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Association for Postal Commerce
"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"

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September 4, 2007

One of our correspondents has reported that "the Teamsters and UPS are very close to an agreement on their contract that expires next summer. it would appear that an agreement will be signed by October 1. The agreement will include UPS's withdrawal from the troubled Central States Pension Plan with payment of a substantial withdrawal liability payment that could be as high as $6 billion. In its place UPS will establish a joint UPS/Teamsters pension plan for the employees that used to participate in the Central States Plan. UPS will not be withdrawing from multiemployer plans that serve employees in the Western United States, Middle Atlantic States, the Chicago metropolitan area and New England. This is good news for parcel shippers as it eliminates any risk of a strike and should reduce UPS's pension expenses going forward giving it more flexibility to price its products. With lower costs, the agreement should give UPS more options to compete in a more aggressive pricing environment that would develop in 2008 if domestic volumes do not pick up from today's depressed levels."

From the Federal Register: "A recently-enacted federal law directs the Commission to develop rules to implement a new postal ratemaking system. This proposal responds to that directive by presenting rules addressing market dominant and competitive products, including negotiated service agreements, the regulatory calendar, and product lists. This document incorporates a revision identified in an errata notice. Issuance of this document will allow the Commission to consider comments and, if appropriate, to make revisions prior to adoption of final rules. Submit comments by September 24, 2007; submit reply comments by October 9, 2007. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov."

According to PrintWeek, "A new business post service has been launched that offers a faster, cheaper and more simple service by utilising a network of firms to print and insert the documents near the point of delivery. ViaPost uses free software that integrates with most desktop applications to send customers' documents securely to a print site local to the recipient for production and inserting. The Royal Mail provides final-mile delivery."

The Greenville News has reported that "A rural postal carrier charged with abandoning 176 pieces of mail is scheduled to go on trial Wednesday in Greenville, according to federal court records. Robert McWhorter was working for the U.S. Postal Service in Iva on Jan. 3 when authorities allege that he quit and put the third-class mail in a recycling bin, according to an indictment."

The Stamp Collecting Roundup has reported that "later this week, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) will issue commemorative stamps on the theme “Humanitarian Mail”.

The Jerusalem Post has reported that "Although the finance and communications minister signed and announced a document Monday that supposedly raises postal rates, the Israel Postal Company said it was "premature as discussions on new services and rates have not yet been concluded."

The Daily Record has reported that "Scotland has the worst postal service in the UK, according to the Royal Mail's own figures. The six poorest performing postcode areas in Britain for delivering first-class mail the next day are north of the Border."

News.com.au has noted that "About 20,000 postal workers will take part in the ballot from September 14, tipped to be Australia's largest since the introduction of WorkChoices. If successful, postal strikes of up to 48 hours could be imposed across the country."

From PR Web: "The postal zip code utility at postalcodelookup.ca allows users to quickly find complete mailing and geographical data in the United States and Canada. Even when only partial information is available, users can enter incomplete zip or postal codes and browse through an alphabetized list of matches that includes city names, states or provinces, counties, time zones, telephone area codes, maps and complete postal or zip codes."

September 3, 2007

According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "it would be a real shame if the current service performance exercise is imprudently turned into a turf war designed merely to satisfy the ego needs of some participants."

DI-VE has reported that "The cabinet of ministers has approved the transfer of 25 percent of shares the government holds in Maltapost plc. to Lombard Bank plc. The second of three phases of the privatisation of Maltapost now sees Lombard Bank as the holder of 60 percent of the shares in the company." See also Malta Media.

AllAfrica.com has reported that "Growth in the use of the Internet and mobile messaging in Uganda have led to a gradual decline in volume of letters posted and received domestically and abroad."

Asia Pulse has reported that "The United States Postal Service (USPS) on Friday revived the zip code and domestic rate services in the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands. USPS made the announcement during the USPS two-day workshop for postmasters and post office managers throughout the Pacific. USPS terminated these services during the Marshall Islands and FSM Compact renegotiation in 2003. Palau Vogel, Managing Director, Global Business and Senior Vice President of USPS made the announcement."

Asia Pulse has reported that "The Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) hosts the 14th business meeting of postal agencies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Aseanpost) scheduled from September 4 to 6 in Makati City."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail and other postal operators will face a new competitive challenge next month, with the launch of a service that promises to cut the cost of business mail and reduce the carbon emissions of sending letters through the post. Viapost will allow customers to e-mail letters to distribution centres around the country, where they will be printed out, folded and sorted before being handed over to local Royal Mail distribution centres for final delivery to the recipients. Although Royal Mail will deliver for Viapost over "the final mile", the new service is likely to take business from its collection and sorting business where it has already lost a large share of the market to competitors such as TNT Post and UK Mail."

Business Day has reported that "The Association of Nigerian Courier Operators (ANCO) has called for an all-inclusive postal committee to address issues relating to both postal and couriers sub-sectors or separate the two sub-sectors."

The Jamaica Gleaner has reported that "Postmaster General and CEO of the Postal Corporation of Jamaica, Michael Gentles, is confident that the nation's mail operations will be back on track shortly. Much of the island's road network was blocked by debris following the ravages of Hurricane Dean on Sunday, August 19. Some post offices also suffered minor structural damage."

Forbes has reported that "PIN Group AG and TNT NV's TNT Post Germany have founded a new employers' association to scupper a minimum wage of 9-10 eur sought by rival Deutsche Post World Net AG."

September 2, 2007

German mail and logistics group Deutsche Post is planning to launch a free newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) said.

September 1, 2007

The New York Times has noted that "Optimists are hard to find in the magazine and newspaper businesses these days. Most print publishers worry that the Internet is taking over as the primary means of conveying information."

WIZM has claimed that "The days of the traditional mail truck could be coming to an end. Recently, the U.S. postal service in LaCrosse purchases some vans and station wagons for their mail carriers to cruise the neighborhoods in. Supervisor Nancy Shermerhorn says the new mail cars provide extra safety because they have windows in the back and sides. But, she wouldn't confirm this will mark the end of the traditional mail trucks. But, a postman we ran into yesterday says the new cars will eventually replace all of the old trucks."

From PR Newswire: "Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD) today announced that it has entered into a five-year master purchase order with Northrop Grumman for the purchase of up to $200 million in Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) test cartridges and associated materials. The anthrax test is currently used in Biohazard Detection Systems (BDS), installed at United States Postal Service (USPS) mail processing centers nationwide. The agreement covers the USPS fiscal years of 2007 through 2011. Cepheid began supplying USPS with GeneXpert(R) modules and anthrax test cartridges in 2003."

From Cox News Service (the people who own Valpak): "How to ax your junk mail."

Reuters has reported that "German mail and logistics group Deutsche Post and Deutsche Lufthansa's air freight division plan to create a joint cargo carrier, Germany's competition regulator, the cartel office, said on Friday. The companies have applied for approval to set up a "joint airline for cargo flights", according to the authorities. A spokesman for Post's DHL express delivery division told Reuters on Friday it planned to expand its cooperation with Lufthansa, without giving further details."

AZG Armenia  Daily has reported that "HayPost (Armenian Post) said yesterday it has lost more than AMD 2 billion in past years due to systemic violation of vehicle fleet management procedures. It said it asked police to investigate into potential fraud and embezzlement. Based on the results of internal investigation into the management and operations of the vehicle fleet department of HayPost, the company revealed serious violations of working procedures by a large number of employees and officials of HayPost supposedly involving fraud and embezzlement, and inflicting significant losses on the company. This concerns procurement and usage of petrol, usage of vehicles, and repairs and maintenance of vehicles."

August 31, 2007

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

  • In this essay by Mackinac Center for Public Policy economist Chrtistina M. Cohn, she claims private competition would be very effective against the USPS, and that there is historical precedent for saying so.

  • USPS offers new procedure for periodical mailing applications. Federal executive bonuses getting congressional scrutiny. Discovery Channel will spotlight USPS.

  • TNT asks staff for wage freeze. Deutsche Post fudging its rates? Postcomm says Royal Mail failing competition. Australia Post sticks to its offer.

  • A list of upcoming postal-related events.

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Postal Regulatory Chairman Dan G. Blair will be the guest on the IBM Business of Government Hour at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 1 on WJFK radio (106.7 FM). The station will have live streaming audio available at the WJFK website (www.wjfk.com)

From the U.S. Postal Service: "Pay consultations with the Postal Service and the National Association of Postal Supervisors, The National League of Postmasters and the National Association of Postmasters of the United States have concluded, resulting in a four-year compensation package that will remain in effect through fiscal year 2010."

Analytiqa has reported that "DHL has been selected as the exclusive small package delivery provider for the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., one of the largest regional department store chains in the US. DHL will provide US domestic Express and home delivery services, supporting The Bon-Ton store's entire network."

Financial Times Deutschland has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, is planning to replace its head of finance, Edgar Ernst, earlier than expected. Mr Ernst's contract is not due to expire until November 2010. Sources close to the group say that Deutsche Post is examining possible replacements and that it is also searching for a successor for Bernd Boecken, Mr Ernst's deputy. A spokesperson for the company has denied that it wants to replace Mr Ernst but has confirmed that it is looking for a successor for Mr Boecken, who is to retire next March when he turns 65."

The Straits Times has reported that "THE Group CEO of Singapore Post Limited (SingPost), Lau Boon Tuan resigned on Friday to pursue other opportunities. He will also step down as Director of SingPost. Mr Lau has been SingPost's Group CEO since February 2005."

The Globe and Mail has reported that "Canada Post is following Britain's example, and offering free delivery of mail to Canadian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world."

From BusinessWire: "Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c67052) has announced the addition of "Five Factors That Will Shape The Future Of The Express Industry" to their offering. The express industry is set to undergo drastic transition driven by growing globalization, deregulation of the postal sector, the wave of mergers and alliances and the booming e-commerce industry. This brief contains a strategic overview of the upcoming trends in the European express market and a detailed discussion of the positive and negative effects of these trends."

Logistics Business Review has reported that "Mail and logistics company Norway Post has recorded a 17.8% increase in first half revenue, while also registering an increase in costs. Going forward, the company aims to cut costs by improving efficiencies and by further decreasing its dependence on the domestic postal market, but faces a tough challenge given the increasingly competitive environment in which it operates.

As DM News postal commentator Cary Baer has noted, "During the past few weeks, both the Senate and the House have held so-called oversight hearings concerning the Postal Service. This hearing also featured testimony from a number of high-ranking members of Washington-based postal-oriented trade associations. To me, however, the most significant testimony came from Mike Winn, director of postal affairs and mailing operations for R.R. Donnelley and a member of Postcom’s Board of Directors. Winn was able to provide testimony based on his experiences and responsibilities at Donnelley."

Banking Technology has reported that "Citi Markets & Banking and Eurogiro, a low value payments network of postal organisations and financial institutions, are collaborating to extend their payment networks. The alliance will bring together Eurogiro's 61 connections in 50 countries with Citi's existing payment network encompassing over 100 countries. Eurogiro's members will benefit from Citi's distribution capacity and payment offerings, while Citi and its customers will gain access to Eurogiro's distribution network and products."

According to Nepal News, "Postal services have came to a complete halt with the postal employees announcing closure of all the post offices around the country from Friday to protest government’s 'indifference' towards fulfilling their demands."

PrintWeek has reported that "Finishing kit manufacturer Buhrs is in the midst of potentially its largest-ever deal, having so far installed six 4700 Film Wrapping Systems at Deutsche Post sites in Germany."

ABC Regional has reported that "Australia Post staff throughout regional New South Wales, including the New England and north-west, are likely to take industrial action next month in a push for more pay. The Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union (CEPU) says staff are not satisfied with the latest enterprise bargaining agreement that has been offered to them."

The Hindu has noted that "for the first time in the country, the movement of mail vehicles in Chennai will be monitored with the help of global positioning system."

The Economic Times has reported that "Matching steps with the growing competition from private courier firms, the Delhi Post is targeting corporate houses to generate more revenues by flaunting a well-established network across the country. India Post's Delhi Circle, responsible for postal services in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has launched a special service, Mail Business Centres (MBC), for private companies, through which postal staff will not only collect the companies' bulk mail, but will also place them in envelopes and label them with the recipients' address."

August 30, 2007

From eGovMonitor: "Royal Mail today announced that Stephen Carter, Chief Executive of Brunswick Group LLP, has been appointed as a Non Executive Director. Stephen was Chief Executive of OFCOM between 2003 and 2007 and before that Managing Director of NTL Ltd, the cable, broadband and telecommunications business between 2000 and 2002. Royal Mail Chairman Allan Leighton said: "I am delighted to welcome Stephen to Royal Mail. He brings a wealth of experience from the worlds of telecoms, marketing and regulation to the Board at a time when we are facing increasing competition from a range of other communications media as well as rival postal operators."

From the U.S. Postal Service: "In today’s Postal Bulletin [PDF] | [HTML], we introduce a new application procedure for publishers seeking Periodicals mailing privileges. The “New Launch” procedure provides an alternative process to apply for and obtain Periodicals mailing privileges under the “general” or “requester” categories. Publishers who use this procedure are not initially required to meet traditional circulation standards at the time of application. Publishers seeking Periodicals mailing privileges under the New Launch procedure have up to 15 months from the date of initial application to file an updated PS Form 3500, Application for Periodicals Mailing Privileges, with the appropriate circulation criteria and to provide documentation showing compliance with Periodicals circulation standards. The new procedure is available beginning August 30, 2007."

Ha'aretz (tongue-in-cheek) warned its readers: "Watch out, Walla. Take heed, Google: the Israel Postal Company will shortly be competing in the electronic arena to provide e-mail boxes and services to customers, if not in other areas controlled by the online giants. The postal service's motivation is simple: It must prepare for an era when regular mail, featuring envelopes and a stamp, disappears altogether and is replaced by electronic communications." See also the Jerusalem Post.

From the National Association of Major Mail Users: Canada Post and the mailing industry meet to present and review the impact of the 2008 rate case as well as the strategic development of all major postal products and services. A vital session you won’t want to miss.

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

The first half of 2007 has produced mixed outcomes at Posten Norge.
Speculation surrounding a new major shareholder boosted Deutsche Post as well as TNT stock prices last Thursday. Apparently Apax, together with UPS, plans to bid 28 euros per Deutsche Post share for the remaining stake which is still held by the state-owned bank KfW, a trader told the news agency »Reuters«.
The relationship between the executive board at Österreichische Post and the workers’ representatives has apparently broken down.
If Royal Mail does not succeed in modernising its business and drastically cutting costs, it should be split into two companies. This was suggested by Nigel Stapleton, chairman of the regulator Postcomm.
Österreichische Post intends to cut one in ten jobs in the delivery sector by the end of 2009.
TNT has asked staff in the Netherlands to agree to a 30-month pay freeze.
The Indian government now apparently plans to take the amended postal bill, criticised by trade associations and operators, to the cabinet and parliament after all, reported the »Economic Times«.
Customers in Germany can anticipate stable postal rates even after the monopoly on letters comes to an end in 2008.
Österreichische Post is going to lose the delivery of parcels in Austria for the mail order company Quelle.
The British CEP operator City Link, one of the largest operators on the market, has completed the first half of the year extremely successfully.
Klaus Zumwinkel, CEO of Deutsche Post, has announced that the company is interested in entering the Japanese postal market if it is liberalised.
World Courier, which specialises in Special Speed Services, announced the start of a new cool-chain transport service in China last week.

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.)

August 29, 2007

The Postal Regulatory Commission has extended the dates for comments on the Commission’s proposed regulations to implement a modern ratemaking and classification system for market dominant and competitive mail products (Order No. 26), issued on August 15, 2007, and posted on www.prc.gov. The comment period has been extended from September 14, 2007 to September 24, 2007. The date for reply comments is extended from September 28, 2007 to October 9, 2007. The Commission remains committed to expediting the development of these important rules.  

The Florida Times-Union has reported that "If Windy Hill residents want their front-door mail delivery restored, they and Jacksonville must take lasting action to eliminate the problem of dogs running loose in their neighborhood. That was the message delivered by a postal spokesman Tuesday at a meeting in City Hall."

According to Forbes, "The German cartel office said that regulators' lenient calculations allow Deutsche Post World Net AG to keep its postal rates unchanged, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, quoting a spokeswoman of the office."

The Gaylord Herald Times has reported that "According to U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, the Gaylord mail processing facility not only lacks equipment which would increase efficiency, it is one of a handful of facilities in the country without a biological agent detection system. The meeting followed Stupak’s recent letter to the USPS questioning management decisions to move mail processing responsibilities of third-class flats from the Gaylord mail processing facility to the Traverse City Processing and Distribution Center.

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

DHL has announced the opening of a new facility at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. DHL's previous operations at the airport have been enhanced with the opening of a new, $1.6 million on-airport facility serving Baltimore and the surrounding areas. Improved material handling equipment for aircraft container loading and unloading as well as a 25 percent larger facility will provide for a significantly more efficient operation.
FedEx Express (FedEx) has announced the launch of a dedicated direct flight between Manchester, U.K., and the U.S. FedEx will fly a wide-body MD-11 freighter daily, Monday through Thursday, between Manchester International Airport and Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. The flight, originating at the FedEx European Hub in Paris, will increase FedEx daily capacity on the important U.K. - to - U.S. route by up to 50% and from Europe to the U.S. by up to 20%.

The Age has reported that "Australia Post says its 12 per cent pay offer to postal workers is generous, rejecting unions claims that it fails to keep up with CPI. Australia Post said it was offering a 12 per cent pay increase over two and a half years, plus a one-off $500 performance bonus to workers under a new enterprise bargaining agreement. Australia Post spokesman Rod McDonald said the agreement also locked in all existing award entitlements and conditions. "Our offer is a very good one," Mr McDonald said."

The Malaysian National News Agency has reported that "A Malaysian student's letter on the plight of a tiger cub which lives in the rainforest of Malaysia won her the first prize in the 36th Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People in Berne, Switzerland."

August 28, 2007

The Cambridge Evening News has reported that "The Royal Mail is finding it difficult to cope with competition, partly because of its slow progress in improving efficiency and developing new services, according to an industry report. Postal regulator Postcomm, which produced the study, has called on mail operators to make the most of the opportunities presented by the changing mail market."

Forbes has reported that "German mail operator Deutsche Post is not going to have a very happy new year in 2008 when the German postal sector is liberalized, say the analysts that downgraded the stock on Tuesday."

The Discovery Channel’s new series Really Big Things profiles “the inner workings of massive man-made wonders that keep our world moving.” The U.S. Postal Service, which processes and delivers more than 213 billion pieces of mail every year—handling more than 46 percent of the world’s card and mail volume*—will be showcased in tomorrow’s (Wednesday, Aug. 29) episode. Watch Really Big Things at 8 p.m. ET/PT Wednesday, Aug. 29, on the Discovery Channel to follow the modern journey of a letter through state-of-the-art machinery at the Santa Clarita, Calif., Processing and Distribution Center and beyond.

The Poughkeepsie Journal has reported that "Poughkeepsie school district residents who tell the tax collector, "The post office ate my bill," won't just be making excuses. According to Poughkeepsie City School District officials, an unknown number of this year's school tax bills were damaged or destroyed by sorting ma-chines at the Poughkeepsie Post Office, 55 Mansion St. "It seems that the machinery, as it sorted out the various tax bills, it just chewed some of them up," Poughkeepsie Superintendent Laval Wilson said. The district has not yet determined whether there will be an extension on the taxes' due date because of the shredding. Taxpayers who haven't received a bill should contact the district. This is the second year in a row the post office's machinery has jammed up on the city district's tax bills, Wilson said. Tom Gaynor, spokesman for the New York Metro Area U.S. Postal Service, said the problem with the tax bill mailer is thickness."

From NewsReleaseWire: "Stopthejunkmail.com releases their consumer opinion survey quarterly in an effort to determine how best to reduce the environmental impact of postal junk mail. The survey is taken anonymously by a nationwide sampling of consumers to accurately show attitudes toward stopping junk mail. The survey also asks consumers what they believe are direct mail’s “worst offenders” with banks at the top of the list followed by catalogs."

From Carolina Newswire: "Mail Your Sharps, a business unit of Plastic Recovery Service LLC, introduces a U.S. Postal Service approved mail-back sharps program. The mail-back sharps program is designed for syringes, lancets, needles including those used in tattoo and body piercing studios, other sharps and small amounts of medical waste. The mail-back program consists of a U.S. Postal Service approved sharps collection container, ranging in size from 1.4 quarts to 5 gallons, protective bag liner, third party bar coded tracking, destruction manifest for Regulated Medical Waste – Sharps and a postage paid U.S. Postal Service approved return box."

Forbes has noted: "UPS Celebrates Its 100-Year Anniversary."

The Express-Times has reported that "Workers at international delivery company DHL's Lehigh County distribution center will vote next month on forming a union."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "there have been new developments in the highly strategic Indian express market, this time involving DHL and the state-run India Post. It appears that the two companies are in negotiations to form some type of joint venture which would allow DHL to access India Post's huge distribution footprint reaching right across the vast geographies involved."

August 27, 2007

The Associated Press has reported that "One block of Capitol Hill is plagued with so many bird droppings that even the U.S. Postal Service says there are days it won't deliver the mail."

According to Precision Marketing, "When Royal Mail blamed its first operating loss in six years on increased competition, eyebrows were raised across the industry. But new figures from Postcomm reveal that the 15 alternative licenced postal operators are clawing their way deeper into Royal Mail territory."

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Australia Post has rejected union claims mail sorters are being forced to work on the APEC public holiday next week, even though there will be no mail deliveries until the following Monday. The Communications, Electrical and Postal Union says 600 employees are expected to turn up for work at 40 mail centres across Sydney on Friday September 7. The union's Ed Husic says while the workers will be paid double-time-and-a-half, they will be faced with a "nightmare" drive home after their night shift." See also the Sydney Morning Herald.

DutchNews has reported that "TNT wants staff to agree to a 2.5 year pay freeze and to make their own payments into the company pension scheme, according to the postal group's starting position for the latest round of pay talks."

Forbes has reported that "Hermes, a Hamburg-based logistics groups, is considering legal steps if the German Finance Ministry extends the VAT exemption for Deutsche Post World Net AG beyond 2007, its managing director Hanjo Schneider told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."

The Czech Business Weekly has reported that:

  • With the Czech government having recently agreed on a crucial step in getting the privatization of the state-run post office under way—namely, transforming the state enterprise into a corporation—analysts are busy estimating how much capital could be raised for the public purse by the sale. Karel Potměšil, an analyst at brokerage Cyrrus, gives an approximate figure of Kč 10 billion (€ 362 million) for Czech postal services operator Česká pošta (ČP). “But it could be more, and it could be less. It depends on how big a part of the company will be sold, and what changes will occur with the company during the transformation [from a state to a privatized entity],” he said."

  • The Czech postal services market is the most open and developed within the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, yet rivals of traditional public operators are awaiting full liberalization of the European Union postal market, says Jaroslav Aujezdský, CEO of Mediaservis, an alternative competitor to domestic state-run post office Česká pošta (ČP). Europe’s postal market was supposed to be opened up to rivals as of 2009, but the European Parliament adopted a compromise solution July 11 that would allow EU member states to delay full liberalization until 2011 or 2013. The decision is expected in October. Countries including France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Hungary and Poland fear that rapid liberalization could destroy their public operators, resulting in weaker customer service and significant job losses. Except for Sweden, Finland and the U.K., which are fully liberalized, national postal operators in the European Union currently have a monopoly on processing mail weighing less than 50 grams.

August 26, 2007

The Boston Globe has reported that "Six million people know the experience: You order a DVD from the Netflix website and a day or two later it appears in a red paper envelope. You watch the movie, mail it back, and soon another disc arrives. This cycle happens in America 20 times every second and 1.6 million times every day, making Netflix, the movie-rental company, a veritable postal service within the postal service."

The Sentinel has reported that "Businesses are still counting the cost of postal strikes and say the action has the potential to lose them thousands of pounds.Royal Mail workers walked out in two 24-hour strikes followed by a campaign of staggered action, in which each division was allocated a different day to revolt in a bid to cause continuous disruption."

August 25, 2007

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FirstCoastNews has reported that "The Windy Hill community is petitioning the U.S. Post Office to reconsider pulling home mail delivery to nearly 600 homes and businesses because of dog attacks. Earlier this month cluster boxes were installed at several locations making home mail boxes useless."

Inc. has reported that "A small trucking firm awarded multimillion contracts with the U.S. Postal Service owes its drivers nearly $1.4 million in back wages, the Labor Department said this week. Alan Berman Trucking, based in Woodland Hills, Calif., is accused of pay violations on at least eight government contracts worth $10 million to haul mail for post offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the agency said. Investigators with the agency's Wage and Hour Division said the company paid its drivers by the mile or trip, making them use their own vehicles and cover fuel, maintenance, and repair costs. It also did not provide fringe benefits required by law. As a result, the drivers' wages fell below rates stipulated by the Service Contract Act."

The Allentown Morning Call has reported that "The international delivery company DHL violated labor laws by trying to hamper a union organizing campaign at its new Upper Macungie distribution center, an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board alleged Friday. But the company disputed the allegations, which stem from complaints filed earlier this year by the American Postal Workers Union."

Gulf Daily News has reported that "Bahrain has joined other GCC states in studying the establishment of a pan-Gulf mail transportation company. The company is aimed at streamlining and speeding up mail transportation within the Gulf region."

August 24, 2007

PostCom Members! The latest PostCom issues brief (this one dealing with addressing) is now available on this site.

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

  • Attorney and former postal executive Murray Comarow examines the roles played by Congress, postal unions, postmasters, competitors, and the Postal Service in creating the conditions that now threaten the agency’s viability while emphasizing the behavior of mailers in contributing to those conditions.

  • In this perspective, QUAD/Graphics’ Joe Schick looks at some of the methods postal employees use to deliver your mail on time, inadvertently increasing costs, and the mailers and their service providers who abuse the process.A new paper in Pitney Bowes Future of Mail Series peers beneath the much-hyped increased adoption of electronic bills, statements and payments while systematically reviewing available research and attempting to forecast future mail volumes and the expected growth of electronic alternatives.

  • Federal Register: State Dept. wants UPU input. DMM Advisory: Revised Plant Verified Drop Shipment Forms 8125 and 8125-C. AT&T wins USPS contract. FEDEX, UPS shifting campaign contributions to Democrats. RPost, Postini form global alliance. Online postal delivery firm to star in new TV series.

  • Britain’s Postcomm threatens Royal Mail with breakup. Is Canada Post trying to ‘banish’ competitors? Deutsche Post loses Berlin business. FedEx changing partners in Russia. UPS wants China Postal Act modified. Korea post pondering bank investments. China Postal Group adding non-postal services.

  • A list of upcoming postal-related events.

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The DM Bulletin has reported that "Postcomm has suggested that Royal Mail's bulk mail services could be removed from its universal service obligations in a two-stage process."

Registration is now open for the September 19 NAMMU National Forum: 2008 Rate Case Review Plus+ New Ideas That Matter. A vital session you won’t want to miss, this year’s forum mirrors the productive format introduced in 2007, and adds even more opportunity for idea exchange. All major postal products and services that enhance and impact your business model are tabled. Maximum opportunity for dialogue, and discussion about new ideas that matter to you. Registration required by September 14. Learn more. And be sure to register.

According to the Kyodo news service, "Japan Post said Friday all of some 26,000 automated teller machines for postal savings will be taken out of service on Sept. 30 to prepare for the privatization of postal services due to start the following day. All postal ATMs installed at post offices and other locations across Japan need to be suspended so as to confirm the amount of cash Japan Post holds on the last day as a public corporation, it said. ATMs operated by financial institutions and convenience stores tied up with Japan Post will not be affected."

The Daily News has reported that "Shortcomings at the top management level in the postal service has led to several irregularities. Corrective measures will be taken immediately after submission of the Committee Report, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem said yesterday. Hakeem revealed this to representatives of trade unions attached to the Postal Department during discussions to enlighten them on matters of the interim committee report which probed into the alleged corruption and irregularities at the Postal Department."

According to Bloomberg, "FedEx Corp., United Parcel Service Inc. and General Dynamics Corp. are among companies shifting campaign contributions to Democrats after years of favoring Republicans, federal records show."

Air Force Link has noted that "Members of the Det. 4, Pacific Air Forces Air Postal Squadron here have been busy supporting Operation Deep Freeze 2007-08 winter flights to Antarctica beginning in late August after more than 150 days since the last shipment of mail to the ice station. The detachment members collected 14,000 pounds of incoming mail in more than five months for the staff of the U.S. Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station who have wintered over and who are heading down to the frozen continent. Severe winters prevent any flights into Antarctica, but mail is flowing again now that winter fly-in flights have started in late August. Loaded into tri-wall containers, the mail is palletized eight containers at a time and loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III for a five-hour flight to its destination on the ice.

The U.S. Postal Service has revised Form 8125, Plant-Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) Verification and Clearance, and Form 8125-C, Plant-Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) Consolidated Verification and Clearance. Both forms are dated July 2007. Images of the revised forms appear on pages 77–79 in the August 2, Postal Bulletin.

August 23, 2007

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Valassis Communications Inc. sells coupons, but it may be Valassis's shares taking a big discount if it doesn't show payoffs from a recent acquisition. Buying direct marketer Advo Inc. -- a lengthy, contentious purchase that closed in March -- was supposed to broaden Valassis's coupon business as a price war with competitors and shrinking newspaper sales eroded profits. Like Valassis, Advo puts together marketing promotions from multiple advertisers. Valassis delivers its bundles of coupons as "free standing inserts," or FSIs -- the familiar pages of coupons stuffed into Sunday newspapers. Advo delivers similar marketing promotions through the mail. Valassis saw an opportunity for cross-selling to each company's traditional clients."

The American Postal Workers Union has announced that "In an overwhelming vote of 51 to 9, on Aug. 17 the National Postal Professional Nurses (NPPN) voted “YES,” in favor of merging with the American Postal Workers Union."

Hemscott has reported that "Oesterreichische Post AG (Austrian Post) said that it plans to shed around 1,200 jobs until the end of 2009, with some 1,000 positions being eliminated in its mail and package delivery segment. The Austrian postal services group said that the reduction in the number of letter carriers will take place within the previously announced framework of striking around 400 such positions a year through natural attrition."

The Financial Times has reported that:

  • Royal Mail should be split in two if it fails to modernise its business and cut costs, the industry regulator warns on Thursday. Nigel Stapleton, Postcomm chairman, told the Financial Times the priority was for Royal Mail drastically to improve its efficiency. One option would be to separate its sorting operations from doorstep deliveries.

  • In public relations terms, Berlin’s decision this week to impose a minimum wage in the postal sector was a masterpiece of craftsmanship, demonstrating both social responsibility and industrial patriotism. But it was also symptomatic of how German policy-making could evolve, if the agenda of the government’s conclave starting on Thursday at its guesthouse north of Berlin is anything to go by.

Direct Newsline has reported that "Quebecor World Inc. has named Hughes Bakewell president of its direct marketing solutions business. Bakwell most recently served as VP of marketing at Quest Diagnostics Inc. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Kickstart Inc., an Internet company, and before that he was a managing director at The Integer Group, an advertising agency. Bakewell has also spent more than a decade in a succession of marketing and business development roles at Frito-Lay Inc., Hallmark Cards Inc., and Pepsi-Cola Inc."

Federal Computer Week has reported that "Robert Otto, the U.S. Postal Service’s chief technology officer and a vice president, will retire Oct. 1."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL has joined the international relief effort to help victims of the earthquake disaster in Peru. The DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) for the Americas region is supporting the National Civil Defense System at the Pisco Air Base."

Network World has reported that "RPost on Monday announced its e-mail registering service will be integrated with Postini’s messaging security hosted service. As per the agreement, Postini’s 35,000 customer sites can immediately take advantage of RPost’s proof-of-delivery service as part of Postini’s collection of service offerings, according to RPost officials. RPost provides users with proof of an e-mail’s content, receipt, and delivery date, which holds up as admissible evidence in court, officials say. Sending a message with RPost’s Registered E-mail service is much like sending registered mail, offering proof that an e-mail was sent, when it was sent, who the recipient was, and what the original content of the e-mail was. In June, RPost added encryption, PDF conversion, data-leak protection and the ability to generate electronic contracts to the service."

From WebWire: "Parcel2go, the UK and USA delivery and collection postal service, are now offering a 10 percent discount for eBay users."

The Economic Times has reported that:

  • Private courier companies have approached telecom minister A Raja demanding that the government hold fresh consultations with the industry before finalising amendments to the Indian Post Office Act. Private courier companies are opposed to the proposed amendments to the Post Office Act as it bars them from carrying letters and parcel below 150 gm and also seeks to limit foreign direct investment in the sector to 49%. The Bill also envisages that private courier companies who want to deliver letters below this slab (150 gm) be imposed a price multiple, which is five times more than the rates charged by India Post or 2.5 times of Speed Post rates.

  • Deutsche Post — one of the largest postal, express & logistics entities in the world and the owner of the DHL brand globally — is looking at developing a strategic partnership with the Indian postal system. Through this venture, both postal authorities are aiming at strengthening their global business operations. The entities are in early stages of discussions to ascertain specific segments, like last mile delivery, sharing infrastructural facility & technological innovations in which they could strike a partnership and initiate operations.

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