"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
More What's New in the Postal World:
January 31, 2013
CNBC: The assertion that paper use automatically equals environmental damage is a tired argument and is no longer defensible. Marked improvement in paper and print manufacturing has redefined the impacts this industry has on the environment. Today's savvy consumers are not easily duped by unsubstantiated claims focused on vilifying an entire industry; particularly when those pointing the finger are positioned to reap monetary gain as a result.
Politico: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) launched his Senate campaign Thursday with a shot at the Democratic establishment. oining Lynch were his parents, wife, daughter and five sisters. His mom spent 30 years as a member of the American Postal Workers Union.
The Saint James Press: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, who last year led a successful fight that prevented the closure of hundreds of post offices in rural Missouri, continues her advocacy to protect postal services for Missourians. In a letter, McCaskill requested additional information from the Postmaster General about the Postal Service's claims that it would realize substantial savings by moving to a five-day delivery model-claims McCaskill questions.
Bay of Plenty Times: Twenty-odd years ago I used to love the daily trip to the mailbox to see if there were any letters for me. Sounds like a futile exercise these days, but back then people actually sat down and wrote to each other with pen and paper. Not that the letters I receive are overly personal (and to be honest, the personal ones tend to be a bit vicious), but there can't be too many other people getting regular written correspondence. And therein lies the problem. New Zealand Post is proposing to drop the number of mail delivery days to three a week. It has been reported there are 265 million fewer items posted each year compared with 2002. And this is expected to keep dropping in the next five years. If a six-day delivery schedule is not sustainable, then options like fewer delivery days should be considered.
Linux Journal: Pick up most items, from the soup can, to the library book, and you will find a data tag. In most cases, that tag is the simple, ubiquitous bar code that seems to have been around forever. They are the lineal representation of numbers in a machine readable format that most people do not even pay attention to any more (although some of us are old enough to remember a time before they were so common place). More recently, the shippers UPS and FedEx have moved to more complex data tags to help expedite the automated sorting and shipping of the thousands of products that they handle every day. But a funny thing is happening. What used to be odd or rare, is becoming common place, at least here in the United States. As the saturation of smartphones passes critical mass, the appearance of other types of data tags, most frequently QR code, but also other data matrix tags are appearing everywhere, from bus stop advertisements to taxi stands and conference registration. And with the growing prevalence of NFC reading devices, one can only wonder if the NFC data tag is the next big thing.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. said the global economy returned "to more normal patterns" in the fourth quarter, helping to lift both its domestic and international package volumes. Executives of the Atlanta-based shipping giant voiced cautious optimism on the global economy for 2013. Chief Executive Scott Davis said on a post-earnings conference call that the company has been seeing "a pickup in global trade." He noted that U.S. demand has been solid in January, while the European economy has started 2013 "in a more stable situation than last year." Meanwhile, export volume out of Asia climbed by a "mid-teens" percentage basis in the fourth quarter, UPS said, although it cautioned that the increased volume was "concentrated in lower weight packages from high volume shippers" using low-cost shipping options.
Post & Parcel: The chairman of the US postal regulator has suggested that the US Postal Service rethink plans to cut opening hours at profitable rural post offices in order to save money. Ruth Goldway said by including “thriving” post offices on its list of outlets that will have window service hours shortened, USPS was “more likely to hurt revenue than to save costs”. The head of the five-member Presidentially-appointed Postal Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday that there were “certain problems” in the Postal Service plan to cut costs from its rural post offices, which needed addressing.
Press Release: The U.S. Postal Service saved more than $52 million in 2012 by reducing energy, water, consumables, petroleum fuel use and solid waste to landfills, and generated nearly $24 million in revenue by recycling. Together, these actions to save costs and generate revenue surpassed $76 million.
PRWeb: Lyngsoe Systems today announced a range of business process management services designed to identify and eliminate waste in the postal logistics chain. With declining mail volumes due to the digitization of society, the need for postal operators to continuously improve processes, and so reduce costs and improve services, is an imperative. This is especially the case within the strongly growing but highly competitive parcel business that is being driven by increasing e-commerce.
CNN: For the Postal Service to survive and thrive, however, Congress needs to step up, and soon. Congress must determine what level of physical mail service, if any, is necessary for government to ensure when there are many electronic alternatives. Second, it must decide how it (as opposed to the Postal Service) plans to pay for that service level. Dimensions of such guaranteed service include the geographic area to be covered, what rate will be charged (and whether it will be uniform across areas), and how frequent mail service will be. Congress then needs to free up the Postal Service to become a more commercial entity. But that can't happen unless it also eliminates both of the service's monopolies (one over mail delivery and the other over mailbox use) and changes its organizational structure. Repeal of the monopolies is necessary because the service will never get the freedom to pursue new lines of business aggressively, and thus to generate new revenue, unless it is subject to the discipline of competition.
Post & Parcel: Austrian Post said today that union negotiations this week have proved positive, as the post looks to avoid postal strike action. Management completed several hours of negotiations with union representatives from Tuesday afternoon, at a summit meeting regarding changes being made to the process of mail delivery in Austria. The GPF – Federal Executive of the Union of Post and Telecommunications Staff – had been threatening to strike over what it described as “blatant violations” of employment policy within Austrian Post. The union said mail carriers now having to deliver more parcels were being overloaded, with delivery areas enlarged in order to save money. It has also been complaining that older workers were being pressured to retire as Austrian Post looked to trim its workforce in light of the decline in letter volumes.
ERR News: Meelis Atonen, chairman of Eesti Post's supervisory board, said there are no arguments left for keeping the postal company under state ownership. “State owned companies have limited opportunities, investments and expansion plans are always questionable, and we have to concentrate on the local market, but the keyword in the logistics business is range,” Atonen told Eesti Päevaleht.
Post & Parcel: La Poste Group has signed a framework agreement with unions promising measures to improve the quality of life of French postal workers. The three-year deal with the unions FO, CFDT, CGC/UNSA and CFTC follows the “Grand Dialogue” consultation with employees held last year, which was prompted by two staff suicides blamed on the “oppressive” work culture at the company.
Press Release: United Parcel Service, Inc. has announced the withdrawal of its Offer for TNT Express. As anticipated, the European Commission (EC) has issued a formal decision prohibiting the proposed acquisition of TNT Express. As a result of the prohibition by the EC, the Offer Condition relating to EU Competition Clearance will not be fulfilled and the acquisition of TNT Express by UPS will not be completed. Given this outcome, UPS and TNT Express entered a separate agreement to terminate the Merger Protocol. UPS proposed significant and tangible remedies designed to address the EC's concerns with the transaction concerning the competitive landscape in Europe. UPS believes that the combined company would have been transformative for the logistics industry, bringing meaningful benefits to consumers and customers around the world, while supporting much needed growth in Europe in particular. While UPS is disappointed in the EC's decision, the company's focus is on the continued execution of its growth strategy.
Routing Strategy Solicitation Number: 1B-13-A-0007 Agency: United States
Postal Service The Postal Service is seeking information on application(s) which offer a
more innovative approach to deliver mail given the potential changes in the
present rigid delivery structure, without inordinate complexity or lengthy
implementation requirements. A more flexible delivery model and supporting
national desktop platform applications will assist the USPS in reaching our
restructuring goals. For more information please see attached CIO Dynamic
Routing Strategy Statement of Objectives (SOO). Statement of Objectives
MAILCOM 2013 The 33rd Annual Convention April 28-May 1, 2013 Grand Exhibition Center Tropicana Atlantic City www.mailcom.org You and your company are the center of the mail communications industry. Developing your management knowledge, professionalism, and networking so you can do a better job is what MAILCOM is all about. Called "The Big Show" by attendees because of the diversity of products offered, the MAILCOM Exhibition puts you in touch with the leading equipment, software, and technology vendors. Everything needed for the printing, processing and distribution of mail communications can be found at MAILCOM. And shopping around can mean finding the best products and contracts at the lowest price for your company. Go to http://www.mailcom.org for details.
PRNewswire: The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service will meet Feb. 8 in open session at Postal Service headquarters, 475 L' Enfant Plaza , SW, Washington, DC. The public is welcome to observe the meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. Following the Board's open meeting on Feb. 8, Postmaster General & CEO Patrick Donahoe and Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett will host a telephone/web conference call to discuss the financial results in more detail. The call will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and is open to the news media and all other interested parties.
January 30, 2013
Wall Street Journal: U.S. economic momentum screeched to a halt in the final months of 2012, as businesses pared back inventories and government spending fell sharply, while lawmakers struggled to reach a deal on tax increases and budget cuts. The nation's gross domestic product shrank for the first time in three and a half years during the fourth quarter, declining at an annual rate of 0.1% between October and December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Search Engine Watch: Tablet consumers have a high level of disposable income. If your company does a lot of its sales through catalogs, then getting your products in front of this consumer via Google Catalogs is smart business. But tablet consumers engage with the Google Catalogs application in a different way than a print catalog. Your business needs to be aware of these differences in order to present its product catalog effectively in the digital world.
Parcel2Go: Companies new to the business of exporting are being targeted by a new website from the UK's state-owned postal service operator, Royal Mail. The site includes advice on how to set about increasing sales to overseas markets, and offers information about individual countries' import regulations. It also includes case studies from companies which have had success in various export markets.
Post & Parcel: PHLPost – the postal service of the Philippines – is getting into the logistics business, it said yesterday. The state-owned corporation, which rebranded last year from PhilPost as part of a transformation programme under Postmaster General Josefina Dela Cruz, said it has just acquired 12 new vehicles to underpin new cargo delivery and forwarding services.
Federal Times: “Change will do you good,” according to that noted management consultant, Sheryl Crow. But for the U.S. Postal Service, change can also be wrenching, particularly when it means shaking the habits acquired during years as a complacent semi-monopoly. A couple of recent reports highlight the rigors of reinvention for USPS leaders, not just in chasing new revenue and overhauling slipshod management practices, but in ultimately retooling their sprawling operation to survive in the digital age. You might think, for example, that the Postal Service enjoys an inside track with its sister agencies in the federal government. Instead, it’s taking a beating from private-sector rivals in competing for a big part of agencies’ shipping business, according to a review by the Postal Service’s inspector general. This is the piece awarded under General Services Administration schedule contracts that last year generated almost $337 million for participating shippers.
Reuters: Deutsche Post's DHL is considering selling its "last-mile" delivery unit in the United States, a service used by retailers to deliver bulky products to consumers, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. DHL could sell its Exel Direct unit, part of its Exel supply chain in the United States, for about $100 million, one of the three sources said.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
The New Zealand Herald: The move to introduce three-day-a-week postal delivery could unfairly disadvantage rural consumers and businesses in the remotest parts of New Zealand, say Rural Women New Zealand.
Interest.co.nz: Kiwibank, whose branches double as Post Shops run by its parent New Zealand Post, says although it's too soon to say what a major cost cutting exercise by NZ Post will mean for bank branch numbers, its customers will be serving themselves more in the future.
Antara News: The government will not inject funds in the form of state equity participation (PMN) to state postal firm PT Pos Indonesia to expand its businesses, State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said. "In principle, we will no longer inject funds to state firms for whatever their reasons. Except strategic state firms and state insurance companies, no any other state firms will receive state equity participation," he said here on Tuesday. The government will not respond to any request from the management of PT Pos for a capital injection, he said.
The Asahi Shimbun: Japan Airlines Co. and Japan Post Co. will team up in April to introduce a delivery service to Singapore and Taiwan that specializes in shipping items at chilled temperatures. The companies said Jan. 29 that their “Cool EMS” service will likely be extended to other Asian destinations after judging how the trial service develops over the course of a year.
Wall Street Journal: A Swedish startup will allow users to receive, manage and store what would have been printed documents in a secure mailbox in their smartphones, challenging the postal service.
Imperial Valley Press: Is the proverbial pony of Pony Express fame finally dead, taken out and trucked off to the glue factory? It’s a question that seems to trot ever closer to being answered with each postal rate hike by the U.S. Postal Service and every tale of an institution going further into the red.
China.org: Indonesia's state-run airline firm Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MNA) signed a commitment to engage its newly-procured Cessna Caravan planes to support logistic business run by Indonesian postal service firm PT Pos Indonesia, local media reported on Wednesday. MNA President Director Rudy Setyopurnomo said that the delivery of the plane is expected to commence in April this year. The firm has ordered 20 of such planes to serve flights in remote areas.
ActMedia: The announcement of the privatization of the Romanian Post National Company (CNPR) will be published in the international press next week and the deadline for completion of this procedure is June 15, 2013, Dan Nica, Minister for the information society said on the occasion of the hearings in front of the Parliament's specialized joint committees, organized for giving their assent to the institution's budget for 2013.
From the Federal Register:
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. MC2013-30: "Modification Of Mail Classification Schedule Regarding First-Class Mail Single-Piece Residual Price Table" Response Of United States Postal Service To Commission’S Information Request No. 1
January 29, 2013
Radio New Zealand: Communications Minister Amy Adams says taxpayers should not have to keep up propping up New Zealand Post. New Zealand Post wants the number of days it is required to deliver mail to most addresses cut from six to three days a week, and to replace some postal outlets with self service kiosks. Unions fear thousands of jobs could be lost, and have vowed to fight the change.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Fierce Government: The Postal Service will undertake cost saving measures and service changes in 2013 to increase available revenue, says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Among the efforts it will carry out are shutting down more processing plants and instituting changes to the routes it uses. The service says an additional 18 processing plants could be shuttered in 2013 in addition to the roughly 90 plants already targeted for closure. Delivery routes are being adjusted as part of its recent carrier union negotiations. In addtion, door-to-door mail delivery could decrease in favor multiple mailboxes in a single location and on-street parcel delivery lockers. Such arrangements are already common in newer residential subdivisions.
Announcing PostalVision 2020/3.0-- PostalVision 2020, the groundbreaking forum that has challenged industry, government and the private sector to examine a modern national mail infrastructure, will return in 2013 for a third annual conference, slated for April 23-24 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), incoming Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a co- author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act, Hon. Robert G. Taub, Vice Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, and Hon. David M. Walker, Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative and former Comptroller General of the U.S., will join the conference for the first time this year. Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, will return as a speaker this year after providing the keynote at the first conference in 2011, as will Jeff Jarvis, author of “What Would Google Do?”
Positioning America for the New Millennium This year, PostalVision 2020/3.0 will take a visionary look at “Positioning America for the New Millennium.” Beginning with a world view of the 21st Century as seen by Vint Cerf, successive panel discussions led by Jeff Jarvis and Matt Swain of InfoTrends will consider positioning America to meet the needs of future generations for communications and commerce. David Walker will introduce a discussion on the role of government with Robert Taub and a panel comprising policy experts from government and academia. Alternative postal models will be considered by returning speakers, attorney and author Jim Campbell and international postal policy expert Elmar Toime in conversation with USPS Inspector General David Williams and PostCom President Gene Del Polito. Senator Carper will share his legislative perspective while participating in the exchange of diverse opinions as expressed by conference attendees in open forum. Updates on the conference, including hotel rates and registration information, are available on the PostalVision 2020-3.0 Event website.
Mercury News: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), eBay (EBAY) and Intuit (INTU) rank among the top 10 companies nationally for protecting personal privacy, according to an annual consumer survey released Monday that also found most respondents feared their privacy rights are being diminished.
Cambridge News: A pub is to host its village post office, which shut down last month. Postal services will be available at a portable cabin at The George Inn in Girton’s High Street from February 15. The old branch in Dodford Lane closed in December when the premises became unavailable. The Post Office said the temporary building would be a short-term solution while a permanent home is sought. Michelle Reed, the postmaster, runs the pub with her husband Leon. Mark Lawrence, the Post Office’s regional network manager, said the same range of services would be available as before.
Scoop: New Zealand Post has welcomed the release of its proposal and discussion document regarding postal services for public submissions. The document contains New Zealand Posts proposal to update the Deed of Understanding (“the Deed”) it has with the Government regarding standard letter delivery and postal outlet services. The current Deed was last significantly updated in 1998, some 14 years ago, at a time which pre-dated the digital revolution. That revolution has resulted in the rapid expansion of internet-based products and services which have fundamentally changed the way people communicate, do business and shop. The last decade has seen an unprecedented drop in mail volumes. New Zealand Post Group CEO Brian Roche says the current Deed no longer reflects the current use of New Zealand Posts services, or the impact technology has made as a substitute. Mr Roche says the Deed is in urgent need of a revamp to ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to a sustainable, viable, postal service network that meets their changing requirements.
Newsmax: The Postal Service said keeping letters moving is its top priority, even if it means defaulting on its retirement benefit funds again. Still, Michael Crew, director of the Center for Research in Regulated Industries, and professor of regulatory economics at Rutgers University, told NBC: “There could be a period when mail is not being delivered.”
Scoop: Moving to a three day mail delivery service is not sustainable or justified by current mail volumes, says the union for postal workers, the EPMU. The union is currently consulting with New Zealand Post on the company’s Network of the Future project, its response to declining mail volumes. EPMU postal industry organiser George Collins says the union recognises the commercial pressures facing NZ Post, but does not believe a three day service is justified.
Fox News: Snail mail may be about to become even slower in New Zealand. The country is considering cutting its postal delivery from six days a week to three. New Zealand is among many countries struggling to sustain a viable mail system as people turn to the Internet to pay bills and communicate. Mail volumes in New Zealand dropped by 24 percent over the past decade and are forecast to drop by another 25 percent in the next five years.
KOSU: Prices on mail sent through the United States Postal Service increased this week — the price of a first class stamp now costs 46 cents, up a penny. But for small businesses that ship products overseas, like many independent record labels, the costs could be much larger.
Entrepreneur.com: The cost of shipping has gone up across the board, and retailers who depend on internet purchases should take note. [Provides] a handy reference for shipping options, comparing the offerings of USPS, UPS and Fedex so that you can get the best deal.
NBCNews: Even as the price of a first-class stamp rose a penny Sunday to 46 cents, the U.S. Postal Service is operating on borrowed time. “We are currently losing $25 million per day,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned earlier this month. The agency lost nearly $16 billion in its last fiscal year, and its line of credit with the U.S. Treasury is tapped out. If lawmakers don’t act, it could run out of money “between six months and a year at most,” said Richard Geddes, associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University.
Washington Post: The story of America’s declining union membership is a continuing saga that makes labor leaders wince. The latest chapter in that story was revealed last week when the Bureau of Labor Statistics released figures showing the percentage of workers who are union members now stands at just 11.3 percent, the lowest level since 1983, when the government began collecting comparable data. Then, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent. But federal unions, except for U.S. Postal Service labor organizations, have a different story. By most indications, they are strong and growing.
January 28, 2013
WHAM: The name of Marine Lance Cpl. Zach Smith will at last appear on the outside of the U.S. Post Office building in his hometown of Hornell, N.Y. Smith was killed in Afghanistan three years ago last Thursday. In typical fashion, the post office in his hometown was named after him following an act of Congress and the President’s signature. [EdNote: That's right. Let's name anothr p.o. after someone who has given his life for this country, but let's not do a damn thing about addressing any of the still-pending postal reform issues that just might help keeping that newly named post office open. Congress . . . . What could it be thinking]
The Chronicle of Philanthropy: The executive director of an association that successfully persuaded a powerful Congressman to commit to preserving discount postage rates for nonprofits lashed out Friday against Independent Sector for formally asking the representative to maintain that position. Independent Sector and eight of the 600 nonprofits it represents sent a letter on Tuesday to Rep. Darrell Issa requesting his support for the discount rate when he reintroduces legislation for a massive overhaul of the United States Postal Service this year. Mr. Issa committed last year to removing a provision to eliminate the discount that was included in the USPS overhaul bill that Congress ultimately never took up before the end of 2012. That irked Anthony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, who was frustrated that his 300-member organization was not consulted about sending the letter. He said he was concerned the action could backfire because it might irritate the powerful congressman. “We’re baffled why some nonprofit groups have organized a public letter-writing campaign ostensibly to persuade Congressman Issa not to phase out nonprofit rates,” Mr. Conway said in a statement. “There was a provision in the original version of the House Republican postal reform bill last year that would have phased out nonprofit postal rates, but Congressman Issa deleted that provision in June 2012 after the Alliance and its allies raised the issue.” Mr. Issa has not expressed any change in that position.
The NonProfit Times: Six of the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) new workshare discount rates, that took effect yesterday, are shallower for nonprofit mailers than for commercial mailers, and unfairly discriminate against nonprofits, contends the Association of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM), based in Washington, D.C. Three of the new discounts -- high density letters, high density flats, and automated 5-digit flats -- are higher than the old rates, two categories (high density plus letters and high density plus flats) are new and the discount for non-automated 3-digit flats is slightly lower than the old rate. But the key issue is the discrepancy between the nonprofit and commercial rates. According to ANM Executive Director Tony Conway, worksharing discounts are provided when mail is prepared in certain ways, such as presorting it by ZIP code, effectively taking some of the burden of sorting and transporting off the United States Postal Service (USPS). The goal is to create incentives to drive the most efficient mailing behavior.
Melodika: ecoEnvelopes (www.ecoEnvelopes.com), the world’s leader in innovative, eco-friendly mailing solutions is pleased to announce that they received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Development Center of Minnesota, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). “The WBENC designation is important to ecoEnvelopes as we seek opportunities to bring innovation to large organizations and government entities,” commented Gale Ward, President of ecoEnvelopes. “As a trusted partner, our role is to innovate solutions, educate constituents and collaborate with preferred vendors. These mutually beneficial relationships provide a foundation for the economic success of all parties, supporting diverse businesses.” WBENC’s national standard of certification is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women. By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations, and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.
* April 12th Workshop: “Postal Reorganization” On April
12th in Washington, D.C. there will be a one day workshop held at
the offices of K&L Gates LLP. The array of speakers include: Mark Acton,
Commissioner, U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission Robert Taub,
Commissioner, U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission David Williams,
Inspector General, USPS-OIG Fred Rolando, President, National Letter
Carriers Association For further details and registration see,
In an article prepared for Mailing Systems Technology magazine, PostCom President Gene Del Polito noted that "There are other challenges that imperil mail's usefulness and vitality as a commercial vehicle. For instance, for years the advertising mail industry has had to suffer seemingly endless "junk mail" denigrations from competing media, ill-informed, so-called environmental advocates, and self-styled (but profit-based) privacy activists. You know the "gimme ten dollars and I'll get you off mailing lists" types. These rather ill-informed greenies, money-grubbing privacy weenies, and competitive media meanies often premise their cases against the value and utility of commercial mail on bases about as subtantive as a Delmarva beach sand castle built right on water's edge. One good wave or wind-blow and the ostensibly fact-based arguments used to buttress these castles are shown to be without any real foundation.
BoSacks: My friend Dead Tree whom I have affectionately called Deaddy to his face, has penned a beautiful essay below. To it I would like to add my own frustration as to how we as an industry market the infrastructure of what we do. For people in the communication business, paper companies, printers and publishers together have done a very poor job of explaining to the public why dealing with trees as a renewable/reusable resource is a good and wonderful thing.
Romania Insider: Four Romanian banks will lend EUR 22 million to the state – owned Romanian Post, to cover its working capital, according to Mediafax newswire, quoting company data. The four banks – Banca Comerciala Romana – BCR, Banca Transilvania, CEC Bank and Millennium Bank – will lend the needed funds, after a public tender combined with a negotiation without a participation announcement. The state-owned Romanian Post, holder of the largest network of postal service distribution offices in Romania, 7,100, is majority owned by the Ministry of Communications, with 75 percent of the shares, while the Fondul Proprietatea (Property Fund) holds the remaining 25 percent of its share capital.
Wall Street Journal: Another rise in stamp prices comes as first-class mail volume is plummeting, underscoring the dilemma the near-bankrupt U.S. Postal Service faces. The increase comes just a year after the cash-strapped Postal Service pushed the stamp price to 45 cents, and follows the November announcement that the agency reported a record $15.9 billion annual loss for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. At that time, the Postal Service said it would run out of cash by October 2013 without congressional intervention.
Automated Trader: The failed merger between United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and Dutch TNT Express, as well as new services, are set to enhance the footprint of Europe's largest postal service company by market share and help compensate for declining revenues from traditional mail services, according to Deutsche Post AG's chief executive. In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Frank Appel told The Wall Street Journal the company will continue to gain market share in its express delivery unit, DHL, and that it plans to deliver food and household goods in an improved global economic environment.
All India Radio: The Postal Department will launch on-line banking facilities in all departmental Post offices in the country by May next year.
Advertising Age: The U.S. Postal Service is under fire for "not adequately monitoring its two largest advertising contracts," just as it's completing an agency review, according to an audit by the inspector general. Coincidence? Not according to the audit. It stated: "We met with the Postal Service's chief marketing and sales officer, who agreed with the concerns we raised. She initiated corrective actions by not extending the contract with its major advertising contractor." In a letter replying to the audit, the USPS stated it "believes our advertising campaigns were effective and that we received best value under the advertising contracts. However, we agree that oversight and internal controls needed improvement in some areas." The "corrective actions" the USPS made in response to the audit also include "separating the two largest advertising contracts into multiple contracts" and changing the leadership in its advertising group. USPS hired Nagisa Manabe as chief marketing and exec VP-sales officer in May 2012. USPS declined to comment. The audit doesn't mention the actual agency names but describes the two agency contracts that came under scrutiny. One contractor was "responsible for such activities as purchasing media, developing creative content and providing strategic direction."
Buffalo News: A recent report from the Postal Service's inspector general is more evidence that the agency must find new strategies in order to survive, and Congress must allow it to do so by allowing it to run more like the businesses it competes against. Otherwise, the Postal Service as we know it is headed down the road to oblivion.
eCommerce Bytes: Online merchants face higher costs each January when shipping carriers raise rates, and this year, USPS changes are having a big impact on eBay and Amazon sellers in particular. EcommerceBytes explains what you should know about changes to Parcel Post changes and rate hikes rolling out this week. Along with higher rates that went into effect on January 27, 2013 (Sunday), the USPS renamed Parcel Post to Standard Post, which will only be available at retail locations. That means shippers must go to the Post Office to mail a Standard Post package.
GlobalPost: USPS has introduced a new stamp that allows customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for $1.10, even if the cost of stamps goes up in the future, the Associated Press reported. The stamp can be used on letters weighing one ounce or less. The Global Forever stamp works like the Forever stamp for domestic mail.
January 27, 2013
Save the Post Office: When the USPS Board of Governors announced two weeks ago that it intended to speed up cost-cutting measures in order to deal with the mounting deficit, there were no details about what those measures would be. It now looks as though changing how the mail is delivered will be a key part of the stepped-up plan. If you've been getting your mail delivered to the door, expect a switch to curbside delivery. If you already have curbside delivery, you could be converted to a cluster box unit located down the road. The goal is eventually to get everyone on cluster boxes.
Melodika: Locating the approximate ownership information of a mobile number can be complicated. There are now hundreds of millions of users of cell phones and not all information is updated or accurate in standard Caller ID systems. The Cell Phone Registry has added a new search feature that pairs unpublished numbers with its database network. The reverse phone search system now includes over 200 million unpublished numbers that are instantly accessible online. The new CellPhoneRegistry.com database updates its national records regularly with private and public sources of information. This dual method of information gathering is one way that this company is using to build one of the largest networks of published and unpublished phone records databases currently found online. Aside from phone records lookups, information can be located using different search parameters. These include first and last names, state searches and other criteria that can be used to locate the identify of a person who owns a particular cell or landline phone.
Dead Tree Edition: The Flats Sequencing System is costing the U.S. Postal Service more than it is saving, information submitted by USPS this week indicates. USPS's response to a question from the Postal Regulatory Commission showed that FSS has pushed up the costs of mail processing far more than it has decreased delivery costs. USPS invested more than $1 billion in the huge FSS machines to automate the labor-intensive process of handling catalogs, magazines, and other flat mail, but so far the results have been mixed at best. Meanwhile, the agency continues to seek special rate increases on some types of flat mail, such as Periodicals, on which it claims to be losing money.
USPS Liteblue: The postal operator of Italy has formally notified USPS that it will not accept packages containing lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries destined to addresses in Italy. The new policy went into effect Jan. 18. Italy's lithium battery policy does not apply to shipments to and from APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office) and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) locations in Italy. Acceptance employees should advise customers of this prohibition and refuse shipments of electronic items containing lithium batteries addressed to Italy.
WOWK: The U.S. Postal Service has moved up by one year the scheduled closing of a mail processing center in Martinsburg. The Journal reports that the closure scheduled for 2014 will now occur no later than late summer of this year.
January 26, 2013
Newry Times: SDLP South Down MLA Karen McKevitt has called for more practical cross-border co-operation down to the level of postal services. Speaking to Newry Times, she said every business close to the border can expand by trading across the border. "We should be encouraging them in order to create more jobs and prosperity, and we should be hunting down and removing obstacles that stand in their way. "It costs just 55 cents to send an ordinary letter from Dundalk to Newry but it costs 87p, which is pretty close to double as much, to send one in the other direction. "That is an extra cost on local businesses and it is an unnecessary one if An Post can afford to do the job cheaper. Even in this electronic age the post is still very important for businesses, and cross- border delivery is far too slow.
The Kaplan Herald: The U.S. Postal Service delivers mail right to the front doors of more than 35 million American households and businesses. But door-to- door postal services are by far the most expensive and labor intensive - not to mention dangerous - mode of delivery for the beleaguered semi-independent government agency. The Postal Service is trying to slowly end door-to-door delivery. This week, Vermilion Parish residents and residents throughout the state and nation received a letter from the U.S. Postal Service requesting that residents who have mailboxes on their home, now put a mailbox along the road. The Postal Service gives no time table as to when door-to-door service would end in the parish or nation. Read more: VermilionToday.com - U S Postal Service trying to end door to door home deliveries
Please join the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 1:00 Eastern for a FREE webinar presented by Shahrom Kiani, General Manager, for AddressVision, Inc. Mr. Kiani will detail the USPS' requirements for the March - April "Direct Mail Mobile Coupon" and "Click-to-Call" promotion. Learn how you can quickly position yourself to participate! Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/297268001
Stuff: New Zealand Post did not act on a spike in missing mail complaints more than two years ago because they were "divided relatively evenly" across nine postal rounds. More than five weeks ago, The Southland Times asked NZ Post why concerns were not raised back in 2010, when there was a spike in complaints, with 14 in May, 13 in June and 10 in July. NZ Post media adviser Jaimee Burke said complaints had "fluctuated" during the past few years but in those particular months they had been divided across the nine postal rounds. As a result of the complaints going undetected for so long, the company was undertaking a rigorous review of its mail security policies and procedures, she said.
The Street: United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) Class B hit a new 52-week high Thursday as it is currently trading at $81.92, above its previous 52-week high of $81.79 with 1.7 million shares traded as of 11:01 a.m. ET. Average volume has been 3.5 million shares over the past 30 days. United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) Class B has a market cap of $58.38 billion and is part of the services sector and transportation industry. Shares are up 8.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.
Associated Press: A former letter carrier has pleaded guilty to stealing checks and cash from the mail. Forty-eight-year-old Ronald Pretlow entered the plea on Friday. Sentencing is set for May 3. Pretlow was arrested on Sept. 13 when he reported to work. Prosecutors say more than $10,000 in uncashed checks was found in his car.
Hispanic Business: The U.S. Postal Service is looking to fill 300 positions within the Western New York area. But while they aren't regular positions, the jobs could lead to permanent employment, the agency says. The Postal Service is looking to hire 300 city carrier assistants, a new category of non-career employees with a path to possible future employment as a career letter carrier. Assistants are used to carry mail for routes where the regular carrier is out of work.
Indiana Public Media: The debt-ridden USPS now has hundreds of open positions in Indiana following a settlement between the postal service and the National Association of Letter Carriers, but the jobs are not the government positions most postal workers occupy. Instead, they are temporary jobs which lead to an employee review at the end of each year. Those who are hired will mainly replace career employees retiring at the end of January.
WSBT: The U.S. Postal Service said in 2011 it had to close some post offices, consolidate processing centers and cut jobs because of a budget crisis. But now the agency says it needs to hire 400 new employees in Indiana. However, the American Postal Workers Local 210 president says the publicity about the jobs is misleading, claiming the post office is only posting the job openings because the government requires it to do so.
National Association of Postmasters of the U.S.: The Postal Service has notified NAPUS of plans to post additional vacant offices that are scheduled to become 6-hour POStPlan offices. Offices on the next posting list will include those where POStPlan is implemented, making them 6 –hour offices on February 9, February 23, and March 9, 2013. The effective date for these postings will be May 4, 2013. A list of these offices will be provided as soon as it is available. The Postal Service also released the timeline for a future posting which will occur between April 24 and June 29, 2013. Included with the timeline is eligibility and pay information that will be included on the vacancy announcements. A list of affected offices will be provided when it becomes available. Please click on the link to see the information on the additional vacancy postings and the timeline. Additional 6 -hour office postings
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update.
January 25, 2013
We are pleased to provide you with a new "MTAC Membership Guide", thanks to MTAC Industry Vice-Chair Chris Lien, who spent many hours putting it together with help from both industry and postal leadership. The Guide provides an overview of all aspects of the Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee, from the purpose of MTAC, to the role of representatives and leaders, to where to find additional information and resources. While the Guide will be especially helpful to new representatives, it should also serve as a handy reference and refresher to all MTAC members.
Islington Tribune: Residents' anger as Royal Mail accused of ‘squeezing 700 prison-like homes' onto sprawling Mount Pleasant sorting office site.
PRWeb: Outright along with Page Mage Inc., eBay Radio, Stamps.com and Terapeak will be hosting this free webinar for eBay sellers. Join Eric Nash of Stamps.com and Mark Le Vine of BubbleFast.com as they discuss the 2013 USPS postage rate increase and how the new rates will impact e-commerce sellers. A few of the things you'll learn in this webinar: - Details on the 2013 USPS postage rate changes - Get info on new USPS services being introduced for 2013 - Find out methods to help lower shipping costs - Hear how the USPS is changing international Flat Rate service - And much more. Register at http://pagemage.com/education/webinars
Post & Parcel: The Universal Postal Union has said it is working on a new international return service to help customers looking to send back unwanted goods purchased through foreign websites. The UN-affiliated agency governing the international postal system said such a system was "essential" for developing cross-border e-commerce.
Brattleboro Reformer: The U.S. Postal Service recorded a record $15.9 billion annual loss last year, and officials within the agency are saying that, without congressional action, the agency is likely to run out of money, most likely by October. Citizens Against Government Waste has called the USPS business model "increasingly antiquated," which echoes the Government Accountability Office proclamation that "due to USPS's inability to reduce costs sufficiently in response to continuing mail volume and revenue declines," the current model is simply not viable. The USPS hoped to save about $500,000 annually by reducing the hours, which still doesn't do much to offset the steep losses. The U.S. Postal Service can generate nearly $35 million in revenues over two years by increasing its viability as a federal contract recipient, according to the USPS' inspector general's office, as reported by Government Executive magazine. "The General Services Administration awarded about $340 million annually in 2011 and 2012, but only $1.2 million and $4.8 million to USPS, respectively. Contracts went overwhelmingly to FedEx and UPS." And as Post & Parcel points out, "For USPS to pull itself out of its current financial difficulties, it cannot just rely on pension and healthcare reforms and high-profile cost-cutting measures ... it must also find fresh ways to raise new revenue streams." Nips and tucks here and there aren't going to solve the problem. The USPS needs to take a long, hard look at its own corporate structure before making minor changes that continue to affect many people across the U.S. In addition, we call on Washington lawmakers to enact the changes needed to help USPS. There's plenty that can be done to shore up losses without affecting service.
CNET: Starting this Saturday, the new no-no is buying a locked phone with a hefty carrier discount and then unlocking it on your own and without the carrier's permission. [EdNote: You want it unlocked? Buy it unlocked.]
The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram
AllAfrica: Lusaka is a fast growing city with new buildings being constructed on every space available which includes shopping malls, housing units and office blocks. People have continued investing in constructing and expanding houses at a rapid pace, a situation which has brought about a lot of problems. With this expansion, comes a lot of disorder in street names and house numbering resulting from a lack of clear understanding of the legal processes needed. For instance, in Kamwala and Libala townships, it would be very difficult for one to locate a house by name of street or house number in the event of a fire, medical emergency or when a crime is reported. Illogic house numbering or nothing at all, has affected health care delivery, heightened the level of crime causing less potential when saving lives. Emergency response groups such as the police and fire fighters face challenges in locating some areas when a crime or fire is reported. Lives and property have been lost previously because the emergency team could not locate the place on time due to the lack of street names or house numbers. [EdNote: Ah, yes. The importance of ACCURATE and the timely recording of new addresses and address changes. Sure hope the USPS gets its act together when it comes to maintaining the AMS database. I mean, come on guys. We can do better than Zambia. See below.]
Algarve Resident: Portugal's privatisation programme, which aims to bolster the country's ailing economy with a total revenue of around €5 billion, is on track, according to an official report. The sale of the postal company CTT is expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2013 and completed by the end of the year, later than the March 2013 deadline announced by the Minister of Finance Vítor Gaspar in September last year.
PRWeb: PMSI, one of the nation's largest and most experienced companies focused on workers' compensation, announced that the U.S. Postal Service has selected the company as its workers' compensation Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM).
Inside Indiana Business: United States Postal Service Spokeswoman Mary Dando says despite the organization's financial struggles, the need for carriers will remain.
The Oakland Press: U.S. Postal Service officials are putting their stamp of approval on a Detroit woman's perfect career. Deborah Ford, 64, retired this week after logging 44 years of service without having taken a single sick day. That is just short of 11,000 workdays, WDIV-TV reported. She used vacation time for doctor's appointments, and whenever she didn't feel well, "I'd shake it off," Ford said. "You know what we say — rain, sleet or snow" can't stop the U.S. mail, "and that's what I live by. I'm coming in," Ford said.
Worcester Telegram: The campaign of a hit-and-run victim's son to notify by postcard 10,000 neighbors in Millbury and Sutton about the guilty driver's probation has run into red tape. But the last-minute bureaucratic hurdle is just "a bump in the road," said David Quist, 50, of Worcester. Mr. Quist said Thursday morning he learned late Wednesday that the word came from Washington, D.C., to the Millbury and Sutton post offices to hold the postcards, which were ready for delivery that day. Mr. Quist said he has a call into the U.S. Postal Service's legal office in Bristol, Conn., to clarify why the postcards weren't deemed deliverable and what he can do to get them to every doorstep in the two towns, where Mr. Scanlon is staying with relatives. He said Postal Service officials initially told him Wednesday that, "Due to personal content, it was not conforming to postal regulations."
The Shetland Times: Shetland could be held "over a barrel" by unscrupulous companies from down south which force customers to pay unfair postal charges, once the planned privatis-ation of Royal Mail goes ahead. That is the warning from SIC councillor Amanda Westlake, who has suffered personal experience of high payments demanded by organisations.
The Daily Commercial: The Postal Service's Suncoast District is hiring mail carriers from Lake and Sumter counties, with online applications being accepted through Sunday. City Carrier Assistant (CCA) 1 positions are needed to work at post offices with ZIP codes beginning with the following three digits: 321, 327, 328, 329, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 341, 342, 346 and 347. This includes just about every city and town in the two-county area. The online application period opened Monday and concludes Sunday, using www.usps.com.
14News: The U.S. Postal Service says it's hiring 400 new employees across Indiana, but job-seekers have to apply online by Sunday night. It said Thursday the jobs include city carrier assistants paying $15 per hour in locations such as Indianapolis, Evansville, New Albany, Princeton and Lawrenceburg. Available job openings can be seen online by going to www.usps.com , clicking on "Careers" and searching the job openings.
The Island: A JVP affiliated postal union yesterday urged the government to stop wasting money on unnecessary programmes and invest it in converting the Postal Department into a profitable institution without plotting to privatise it. President of the Lanka Postal Service Union, Jayantha Wijesinghe alleged that the privatisation project of the Postal Department had begun in 2007 and the foreign mail service was scheduled to be handed over to a private company from this month. "The department signed an agreement with a private company to hand over foreign mail service from January 01," he said, adding that it was being delayed due to the pressure from trade unions.
January 24, 2013
DMM Advisory: Commercial Residual First-Class Mail Letters. Effective January 27, 2013, there will be a change in how single-piece commercial residual First-Class Mail® letters are reported on PS Form 3600-FCM, Postage Statement – First-Class Mail. The pricing structure for presorted and automation First-Class Mail letters retains the change implemented in 2012 for the minimum postage charge to be that for a 2-ounce letter, and extends the concept to commercial residual piece letters that are part of the same mailing job and presented at the same time as the presorted and/or automation mailing. The reason for this change is to minimize extra sorting for commercial residual prices and allow for a uniform price for both 1-ounce and 2-ounces for commercial residual First-Class Mail letters. There is no change to the physical handling of the mailpieces. Complete information on the reporting and mail makeup of First-Class Mail residual letters can be found on RIBBS under Important Links on the Latest News page.
In case you missed the PostCom webinar on "Is Saving for their Funeral Killing the Postal Service" (the OIG - FERS webinar), you can still listen to a recording of the webinar and follow along with the accompanying slides. After you complete the registration form, you'll immediately be led to the webinar recording.
Postalreporter: In his latest State of the Business video, PMG Pat Donahoe answers questions he has received from employees about important subjects affecting USPS. The PMG says many employees asked about the status of the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). Donahoe replies that the goal is all commercial mail will have an IMb by the end of this calendar year. He says that with IMb, the Postal Service has an opportunity to significantly provide more timely information to mailers that will help increase the value of the mail.
Air Cargo World: The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has named Philip Wei, past chairman of China Airlines, and William "Bill" Boesch, president of Logistics, Council for Logistics Research, Inc., to the organization's Hall of Fame.
Presort.com: Here's a point that gets lost in all the heated public debate surrounding the Postal Service's towering debt and what should be done to reduce it: Taxpayers don't support the Postal Service®; its business customers do. The Postal Service should answer to all its customers – from the grandmother who puts a stamp on a card to her grandchild to the nonprofit organization that raises money through the mail to the utility company that mails out its monthly invoices. Postal customers are tired of footing the bill for failed investments and poor decisions. That's why business mailers that follow the ins and outs of postal machinations are worried – and understandably so – that the USPS® is planning to invest millions in what it calls a "one-stop-shop for mail visibility." This is a big concern because mailers have already paid for a Full-Service Intelligent Mail® (IM®) program that many of them don't even want. The problem is for most mailers the Postal Service has yet to prove the value of its investments in the Full-Service Intelligent Mail program.
Attention Postal One! Users: PostalOne!® Release 33.0.1: This patch release to repair known issues in PostalOne!® will be deployed during the scheduled maintenance window from 4:00AM CT through 8:00AM CT on Sunday, January 27 , 2013. This will be done in a rolling fashion and there will be no planned outage during the software deployment. There will be NO new Mail.dat Client.
PIWorld: Companies that use "Go Green, Go Paperless" as a marketing message, value proposition, or call to action, either communicated as such, or implied through phrases such as "save trees," are not expressing their opinion. They are making a claim and entering into an understood covenant with consumers to deliver on that promise. It's a promise that they cannot keep.
PrintMediaCentr: It seems as though the Go Paperless in 2013 campaign has backed down from some of its environmental messaging. I am going to share some visible changes to this campaign, and introduce some facts that may have been overlooked or missed very early on. I will leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions on whether or not this is a victory.
Dead Tree Edition: I consistently find that the people in the industry who really care about environmental issues are the ones who buy paper or put ink on it. They're the only ones you'll hear talking about sustainable forestry, carbon footprint, and the differences between pre-consumer and post-consumer waste (a distinction unique to North America). They understand that forestry industries can benefit the environment, or harm it, and they often wrestle with how to make their companies' paper purchases and other practices more sustainable. Meanwhile, the "print is dead" types ignorantly assume they're saving trees, oblivious to the environmental footprints of the web and digital devices. And they rarely lift a finger to make their work any greener.
Wall Street Journal: The rise of the Internet has reduced overall use of the U.S. postal system by 33% over the last 10 years, but one surprisingly resilient form of snail mail is thriving in the digital era—and that is direct marketing. While the number of first-class mail delivered dropped 33% over the past 10 years to 69 billion pieces in 2012, according to the U.S. Postal Service, the number of offers mailed by marketers has remained stable and represents a growing majority of what mailmen carry. Direct mail represented 56% of all postal deliveries in 2011, compared with 45% a decade earlier. See also this additional story.
Washington Times: Deputy PMG Ron Stroman -- Your editorial "Delivering debt" (Jan. 3), about the long-term funding of health benefits of postal retirees, suggests that the Postal Service sought to "hide this mound of debt" and seeks to "push off" this problem to another day. The opposite is true. For the past several years, the Postal Service has strongly advocated for federal legislation that would reform its business model and provide greater flexibility to control costs, generate additional income, and operate with fewer constraints. Under the right legal framework, the Postal Service could quickly return to profitability, long-term financial stability, and meet all of its obligations to retirees.
Parcel2Go: A brief announcement from the Royal Mail posted on its website yesterday has prompted a strong response from many of the postal firm's customers. The statement said: "Royal Mail does not currently apply a surcharge to the contract prices for letters or parcels. It is considering applying fuel surcharging to some contract parcels products from April 2013." The most remarkable aspect of the statement, according to seasoned observers and some big Royal Mail customers, is its timing. Having scrapped a rise due to take effect earlier this month, Chancellor George Osborne has said there are now no plans to raise fuel duty until September at the earliest. Nevertheless, auction news website Tamebay.com boss Chris Dawson says that, should Royal Mail impose a surcharge, it would merely be following in the footsteps of many of its competitors, and it is a simple way of helping all courier firms cope with continuing fuel price rises.
Shanghai Daily: China may expand a value-added tax program to include service companies in more regions and industries late this year amid the country's efforts to cut taxes and improve the tax system, PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner said today. Companies in postal, telecommunication and railway transportation sectors in current VAT trial regions may be included in the program, and transportation companies nation-wide may start to pay VAT instead of business taxes in the second half this year.
From the Federal Register: BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING, Thursday, February 7, 2013, at 10:00 a.m.; and Friday, February 8, at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Washington, DC, at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., in the Benjamin Franklin Room. Thursday, February 7 at 10:00 a.m.--Closed; Friday, February 8 at 8:30 a.m.--Open; and at 10:30 a.m.--Closed. Matters to be considered: (Closed) 1. Strategic Issues. 2. Financial Matters. 3. Pricing. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance. Friday, February 8 at 8:30 a.m. (Open) 1. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings. 2. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. 3. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. 4. Appointment of Committee Members and Committee Reports. 5. Quarterly Report on Financial Performance. 6. Quarterly Report on Service Performance. 7. Tentative Agenda for the April 9, 2013, meeting in Washington, DC
January 23, 2013
The Westmount Examiner: The announcement by Canada Post that they plan to close the post office on Sherbrooke and Victoria in Westmount, along with others in NDG and Snowdon, has been met with anger by the postal workers' union. "We denounce this way of doing things," says Alain Duguay, President of the STTP, the union of postal workers. "Canada Post is opening franchises in existing stores and pharmacies, they reduce the hours of the main post offices, and then they call consultations saying that they are no longer profitable." In a statement, Canada Post listed its reason as "to help ensure the long-term sustainability of Canada Post while continuing to provide customers with reliable, affordable and accessible postal service."
Seacoast Online: U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., will host a free consumer protection information session for senior citizens on Friday at the public library. The program will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Levenson Room. Check-in begins at 9:45 a.m. Shaheen will be joined by Derick Rill of the Federal Trade Commission, James Boffetti of the N.H. Attorney General's Office and Mike Gendron of the U.S. Postal Service's Postal Inspection Service. Topics expected to be discussed during the event include identity theft, telemarketing and robocalls, credit and loan offers, charities and fund-raising fraud, purchasing club memberships, government grant scams, medical discount plans, sweepstakes and lotteries, travel scams, and work-at-home and business opportunities.
Lehigh Acres Citizen: "Postal Pointers: U.S. Postal Service available for group presentations"
Daily News: Speedy action has to be taken to streamline postal and telecommunication services so as to avoid their downfall, Posts and Telecommunication Minister Jeewan Kumarathunaga said. Remedial action should be taken promptly to save the postal service from a natural death while ensuring a trusted service to the public. The postal service have to go with the the latest technology, which have been widely used in the post and telecommunication sector in the world, Minister Kumaratunga said.
Multichannel Merchant: Citing the fact that the United States Postal Service "cannot wait indefinitely for legislation," the USPS Board of Governors said last week that it has directed management to accelerate the restructure its operations to further reduce costs in order to strengthen its finances. That's good news for merchants who ship direct-to-customer, according to MCM Outlook 2012-13. According to the annual report, 56% of respondents said they felt the USPS is a viable alternative to UPS and FedEx. The USPS also gained ground as respondents' choice of primary domestic shipper: While 21.8% said the USPS was its primary domestic shipper of choice, that's up almost 1% when compared to the MCM Outlook 2011 results
Standard Media: Postal and courier companies resisted the dominance of technology to record a modest growth during the quarter to September last year. While most Kenyans no longer have post office boxes and mostly rely on cell phones and e-mail for communication, the number of postal letters sent during the three months to September rose when put in comparison to letters sent in the quarter to June last year. The growth was mostly due to increased use of postal mail by companies.
Roll Call: If Congress can't figure its way out of the partisan shoals that bedevil it, it won't be for lack of prayer — or an exorcism later this year. Rocky Twyman, the founder of the Pray at the Pump Movement, has panned Obama for not extending an "olive branch" to the GOP and will take matters into his own hands. "After Obama's inaugural speech, the Pray at the Pump Movement has no choice but to continue our pickets for bipartisanship on Capitol Hill and in front of the White House. We are planning another exorcism on Capitol Hill about February 1 to drive out the demons possessing the White House and Congress," Twyman said in a statement released before the prayer service. His last partisanship exorcism was Dec. 19, on the East Front of the Capitol. [EdNote: Yeah....So much for "the devil (or the Tea Party) made me do it."]
Roll Call: The House on Wednesday passed a bill to suspend the debt ceiling until mid-May, setting the stage for Republicans to insist on sweeping cuts or changes to the budget in an effort to balance it in 10 years. The measure would require lawmakers' pay to be withheld if their chamber does not pass a budget — a provision intended to spur the Senate to pass a budget resolution. Republicans hope those conditions will lead to serious talks about spending cuts, but Democrats chided the bill as a "retreat" from a hard-line insistence on dollar-for-dollar spending cuts for debt limit increases. The bill nevertheless passed on a 285-144 vote. [EdNote: Good! Now get on with postal reform..................................................................................................................................
MSNBC: The Postal Service of Western New York is planning on hiring 300 city carrier assistants (CCA) in the area. CCA's are appointed to a 360 calendar day term and could possibly be reappointed for another 360-day term after. The job entails all of the duties of a city letter carrier.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Independent Sector and eight other groups asked a powerful Congressional committee Tuesday to preserve discount postage rates for nonprofits as it drafts legislation to change how the U.S. Postal Service works. The letter was signed by eight Independent Sector members: American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Easter Seals, Feeding America, League of American Orchestras, Older Women's League, and YMCA of the USA. The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, which represents 300 nonprofits on the issue, led the lobbying effort last year against eliminating what amounts to a 26-percent discount on standard mail for nonprofits. The executive director of the alliance, Anthony Conway, said no lawmaker has made any new proposal affecting the discount. "There's no threat at this point that I'm aware of," said Mr. Conway.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Transport Intelligence: Singapore Post (SingPost) announced that it has acquired a 62.5% stake in freight forwarding company Famous Holdings (FH) for S$60.0m (€36.7m). Both companies have also agreed on an option to transact the remaining 37.5% stake at the end of 2015, at a price to be determined based on an agreed formula. Founded in 1988, FH is an established Singapore-based sea freight consolidator and freight-forwarder. The company has a regional network with offices in six countries: Singapore, Japan, Australia, China, Malaysia and the US.
EINNews: Digital Foodie, developer of the award winning Foodie.fm platform, has helped S Group, one of the largest retail chain in Nordics, to improve their Collect & Go service for groceries. Consumers can now pick up their groceries from a self-service parcel point. The self-service Collect & Go is being piloted in Finland with HOK-Elanto, the largest regional co-operative of S Group. The new self-service is an extension to the Collect & Go service that was launched in November 2012. Foodie.fm users can now decide if they want their groceries to be delivered home, picked up from a Collect & Go store or a self-service parcel point. The idea is to give consumers more flexibility and see how self-service parcel points could be used for online grocery shopping. The lockers are insulated and temperatures are monitored to guarantee the chill chain. Finnish postal service Itella provides the self-service lockers and related payment system for the pilot. The new service costs €6,90 and groceries are stored in the locker maximum of two hours.
Telecompaper: Swedish postal and telecoms regulator PTS said Rikard Englund has been appointed as head of its competition division from 04 February. For the past eighteen months, he has led the wholesale unit at the department.
Akron Beacon Journal: The U.S. Postal Service is seeking to fill hundreds of new $15-an-hour letter carrier jobs in Northern Ohio.
Daily Observer: Members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise (PAC/PEC) Committee of the National Assembly Tuesday considered and adopted the annual activity report and audited financial statements of the Gambia Postal Services Corporation (Gampost) for the year ended 31st December 2011 at the National Assembly Chambers in Banjul.
AllAfrica: Of the over 81,000 boxes that existed in Cameroon, only about 50,000 are still functional till date. In the yesteryears, people would trek or travel miles to send or receive mails. They would crowd the post offices struggling to send or receive mails from far or near. The situation has changed almost completely. "Instead of waiting to receive customers, we now go to them," an official of the outfit said. Rapid evolution in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is to blame for the lukewarm attitude now shown postal mails by the population in Cameroon and elsewhere. Telephones now exist where people call or send and receive messages instantly.
Parcel2Go: European Commission competition watchdogs have suggested that national regulators across the continent need to take a harder line against dominant postal market operators who are accused of manipulating the market.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Postal Technology International: DHL Supply Chain has been awarded a long-term contract worth over £100m by Panasonic to manage its warehousing and transport operation. The contract, which was won as part of a competitive tender, will see DHL assume end-to-end responsibility for Panasonic's UK supply chain, resulting in increased efficiency, improved services, reduced costs and greater visibilit
New York Times: Even the federal government turns to private shippers rather than the Postal Service when it wants to send packages. A report from the agency's inspector general said that since 2001, private companies like FedEx and United Parcel Service had consistently captured 98 percent of the revenue from long-term shipping contracts with the government because the financially troubled Postal Service did not have a sales staff or a strategy to focus on the federal sector until 2009. [EdNote: For all the money that's been spent over the years on marketing and sales, this is an unacceptable answer.]
PostCom welcomes its newest member: FedEx SmartPost 16555 West Rogers Drive New Berlin, WI 53151-2223 represented by Heidi Gapinski, Senior Manager, Postal Programs & Customer Engineering.
January 22, 2013
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
WSAW: The low temperatures we've seen over the past couple days sure do make it hard to even think about leaving the house. But for many of us, we have to brave the cold temperatures and head off to work. That's no different for Unite States Postal Service workers. They have to work their usual routes and deal with the brutally cold weather all day long.
New Zealand Herald: New Zealand Post has completed the delayed delivery of more than 18,000 pieces of mail allegedly stolen by a postie. The final batch of about 2300 letters and packages was delivered on Sunday when nine NZ Post staff delivered to about 900 homes in the Queenstown area. Spokesman Michael Tull said the delivery was "a bit of a milestone" and most of the mail had gone to the intended recipients, despite the transient nature of the town's population.
Fox News: The Senate Democratic leader is promising to act this year on legislation that went nowhere in the last Congress, including aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy and financial help for the U.S. Postal Service. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cited several bills that never were completed because of the deep partisan divisions between the Democratic-run Senate and Republican-controlled House. Reid said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the new Congress will be characterized by cooperation and compromise.
Government Executive: The U.S. Postal Service can generate nearly $35 million in revenues over two years by increasing its viability as a federal contract recipient, according to a new report. USPS' inspector general's office found by adapting to the needs of federal agencies -- by broadening price flexibility, for example, and guaranteeing two and three-day express delivery -- the agency could generate $17.4 million in revenue in both fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The General Services Administration awarded about $340 million annually in 2011 and 2012, but only $1.2 million and $4.8 million to USPS, respectively. Contracts went overwhelmingly to FedEx and UPS. The report found the Postal Service faced a handicap in acquiring federal business because GSA began awarding contracts in 2001, but USPS did not begin participating until 2009. While nothing can be done about the timing -- except for "enhancing…visibility and accessibility" -- the OIG said the Postal Service can eliminate other disadvantages its faces against private-sector competition.
Roll Call: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is not a high priority for the new leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Incoming Chairman Tomas R. Carper, D-Del., said his top priority for the committee, which oversees the U.S. Postal Service, is to pass a new reauthorization bill. "I want to pass a bill, similar to the last Congress, that puts the postal service on the right track," Carper said. "My early goal legislatively is to get that done, and I have not spent a lot of time thinking about Lance Armstrong." The U.S. Postal Service paid more than $30 million between 2000 and 2004 to sponsor the U.S. road cycling team led by Armstrong. Last week, Armstrong admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Email Trends for Business Professionals and Technology Investors: This webinar briefing provides market insight for e-business program managers, portfolio managers, financial investors and industry analysts focused on business messaging and e-document technologies. RPost's CEO, Zafar Khan, will present market insights and trends in an analysis derived from end user survey responses, aggregated business messaging usage data, field sales staff and customer interviews, and related market research, to provide you with a view of trends in high value electronic messaging and e-document delivery services.
Investor Place: "There is nothing so uncertain as a sure thing," legendary NHL Coach Scotty Bowman once said . That's just as true about international mega-mergers as it is about professional hockey. Package-delivery giant UPS (NYSE:UPS) might have everything on its side in its proposed $6.9 billion acquisition of TNT Express, but in the end Brown couldn't beat the officials.
Post & Parcel: The German government said yesterday that its delayed postal reform amendment should be passed at some point during the current legislative period. The proposals from German economics minister Philipp Rösler would require Deutsche Post to submit details of significant new business mail contracts to the regulator, the Federal Network Agency, for approval. The move would add controls to prevent the national postal operator from setting below-cost prices that undermine the ability of competitors to attack customers.
WTAQ: The Postal Service's watchdog is investigating the agency for runaway travel expenses, a lingering problem for the cash-strapped mail carrier even as it tries aggressively to cut costs. A report from the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General, released in September, found that the agency, which lost almost $16 billion in last year, had overpaid more than $1 million in travel reimbursements to employees during an 18-month period.
Esquire: The postal service is not a federal agency. It does not cost taxpayers a dollar. It loses money only because Congress mandates that it do so. What it is is a miracle of high technology and human touch. It's what binds us together as a country.
Wall Street Journal: On Monday, there was a clear sense that a pent-up Obama agenda had begun to tumble out—along with a clear willingness to engage in more and new partisan battles with Republicans in pursuit of it. [EdNote: Brace yourself. Washington's Merry-Go-Round is just the latest in roller coasters.]
Money MSN: You may have heard that stamps will soon cost an extra penny, but the price of sending a package is creeping up even more, no matter which major provider you use.
Financial Times: Thanks to non-stop rising incomes, Russians are becoming increasingly more generous. Which means more presents – and more mail. And the Russian postal service has warned that, without investment, it may not be able to cope next year. Russian Post was expecting twice the volume over the holiday period from a year earlier – and had to cope with 3m registered letters and delivered several million more unregistered letters. Alexander Kiselev, chief executive, says: "This year's New Year's Eve may be the last without failure and collapse." Kiselev warns that if the volumes continue to rise Russian Post will not be able to cope next year. Russian Post is one of the few Soviet-era institutions that continue to be essential to life in a sprawling country that spans nine time zones. The company has 42,000 branch offices (about twice as many as retailing bank behemoth Sberbank) covering the entire Russian Federation.
The Virginian-Pilot: The U.S. Postal Service recently mandated that all letters sent to overseas military installations be addressed with a nine-digit zip code, starting this month. The policy change came with an upgrade to the Postal Service's mail-sorting system and the opening of an additional centralized gateway for receiving and shipping government mail. The new mail-sorting system will enable mail to be delivered and sorted quicker by giving the sorting machines another way to divide the mail. The new address format will include the box number as a four-digit number at the end of the zip code.
Post & Parcel: New research from the European Commission suggests that national regulators around Europe need to rethink how they investigate dominant postal market players for abusive pricing. The report notes that national competition authorities have handled 50 price-related legal cases. However, in protecting postal markets against offenses like price dumping, where a dominant market player may offer a business customer a below-cost postal rate in order to keep competitors from winning the contract, the Copenhagen Economics report suggests that regulators are not currently investigating price issues in the right way. The report criticises "top-down" approaches in which regulators rely on financial or accounting information provided by the dominant postal operators themselves, which often do not sufficiently differentiate costs between different postal products to allow authorities to ascertain whether abuses are taking place. "The top-down methodology relies on the accounting system of the operator, and it can be difficult for authorities to assess the reliability of the cost estimates," the report states, adding: "The operator accused of abuse of dominance will have an incentive to present information in a way that serves its own interests." [EdNote: Noooo . . . . Really?]
The Daily Star: A few years ago, obtaining official documents meant you had to drive several kilometers to a public office – a trip repeated multiple times due to incomplete paperwork or absent public servants – and maybe shell out a bribe to speed up the process. Nowadays, all you have to do is visit your local LibanPost branch to cary out this process in one shot.
January 21, 2013
New York Times: While most newspapers lack cash, employees and a clear strategy for finding greater profits in the digital age, they do not lack for office space. [EdNote: Hmmmmm. Has a ring of familiarity to it.]
Newspapers & Technology Magazine: The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., is considering outsourcing production and distribution after contracts with its production unions expire this summer. Even without layoffs, The Star-Ledger, which once had a job security pledge for its non-union employees, has significantly cut staff over the last five years through buyouts and attrition. In 2008, Advance Publications, citing millions in losses, threatened to sell the newspaper if it could not win union concessions and persuade a large number of non-union, full-time workers to take buyouts. Ultimately 304 people agreed to buyouts, including 151 in the newsroom. Publisher Richard Vezza said buyouts and attrition were no longer an option for the newspaper. "We were at a point where we were looking at the financial realities," he said.
GoldSeek: As the workforce at the USPS continues to collapse and early retirement kicks in, the going away lifelong retirement party to keep past postal workers comfortable could easily cost the rest of us a minimum of $150 billion over the next ten years. Just don't tell this to the Congressional Budget Office or the US Treasury. If you look at their future deficit projections, you'll see that this problem will come to them as a total surprise………delivered either by Email, or by several hundred thousand retired postal workers marching in the streets! [EdNote: Ever wonder how many postal critics would actually like to have a postal job? My guess is: None of them. If they don't want to do it, why make doing it unattractive to others? After all, you still need eager people to sort, process, and deliver your mail.]
AllAfrica.com: Zimpost on Friday joined other African Union organisations in celebrating the Pan African Postal Union Day to be celebrated under the theme "Growing postal revenues in a digital economy". Papu is a specialised agency of the African Union that was formed to spearhead the development of postal services in Africa.
Share and Share Alike (P2P Commerce): The U.S. Postal Service can play unique and positive roles in the expansion of the peer-to-peer marketplace, as suggested in a new OIG white paper, Peer-to-Peer Commerce and the Role of the Postal Service. American consumers are familiar with peer-to-peer (P2P) digital commerce and increasingly comfortable buying and selling that way. Millions of people place offerings and shop on eBay, Craigslist, etsy, and other sites every day. In recent years, the P2P segment has grown beyond these traditional product sites and now includes services from which users can rent a vacation room in someone's house, lend or borrow a private car, or even hire someone locally for small jobs, such as baking cookies for a child's classroom party or assembling modular furniture. However, there are a number of problems in current P2P commerce that may prevent wider adoption by the American public. Market participants face the challenges of balancing convenience with privacy and the potential for economic or physical harm. Some of these issues can be addressed through enhanced digital identity and authentication services, but there are other opportunities, which the paper presents. The paper describes P2P digital commerce and challenges and gaps in the current marketplace, including several types of fraud and threats to personal property and physical safety. It then identifies Postal Service products and services that exist today or might be developed in the future to facilitate market expansion. Current postal ancillary and special services, both physical and digital, are well suited to the P2P market. These include insurance, Registered Mail, Certified Mail, Collect on Delivery (COD), Track and Trace, Return Receipt and Return Receipt for Merchandise, Restricted Delivery, and other services.
Wall Street Journal: Buffeted by declining advertising, which accounted for about 75% of their revenue historically, magazines are turning to tablet computers and digital editions to boost circulation revenue. In doing so, they are hoping to reset decades of subscription discounting so deep that a year's supply of magazines like Esquire currently costs just $8.
Financial Times: Why do responsible newspapers make such a fuss about the number of people who "follow" or "like" certain people or brands, when we know very well that talk is cheap? Wouldn't it be more interesting (and valuable) if there was a cost attached to belonging to these media channels? Wouldn't there be more viable (read: responsible) businesses if they actually had a revenue stream from their users? What's the point of claiming millions of "followers" when awareness doesn't necessarily tally with transactions at the till? And, finally, what about charging people to comment? It used to cost the price of a stamp to send a letter to the editor. I'm quite sure the media landscape would be a tidier, more polite place if everyone was charged a first-class postal fee before firing off poorly researched, occasionally rude remarks.
Small Business Trends: In any list of companies and organizations to emulate, you certainly will not see the United States Postal Service. In fact, it was recently reported that the USPS is losing $25 million per day. However, on a recent visit to my local post office, I saw one thing the USPS was doing very well: upselling.
January 20, 2013
Columbo Page: Sri Lanka's Ministry of Postal Services says that the Postal Department will completely discontinue the telegram service in February. The loss making age old telegram service is run jointly by the Department of Postal Services and the Sri Lanka Telecom.
Reuters: The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service has eliminated 168,000 jobs since 2006, and more cuts could result as it struggles to avoid its own "fiscal cliff." As the United States honors Martin Luther King's civil rights legacy on Monday, many African-American workers may be facing new obstacles to achieving and maintaining a middle-class life style. African-Americans make up about 20 percent of U.S. Postal Service workers - and are the majority in some urban centers, representing 75 percent to 80 percent of the 5,000 letter carriers in the Chicago area.
Federal Times: On Monday, the Postal Service announces that its governing board has given orders to accelerate cost-cutting measures. On Thursday, the Postal Service notifies the National Postal Mail Handlers Union that it is speeding up the shutdown of mail processing operations at 18 plants. Contrary to what some might assume, though, "the decision is not part of the package directed by the USPS Board of Governors," postal spokeswoman Sue Brennan said in an email. "But because we have had the flexibility to consolidate operations in the past—when we could do so—we're following through now as the opportunity exists." For anyone who's wondering, incidentally, postal officials still aren't saying exactly what they will be doing in response to the Board of Governors directive. Information on that score will come "as soon as possible," another spokesman said.
January 19, 2013
The Blog of LegalTimes: A Texas businessman who has fought the government for more than twenty years over allegations of retaliatory prosecution for his criticism of the U.S. Postal Service may finally get a chance to take his claims to a jury. Voting 2-1 this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit refused to halt the suit that the businessman, William Moore, filed in Washington's federal trial court in 1992. The chief allegation in the case is this: a group of U.S. Postal Inspectors induced the criminal prosecution of Moore in retaliation for his public criticism of the agency.
Xinhua: The Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) is set to put up an ultra-modern headquarters building in Tanzania's safari capital of Arusha in an effort to create new sources of income.
Slate: Between 2001 and 2004 alone, the Postal Service paid $31.9 million to Armstrong's cycling team, including bonuses. The Postal Service commissioned a pair of studies, disclosed in 2011, that claimed the Armstrong sponsorship's publicity value paid back the agency's investment threefold, but those figures could be called into question. It's very difficult to tell how much a marketing deal is worth, and the Postal Service has faced this issue before. After a public outcry over the nine-figure Olympics sponsorship in 1992, the U.S. General Accountability Office admitted it couldn't determine whether the deal was profitable, as the Postal Service claimed.
Postalnews Blog: The US Postal Service, which often seems to have an obsession with "branding", has decided to abandon one of its best known and oldest brands: "Parcel Post" Parcel Post just celebrated its one hundredth birthday on New Years Day, but as of January 27, it will be called "Standard Post". Here's the announcement from USPS News Link:
In fiscal year 2011, USPS moved 2.148 billion packages — a number that continues to increase as more and more consumers shop online. According to New Products and Innovation VP Gary Reblin, "The Postal Service is committed to identifying eCommerce growth opportunities to further strengthen its shipping business." Effective Jan. 27, 2013 there will be product changes that do just that. Parcel Post will be transferred to the USPS competitive product list and renamed Standard Post. It no longer will be part of the Package Services product category and while service standards will remain the same, Standard Post packages will receive USPS Tracking at no additional charge. This will be a new chapter in the history of Parcel Post, which recently celebrated its centennial anniversary. It was at midnight Jan. 1, 1913, that Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock and New York Postmaster Edward Morgan shipped packages addressed to each other, racing to be the first American to use the fledgling service. Now, 100 years later, with a focus on its future in the rapidly expanding package delivery arena, USPS is transitioning Parcel Post service for the future as well, under its new title — Standard Post.
Memphis Business Journal: The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently joined forces with Mapco convenience stores to offer four new contracted postal units. These centers will provide retail and mail services at USPS prices without the formality of a USPS office.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update.
January 18, 2013
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
The Postal Service has identified 18 additional sites it add to the implementation of sites for its winter consolidation plan. The Postal Service said, "the reason for this change is that the Postal Service has identified the opportunity to accelerate the anticipated savings while still maintaining the interim SCF service standard."
The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram
e-Commerce: The hard fact is that we are now pretty far down the road to an online economy. More and more people realize that Amazon's prices are hard to beat. When they can couple Amazon's prices with same-day delivery, would you be willing to pay a little more for that same-day delivery and stay in the comfort of your home and, with just a few clicks, order merchandise to be delivered that very day?
Pitney Bowes: It's the new year, and despite comforting phrases like ‘wiping the slate clean' and ‘making a fresh start,' I am sorry to report that some bad habits from 2012 have already cropped up again. I refer, specifically, to the latest doomsday prophecies concerning the U.S. Postal Service, which one expert said this week was in such dire financial condition that it could ‘cease to exist.' The ensuing headlines are as predictable as they are misleading: "U.S. Postal Service Faces Ruin," said The Guardian. "2013 Could be the End of the U.S. Postal Service," blared Fast Company. "Postal Service on Brink of Bankruptcy," screamed Salon. "Postal Service Could Go Broke," wrote NewsFixNow. As I have argued in previous posts (here and here), the Postal Service does face an enormous challenge, but there is no chance—zero percent—that this vital service and economic engine will go away.
The Business Times: SingPost said on Friday that it will buy a 62.5 per cent stake in Singapore-based freight-forwarding company Famous Holdings (FH) for S$60 million.
The Guardian: A digital transaction is generally 20 times cheaper than one by phone, 30 times cheaper than a postal transaction and 50 times cheaper than a face-to-face transaction.
ThinkAfricaPress: For the last three weeks, post offices across Nigeria have been forced to stay closed by protesting retired postal workers. Demonstrating against the non-payment or under-payment of pensions and benefits, retirees of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) have picketed or occupied post offices nationwide leading to a suspension in much of NIPOST's operations. Some retirees are reportedly owed up to 69 months of pension arrears.
Announcing PostCom's newest member: United Parcel Service 316 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Ste. 300 Washington, DC 20003, represented by Keith Kellison V.P. UPS Corporate Public Affairs.
From the Federal Register:
January 17, 2013
Journalism in the Americas: A government decree that would temporarily suspend tax credits enjoyed by the media in Honduras sparked controversy in the country, according to a report from the website Centinela Económico. The bill was presented to the Honduran Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 15, according to La Prensa. Currently in Honduras, there are no taxes on the importation of books, magazines, newspapers and other publications. The media also enjoy the free use of ground and air postal service to distribute their publications and exchange correspondence, and exemption from paying taxes on the importation of machinery and other capital investments to print newspapers
DMM Advisory: New Postage Statements Effective January 27, 2013. New postage statements associated with the January 2013 price change are available on Postal Explorer®. The Postage Statement link is in the left column under *NEW* Jan. 27, 2013 Price Change Info. As of January 27, 2013, all postage statements dated prior to that date are obsolete. In some instances, consideration will be given to exception requests to use the January 2012 or June 2012 version, as applicable. Manifest mailers may use postage statements dated January 2012 or June 2012 only if they reflect the January 27, 2013 prices. Only the January 2013 postage statements can be used when a new product is launched or has been renamed or is no longer accepted through a BME or DMU. Examples include Parcel Post transferred to the competitive product list and rebranded as the Retail product "Standard Post" and mailings of rolls and packages transferred from First-Class Mail International to the competitive product list and rebranded as First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS). If vendors, software providers, or mailers encounter difficulty submitting January 2013 postage statements, please contact your local acceptance office or Manager of Business Mail Entry to determine the best solution. Mailers using the Electronic Verification System (eVS®) for manifesting who need assistance should contact their Strategic Account or Business Alliance Manager.
Huffington Post: It's hard to describe the excitement of receiving a package that you've been waiting on for so long. It's almost like Christmas Day all over again -- unless your order arrived looking as if it's been opened and thrown down some stairs after being mauled by an angry raccoon. That's exactly what happened to one woman, who came home to find her FedEx delivery of a treadmill she ordered from Amazon completely in shambles. Reddit user dirtyfries posted photos of what the packaging looked like and said the delivery company "doesn't see a problem with it."
MarketWire: As transportation companies look to cut costs, operating fuel expenses are among the biggest costs a company can incur. Solutions to reduce the cost at the pump as well as help the environment are going to come into greater focus as emission regulations continue to tighten and competition grows between the largest transportation companies in the world. A solution from Echo Automotive has the fleet vehicle industry intrigued over its EchoDrive™ hybrid solution. Echo Automotive's ground breaking technology has the ability to significantly reduce fuel costs by converting existing conventional vehicles into plug-in hybrids without sacrificing performance.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Dead Tree Edition: Manilla, a Hearst unit that offers an online bill-management process, is not just guilty of greenwashing by association. Manilla's CEO said this month that the company's sponsorship of Paperless 2013 is "truly representative of Manilla's overall mission ... to help improve the environment by reducing the overall use of paper."
Post & Parcel: Norway Post said 170 more post office counters will open within partner retail stores in 2013 and 2014. The national postal operator has just awarded 146 contracts to run postal services in-store, while a further 24 contracts are set to be offered up in a bidding process later this quarter.
Post & Parcel: "Estonian Post: Serving a Digital Society" We have launched services where business clients can send and receive invoices and other documents electronically, and all document handling can be made digital. In 2011 Mail Centre was launched, through which registered letters formerly sent on paper can now reach the client electronically, quickly and conveniently. Reflecting the rapid growth of e-commerce, we want to provide customers with convenient and round the clock parcel services. In Estonia we operate 51 parcel terminals under the brand name of Post24. These terminals are a unique solution in which a parcel terminal, a post office and a courier service are all combined. There are also 29 Post24 terminals in Latvia and 35 in Lithuania, since our clients are more and more seeking logistical solutions that span the entire Baltic. The keywords for Eesti Post are speed and convenience. Thanks to our new services, the lives of our clients become more convenient and their businesses more efficient.
New York Times: The Armstrong heyday was back in the era when the Postal Service, having been spun off into a quasi-private enterprise, was having delusions of corporate grandeur. The era when it lost $8.3 million in a failed attempt to start a retail operation in the Mall of America. Its leaders liked the idea that "they could rub shoulders with other C.E.O.'s who were sponsoring sports activities," said Ruth Goldway, the chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Goldway was never a big fan of the postal service cycle team, although she felt it was a better marketing tool than some of the other ideas put into play, like "buying free tickets for postal employees to go to football games." And, she said, she had some sympathy for Armstrong, "until I saw how he treated Sheryl Crow."
KGUN: As Congress deals with the looming fiscal deadlines and the debt ceiling, the United States Postal Service faces its own uncertain financial future. Instead of banking on Congress to pass reforms, the Postal Service announced this week it plans to speed up cost-saving measures. Changes are coming to many locations across the country. The processing facility at Tucson's main Post Office on Cherrybell will shut down, but it wont result in the loss of jobs, said Rob Soler, a Postal Service spokesperson. Soler added the mail sorting will be consolidated with a facility in Phoenix. Lisa Contessa is a regular customer at the Post Office on Cherrybell. "I use it for packages more than anything," Contessa said. "I don't hardly send letters or anything anymore." And Contessa is not alone.
MSNBC: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is reportedly in talks to pay back some of the sponsorship money he got from the U.S. Postal Service. Even if Armstrong pays back $30 million in sponsorship money, it's not enough to cover even one day's worth of losses for the USPS. The Postal Service loses an average $42 million per day.
January 16, 2013
Novinite: Deyan Daneshki, Executive Director of state-owned postal carrier Bulgarian Posts EAD, has said that the company expects a loss in its 2012 financial report. In a Wednesday interview for the Focus news agency, Daneshki noted that the company was striving to reduce the negative financial result as much as possible.
Government Executive: Now that Lance Armstrong is coming clean to Oprah Winfrey about doping during his years as a world-class cyclist, another issue is rising to the forefront: Should he have to pay back the money the U.S. Postal Service paid to sponsor his cycling team -- along with damages?
Attention Postal One! Users:
Williston Herald: A week after a public meeting on Williston's post office saw complaints about wait times and failed deliveries, representatives from Sen. John Hoeven's office said they will continue to work on ways to correct the problems. The input meetings with Dakotas District Manager Roy Reynolds came a few months after Hoeven posted Jon Cameron as western North Dakota field representative in November, and he began to hear about service issues. Hoeven also sent a letter to Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service Patrick Donahoe on Tuesday, pressing for continued action in the area, according to a press release.
National Association of Postal Supervisors: NAPS understands why the Postal Service feels compelled to act at this juncture, we echo the caution that has been expressed by others in the Postal community. NAPS agrees with the fact that Congress must act in accordance with their Constitutional obligation to ensure the prosperity of our nation's postal delivery system. NAPS understands why the Postal Service feels compelled to act at this juncture, we echo the caution that has been expressed by others in the Postal community. NAPS advocates a more pragmatic and common-sense approach to the Postal Service's fiscal crisis. NAPS has long urged the Postal Service to proceed along a course of "rightsizing", in cooperation with the PRC and Congress, rather than unilateral closures of facilities.
South Bend Tribune: Something has to give; Postal Service operating losses can't continue as they have in recent years. As difficult decisions lie ahead, will the Postal Service and congressional leaders have the will to implement the changes necessary to keep the Postal Service competitive?
Total Telecon: Belgium's government is planning a law that would cap remuneration for heads of state-controlled companies such as Belgacom SA or postal operator bPost.
The Guernsey Post: The chairman of Guernsey's Bulk Mailers Group has said that his members will bounce back from the withdrawal of LVCR (low value consignment relief) relief last year. As Play.com last week announced it was closing in Jersey, with the loss of nearly 200 jobs, Rodney Brouard admitted that the effect of the scrapping of LVCR on his sector had been ‘devastating'.
Post & Parcel: Poland's InPost has won its first mail delivery contract following the full liberalisation of the country's postal market. InPost, part of Integer.pl Group, said the one-and-a-half year deal with the City of Wroclaw takes affect this month, involving delivery of more than 1.1m standard letters, along with registered mail and reply cards, domestically and internationally. The deal with the City Hall in Poland's fourth largest city is expected to be worth around PLN 5m (EUR 1.2m) for InPost.
BigNewsNetwork: The troubled U.S. Postal Service has reached its own debt ceiling and will go out of business this year unless Congress rescues it, the inspector general said. "The choices are that it would cease to exist or it would need a bailout," David Williams, the chief postal watchdog, told Britain's The Guardian newspaper.
'We are very satisfied with the year just ended'. Larry Rosen, chief financial officer of Deutsche Post, confirmed the company's forecast for the fiscal year 2012 at the beginning of this week. In the course of an investor event in New York he said that the company delivered more parcels than ever in 2012. Rosen attributed this to the continued boom in e-commerce.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
The Verge: Paul Vogel has a daunting task ahead of him. As the president of digital solutions for the US Postal Service, Vogel is in charge of leading what many see as a dying institution into the 21st century. Since assuming the position in May, Vogel has overseen the launch of a QR code rewards system and the development of new apps for Android and iOS, though as the Guardian reports, there's still plenty of work to be done. And from a commenter: "How about a standardized secured e-mail system? There would be a 1¢ postage fee to get rid of spam, and older generations could write an actual letter to the email address and the post office could automatically scan it and send it to the email address. If you move you would only have to update the address associated with your email and all shipping could be done to that adress. Also all privacy laws that currently protect our paper mail could cross over to our email too."
PrintMediaCentr: Doesn't the print industry have better things to do than shake its fist at Google and their Go Paperless in 2013 campaign? So many already think Print is out of touch with the "new world," so why add fuel to that fire? And the organizations that are speaking out, well they just have their own agenda's to push. Google isn't attacking anyone in the print, or paper industry, for that matter. This campaign is about office paperwork. It makes us seem like Luddites coming off so defensive!
Multichannel Merchant: A new IBM study of 26,000 global consumers found that shoppers are becoming increasingly open to buying both online and in-store depending on their needs at time of purchase. While more than 80% of shoppers chose the store to make their last non-grocery purchase, only half are committed to returning there next time they buy. According to this infographic from IBM, 35% of shoppers said they couldn't say for sure where their next purchase would be coming from, online or in-store.
DigitalJournal: The South Australian government wants disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong to return the money he was paid to race at the Tour Down Under after his reported confession to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs. [EdNote: Hell. American postal rate payers want their money back.]
New Yorker: Somehow, the Lance Armstrong story has turned into a dark, inverted version of "Miracle on 34th Street": in the end, the plot all comes down to the legal status of the Post Office. Armstrong used to be a sort of postal worker himself. He won the Tour de France with the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, the one that, as the Times reported and his former teammates have confirmed, was run as a doping ring, with Armstrong as the chief bullying elf. The team took more than thirty million dollars of sponsorship money from the Post Office. An idle question that has come to mind over the years, as the evidence against Armstrong piled up, was whether he could somehow be booked for mail fraud, or for interfering with the mail, or for one of those other crimes described in fading notices on bulletin boards in post offices. As it turns out, he can be, more or less. At this juncture, it might seem delusional of the Postal Service to have ever sponsored the team at all—delusional about itself as much as about Armstrong. Doesn't it know that it is an obsolete legacy, a lugging bureaucracy?
Government Accountability Office: "Overview of Initiatives to Increase Revenue and Introduce Nonpostal Services and Experimental Postal Products"
"USPS is currently pursuing 55 new initiatives that it identified based on outreach to postal stakeholders. USPS chose to pursue these initiatives because of their potential to increase revenue and add value to the mail, among other reasons. Forty-eight initiatives are extensions of existing lines of postal products and services, such as offering Post Office Box customers a suite of service enhancements (e.g., expanded lobby hours and earlier pickup times) at selected locations and increasing public awareness of the availability of postal services at retail stores. Three initiatives are extensions of existing nonpostal services, including allowing customers to forward their mail to a new address using mobile devices. Finally, four of the initiatives involve experimental postal products, such as prepaid postage on the sale of greeting cards. These four experimental products are among the total of eight experimental products that have received PRC approval since enactment of PAEA. Forty-five of the 55 initiatives are ongoing; the remaining are under development.
CBS News: Lance Armstrong has offered to pay more than $5 million to the federal government to compensate for the fraud he allegedly committed against the U.S. Postal Service, CBS News has learned. The Postal Service paid Armstrong's team more than $30 million to sponsor it from 1999 to 2004 as part of a contract that banned doping. CBS News has also learned Armstrong offered to be a cooperating witness in a federal investigation. But our sources say the Department of Justice has turned down both offers as inadequate.
January 15, 2013
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Huffington Post: The bad news is that Lance Armstrong isn't as cool as we once thought he was. But the good news is that the U.S. Postal Service may have found a new stream of revenue as a result of his downfall. [EdNote: Wanna bet that if the government gets a dime...the Postal Service won't even get a penny?]
The Guardian: Paul Vogel is, in his own words, trying to bring the US Postal Service "from the today world into the tomorrow world". Vogel is the president of digital solutions for the Postal Service, a position he's held since last May. The Postal Service is backed into a financial corner – with losses last year of $16bn – and there are quite a few people who believe that, to survive, it has to become about more than physical mail. Digital package tracking, quick response codes that would allow consumers to scan their mail with their smartphones, "m-commerce" using mobile devices – this is all part of Vogel's mandate. Vogel considers it his mission to upend mail delivery from being just about catalogs and bills, and make it into a world of platforms and apps. So he doesn't call what he does "postal;" he refers to "the message industry". The companies and people who use it are "the message community". The postal service is also not known for being nimble; it currently has a 1500-page instruction manual for people who would do business with the postal service, and that's for only a handful of products. The size of a manual for digital products and security certifications would boggle the mind.
DC Velocity: UPS Inc. wants to create an integrated over-the-road network where longer-haul driving would be performed by workers at its package, less-than-truckload (LTL), and local cartage divisions. This move could streamline the transport and logistics giant's operating network but some in the Teamsters union fear it could lead to more subcontracting of unionized driver jobs.
Washington Post: Arbitrators have resolved a bargaining deadlock between the U.S. Postal Service and one of its largest unions, awarding a contract providing for modest pay raises but a decrease in the employer contribution toward health insurance premiums, along with strengthened job security.
Office of Sen. Thomas Carper -- Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, released the following statement reacting to the Postmaster General's announcement that the Postal Service will begin to implement new cost-cutting measures:
"Given the U.S. Postal Service's dire financial situation, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Postmaster General is moving forward to implement additional cost-cutting measures with the limited tools at his disposal. I look forward to reviewing the details of the Postmaster General's new proposals. Unfortunately, the reality is that these piecemeal efforts undertaken by the Postal Service are likely not enough on their own to fundamentally fix the Postal Service's serious financial problems. Only comprehensive reform of the Postal Service that takes into account its long-term needs can address the severe financial problems that continue to plague this American institution. That significant, but necessary, reform can only come from Congress and the Administration, and it must include restructuring the Postal Service's network and business model to reflect the changing demand for the products and services it offers. Without action by Congress and the Administration, the Postal Service -- and the trillion dollar mailing industry that it supports along with over 8 million jobs -- is at risk for failure later this year. We can't continue to allow the Postal Service to flounder. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to provide the Postal Service with the tools and resources it needs to reform itself so that it can survive and thrive in the 21st century."
January 14, 2013
DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update. PostalOne!® Release 33.0.0 deployment completed on schedule yesterday, January 13, 2013. The deployment includes a new client version of Mail.dat® available for download that is required for use with this release. The list of known issues, applicable workarounds and estimated patch date is posted on RIBBS under Major/Minor Release Schedule/2013 Releases/January 2013/Release Notes. This list will be updated as needed.
Registration for both the Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click to Call and Earned Value Reply Mail promotions opens tomorrow, January 15, 2013. Companies that wish to participate – including those that participated in previous USPS Promotions and Incentives programs – need to register for each promotion on the Incentive Programs Service within the Business Customer Gateway. Registration for promotions and incentives can be made through our web portal for USPS® business services: http://gateway.usps.com.
PRNewswire: -- The Postal Service Board of Governors met last week to discuss a wide range of accelerated cost cutting and revenue generating measures in the face of an unprecedented set of financial challenges, heightened by the inability of Congress to pass comprehensive postal legislation. Citing the fact that the Postal Service cannot wait indefinitely for legislation, the USPS Board of Governors has directed management to accelerate the restructure of Postal Service operations to further reduce costs in order to strengthen Postal Service finances. Specifically, the Board approved restructuring initiatives and also instructed the Postal Service to revise its 2012 five-year comprehensive plan to account for current financial and liquidity conditions.
Dead Tree Edition: A group of companies including Google recently created the Paperless 2013 campaign to promote the use of online solutions, but unsubstantiated environmental claims caused the program to backfire.
New Indian Express: A young postgraduate in geology hailing from Varkala has lost a golden opportunity to get a job in Tamil Nadu allegedly due to the laxity of the Postal Department officials. R S Sharika of Pulimootil House, Cherukunnam, Varkala, had stood first in the written examination conducted by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission for appointment to the post of Assistant Geologist. The interview was scheduled for 8.30 a m on January 10 in Chennai. "But the registered post intimating her of the interview date and time was handed over at her home in Varkala only at 3.30 p m on the day of the interview," Sharika's father Perumon Mohanachandran said. The family has now taken up the issue with the Postal Department and also the Tamil Nadu PSC.
Associated Press: The company that sends you blue envelopes stuffed with coupons also wants you to save money while you're driving. Valpak has partnered with Roximity, a Denver-based app developer, to bring coupons and deals to drivers of newer-model Fords and Lincolns who use the voice-controlled Sync AppLink connected to their mobile phone. The app allows people to hear about personalized deals from stores, restaurants and other businesses as they drive. The "coupon" appears on the driver's smartphone and can be redeemed once the car is stopped.
Reuters: Dutch postal firm PostNL , the biggest shareholder in delivery firm TNT Express , said it will seek to monetise its stake and create better value for shareholders.
Associated Press: In a letter to Obama on Friday, Senate Democratic leaders urged him to consider taking any "lawful steps that ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis — without congressional approval, if necessary." The White House has resisted that path. It has rejected recommendations that it invoke a provision in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that states that "the validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned." "There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or they can fail to act and put the nation into default," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "Congress needs to do its job."
eCommerceBytes: The U.S. Postal Service is poised to add new retailers to an early-stage pilot program offering same-day delivery services to online and in-store shoppers.
Post & Parcel: An arbitration panel has ruled on a new four-and-a-half-year labour agreement for the US Postal Service with the National Association of Letter Carriers. The Postal Service issued a statement on Friday saying it was "disappointed" with the contract, in continuing to provide layoff protection for NALC's 192,000 mainly urban-based letter carriers. USPS did not get its wish for a wage freeze and the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments, and had also wanted more flexibility to outsource work and use non-career workers.
Transport Intelligence: On January 11, 2013, TNT Express and UPS met with the European Commission's (EC) case team investigating the proposed acquisition of TNT Express by UPS. The case team informed the companies that on the basis of UPS's current remedy proposal it is working towards proposing a prohibition decision. Subsequently, UPS informed TNT Express that it sees no realistic prospect that EC clearance can be obtained and that UPS will not pursue the transaction on any other basis. The companies announced that formal termination of the Merger Protocol will occur upon receipt of the prohibition decision from the EC, which, based on the above, TNT Express deems inevitable. See also the Wall Street Journal.
Bloomberg: The U.S. Postal Service, set to run out of operating cash in October, still can't get Congress to act with any urgency to help solve its problems. Competing Senate and House proposals to help resolve Postal Service finances expired when the old Congress left Jan. 3, and two senators who've pushed for a postal overhaul retired. The post office now must persuade lawmakers focused on broader fights on the deficit and spending to pass a law to let the agency cut costs and plug losses. The post office's fortunes continue to worsen, with the latest estimate pegging losses at $25 million a day. Mail volume is down 26 percent from its 2006 peak. To pay its bills and keep the mail moving, it has had to skip $11.1 billion of required payments over the past two years for future retirees' health costs. It exhausted its $15 billion borrowing authority last September. The service says it will run out of money in October even after ignoring this year's retiree health obligation. If it can't pay employees or buy fuel for trucks, Americans looking for their bills, magazines and catalogs could find empty mailboxes.
January 13, 2013
Attention Postal One! Users: PostalOne!® Release 33.0.0 deployment was completed on schedule today, January 13, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. CT including a new client version of Mail.dat available for download that is required for use with this release.
January 12, 2013
American Postal Workers Union: APWU President Cliff Guffey has invoked mediation in an effort to reach a new collective bargaining agreement covering employees at four USPS Information Technology/Accounting Services (IT/AS) centers. Employees at the four locations have been working under the terms of the expired 2007 contract since Jan. 20, 2011.
RuralInfo Postal News: Effective January 27, 2013, the Postal Service™ will revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 507.1.9 to update the minimum value for treating undeliverable articles as dead mail. Current standards require that matter deposited in the mail that is undeliverable and cannot be returned to the sender is treated as dead mail and forwarded to the Mail Recovery Center (MRC). This revision serves to align the minimum value for treatment as dead mail from $10 to $25 in the DMM with the current threshold provided in the Postal Operations Manual, which contains USPS® policy and procedures for handling and disposing of dead mail.
January 11, 2013
Louisville Business Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. eventually plans to build six new warehouses, totaling 1.8 million square feet, along with enough parking to support an additional 1,400 employees at its Supply Chain Campus, near Outer Loop.
Post & Parcel: The Universal Postal Union's new leadership team was officially sworn in this week, at UPU headquarters in Berne. Kenya's Bishar A Hussein took over his role as UPU director general and Switzerland's Pascal Clivaz the deputy director general role at a special inauguration ceremony.
National Association of Letter Carriers: The three-person board of arbitrators has issued a final and binding award that sets the terms of a four-and-a-half-year collective-bargaining agreement between the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service, NALC President Fredric Rolando announced on Jan. 11. Here are some highlights of the contract, which covers the period from November 20, 2011 to May 20, 2016, follow:
PostalReporter: And now . . . . For the Postal Service's side of the story.
DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update
Reuters: A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that Netflix Inc got an unfair advantage from the U.S. Postal Service's special handling of its DVDs, and ordered postal officials to remedy the discrimination or offer a good explanation. The unanimous decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a win for GameFly Inc , which said the postal service should treat the games it ships similarly to Netflix DVDs. The court did not order a specific change in how the postal service handles digital disks, instead leaving it up to the Postal Regulatory Commission to determine an equitable solution. "The commission must either remedy all discrimination or explain why any residual discrimination is due or reasonable," wrote Judge David Sentelle. Neither Netflix nor GameFly immediately responded to requests for comment. The postal service also did not immediately respond.
CNN: The U.S. Postal Service is facing its own fiscal cliff this spring. But it is in danger of being overshadowed by bigger fiscal issues facing the nation. When Congress returns to work in less than two weeks, lawmakers will already have a full plate of deadlines on issues that threaten to devastate the U.S. economy -- from raising the debt ceiling, to automatic budget spending cuts that will lead to thousands of federal and private sector job cuts. For the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the cost of being ignored by Congress means that it will be on the brink of bankruptcy. For the American public, it could result in cutbacks on mail delivery. For postal employees, job cuts.
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Feibra, Austrian Post's low cost subsidiary, apparently wants to deliver regular standard letters in Hungary.
Post & Parcel: Still no sign of a consumer launch for Pitney Bowes' long-awaited US digital mail platform, Volly, as the world's largest mail technology firm continues to work on getting more mailers signed up. Connecticut-based Pitney Bowes first laid out its proposals for a new Internet-based alternative to the physical mail exactly two years ago. Now with the project's two-year anniversary arriving, Pitney Bowes has announced another business partnership for Volly, this time with PageTech, a company that produces printer software. Collaborating with San Diego-based PageTech should make it easy for small businesses, credit unions and print service providers to access the Volly platform, Pitney Bowes said.
Financial Times: Most chief executives are keen to talk up the prowess of their businesses – but Jerzy Jozkowiak, head of the Poczta Polska, the Polish national postal operator, is unsparing in his criticism of the company he has led since March 2011. "Our efficiency is four or five times lower than in western Europe. The Polish Post Office is one of the most inefficient post offices in the European Union," he says from his office high over Warsaw's grey, wintry skyline. That is a problem because, from this month, the Polish postal market has been deregulated and letter deliveries have been opened to competition. Finally buckling to pressure from Brussels, Poland is one of the last EU countries to undertake this step, but the long resistance to change has left the post office very vulnerable.
People's Daily Online: A report from the Boston Consulting Group has suggested that China is likely to surpass the United States to become the world's biggest online retail market in 2015, a year in which the country's online retail sales are expected to be worth more than $360 billion. The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has taken to holding an annual "Singles' Day" promotion on Nov 11 every year. On the day last year, its two online shopping arms, Taobao.com and Tmall.com, recorded 19.1 billion yuan in sales. But the surge in e-commerce transactions has resulted in difficulties for Chinese courier companies. Da Wa, secretary-general of the China Express Service Association, said domestic demand for express services will far exceed the supply for at least the next five years. Ma at State Post Bureau said China is trying to build a modern postal industry.
The Business Desk: Postal operator Secured Mail has struck a deal with express parcel delivery firm City Link to handle smaller items of mail on its behalf.The outsourcing deal has a "substantial" value to the Warrington-based group which will deal with between 50 and 100 million items as part of the agreement.Last year Secured Mail, which has sales of £68m, handled around 650 million items
Federal News Radio: Sometimes it takes time for an idea to germinate. E-Authentication struggled to gain traction and OMB refocused it in 2007 with the emergence of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12. Flash forward to fiscal 2013, the Postal Service issued a draft request for proposals to create and run a Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX). The system would let citizens log onto federal services using usernames and passwords from third parties, such as Google or PayPal, as long as those companies meet federal standards under the Federal Identity Credential and Access Management framework (FICAM). The FCCX would act as the identity authenticator, taking advantage of the build once, use many philosophy. Agencies wouldn't have to build separate identity management systems or manage separate usernames and passwords for each of their online services, and citizens would reduce the number of usernames and passwords they have to remember. Experts in and out of government say the FCCX is borrowing heavily from E-Authentication.
The Economic Times: An attempt to privatise the Hellenic Postbank flopped on Friday without any interest in bidding, a banking source said, adding that the bank would probably have to be broken up. "Barring a last-minute development, (Hellenic Postbank) will have to be broken up" to attract interest, the source told AFP. The Bank of Greece is expected to make an official announcement later in the day.
Reuters: A procrastinators' alert: anyone who gets a benefit check from the federal government has less than two months to go paperless. March 1 is the deadline for nearly everyone who receives Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI -1.38%, news) or veterans' benefits to switch to the government's new electronic payment system. The Go Direct program - launched in 2005 - has already converted 93 percent of all benefit payments; new recipients have been all paperless since 2011. After March 1, the only remaining exceptions will be beneficiaries over age 90, residents of remote areas that lack electronic payment options, or people with mental impairment issues that hamper their ability to manage finances.
Bloomberg: United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS)'s chances of receiving European Commission approval to take over TNT Express NV have drawn cautious optimism from the chief executive officer of ASL Aviation Group Ltd., the company that agreed to buy TNT's airline operations in November. ASL, based in Swords, Ireland, agreed to buy TNT's airline unit on the condition that UPS complete its proposed 5.16 billion-euro ($6.81 billion) purchase of TNT.
Save the Post Office: The National Academy of Public Administration has released a "Work-in-Progress" report entitled "Restructuring the U.S. Postal System: The Case for a Hybrid Public-Private Postal System." The Academy is now embarking on a study of this proposal, which would privatize a large portion of the country's postal system. The Academy's study is billed as an "Independent Review of a Thought Leader Proposal to Reform the U.S. Postal Service." Unfortunately, no study conducted by a four-man panel chaired by David M. Walker, the former President and CEO of the libertarian Peter G. Peterson Foundation, can seriously claim either the independence or non-partisan objectivity that the Academy itself boasts. It has been my experience over the past 30 years that "hybrid public-private partnerships" are often little more than a sedative euphemism for the private sector taking the profits while the public bears the costs.
Burrus Journal: A review of the testimony presented by the president of the NALC in the contract arbitration proceedings reveals the huge chasm existing between the philosophies of representation between the two unions. In that both unions operate within the same work environment, with the same employer, one would expect that each would respond similarly with duplicate demands. One could reasonably expect that since the financial condition of the Postal Service exists for all postal employees regardless of craft, the union negotiation positions would mirror one another, yet the APWU's position was that sacrifices were in order for future employees negotiated wage adjustments and other changes that will shift one billion dollars each year from the employees to postal management. The APWU's public position was that the regressive changes were necessary to "save" the Postal Service. In this day of deficits, turmoil and congressional inaction the NALC response is an appeal to the arbitrator to upgrade every letter carrier. This is not to suggest that the NALC's arbitration decision will be superior to the APWU negotiated contract because so many other factors are involved, but it illuminates the different philosophies of leaders and their response. One reacts with concessionary bargaining justified by the excuse of the day because it changes dependent upon the audience. The comparable union reacts with aggressive proposals that place the focus on the employees as opposed to the employer.
National Association of Letter Carriers: Vincent R. Sombrotto, 89, a towering figure in the history of the National Association of Letter Carriers and one of the most significant U.S. labor leaders of recent decades, died Jan. 10. His seven-term tenure atop the union was marked by extraordinary changes in the letter carrier craft and by remarkable progress for letter carriers. He also served as a vice president of the AFL-CIO.
News.com.au: The postal authority revealed yesterday it had hired Microsoft Asia Pacific vice-president Tracey Fellows. Ms Fellows has served in the Singapore-based role - the most senior Microsoft position in the region - for two years. The appointment sees her return to Melbourne, where she studied economics at Monash University. Ms Fellows will become the first executive general manager for the Communications Management Services business unit.
Deseret News: The U.S. Postal Service and its employee unions are chaffing at requirements to pre-fund its retirement health care obligations. They argue that this squeezes the agency, while critics respond that to do otherwise will shift the burden to future taxpayers. The Government Accounting Office recently released a report arguing that the Post Office should "prefund its retiree health benefit liabilities to the maximum extent that its finances permit." "To the extent short-term prefunding payments are postponed," GAO wrote, "greater payments would be required later, supported by a smaller base of mail volume, with price caps further limiting revenue." The USPS would prefer to shift to a "pay as you go" approach, which would fund ongoing retiree health care costs from current revenues. GAO objected to this, according to Government Executive, arguing it would result in ever high postal rates.
January 10, 2013
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Hey PostCom Members! Every Friday the Postal Service posts a "mail moves" update on RIBBS. This is part of the key information information going out about the changes in Phase 1b of the Network Rationalization. Check it out.
Office of the Inspector General: Comment on Use of Non Traditional Full Time and Postal Support Employees in Processing Operations – 13YG002NO000 by Milton
So you missed the PostCom webinar featuring the USPS' Gary Reblin on the Postal Service's new product initiative and promotional plans? No sweat. You can still listen and view the webinar here. [Webinar recording] [Webinar slides]
PostCom welcomes its newest member: Hewlett Packard HP Enterprise Group 6600 Rockledge Drive, Suite 150 Bethesda, MD 20817 Represented by: Amy Santucci Account General Manager
Attention Postal One! Users:
Post & Parcel: Postal operators have always had an important social role, but post offices in London could soon take on a new crime-fighting role under proposals from Mayor Boris Johnson. The Mayor said yesterday that his team is in talks with Post Office Ltd to potentially provide certain policing services via post offices in the UK capital. London's Metropolitan Police Service is currently among many public sector organisations in the UK coping with widespread public spending cuts. Plans include shutting 65 of the 136 counters open to the public as London police stations are closed, with the Met looking to sell off real estate to cut its annual GBP 203m estate running costs by around GBP 60m a year. The Mayor's draft Police and Crime Plan, issued yesterday for consultation, suggests that London post offices could provide some of the customer outreach activities lost as the police force downsizes its public presence.
Asbury Park Press: Rosalie Averso took the advice of her family and forecasters before superstorm Sandy hit. She packed a bag and left her Barnegat Bay home on Boat Point Drive in Point Pleasant and went to her son's place in Brick. Good thing she did. The storm erased her deck, destroyed her dock and filled her basement with 30 inches of water and mud. Like so many residents, she couldn't go back to her house right away. So on Nov. 14, Averso filled out a temporary-change-of-address form at the Point Pleasant post office to have her mail forwarded to her son's home on Aldgate Court in Brick. And she waited for mail. She got one piece of mail in five weeks. "Where's my mail?" she said. "I have checks and bills." Averso contacted Press on Your Side and asked for some help. "No mail," she said. "I have such a big problem." She tried to fix it herself. She visited the Brick post office, but that didn't lead to her mail. Averso was told if she didn't get her mail in three days, she should go back to Point Pleasant post office. Later, Point Pleasant didn't have any information about her mail either. "It's all automated. You should be getting it," she was told. "Didn't get it."
Press Release: UPS congratulates the Canadian and U.S. governments on the announcement of a newer, harmonized customs ceiling for low value shipments. Harmonized for Canada and the United States, the higher ceiling aims to ensure that a higher volume of goods can move faster between the two countries to bolster the trade relationship.
CNET: If you want to be impressive, you have to make an impression. Which is why I walked up to the United States Postal Service's booth at CES yesterday and felt involuntary tears well up in my eyes. For here, in this vast cave of newness, was the USPS offering Marilyn Monroe. At the very least, the USPS could offer the promise of a future. I searched for a slogan on its booth. And there it was: "Sell it. Pack It. Ship It." But why should I use USPS, rather than FedEx or UPS? Is there some new-fangled electronic wonderland hidden deep in the heart of the USPS bunker?
Deal Curry: The French government owned postal services company – GeoPost is planning to acquire 40% stake in DTDC Courier & Cargo, ET Stated. The deal will give exit to Reliance Capital which had invested R70Cr in DTDC in 2006. Utility Energytech and Engineers Pvt Ltd and Sonata Investments Ltd, part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group, together hold 39.97% stake in the company.
The Hindu: Money orders, once routinely used to send money from one city to another, and still the mainstay in villages across the country, are finding fewer takers of late, say postal department officials. In a bid to retain existing customers and encourage more people to use the service, the postal department has recently slashed its tariffs by half. Also, under an instant money order service, customers can receive money sent through online transfers within a few minutes, irrespective where they are in the country. The sender is given a 16-digit secret code, and she gives this to the receiver who can pick up the money at her nearest post office by producing the code and a form of identification. This service, is a variation of the original, where the recipient gets the money when the local postman delivers it.
Marketwatch: The president of Postal Savings Bank of China was arrested in late December on criminal charges, including illegal fund-raising, taking bribes and making loans illegally, a source close to investigators says.
PostCom Webinar: Is Saving for their Funeral Killing the Postal Service? Join us for a Webinar on January 24. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/613578808
Federal Times: About 26,500 U.S. Postal Service clerks, drivers and other career employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union took the agency's latest early-out offer, according to figures released Wednesday. The total represents 14 percent of the roughly 189,200 employees in that workforce who were eligible for the deal. It exceeds the 20,000, "plus or minus a few thousand," USPS human resources chief Tony Vegliante said in October he was hoping would accept the offer. The offer, which coupled a $15,000 buyout with an early retirement package for older employees, was one in a series launched last year to encourage USPS workers to leave as the Postal Service seeks to shed payroll.
USA Today: David C. Williams, the inspector general at the United States Postal Service, has been churning out a series of provocative ideas about what the mail might look like in the next decade or two. For example: What if the Postal Service completely revamped the street-city-state-ZIP address in use for decades? Would an all-numeric address like the one above make it safer for people to do business on Craigslist? Or could a physical address be linked to a secure e-mail address, providing the kind of identity verification needed for voting, school enrollment or commerce? Ruth Goldway, the chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, calls that "a very interesting concept," and said the ideas coming out of Williams' shop amounts to "an independent think tank for the Postal Service."
Wall Street Journal: James Buchanan, who won the Nobel Prize for economics, helped found the field of public-choice theory, which examines how bureaucracies and elected leaders make decisions. He died Wednesday at age 93. Among his conclusions was that public officials often act in their own self-interest instead of the public's interest. Thus, he argued, bureaucracies tend to grow and politicians tend to favor new spending and tax cuts, leaving the bills for the future.
January 9, 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: About 5 percent of the U.S. Postal Service's 525,000 employees tentatively accepted an offer to leave as the agency tries to cut costs. About 26,000 workers indicated they will take the offer of $15,000 apiece to retire early, and an additional 352 are resigning, Mark Saunders, a Postal Service spokesman, said today in an e-mail. The service, which lost $15.9 billion last year, is trying to cut costs so it can keep paying its employees and deliver mail.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. MC2013-30 "Notice Of The United States Postal Service Of Minor Classification Changes Related To First-Class Mail Single-Piece Residual Price Table" The USPS has filed a new/updated price table for residual SP FCM. USPS said: The new price table includes a 48-cent price for one-ounce and two-ounce residual pieces. Recent feedback from some mailers suggests uncertainty about whether the new 48-cent price applies to mailings of only two-ounce residual pieces. As the Postal Service noted in Docket No. R2013-1, the 48-cent price was designed to allow mailers to pay one price for a mixed mailing of one-ounce and two-ounce pieces, so that the mailer would not need to separate the one-ounce pieces from the two-ounce pieces. The 48-cent price does not apply to mailings of only two-ounce pieces. The MCS additions clarify the new price table to make it clear in the MCS that the new price table is limited to mixed mailings of one-ounce and two-ounce pieces. This MCS clarification follows the approach of Docket No. R2013-1, in which the 48-cent price was developed assuming that the mailing consisted of mostly one-ounce pieces (which would otherwise pay 46 cents), mixed with some two-ounce pieces (which would otherwise pay 66 cents). http://www.prc.gov/docs/86/86114/Notice of MCS Changes.pdf
New White Paper:As a follow-up to its paper "A Primer on Postal Costing Issues," the OIG asked Professor Michael D. Bradley of the Economics Department of George Washington University, an expert in postal economics, to co-author a paper on pricing and short-run costs. This paper, "Short-Run Costing and Postal Pricing," defines what is meant by short-run and long-run costs, explores the issues associated with using short-run costs when developing prices, outlines what information is needed to measure short-run costs, and develops a multistep algorithm for estimating short-run costs that is consistent with the existing Postal Service cost system. Read the white paper and share your thoughts on our blog
Pushing the Envelope: The Long and the Short of It. Some have argued that the U.S. Postal Service should be allowed to raise prices in order to increase revenue and ensure that the sales of their products cover their costs. Others have argued that the current costing system may overstate the cost of some products, as it assumes the Postal Service is able to adjust its capacity, such as quickly closing a facility or eliminating a tour, to match the decline in mail volume. So, the second argument goes, if the Postal Service is unable to adjust its capacity, it should temporarily lower the prices of certain products, in order to encourage volume, as it did in the past with its "summer sales."
Canada.com: Canada Post has apologized after some households in Halifax received unsolicited "junk mail" that included a brochure from sex toy company Adam & Eve. While the report on the outrage from CTV was rather sketchy about the details of the pamphlet — it promised to reveal "the secret formula that will make you irresistible to every woman" — the model who was undressed on the inside was more than happy to provide extra details. Bree Olson, a former adult film actress best known for being one of Charlie Sheen's "goddesses" during his 2011 public meltdown, was less concerned about the offended Halegonians than she was self-conscious that it featured old modelling photos she no longer considers representative of her image.
Post & Parcel: Offering a money-back guarantee for major corporations to try out direct mail campaigns has not proven successful for the US Postal Service. The trial attracted no customers over the past 18 months. It launched the "Mail Works Guarantee" trial in June 2011 with the hope of giving cast-iron proof to large potential customers that direct marketing through the mail brings a good return on investment for the average marketing dollar. But alerting regulators to the end of the trial yesterday, USPS conceded that its offer was not taken up by any suitable corporations.
Federal Times: As early as this week, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers could get the terms of a new contract. Whatever a three-man arbitration panel decides, the outcome is sure to furnish more evidence of the painful tradeoffs facing labor as the embattled U.S. Postal Service presses to cut personnel costs. NALC members "understand that difficult things were necessary," Jim Sauber, the union's chief of staff, said in an interview today. "But on the other hand, we also want to reward the people who are working harder and have harder jobs." The NALC, for example, is proposing to create a new class of lower-paid, non-career employees dubbed "city carrier assistants" that would replace an existing classification known as transitional employees. Although those carrier assistants would also make less than today's transitional employees, they would get first shot when it comes to applying for career letter carrier jobs, Sauber said. The White House, he said, "is like a deer frozen in the headlights on postal issues." Despite the union's backing for Obama election, "he has not been of any great help on our critical issues, and we have to own up to that."
The Bristol Post: POSTAL workers at a South Bristol delivery office are planning further strikes in a dispute about workloads and claims of bullying. Talks between the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail have so far proven unsuccessful and a meeting was held at the depot yesterday, at which workers agreed to request a "further series and variety" of strikes.
Bloomberg: The U.S. Congress that just ended was dysfunctional and unpopular, and its successor promises to have as much trouble passing effective legislation. Approval ratings for the 112th Congress dipped below 10 percent last year, meaning the institution was about as popular with the public as switching to a Communist regime, according to Gallup and Rasmussen polling data. [EdNote: Oh? And who elected them?]
Forbes: China Post has hit on another money-making scheme. A report in the Beijing Times says that postal officials have proposed a tax on courier companies that could fetch up to RMB1 billion ($160 million) in the first year. The tax would apply to companies with over 20 employees or annual revenues of RMB2 million ($322,000) or more. They would have to pay China Post for each package they deliver, with a sliding scale for city, intercity and international delivery. The tax revenue is designed to defray the cost of providing basic postal services in China, effectively subsidising the cost of delivering letters and parcels to remote areas. By 2015, the courier tax is projected to double to RMB2 billion. This proposal hasn't gone down well with courier firms.
Washington Post: U.S. Postal Service officials and postal unions have long pushed Congress to relieve the agency of its obligation to prefund retiree health benefits. It's a burden other agencies don't share and one that officials say the Postal Service can't afford. Defaults on prefunding payments total $11.1 billion. But not everyone agrees that removing or substantially reducing the prefunding requirement is the best way out of the USPS hole. A recent Government Accountability Office report says the "USPS should prefund its retiree health benefit liabilities to the maximum extent that its finances permit."
Don't Miss This Webinar! USPS Promotion Registration/Business Customer Gateway Demonstration Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 12 noon ET. The USPS Marketing Mail Product Development team will present this webinar for mail owners and mail service providers featuring a live demonstration on how to register via the Business Customer Gateway for programs in the Postal Service's upcoming 2013 Promotions Calendar. Promotions appearing in this year-long line-up include those designed to encourage innovation and use of technologies to help make mail more interactive and add value. In addition, some promotions encourage mailers to use more traditional forms of direct mail, namely samples and reply mail envelopes. Phone lines are limited, so to make sure you are informed about and prepared for upcoming Postal Service promotions, please sign up for the webinar as soon as possible. After all, registration via the Business Customer Gateway for the first two 2013 promotions -- Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click to Call and Earned Value Reply Mail -- begins next week, on January 15, 2013! Click here to register for the webinar, or go to: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=997137719&t=a. Toll-free Call In number (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4493 Access code: 997 137 719
Nigerian Tribune: The location explains its importance. Well placed on the old Lagos-Benin expressway is the Nigeria Postal Institute, Egor, a suburb of Benin, the Edo State capital. Its planners must have intentionally located it in the quiet and sleepy community and not within the hustling and bustling Benin metropolis because of the role it was designed to serve: training of personnel and manpower for postal offices in West Africa, especially the English-speaking ones. The planners also must have been mindful of accessibility when they established the place on the old Lagos-Benin Road, so that trainees and facilitators alike would not have problem getting there. Like other numerous projects of the Federal Government that are scattered around the country, the huge compound in Egor is littered with beautifully designed and gigantic projects that were never completed. Now, the buildings have been left alone to battle with cold in the night and sun in the day until they perhaps give way to the weakening weather condition of the swampy forests.
Washington Post: Congress cannot seem to reach consensus on legislation to revamp the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service. But lawmakers sure have spent a lot of time on other urgent business involving the nation's teetering mail agency: Naming post offices. That's the conclusion of an report Tuesday in the Courier Express and Postal Observer, which took data from 1973 to 2012 and found a huge increase in the number of laws to name post offices and in their relative share of the legislation passed by recent congresses. The postal blog says that more than 15 percent of all bills passed and signed into law in the last five congresses named a post office. The practice spiked after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and has continued during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The naming of post offices to honor American heroes is a powerful tradition. But its spike in recent years, as Congress has been unable to make postal reform a top priority because of ideological differences and other priorities (fiscal cliff, anyone?) is a delicious irony for some.
January 8, 2013
Financial Times: UPS's equivalent of a special forces team is its Supply Chain Solutions division, which delivers machine parts at emergency speeds when, for example, a hospital scanner breaks down or an auto industry production line grinds to a halt. The delivery group's elite service was not designed to ship baseball gloves or Barbie dolls for Christmas, but that is what it did for Walmart in four US markets where the retailer is testing a same-day delivery service for online orders. Such high-speed deliveries emerged last year as a new part of ecommerce, but retailers have yet to work out how many consumers want it, how much it will cost and how to spread the cost between themselves and their shoppers.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Postal Technology: DPD has opened a €42 million (£34.2 million) parcel sorting centre in Erfstadt near Cologne, Germany that has the highest capacity of any centre in the international DPD network.
The recent White House Digital Government Strategy set guidelines for federal agencies to follow in order to provide more customer-centric services, improve security, reduce costs, and promote interagency collaboration. A new paper released by the Office of Inspector General, e-Government and the Postal Service - A Conduit to Help Government Meet Citizens' Needs, examines the potential role for the Postal Service as a one-stop, shared, multi-channel service platform to help government achieve these goals. Link fixed.
Analytiqa: UK Mail Group plc has issued an Interim Management Statement covering the period 1 October 2012 to 31 December 2012. Overall, sales and trading performance for the third quarter was above previous expectations. Reported Group revenues for the quarter showed an increase of some 14.0% compared to the same period in the previous year. Adjusting for the increase in Royal Mail prices implemented on 02 April 2012 and there being one more working day than in the same period last year, underlying Group revenues increased by some 8.0%.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: In the decade that the long-term financial problems of the Postal Service have been discussed openly, Post Office naming bills have become a focus of Congress. In each of the past five Congresses over 15% of all bills passed and signed into law named a Post Office. If Congress expected that the naming a Post Office would provide a long-lasting memorial, the financial problems of the Postal Service risks making the memorial an ephemeral one at best. It is too bad that Congress does not understand the irony in its rush to name Post Offices to honor heroes when it has not taken steps to ensure the survival of the institution whose facilities are used to provide the memorial.
Daily Record: Britain's national postal service faces getting privatised by Westminster, a move Scotland is currently powerless to prevent. The post could be privatised before 2013 is out – if the Tories get their way. Scots are already charged extra for shopping online by other delivery companies. Without the Royal Mail safety net that will get worse. A Citizens Advice Scotland investigation found one million Scots get surcharged for deliveries – with markups of 500 per cent common. Islanders fared the worst, though mainland Scotland suffered, too.
National Association of Letter Carriers: NALC President testifies to arbitrators. The union anticipates that arbitration board chairman Shyam Das will announce the board's binding award decision soon.
January 7, 2013
Financial Times: FedEx has rebuffed informal approaches from its arch-rival UPS to buy a package of TNT Express assets, further complicating UPS's last-ditch efforts to win EU approval for its takeover of the Dutch delivery group.The cold shoulder from FedEx, which would not engage in serious talks without it covering a bigger slice of the TNT business, has raised the stakes for UPS as it enters a potentially decisive fortnight in the Brussels merger clearance process. According to several people involved in the clearance talks, France's DPD is currently the lone contender to buy the assets, which were recently sweetened by UPS to cover entire TNT subsidiaries in at least 16 EU countries, including Spain and Portugal.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: R2012-5 Order No. 1611 - Order Concerning Amendment to Bilateral Agreement with Canada Post Negotiated Service Agreement
Fast Company: UPS's new algorithm can plot routes more efficiently than drivers. Just try convincing the drivers of that. Jack Levis, UPS's director of process management, who manages a team of mathematicians who build the algorithms that help UPS shave millions of miles off delivery routes, is paid to tell the company things it may not want to hear. One of his major projects in the last decade has been rolling out a system called ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation), a kind of algorithmic overmind that knows better than any human how drivers ought to plan their routes.
DMM Advisory: December 2012 MailPro Available The December 2012 MailPro [HTML] [PDF] is available on about.usps.com/mailpro. You'll find articles about the January 2013 Mailing Services and Shipping Services price changes, sampling made simple, POSTNET transition to Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb™), and more. Customers can access current and past issues of MailPro online or subscribe by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Include your name, title, company name, complete delivery address, and daytime phone number.
Evening Times: Royal Mail is pledging to provide a bumper service to residents in Glasgow's East End despite shutting the area's only sorting office. Postal chiefs are preparing to switch operations from Bridgeton to an industrial estate in Cambuslang before the end of the month. The controversial decision to axe the Bridgeton sorting office in Cubie Street, which serves more than 21,000 residents, is going ahead despite repeated protests from politicians, community leaders and thousands of locals.
SwissInfo: Considered by three million account holders as the safest place in Switzerland to deposit their money, the financial services arm of the Swiss post office will finally come out of the closet later this year as a "nearly" fully fledged bank.
PRNewswire: bpost will, through its business unit bpost international, partner with Landmark Global to further expand its international retail operations in the U.S. and worldwide. The new relationship comes after a record-breaking sales and profit year for Landmark Global and will allow Landmark to further invest in additional operations and strategic acquisition opportunities. California-based Landmark Global was founded in 2005 and operates on a carrier-neutral, cross-border parcel logistics and fulfillment business model. In seven years the company has grown to a workforce of over 75 and last year handled over 3 million parcels to Canada and international destinations.
Punch: In a bid to enforce the Stamp Duty Act 2004 and the NIPOST Act 2004, the Nigerian Postal Service has concluded plans to start charging N50 stamp duty on every bank transaction that is above N1, 000.
January 6, 2013
Vail Daily: The U.S. Postal Service continues its financial free fall, posting a record $15.9 billion deficit in its fiscal year. If approved by Congress, budget cuts would end Saturday mail deliveries, saving the Postal Service $8 billion annually. Postal delivery has been trimmed or expanded in U.S. history, depending on economic trends and religious convictions.
Postalnews Blog: The NALC has posted the following on its web site: Important note regarding think-tank's postal privatization study: You might have seen or heard media reports about a Washington think-tank's proposal to study the effects of a possible privatization of parts of the U.S. Postal Service. (Click here to read an article in The Washington Post.) While it's true that one of the proposal's authors, George Gould, was formerly the NALC's political director, it's important to note that Gould retired from that position in 2006. He no longer represents the NALC and his views expressed in that report are his own. Please check back later for a more detailed look at this proposed study.
YouTube: "USPS Digital Labs"
January 5, 2013
Manufacturing & Logistics IT: After reaching agreement at Post-Expo 2012 in Brussels, Vanderlande Industries and Major Express of Moscow have now signed the contract for an automated parcel sorting system. Major Express is a privately owned express parcel company located in the Russian capital Moscow. With an exclusive two-year contract from FedEx for the Russian market together with its own organic growth, Major Express decided to automate its sorting process.
Postalnews Blog: PMG Pat Donahoe has selected Albany District Manager Ed Phelan to be the new vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations.
Think Progress: The United States Postal Service last year defaulted on a payment into its pension fund for the first time in its history. It then defaulted on a second payment later in the year, while posting record losses. The old Congress, bogged down by disagreements between lawmakers from rural and urban districts and distracted by fiscal policy fights, has not been able to agree on legislation to overhaul the struggling agency.
BBC Scotland: A cross-party group of MPs has called on the UK Government to guarantee that any moves to privatise Royal Mail would not mean the end of standard postal charges throughout the country. Royal Mail could be sold off in 2013, prompting fears people in rural and remote areas could end up having to pay more for deliveries.
Times Herald-Record: On Jan. 27, the same day first-class and several other postal rates increase, the U.S. Postal Service also will launch some cost-saving services. Beginning that day, the USPS will offer free tracking to confirm delivery of packages sent via Express Mail, Priority Mail and Standard Post, also known as Parcel Post. That's a savings of 75 cents per package. Also that day, the agency will introduce global forever stamps. They will allow mailers to send a one-ounce letter anywhere overseas for the same rate, which initially will be $1.10. Like the forever stamps introduced several years ago for first-class mail, these stamps will remain valid even if the rate is increased in the future.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. ACR2012--Annual Compliance Review, 2012 Chairman's Information Request No. 1
Yahoo! Finance: Greece's top three banks and a smaller one expressed interest Friday in state-controlled Hellenic Postbank.
January 4, 2013
Wall Street Journal: Dedicated devices for reading e-books have been a hot category for the past half-dozen years, but the shrinking sizes and falling prices of full-featured tablet computers are raising questions about the fate of reading-only gadgets like Amazon.com Inc.'s original Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc.'s first Nooks. E-readers seemed revolutionary when they came into vogue in 2007. But tastes and technology have moved on. People haven't stopped reading. They are just increasingly likely to read e-books on tablets rather than e-readers.
Mashable: The U.S. Postal Service will manage a yearlong trial of technology that ultimately should allow citizens to securely register for online services at multiple agencies -- without obtaining multiple passwords and other digital identification for each service. Within days USPS is expected hire one or more cloud companies to host the simplified access network, according to a government notice. The so-called Federal Cloud Credentialing Exchange, or FCCX, will act as a middleman between agencies and approved popular ID providers, such as Verizon and PayPal, that already have verified the identities of many citizens for e-commerce transactions, federal officials said this week. If this service works, one day a person might be able to change an address online by logging on to USPS.gov with the same passcode or smart card that person uses to file taxes through IRS.gov and buy books from Amazon.com.
Attention Postal One! Users:
UPS Upside: "Two Things to Focus on When You're Considering Going International"
ANSA: Users of the Vatican's postal service will soon be able to make money transfers using postal payment slips issued in Italy, Poste Vaticane said on Friday. The new service will be operational from January 7 at a cost of 1.50 euros.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times: Holding true to his political roots as a fiscally conservative Republican and standing with several other Texas Republicans, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold said he voted against "fiscal cliff"-averting legislation because it did nothing to curb the nation's ballooning deficit. Farenthold joined 18 other Republican lawmakers from Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives in voting against the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. [EdNote: This is the new chairman of the House Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and the Census Subcommittee.]
Wall Street Journal: The 113th Congress was sworn in Thursday, and a number of new chairmen will lead important committees.
Minot Daily News: Post offices in northwest North Dakota will be receiving extra attention from the U.S. Postal Service to address the impact of the oil boom on mail delivery. The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday that in response to unprecedented population growth in parts of western North Dakota and eastern Montana, it will "take steps to ensure that staffing, transportation, facilities and equipment are adequate to establish and maintain excellent service to customers."
AllAfrica.com: EDO State chapter of Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, Pensioners, yesterday, called for the immediate sack of the Post Master General, Alhaji Mori-Baba, over alleged withholding of accumulated funds meant for the payment of their pension and gratuities spanning over seven years.
Post & Parcel: US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned yesterday that additional cutbacks could now be necessary at the US Postal Service, following the failure of Congress to pass postal reform legislation by the end of 2012.
The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram
Washington Post: As members of Congress pledged Thursday to revive legislation to save the financially ailing U.S. Postal Service, a Washington think tank announced it will conduct an independent study of how the quasi-government agency could cede much of its operation to private companies. The review by the nonprofit National Academy of Public Administration will analyze the benefits of restoring the agency's financial health by using a "hybrid" model, which would farm out to the private sector postal operations other than the last delivery mile.
NALC e-Activist Network: At noon [January 3], the 112th Congress ended—and not a moment too soon. It was the least productive Congress in modern American history, having stumbled from one self-inflicted debacle to the next. The good news is that the deeply flawed postal reform legislation that emerged over the past two years did not pass. We now have a chance to start over and fight for reform that will actually address the main problems the Postal Service faces: unaffordable and unreasonable retiree health mandates, grossly unfair pension allocations, an outdated business model and an inadequate USPS governance structure. Let us make a New Year's resolution to pressure the 113th Congress to do much better this year and to save the U.S. Postal Service.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Annual Report to the President and Congress FY 2012
Sys-Con: Technology startup lettrs (http://www.lettrs.com) today announced the launch of its innovative "cloud letter" platform that revives and reinvents personal letters by making them social... again. Fusing social media technologies and cloud computing with old-fashioned letter writing, lettrs revives personal correspondence by making letters accessible across a range of mobile and social platforms.
RJRNews: Jamaica's postal agents island wide are still awaiting word on when they will receive their salaries for December. The workers, who are represented by the United Union of Jamaica (UUJ), have reportedly been facing delays in getting their pay.
Mashable: Cue, an app for organizing your online personal information, collects data about its users and found that it now takes people around 10% longer, on average, to answer their email than it did just one year ago. This may partly be because people are just getting more email. But then there's all the extra time people spend on every other form of communication, like text messages, instant message chats, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat -- all of which are frankly a lot more fun than email (and quicker, too). Given the increasingly tiny increments of time into which our days our divided, it's amazing we answer email at all. On current trends, then, if email response times keep increasing by 10% a year, and assuming that an average postal delivery time in your country is two days, by approximately 2020 it will be faster to get an answer from someone by writing a letter than by sending an email.
New York Times: Right now you are probably asking yourself: Will the new Congress being sworn in this week work any better than the last one? There's always a chance. Because, you know, it's new. Also, the bar is low, since some people believe the departing 112th Congress waste worst in history, because of its stupendous lack of productivity and favorability rating that once polled lower than the idea of a Communist take over of America.
Creativity Online: The Dutch Postal Service brings social media to the real world with "From the Heart" a website that collected the online ramblings of all of the Netherlands and posted them in one place. A language filter categorized the messages, finding the pulse of the country. At any time, people can respond to messages they see on the site by posting a "heart" sign or a response to the message. The best messages of the day received real mail, delivered by the Dutch Post and celebrity Nicolette van Dam. Agency is Greenberry.
Government Executive: A bipartisan, bicameral coalition of lawmakers has called for a redoubled effort on U.S. Postal Service reform in the new Congress, saying Democrats and Republicans made major strides toward finding common ground over the last two years. While the Senate and House failed to strike a deal in the recently ended 112th Congress, oversight leaders in both chambers said the New Year offers another chance for major changes to the mail delivery agency.
January 3, 2013
National Academy of Public Administration: "Restructuring the U.S. Postal Service: The Case for a Hybrid Public-Private Partnership."
Statement of the Postmaster General: As we look to the coming year, we are on an unsustainable financial path. We are currently losing $25 million per day, we have defaulted on $11.1 billion in Treasury payments and exhausted our borrowing authority. The Postal Service should not have to do business this way, which has undermined the confidence of our customer base and the $800 billion mailing industry we serve. We will be discussing with our Board of Governors a range of accelerated cost cutting and revenue generating measures designed to provide us some financial breathing room. We encourage the new 113th Congress to make postal reform an urgent priority, and to work steadily toward the quick passage of reform legislation.
Wall Street Journal: The cliff deal sent stocks soaring, but the sense of relief belied the fact that more tax-and-spending brinkmanship is expected as soon as February.
Press Release: UPS has announced a new express air freight service, UPS Worldwide Express Freight, for urgent, time-sensitive and high-value international heavyweight shipments. This new service is an extension of the UPS Worldwide Express package portfolio and offers customers a seamless experience between shipping express package and express freight. Customers now can ship pallets over 150 lbs. as easily as packages exclusively within UPS's global air network from 37 origins to 41 destination countries and territories. This guaranteed, day-definite, door-to-door service features some of the fastest times in transit in the industry, including overnight shipping from the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the Americas to the United States. Two-day shipping is available to Europe from Asia Pacific, the United States, and the Americas. For more information on UPS Worldwide Express Freight, visit: ups.com/worldwideexpressfreight. UPS Worldwide Express Freight service offers many of the same features as UPS's Worldwide Express package service, including automated shipment preparation, online tracking and proactive notification technology. In addition, both express freight and package shipments are consolidated into one bill.
Third Sector: Calls to scrap arrangements allowing charities to pay lower VAT charges on bulk mail services should be referred to the European Court of Justice, a High Court judge has suggested. HM Revenue & Customs currently allows buyers of bulk mail services to pay private companies to sort mail and deliver it to Royal Mail depots. The Royal Mail is then paid separately to take the post to the door. If the two services are offered separately, the private providers charge VAT on their ‘upstream' services to sort the mail and deliver it to depots. But the Royal Mail does not charge VAT for ‘final-mile' or ‘downstream' delivery services, which make up most of the cost of bulk mail services.
The Washington Times: The disappointing "fiscal cliff" tax-and-spend bill proves Washington isn't serious about bringing its financial house into order. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last month suggests the same could be said of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and unless something is done, the postman may not be around to deliver the final overdue notice for Uncle Sam's unpaid bills. The situation won't improve with time. In the past six years, the agency has racked up $41 billion in debt, about $32 billion of which can be blamed on the congressionally mandated pre-funding requirement. The real cause of the financial difficulties lies in the lavish benefits and career system created by the public-sector unions to guarantee lifetime employment regardless of performance. Managers who know the government will serve as a backstop for any business decisions they make — no matter how bad — don't need to worry about the consequences of signing gold-plated retirement deals. After all, the bills will come due decades later on someone else's watch.
Darrell Issa ?@DarrellIssa Announcing your Oversight Subcommittee Chairs for the 113th Congress:
USPS OIG ?@OIGUSPS We recap the Top 10 Postal Service stories of 2012 in this week's blog. Which one do you think is the top story? http://blog.uspsoig.gov/index.php/2012/top-10-stories-of-2012/
Alan Robinson ?@CEP_Observer
Save the Post Office: While it may make sense for the Postal Service to prefund its retiree health care benefits at some level or another, it's clear that the current mandate is the main cause of the Postal Service's financial crisis. Diversion to the Internet, a weak economy, and the reduction in postal services (like slowing down First Class mail) are contributing factors, but they account for a relatively small portion of the deficit. The big problem is the health care mandate. It accounts for about 84 percent of the total deficit. As the OIG says, making prefunding payments at the current levels will simply bankrupt the Postal Service.
The Randolph Leader: For those of us concerned about mail delivery, specifically continuing to have six days of delivery each week, it's good that Congress can't agree on anything. The United States Postal Service, losing vast amounts of money each year, continues to campaign to end Saturday mail delivery. Large businesses who still rely on the mail, as well as community newspapers, are on the side of postal service employees who oppose the reduction in service. This is one of the rare occasions when it's good to have a do-nothing Congress.
The Jordan Times: The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology has completed the country's strategy on the postal service sector for the years 2013-2015.The strategy entails improving the services of the Jordan Post Company, the ministry said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Wednesday. The strategy also entails revising all laws related to postal services and integrating technology into the sector, according to the statement. The strategy also seeks to develop plans to increase the company's revenues.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has launched a new microsite, "100 Years of Parcels, Packages, and Packets, Oh My!" (www.npm.si.edu/parcelpost100),telling the story of the evolution of the Post Office Department's parcel post service.
January 2, 2013
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Last night the House of Representatives voted 257-167 voted to approve legislation that prevented the United States from going over the fiscal cliff. While the substance of the legislation approved had nothing to do with the Postal Service, the vote itself illustrated why postal reform died in the 112thCongress.
Advertising Age: The U.S. Postal Service has selected Interpublic Group of Cos' UM as its media agency, Ad Age has learned.
Politico: This Congress will leave town having enacted fewer laws than any since 1947.
Postal Mag Blog: "Ridiculous Overtime at the USPS in 2013?"
China Daily: Chinese postal authorities said the permits of 116 express delivery companies were canceled in 2012 and urged greater supervision amid a series of reports on problems with the booming sector." Some media have reported losses of mail, barbaric sorting and disparate clauses among some express delivery companies," according to a statement dated Monday on the website of the State Post Bureau. More investigation should be carried out in response to the media reports and consumers' complaints, and local postal branches should further supervise the sector in order to improve service quality, the statement said.
Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service has said it will adopt above-inflation rate increases for its loss-making Standard Mail Flats service each year up to 2016. The move is prompted by the Postal Regulatory Commission's 2010 order that rates should rise towards full cost coverage, so that other mailer services do not subsidies the shipping of items like catalogues. One key reason USPS has shied away from increasing Standard Mail Flats rates to full cost coverage has been the danger that it would push catalogue publishers into finding alternative distribution channels, at a time when catalogues are already moving into digital outlets like tablets.
Times of India: After failing to deliver mail, including a registered parcel, addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee, Bolarum post office staff on Tuesday redirected it to Rashtrapti Bhavan in New Delhi. At 8 am, senior India Post officials landed at R P Nilayam in Bolarum to deliver the mail to the VVIP guest. However, the President's security personnel initially stopped and denied them entry into the premises. Though they showed their identity cards and even tried to convince security personnel that they had to deliver letters to the President, their efforts were proved futile. Meanwhile, the postal department has launched an investigation to find out the reasons for non-delivery of the mail to the President.
January 1, 2013
Business Recorder: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Postal Services on Tuesday directed the ministry to review the draft of "The Pakistan Postal Services Management Board (Amendment) Bill, 2008" to avoid legal complications so that the final draft of the bill could be considered in the next meeting.
White House "We the People" Blog: The Postal Service needs more than just short term financial relief at this time; it needs a comprehensive plan for reform to ensure that it can be flexible and competitive in a changing marketplace. There are multiple ways to provide relief and reform, but the Administration's proposal in The President's Plan for Economic Growth and Job Creation [PDF] represents a balanced approach for postal workers, USPS, consumers, and taxpayers. More specifically, the proposal includes a set of near-term financial relief measures that will provide the Postal Service with the time necessary to restructure its operations and take advantage of flexibilities in the proposal, such as the ability to cooperate with state and local governments and modest pricing flexibility. In the longer term, we are proposing to help the Postal Service reduce its excessive operating costs by providing the flexibility to gradually move to 5-day delivery, beginning in 2013. Under USPS' plan for how it would use this authority, post offices would still remain open on Saturdays, Express Mail deliveries would still be made 7 days a week, post office box deliveries would still be made on Saturdays, and USPS would continue to make Saturday deliveries in the busy weeks leading up to the winter Holidays. These and other cost structuring actions will ensure that the Postal Service remains viable for the medium- and longer-term.
Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service cut back sharply on senior executive pay last year, according to a report recently filed with Congress. In 2011, 13 USPS officers and executives earned more than Cabinet secretaries earn: $199,700.That's down almost two-thirds from the 38 postal officials whose combined salaries and bonuses crossed that bar in 2010.
Haaretz: Addresses, complete with zip codes, were invented in the Ukraine 80 years ago. Now you know. The idea was to represent geographic areas with letters and numbers to make mail distribution more efficient. Or as the Israel Postal Company explains on its website, "A postal code is a number that is an inseparable part of an address that helps route mail to its destination." Now, China has 1.34 billion inhabitants living in an area 9.7 million square kilometers in size. It uses a 6-digit postal system. The United States, with 315 million inhabitants and 9.8 million square kilometers of territory, uses five (in 1983 another four digits were added, but they remain optional). Germany, with 81 million people and an area of 357,000 square kilometers, upgraded from four to five digits in 1990. Switzerland, with its 8 million inhabitants and 41,000 square kilometers, still gets by with just four digits. Israel, with slightly fewer than 8 million citizens on 22,000 square kilometers, has decided to shift from a 5-digit postal code to a new 7-digit system starting in 2013, in a move approved by Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon. The switch means that Israel will now have 10 million possible unique postal codes – two million more than Israel's entire population - as compared to the almost 100,000 possible addresses under the five-digit system.
The Himalayan: The postal savings bank brought into operation by the Banke District Post Office has carried out transactions of Rs. 48.5 million until the last fiscal year 2011/2012. The postal savings bank was set up in 2006. The bank has over 1,300 depositors and it made a net profit of Rs. 3.2 million till date since its inception. It made a net profit of Rs. 1.8 million in the last fiscal year alone. The bank's total loan investment in the last six years has reached Rs. 330.3 million and it recovered loans amounting to Rs. 24.76million in the same period.
Washington Post: "Good mail carriers make good neighbors"