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Association for Postal Commerce

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


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July 29, 2009

The following amendments were adopted to S. 1507 Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009 on July 29, 2009 at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs bill mark-up business meeting.

  • Coburn # 1 Would require any binding arbitration in the negotiation of postal contracts to take the financial health of the Postal Service into account.
  • Coburn #3 Would prohibit the Postal Service from issuing bonuses in any year that it reports a yearend net loss.
  • Collins #2 Would require GAO to expedite the reporting requirements for its study of USPS's options and strategies for the long-term structural and operational USPS reforms. The Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act of 2006 requires that GAO conduct this study by 2011. This amendment would require that the study be complete by March 31, 2010, so that USPS can benefit from this study sooner.
  • Collins #3 Would limit USPS's total outstanding debt to $15 billion, as required under current law. The underlying bill would allow USPS to borrow an additional $2 billion in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 (increases annual borrowing from $3 billion to $5 billion), but exempts the $2 billion from being applied to USPS's total debt ceiling of $15 billion. This amendment would require that any additional amount of the additional $2 billion USPS borrows apply to the $15 billion debt ceiling.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has told its members that "amendments to a Senate bill providing short-term temporary financial relief to the USPS would weaken the legislation, harm the Postal Service, and hurt postal workers, APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid said. He urged union members to contact their senators if they serve on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and ask them to reject the amendments. Amendments offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) would require arbitrators to consider the financial health of the USPS when ruling on collective bargaining agreements, and an amendment submitted by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would increase the share postal employees pay for healthcare coverage. An amendment submitted by Sen. Coburn would repeal the requirement in appropriations law that requires the USPS to deliver mail six days per week. A total of 11 amendments were submitted as of the deadline for submissions, but additional amendments could be offered when the committee meets on July 29 to vote on the bill, Reid said. A summary of the amendments can be found on the APWU web site.

The Connexion has reported that "unions have promised to fight the privatisation of La Poste after the cabinet met this morning to discuss the procedure. The first stage, the transformation of the group into a 'société anonyme', was put on hold last November as the government dealt with the financial crisis."

The Washington Post has reported that "it looks as if the U.S. Postal Service is getting its bailout. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has advanced legislation to relax the Postal Service's obligation to prepay its employee retirement benefits, an action that would save it an estimated $2 billion annually. But even this may not be enough to save mail service as we know it....The USPS's own proposed remedy for its fiscal woes involves limiting its universal service obligation to five days of delivery a week. Shocking as this change may sound, the requirement to deliver mail six days a week dates back only to the early 1980s; this does not have to remain the model. As people depend less and less on mail for their critical communications, even five days may not be the most efficient delivery level. Changing the USPS's costly obligations must also mean reconsidering its lucrative monopoly on mail delivery, which no longer makes sense. The Postal Service's status must be adjusted to fit its changing role in communications. Otherwise, this bailout will not be the last."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

Thanks to drastic savings, Deutsche Post managed to stay in the profit zone in the first half of the year.
The economic crisis is further afflicting TNT.
Slight turnover decrease and profit collapse have characterised business for the Finnish post Itella in the first half of 2009.
The Austrian minister of infrastructure, Doris Bures now plans to enforce the new postal act before the summer break after all.
Sweden plans to enforce the general VAT liability for mail services in the Community during its presidency of the council of the European Union.
The Norwegian department of transport has instructed the national Institute for Research in Economics and Business Administration (SNF) to compile an additional report on the potential consequences of opening up the postal market.
The China Post Group’s company performance continued to improve in June.
During the half-year press conference, Deutsche Post confirmed plans for its so-called online letter. The service hardly differs from conventional e-mailing. Nonetheless, receivers only receive post from identified senders, thus avoiding spam mail. Meanwhile, postal businesses in other countries are choosing different directions when it comes to electronic services. For example, Schweizerische Post has been providing its Swiss Post Box since mid-June, which allows customers in Switzerland and Germany to have physical mail sent to them in digital form. And the Finnish post Itella (NetPosti), as well as Post Danmark (eBoks), have long since established so-called portal solutions, which allows customers not only to receive mail, bills and offers electronically, but at the same time also to arrange the payment of bills.
Lietuvos Pastas, the Lithuanian post, has issued an international bid to tender to find an investor with which it can develop and offer financial services.
Employees of the Brazilian ECT demonstrated in the centre of Rio de Janeiro against the privatisation of the post.
The French CEP market regressed significantly in the first quarter.
The US CEP market is facing a weak financial year 2010. The consulting and market research company Colography Group is forecasting growth of less than 120m new consignments next year, with parcel services and air freight exports expected to make up almost the entire growth. Sales are expected to rise by almost 4.6bn euros, an increase of 6.4 per cent.
Parcel volumes and sales may have fallen at UPS, but this has shown no impact on the integrator’s lobbying expenditures.
In order to make up for losses in current core activities, TNT plans to become active on the European parcel market in the future.
Russian consumer advocates have called on the country’s supreme court to overturn the law on the access to mail consigments.
TNT plans to expand in Borneo.
Thanks to growth of between 8 and 9 per cent, DHL has secured a market share above the 50 per cent mark in the Philippines.
Royal Mail will invest an additional 120m pounds, equivalent to 138.9m euros, in modernising the business.
TNT Express has expanded its capacities in Vietnam.
The Swedish Posten AB plans to reduce the number of letterboxes.
UPS has opened up a new operations base in the centre of Moscow.
Schweizerische Post is reacting to the collapse of the mail and parcel volume. The company is calculating a scenario that means the loss of hundreds of jobs.
According to reports from Washington, the US post appears to be considering an unscheduled price increase. The post and the Direct Marketing Association initially discussed raising the postage for first class letters by six cents to 50 cents and to carry out similar price increases for other mail services. Now, however, the parties are discussing increases of just 2 to 3 per cent, or 1 cent for first class letters. An increase in rates requires the Postal Regulatory Commission’s approval.

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.)

Today from Hellmail:

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
Priority Mail Contract ,
37553–37556 [E9–18030] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
37739–37740 [E9–18029] [TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

RM2009-5 The Household Diary Study: Mail Uses & Attitudes in FY2005
 pdf1 pdf2 
  The Household Diary Study: Mail Uses & Attitudes in FY2006
 pdf1
  The Household Diary Study: Mail Uses & Attitudes in FY2007

Canadian Driver has reported that "Japan’s postal service has agreed to become the first major customer for a modular, globally-available integrated electric vehicle (EV) drivetrain."

Reuters has reported that "a U.S. court on Monday rejected an appeal filed by FedEx Corp employees who were seeking federal class-action status in a wage-and-hour dispute with the package delivery giant. A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that blocked the hourly employees in Florida from forming a class. The appeals court ruled the lower court had not abused its discretion in ruling against the employees."

July 28, 2009

Mark-up of the Senate bill on the Postal Service's retirement obligations is tomorrow, 10 a.m., Senate Dirksen SD-342.

Logistics Manager has reported that "UPS said today it has rolled out a new service for shipping small packages via ground from Mexico to the United States. Dubbed UPS Standard, UPS said this offering, which went live on July 13, provides shippers with a new tool for managing their transportation costs."

According to the Muskegon Chronicle Editorial Board, "The Post Office is on the right track to saving money."

Bloomberg has reported that "FedEx Corp. must face more state class-action lawsuits by contract drivers who claim they deserve benefits because the company treats them as full-time workers by mandating their clothing, hours and prices, a judge said. U.S. District Judge Robert Miller in South Bend, Indiana, yesterday granted drivers’ request to sue as groups on behalf of workers in Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Utah, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon. In the same ruling, Miller denied similar requests by drivers in Colorado, Connecticut and Vermont as well as claims that some of the lawsuits should cover all such FedEx drivers in the U.S."


Visit www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com and www.PARCELindustry.com now and remember to join LinkedIn and sign up for RSS feeds on both sites!

CNJOnline has reported that "A Clovis city commissioner is hopeful that a public effort can save the Gidding Street post office like it helped save Cannon Air Force Base. In the days following the second public meeting about the post office, which the U.S. Postal Service wishes to close for financial reasons, Commissioner Len Vohs said he hopes a public effort can convince the USPS to find other solutions."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail is to reduce the price of Mailsort 3 - the primary tariff used by direct mailers - by three per cent, in a move likely to anger competitors TNT Post, UK Mail and DHL. The price drop is designed to maintain mail’s competitiveness as a communications channel, a spokesperson for Royal Mail said. "

Reporting that broad restructuring is urgently needed, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today added the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to its High-Risk List of federal areas in need of transformation. See also the Washington Post, the Federal Times, and the Washington Examiner.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis told investors last week he is planning to shrink the company's 6,100-branch network by about 10%, a pullback from the two-decade expansion that took the bank from coast to coast."

Information Week has reported that "Researchers from MIT's Media Lab have created a new optical tag that can store a million times more data than a similarly-sized barcode, without the privacy risks of RFID tags. The tag, called a Bokode, is only 3mm, much smaller than a typical barcode. It relies on a new way of encoding data: measuring the brightness and angle of light rays coming from a Bokode tag."

The APWU has told its members that "Quick action is expected on a Senate bill that would provide the Postal Service emergency, short-term financial relief, and APWU President William Burrus is urging union members to ask their Senators to support the legislation. The Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009 (S. 1507), which was introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) on July 23, would restructure the USPS obligation to pay retiree healthcare benefits, and would generate savings of billions of dollars over the next several years. The USPS is projecting a loss of $7.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2009, despite predictions that it will cut costs by $6.1 billion this year."

Sky News has reported that "Post Staff Strike Again As Pay Row Worsens."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
37254–37255 [E9–17917] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
 
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
37255 [E9–18015] [TEXT]  [PDF]
37255 [E9–18019] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Radio New Zealand International has reported that "The American Samoan Post Master, Smitty McMoore, from Pago Pago says there is no plan to downsize staff of the local Post Office. The United States Postal Service in Hawaii, of which the local post office comes under is reviewing whether to close any of its 104 post offices as part of a national effort to make up for billions of US dollars in losses due to reduced use of postal services. Mr McMoore says since American Samoa has only one post office, he’s confident that the local postal facility will be spared from the cuts."

Hellmail has reported that "the Romanian postal service announced yesterday that a proposal for the future of the service has been finalised and is being forwarded to the Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information. The proposal will form the basis for further public debate and a framework for legislative change needed to ensure the service can compete in a more competitive market."

GovExec.com has reported that "A Senate panel on Wednesday will consider a bill that would restructure how the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service pays for its employees' retirement health benefits. S. 1507 would reduce the amount of money USPS must pay to the Treasury Department's Postal Service Retiree Health Fund, which covers future retirement payments, and provide the agency with a larger borrowing limit to meet its current payments. The legislation also would allow USPS to tap into the retiree health fund to cover retirement benefits for postal workers beginning in 2009 instead of 2017 -- the current date set by law. Faced with a decline in printed mail during the recession and fiscal shortfalls in its budget, the Postal Service has been trying to cut costs and streamline operations. In its fiscal 2009 second quarterly financial report, USPS officials said they did not expect to meet a scheduled $5.4 billion payment for future retirements on Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires that payment."

Transport Topics has reported that "FedEx Corp. said it has named Mike Moss as president of FedEx National LTL, the parcel carrier’s long-haul less-than-truckload unit."

July 27, 2009

FoxNews has reported that "The FBI is investigating 11 suspicious letters containing a white powder that were sent to various New Jersey government offices this month. The letters have been received at police departments and government offices throughout northern New Jersey. The first one came July 17. Letters have been received in Totowa, Clifton, Wayne, Ringwood, Fair Lawn and Woodland Park. All the letters are being tested. The FBI says first three letters tested came back negative for biological agents and no injuries have been reported."

The Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia will hold an oversight hearing entitled “Making Sense of It All: An Examination of USPS’ Station and Branch Optimization Initiative and Delivery Route Adjustments” on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The latest entry on the blog posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. The Postal Service operates as a businesslike entity, but it is also part of the government. Should the Postal Service be allowed to freely award employees for a job well done? To recruit, retain, and reward talented employees, what do you think is appropriate for the Postal Service? You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

There will be a meeting of the Committee on Armed Services on Thursday, July 30, 2009 9:30 AM in Room SD-106 Dirksen Senate Office Building to consider the nominations of: Honorable John M. McHugh to be Secretary of the Army. [EdNote: Saaaaaaalute!!]

Makfax has reported that "Representatives of the state-owned companies in Croatia held a meeting today with the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, at which they vowed for keeping the prices of goods and services at the current level, despite the recent increase of the VAT tax. Representatives of the Croatian electric power and water supply companies, postal offices, railway and maritime trade companies, Croatian Roads and Zagreb Holding, held talks with the prime minister in Zagreb on Monday. After the meeting, Kosor confirmed this information, adding that Zagreb Holding will maintain the prices during the next year also."

The Press Association has reported that "The postal workers' union has announced plans to escalate strike action across London in a worsening dispute over jobs, pay and services. Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) took industrial action on Saturday and are due to walk out again on Tuesday and Wednesday, disrupting deliveries to homes and offices."

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update.  

  • PostalOne!® Patch Release 20.1 (July 19): The July 19 software upgrade was implemented on Sunday. The functionality supported in this upgrade is explained in the Post-Release Notes posted on RIBBS. The User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide, Appendix B illustrates the Full-Service address correction data elements that are provided by the software update.

  • Full-Service Intelligent Answers: On July 31, we are initiating Full-Service Intelligent Answers, a weekly telecon to answer questions and resolve issues for mailers migrating to the Full-Service application. If you are participating in the Full-Service process, join these calls to exchange information with postal and industry stakeholders to get answers to your Full-Service questions. The dial-in information will be posted on RIBBS, Intelligent Mail® Services, Latest News on Thursday.

  • Full-Service Mailings in Production: Over 15 mailers mailing across 125 sites have successfully executed the Full-Service test scenarios in the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM). Several of these mailers have begun submitting Full-Service mailings.

  • Webinar Schedule:  We will conduct a series of webinars on Intelligent Mail topics. The webinar on August 21 from 2:00-4:00 EDT, entitled "Full-Service Benefits: Full-Service ACS™" will describe the address correction information available under the Full-Service option. This webinar will describe the contents of the address correction information, how it is provisioned and the flexible data distribution options available. It will demonstrate how to optimize the use of Service Type Identifiers and Mailer IDs in the Intelligent Mail barcode and how to construct the electronic documentation to derive the greatest value from Full-Service ACS. It will describe how Full-Service ACS is different from the other address correction services and how mailers can use these in conjunction with Full-Service to ease the transition to Full-Service ACS. Watch for more details and links to the webinars in future Intelligent Mail Weekly Updates and on the Intelligent Mail calendar on RIBBS.

  • Intelligent Mail Full-Service Feedback Sample Data Files:  With the Full-Service option, mailers receive address correction information to include Change of Address and Nixie records at no charge, according to the limitations defined for the class of mail and the frequency of notices provided. This data is available via downloadable reports and Mail.XML® electronic messages. Mailers also receive Start-the-Clock and Container Visibility/Induction Scans data at no charge. This data is available via online reports and Mail.XML electronic exchange messages. Sample data files illustrating Intelligent Mail Full-Service feedback formats are posted on RIBBS. We also posted sample Customer Supplier Agreement files. This data is accessible via the Important Links on the Intelligent Mail Services, Guides page and the Intelligent Mail Services, Latest News page. The sample data provided includes:

  • Full-Service ACS Nixie Data in comma delimited (CSV), Excel (XLS), and Mail.XML.
  • Full-Service Start-the-Clock Data in Mail.XML.
  • Full-Service Container Visibility Induction Scan Data in Mail.XML.
  • Full-Service Customer/Supplier Agreement (CSA) Data.
  • Intelligent Mail Symposium:  The next IMb University is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6, in Columbus OH. The presentations from the July 16 symposium are posted on RIBBS under Presentations, Intelligent Mail Symposium 7/16/2009 Ft. Worth TX.

  • Save the Date:  April 11-14, 2010 National Postal Forum, Nashville TN.

  • Assistance: Please call the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions or problems accessing the Business Customer Gateway, your accounts, or submitting electronic documentation.

As The Packer has noted, "With budgets stretched thin and margins tight, environmental stewardship might have taken a backseat to other concerns. Sustainability, however, has never been more top of mind. What has changed is its definition. Sustainability is more than going green. It is about sustaining a business."

From the Congressional Research Service: "Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress," by Kevin R. Kosar, Analyst in American National Government. July 23, 2009.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of US-based FedEx Corporation, last week announced that Mexican operation FedEx Express Nacional planned to introduce a new domestic delivery before the beginning of the working day service option. "

Advertising Age has noted that "even the recession can't explain this many lost ad pages -- the dominant source of magazine income and measure of their financial health. Monthlies' ad pages through their August issues had already sunk 22%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter, with drops topping 40% at Dwell, Ebony, Men's Journal, Town & Country, Gourmet, National Geographic Traveler, Veranda, Saltwater Sportsman, Teen Vogue, Sound & Vision, Wired and others. Then ad pages in fashion and beauty titles' big September issues -- the most important month for them and for their advertisers -- fell by double digits for nearly everyone. Some of those pages will return with a broader recovery, but many, sadly for the industry and many devoted readers, probably won't."

Hellmail has reported that "Dutch-owned TNT NV, has reported 60% a fall in net profit for the second quarter, mirroring a similar fall to that of Deutsche Post DHL as the global economy continues to depress express deliveries. A drop in consumer spending, the collapse of some retailers and restructuring of supply chains has had a significant impact on both German and Dutch operators and it is unclear just how much the economic crisis will affect the Royal Mail Group in the UK."

Associated Press of Pakistan has reported that "All Pakistan Postal Circles and Regional Offices Employees Union has condemned the decision of the government to privatise Postal Department and said that it will be a great economic loss for the employees of the department."

According to DM News, "Despite rising postage and paper costs, direct mail remains an important part of apparel marketers' multichannel mix. Developments in variable data printing and database marketing enable these marketers to send targeted messages to their best customers that feature high-quality imagery and creative that attracts buyers."

The Moderate Voice has noted, "This month, for the first time in decades, a payment I sent did not reach its recipient. This rare mishap was a reminder that good old reliable snail mail is in its death throes after 234 years of creating a national community out of isolated places thousands of miles apart, making a daily visit to the mailbox an adventure that brought the world to us with words on paper, many of them in the handwriting of people we love. The decline now is even faster than it was during the Great Depression as the Postal Service projects 10 billion fewer pieces of mail in each of the next two years, from a high of 213 billion in 2006 to an expected 170 billion next year. The price of stamps will rise, of course, and there will also be less frequent deliveries and more closings of small post offices as Americans e-mail, text-message and tweet one another instead of dropping envelopes through narrow slots. It’s so much more convenient to pay bills online and have instant communication with friends and family that there will be few mourners for snail mail but, as with all progress, something will be lost....Newspapers and magazines have migrated to the Web as well, trying to make sense of the world from minute to minute."

The Financial Times has reported that "When Canada Post set out four years ago to reshape the way it handled employee engagement, it knew that, with its staff dispersed across a vast country, it faced a difficult task. But the government-owned postal service did not expect that one of its greatest challenges would be with its top 400 senior managers. In its annual employee survey, Canada Post found that in spite of progress in trust, leadership and work environment, the company had slipped on providing career development and training for its top staff."

World Radio Switzerland has reported that "Swiss customs officials have seen a rise in the amount of anabolic steroids being confiscated—the number doubled from 2007 to 2008. And that spike, according to the government, is because more amateurs in Switzerland are turning to the drugs to build muscle and better their sports performance. In fact, customs officers and sniffer dogs go through the mail at the Swiss postal service’s sorting centre in Mülligen, near Zurich, every day to seek out drugs, fake goods and other contraband. So far this year, they’ve sniffed out 130 packages containing class-A drugs and confiscated around 60 fake identity documents. WRS’s Catherine Allen called on Swiss customs officer Max Gerber to find out more about their daily work—and some of the more unusual contraband that passes through."

Forexyard has reported that "TNT's quarterly core profit fell 45 percent, its fourth consecutive year-on-year decline, and the Dutch mail company boosted its cost savings target to cope with weaker demand for delivery services." See also EasyBourse.

Polish Market has reported that "Polish Minister of Infrastructure Cezary Grabarczyk has signed an agreement concerning the privatisation of Polish Post, the Ministry has informed in a communiqué. Poczta Polska will be converted into a company wholly owned by the Treasury called Polska Poczta SA. The move is intended to prepare the company for the full liberalisation of the postal market planned for 2013, the Ministry explains. The current director of Poczta Polska Andrzej Polakowski became the President of the Board of the new entity which has 100,000 employees in over 8,000 offices. The company closed 2008 with a negative financial result – its losses came to PLN 291 million."

The New York Daily News has reported that "The United States Postal Service is considering closing as many as 40 post offices throughout Brooklyn, according to union officials. The prime targets are 18 retail stations in storefronts around the borough, said Brooklyn American Postal Workers Union president Jim Musumeci."

Delmarva Now has reported that "Post offices at the beach have stopped accepting bulk mail, forcing business owners to travel to Georgetown when they need to send flyers, brochures and the like."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
Priority Mail Contracts ,
36940–36943 [E9–17842] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Priority Mail Contract ,
37066 [E9–17811] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to The Ledger, "Technology and our dependence on it is getting more prevalent, not less. The volume of mail sent is going to continue to decrease. Mail service is incredibly labor intensive. It burns up an extraordinary amount of fossil fuel and human labor, demands a tremendous number of vehicles and uses an awful lot of paper. It will probably always exist in this country, because, while information can be sent via computer, objects cannot. Over time, though, that service will inevitably decline to five days a week and, eventually, to fewer days than that. This all will be a change, and a big one, but it won't be a bad. In truth, e-mails and texts are better, cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly ways to communicate in most cases. The sooner we stop depending on the Postal Service, the better off we will be."

July 26, 2009

If you're up to reading a description of today's arguments over health care reform written as if the discussion had to do with the Postal Service, read the Daily Kos.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "FedEx shed upwards of 10,000 jobs globally over the past year in response to weak demand and declining revenues. The Memphis-based company's annual report said FedEx ended its fiscal year May 31 with more than 280,000 team members, compared with more than 290,000 on May 31, 2008. Revenues were down 6 percent, to $35.5 billion, for the year. About 3,100 job cuts were announced at various times during the year, while the rest resulted from normal attrition and a hiring freeze, spokeswoman Sandra Munoz said. When FedEx announced a 1,000-job cut across all operating companies in early April, officials said that included an estimated 500 jobs in Memphis, where the company employs more than 30,000 people. The annual report said FedEx Express, the largest operating company, had 5,000 fewer workers. The only FedEx unit showing employment gain was FedEx SmartPost, a business-to-consumer service that uses the U.S. Postal Service for the final leg of delivery."

NZTV has reported that "Mail makeover spruces up the posties."

RIMarkable has reported that "TIME Magazine has just launched a new mobile application for the BlackBerry simply called the TIME BlackBerry App. Get the latest news, read opinion and analysis from TIME influential bloggers, while also having the ability to browse through award-winning photography and TIME’s hugely popular Lists. You can also customize the content to easily view headlines from your favorite sections. You’ll get updates automatically pushed out to your BlackBerry® smartphone, so you can read it on the subway or on a flight. It’s the fast and easy way to have TIME with you to read and peruse, no matter where you are. Best of all, it’s FREE!"

According to Dead Tree Edition:

  • Postal officials are spreading the word that they may seek emergency rate increases next year.

  • Quebecor World went back to the future today, emerging from bankruptcy protection under the new but old name "World Color Press". World Color Press and Quebecor Printing merged a decade ago to form Quebecor World. The company is changing its name to distinguish itself from its former parent, Quebecor Inc., a Canadian media company whose stake in the old Quebecor World is now worthless.

July 25, 2009

According to Marketing Profs, "Smart direct marketers are obtaining dramatic lift in results with "the new direct mail," which uses new relevance technologies to deliver digitally generated, one-to-one messages to prospects through the mail that link to a corresponding Web component. The new direct mail moves away from batch-blast campaigns—where every recipient gets the same mailer—and instead delivers customized, relevant offers to each customer, driven by customer relationship management (CRM) data systems."

Equimedia has reported that "Marketers are optimistic about the second half of 2009, with two-fifths of business leaders planning to boost marketing spend over the next six months. The 2009 Marketing Trends Survey released by StrongMail Systems revealed that 42 per cent of firms will look to increase marketing spend in the coming months, while 43 per cent are planning to keep budgets at current levels. In particular, firms appear to be looking at increasing investment in email marketing, with 81 per cent of those polled saying they will be putting more money into this area. Bill Wagner, executive vice-president of business operations at StrongMail, said: "The fact that planned investments in email marketing have actually increased in the past six months at the expense of more traditional marketing channels speaks to email´s status as the most economical and effective tool in a direct marketer´s tool box." [EdNote: Have the Postal Service file an exigency case, and watch interest in alternative channels soar. The feet beating away from mail will sound like a stampede.]

In response to the question: "With so many ways to communicate with consumers, which medium do you think would be most effective?" Here is what National Mortgage Professional had to say: "Due to the recession, media costs have gone way down. This is a great opportunity for small businesses to advertise at rates never before this low. And during a recession, media rates are all negotiable. A radio station, for example, would rather run your advertisement rather than a public service announcement. My preference for the mortgage industry would be radio, the Internet and direct mail. Radio is cheap, reaches a wide audience and with repetition, could make a big difference in your awareness and response."

Air Cargo World has reported that "Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO told analysts that UPS is a company “that can weather this recession, positioning ourselves well to benefit when economic recovery occurs." UPS Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn said, "We are exceeding targeted cost savings, without compromising our high levels of service, while also investing for the future," Kuehn said. "We are managing our business with a keen eye on balancing cost cutting with strategic investment."

Here are three stories. All about the same. At a time of dwindling mail volume and high unemployment, you would think that the thing to do would be to do the right thing. Just deliver the mail!

The South Bend Tribune has reported that "Bruce Graybill, 56, of Goshen, has been charged in a three-count indictment, according to Jesse Barrett, assistant United States attorney. Specifically, the counts are obstruction of mail, unlawful delay of mail by postal employee, and embezzlement of mail by postal employee. The charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service. "

The Northampton Chronicle & Echo has reported that "A Northampton postman who stole more than £50,000 worth of packages from his depot in 11 months has failed in an Appeal Court challenge to his prison sentence. He appealed against the term yesterday, but was told by top judges, Mr Justice Butterfield and Sir Geoffrey Grigson, that the seriousness of his offences warranted the tough sentence."

The Press Association has reported that "ustralian police have arrested a postal worker who they say delivered thousands of customers' letters - to himself. Residents in the Sydney suburb of Roseville had complained for months that they weren't receiving their mail, New South Wales state police Detective Inspector Peter Yeomans said on Thursday. Police began surveillance on one mailman based on a tip from Australia Post."

The Gazette has noted that "Sorting mail by hand and delivering it on foot, Canada Post remains a low-tech operation - faster than a carrier pigeon, but lagging well behind email. And as electronic communications of all kinds continue to ravage the postal industry - think texting, faxes, e-vites and e-bills, not to mention cheap long-distance calling - some have begun to wonder whether "snail mail" will rise to the challenge and reinvent itself, or slowly but surely disappear."

The Malta Independent has reported that "In a company announcement yesterday, the directors of MaltaPost advised that, for the period 1 April to date, there were no material events and transactions which would impact, in a significant manner, the operational performance of the company. As was previously advised, and in accordance with the changing characteristics of the current market, MaltaPost has continued to witness encouraging growth in the parcel, as well as the package post business, while at the same time as experiencing a volume reduction in the traditional postal mail. All other revenue streams continued and are expected to continue to perform as had been expected."

Postal snippets from around the nation:

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers in London have begun a three-day strike in a row over jobs and pay cuts. The walkout, by an estimated 12,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), will continue on Monday and Tuesday. The union said Royal Mail was cutting jobs and pay against a national agreement which it said was affecting postal services. Royal Mail insisted the union stood in the way of modernisation."

Kiplinger has reported that "another big hike in the cost of a first-class stamp looms -- to 50¢ from the current 44¢. That follows a 2¢ hike earlier this year. Odds are better than even that regulators will approve an emergency jump next year, as USPS mail volume continues to slump and revenues continue to shrink. The 2006 postal reform law says that USPS can boost postage each year in line with hikes in the Consumer Price Index in the preceding 12 months, but it provides an escalation clause if the Postal Service is drowning in red ink. The jump in stamp prices could be averted with help from Congress and the Obama administration, but they remain intransigent. Lawmakers and the White House insist that USPS should continue overpaying around $3 billion a year toward its retirees’ benefits. The money is held by the Treasury, helping to offset the federal budget deficit. It’s part of a larger budget shell game that’s been used for decades, counting Social Security and nuclear waste cleanup trust funds as revenue, for instance."

According to the Washington Post, "the U.S. Postal Service says it removes "underperforming" mailboxes -- those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day -- after a week-long "density test." Snail mail is a dying enterprise because Americans increasingly pay bills online, send Evites for parties and text or give a quick call on a cellphone rather than write a letter. Combine the impact of new technologies with the gut punch of the recession, and in the past year alone, the Postal Service has seen the single largest drop-off in mail volume in its 234-year history, greater even than the decline from 1929 to 1933 during the Great Depression. That downward trend is only accelerating. The Postal Service projects a decline of about 10 billion pieces of mail in each of the next two years, going from a high of 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 to 170 billion projected for 2010."

Reuters has reported that "Shares of United Parcel Service Inc, rose on Thursday as the world's largest package delivery company said its domestic and global businesses appeared to be stabilizing."

Forbes has reported that "UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, spent more than $1.4 million in the second quarter to lobby on Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, aviation technology and safety, and competition issues, according to a recent disclosure form."

The July 24, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.

July 24, 2009

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

Press Release: "BCC Software: Mailing Industry News (available at http://blog.bccsoftware.com), will feature key insights on postal and mailing topics, the most up-to-date product release information, updates about appearances at industry events and tradeshows, and other topics of interest to the professional mailing industry."

Barron's has reported that "Netflix shares are plunging this morning after the company last night reported Q2 revenue in line with estimates and profit per share better-than-expected, and forecast the rest of the year to be about in line with estimates. Caris & Co.’s David Miller sticks with his “Buy” rating on the shares and raises his price target to $54. He’s most interested in the outperformance in earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT), which came in at $52.9 million, ahead of his $50.6 million estimate. Miller thinks this shows the benefits of lower cost to “stream” movies over the Internet, which the company is offering in addition to its postal mail disc delivery. Miller says the Street is spooked about the effects of giving away streaming video rentals to subscribers for free even thought Netflix still has to pay studios for the rights to stream movies. But miller says higher EBIT shows that doing so is cheaper than supporting postage."

Logistics Management has reported that "DHL will be moving its U.S. hub operations from the Wilmington Air Park to the Kentucky-based Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport this weekend, according to various reports."

According to Courier, Express and Postal Observer, "with the Dow climbing above 9,000, it appears that investors believe that the financial panic that began with the Lehman bankruptcy is over. Much of the recovery in stock prices reflect 2nd quarter earnings reports that are coming in higher than analysts projected. Unfortunately for the general economy, and in particular the consumer-driven segments of the economy that the drives the Postal Service's business, the improvement in company earnings come from aggressive efforts to cut costs, capacity and employment to match lower demand levels and not from growth in sales and revenue. Similar stories exist about how small businesses are surving by cutting capacity and employment."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today introduced legislation to help address the dire financial situation facing the United States Postal Service. Carper's “Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009” would restructure the postal service’s retiree health payment schedule to produce significant cost savings over the next several years. The Carper bill also gives the postal service more borrowing authority to meet its financial obligations and get through this current fiscal year and next. (See the story on the OMB-backed idea in the PostCom Bulletin.)

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

  • CBO told Congress that granting the U.S. Postal Service relief from its PAEA-imposed employee health retirement payments would remove some of the pressure that is currently causing the Postal Service to reduce costs and become more cost-efficient.
  • The USPS OIG has reported that "if the Postal Service continues the payment schedule required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (the Act), our calculations indicate that the Postal Service could over fund its retiree health care liability by $13.2 billion by the end of fiscal year 2016. The Postal Service could pay on average $4.0 billion less each year from FYs 2009 to 2016 to prefund its retiree health benefits and still achieve the same level of funding anticipated under OPM's assumptions. The net present value of the interest savings from the reduced payments is $5.95 billion. The funds should be put to better use.
  • Word has it that the green eyeshades over at the Office of Management and Budget have examined more closely the ideas that have been advanced thus far to help the Postal Service address the issue of its prefunding obligations retiree health benefits. A redraft of what today is know as H.R. 22 ("Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009") is being circulated and discussed within the Washington postal community.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has issued a notice of public forum on two issues it would like to further explore, to be held on August 11 at 1PM.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is facing the biggest deficit it has ever seen since it left the cocoon of being supported by tax revenues and became the self-supporting USPS we know today. A fixed cost idea to consider is the actual pay that postal employees receive, whether they are unionized or EAS, compared to that of their counterparts in the other government agencies. Here are the facts.
  • White House pressured to fix postal budget crisis. USPS debuts largest green roof in NYC. Direct mail volume flattens out. USPS gateway district profits with sox. Pharmaceutical returns program extended. UPS profits fall.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Short list of the many stories focusing on the potential post office and distribution center consolidation or closing.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

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The BBC has reported that "postal workers in London who are concerned about jobs and pay cuts will launch a strike on Saturday. About 12,000 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members will return to work on Wednesday."

As Inside Retailing has noted, "Australia Post has lodged a draft notification with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) proposing to increase the basic postage rate by five cents, effective from early 2010." See also The Western Australian.

The Winchester Star has reported that "After months of study, the U.S. Postal Service has decided to move its local mail-processing operation to Northern Virginia. The Winchester Post Office at 340 N. Pleasant Valley Road will no longer sort the mail. That function will be combined with the sorting operation at the Dulles Processing and Distribution Center about 50 miles to the east."

According to IOM Today, "disruption to mail services, mainly in the London area, is set to continue this weekend after the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) announced further stoppages. All London postcodes will suffer disruption to collections and deliveries tomorrow (Saturday) with the majority of postal staff returning to normal working by Monday."

Brazzil magazine has reported that "The experience of Brazil with exporting through the Postal Service is being reproduced in other countries. Peru and Uruguay have already created systems that emulate the Brazilian initiative. Colombia should do the same next month, and Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela are also interested, according to the International Business manager of the Postal Service, Djalma Lapuente da Rosa. Exporta Fácil (Easy Export), as the Postal Service export system is called, was established in 2002 as part of an effort of the Brazilian government to simplify the exporting process, granting micro and small businesses access to the foreign market and decentralizing foreign sales in the country, which are too focused on the South and Southeast regions of Brazil. Postal Service agencies are spread throughout the entire country, so the Exporta Fácil has made exporting easier for companies based in small Brazilian cities."

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence has noted that "Postal services in the East mainly in Trincomalee district are being developed under the "Eastern Reawakening" ("Neganahira Navodaya") Programme which is launched by the government after liberating the entire Eastern Province from the LTTE terrorists. Accordingly, new buildings for the post offices are now being constructed in Pulmodai, Kuchchaveli and Kurinjankerni areas, Trincomalee district Postal Superintendent Ranjith Karunanayake said. 70 million rupees are being spent for the development of the postal services in the east, the Postal Superintendent added. Massive postal development projects come under the Eastern Reawakening Programme to restore the administration in the east to normalcy."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
Global Expedited Package Services Contract ,
36785–36786 [E9–17701]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The New York Times has reported that "United Parcel Service, the world’s largest package delivery company, said on Thursday that its second-quarter earnings fell 49 percent as the recession cut business demand. It forecast that its profit in the third quarter will be lower than analysts’ projections."

From PR Newswire: "The U.S. Postal Service's international mail facility at New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport has earned its second consecutive Certificate of Excellence from a leading international association dedicated to improving service for postal customers around the world."

The Daily Mirror has reported that "The Department of Postal Services had issued around 1737 postal identity cards to school children through the mobile service held in the Vavuniya and Jaffna on the 11th and 12th of this month with the collaboration of the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Posts, M. S. Sellasamy said. The Deputy Minister said the mobile service conducted under the “Uthuru Wasanthaya” programme, introduced by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to develop the Northern Province, which has been badly affected by war, is done to improve the public service in the area. The Deputy Minister also said the general public of the area had been facing various difficulties due to the delays in the post and lack of telecommunication facilities as well."

According to the Prarie Post, "Although officials with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are pleased to see an independent advisory panel has not recommended the deregulation of public postal services, they are still concerned about the future of rural post offices."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

   

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HAVE YOU HAD IT WITH
"DO NOT MAIL" MANIA?
Then be sure to read:

* The Environmental Impacts of the Mail: Initial Life Cycle Inventory Model and Analysis (USPS study)
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* The many documents that serve as backup  (SLS Study) 
* How To Deal With "Do Not Mail" Mania (PostCom) 
* What You Need to Know About
Mail, the Economy, and Society
(PostCom) 
* U.S. Constitution, Article 1
Section 8:
"The  Congress 
[not the States] shall have power...To establish post offices and post roads."

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This Day in Postal History

Things You Should Know

Postal Facts
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