customers with:  (1) An additional per piece discount on every Full-Service mailpiece. (2) Address correction information at no additional cost for Full-Service mailpieces, providing Change of Address (COA) information and Nixie (undeliverable-as-addressed) information. (3) The ability to track service performance through reports and scan information. (4) Container, tray and mailpiece visibility. (5) Annual permit fees waived when 90 percent or more of cumulative annual mailings consist of Full-Service mail. (6) The opportunity to use the same permit at any location via our Mail Anywhere program. We have scheduled a series of webinars to assist mailers in transitioning to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. The webinars are designed to walk you through the process and help you get the most out of using Full-Service. We encourage mailers to attend all four sessions in the series. Log on links for the following courses are available on RIBBS under Intelligent Mail Services/Education at https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailpresentations. (1) Full-Service MIDS and CRIDS – Thursday, March 13, 3:30 p.m. EDT (2) The Business Customer Gateway – Thursday, March 20, 3:30 p.m. EDT (3) Full-Service Feedback – Thursday, March 27, 3:30 p.m. EDT

Office of the Inspector General: U.S. Postal Service's Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency Initiative 6, Improve Employee Availability
Full Report | Highlights

Wall Street Journal: A growing number of consumers don't hesitate to buy a cup of coffee using an iPhone, bid for a dress on eBay and pay for it via PayPal, or purchase a sofa on OverStock.com with virtual bitcoins. But for American businesses, the old-fashioned paper check remains the preferred payment method. Businesses in the U.S. still pay half of their bills by check, according to a September survey by the Association for Financial Professionals. That's down from 74% in 2007, but the rate of decline has slowed, suggesting stubborn barriers to change. U.S. companies lag far behind their counterparts in Europe, Japan and even Brazil in the world of e-payments. American businesses and consumers wrote 21 billion checks in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve. That's more than four times as many checks as were written that year in the European Union's 28 member countries, according to the European Central Bank.

Forbes: IT leaders need to think in terms of business value, and need to communicate in a similar fashion to other executives across the company. These are pre-requisites to be asked to lead other functions.

Hispanic Business: Pakistan Post has computerized International Mail offices at Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot and Karachi. An official of Pakistan Post told that International Postal System (IPS) software provided by Universal Postal Union (UPU) has been installed for processing international letters, parcel and express post items. He said that this system provides end-to-end tracking of international mail through electronic data inter-change (EDI). "This system has been linked with the domestic tracking system to make information available on web site" he added.

Government Executive: The total number of federal employees -- including military personnel and U.S. Postal Service employees -- will actually shrink under the president's proposed budget. Obama would cut 2,400 USPS jobs and slash uniformed military personnel by 92,000, meaning the total number of feds would decrease by more than 80,000 employees -- a 2 percent decrease.

New Republic: What exactly is the postal service doing staking its future to a partnership with a company whose business model is if anything in even greater trouble than its own? On its face, the partnership with Staples sounds like another no-brainer—sure, why not let people send packages from stores? It simply expands access and adds convenience, right? But it's not that simple. There's reason to worry that the alliance with Staples, and perhaps other retailers to follow, will result not in an expansion of postal services but in their de facto replacement by an archipelago of private-sector substitutes. And that would have real costs for the country. "Corporate America is driving a race to the bottom and we think that's what's happening here, too," Mark Dimondstein, the new president of the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union...It's piecemeal privatization. It's the cooking the frog slowly. It's not privatization by legislation, it's by pieces, and the pieces are getting bigger and bigger."

Washington Post: A Washington Post article revealing a secret list of future postage stamps has piqued the interest of one of the nation's most prominent philatelist publications, which is trying to figure out who might have leaked the information to reporter Lisa Rein. A writer for Linn's Stamp News speculated in a recent editorial that the list may have come from Susan McGowan, the U.S. Postal Service's executive director for stamp services and corporate licensing, who had commented that a new emphasis on pop-culture might help "bring new eyeballs" to the stamp program.

March 10, 2014 

Wall Street Journal: NALC Pres. Frederic Rolando -- "Sen. Bernie Sanders punctures the conventional wisdom of a Postal Service allegedly reeling from the loss of mail to the Internet. In fact, the Postal Service's financial picture is sharply improving. The positive trend is fueled by two developments that augur well for the future. A gradually improving economy has led to stabilized mail revenue, down just 0.5% last year and projected by the Postal Service to rise slightly this year. Meanwhile, online shopping has sparked an explosion in package-delivery revenue, up 14.1% in the most recent fiscal quarter. That makes the Internet a net positive. If lawmakers degrade a now-profitable network by ending Saturday mail delivery or door-to-door delivery, they will hurt millions of ordinary Americans and businesses that benefit from the world's most affordable delivery service. And they would hurt the Postal Service by driving mail and revenue away, thus stopping the postal turnaround in its tracks. Instead, legislators should fix the prefunding fiasco."

Wall Street Journal: Sen. Thomas Coburn -- "In "There's No Need to End Saturday Mail Delivery" (op-ed, March 5), Sen. Bernie Sanders comes out swinging against those concerned about the U.S. Postal Service's financial future, arguing everything is fine the way it is. Unfortunately, his arguments don't hold up. Sen. Sanders's primary concern is the "prefunding" requirements for senior health care, without which he says the USPS would have been profitable. However, it has not even made the payments for several years. Moreover, whether the payments are made now or later, the bill for senior health care will eventually come due—a fact most senators on both sides accept. The reality is the USPS is on the brink of a financial crisis, and it is foolish to think that the long-term prospects for mail volume are good. While Sen. Sanders seems intent to cast anyone worried about the Postal Service's finances as an "antigovernment" nut, no one has been louder on the need to eliminate six-day delivery than President Obama. In fact, the president's budget once again called for the move to five-day delivery, and he would do so faster than the Carper-Coburn bill....Resorting to scare tactics and specious arguments does a disservice to the hardworking men and women of the Postal Service and the American public who rely on them."

Federal Times: After starting as a city letter carrier in 1984, Scott Davis recently became the U.S. Postal Service's acting vice president, controller. As such, the Utah native is responsible for certifying the accuracy of the agency's financial statements; he also keeps tabs on vast flows of sales and workforce data generated by the Postal Service, which ended fiscal 2013 with more than $67 billion in revenue and almost 500,000 career employees.

PC Advisor: After about a week-and-a-half, Google finished unclogging a backlog of legitimate messages its Postini spam filter trapped by mistake at the end of February. Google finally cleaned up the queue of undelivered email early Sunday, resolving a problem it first acknowledged on Feb. 26. The company started sending out the affected messages the next morning. This means that the last batch of erroneously quarantined email reached its destination almost 11 days after being sent, about three or four times longer than it usually takes the U.S. Postal Service to deliver First Class mail.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman, Ruth Y. Goldway, announced today that David A. Trissell has been selected by the Commission to assume the role of General Counsel in the Commission's Office of General Counsel (OGC) effective March 24, 2014. Trissell succeeds Stephen Sharfman, who retired after 23 years as general counsel to the Commission.

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

Interactive Investor: Escher Group - a leading provider of outsourced point-of-service software to the postal industry - posts lower pre-tax profits despite 'a robust year of development and growth' in the 12 months to the end of December. Revenues rose by 8% to $24.7m with a strong increase in services revenues, up 35% from core customers. But profit before tax fell to $1.5m (2012: $4.4m)a and adjusted profit before tax excluding share based payments dropped to $2.0m (2012: $4.8m).

Linns: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, just wanted to make sure he understood the dispute over "bypass mail." That is the Alaska-only postal service that for 42 years has allowed sodas, chips and other goods to be shipped at greatly discounted rates to the remote areas of the vast state. Does this mean, Farenthold asked, that when I buy a forever stamp to send a Valentine's card to my wife, a portion of that money will go to subsidize the shipments of Diet Coke? The answer, of course, was yes. The Alaska mail program last year needed a $76.8 million subsidy to operate, a subsidy that postal rate payers must bear.

Roll Call: The chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee did what he had to do to minimize the immediate political damage he inflicted on his House GOP colleagues last week. But the disdain stirred up in the Democrats, the annoyance revealed by many Republicans and the dismay expressed by institutionalists in both parties won't disappear. Footage of the incident quickly went viral, and surely will be revived for the foreseeable future to illustrate stories about heightened partisan tensions, lowered standards of decorum or intensified investigative zealotry at the Capitol. That is why Issa has assured lasting trouble for himself, especially in his own ranks. For the final nine months of his term-limited time with the Oversight gavel, expect him to be under a very tight leadership leash.

Politico: It's an opportunity that has some Republicans salivating: becoming the next Darrell Issa.

Federal Business Opportunities

"The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General ("OIG") intends to award a labor hour contract with a maximum of 1,000 hours to qualified suppliers with specific subject matter expertise in areas such as actuarial analysis and federal benefits analysis. The purpose of this contract is to provide assistance to the OIG in conducting an audit of the of the US Postal Service Financial Forecasting Model."

"The purpose of solicitation is to award a firm fixed price contract to a Supplier who can provide technical assistance and information to the OIG IT directorate staff so OIG can assess U.S. Postal Service capability and potential return on investment to provide IaaS to government, commercial, and retail customers."

Rutgers University, Center for Research in Regulated Industries, Advanced Workshop in Regulation & Competition 2013-2014
New Business Models and Postal Reform April 4, 2014 Location: K&L Gates, LLP 1601 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20006 (1) USPS Evolving Infrastructure to Meet Future Marketplace Demands (2) Evolved: The New Systems of the World (3) The Postal Regulator's Role in Economic Development (4)  Business Strategies for a New Era (5) Business Models (6) Customer Focus for USPS (7) Current Issues in U.S. Postal Competition Policy (8) Building Our Network and Postal Banking (9) A Consensus Approach to postal Reform (10) USPS Diversification Strategies: Panacea or Placebo

March 9, 2014 

Wall Street Journal: Mohawk, the town's largest private employer, was fast losing revenues as companies cut back on paper for brochures, reports and marketing materials. Operations at its 350,000 square-foot mill shrank from seven days a week to five to four. "For the first time in hundreds of years," Mr. O'Connor said, "paper had to justify itself." Then, in 2004, Mr. O'Connor made an extraordinary bet, given the digital revolution that appeared ready to crumple Mohawk and every paper firm like it: His company borrowed millions to expand into the fine stationery business. The investment is now paying off as Americans renew their relationship with paper—consuming less of the cheap stuff for reading news, bill-paying and record-keeping and, in Mohawk's case, buying more expensive stock for personalized holiday cards, announcements and photo books from online juggernauts such as Shutterfly Inc.

Zawya: The Emirates Post Group has launched its Strategic Plan for 2014-2016, following the approval from the Prime Minister's Office. The Strategic Plan will be published and circulated among partners and stakeholders during subsequent meetings. Emirates Post Group has based its Strategic Plan on its vision of taking a leadership role and adopting innovation in the field of postal, logistics and financial services, driven by a strong and sophisticated infrastructure and competent workforce.

The Jerusalem Post: Israel's postal service is set to hold a general strike on Monday and hold protests outside the company's administrative offices in Tel Aviv over a planned restructuring. The union is upset over a restructuring plan that will lay off dozens of workers.

Examiner: Misusing USPS Priority Mail supplies is serious business. There are often discussions on the eBay Community Packaging and Shipping board about this topic. On one hand, the USPS blatantly advertises, "If it fits, it ships." On the other hand, the eBay customer gets the final word on the packaging job, and she may not like a designer handbag or a pair of designer jeans shoved into a flat rate mailer. So what is an eBay seller to do? Sellers want to offer the most economical shipping cost to their buyers, but sometimes the USPS doesn't stand by their advertising. Several sellers on the eBay Community Packaging and Shipping board have reported that the USPS is not accepting flat rate envelopes (FREs) for merchandise, as they state FREs are intended for documents. Clerks are measuring the FREs and if thicker than 1/2 inch, rejecting the package.

Des Moines Register: The U.S. Postal Service — victim of declining revenue and threats of trimmed delivery days — is holding its own in at least one place: On college campuses, packages and envelopes still get pre-Internet-style respect. "If you ask a student, they say absolutely. They love getting the mail," said Renee Allan, who coordinates the Briar Cliff University mail room. The school has four residence halls and processes up to 25 mesh bags of mail a week, each holding about 70 pounds. The numbers are steady in large part because of something email, tweets and texts can't replace for students living on campus: reminders of home.

The Times-Tribune: The U.S. Postal Service has spent about $180,000 since June 1, 2008, to lease space for a Chinchilla Post Office that's yet to open. The Postal Service pays Brian McCarthy Family LTD $30,916.87 annually to lease a 1,500-interior-square-foot property inside the McCarthy Flowers building, according to a spreadsheet provided by the agency. The lease agreement lasts through May 2023. But nearly six years later, the post office's front door remains locked. Officials now peg June 8 as the "occupied date," the spreadsheet shows.

Investors.com: The war on plastic bags, petroleum-based products that foes say fill landfills and collect in oceans, may benefit a leading alternative: good old biodegradable paper bags. Even without a legal mandate, a growing number of merchants have been rolling out the welcome mat for paper, Whole Foods (WFM) and Trader Joe's among them. McDonald's (MCD) is switching to paper cups from polystyrene for hot coffee in its thousands of U.S. units. Does this mean old-school paper products are making a comeback? "It's not a dying industry," said Cathy Foley, vice president of the American Forest & Paper Association, or AF&PA. "We're growing. We're innovating. We're putting sustainable products into the marketplace."

March 8, 2014 

Arbitrage Magazine: There has been a lot of outrage, resistance, and debate as Canada Post rolls out its new Five-point Action Plan, which was announced in December 2013. One of the most controversial and talked about points in the plan is the discontinuation of door-to-door mail delivery. The company claims to be taking these precautionary steps to deal with a $20 million drop in the first three quarters of 2013, and insists that they are "aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians."

Disruptive Wireless: ""Sender-pays" is a ridiculous 19th-Century idea misapplied to the Internet"

Financial Times: E-bike sales are expected to increase in coming years as they are adopted by middle-aged mountain bikers, commuters and for commercial uses. E-cargo bikes, which have a box or platform to carry freight, are gaining popularity for pizza and postal deliveries. Families are also using e-cargo bikes to ferry children to school. In China, electric two-wheel bikes are already a huge business. Some 30m are sold annually due to a government ban on combustion-engine scooters.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • Management Alert – Watch Desk Notifications (Report Number HR-MA-14-005). The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated a review to gain an understanding of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Watch Desk notification process. The Postal Inspection Service's Headquarters Watch Desk receives information about critical events that may have national implications and require immediate action. The Watch Desk is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by the National Law Enforcement Communication Centers (NLECC)1 and is meant to be an instant notification system. When an event occurs, local Postal Inspection Service personnel contact the Watch Desk to report information for dissemination to Postal Service officials for appropriate action. The OIG assistant inspector general for investigations is on the Watch Desk distribution list. The Postal Inspection Service is responsible for investigating crimes of violence, including homicides of or committed by Postal Service employees or contractors when the crimes are related to employment. The chief postal inspector and the deputy chief inspector, Headquarters Operations, determine notification requirements for the postmaster general, deputy postmaster general, chief operating officer, members of the Board of Governors, the inspector general, and other executive officers. The OIG has oversight responsibility for all activities of the Postal Inspection Service and the chief postal inspector is required to timely report to the OIG2 the significant activities being carried out by the Postal Inspection Service.
     

  • International Terminal Dues. In an effort to make terminal dues more equitable and cost-effective for all countries, UPU member countries agreed to make significant changes at the UPU Congress in September 2012. The Postal Service will enjoy a [$redacted] net gain over the next 4 years as a result of these changes in terminal dues rates. Therefore, the Postal Service should move closer to covering the cost of inbound international mail by 2017 and continue to contribute to institutional costs for outbound international mail. 

News Gnomes: Perhaps this may come to many as a surprise given Amazon's resources, size and aggressive business practices, the Ulmart model, which Kostygin calls the "fourth generation" of retail, is one that is more appropriately geared for the particularities of the Russian market. Amazon's reliance on third-party delivery companies like USPS, FedEx and others only permits them to make delivery in a couple of days. By permitting customers to purchase what they want where they want and when they want, Ulmart has in fact managed to tame the logistics beast that has so often humbled larger multi-nationals in Russia.

Bloomberg Businessweek: This is a good time to be in the package delivery business in China. Last year, Chinese bought 1.85 trillion yuan ($300 billion) worth of goods online. There were 9.2 billion deliveries in 2013, a 60 percent increase, worth 143 billion yuan, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Only the express delivery market in the U.S. is bigger. All that activity should translate into business for United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx (FDX). Both have been building China operations for decades, with FedEx entering the market in 1984 and UPS following in 1988. By 2009, FedEx had 58 Chinese branches to UPS's 33. But the two have gone into reverse since then. Not only have they not opened new branches, but they also have had to seek reapproval for existing operations. After a new law governing the industry was passed in 2009, the State Post Bureau decided that all carriers, local and foreign, needed new licenses. FedEx and UPS are still waiting for the regulator to grant many of theirs. Neither has official approval for domestic operations in Beijing, though they can make deliveries between some other Chinese cities. "Instead of giving us one permit for all of our branches, they said, ‘We are going to grant you individual permits for each of your branches,' " says Alan Turley, FedEx's vice president for international affairs, Asia Pacific. While FedEx received permits for international service in 2010, it was 2012 before it got eight permit renewals for domestic service. They said Beijing "was too sensitive, so they did not give us a permit," Turley says. Last July, FedEx received 29 more licenses—again, not including Beijing. It is still waiting for the remaining 21 to get back to serving 58 branches.

WDAZ: U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp called on the U.S. Postal Service to make needed changes to address strong concerns expressed by North Dakotans about their mail service and standards. During the past two months, Heitkamp has encouraged North Dakotans who are experiencing problems with their mail delivery to send in their stories via her website. Heitkamp has received well over 100 stories from North Dakotans from across the state about the difficulties they face with mail delivery and standards. Heitkamp shared those stories with U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue and called on him to correct problems and issues raised.

March 7, 2014 

Post & Parcel: Parcel carrier DPD Germany is reducing its prices for customers accessing its shipping services online. The company said that from the start of this month, it is cutting rates for all parcels that are paid for online and then shipped from one of its ParcelShops. DPD is also launching a new XS parcel service, for very small parcels, up to 35cm long, shipping at the flat rate of EUR 3.90, which will only be available through its website dpdwebpaket.de. However, prices for parcels customers pay for at ParcelShops increase by an average of 6%.

Associated Press: A new exhibition is looking at the history of Chinese and U.S. relations through mail and stamps at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. The museum opened "Pacific Exchange: China and U.S. Mail" on Thursday to showcase pieces from its international collection for the first time.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
13082–13083 [2014–04961] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Products; Amendments ,
13083 [2014–04960] [TEXT]  [PDF]
13083–13084 [2014–04981] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Baltimore Sun: Federal employment is expected to drop sharply in the span of a decade, government projections show, as budget cuts and retirements begin to reshape the workforce. The Postal Service will be one of the hardest-hit agencies, projections show, as consumers continue to rely on the Internet and order fewer magazines and catalogs. The agency stands to lose an estimated 169,000 positions — more than 40 percent of lost government jobs. "We do see declines in occupations in the Postal Service as people use more email and online payments to pay bills, so there's not as much mail volume," said Teri Morisi, branch chief for occupational employment projections at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The Postal Service is using automated systems to sort mail and also is moving toward more centralized mail delivery, clustered mailboxes and not door-to-door." Unions that represent postal workers, including those in the greater Baltimore area, believe the Postal Service has been unfairly targeted as a money-losing enterprise. Much of the agency's fiscal woe stems from a congressional requirement that it pre-fund health benefits for future retirees for the next 75 years. "The postal worker's job is definitely under attack right now," said George Askew, president of the Baltimore-based Local 181 of the American Postal Workers Union. "Any business owner will tell you you can't cut your way to prosperity."

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service this week has filed its first-ever Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) with PHI Acquisitions, Inc. ("PHI" or "Potpourri"). The NSA will be effective as early as July 1, 2014 or on a date agreed to by the parties. The NSA contains four major components: (1) a volume threshold, (2) a volume threshold adjustment, (3) a volume commitment and (4) rebates on Standard Mail Carrier Route Flats.
  • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on March 5, 2015, published in the Federal Register its final rules concerning its load leveling plan (see above article). The USPS said it will make the changes in service standards for Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) rate Standard Mail effective April 10, 2014. "The Postal Service believes that the initiative will help improve the efficiency of its operations, and that it complies with all applicable statutory requirements," the USPS summarized.
  • The House Subcommittee held a hearing this week on the U.S. Postal Service and its Alaska Bypass service.
  • According to the Deputy Inspector General Whitcomb, "Delivering mail and parcels anywhere in the United States, regardless of geography, is the Postal Service's primary responsibility to the American people, but this universal service obligation has no relation to Alaska Bypass. Reforming the program should not affect universal mail and parcel services to Alaskans or to any other American."
  • PostCom provides a re-cap of the briefs and comments filed at the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on the USPS' load leveling proposal which essentially adds a day to the service standards for Standard Mail entered at the Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) on March 4, 2014, published the results of its self-initiated audit on the effectiveness of the USPS' efforts to ensure the accuracy of address data in the Postal Service's Address Management System. It found that the USPS' efforts to reduce address database errors were "ineffective," and said that errors have increased since FY2011 due to carriers not updating edit books, managers not conducting the necessary street reviews, reduction and reclassification of address management specialist positions, and lack of standardized training. The OIG reported that address corrections costing about $14 million were not made to the AMS system in FYs 2012 and 2013, and noted that incorrect addresses increase business mailers' costs to process returned mail and inaccuracies can cause loss of confidence in the effectiveness of mail.
  • – USPS issues solicitation on carrier vehicles. USPS to hold Full Service webinars. New EDDM online features. Wal-mart honors USPS as "carrier of the year." USPS briefs Congress on its federal recycling program. Quad/Graphics to expand East Coast commingling operations. FedEx raises freight unit rates by 3.9%. Rep Davis' slides on mail ballot eligibility. Six challenges facing the commercial printing industry. White House backs major postal overhaul. Senator Carper's response to White House budget. Help out the USPS - and yourself - by amping up your direct mail.
  • Announcements of postal related filing in the Federal Register.
  • Announcements from the U.S. Postal Service to the mailing industry.
  • Announcements on recent reports, projects, and blog entries of the USPS OIG.
  • International postal news.
  • Postal previews.
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USPS Lite: Recent assertions have been made that the Postal Service has "declared war" on the custodians who work in its facilities. These assertions are both false and inaccurate.7

Fox4KC: Have you ever won an international lottery or sweepstakes that you didn't even realize you'd entered? Now the feds are issuing a new warning about the fraudsters behind these scams that they believe rob Americans of hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

March 6, 2014 

Bloomberg Businessweek: Staples' decision to close 225 stores in an order to save $500 million in expenses is grim news for the company's shareholders, and the stock price tumbled by 15 percent on the news. It's also an unwelcome development for the U.S. Postal Service, which had hoped to open 84 postal outlets in Staples stores. The fate of the outlets remains unclear, but the closings can't help. Yet one group that couldn't have been happier with the news is the American Postal Workers Union, whose leaders feared that the Staples partnership would lead to the privatization of members' jobs. "This proves, more than ever, that it's a bad idea to turn public services over to a private company that can close stores at will, with no public input and no public comment." said APWU President Mark Dimondstein in a statement. Here's a further reason why Dimonstein shouldn't become too giddy. He wants to create a coalition of postal workers and liberal members of the public to oppose U.S Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's reform agenda, which includes service cuts, and he's been trying to do that with a boycott of Staples stores. If Staples goes under, he'll have find another cause to built a movement around. That's tough. Maybe the APWU should try investing in Staples stock instead.

SWNewsHerald: The recent decision by the U.S. Postal Service to have Chicago mail carriers start their shifts later in the morning is not going over too well with some local carriers and their union. Some mail carriers have expressed concerns about safety issues because, with the start time being moved from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., it will mean having to work later into the evenings, even after dark. Their start time had been as early as 6:30 a.m., but it has gradually been moved later.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Wall Street Journal: Staples announced today that its sales are declining, its earnings are less than expectations, and it will close 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015. This proves, more than ever, that it's a bad idea to turn public services over to a private company that can close stores at will, with no public input and no public comment. Staples currently has a no-bid, sweetheart deal to operate postal counters – staffed by poorly trained, low-wage, high-turnover employees – at more than 80 of its stores. The U.S. Postmaster General has said he plans to expand this "pilot plan" to 1,500 U.S. Staples stores. And bills pending in Congress would make it easier to close and sell off U.S. Post Offices. What would happen if service is moved to a Staples store, the nearby Post Office is closed and sold – and then Staples closes its store?

Haaretz: The Israel Post has announced immediate emergency measures to cut costs as the first step in its recovery program. Management said the moves, which include the immediate dismissal of 130 temporary workers, will save 53 million shekels ($15.2 million) a year. In addition to the dismissals, the postal service is also eliminating one of two daily collections of mail from outdoor (red) collection boxes. At present mail is picked up at 10 A.M. and at 4 P.M. The agency said the move will have little effect on customers, since in any event the mail is usually sorted only in the evening, for the next day's delivery. Employee overtime hours are also to be reduced 50%, a move that is expected to face opposition from workers.

Money AOL: A Cambridgeshire news agent has launched its own local postal service - and will deliver letters the next day to 19 local villages for just 30p. The service is regulated, insured, and runs seven days a week - for half the cost of Royal Mail. So is this the future of postal deliveries?

Belleville News Democrat: A postal workers union is planning to picket along the sidewalks Friday outside Ben's Crafts & Floral because the downtown Belleville retailer houses a new post office.

Direct Marketing News: Mailers and catalogers, reeling from the jolt that the 5.9% rate increase has dealt their businesses, are about to test the depth of the Postal Service's sensitivity. Because the Postal Regulatory Commission's (PRC) approval of the exigent increase last Christmas Eve greeted them like a stickup man in a parking lot, direct mailers were unable to substantially alter mailings they had already printed and scheduled for the first quarter of 2014. It's possible, then, that standard mail volumes may drop only slightly as the PRA maneuvers its way to the Senate floor in the coming months, and if the bill passes as it stands based on those volumes, the passage may prove premature. According to mailers, it won't be until this year's fourth quarter that the Postal Service will begin to pay the wages of exigency.

Post & Parcel: Britain's largest postal union has called on the national consumer watchdog, Consumer Futures, to monitor the delivery standards of Royal Mail's competitors. The Communication Workers Union said today that rivals like TNT Post UK were threatening the UK's universal postal service by "cherry picking" the most profitable routes for delivery.

Itumanaho: Rwanda's National Postal services will this May launch a new SMS mail alert to enable users to access and get updated on all postal services , including renewal of letter box subscription, parcel processing, balance on postal checking accounts and incoming mail. The Director-General of the National Post Office (NPO), Celestin Kayitare, said that once the program is in place, postal services and service delivery will be improved and win the trust of clients. He said that the project is aimed offering better customer service and modernizing postal operations which have to be competitive as the modern society keeps changing with trends of communication and access to information.

Direct Marketing News: Businesses can actually help pull the struggling USPS out of the red and make a decent buck in the process by investing more, not less, in direct mail marketing during 2014. The key is designing clever, targeted direct mail campaigns that take advantage of some creative approaches—and technology. The Direct Marketing Association found that while telemarketing has the highest response rate among existing customers (12.95%), direct mail still has a healthy 4.4% response rate. Compared to email (0.12%), a direct mail piece is 30 times more likely to receive a response. Therefore, every business should increase direct mail in their marketing mix this year.

PRNewswire: There is only one commercial American enterprise that includes every citizen and resident as a customer. It's the U.S. Postal Service. Yet given a declining need for letter delivery on the one hand and an increasing need for e-commerce driven parcel delivery on the other, the nation's residential delivery ecosystem is facing a critical challenge to serve growing consumer expectations for greater speed, privacy, security and trust. The nation's postal delivery ecosystem needs to be re-envisioned and new systems put into place to accommodate changing 21st century societal demands. That's the focus of the fourth annual PostalVision 2020 Conference (www.postalvision2020.com) that will host experts from around the U.S. and the world April 10-11, at the Westin City Center in Washington, D.C. Attendees and speakers will include some of the world's most innovative e-merchants, digital communicators and logistics innovators as well as organizations involved in traditional mailing and shipping such as financial institutions, direct advertisers, catalogers, third-party software and transportation service providers. The event is supported at the highest levels by private industry and the public sector. Leading sponsors include eBay, DHL Global Mail, Pitney Bowes, and Accenture. The conference will include experts from across the U.S. as well as from Italy, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Australia and China. The U.S. and more than 200 other countries – whose postal systems are co-dependent – make up a global delivery network for the Universal Postal Union.

PRNewsOnline: Businesses operate in an increasingly complex—and digital—world. Understanding how to promote your brand and make it stand out is a challenge that needs simple solutions. From traditional and content marketing strategies to myriad public relations opportunities, there are several ways to be successful in today's working environment. Companies that want to embrace digital but haven't yet found the right way to do so have multiple avenues to pursue. Consistency and transparency are the name of the game in today's digital world. To be effective you must also be engaged. Make a plan that strategically aligns with your goals and maintain regular, multi-way audience engagement with a common voice.

Herald Sun: Australia Post is poised to tumble into the red for the first time in more than 30 years. And managing director Ahmed Fahour has warned the postal service will soon be unable to pay dividends to the Federal Government as losses in its letters business surge. Mr Fahour has revealed he expects the authority "as a whole" to lose money in the current half. It will be the first time the service has posted a loss in any six-month period since it was corporatised in 1989.

ProPrint: Printers and mail houses are increasingly angry about the Australia Post bulk mail price rises coming on March 31, and are fearful it will prompt direct mail advertisers to slash print volume to stay within budget. Australia Post is planning price increases for bulk mail of more than 13 per cent for the types of mail most critical for direct mail campaigns many printers rely on for revenue. BlueStar print and direct mail general manager Matt Aitken says Australia's third biggest printer continues to be disappointed with Australia Post's behaviour and its effect on print business. "They continue to put prices up and we continue to see a reduction in client budgets and spending – clients are not going to increase their budgets so they will lower volumes which will continue to put pressure on the industry," he says. "There is every indication that they will continue to raise prices, as they did in July and April last year." [EdNote: This all has a familiar American ring.]

March 5, 2014 

Final Rule Published in the Federal Register 39 CFR Part 121-Service Standards for Destination Sectional Center Facility Rate Standard Mail The Postal Service is revising the service standards for Standard Mail that is eligible for Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) rates. These changes will allow a more balanced distribution of DSCF Standard Mail across delivery days. Standard Mail pieces that qualify for the Destination Sectional Center Facility rate generally are delivered in three days. With its new rules, USPS is extending delivery expectation to four days for mail entered on Friday and Saturday. This change will improve delivery efficiency and reduce the traditional heavy Monday workload by spreading the delivery of these Standard Mail pieces across the week. This change does not affect First-Class Mail or Periodicals Mail and the Postal Service is not proposing any other revisions to its service standards at this time. The final rule is available on the Federal Register. The effective date is April 10, 2014. The table below summarizes the impact on DSCF Standard Mail with delivery in the continental United States.

DSCF Standard Mail Dropped before 4 pm* on

Delivery Days Meeting Service Standard Current

Delivery Days Meeting Service Standard Proposed

Thursday

Friday, Saturday, Monday

Friday, Saturday, Monday

Friday

Saturday, Monday

Saturday, Monday, Tuesday

Saturday

Monday, Tuesday

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Sunday

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

*The current Critical Entry Time (CET) for Standard Mail is 4 pm

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Fedweek: The American Postal Workers Union recently sent a 27-point request for information on a pilot program the USPS is conducting with the Staples office-supply chain, but was reportedly rebuffed on the grounds that the request was overly broad and burdensome, and in some cases concerned proprietary information. APWU says the program outsources postal retail work to Staples, and that while it did receive some information, it was heavily redacted. The union also says Staples declined to meet and referred all inquiries to the USPS. APWU has now filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Save the Post Office: Today the Postal Service published the Final Rule on the Load Leveling plan in the Federal Register. As the Rule states, "The Postal Service is revising the service standards for Standard Mail that is eligible for Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) rates. These changes will allow a more balanced distribution of DSCF Standard Mail across delivery days." The effective date is April 10, 2014. Apparently the Postal Service is not going to wait to hear what the Postal Regulatory Commission has to say about Load Leveling in its Advisory Opinion, which is due out around March 27. It's been clear for a while now that the Postal Service was going to implement the plan regardless of what the PRC or anyone else had to say about it. The fact that there's an Advisory Opinion under way is relegated to a mere footnote in the Final Rule.

Dead Tree Edition: "10 Reasons Coated Paper Is Ripe for Collusion"

Press Release: UPS today announced plans to purchase 1,000 propane package delivery trucks and install an initial 50 fueling stations at UPS locations. The investment in propane vehicles and infrastructure is approximately $70 million. The propane fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles used largely in rural areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma with other states pending. The vehicles on these routes can travel up to 200 miles on a tank of propane. Operations will begin by mid-2014 and be completed early next year. UPS, in collaboration with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), a non-profit propane technology incubator, worked with equipment manufacturers to secure certifications with the EPA and California Air Resources Board.

usps logo DMM Advisory: Attention Postal One! Users:   Full-Service Webinar Series — The Postal Service encourages mailers to migrate to the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail® when mailing First-Class Mail® postcards, letters, and flats, Standard Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter flats. Full-Service provides customers with:

  • An additional per piece discount on every Full-Service mailpiece.
  • Address correction information at no additional cost for Full-Service mailpieces, providing Change of Address (or COA) information and Nixie (or undeliverable-as-addressed) information.
  • The ability to track service performance through reports and scan information.
  • Container, tray and mailpiece visibility.
  • Annual permit fees waived when 90 percent or more of cumulative annual mailings consist of Full-Service mail.
  • The opportunity to use the same permit at any location via our Mail Anywhere program.
A series of webinars are scheduled to assist mailers in transitioning to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. The webinars are designed to walk you through the process and help you get the most out of using Full-Service. Mailers are encouraged to attend all four session in the series. The schedule is as follows, log on links are available on RIBBS under Intelligent Mail Services/Education at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailpresentations.
  • Getting Started with Full-Service — Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:30 EST
  • Full-Service MIDS and CRIDS — Thursday, March 13, 2014, 3:30 pm EST
  • The Business Customer Gateway — Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 3:30 pm EST
  • Full-Service Feedback — Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm EST

A Full-Service Intelligent Mail "Open Line" is scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. USPS® representatives will be online to answer any questions related to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. To join the call, click on the link no more than 15 minutes before the start of the call. Log On: http://meetingplace4.usps.gov/join.asp?0602495 Audio: (866) 966-6305  Conference ID: 0602495

USPS News Link: USPS is implementing new rules designed to revise delivery expectations for some Standard Mail that will result in a more balanced distribution of volume throughout the week. Standard Mail pieces that qualify for the Destination Sectional Center Facility rate generally are delivered in three days. With its new rules, USPS is extending delivery to four days for mail entered Friday or Saturday. USPS says this change will improve delivery efficiency and reduce the traditional heavy Monday workload by spreading the delivery of these Standard Mail pieces across the week. The broadened delivery expectation also benefits customers, since a smaller number of mailpieces delivered each day will more effectively compete for the consumer's attention. Prior to implementing this change, the Postal Service worked with a mail industry work group to conduct a test of the load-leveling concept. The test confirmed that extending the delivery date for Standard Mail entered Friday or Saturday helps balance delivery volume during the following week. The new rules will go into effect April 10. The Federal Register has more information on the final rulemaking.

Los Angeles Times: Nearly 120,000 letters and bills went up in flames early Tuesday when a pair of big rigs collided along the 57 Freeway in Brea. One was from a U.S. Postal Service facility in Santa Ana, where workers process about 1 million pieces of mail daily, according to officials. The letters that were burned had originated from Orange County and parts of the San Gabriel Valley and were being trucked to Ontario Airport at the time of the crash. The mail that caught fire had been marked first class, but because it was not certified, officials say they cannot track whose mail burned. The letters would have been sent out of state or at least out of the Southern California area.

ACTMedia: The number of employees of the Romanian Postal Service National Company (CNPR) will get down to 27,000 in 2014, while total revenue forecast is 1.194 billion lei (approximately 265 million euro at an average exchange rate of 4.5 lei / euro), according to the Government Decision on the company's 2014 budget published in the Official Gazette.

ITAR-TASS: Journalists and publishing houses are raising the alarm: printed media are on the verge of a precipice. The government has abolished subsidies for the delivery of subscription editions. Postal tariffs will soar and become unaffordable to many. Last year Russians received more than 1 billion papers and magazines on subscription, which is almost 40% of all of the country's periodicals. Pensioners and people in the regions will thus have no alternative to federal television and local papers. The threat has encouraged the media to address a letter to President Vladimir Putin published in many papers on Wednesday. The letter signed by almost 50 chiefs of printed periodicals and publishers points to the fact that from July 1 on Russian Post will be stripped of the 3-billion-ruble ($83 million) annual subsidy that covered press delivery costs, while increased postal tariffs will hike subscription prices 1.5—2 times. "Most subscribers will not be able to subscribe at new prices. The government's refusal to support the press is a stark contrast to foreign experience, where subscription enjoys considerable state support," says the letter. In effect, the letter says, circulations will fall to a level unable to sustain publishing businesses' profitability. "Everything happening to Russian Post now will deliver a deadly blow to the printed media," said editor-in-chief of the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily, Pavel Gusev. "Those who now want to tackle the post's problems do not care a damn about the press and postal services. The press makes up 4% and is not the post's key field of service," he explained.

WFMY: Rest in peace is apparently a phrase some identity thieves are willing to ignore in their quest for ill-gotten gains. One thief stole the identities of dozens of victims who had recently died. Reichheld said she felt helpless when she learned the identity of her wife, Amy, had been stolen "after" her recent death. She said, "It looked like somebody had been requesting death certificates and stealing those identities from the information on the death certificates." When Reichheld called her town to find out who may have requested a copy of Amy's death certificate, she was surprised by the answer. They told her anyone can get one. They said it's publi record, and they don't track it. But Reichheld disagreed. She said, "Her death may be public record, but all that information you're handing out for $10 is not public record." Most death certificates contain the full names of parents of the deceased as well as addresses, and date of birth. An astute town clerk, called postal inspectors after realizing they had a large amount of requests for death certificates. Postal Inspector Brian Evans said, "The bad guy in this case went onto the obituary section of the local paper, realized someone was deceased and they could access their death certificate." It only cost them $10.

If you missed it, here is where you can still listen to the PostCom webinar on the Pre- NPF Executive Overview with Rose Flanagan, Manager, Postal Strategies and Logistics, Data-Mail, Inc. Webinar Recording | Slides

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
RULES
Service Standards for Destination Sectional Center Facility Rate Standard Mail ,
12390–12394 [2014–04784] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  12532 [2014–04778] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  12532 [2014–04781] [TEXT]  [PDF]

ATN: The head of one of the world's biggest transport and logistics companies has warned a tide of protectionism is stifling global economic growth and castigated his own country for being part of it. Fred Smith, the Chairman, President, CEO and founder of top-three global transport operator FedEx called for greater efforts to battle restrictions on trade, to ensure trade agreements are enforced and that Customs regulations are simplified, US publication Journal of Commerce (JOC) reports from its Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • Address Management System Data. We recommended the vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations, in coordination with the vice president, Product Information, establish deadlines for edit book updates, develop a formal training program, and update supervisor training. We also recommended establishing a follow-up process that ensures that address errors are corrected using Address Quality Improvement Process reports and that necessary street reviews are completed. Full Report
     

  • Postal Service Can Do More to Prepare For Future Spikes in Package Volume. Is the U.S. Postal Service prepared to meet the package volume growth coming from an explosion in online purchasing? That was the question behind our recent audit of package processing capacity. And the answer? With the ability to process 29 million packages daily, the Postal Service can manage the 24 million packages it now processes, on average, 11 months of the year. It has also been able to manage the spike in volume during the holidays by supplementing with manual processing. But to meet projected annual volume growth of 5 to 6 percent through 2017, the Postal Service needs to improve its throughput in a few critical ways, a recent U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit found. Optimal staffing is critical. At six of the seven facilities we visited, there were not enough cullers or loaders on the processing machines. Throughput suffered because the machines jammed or packages rotated around multiple times before being sorted. Standardizing package processing across the network will also help optimize throughput. Full Report.
     

  • More Staff Assistance, Promotion Could Increase Self-Service Kiosks Use. The U.S. Postal Service could cut workhours and save about $24 million over 2 years by better promoting its self-service kiosks (SSKs), according to a new U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit. Our review of 2,500 SSKs in about 2,300 post offices around the country found inconsistent signage for the kiosks and obscure placement of them contributed to underuse. We also found that better training and increased use of lobby assistants could encourage more consumers to take advantage of the SSKs. Some post offices only used assistants for that purpose when the inline wait time at retail windows was excessive. But we found it could be cost effective to use trained assistants more consistently to help consumers help themselves. Full Report.

The Kansas City Star: The inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service and Republicans in the House of Representatives are targeting $76 million in annual subsidies that lower the cost of shipping goods to Bush Alaska, saying the struggling postal service needs to cut expenses. PHIL DAQUILA | UNC NEWS21/MCT A man delivers boxes of Wonder Bread at the landing strip at Newtok, Alaska, June 30, 2009. Supplies and mail arrive up to several times each day from points east via Bethel, a town 98 miles from Newtok. More News Chicago mayor explores Soldier Field expansion Gates 'not optimistic' about Ukraine solutions Pottawattamie County veterans office funding OK'd House votes to curtail flood insurance rate hikes Texas primary leaves tea party influence unsettled Read more Politics News Lawmakers from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the program Tuesday entitled "Alaska Bypass Mail Delivery: A Broken System." The chairman of the committee, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, is pushing measures he said would reduce the subsidy and let more air carriers into the program. Issa said the cost of the subsidy amounts to postal customers buying a giant new bridge for Alaska every six years. Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young accused Issa of meddling in his state, and said Issa's plans would backfire and make the program even more expensive for the postal service. Young criticized the inspector general's report. "He's full of it, right up to his eyeballs," Young told the committee.

House Hearing Recording

Witness and Testimony Documents

The Honorable Mark Begich
United States Senator from the State of Alaska

The Honorable Don Young
United States Representative (At-Large) from the State of Alaska

Mr. Ron Haberman
Alaska District Manager
United States Postal Service

Ms. Tammy Whitcomb
Deputy Inspector General
United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General

Mr. Dennis Devany
Deputy Director, Office of Aviation Analysis
Office of Aviation and International Affairs, United States Department of Transportation

Mr. Steven Deaton
Senior Vice President
Ace Air Cargo

Mr. Jeffrey Butler
Vice President, Customer Service - Airports and Cargo
Alaska Airlines

Wall Street Journal: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) -- The U.S. Postal Service is one of our most popular and important government agencies. Yet the Postal Service is under constant and vicious attack. Why? The answer is simple. There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services, and couldn't care less how privatization or a degradation of services affects ordinary Americans.

The Toronto Star: As the post office starts phasing out door-to-door home delivery, it is unveiling an updated community mailbox, with flatter slots and bigger parcel boxes. "These boxes are meant for the realities of today and the future," said Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton. "The future is less mail in the box, and more boxes in the mail." The new design, with a larger aluminum base, can easily handle online purchases such as small electronics or clothing, but any item that requires a signature it will still be delivered to the door, he said.

Boston.com: This morning, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which endorsed the Postmaster General's proposed plan to eliminate six-day mail delivery. The following is a statement released by Jeanette Dwyer, President of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association: "The Administration's budget released today simply misses the mark when it comes to solving the current fiscal crisis plaguing the U.S. Postal Service. For decades, the Postal Service has provided consistent quality service to each and every household nationwide. Despite the Postal Service posting a profit delivering mail and packages in 2013, elected officials continue with misguided and unacceptable attempts to slash and eliminate service. "Our Postal Service is in need of true reform, not ill-advised, counter-productive attempts to slash service. By re-working the Postal Service's funding of its retiree health benefits, an obligation which accounts for 80% of USPS losses over recent years and is forced on no other public or private entity, lawmakers could take the easiest and most-sensible step toward getting this venerable institution back on the right page. Allowing the Postal Service to continue to innovate with same-day parcel delivery and other services will provide a great opportunity to generate needed revenue and allow the USPS to remain a competitive player in the shipping and delivery industry. We need to grow our Postal Service not shrink it. "While many say the Postal Service should be run like a business, it has been shackled by burdensome obligations and left to drown in red ink. Misguided legislation and a dysfunctional Congress have brought the Postal Service to this point, but these problems are easily solvable.

Government Executive: President Obama renewed his longstanding call to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service in his fiscal 2015 budget, saying the agency must be reformed to ensure its future viability. Obama recommended restructuring the Postal Service's requirement to prefund the health care of retirees. His plan would defer the fixed payments due in 2014, and part of the payments due in the two years after that. Those payments would then be restructured into a 40-year amortization schedule starting in 2017. The proposal would provide more than $9 billion in relief to USPS through 2016. Obama also would allow the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday mail delivery immediately, whereas the Senate bill would delay the switch to five-day delivery until 2017. USPS officials have said the schedule change would save almost $2 billion annually. The budget blueprint, similar to the Senate bill, would allow the Postal Service to shift from to-the-door delivery in favor of a more centralized system "where appropriate." It also would ban small and rural post office closures and make permanent the controversial "exigent" rate increase currently set to expire in two years. The pricing issue proved a major sticking point in the Senate and several Democrats declined to support the bill in committee due to the sustained rate increase. The proposed budget would return to the USPS any surplus payments it has made to the Office of Personnel Management for its share of the Federal Employees Retirement System. The Postal Service has complained that a lack of a USPS-specific calculation for those costs has led to significant overpayment, which the White House estimated at $5 billion. The White House called on OPM to create a new postal formula for the payments moving forward. All told, Obama's proposals would provide USPS with $20 billion in cash relief and savings by 2016. The White House included similar postal reform measures in previous budgets, though the president tweaked his 2015 plan to mirror some of the developments in Congress.

Sen. Thomas Carper's Comments on President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposal: ""I...appreciate the president's continued support for postal reform, and welcome his budget's inclusion of a number of key principals in the bipartisan Postal Reform Act that was approved by our committee last month, including the more accurate calculation of postal retirement costs, the restructuring of the postal service's retiree health benefit payments, and the permanent extension of the exigent rate increased authorized by the Postal Regulatory Commission in December 2013."

March 4, 2014 

Time: Netflix's DVD business is about to get some competition from GameFly, which is testing mail-order movie rentals on top of its existing games service. GameFly confirmed to VentureBeat that it will offer DVDs and Blu-ray discs to subscribers, with a beta program beginning on April 4. Customers with a two-disc or higher game rental plan will get into the beta first, and movies will count against their disc limit at no extra charge. GameFly's game rentals are twice as expensive as Netflix's movie service, though, starting at $16 per month for one disc at a time.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: About 50 people picketed a Staples office supply store Tuesday on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, demanding the retailer and U.S. Postal Service use postal workers instead of store employees for a pilot program offering limited postal services at some metro Atlanta stores.

Daily News Egypt: Negotiations between Minister of Communications Atef Helmy and Postal Authority workers failed Tuesday when the minister told the workers that the authority does not have sufficient funds to meet their financial demands, according to a statement by the Centre for Trade Union and Workers Services. The workers strike and sit-in inside the Cairo headquarters of the Postal Authority in Attaba is entering its second week, demanding application of the minimum income along with a 50% bonus and a 7% periodical bonus to their basic salary and a plan to reform workers' wages.

Fierce Government: The Postal Service exceeded its expected revenue in both fiscal 2012 and 2013 by more than a billion dollars each year, a Feb. 27 USPS inspector general report says. USPS breaks down operating revenue into commercial and retail, which which generally make up about 70 percent and 30 percent, of revenue, respectively, the report (.pdf) notes.

Postal Technology International: Poste Italiane and Brazil's postal service Correios have signed an agreement to launch a mobile phone network in Brazil. The two postal firms plan to establish a joint venture to introduce the new wireless communications network. As a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Poste Italiane and Correios will provide mobile phone services to customers, however they will not directly own the network, instead they will bulk buy access to the network infrastructure before selling it on at retail rates.

LiveCharts: The share price of postal and delivery service firm Royal Mail was trading lower on Tuesday after Credit Suisse initiated coverage of the stock with an 'underperform' rating. The Swiss bank has set a target price of 530p, indicating 12% downside potential to current prices. Credit Suisse believes that the stock's valuation looks "stretched" given its 85% jump since the flotation in London in October 2013. "We think intensifying competition in last-mile delivery could cap Royal Mail's margins at the lower end of its targeted range (5-10%). Challenging consensus expectations on margin progression leave little room for error."

Washington Post: "Three ways of serving the underbanked (without the post office)"

Office of the Inspector General: "Canada Post shares a number of similarities with the U.S. Postal Service, including its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1753 when both Canada and the 13 colonies were under British rule. Both posts are self-supporting, meaning they pay for their operations through the sale of postage and services. And Canada Post, like the Postal Service, has suffered volume losses the past few years. Here's where things get different, though. Canada Post has adopted a radical plan to restore its financial health, featuring bold initiatives that might seem too politically difficult in the United States. Canada Post's five-point plan is intended to streamline operations, cut costs, and return the corporation to fiscal self-sufficiency by 2019."

Bismarck Tribune: The explosion of new residents in northwestern North Dakota during the last several years, with the housing shortage and escalating wages, has delivered big problems to the local post offices. It's been hard to keep workers, and as a result, mail gets backed up and prompt delivery has been a problem, in particular in the Williston and Watford City areas. There finally may be a fix. The Postal Service and National Rural Mail Carriers Association reached an agreement that allows carriers to get pay increases of up to 20 percent to help deal with retention, and bonuses for signing new employees. The idea is to make positions at the post office competitive with the local job market — keeping existing workers on the job and beefing up their ranks. That makes good sense. The changes at the U.S. Postal Service are geared specifically to northwestern North Dakota. Let's hope they work well.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
12250–12251 [2014–04645] [TEXT]  [PDF]
12249–12250 [2014–04753] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  12251 [2014–04669] [TEXT]  [PDF]

AEG India: Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology released notification for direct recruitment of postal assistants and sorting assistants for the year 2013 and 2014. There are more than eight thousand posts country wide.

DVIDS: More than 120 soldiers of the 678th Human Resource Company completed 17 days of annual training here at Fort Dix, N.J., this week. The 17-day operation was comprised of convoys and logistical maneuvers that challenged the highly motivated postal and human resource unit. The 678th HRC navigated more than five convoy exercises in conjunction with numerous remote Area Post Office simulations under stressful conditions. While the unit has a main focuses on receiving and delivering, it also practices reception, replacement and redeployment operations as core functions. The mass field training exercise proved to be challenging and added enormous training value.

Dead Tree Edition: The two largest American printing companies recently presented similar lists of the major challenges they face -- and similar strategies for growing in the face of declining demand. Besides overcapacity and declining prices, the two printing giants spelled out other key challenges. Number One was "Postal rates." Both printers believe the recent 6% increase in most postal rates will put a significant dent in the amount of mailing their customers do. Thus, expect less demand for printing, even more overcapacity, and weaker prices.

Rep. Susan A. Davis: Slides from her presentation on "No More Excuses: The Case for Expanding Mail Ballot Eligibility" presented at the 2013 Eighth Voting and Elections Summit.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   The Memphis Metropolitan area is currently under a winter storm event. The NCSC - Memphis inclement weather policy has been implemented, which impacts the PostalOne! Help Desk. If you should require assistance with PostalOne!, and experience difficulty making contact by phone, please select the after hours options from the menu or send an email to postalone@usps.gov and we will respond as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

March 3, 2014 

WISN: Milwaukee's postal carriers are feeling first-hand the results of Wisconsin's brutal winter. Postal officials said injuries from slips and falls are up 50 percent this winter over last.

Could Postal Reform be Delivered This Year? Join us for a Webinar on April 2 Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/978691056 With the recent passage of S. 1486 out of the Senate Committee, will postal reform be delivered this year? Join Jessica Dauer Lowrance, Executive Vice President of the Association for Postal Commerce for a discussion focused on: What is contained in S .1486? What are the pitfalls for the industry? What is the legislative process? How to reach out to your representatives in Congress. Title: Could Postal Reform be Delivered This Year? Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Donegal Democrat: It is the responsibility of the Government to realise a long-term plan for the future of the postal service, Independent Deputy Thomas Pringle told the Dáil. "The real problem is that the Minister, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, and his Cabinet colleagues do not recognise the value of An Post and of a service that is important to every community in the country," he said.

Business Wire: Quad/Graphics, Inc., is strengthening its market leading direct marketing platform with a multimillion-dollar expansion of its East Coast commingling center in Westampton, N.J. The expansion includes six new state-of-the-art letter sorters housed in newly leased space that will enhance clients' postal savings opportunities and mail delivery efficiencies.

Reuters: FedEx Corp said it will raise shipping rates at its freight business by 3.9 percent, effective March 31. The rate increase is for FedEx Freight shipments within the United States including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Canada and within Mexico. The world's second biggest parcel delivery company after United Parcel Service Inc, FedEx had earlier raised rates by 3.9 percent for its domestic express shipping unit, effective Jan 6.

Times-Herald: Members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and community activists will picket an Atlanta Staples store during the lunch hour on Tuesday, March 4.  "As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want," said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. "Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?"

The Japan News: Japan Post Co. on Monday began selling stamps and postcards for the new postal fees that will go into effect on April 1 in line with the consumption tax rate hike the same day. From April 1, it will cost ¥82 to send a regular-size letter domestically, up from the current ¥80, while a domestic postcard will cost ¥52 instead of the current ¥50. Japan Post has started selling 22 kinds of stamps and postcards at the new rates at about 24,000 post offices nationwide. Two kinds of Letterpack flat-rate cardboard mailers with the new postage fees will be on sale from March 24.

The Postal Service would like you to believe its postal monopolies don't exist.
Think again....Or....Enjoy the trip.

Check here for important information about
S. 1486 and the monopoly-protected U.S. Postal Service

(Now why doesn't the USPS just fess up and admit it has TWO statutory monopolies - under USC Titles 39 and 18 - and that it wants to keep them?)

Wall Street Journal: The Czech Postal Service, for the second time in a decade, is ending the sale of tobacco products in its branch network after a brief foray into sales of the goods that are a major cause of disease and death. One year ago Ceska posta, as the state-owned company is called, quietly launched a pilot project to sell tobacco products, initially at just 40 of its branches to combat falling revenue amid growing competition from private courier companies and from electronic communications. At the start of this year Ceska posta ramped up tobacco distribution to about 600 of its more than 3,100 locations. In sparsely populated regions where there are few retail shops, post offices often sell sundries such as toothpaste, toilet paper or laundry detergents, as a public service without much criticism. But as tolerance for smoking among the general population on the decline, it didn't take long for the backlash to hit.

S. 1486 -- Forcing American mailers to stuff the monopoly postal piggy.
S. 1486's cure for the postal fiscal headache is to make the USPS
a totally deregulated monopoly. The USPS' Rx?

"Take two exigencies and call me in the morning."

Wall Street Journal: Damon Wayans, now a smartphone app developer, was handing out business cards here last week at the world's largest mobile-phone conference, trying to drum up interest in his alternative to one of the most enduring artifacts of the old economy: the business card. American technology has put people on the moon, invented the Internet and delivered fully functioning cars that drive themselves. But it has thus far met its match against a business tool rooted in the Chinese invention of paper, Gutenberg's brainstorm with the printing press and insurance salesmen's mastery of the cocktail-party buttonhole.

Wisbech Standard: Leverington newspaper delivery service launches postal service for Wisbech and surrounding villages. The service, which is provided by Webbs of Leverington, will cover Wisbech and 19 surrounding villages. It will initially be available to the firm's newspaper and magazine delivery customers, with guaranteed next day delivery – including Sundays – for just 30p, half the cost of a Royal Mail first class stamp. This is only the second service of its kind in the country, following the launch of a service in the Somerset town of Wellington.

eCommerceBytes: Online merchants are already challenged in meeting the expectations of shoppers who wish to get their orders delivered fast and free. Now Amazon and the USPS are adding another standard that online consumers may come to expect - Sunday deliveries. Amazon is expanding Sunday delivery for Prime members - available in New York and LA since November - in St. Louis and southwestern Illinois on March 16th with the help of the United States Postal Service, according to the St. Louis Dispatch and the State Journal Register newspapers.

A Postal "Monopoly" in the 21st Century? The great Trust Buster would not approve.

Check here for important information about
S. 1486 and the monopoly-protected U.S. Postal Service

(Yes, Virginia, there really was a time when Republicans thought a monopoly--let alone an unregulated government monopoly--was a bad thing.)

ABC Local: Australia Post says it is committed to maintaining a "sustainable regional letters business" in the face of rapidly declining mail volumes. It says the average number of letters delivered per letterbox each day is 1.5, down from 2.0 in 2008. Australia Post says losses in its domestic mail business have grown by almost 60 per cent to more than $218 million last financial year. It is also working to minimise job losses. It says the 10 jobs will be lost through voluntary redundancy. Last month, an Australia Post spokeswoman said it would still meet its standards of 94 per cent of letters delivered on time. She said while Australia Post has long been providing a next day service, its target had always been second day delivery between country and metropolitan areas.

March 1, 2014 

Yorkshire Post: Consumer campaigners and business leaders have criticised the latest price rise which will see the cost of a first class stamp increase by 2p to 62p and second class by 3p to 53p. The increases will take effect on March 31, two years after the last increase in stamp prices, although the now-privatised Royal Mail maintained it had "thought carefully" about the impact on customers and its business before making the decision. The Consumer Futures group claimed the three per cent rise in first class and five per cent increase in second class stamp prices were above the current inflation rate of 1.9 per cent. Since 2009, prices have increased by 59 per cent for first class and 77 per cent for second class. Robert Hammond, of Consumer Futures, said: "Any price rise is unwelcome especially at a time when household incomes are being squeezed and given that stamp prices have increased more than the rate of inflation over the past five years.

Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service, an organization whose business still depends on paper, is increasingly making management use of electronic data, according to Scott Davis, the agency's acting controller vice president. "Like many companies, we've grown with the technology," Davis said in an interview this week. Post offices, for example, used to detail monthly sales on paper forms; the information would be keyed into a mainframe computer that would tally it up, then generate "reams and reams" of paper reports that would be mailed back to the offices, Davis said. Now, he said, big-data technology allows the USPS to do that faster, he said. The technology also speeds up the process of paying almost a half-million career USPS employees.

WZZM: The U.S. Postal Service is seeing an uptick in business, but not necessarily in a way it wants. California drug dealers are using Priority Mail and Express Mail to send narcotics to Michigan. In separate incidents this week, cocaine and marijuana were mailed to people in Muskegon and Wyoming.

Pakistan Observer: Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Friday directed the Communications Ministry to hold an inquiry into unauthorized spending of Rs 160 million advertisement to various newspapers. The committee meeting chaired by Daud Khan Achakzai took exception to the decision of the then Federal Minister to dole out Rs 160 million advertisements in various newspapers despite the fact the then secretary Postal services refused to give approval to the decisions.

Office of the Inspector General: Revenue Performance to Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 Audit Report. "The Postal Service exceeded its revenue plans in FYs 2012 and 2013 across most channels and organizational levels. We are conducting two audits expected to be issued in spring 2014, which will provide additional details related to the Postal Service's revenue performance. We are performing a detailed assessment of the Postal Service's revenue and cost forecasting models later in 2014.

Business Insider: Amazon's ballyhooed aerial drone delivery program, "Primer Air," is really just a feint. Amazon is threatening FedEx and UPS with aerial drones that would cut them out of the delivery chain so that they'll innovate and invest more in their ground- and air-based shipping, to make it faster, maybe with drones of their own, and more reliable.

Motor Transport: DHL, FedEx and Royal Mail have been named among the top 20 strongest business brands for the second year running in the annual ‘Superbrands' league table. FedEx was voted the strongest of the UK's transport and logistics brands.

CBS Sacramento: A woman opened a box mailed to her home and found the names, personal information and medical records for hundreds of people. That box contained the medical records, test results, and credit card information of people from across the United States. After receiving the mysterious box, Jerri Crabtree reached out to CBS13 to find out who is responsible. "There's hundreds of them here, and I don't know why I got them, or where they came from," she said. She found the FedEx package on her Carmichael doorstep with her name, address and cellphone number on the label. But what's inside doesn't belong to her.

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