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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."


1901 N. Fort Myer Dr., Ste 401 * Arlington, VA 22209-1609 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 524 1871

Here is some of what's new in the Postal World:

November 20, 2008

According to the Prarie Post, "Canada Post — as a crown corporation entity — is poorly-run. Take for example Canada Post’s corporate structure. There’s one chief executive officer/president, one chief operating officer, one chief sales and marketing officer, one chief financial officer, nine senior vice-presidents and 11 regular vice-presidents. Wow, that’s some finely-tuned detailed administration. Quick, how many businesses do you know that have 21 members of the managing executive board? Canada Post is no longer the only game in town. Once people catch up with technology, Canada Post is going to suffer and they will be forced to look at operations."

Bloomberg has reported that "American Express Co., Meredith Corp. and Time Warner Inc. are among almost 50 businesses, unions and industry associations asking Congress to grant the U.S. Postal Service relief from government-mandated retiree health-insurance payments to help the agency weather the global financial crisis. The request, made in a Nov. 17 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, calls for an ``adjustment to the payment schedule which would preserve the law's requirement for full funding of the benefits, but lessen the financial demand on the Postal Service for several years.''

Jim Cochrane, the Postal Service's vice president for ground shipping, gave a truly excellent presentation on the Postal Service's package business at the most recent Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. A copy of that presentation has been posted on this site.

According to Information Week, "You may soon be able to use your cell phone like a debit card, as the GSM Association called for mainstream cell phones to sport near-field communication (NFC) technology by mid-2009. Shoppers in Japan have been utilizing the technology for years to buy items, and manage bank accounts on a cell phone, but the technology has been slow to catch on in other parts of the world. The GSMA thinks it can spur adoption by using the standard single wire protocol interface, which makes communication between NFC hardware and SIM cards possible. With an NFC-equipped handset, a customer could link their phone to a bank or credit card account and then make purchases by swiping the handset near a specially-designed terminal." [EdNote: Hmmmmm. Even fewer paper checks.]

USPS Press Release: "What costs pennies to operate, turns on a dime and will save the Postal Service thousands of dollars every year — all while reducing its carbon footprint? The T3 is the new battery-powered, three-wheeled delivery vehicle the Postal Service has been unveiling in eight cities over the past few weeks. It’s estimated that the T3 costs four cents a mile to operate. And at a time when each penny increase in gas prices translates into an $8 million annual increase in fuel costs for the Postal Service, it’s no wonder USPS is seeking ways to combat soaring costs and to minimize harmful effects to the environment. “The T3 is just one step in Delivery’s broader effort to reduce fuel costs,” said Delivery Vice President Jordan Small. The vehicle being tested has a top speed of 25 mph (for safety reasons, USPS production T3s will run at half that speed). And with field-swappable batteries, it’s got unlimited range."

From today's MTAC meeting: "The USPS today at the MTAC meeting announced an unprecedented route adjustment process as a result of a joint effort between the USPS and the NALC.  The USPS said it needs to eliminate 9200 city carrier routes in FY 2009 in order to meet its budget goals.  It said the route adjustments could impact 50 million addresses, 85,000-90,000 carrier routes and 5,000 delivery units.   The USPS already has eliminated 1100 routes a change that took effect November 15.  Adjustments will begin again on January 5 and continue until early April.  The USPS urged mailers to update their address lists on a monthly basis over the next 4-5 months because a significant number of routes may be changed or eliminated.  The USPS plans to post the information on its RIBBS web site as the adjustments are made."

If you haven't seen it yet, you gotta check it out. "The Chief." "Taub Is At Your Service." A really nice feature piece on Rep. John McHugh's long-time chief of staff, Robert Taub. If he's not the father of postal reform, he certainly had a hand in the structuring of its genetic code. Then when next you see him, ask him where he got the phrase "the bean's on your nose."

From PR Newswire: "41pounds.org offers the perfect holiday gift to help you share your Green lifestyle: the gift of a junk-free mailbox. The nonprofit 41pounds.org service stops your loved one's postal junk mail -- and keeps more trees in the forest providing oxygen for us to breathe and absorbing carbon to cool the planet. Gift certificates can be purchased and sent online at http://www.41pounds.org, or by phone." [EdNote: What a crock!]

TASR has reported that "Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico met Post Office general director Libor Chrast in Bratislava on Thursday to discuss a possible appeal against the European Commission's (EC) decision to force Slovakia to open its hybrid postal-service market to competition. The EC announced a legally-binding decision on October 7 that Slovakia must open up its hybrid postal services. The Slovak Post Office said at the time that it was very disappointed with the decision, which was welcomed by alternative postal-services operators. Hybrid post is a form of electronic postal service in which the sender sends mail electronically to an operator, who prints it out, puts it in envelopes and sends it to the addressees. The service is popular with firms such as banks, insurance and telecommunications companies that regularly send out large amounts of mail."

DI-VE has reported that "MaltaPost chairman Joseph Said confirmed on Thursday that the postal operator intends to expand into financial services."

Federal Register: "The Commission is noticing a recently filed Postal Service notice of changes to rates of general applicability for competitive products and related classification changes. The price changes are scheduled to become effective January 18, 2009. Comments are due December 1, 2008. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov.

Hellmail has reported that "Ukraine Minister of Transport and Communications, Joseph Vinsky has met with the general manager of the Universal Postal Union Edouard Dayan in Bern, Switzerland, to discuss ways to improve the world postal space and support universal postal services. During the meeting, Joseph Vinsky and Edward Dayan discussed the urgent need to improve the Ukrainian mail network. As Joseph Vinsky, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has completed the development of the State Program for the Development of Postal Service in Ukraine. He also stressed the importance of and the timeliness of focusing the international community to the development of postal financial services."

The Jamestown Sun has reported that "Allen Edward Prochnow 62, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Rodney S. Webb to a charge of delay and destruction of mail, according to United States Attorney Drew Wrigley. In entering his guilty plea, Prochnow admitted that he failed to deliver approximately four tons of mail while he was employed as a rural mail carrier in Wahpeton between 1998 and April 3, 2008. The pieces of mail were seized by federal agents when they searched his home on April 3." 

The Financial Times has reported that "First-half pre-tax profit at Business Post rose 25 per cent as the parcels and postal delivery group increased its share of the mail handling market. The group's UK Mail subsidiary now collects and sorts 13 per cent of postal items before handing them on to Royal Mail for delivery."

Rural Carrier Postal News has reported that "Once heralded as a shining example of labor – management cooperation in the Postal Service, the USPS-NRLCA QWL-EI program has outlived its usefulness and the NRLCA National Board has notified the Postal Service that it will withdraw its support from QWL-EI effective January 1, 2009."

Wiener Zeitung has reported that "Anton Wais, head of the Austrian postal service Post AG, pledged the rumoured 9,000 posts job axe is "certainly not going to happen” but the workers union keeps its strike warning valid."

Fijilive has reported that "Post Fiji Limited has formalised its partnership with the Escher Group to upgrade its counter automation system at its 29 online outlets throughout Fiji."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has honored the Pacific Area of the U.S. Postal Service for its commitment to voluntarily replace all lead wheel weights for approximately 31,000 fleet delivery vehicles -- removing more than 8,000 pounds of lead from its workplace operations and potential deposition into the environment.

Hellmail has reported that "Slovenian Post (Posta Slovenije) has improved access to postal services by expanding the range of services available on petrol forecourt. Posta Slovenije already has a postal network accessible through some petrol stations in Slovenia, but is now expanding the service to allow quick, easy and convenient ways to package and send items of correspondence. The convenience of out-of-hours postal services has proved so successful, Posta Slovenije is now stepping up the range of services on offer in a joint partnership with stations."

The USPS at the MTAC meeting has laid out its phased implementation plan for Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) Full Service.  The USPS plans 3 major releases of IMb:  May 11, 2009; Sept 2009 and "late fall" 2009.  The latter will occur prior to the IMb price change, the USPS noted.  The initial IMb release in May 2009 will not include full capabilities necessary to support some Full Service features.  For instance, Mail.XML will not be fully supported in May, but will be supported in the subsequent releases scheduled for Fall 2009.  The USPS will be publishing a detailed time line of which functions will be supported in which release.  The May 2009 release will support electronic documentation using Mail.dat 09.1 (except manifesting), provision of address correction and start-the-clock data, and other core functions.   Look for a more detailed report in this week's PostCom Bulletin.

Mediaweek has reported that "In the latest contraction of the computing magazine category, Ziff Davis Media said it would fold flagship PC Magazine with the January issue and convert the brand to an all-digital format at PCMag.com. All magazines are facing a tough road these days, but computing magazines had already been particularly impacted by readers’ growing preference for the Web. This year, 27-year-old PC Magazine was forced to cut its rate base to 600,000 from 700,000 and reduce frequency to 12 issues per year from about 25; its ad pages dropped 35.8 percent to 330 for the first six months of this year, per Publishers Information Bureau. Also this year, rival monthly PC World, published by International Data Group, cut its rate base to 600,000 from 710,000, citing growing paper, postal and ink costs."

November 19, 2008

DutchNews.nl has reported that "The cabinet will decide on Friday if the Dutch postal market for letters weighing under 50 grammes is to be entirely opened up to competition, news agency ANP reports. Ministers have been reluctant to go ahead because new postal delivery firms pay their delivery workers on a piece-rate basis, rather than a regular wage. But two firms, Sandd and Selekt Mail, have now made a deal with the unions which junior economic affairs minister Frank Heemskerk has described as 'a positive step'."

According to the Financial Times, "Spend! Spend! Spend! This seems set to be the theme for next week's pre-Budget report. Yet some ministers have started sloshing the cash around already, judging by the volte-face of James Purnell, work and pensions secretary, over the Post Office card account. He has axed a £1bn tender and allowed the Post Office to renew its five-year contract to run a card account for 4.5m people, with no competition. I am told this is causing some head-scratching in parts of Whitehall."

The Associated Press has reported that "UPS Inc. expects its busiest day overall for shipping packages this year will be Dec. 18."

From Business Wire: "While you make your holiday list -- and check it twice -- UPS is revving up its fleet of Brown sleighs for its 101st holiday Peak Season."

Aktualne.centrum.cz has reported that "Czech Post is in talks with a retail chain to provide basic postal services at supermarkets in smaller municipalities. Czech Posts plans to close 178 branches in smaller municipalities and is looking for alternative ways to provide postal services there. Franchising postal services to local supermarkets is one of the options. The company is also testing mail delivery by a scheduled postal vehicle."

The Press Association has reported that "Business Post said half-year profits rose 25% after the Royal Mail rival claimed a greater slice of the collection market. The Slough-based company said its mail operation, which picks up and sorts post ahead of delivery by Royal Mail, increased its market share by volume collected to 13%, compared to 11% six months earlier." See also the Financial Times.

According to Canada.com, "Decades ago, the November postal strike was a regular event. Striking in November was an effective bargaining strategy for the unions representing Canadian men and women responsible for our mail service. Fast forward to today and we again find ourselves in the midst of a November postal strike. Yawn. Canada Post is assuring Canadians that, despite the strike of 2,000 inside workers, it's business as usual for the other 60,000 mail workers. We thank you for that assurance, but frankly, we don't really care anymore. Sure, we don't like to see people out of work right now, but long, long, long gone are the days when postal delivery was an essential service. From e-cards to courier services, navigating our mail around a postal strike during the holiday season is a piece of -- dare we say -- fruitcake."

According to Vision Systems Design, "A new firmware release is available for handheld MAH200 and MAH300 series barcode readers, featuring a decoder that allows the barcode readers to handle the new USPS four-state barcode, also known as USPS OneCode Solution. In addition to reading these barcodes, the instruments include decoders for most linear and 2-D symbologies, with more than 40 decoders included in the unit. Connectivity is achieved with USB, PS/2, serial, or Bluetooth wireless interfaces. A high-capacity battery handle is available for extended operation without the need to recharge."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast 11.17.08
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and Grayhair Software vice presidents Angelo Anagnostopoulos and Everette Mills, Grayhair Software's manager, analytic services, in a discussion regarding the Intelligent Mail Barcode. This is the second in a series on IMB

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

The first nine months of the year 2008 have progressed comparatively well for Österreichische Post.
Schweizerische Post and the negotiating committees of the trade unions Kommunikation and Transfair have agreed on a new collective agreement for 2009.
While Anton Weis, CEO of Österreichische Post, had good news for shareholders - the base dividend is set to rise in 2009 - the news for workers was less good. The post would part with 65 per cent of its post office branches in the medium term.
The British regulatory authority Postcomm has proposed to separate the British post’s branch network from the rest of Royal Mail’s business.
TNT Post has reacted with strong criticism to a basic wage agreement negotiated between the trade unions and the post’s rivals Sandd and SelektMail.
Customers and operators of thousands of post office branches in Britain can breathe a sigh of relief. The government has awarded the contract for the Post Office Card Account to Royal Mail for a further five years.
The rise in Internet shopping has left Belgium’s La Poste with an increasing number of undeliverable consignments. The cause seems to be that numerous buyers on eBay provide an assumed name. This makes it impossible for the postmen to deliver the purchased item to the recipient. In addition, many senders forget to write their own details on the parcel or envelope, which means that the undeliverable consignments cannot be returned, either. The post keeps the consignments for six months, after which paper documents are shredded. Valuable consignments are auctioned and the proceeds remain with the post.
The Federal Council of Germany has recommended to the government that it grants the current VAT exemption to all postal service providers "that provide the respective universal service across the whole country". service provider that offers shipping throughout the whole federal territory. This means that a parcel could also be made exempt from value-added tax, just like Deutsche Post. 
Poczta Polska hopes to return to the profit zone through drastic cost reductions.
Hans Boon, secretary general of the Armenian Haypost, has retired from his position under curious circumstances.
According to CEP News information Trans-o-Flex, the express subsidiary company of Österreichische Post, is being restructured.
UPS is using a newly developed printing technology by Hewlett-Packard in order to be able to print delivery data directly onto parcels rather than onto paper labels.
The EU Commission has ruled that there were no illegal subsidies during the inter-company distribution of civil service pensions between France’s La Poste and the Banque Postale in 2006.
With around 67,000 vehicles, the French La Poste owns one of the biggest vehicle fleets in France. The company now appears to have high hopes on electric vehicles in order to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 per cent by 2012.
The Polish national intelligence service ABW plans to collect and store address and sender details on all envelopes.
The association of Spanish travel agencies (FEAAV) will work with Unipost, the biggest private postal operator in the country in future.
The Magyar Posta has to pay a fine for impermissible agreements. The Hungarian antitrust authority GVH had accused the post and the newspaper distributor of entering into an agreement in the period 1998 to 2005 not to compete with each other.
The medical-pharmaceutical sector remains appealing for logistics and express companies. UPS is planning to set up a hub in Puerto Rico, which will cater to the special requirements of this area.
Ver.di has called for warning strikes against the German post’s parcel subsidiary company DHL.

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.)

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Chief Executive Scott Davis said he supports a short-term stimulus package. But the government needs to look at the problem holistically because it is a global crisis, Davis said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference.


The Postal Service's November 2008 8-K Filing is available on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site.

The Times has reported that "The Post Office is in talks with the Bank of Ireland to offer a current account that would give customers an unlimited guarantee on deposits. Ministers are under pressure to use the Post Office to create a public sector “people’s bank” that will provide basic financial services to those who most need them. Royal Mail, which runs the Post Office, is understood to be in discussions with the Bank of Ireland, which already runs a number of its existing financial services."

November 18, 2008

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Snapshots Slovak Republic Postal Services 2008" report to their offering."

An edited transcript from Commissioner Ruth Goldway’s keynote talk at Parcel Forum in Chicago last month has been posted to the Postal Regulatory Commission website.

As Parcel magazine has noted, "The recent rash of DHL announcements may have left you with more questions than answers. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." And in spite of what rumors you might have heard, DHL will maintain a presence in the US."

As AuctionBytes has noted, "The U.S. Postal Service announced that Express Mail "Hold For Pickup" is now available for online shippers. Express Mail packages can be held at Post Offices for pickup for security (convenient for residential deliveries), and customers can choose Express Mail Hold For Pickup service through Click-N-Ship on usps.com. A Hold For Pickup package is shipped directly to a Post Office, instead of being left at the recipient's address. The package is then held at the Post Office until picked up anytime during office hours."

The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703.248. 2201, or Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.  

An archive of the oversight hearing for Board of Governors Nominee Robert McGowan is now available online.

DMM Advisory:  "See usps.com/prices for all of the new shipping services prices announced last week. We have links to downloadable pricing files and links to the Federal Register notices for domestic and international services, with detailed information about the changes, and we will add other information as it becomes available."

The Azeri Press Agency has reported that "One of nine proposals Azerbaijan put forward for the amendment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Convention has been accepted. The proposal makes possible mutual debt billing among postal operators, settlement of problems in preparation of statistical reports and misunderstanding in auditing."

Puls Biznesu has reported that "The liberalization of the postal market due in 2012, will cut income of Poczta Polska, the Polish Post (PP). The financial gap should be made up by financial services."

According to Hellmail, "with TNT and other rivals taking an even greater share of the business mail market, the government seemingly unsure of quite what to do about the universal service, post offices, and exactly how to regulate the market in a way that is sustainable, Royal Mail is in no position to stand still. The group has repeatedly said that is losing money on the USO hand over fist, and has already lost a quarter of its business to competitors. Some estimates now put that figure at closer to a third."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Direct mail and print company Mail and Print Services (MPS) has created the first fully-biodegradable window envelope to be approved by Royal Mail. The MPS Envirlope features a paper-based transparent window instead of plastic film."

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, the chatter surrounding a recent Associated Press piece involving the Postmaster General and Countrywide is a disgrace. "What a wonderful way to reward good people for public service," Del Polito said. "Just think, if you have the guts to forgo millions of dollars in private sector salaries and benefits for the sake of public service, you earn for yourself to have your integrity questioned and your name dragged through every muddy puddle people can find. This is disgusting, and it shouldn't be tolerated."

Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission is adding Priority Mail Contract 3 (MC2009-4 and CP2009-5) to the Competitive Product List. It is also noticing a related contract. These actions are consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a related Postal Service request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. Effective November 18, 2008.

According to the American Postal Workers Union, "As the Bush administration prepares to leave office, it is giving workers one more kick in the teeth: The Department of Labor announced last week that it would implement new regulations [PDF] governing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that will make it harder for workers who are covered by the law to use the leave."

The Guam Pacific Daily News has reported that "the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued citations at two Guam facilities for underground storage tank violations. They issued citations to the U.S. Post Office Main Facility for a $500 penalty and Triple J Motors for $600. The Post Office had release detection violations." 

The Olympian has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is losing $345,000 a year by consolidating Olympia mail services with Tacoma, said Olympia postal employees picketing Monday outside the Jefferson Street post office. But a spokesman for the post office says the Postal Service is actually saving money through the consolidation as expected. Picketers provided a written review of the merger by the federal agency that shows $345,000 in ongoing added expenses. Documents also show it cost $1.2 million to initially consolidate the mail services. "It took two years for them to do that review, and they finally admitted it was a $1.5 million loss," said John Libert, a steward with the Olympia Local of the American Postal Workers Union."

Direct has reported that "Direct Brands, the parent company of book club marketer Bookspan, has let a handful of employees go over the last few months. The company may be reducing, if not eliminating, its reliance on direct mail as a prospecting tool, sources speculated. Najafi Companies acquired Direct Group North America, which includes Bookspan, Columbia House and Book-of-the-Month Club, as well as other brands, from Bertelsmann AG in July. Najafi Companies changed its name to Direct Brands in August."

Bloomberg has reported that "Major League Baseball will hold talks with DHL about the future of its sponsorship agreements after the Deutsche Post AG unit withdrew from the U.S. express- delivery market."

The Canadian Press has reported that "Canada Post administration and technical staff went on strike early Monday in a dispute over disability and family-leave benefits. The 2,100 members of the Union of Postal Communications Employees include counter staff, technical support and other support positions. Canada Post issued a statement late Sunday saying mail delivery would not be affected by the walkout, which follows a breakdown of negotiations last week." See also The Gazette.

The Star has reported that "Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said as of Oct 31, RM16mil in commission had been paid to Pos Malaysia for handling cash, postal orders, money orders and bank transactions for petrol rebates."

As KIMT has noted, "In an ever increasing effort to save money the U.S. Postal Service is encouraging green routes. Neither the elements nor a bad economy can stop U.S. mail carriers. But to save a little green the USPS is doing a little adjusting. "Right now we are in the process of doing minor route adjustments. They'll help us eliminate using a car which will help cut costs. They call them green routes," said Mason City Postmaster Scott Pardoe."

According to The Herald, "The Post Office should be separated from the Royal Mail to give the business greater commercial freedom, the industry's regulator suggested yesterday. Postcomm said the government should consider the demerger to enable the two "very different" businesses to focus more attention on their "significant, but divergent" problems. Separation would provide an opportunity to reinforce the identity of each business, one a retail network with a social role, the other made up of communications and logistics with a commercial focus, said Postcomm."

The e-Consultancy has reported that "Mehdiward, software developers and systems integrators, have released Postcode Server Web Edition (WE) a solution to allow e-commerce and database users to validate UK postal addresses against the Royal Mail PAF file."

Here's one from Blogging Stocks. "Can companies raise prices in a recession? UPS and FedEx will." [EdNote: And you can add to that the U.S. Postal Service, paper manufacturers, ink manufacturers, and a long, long list of others.]

November 17, 2008

The Dead Tree Edition has reported that "Postal officials are hinting of another delay in implementing the Intelligent Mail Barcode, just three months after insisting the key initiative was on schedule. Information-technology issues are causing the latest delay to the ill-fated IMB program, resulting in a three-phase implementation, a source told Dead Tree Edition. A full-service option with rate incentives was supposed to be introduced in May 2009, with IMB becoming mandatory in May 2010. The U.S. Postal Service decided early this year to delay implementation because of unresolved customers concerns. The IMB will provide a unique identification to each piece and container of mail, enabling the Postal Service (and mailers) to track the flow of mail and to optimize mail handling. Mailers and their vendors, especially printers, have been complaining for years that their input has been ignored by postal officials who were developing the IMB program. For example, there have been battles over whether the specifications for the barcode itself could be met by the printers' inkjet equipment. MTAC meetings relating to IMB have reportedly become increasingly contentious in recent months, and many issues needed for implementation have yet to be resolved."

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "New standards for letter-size catalogs, aka “slim-jims,” could be released by the end of the year, says U.S. Postal Service spokesperson David Partenheimer. “We plan on publishing new standards for slim-jims in the Federal Register soon, based on the results of this year's testing,” he says. The tall skinny trim size (roughly 6-1/8" × 11-1/2" and typically up to 1/4" thick) is cheaper to mail than a full-size book, and uses less paper. But a proposed rule adjustment to slim-jim requirements by the USPS could eliminate significant savings. The Postal Service says that slim-jims are too fat under the current requirements, and the tabs required to seal the pages aren't strong enough. These factors are causing to jam the USPS's automated processing equipment. The Postal Service wants to change the size standards for slim-jims, cutting down thickness — and therefore page count — by nearly half. It also wants to beef up tabbing requirements, which could affect catalog open rates. Partenheimer says the first round of Federal Register notices will announce the changes the USPS hopes to implement. “Customers will have about 45 days to comment on our proposal and then we will retool our standards as much as operationally feasible to accommodate the concerns they express, he says."

Uni Global Union has told its members that "UNI Post & Logistics affiliate in Hong Kong, PEG (Postal & Express Workers General Union), have been organising workers in DHL Hong Kong into their union and have been seeking access to DHL workplaces so they can meet workers and discuss union membership and the issues they face as logistics workers. However DHL management have refused access to DHL workplaces to UNI and PEG claiming that this would favour one union over another."

  According to Logistics Management, "it is possible that the U.S. parcel market will return to a basic duopoly until the USPS makes major technology, pricing, and operational improvements."  

As Advertising Age has noted, "If you think you're insulated from the death rattle of Detroit, think again. General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler together accounted for 3.3% of 2007 U.S. measured ad spending, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of TNS Media Intelligence data. Big deal? Yes -- as in $4.6 billion in measured spending."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. has dropped plans to reveal how much extra business it expects during the upcoming U.S. holiday season, highlighting a weakening economy and the continuing decline in retail-sector activity. The largest U.S. package shipper by volume traditionally forecasts the volume it expects on the peak days before Christmas as personal and business-to-consumer traffic climaxes ahead of the holiday. In what has been a show of logistical prowess, the company has also revealed how many temporary workers it would hire for the seasonal surge." See also Reuters.

United Press International has reported that "Rain, sleet and hail notwithstanding, the U.S. Postal Service said it would cut service hours after losing $2.8 billion at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. With national mail volume dropping 4.5 percent in the year ending Sept. 30, the agency is offering 156,000 employees early retirement, said spokesman Gerald McKiernan, USA Today reported Monday."

According to the DM Bulletin, "Unpersonalised direct mail is more likely to be seen as harmful to the environment than mailouts that are personally addressed and delivered by the postman, new research has found. The survey found that 46% of people view unpersonalised leaflets, coupons and samples as being bad for the environment, compared with 20% of people holding the same opinion for personalised direct mail." [EdNote: This kind of thinking is not only wrong-headed, it's not particularly good for the economy or universal mail service...provided by a state operator or the private sector.]

The International Business Times has reported that "Newgistics Inc., the nation's only provider of postal-based solutions addressing the areas of small parcel delivery, returns management and mail-processing solutions, today announced a customized program specifically for small parcel residential shippers impacted by DHL Express' recent announcement that it is exiting the express and ground delivery business in the United States. Newgistics will work with DHL Express clients to gain a complete understanding of their small parcel shipping needs and develop a comprehensive solution that is tailored to address each business' specific needs. Newgistics' customized program will help businesses impacted by the recent announcement work through this critical period while fully optimizing their shipping environment."

The Saipan Tribune has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service on Saipan saw a significant drop in mails received in Fiscal Year 2008 covering the period from October 2007 to September 2008. Postmaster Hector Medina said the decreased volume amounts to about 9 percent and the biggest drop was in business mails."

Federal Register:  "The Postal Service gives notice of its intent to file a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add the Canada Post-- United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement for Inbound Competitive Services to the Competitive Products List pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642. DATES: November 17, 2008."

The Press has reported that "strike action by York postal workers during the busy run-up to Christmas got one step closer over the weekend. Members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) unanimously voted to ballot for strike action over a controversial decision to stop sorting second-class mail at the Leeman Road depot. The decision comes as the company prepares for its busiest period. Royal Mail delivers 4.1 million items in the YO postcode area on an average week, but this figure rises to 5.5 million in the week before Christmas."

The Telegraph has reported that "Almost a quarter of customers at post offices are spending ten minutes or more queuing, a survey has found."

Voxy has reported that "New Zealand Post today launched a new online service to help household customers redirect mail."

The Cambridge News has reported that "late deliveries of post are causing havoc for businesses and residents across Cambridge, it has been claimed. Since the News revealed that several postal rounds in the city have been cut, causing a massive backlog of post at the city's Henley Road delivery office, we have been inundated with reports of delivery problems. Some businesses claim they have not received any post on some days, while others say mail is arriving as late as 3pm, owing to the new, longer rounds imposed on the city's postmen and women."

The Associated Press has reported that "The Postal Service is investigating whether the nation's postmaster general improperly received a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp., the chairman of the service's governing board said. Postmaster General John E. Potter is one of several prominent current and former U.S. officials who received discounts and other benefits from the mortgage giant. The Postal Service has hired an outside investigator to review the deal, which reportedly included one shaved point and waived fees for Potter's $322,700 loan. "We're taking it seriously enough that we wanted it reviewed and we didn't want it done internally," the chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, Alan Kessler, told The Associated Press. Potter did not return an e-mail seeking comment, and a Postal Service spokesman said the postmaster general would have no comment. Potter told the magazine in August that he did not know he was getting a deal on the loan."

Asia Pulse has reported that "The Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan has considered a draft law "On the introduction of changes and amendments to the Law of Uzbekistan "On postal communication" in the second reading on 11 November. The draft law improves legal base for activity of enterprises in postal communication in Uzbekistan in line with the modern trends on development of postal and courier markets. The amendments offers new model of organization of relations in postal service market, which will also separate postal and courier services markets. Courier markets will be also regulated with the Law "On postal communication". The law guarantees rendering of universal services on affordable prices. The law also sets special authorized body, which will ensure that universal services rendered in line with the legislation."

GMA News has noted that "The trend in postal mail deliveries is decreasing with the increasing access to the Internet of the urban populace, according to regional officials of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost)."

MarketWire has reported that "Canada Post has presented a final offer to the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE), in an attempt to avert a strike that could begin as early as tomorrow. Talks between Canada Post and the UPCE, part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) broke off last week." See also CNews.

"In an effort to optimize and maximize the effectiveness of the services provided by its Postal Technology Centre (PTC), the UPU has signed an agreement with the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (PUASP), making the Montevideo Regional Support Centre a worldwide technical support centre. The UPU has five Regional Support Centres (Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, Tanzania (United Rep.) and Singapore), which are attached to the PTC in Berne.   The new worldwide technical support centre will allow the UPU to improve its service provision to operators."

Advertising Age has reported that "Satellite-TV firm Dish Network and ad-tech firm Invidi struck an agreement last week that involves "advanced receivers," "targeted advertising delivery" and "dynamic commercial insertion." The Dish-Invidi pact calls for developing of the ability to sell ads that can be sent to specific households based on geographic and demographic information."

November 16, 2008

The Federal Times has reported that "Add the U.S. Postal Service to the list of ailing businesses seeking help from Congress. The agency asked Congress last week to allow it to dip into a trust fund to pay for its retirees’ health care. The board asked Congress last week to waive the $2.3 billion contribution. Instead, the Postal Service would pay this year’s health care premiums out of the trust fund — a short-term savings, but one that leaves potential risk for future retirees. Kessler said he was confident that Congress would approve the request, possibly as soon as this week. But it will likely meet some skepticism on Capitol Hill, such as from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has spoken publicly about the importance of health care for postal retirees. Collins’ office did not respond to a request for comment."

As Hellmail put it: "The French certainly know their own minds and despite the French government deciding to call a halt (for the moment) to a partial sell-off of La Poste to raise capital ahead of full liberalisation, amidst fears it could face knock-down bids in a recession, postal workers still plan to strike on Saturday regardless. To be fair, it isn't just postal workers protesting this week. Railway and airport workers are none too happy either. With a worsening global crisis and the prospect of many jobs lost as a result, French unions are looking for positive action on the part of the government to make the best of a what looks likely to be extremely lean times. That said, once the French decide to do something." See also Reuters.

The Sunday Post has reported that "The Revenue Commissioners has collected more than €2 million in duty and Vat from over 240,000 parcels this year, including packages containing electrical goods, fashion items and medicines. Some of these were ordered online for €85, but the Revenue subsequently sought a 17 per cent duty charge, 21 per Vat charge and postal charges from their purchasers." 

November 15, 2008

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of former USPS senior assistant postmaster general and former Parcel Shippers Association executive director Jim Jellison. Our prayers are with his family.

Postalnews.com has posted a link to minutes of a meeting held November 12 between the USPS and NAPS.

Politico has reported that "Six members of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team for government operations worked in the Clinton administration, and one of them runs a consulting firm that has listed Freddie Mac as a client. The group will review the nuts and bolts of federal agencies, from managing government property to hiring government workers to handling national archives and official records. The other two members of the transition team include Stephen Crawford, a deputy director of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, who’ll work on the U.S. Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission; and Jane Woodfin, legislative director in Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s Senate office, who’ll work on the GSA review."

Uni Global Union has reported that "UNI affiliate in Austria, GPF is taking strike action to prevent further post office closures which they say are bad for the population and destroy of jobs. They are also protesting outsourcing are are demanding that there be no further outsourcing of service and sorting."

The Miami Herald has reported that "Swamped by illegal shipment of packages, the economic crisis and competition by the U.S. Postal Service, private Cuba shipping firms are witnessing an unprecedented collapse of their business, according to industry representatives in South Florida. For the first time in a long time, industry executives are seeing major decreases of up to 50 percent in their operations. Low sales have forced cutbacks in personnel, curbs on the frequency of package shipments and deep service discounts."

The Jakarta Post has reported that "The Attorney General's Office (AGO) announced Friday it was ready to bring president director of state postal company PT Pos Indonesia Hana Suryana to court for his alleged role in a graft case."

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

  • Postmaster General Jack Potter and USPS Chief Financial Officer Glen Walker this week briefed the Board of Governors about the Postal Service’s financial situation and its net loss of $2.8 billion for FY 2008. Potter addressed the Postal Service’s volume losses and the resulting increase in postal debt, and detailed current efforts to help offset the deficit.
  • The USPS will increase prices for all shipping services, beginning in early 2009. Prices will increase January 18 for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, and some international shipping products. New prices for mailing services will be announced in February 2009 and become effective 90 days later.
  • The USPS will increase prices for all shipping services, beginning in early 2009. Prices will increase January 18 for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, and some international shipping products. New prices for mailing services will be announced in February 2009 and become effective 90 days later.
  • The Quad/Graphics postal and technology forum drew a large number of attendees to Wisconsin last week despite the dismal state of the U.S. economy. Sessions included Intelligent Mail barcode implementation, move update compliance, greening the mail, co-mail, “slim jim” testing, distribution and mail delivery, and USPS pricing initiatives.
  • The Postal Service says benefits gained from Intelligent Mail barcodes will more than justify mailers’ expense and participation. Still many mailers question whether imposing an IMB requirement in the absence of any immediate recognition in postal prices will produce enough benefits to justify the necessary investments in equipment and technology. PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance examines the issues in this postal perspective.
  • Postal Service says it won’t cut 40,000 employees. USPS recognized for IT leadership. Senate to hold confirmation hearing on BOG nominee McGowan.
  • Postal previews.
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HAVE YOU HAD IT YET 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)

* 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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