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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 are willing to defend."


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

Postal News and Information from Around the World
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VOICE OF THE MAIL

  This campaign by the Association for Postal Commerce Board of Directors showcases various companies that use the mail for business communication and commerce. The goal of the campaign is to put a human voice to the mail to speak for the thousand of unseen others who are members of this industry. This week, join Jessica Dauer Lowrance, Executive Vice President of the Association for Postal Commerce and Peter Stevens, the publisher of "The Reminder," a free circulation publication, on a discussion of how his company uses mail, makes mail decisions, and the impacts of postal pricing.


If key sponsors of Senate postal bill S. 1486 and the Postal Service have their way, this will be the sound of the new
"voice of the mail."

November 1, 2013 

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn will hold a business meeting on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. At the business meeting members will consider the following nominations: Hon. Tony Hammond to be a Commissioner, Postal Regulatory Commission; and Hon. Nanci E. Langley to be a Commissioner, Postal Regulatory Commission. [EdNote: The expected markup of S. 1486 has been postponed.]

LoveMoney: The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has now cancelled the planned 24-hour strike which was to halt all non-managerial functions at Royal Mail and Parcelforce, and was due to take place on 4th November. However, it has raised the issue of what options do you have if you need to send a parcel but can't - or don't want to - use Royal Mail? Can the alternatives work out cheaper?

Marketing Week: The Royal Mail is to launch its first major TV campaign in six years just weeks after the postal service was privatised by the Government as it gears up for the busy festive parcel delivery season.

The Desert Sun: The country’s biggest monopoly is on target to lose more than $6 billion this year on revenues of $62.5 billion. Part of the problem is the sheer overwhelming size of the Postal Service. It employs some 574,000 workers, making it the third-largest U.S. employer behind only the U.S. government and Wal-Mart. At 212,530, the Postal Service operates the largest non-government vehicle fleet in the world. One might wonder, how does an entity that is exempt from taxes, has a monopoly on its services and has increased its prices at a rate 50 percent higher than the inflation rate over the past 50 years lose money? The answer lies in the basic fact that neither the Postal Service nor the U.S. government is run like a business. [EdNote: Sort of has a ring of familiarity, doesn't it?]Well, it’s time for Big Brother to let go. I don’t mean let it sink or swim, as it is already sinking, but it is time for the United States to sell off this under-performing asset. Private industry can do it better. Let them.

Herald Online: What’s a stamp? That’s a question we’re likely to hear from young people in the not-so-distant future. Despite the fact that U.S. Postal Service has labeled its stamps “forever,” their future seems as tentative as ... well, handwritten letters. Not long ago (at least it doesn’t seem long ago to me), stamps not only were necessary to send letters but also were a source of fascination for kids. We not only knew what a stamp was, we also collected them from all over the world and put them in albums for safe keeping. A recent article in Time magazine charts the sad decline of stamp collecting. While a few wealthy people still collect stamps – the really rare ones – most children no longer take up the hobby, and stamp collecting now is a dying art. Even worse news: Most of those stamps we collected as kids that were supposed to soar in value over the years and make us rich aren’t worth much more than their face value today. [EdNote: What's a stamp? Well, isn't that we as a society create and maintain museums -- just to answers to questions like that?]

Bloomberg: Fred Smith, CEO at FedEx, talks with Sara Eisen about regulation in the United States, why it hurts competitiveness with the rest of the world and why he is optimistic about the budget committee.

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

  • The U.S. Postal Service has filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) the latest edition of its Household Diary Study survey, a multi-year market research study of mail that is received by and sent from American households. The recently released study covers household-mail trends during the Postal Service’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, running from September 25, 2011, through September 28, 2012. PostCom presents highlights from the 2012 study.
  • PostCom has provided a presentation of the facts around the Postal Service’s monopolies and how certain provisions within S. 1486 would endanger the viability of the postal ecosystem and the 7.5 million jobs within the postal industry.
  • According to the USPS, “[it] in May 2013 began working with key industry associations representing flats mailers to develop an updated strategic plan for flats. We thank these associations for their continuing work and support of this initiative, which has helped identify the outlook and barriers to flats product growth in the next few years. We have posted a working draft of the flats strategic plan on the Industry Outreach page on RIBBS located in the Industry Alert and Notices section. This working draft represents preliminary information around the current state of flats, including a wealth of information about flats operations and equipment, as well as recent strategies aimed to reduce flats costs. It is not yet a fully-formed strategic plan, however, because more discussion and work are needed (you will note there are some sections not yet written in the draft).
  • PostCom and others say USPS has extended CPI cap. S. 1486 scheduled for mark-up. New management named within USPS. UPS 3Q profit climbs on higher shipping volume. Study says direct mail still a key segment. Issa bill would open FEHBP to all Americans, but at what cost? U.S. Bank makes mobile credit card play. Amazon puts groceries in its shopping cart. 17 more ways USPS is not like a real business. The inbox trumps the mailbox. ‘The Nation’ seeks $120,272 from readers for postal rate hike. USPS: Time to go public? Postal Inspectors: Prevent a cyber takeover. USPS wins internet security award. USPS says small business pilot program off to positive start. PostCom’s newest member.
  • Notices from the Federal Register.
  • An update from the Domestic Mail Manual.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • An update on postal happenings across the world.
  • Postal previews.
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Fleet Owner: For the second time in recent months, a trucking company is in trouble with the law after it’s alleged that the firm shipped contraband cigarettes to New York City residents as part of an illegal shipping network. LaserShip, a Virginia-based last-mile package delivery service, has been sued by New York City Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley, and Finance Commissioner Beth E. Goldman, for its role in the delivery of “untaxed” cigarettes. Shipping and delivering cigarettes that are untaxed is illegal under the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA), the federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT), federal racketeering statutes, and New York state laws. According to the complaint, LaserShip worked within a broader delivery network that avoided the requirements of the PACT Act. Under the PACT Act, cigarette sellers are required to assure all taxes are paid on the cigarettes shipped to consumers.

If the Postal Service wants total freedom to price postal products as it wishes, it should simply suspend the monopolies over the carriage of mail and its deposit in mail receptacles.

Roll Call: Just minutes after the swearing-in of New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, the Senate dove headfirst back into a standoff over executive and judicial branch nominations. Republicans filibustered President Barack Obama’s pick of Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., to become the top housing finance regulator, and Patricia Ann Millett’s nomination to fill one of three vacant seats on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Watt was blocked on 56-42 vote for cloture, while Millett failed on a 55-38 vote. Sixty votes are needed to avoid a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voted “no” to preserve his right to reconsider the vote. The votes drew a quick rebuke from the White House and revived talk of using the “nuclear” option to get around filibusters. [EdNote: Here we go again.]

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service's public relations department responded last night to a recent Dead Tree Edition article. We are publishing the response in its entirety, without comment, except to note that article was based on a combination of verifiable facts and readers' opinions. We also note that many postal employees -- supervisors and "suits" as well as worker bees -- have complained vociferously about USPS's organizational structure. And that a significant overhaul of that structure would probably face legal hurdles.

The Warsaw Voice: Polish postal services operator Poczta Polska (PP) plans to launch an internet platform which will combine all digital services offered by the company. The new service, called Envelo, will allow for printing stamps and sending letters and postcards, which will be printed and delivered by postmen. The new service is expected to be operationally stable in 2015 and to become profitable in 2017, PP management board member Janusz Wojtas says.

PRWeb: When the Royal Mail introduced the small and medium parcel pricing bands back in April, Davpack was the first major packaging supplies company to be in a position to offer its customers specially designed postal boxes to match the new size restrictions. Since then, Davpack’s Small Parcel Saver Postal Boxes have proved a real hit with its customers, helping them stay within the new guidelines and avoid excessive and unnecessary delivery charges in the process.

Mondaq: The postal industry is changing. Many national postal operators face falling demand as consumers switch to electronic communications and as competition within the industry grows (often from firms serving only part of the market, e.g., bulk mail). These challenges threaten the sustainability of the universal postal service, as well as the financial viability of existing postal businesses. Will privatization help secure the future of the universal service? Holder and Smith (2012) examined the potential benefits from privatization, drawing on evidence from a range of other regulated industries. This paper revisits this evidence in the light of recent developments. We present reasons why a privately owned firm might perform better than a publicly owned firm, and assess the available evidence across a wide range of regulated industries. We consider how these insights can be applied to the UK postal industry.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  65392–65393 [2013–25807] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  65393 [2013–25810] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  65393 [2013–25812] [TEXT]  [PDF]

October 30, 2013 

Digtriad: As technology advances, and this is an everyday occurrence, criminals are finding new ways to steal your money. That's why 2 Wants To Know and postal inspectors want to help you keep it safe. U.S. Postal Inspector Carla Menendez said, "The bad guys are calling in with all the personal identifying information of the victims." Once they do that, they essentially can get access to your credit card account. They can add themselves as users get their own card with their name on it and start going on a shopping spree on your account. "Postal inspectors seized many large ticket items purchased in one scheme including big screen TV's and video game systems. In one case, losses totaled $120,000. But inspectors got a big break. Menendez said, "The bad guy wasn't very smart in this case. He purchased two MoneyGram money orders from a local merchant and when he went in to purchase the money order, he actually wrote his real name and his real address down on the money order." That led postal inspectors to the suspect's home and they found the victim's credit card in the suspect's trash. And this is one of many cases. Account takeover fraud was up dramatically in 2012 totaling $4.9 billion, which is a 69 percent increase over 2011.

WRVO: Sen. Charles Schumer says lifting a ban on the U.S. Postal Service shipping alcohol will help both the struggling postal carrier and New York’s growing beer and wine industry. Private carriers like UPS and Fed-Ex can deliver mail-order alcohol. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is pushing for the USPS to be able to do the same. The ban against it transporting alcohol dates back to Prohibition.

New York Daily News: Uptown mailboxes are trying to take a bite out of crime. The U.S. Postal Service has outfitted an undisclosed number of bins with teeth-like contraptions across upper Manhattan after a rash of letter thefts, said agency spokeswoman Donna Harris. Inwood and Central Harlem residents told postal workers gangs of money hungry bandits descended on the boxes during the summer using glue traps to fish out envelopes stuffed with cash and checks. "Once the postal service found this out we went out to make sure the boxes were tamper resistant," Harris said.

Independent Retailer: Under a proposal by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), first-class postage stamps could rise to 49 cents, or by 6.5 percent, and pricing for other mail, including postcards and packages, would also rise on Jan. 26, 2014. The increase would raise about $2 billion in additional revenue a year, and will require approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement: “The rate increase poses a direct threat to the 8 million private-sector jobs that are part of the mailing industry as businesses shift from paper-based to electronic communication and mailers are priced out of business.” Among multi-channel retailers that rely on mailing everything from full catalogs to postcards to prospect for and draw customers to stores or ecommerce sites, the proposed rate hike could drive many to evaluate less expensive alternatives.

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Sutherland Global Services 11921 Freedom Drive, Two Fountain Square Suite 550 Reston, VA 20190-5635 represented by Teresa Weipert, Senior Vice President, Government Solutions

Reuters: Workers at Britain's newly privatised Royal Mail postal service called off a planned November 4 strike on Wednesday, saying that the union and company had made progress in talks over pay and working conditions. Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said they were now committed to finalising an agreement by November 13, which would include an improved pay and reward offer, as well as a separate pensions agreement.

NO-MA-14-001  Voyager Card Program for Highway Contract Routes – Unidentified and Unrecovered Fuel Overpayments: From Robert J. Batta Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Mission Operations to Megan J. Brennan Chief Operating Officer And Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett Chief Financial Officer And Executive Vice President U.S. Postal Service: "We estimate that the Postal Service did not properly identify and recover about $9.9 million in fuel overpayments to HCR suppliers for fuel year 2009-2010. It failed to collect these overpayments because the HCR Voyager Card Program reconciliation process was not reasonably conducted and documented. . . . "

Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee: BUSINESS MEETING Wednesday, November 6, 2013 10:00 a.m. SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building AGENDA Nominations * Hon. Tony Hammond to be a Commission, Postal Regulatory Commission;* Hon. Nanci E. Langley to be a Commission, Postal Regulatory Commission. Legislation S. 1486, Postal Reform Act of 2013.

Federal News Radio: It was announced Wednesday morning that the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for 2014 will rise 1.5 percent.

Stars & Stripes: South Korea's customs agency said Wednesday it has thwarted two attempts this year to ship marijuana through the U.S. Forces Korea mail system following implementation of more stringent measures to detect military drug smuggling. Sniffer dogs found 944 grams of marijuana concealed in coffee products at the Joint Military Mail Terminal at Incheon Airport in January and nearly 204 grams of marijuana and marijuana-laced cookies inside female boots in April, according to the Korea Customs Service.

Wall Street Journal: U.K. lawmakers plan to call Goldman Sachs and UBS to a parliamentary committee over the pricing of the Royal Mail privatization in a hearing scheduled for next month.

Evening Times: Postal services are expected to grind to a halt in Glasgow and the rest of the UK with strike action threatened by thousands of workers at Royal Mail and Crown Post Offices.

The Baltics Today: Estonian state-owned logistics and postal company Eesti Post posted a net profit of 1.3 mln euros in the first nine months of this year while the company's business revenue amounted to 39.8 million euros or 9% more than at the same time last year

Republican & Herald: About 500 quarterly garbage bills for Pottsville residents sent out by Oct. 1 never reached their destinations, and the United States Postal Service plans to find out why.

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

Two privately run companies want to compete with the Norwegian post if the residual monopoly in the letter market is abolished.
The Hungarian government initiated a partial sale of Magyar Posta. 25% minus one share will be sold to Takarekbank at market price and in cash.
The reorganisation of the polish post, which was started back in 2008, is still dragging on. A spokesman for the ministry of administration and digitalisation told daily news »Rzeczpospolita« (22.10) that Poczta Polska won't be privatised in 2014 for this reason. Only after the completion of the comprehensive package of measures, that were initiated to realise annual savings of around 130m euros, the post could go public, no earlier than 2015.
A former human resource manager of French La Poste has published a study against the company and raised serious allegations. According to Astrid Herbert- Ravel, responsible human resource manager in Ile-de-France until the start of this year, bullying employees was part of the post's fundamental management concept.
Upon request of news agency »sda«, the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FBL) disclosed, that it is currently reviewing how the conversion of the post into a listed company affects public procurement. And the Cantons are also determining whether they have to solicit a quotation from private service providers or if they can just award contracts to the post like before.
China and Russian Post plan to extend their collaboration. In the course of a state visit by Russian prime minister Medvedev in China, both postal operators signed a memorandum of understanding. As far as it is known, China Post wants to set up a straight railway connection until the end of this year and to expand the currently existing airmail route.
eBay acquired British Shutl Ltd. ('the Online Delivery Revolution'). Shutl connects offers from online traders with the services of local courier companies via its platform. The start-up company, which was launched in 2008, counted venture capital firm Hummingbird Ventures, e.ventures, a subsidiary of mail order group Otto, and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund among its investors. With the takeover, eBay apparently places emphasis on interweaving online and offline trade and plans to deliver goods that were ordered online within 90 minutes with its eBay Now service. By the end of 2014, this service is to be available in 25 cities across the globe.
In the course of the announced increase of its B2C business DPD now relies on a pan European standardised parcel shop network. Last week, the company disclosed that it plans to deploy around 15,000 parcel shops by the end of 2013 already. 'From DPD's point of view, parcel shops are an indispensable requirement for sustainable growth in the parcel business with private recipients', said DPD CEO Arnold Schroven.
Switzerland's regulatory authority has established an arbitration board for the postal industry. The board's task is to mediate in conflicts between consumers and service providers. The prerequisite for this: The consumer has to claim damages and has to prove she unsuccessfully tried to come to terms with the service provider.
Pitney Bowes appointed a new President of E-Commerce and Shipping Solutions. Christoph Stehmann will assume his newly created position on November 1 and is due to expand this area that is 'critical to our growth'.

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.)

Clarksville Online: With the continued draw down of forces and equipment along with the holiday season at the door, postal personnel take the necessary steps to prepare for current and upcoming challenges during this critical time in Afghanistan. Postal workers in Afghanistan gathered, October 19th-21st, 2013, at Bagram Air Field, to address postal operations, trends, initiatives and lessons learned throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility during the 1st Sustainment Command's (Theater) 310th Human Resources Sustainment Center's 2013 Theater Postal Conference hosted by 101st Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Lifeliner. "This conference's goal is to get all the postal leadership together to discuss the postal issues in theater we already know about that are 6-12 months down the road and that we're going to be dealing with. This is due to what's already being laid out for the operational plans of the theater," explained Lt. Col. Scott M. Kerr the chief of postal operations division with the 310th Human Resources Sustainment Center.

Transport Intelligence: Swiss Post has announced further plans to develop its electronic services by introducing a pilot service to its ePostOffice online platform. The pilot service will allow recipients will be able to choose whether they want to receive their mail physically in their private letterbox or digitally. The pilot is expected to begin in November. The pilot comes as Swiss Post responds to changing customer requirements. The company has been implementing hybrid solutions to support and supplement its core business since 2006. These services combine requirements of the physical and digital worlds, including solutions for printing and sending digitally processed data.

Politico: Don't expect the budget negotiating committee convening on Capitol Hill Wednesday to arrive at any sweeping resolution that tackles long-term government spending, entitlement programs or the Tax Code. If anything happens — which is highly uncertain — it will be because members of the negotiating panel want to go small and avoid the pitfalls that have left Washington gridlocked for several years by trying to tackle all of the problems at once. [EdNote: In other words, don't expect to see a postal reform rider on this bill.]

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
65016–65017 [2013–25665] [TEXT]  [PDF]
65015–65016 [2013–25666] [TEXT]  [PDF]
65014–65015 [2013–25667] [TEXT]  [PDF]

ChannelOnline.tv: Jersey Post say they're making 'alternative arrangements' for the proposed Royal Mail strike. The Communication Workers Union confirmed UK postal staff will stage a 24 hour walkout on the 4th of November. Jersey Post say they'll work with other delivery partners to ensure Islanders don't suffer. All post from Jersey to the UK goes via the Royal Mail.

Seeking Alpha: New algorithm could save UPS a cool $50M per year UPS (UPS) claims a new automated routing system will help the company reduce fuel expenses and other costs.The tricked-up algorithm created by a team of 500 tech-savvy UPS employees will help drivers become more efficient on their daily routes.Savings of as much as $50M a year can be realized if every UPS driver cuts the length of their route by just a mile a day.

October 29, 2013 

The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers has announced that USPS exec Stephen M. Kearney will take over as the Alliance's executive director when current exec Tony Conway retires at the end of this year.

Stuff: Rural communities can heave a sigh of relief with the knowledge they will be served by a five-day-a-week postal delivery. The decision came last week after discussions between the Government and NZ Post to update their Deed of Understanding, which will limit some urban areas to a three-day delivery by June 2015. Earlier this year NZ Post's proposal to cut back mail deliveries from six to three days a week had out-of-towners fearful of losing what some called "lifelines".

Postal Technology International: Russia Post has signed a collaborative agreement with its Khakassia branch to improve the quality of postal services in the south-central Siberia region.

Dead Tree Edition: "17 More Ways USPS Is Not Like a Real Business" [EdNote: But while we're at it, let's note another few ways in which the Postal Service is NOT like a real business. (1) The Postal Service has not one, but two, statutory monopolies that prohibit competition in the delivery of printed matter to homes and businesses around the nation. (2) The Postal Service is NOT subject to the nation's antitrust laws. (3) The Postal Service is given a pass on many state and local laws governing the operation of motor vehicles. (3) The Postal Service does NOT pay any tax on income earned over costs. (4) Congress has never established any mechanism that could lead to significant adverse consequences for any postal official who fails to perform at the level the nation requires--and that includes the Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission. (5) When employees refuse to work, there's no such thing as a lock-out. . . . We could go on, but by now you get the point.]

Business2Community: I feel foolish. You see I just bought some "forever stamps", and while the stamps may be forever the post office may soon go the way of the Pony Express. I'll miss the postal service for sentimental reasons. It conjures childhood memories of running to the mailbox to find a birthday card with a dollar bill tucked inside. It reminds me of how the post office saved Santa Clause from the rubber room in The Miracle on 34th Street. And who can resist all those sweet stories of errant love letters that finally reach their destination 50 years after having been sent? But things change. As I grew older grandma stopped putting currency in my birthday cards, and I was more likely to find a water bill or a notice for jury duty in my mailbox. Today, my mom sends e-greetings for my son's birthday and the customary cash bonus comes via "Pay Pal." My direct deposit appears alongside Rolex offers and Facebook posts in my inbox. Yes, dear BtoB marketers, I believe direct mail ultimately will disappear from our quiver of tactics. Thus, we must adapt or we too will perish.  [EdNote: And there's nothing like a nice, fat, greater-than-inflation exigency increase in postal rates to push more mail right out the door.]

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

October 28, 2013 

FEDweek: An arbitrator has decided certain postal workers represented by the American Postal Workers Union are entitled to back pay for time postmasters or supervisors performed craft duties beyond what's outlined in the union's collective bargaining agreement with USPS. "This decision will result in back pay for union members who were denied work opportunities as a result of contract violations," said APWU director of industrial relations Mike Morris. "I hope postal managers take note of the cost of their failure to honor the contract."

Capital NewYork: The Nation emailed subscribers a note today asking for $120,272 in donations, a hefty chunk of change the journal will owe as a result of the "impending postal rate hike crisis," as the note puts it. "Tea Party–backed conservatives helped force the US Postal Service into requesting an emergency rate hike — one that will cost The Nation an additional $120,272 every year. While corporate media can handle this kind of a bill, The Nation can't foot it alone," President Teresa Stack wrote to the nonprofit publication's readers. The Nation isn't the only magazine bracing for an emergency rate hike as the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service scrambles to offset falling mail volume and fund employees' retirement benefits. Mary Berner, C.E.O. of the Association of Magazine Media (and C.E.O. and President of Reiman Media, for her day job), spoke for the magazine publishers in attendance at last week's American Magazine Media Conference when she lobbed insults at the USPS and its congressional enablers: "I mean, who thinks raising rates on its best customers is a remotely sane idea for a business whose revenue is already in free fall? It's like raising prices on shoe laces when everyone is using Velcro," Berner said, the New York Post reported.

Investor Place: U.S. Postal Service: Time to Go Public? Here are the pros and cons for following the Royal Mail's lead.

The USPS in May 2013 began working with key industry associations representing flats mailers to develop an updated strategic plan for flats. We have posted a working draft of the flats strategic plan on the Industry Outreach page on RIBBS located in the Industry Alert and Notices section. This working draft represents preliminary information around the current state of flats, including a wealth of information about flats operations and equipment, as well as recent strategies aimed to reduce flats costs. It is not yet a fully-formed strategic plan, however, because more discussion and work are needed (you will note there are some sections not yet written in the draft). While the ink is not dry on this first working draft, we are continuing to work with these key flats associations on enhancements. Subsequent drafts will include revisions suggested by our core working group, including an overall strategic vision statement, an executive summary of key strategies, outline of our future collaborative process, a definition of "flats," outline of supply chain partner support strategies, a more in-depth analysis of flats industry segments and trends, outline of service improvement strategies, and a more focused discussion of cost reduction and product growth strategies.

If flats are a key part of your business, we encourage you to review this first working draft and provide us with your feedback. Please submit feedback in either of the following formats: (1) Contact the key associations (listed in Page 2 of the draft document) you belong to and provide them with your input.(2) Send a message to IndustryFeedback@usps.gov with the subject line "Flats Strategy."

The Mirror: Crunch talks to avert a nationwide strike by thousands of postal workers were stepped up today. Royal Mail managers are due to meet the Communication Workers Union throughout this week to discuss a row over pay, pensions and job security in the wake of the postal giant's recent privatisation. Today's negotiations gained added weight after the CWU gave Royal Mail formal notice of a 24-hour stoppage next Monday. The strike threatens to be the first of many which could disrupt deliveries in the run-up to the busy Christmas period.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  

Alan Robinson @CEP_Observer Rise in Royal Mail Group stock price and value of employee shares illustrates failure of postal policy in the U.S. Best IPO is 2013 may be no-tech. Royal Mail Group now up 70% over the offer price.
 

Redrawing the Battle Lines for Last Mile Delivery. We are entering an exciting period for the US small parcel market. Driven by double digit growth in eCommerce, Business to Consumer (B2C) shipping is approaching 50 percent of the market, up from just 20 percent just 10 years ago. There are several major changes in the p>

Cyber Awareness: Protecting the High-Tech Side of Mail -- On July 26, 1775, all you needed to deliver the mail was a strong back and a fast horse. In 2013, the tools required to move 40 percent of the world's mail sound more at home in science fiction. Robots, supercomputers, 23 petabytes of digital storage (that's 24,117,248 Gigabytes), and one of the world's largest computer networks help deliver letters and parcels across the globe. Like any organization of its size and profile, the Postal Service regularly sees malicious activity directed at its network. The Office of Inspector General's Computer Crimes Unit (CCU) works closely with the Postal Service's Corporate Information Security Office to investigate and prosecute threats to Postal Service networks and information resources. Information security is a shared responsibility and we need your help to keep the Postal Service network secure. So as we close out National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we share some simple steps that go a long way toward improving security....

Post & Parcel: Post Danmark has signed another two-year agreement for hundreds of convenience stores to offer its postal services. The agreement will mean Danes can continue to collect their letters and parcels at DSK members including supermarkets like Spar, SuperBest, Kiwi minipris and Rema 1000. Post Danmark provides its post office services through more than 700 agents, about a third of these are DSK members. The national postal operator is expecting under the new deal that there will be a significant increase in the number of packets being handled, as more consumers have items delivered directly to their local grocery store to avoid missed deliveries at home.

The Street: U.S. Bank -- the main subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp -- on Monday announced the rollout of another innovative addition to its mobile banking application: Mobile Photo Balance Transfer. Using the new service, a customer can respond to a balance transfer offer or apply to transfer a credit card balance to U.S. Bank simply by using their smartphone camera to snap a photo of their credit card bill. Considering the change in consumer behavior, with tablets and smartphones continuing to gain popularity, it behooves any financial services company to offer as many mobile service options as possible. For U.S. Bank, the latest mobile offering could provide a nice boost to the bottom line, if the bank is able to compel significant credit card balance transfer activity.

Wall Street Journal: Even if it is huge already, Amazon.com can't help but try to find ways to get even bigger. The e-retailer, selling everything from auto parts to videogames, may eventually become known for pushing kale and cucumbers. AmazonFresh, its grocery-delivery effort, is still in its infancy: After testing it in Seattle since 2007, Amazon brought the service to parts of Los Angeles in June. The grocery business is known for razor-thin margins. And previous attempts at online-grocery delivery have had mixed results.

European Pensions: The pension fund for the Dutch postal services, Stichting Pensioenfonds PostNL, has agreed on the execution and financing of a new pension agreement with its sponsoring employer PostNL and the trade unions. The different parties have had intense negotiations since December 2012, when the new arrangement was proposed. Details of the agreement include an increase of the pension age to 67, a cap on employer contributions, a higher accrual rate and a lower threshold which would increase the amount over which pensions can be accrued. The planned starting date for the agreement is 1 January 2014. Currently PostNL is obliged to plug any deficit up to an unlimited amount, but this will be limited in two phases.

Huffington Post: Britain's departure from the European Union could see the country descend into economic "protectionism" that would hurt business, warned Phil Couchman, UK head of the German logistics giant DHL's 'Express' business. Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Couchman said: "If something went dramatically wrong with the trading relationships between the UK and the EU, it would affect us and a lot of businesses." "If a parting regressed into protectionism towards the rest of Europe, then that would be a bad thing and a backward step."

Daily Mail: The two biggest private investors in Royal Mail have between them made more than £80 million profit on the shares since the postal service was privatised earlier this month. Hedge fund TCI, which emerged last week as the largest single investor, has made a profit on paper of more than £57 million according to calculations by The Mail on Sunday. Meanwhile GIC, the Singapore government's investment fund, is showing a profit of more than £24 million on its stake in Royal Mail declared last week.

Bloomberg: UPS CFO: Obamacare Will Deter U.S. Business

Wall Street Journal: TNT Express NV Monday reported a 25% drop in third-quarter net profit amid a slump in revenue, and the Dutch parcel-delivery company said it would take further steps to improve its business as market conditions continue to be challenging. TNT said net profit came in at €6 million ($8.28 million), down from €8 million in the same period a year earlier, as revenue fell 6.6% to €1.62 billion amid pricing pressure at TNT's key European business and higher provisions.

Washington Times: Rain and other severe weather may not stop the nation's mail carriers "from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," but managers at one post office in New Jersey took the pledge a little too literally, and required employees to come into work during Hurricane Sandy last year. A report by the U.S. Postal Service's inspector general on the service's hurricane response said managers at that post office told employees they must report for work on the day the massive, devastating storm hit, despite the fact that the facility was within a mandatory evacuation zone. Employees complied, going into work despite orders from law enforcement officers, the Postal Service's inspector general said in the report issued last week just ahead of the storm's first anniversary.

Radio New Zealand: New Zealand Post says the idea of using more motorbikes to make postal deliveries is not the answer to saving jobs in the sector. The state-owned enterprise announced last week it will halve deliveries to urban areas to three days a week from July 2015. The rural delivery service will run five days a week. The company had reviewed it services in response to a 30% decline in posted items since 2006. The Postal Workers' Union said a five day service for urban New Zealand could be viable if more motorbikes or electric bikes were used, to cut down on the dead time walking between routes. NZ Post spokesperson John Tulloch said the idea has already been looked at but the problem is with decreasing volumes of post, not dead time between routes.

Transport Intelligence: According to a recent Boston Consulting Group survey, most consumers are more interested in free delivery versus paying for same day delivery. However, will the upcoming holiday season see a shift in thought? It appears many providers are banking on just that.

Transport Intelligence: Evidence of economic improvement in Europe was noted in UPS' third quarter earnings announcement. For the quarter, total revenue increased 3.4% to US$13.5bn while operating profit improved to $1.8bn. This increase in total revenue was attributed to not only US e-commerce but also to European export shipments which were up almost 10.0%. However, despite the good increase in European export shipments, total International package export revenue per piece declined 5.4% because of the shift towards deferred products, lower fuel surcharges and changes in trade lane mix, particularly shorter trade lanes. Overall, International Domestic Package had a 2.5% increase in revenue of $3.0bn. As noted previously, European exports led this increase. Growth out of Asia was flat which may be because of the overall anaemic health of the Asian economy however; Canada and Mexico export shipments were strong. Non-US domestic volume also appeared strong for the quarter, up 6.3% led by Canada and Europe. Within intra-Europe, Turkey and Poland were both up 20%. Meanwhile, US Domestic Package revenue increased 5.0% to $8.3bn while operating profit increased 16% to $1.2bn. B2C and B2B e-commerce were attributed to the 2.3% growth in US domestic volume versus third quarter 2012. While volume increases helped the overall revenue growth, cost reductions and an additional operating day contributed as well. Next day air volume declined 3.3% because of declining letter shipments. Also, UPS noted some shippers had moved their distribution facilities closer to their customers which also slowed air shipment growth but led to a greater use of UPS Ground facilities.

October 27, 2013 

Montgomery Gazette: As online marketing continues to grow, direct mail is still a substantial part of the marketing realm, according to a study released this month by the Direct Marketing Association. Traditional offline marketing, including direct mailers, was a $93.6 billion industry in 2012, according to the study by professors John Deighton of Harvard University and Peter Johnson of Columbia University. Online marketing, which includes electronic ads, targeted emails and revenues from selling information to brokers, is about a $62 billion industry, the study says. That many businesses still use direct mail to reach customers is not new to Kenneth Roseborough, owner of Money Mailer of Silver Spring. The company contracts with businesses to help drive customers to them through coupons and ads sent by U.S. mail.

Federal News Radio: The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants all Americans to have access to the same health program as most federal employees. Rep. Darrell Issa introduced H.R. 3319, the Equal Healthcare Access Act, today, which would open up the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) to all U.S. citizens. "The Equal Healthcare Access Act offers Americans access to the same health insurance plans long enjoyed by Members of Congress and their families," Issa said, in a release. "This is a free market approach to healthcare with government playing the very limited role of helping small businesses and individuals come together to get a better price for healthcare — much like larger businesses can already negotiate on their own." The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.).

Herald Scotland: I await with interest the promised improvement of the Royal Mail after its sell-off. I have one selfish suggestion: extend the opening hours of parcel depots. The nearest one to me opens at 8am then closes at 10am for half-an-hour. Then it opens again until 1.40pm, whereupon it closes for the rest of the day. Consequently, one often witnesses distressing scenes of frustration, as the recipients of undelivered mail turn up at a normal business hour to find the premises locked, whereupon they have no option but to employ fruity language and bang their heads against the unyielding door.

Wales Online: Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has ripped into Labour after it emerged the Welsh Government made no representations to Westminster opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail. A Freedom of Information disclosure to Plaid has revealed that the Labour Government in Cardiff did not participate in the campaign to oppose the sell-off.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Halloween is still a week away, but retailers are already using free-shipping offers to compete for early holiday sales. While most consumers expect free standard shipping, and 35 percent of retailers say they already offer year-round free shipping, up from 23 percent last year, many are sweetening the deal by offering free speedier delivery earlier in the season.

Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. should be elated about the holidays this year. In what has become an annual shipper kick-off to the season – sort of the their equivalent to the tree-lighting in Rockefeller Center — the Atlanta-based package delivery concern unveiled its projections for the holiday shopping season. Like FedEx Corp., which announced its predictions earlier this week, UPS is expecting to break some records. For starters, on Cyber Monday, which is Dec. 2, it expects its delivery army to pick up 32 million packages – 10% more than ever before. Yet whenever the subject came up in the company's third quarter earnings call today, executives hedged the rosy projections. They referred to the "operational challenges" of the season and the risk that came along with its "great opportunities." The concern, it turns out, isn't consumer sentiment or competition from FedEx or government shutdowns or the economy. It's Mother Nature. Thanksgiving is so late this year it has trimmed the shopping season by six days and one weekend. That's made UPS more vulnerable than usual to the weather.

October 26, 2013 

Wall Street Journal: Through the shutdown crisis, aides for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) used email analysis software that allowed them to parse out how many of the messages flooding their system expressed concern from individuals and which were the product of mass email campaigns, or "astroturf," according to a senior Republican aide. Government isn't unique in having to wade through a growing volume of incoming messages and social media. Corporations are increasingly using sentiment analysis tools to mine tweets and emails for customer insight. But mass email campaigns directed at members of Congress confront aides with a daunting challenge. Interest group email campaigns, which allow users to send a legislative concern with a few clicks, can bombard congressional members with tens of thousands of nearly identical messages. Those campaigns can easily overwhelm the letters and emails drafted by individual constituents: "How do you separate the signal from the noise?" said Matt Lira, Mr. Cantor's former digital director, who left the post last spring. And that's just one part of the problem. "Congress is so overwhelmed with the amount of communications, the staff is struggling to determine the most basic things in messages, like whether the sender is a constituent, or what bill they are talking about," Mr. Lira said. On a given day, when legislators are debating particularly contentious issues, a congressional member can receive as many as 1,000 messages.

Mirror: The Singapore government is Royal Mail's second biggest private owner, it emerged today. Mega-rich GIC now owns a 4.1% stake of the privatised postal giant, worth nearly £230million.

Daily Mail: Households face a bombardment of cold calls and unwanted post in a new junk mail offensive. Royal Mail, which has just been privatised, is putting barcodes on letters, allowing it to tell firms when their marketing messages have been delivered. Armed with this information, these companies' salesmen can make follow-up phone calls and send text messages.

WEHOville: Rep. Adam Schiff called on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to cancel its plans to relocate the West Hollywood Post Office on Monday, adding another chapter to the local campaign against moving the San Vicente Boulevard office. "This proposed site will not adequately compensate for closure of retail services at the existing San Vicente location and will pose a tremendous inconvenience to the city's residents," Schiff said in a letter sent to postal officials Thursday.

October 25, 2013 

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   There will be a PostalOne!® maintenance outage for approximately 5 minutes that will occur during the hours of 2am - 4am CT on Thursday October 31, 2013. During the brief outage, PostalOne! will be unavailable including Mail.XML® and Program Registration. If you have any additional questions please contact the help desk at 800-522-9085. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Dear Mailing Industry Stakeholders: The USPS Industry Engagement and Outreach team has updated the Industry Outreach page on RIBBS. We are committed to providing communication, interaction, and education for the mailing industry. As valued industry mailing partners we encourage you to visit the site to take advantage of the outreach and engagement opportunities available to you. Some highlights of the site include: * USPS Leadership Forum for Stakeholders and Reception dates, agendas, and presentations * Industry Alert archives * USPS webinar archives and workshops * Easy to access links to Postal Industry groups, business services, industry meetings, and industry notices

Fox Business: UPS (UPS) said Friday its third-quarter profit more than doubled amid stronger package revenue for domestic and international shipments. The Atlanta-based company logged net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.16 a share, well above the year-ago period's $469 million, or 48 cents a share. Adjusted per-share earnings last year, which excluded pension restructuring costs, were $1.06. Revenue jumped 3.4% to $13.52 billion. UPS beat Wall Street earnings expectations by a penny, as consensus estimates called for $1.15 a share. Analysts projected slightly better revenue of $13.6 billion.

The Postmaster General has annouced that Kristin Seaver has been appointed Vice President, Area Operations, Capital Metro, effective immediately, reporting to the Chief Operating Officer. Kristin has been acting in the role since October 3, and also previously served on a detail as Vice President, Area Operations, for the Eastern Area. From September 2011, until this appointment, she served as Northeast Area Manager of Operations Support, a position she also previously held in the Eastern Area. As the Postal Service continues efforts to improve efficiency and operational performance, Kristin's experience will serve the organization well. She is Green Belt-trained and certified and Black Belt-trained in Lean Six Sigma. She has held a variety of positions including Manager, In-Plant Support; Senior Plant Manager; Manager, Processing and Distribution Center; Industrial Engineer; and Manager, Remote Encoding Operations. Kristin holds a master's in Business Administration and a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She began her Postal Service career as a Professional Specialist Trainee in Albany, New York, in 1991.

usps logo DMM Advisory: Domestic and International Mailing — Price Change. Yesterday and today the proposed International and Domestic Market Dominant Price Change Federal Register Notices for the January 2014 price change were posted on the Federal Register web site. We look forward to customer feedback before November 25, 2013. Please note that the draft January 2014 postage statements and proposed pricing files are also posted on pe.usps.com under the January 2014 Price Change Information header in the left navigation bar.

  • New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products – This proposed rule contains revisions to the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to accompany the price adjustments filed with the PRC on September 26, including new pricing eligibility for retail and commercial nonpresorted First-Class Mail® letters, several mail classification changes, and some condensing of current standards for Periodicals publications. See the entire notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-10-25/html/2013-24980.htm. Proposed prices are available under Docket Number R2013-10 on the Postal Regulatory Commission's website at www.prc.gov.
  • International Mailing Services: Proposed Price Changes – CPI – This proposed rule contains revisions to the International Mail Manual (IMM®) to accompany price changes filed with the PRC on September 26, including price changes to First-Class Mail International® and international extra services. See the entire notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-10-24/html/2013-24929.htm. Proposed prices are available under Docket Number R2013-10 on www.prc.gov.
  • International Mailing Services: Proposed Price Changes – Exigent – This proposed rule contains revisions to the IMM to accompany price changes filed with the PRC on September 26, including price changes to First-Class Mail International and international extra services. See the entire notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-10-24/html/2013-24931.htm. Proposed prices are available under Docket Number R2010-4R on www.prc.gov.

Associated Press: Portuguese postal workers opposed to the national mail service's planned privatization are walking off the job for 24 hours, marking the start of a series of strikes by labor groups angry about reforms and austerity measures. The government has announced plans to sell up to 70 percent of the state-owned mail company CTT-Correios de Portugal. Trade unions fear layoffs and a loss of entitlements.

Associated Press: On this, GOP budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan and top Senate Democrat Harry Reid can agree: There won't be a "grand bargain" on the budget. Instead, the Wisconsin Republican and the Nevada Democrat both say the best Washington can do in this bitterly partisan era of divided government is a small-ball bargain that tries to take the edge off of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
64037 [2013–25350] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
PROPOSED RULES
New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products ,
63915–63929 [2013–24980] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Fleet Directory: Postal firm TNT Post has signed a deal for one of Europe's single biggest orders to convert HGVs to an alternative fuel. One of the country's biggest postal companies, the firm has commissioned Prins Autogas UK to convert 80 of its 120 strong fleet, including all of its articulated HGVs, to run on LPG autogas fuel. Southampton-based Prins Autogas estimates that TNT Post will save around 8-10 per cent on its fuel costs thanks to the conversions to its Diesel Blend dual fuel system, that allows their vehicles to run on LPG or diesel.


Office of the Inspector General: A report on "Vacant Land Parcels Full Report | Highlights

Reuters: Deutsche Post DHL won a small legal victory on Thursday in a years-long battle with the European Union over state aid allegedly received from the German government.The European Court of Justice said on Thursday it was asking the European Union's second-highest court to review its 2011 decision to reject a challenge by Deutsche Post DHL against the reopening of a probe into possible state aid. Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail and express delivery company, had tried to have shut down an investigation the EU Commission started in 2007, but the General Court of the EU said in late 2011 that the challenge was inadmissible because the investigation really related to a probe that has been going on for 12 years

The Guardian: Investment bankers, when pitching for flotation work, perhaps behave like estate agents: they wave attention-grabbing figures in front of the seller to try to win the business, and only later say what they really think. Even so, the £10bn that JP Morgan thought Royal Mail could be worth deserves further investigation. One has to deduct Royal Mail's borrowings to get a true comparison with the £3.3bn at which the company's equity was priced. But, since the debt was only about £1bn, the numbers still imply a gulf in valuations. The best solution here would be to summon the relevant JP Morgan banker to appear before the select committee inquiry into the sale of Royal Mail.

Scoop: Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has today announced that the Government has reached agreement with New Zealand Post on changes to the Deed of Understanding, to ensure the postal service remains viable. Under the agreement reached between the Government and New Zealand Post, changes to the Deed will not apply until 30 June, 2015. [EdNote: The Deed of Understanding constitutes New Zealand's definition of the post's universal service obligation.]

The Postmaster General has announced the appointment of James (Jim) P. Cochrane as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Executive Vice President, effective immediately. As the Postal Service continues initiatives to add value to the mail for our customers, technology and information products and services are increasingly important to our corporate strategy; and Jim will lead the Postal Service's efforts in these areas. As CIO, he will oversee the integration of technology and innovation in all aspects of our operations. Additionally, Jim will direct the advancement of new mail intelligence, engineering systems, information technology systems, payment technology, and corporate information security to meet the changing needs of today's marketplace. 

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

  • The Postal Regulatory Commission adjusted its procedural schedule for the public to participate in proceedings surrounding the Postal Service's exigent rate increase proposal due to the government shutdown. The Commission issued Ruling No. R2013-11/1 outlining the new schedule.
  • According to Senator Susan Collins, "[t]he PRC's approval of an exigent rate increase under these circumstances would be inconsistent with the law. The Postal Service is apparently asserting that this electronic diversion was caused by the recession, but seems to offer no evidence of such a causal link. To allow recovery of diversion-related losses in FY 2012 because the Postal Service asserts that the 2007-2009 recession caused them would be at odds with ongoing changes in Americans' use of technology. Allowing the rate increase to go forward would undermine the intent of PAEA to provide predictability and stability in postal pricing."
  • A post-Postal Service world? Two parties start work to avoid repeat crisis. Obamacare woes needs a paper cure. USPS responds to criticism of its annuity estimates. Deputy PMG: ‘Exigent increase not a done deal.' PostCom, MPA and others request for info in exigent case. APWU objects to the USPS' methodology in calculating workshare discounts. Netflix may ditch DVDs sooner rather than later. FedEx introduces FedEx One Rate. USPS issues solicitation for GPS units. USPS enhances package tracking. USPS switches to Webex. USPS emphasizes scanning importance. PRC extends comment deadline in CPI price change docket. Federal agencies cut jobs while USPS adds them. USPS $5.6 billion default raises urgency of reforms. Magazine industry chief rails against USPS. MailPro-misguide marketing-aka, you can't make this stuff up. Chris Hughes: ‘The New Republic' will be in print for as long as there is a postal service. OIG announces solicitation for professional, consultant and support services. USPS redesigns MTAC and Industry outreach websites. PRC's 2014 Congressional Budget Justification. NPF registration is now open! FedEx sees shipment peak on Cyber Monday as e-commerce grows.
  • Notices from the Federal Register.
  • An update from the Domestic Mail Manual.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • An update on postal happenings across the world.
  • Postal previews.
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

October 24, 2013 

Universal Postal Union: Unbanked people including the poor, less educated and unemployed are more likely to get their financial services from a post office than a bank or other financial institution, confirms a global analysis by the Universal Postal Union and the World Bank. The study Financial Inclusion and the Role of the Post Office also shows that the postal network's reach and size can significantly boost account ownership among the less privileged. The findings were presented today during a global forum on financial inclusion for development organized by the Universal Postal Union in Geneva, Switzerland.

flag New York Times: They were once major symbols of civic pride and influence, often situated in the heart of the city, and nearly equal in stature to nearby city halls, courthouses and other major public buildings. But increasingly, many of the buildings that served as newspaper headquarters in cities around the country are being put on the market, as a struggling industry searches desperately for ways to increase revenue. In recent months, The Washington Post put its downtown headquarters and three warehouse buildings in Alexandria, Va., up for sale, and the Tribune Company has hired a veteran real estate executive, who is expected to help that company sell some of its holdings. As a reflection of the print industry's sorry state, the physical plant in which the paper is produced is likely to have a far greater value than the paper itself, especially when situated in a gentrifying neighborhood. [EdNote: Another sign of the impact of digital disruption on printed communication.]

flag TechNewsWorld: eBay on Tuesday announced a set of initiatives -- including the acquisition of Shutl -- designed to help it offer speedier deliveries and a more personalized shopping experience. Shutl uses couriers to deliver goods within a few hours of their online purchase. The company is currently operating in Chicago and New York, as well as throughout the UK. eBay did not elaborate on how it plans to integrate Shutl beyond saying that its technology, talent and expertise would help it expand its local delivery services. Shutl will continue to serve its UK and U.S. retail partners as it rolls out to more sites worldwide. eBay has been experimenting with its same-day delivery service, eBay Now, in the New York and San Francisco areas and said Monday that it plans to expand it to 25 new cities by the end of 2014.

Financial Times: The National Audit Office is to carry out a value for money examination of the Government's privatisation of the Royal Mail. The announcement from the spending watchdog came amid a continuing row over whether the postal company was sold off too cheaply.

The Motley Fool: This Christmas shopping season will show the least retail growth in years, according to ShopperTrak, whose forecasts last month indicated that sales will rise by just 2.4% this year, compared to 3% last year, 4% in 2011, and 3.8% in 2010. Moreover, total retail store traffic will decrease slightly compared to last year. While ShopperTrak's data also finds that well over 90% of all retail transactions will still be made in-store, it does suggest that the online shopping experience will continue growing in importance. Although certain e-tailers will be natural beneficiaries of this trend, the surprise winner this holiday season could be Big Brown: package delivery specialist UPS

Washington Times: Spare change is hard to find at the U.S. Postal Service nowadays. The nation's mail service started October by defaulting on a payment due to the U.S. Treasury and is down to less than 10 days of cash on hand. The USPS is expected to muddle through the crunch, but its financial problems won't go away. The mail delivery business is in long-term decline. Without substantial change, the Postal Service inevitably will fail, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Some deny this grim reality, arguing that the financial crisis is a result of congressional requirements that the USPS pay about $5 billion annually to pre-fund retiree health care. But the USPS has not made those payments for three years. Even without counting this debt, the Postal Service is awash in red ink, losing some $15 billion over the past four years. The problem with the USPS is not pension funding, but a fundamental shift in technology. The Internet and other communications technologies are rapidly displacing physical mail.

Direct Marketing News: Saying she is "troubled" by the Postal Service's request for a 4.3% above-the-CPI rate increase, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) fired off a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) last week maintaining that the filing violated the letter of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) she coauthored in 2006.

13WHAM: Head to the Mobil gas station on Bay and Ridge Roads in Webster and you'll find a store with convenience. Inside, instead of candy bars, the shelves are stocked with letters and boxes. "This is pretty much a full-blown post office," said Frank Ranalletti, owner of the gas stations. Two years back, representatives from the U.S. Postal Service asked Ranelletti if he'd be interested in operating a Contract Postal Unit, which is a satellite post office placed in private businesses.


Nationwide Analysis of Tier 1 Network Distribution Centers – Postal Vehicle Service Operations  Full Report | Highlights

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
63519–63520 [2013–24895] [TEXT]  [PDF]
63520–63521 [2013–24897] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
PROPOSED RULES
International Mailing Services:
  Proposed Price Changes – CPI ,
  63433–63434 [2013–24929] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  Proposed Price Changes – Exigent ,
  63434–63435 [2013–24931] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  63521 [2013–24930] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Bloomberg Businessweek: FedEx Corp. projects its busiest shipping day this holiday season will be Cyber Monday, Dec. 2, with online retailers driving an 11 percent increase from 2012 to produce the company's highest volume in history. FedEx, operator of the biggest cargo airline, forecasts more than 22 million shipments will move through its global network on Cyber Monday, according to a statement today. The Dec. 2 date is the earliest peak day since at least 2007, the company said.

Radio New Zealand: The Postal Worker's Union says New Zealand Post employees would not be facing such significant job losses if there had been better regulations relating to private mail companies. Mr Maynard says one of the major factors is a clause in the Postal Services Act 1997 allowing private companies to collect and deliver mail. However, he says only New Zealand Post is required to provide a national service at a standard rate, so private companies are cherry picking the most profitable areas. Mr Maynard says that equates to an unfair subsidy to private companies, which disadvantages New Zealand Post. He believes private companies have taken 10% of the mail volume, and says if that had not been allowed to happen, the job losses would not be so serious, so quickly. New Zealand Post disagrees, saying the fundamental driver for change in the postal market is not competition, but declining letter mail volumes spurred by electronic alternatives.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  The Postal Service just published its 2012 Household Diary Survey.

The Household Diary Study: Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2012
http://www.prc.gov/docs/88/88099/Household%20Diary_FY12.zip
http://www.prc.gov/docs/88/88099/Letter_HouseholdDiaryFY12.pdf

October 23, 2013 

The 2014 National Postal Forum registration is now open! Come join us at Gaylord National for the 2014 National Postal Forum March 16-19 in the Washington DC, Metro area. Create your profile by going to the Forum web site. Just click the registration button. If the timing isn't right to register today, this new system enables you to register when it is convenient for you. Simply log back in to your personal profile and register, update your information, or change the registration that you already submitted…it is that simple! Create a Profile and Register now for 2014.

The Courier: Employees with the downtown Conroe post office allege U.S. mail delivery at the W. Dallas location is deliberately being delayed, with some mail left to accumulate in undelivered six-foot piles at the facility for times as long as a week. "We've been told — ordered, since last Tuesday to curtail delivery of the mail, because they want carriers to be back in (under) eight hours," an employee with the downtown Conroe post office said under condition of anonymity. Management at the downtown Conroe post office have been, allegedly, pressuring workers to cut mail delivery hours, threatening disciplinary action or even termination, all ultimately at the expense of mail service, the postal employee said. Mail delivered in the past on extended delivery routes, which regularly can take an expedited mail carrier as long as 10 hours — known as "over standard" in postal service terminology — sometimes sits undelivered for added days at a time.

Federal Business Opportunties: This publication constitutes the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General's (OIG) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), to solicit proposals from interested parties on a specific sub-set of OIG services. A formal Request for Proposal (RFP), solicitation, and/or additional information regarding this announcement will not be issued. All applicable solicitation provisions, instructions, terms and conditions are contained in this document. Specific clauses for any resultant contracts will be negotiated at contract award.

The Forecaster: Countless customers have stopped in to Andy's Handy Store this month to buy candy bars, Italian sandwiches and cold bottles of beer. But for the first time in nearly 15 years, they've been unable to purchase stamps or money orders or ship packages. New owner Matthew Williams bought the variety store, a fixture on Main Street since the 1930s, from Tom and Andrea Hutchinson over the summer. But it turned out postal contracts don't just transfer from one owner to the next; the U.S. Postal Service closed its account at the store in late September. "They took my stamps, my scale, everything," Williams said. "But I'm fighting like crazy. I'm bugging the hell out of them to get it back." Business has taken a big hit due to the loss of postal services, Williams said.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Postal Regulatory Commission Budget Justification: Over the last several years the Commission has experienced an extremely heavy, complex and increasing workload because of the significant financial difficulties being experienced by the Postal Service. To ameliorate the large financial losses being experienced, the Postal Service has proposed a wide range of initiatives that would significantly affect operations and service to the public. These proposals have greatly increased regulatory activity by the Commission. Since FY 2009 the Commission's active docketed cases have increased more than 130%. The complexity and number of these cases, particularly those related to nature of service, has also increased, resulting in an unprecedented workload that has required expanding staff hours to produce the required analysis in a timely manner. This workload, which we anticipate to continue through at least FY 2014, has put a heavy strain on the professional staff....The Commission can no longer adequately deal with the workload being experienced without an increase in professional staff. The Commission is therefore requesting a budget of $14,304,000 which will provide a modest increase of two FTE's and further improvement of our electronic docketing system. We will do this within essentially the same funding level approved for FY 2013 by continuing to restructure our workforce as older, more highly compensated, staff members leave. This request is designed to preserve the Commission's capacity to meet our statutory obligations, including timely responses to a growing number of Postal Service proposals. The Commission recognizes that its funding through the Postal Fund comes directly from the postal rates and fees paid by postal customers. The PAEA seeks to ensure the Commission's independence by authorizing the submission of its budget request to Congress separate from the Postal Service.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) recently led a bipartisan effort to forge a compromise to end the government shutdown and avoid a devastating default on our nation's debt. Saying that "the shutdown represents a failure to govern and must be brought to an end," Senator Collins took to the Senate floor on Saturday, October 5th and told her colleagues that "it is time that both sides come out of their partisan corners, stop fighting and start legislating in good faith." Within days, Senator Collins was leading a bipartisan group of seven Republicans, six Democrats, and one independent that successfully negotiated a compromise plan to reopen government, avert the default, and restart budget negotiations on a long-term fiscal plan to deal with our nation's unsustainable debt, among other provisions. Elements of this plan were incorporated into the final plan, negotiated by Senate leaders, that led to the end of the government shutdown. Senator Collins' efforts are being recognized nationwide.

New Zealand Herald: More than 1,000 posties and retail staff could lose their jobs after NZ Post got the green light from the Government to move to three-day-a-week deliveries and replace more Postshops with self-service kiosks. NZ Post yesterday said it had secured agreement from the Government allowing it to move to three-day-a-week letter deliveries from 2015, but rural areas would retain their current services.

Capital New York: Chris Hughes, the Facebook millionaire who purchased The New Republic in 2012, said last night that he thinks his magazine will still be printing ten years from now—"assuming the U.S. Postal Service is still delivering five days a week." "Print is an underestimated technology because it's light, it's colorful, it's cheap, it's all these important things," he said. "There's a reason it's lasted as long as it has. That immersive experience and the consumer who prizes that immersive experience is why magazines, in particular print and tablet magazines, still have a pretty rosy future." [EdNote: Nothing like putting your money where your mouth is.]

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  From Senator Susan Collins -- "I am writing to comment on the Postal Service's recent attempt to revive in this docket the above-CPI ("exigent") rate increase that the Postal Service initially sought in 2010. For the reasons I summarize here, 39 U.S.C. § 3622(d)(1)(E), which was added to Title 39 by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 ("PAEA"), does not authorize rate increases to recover losses caused by electronic diversion of communications from mail to the Internet. As the author of the PAEA, I can speak to the congressional intent of this provision. Electronic diversion and other structural problems have been an ongoing concern of the Postal Service for more than a decade, showing that these predictable circumstances are less than exceptional. An increase in rates is an attempt at an easy out by the Postal Service, rather than maximum efficiencies and cost savings, and will do nothing more than drive customers out of the Postal Service faster than they are already departing. . . ."

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

The conflict between the union CWU and the Royal Mail is coming to a head. A majority of 78% of the unionised workers at the British post voted in favour of strike action. The CWU promptly announced a nationwide 24-hour strike for November 4. At the same time, the union wants to hold a new ballot over the boycott of mail fed into Royal Mail's network by competitors via the downstream access.
French La Poste and the Vietnamese post have signed a co-operation agreement on the expansion of the Vietnamese postal bank.
A drastic decline in mail volume marked China Post's performance in the first nine months of the current year. Last week, the regulatory authority, the State Post Bureau, disclosed that the mail volume dropped by 11.6% to 4.97bn items. The parcel business on the other hand achieved a slight growth of 3.3% to around 49m parcels.
Magyar Posta slid back into the red on declining revenues last year.
The Federal Network Agency has granted greater leeway to Deutsche Post to increase its postage. According to the regulatory authority's decision, the post will be allowed to raise its postage up to the inflation rate minus 0.2%. The current regulation allows an increase of up to the inflations rate minus 0.6%. With the widened framework the post got 'enough leeway to maintain an efficient universal service' said Jochen Homann, the president of the regulatory authority.
Spanish Correos plans mass redundancies this year, too. A spokesman for the union Sindicato Libre told journalists that up to 10% of the around 57,000 employees could lose their jobs.
Deutsche Post is currently testing parcel boxes for detached and duplex houses. The goal was to deliver parcels, when the addressee is absent.
InPost is apparently facing massive service issues with its parcel terminals installed in the Czech Republic. The service was even worse than the post's.
The first employee survey at Austrian Post showed a mediocre result only. 24% of the employees did not feel comfortable at the company according to the survey. 'This is a mandate to act', the according brochure read, even though overall satisfaction at Austrian Post was above the average of other companies. Only half of all employees, who took part in the survey anonymously were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the post as employer. 20% were 'slightly satisfied'.

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.)

Phoenix Business Journal: U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., faulted fellow Republicans for their handling of the 17-day federal shutdown, expects post offices to close in order keep the U.S. Postal Service afloat and declined to jump on the Washington Redskins name change bandwagon.

Warsaw Business Journal: State-owned postal operator Poczta Polska (Polish Post) will not be privatized in 2014, a Ministry of Administration and Digitization spokesperson has said. Artur Koziołek told daily Rzeczpospolita that the reason for this was that the company is still going through the restructuring process it started in 2008. Mr Koziołek added that Poczta Polska will be floated on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the future. There is however no decision yet on when this could happen.

Pension Funds Online: The UK Government's plan to wipe Royal Mail's pension deficit clean by taking on its £8bn pension deficit could be in jeopardy, following a challenge from the European Commission. Pension Funds Insider understands that the commission is threatening to block half the bailout if it deems the move to be anti-competitive.

Southwest Business: Cyclists working for an eco-friendly business post service have delivered their 500,000th letter. Docmail Local Post has been operating for two years September 2011 in Bristol and Bath, offering businesses within the postcodes of the two cities an alternative to Royal Mail. The service offers a secure bicycle-based collection and delivery with a consistent service delivering in less than two days, priced at less than the cost of a second class stamp. Docmail Local Post was set up by Radstock-based print firm CFH when it spotted the opportunity for a rival postal service, operating locally. [EdNote: Ain't competition grand? When all the postal monopolies have been abolished, all kinds of things are possible.]

The latest issue of Market Flash, IPC's bi-weekly newsletter providing a comprehensive look at new developments emerging in international postal industry has been posted online. International Post Corporation: TOP STORY Royal Mail shares admitted to London Stock Exchange ■ AMERICAS UPS offers ground service from the US to Mexico ■ FedEx launches programme to repurchase more stock ■ ASIA PACIFIC SingPost aims to be pan-Asian e-Commerce logistics provider ■ DHL invests as Indonesia develops its infrastructure ■ EUROPE POST Luxembourg is unveiled as the new P&T brand ■ B2C parcels forecast to grow in UK by 5%-6% ■ DPD Germany offers e-retailers a returns solution ■ DPD Netherlands offers one-stop collection for parcels and food ■ Quality logistics crucial for food e-retailers ■ GLS expands its parcel shops with Mondial Relay ■ Chronopost wins award for its interactive delivery service ■ La Poste raises letter prices by 3% ■ La Banque Postale tests voice recognition for online payment ■ PosteID secure payment system offered for mobile devices ■ POST Luxembourg offers mobile app for Digicash payments ■ SuisseID verifies online stock trading ■ InPost moves parcel terminals into Romania ■ Postal CEOs endorse the importance of e-Commerce fulfilment TNT Express extends next-morning services ■ Amazon builds logistics centres in Poland ■ DPD Germany will increase prices in 2014 ■ Norway Post seeks banking supplier for rural areas ■ FedEx Express expands in central Germany ■ DPD completes rollout of mobile terminals for Czech couriers ■ Poland to see 20% growth in e-Commerce

The Herald: Postal services provider Zimpost has launched a new money transfer service called Zipcash which allows Zimbabweans to send and receive money locally and internationally through the postal network worldwide.

Associated Press: Mail will soon be delivered to suburban New Zealand homes just three days a week as the country's postal service responds to the rise of smartphones and the decline of letters. On Wednesday, the government agreed to a steep reduction in the six day a week service from 2015 following lobbying from New Zealand Post. The company said reduced delivery days will result in significant job losses. The move could foreshadow similar changes in other developed nations as businesses and residents increasingly move online to communicate and pay bills. In the U.S., the Postal Service has struggled for years with declining mail volumes. The service has tried to end its Saturday mail delivery but has been met with resistance from federal lawmakers. See also the New Zealand Herald.

October 22, 2013 

Intelisent: From the Editors Note, inside front cover of the MailPro News for Mailing Professionals Sept/Oct 2013 issue (formerly) mailed by the USPS: Reinventing MailPro In our business, timely delivery is crucial. That goes for the information we provide our customers as well as the letters and packages we deliver for you. When MailPro was launched more than six years ago, a bimonthly publication was a good fit at the time. The pace of change in the mailing industry — and in the world of communications — has speeded up a bit since then, hasn't it? It's time for a fresh approach. Beginning in November, MailPro will transition to an all-digital edition. Let me get this straight. USPS has an informational mailing for Mailing Professionals. They mail it Presorted First-Class Mail using G-10 Permit. Apparently, First-Class mail is TOO SLOW to get information out in a timely manner, so the USPS (an institution claiming they are dying because of electronic diversion) decides to jump on the electronic diversion bandwagon and STOP USING THE MAIL to communicate? That's a real positive motivator for mailing service providers to get out there and sell direct mail as a communications vehicle.

Fierce Government: Though the Postal Service reduced hours in fiscal 2012, USPS still used over 14 million work hours more than necessary to process mail volume, a Sept. 26 USPS inspector general report says. By reducing those hours, USPS could cut costs of about $628 million, it adds. Mail volume has declined but the Postal Service has not adjusted work hours in response, nor achieved all possible efficiencies in mail processing operations, the report says.

Government Executive: The federal government shed 6,000 jobs in September, according to new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. Postal Service -- which has seen an overall loss of about 200,000 employees over the last six years -- added 1,400 jobs last month, while the rest of federal agencies dropped a net of 7,300 workers. Including the Postal Service, the federal government ended the month with more than 2.7 million employees.

CNN: Federal jobs are at their lowest level level in 47 years... or 4 years. It depends on how you look at it. Digging deeper into the data shows a massive decline in postal workers is the biggest driver. Since 1999, USPS has slashed more than 300,000 jobs, or roughly a third of its workforce. Why is this distinction important? Since 1971, postal service jobs have not been funded by taxpayer dollars. So what's the real story? The rise and subsequent decline in federal jobs over the last four years is due to the government deploying stimulus dollars amid the recession and then enacting budget cuts shortly afterward. Still, if the aim is smaller government, then the trend is headed in that direction. Not including postal workers, federal government jobs accounted for 1.6% of all jobs in the American economy in September.

MoneyNews: With Congress and the media focused on the government shutdown and how to avoid default on the national debt, little attention was directed toward the U.S. Postal Service which earlier this month defaulted on a required $5.6 billion payment for the healthcare of its future retirees. The third default on the down-payment in just over a year underscores the necessity of much-needed reforms for the beleaguered Postal Service. Rep. Darrell Issa of California told Newsmax that without "the freedom to realign its infrastructure and operations in line with the changing way Americans use mail, the agency will remain insolvent." "Prolonged insolvency of USPS will result in a massive taxpayer bailout and ongoing subsidy, or a sudden disruption in mail service, or both," the California Republican said. Legislative action in this session is unlikely considering the other issues Congress has on its agenda, but Issa spokesman Ali Ahmad says "with the notable exception of labor unions, all key stakeholders are in contact and working on a solution to save the Postal Service and prevent a massive taxpayer-funded bailout." "The unions carry a lot of political weight because they are one of the largest unions and they are out there making a lot of noise, whereas the taxpayers are largely unaware of the situation or the need for reform," says Gattuso, who adds that labor opposition is "somewhat ironic as no one is talking about forced layoffs or drastic renegotiations of union contracts." "The status quo is not sustainable. While some argue that the USPS's losses are due to faulty accounting or a temporary downturn in the economy, that claim is wishful thinking. The market for traditional mail has been shrinking rapidly.

New York Post: The publishing industry has its problems — but that's nothing compared to the US Postal Service. Just ask Mary Berner, the head of the Association for Magazine Media (MPA), who took the opportunity to rail against the country's increasingly dysfunctional mail service in her keynote speech to the magazine industry. "I'm not pissed anymore about where we are and where we are headed as an industry," she said at the American Magazine Media Conference in New York on Tuesday afternoon. "I still get aggravated by the inability of lawmakers to fix the US Postal Service as opposed to making us and other mailers subsidize its refusal to make the hard choices that every other business in this country has made." The magazine industry is bracing for an emergency, or "exigent," rate hike as the cash-strapped Postal Service scrambles to raise prices to offset falling mail volume. "I mean, who thinks raising rates on its best customers is a remotely sane idea for a business whose revenue is already in free fall?" Berner said. "It's like raising prices on shoe laces when everyone is using Velcro. How about incentivizing us to mail more instead of ensuring that we will mail less?"

usps logo DMM Advisory: October DMM Update.  Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. On October 6 we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes:

  • Carrier Route Accuracy Standards.
  • We revised 243, 343, 363, 443, 463, and 707 to consolidate carrier route accuracy standards for Standard Mail®, Bound Printed Matter, and Periodicals carrier route mail into a new section, DMM 602.7.0. We published this information in the September 19, 2013, Postal Bulletin.
  • Modification of Letter Tray Placement on Pallets. We revised 705.8.5.6 to modify the requirement for placement of letter trays on pallets. We published this information in the September 19, 2013, Postal Bulletin.
  • Modification of Price Eligibility for Flats with Optical Discs. We revised 333.2.7 to modify the price eligibility for First-Class Mail® flat-size pieces that are part of round-trip mailings containing optical discs. We published this information in the September 19, 2013, Postal Bulletin.
  • We revised 708.6.0 to update the standards for the tray label distribution system. We published this information in the September 19, 2013, Postal Bulletin.
  • Balloting Materials Postage.  We revised 703.8.0 require that the balloting materials for all types of ballots, whether disseminated in hardcopy or electronically, must indicate in a prominent location the proper amount of First-Class Mail postage that must be paid. We published this information in the September 5, 2013, Postal Bulletin.
  • DMM Revision: U.S. Postal Service® Registered Trademarks.We revised 608.7.0 to update the Postal Service™ registered trademarks used throughout the DMM. We published this information in the September 5, 2013, Postal Bulletin. 
  • Modification of Return Address Requirement for Periodicals Publications.We revised 602.1.5.3 to modify the requirement for a return address on a Periodicals publication in any wrapper to apply to publications that are in an opaque wrapper. We published this information in the September 5, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

Politco: The economy added 148,000 jobs in September while the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.2 percent, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Analysts had expected job growth of about 185,000, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Post & Parcel: FedEx Express has launched a new pricing approach in the United States, offering a "flat rate" for consumers and small businesses. However, the new FedEx pricing approach isn't quite as simple as a postal service one-price-goes-anywhere offering, with FedEx taking distance into considering. Deliveries are priced differently if going within 150 miles of origin (called the Local Zone), within 600 miles (Regional Zone) and other parts of the US (National Zone). The FedEx One Rate does include residential, delivery area and fuel surcharges but is subject to other charges including on-call pickup, Saturday delivery, signature options, additional declared value and address corrections. Prices (not including additional charges) start at $7.50 for a three-day envelope sent within the Local Zone, with a small box going across the country costing $10.50 on the three-day service and $104.50 for next-day by 8.30am. An extra large box going nationally on the three day service would cost $37.25, or $168.50 for the overnight by 8.30am service. Essentially, the new pricing approach adds more free packaging options, combines certain surcharges in with the original rate, eliminates the need for weighing items under the 10lb/50lb threshold, and simplifies the distance pricing.

Marketwired: Stamps.com®, the leading provider of USPS postage online and shipping software to over 450,000 customers, today announced that its Chief Legal Officer, Seth Weisberg, won the Los Angeles Business Journal Corporate Counsel Award in the "Public Company (2012 Revenue Less Than $1 Billion)" category. [EdNote: Congratulations, Seth!]

Human IPO: First Bank of Nigeria has entered into a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to enhance access to its mobile payment solution, FirstMonie. The bank said the partnership would offer convenient and reliable financial services to the unbanked in Nigeria as well as those that are under-banked. Through the partnership, FirstMonie will provide mobile financial services in communities where there are NIPOST offices and agents.

Postal Service Takes a Leading Digital Role  Last month, the U.S. Postal Service awarded the contract for a pilot program for a cloud-based identity management system called the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX). Using a closed communications network, or "digital pipelines", the Postal Service will deliver digital packets ("envelopes") of secure identity data between government agencies and private or public identity providers

Silicon Republic: The Irish Government claims Ireland will be the first country in the world to have a public database of unique identifiers for properties. This, it said, will help citizens, public bodies and businesses to locate every individual household, apartment and business in the State. Richard Garry is sales and marketing director at Gamma, the Dublin-based geographic information system (GIS) firm that provides geocoding and address services. He is of the view that dealing with the 30pc of non-unique addresses will be "exciting times" for the Irish GIS community. This is because it will mean all rural areas will be open for comprehensive spatial analysis, according to Garry. With that, new niche industries can spring up on the back of the digital postcoding. Garry said the main benefits will be in making existing service providers more efficient, for example, ambulance and fire brigade services, and even engineering services.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Rate Adjustments ,
62712–62714 [2013–24580] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  62714 [2013–24335] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The St. Petersburg Times: The Communications and Press Ministry plans to double the revenues of state-owned Russian Post to make the company ready for an IPO by 2018, Vedomosti reported Friday. The ministry is proposing to sell a small share of Russian Post to a portfolio investor by 2015 and privatize the mail carrier completely from 2018 to 2021, according to a report that officials recently presented to the government. The price of Russian Post is expected to be 150 billion rubles ($4.7 billion) by the time it is ready for the second stage of the sale. The initial sale of a stake in the mail provider to a private investor will help to make the business more transparent and can be used later as a success story to encourage participation in the next stage of privatization, the report said. Other changes that are planned to help the state company increase turnover include allowing it to provide banking services and reduce the number of unprofitable branches, decreasing the total from 14,000 to 8,500. Up to 80 percent of these remaining branches could later be closed. Russian Post also plans to be more aggressive on the inter city courier market, such as servicing deliveries from online stores. Revenues in this sector are forecasted to grow from 16 billion rubles now to 65 billion rubles in 2018. The report's authors expect that the planned changes will put Russian Post in the black by 2018 with revenues of 291 billion rubles and a net profit of 19.5 billion rubles.

Daily Express: Converted shipping containers that were delivered to a site in Brighton today will provide temporary accommodation for people with a long history of homelessness. The units will provide temporary accommodation for 36 men and women for a period of five years in the city's New England Quarter.

Postalnews Blog: USPS is looking for a few enthusiastic employees to appear in an ad for this year's holiday advertising campaign. commercialLike the ad currently appearing across the country, the new commercial also will feature employees as the cornerstone of USPS.

FCW: There is no such thing as a normal day when you're the guy responsible for managing database and storage services at a major federal agency. So says Dan Houston, who oversees 3,300 databases, 400 applications and all 22 petabytes (and counting) of data collected by the U.S. Postal Service, mainly from its public-facing website and mail-tracking system. Whether he is implementing the latest version of Oracle on hundreds of systems or supporting new business projects for customers, Houston faces new challenges almost daily. And with USPS' precarious financial situation, data and IT have never been more important to the agency's mission. In terms of size and scope, few organizations in the world rival USPS' IT infrastructure, and Houston handles the data at the heart of it.

October 21, 2013 

Bloomberg Businessweek: When will Netflix send out its last red envelope? The company is clearly focused on streaming, but executives have long maintained that DVDs, while declining, are going to be a part of its business for years to come. Still, there are some good reasons why Netflix might get out of the DVD business sooner rather than later. Around 7 million customers still pay Netflix to send them DVDs of movies and TV shows via mail. Two years ago, that number was twice as high. Fast-forward another two years, and there could be around 4 million customers left who get their red envelopes from Netflix. Or maybe even less. The decline has stabilized, but those shipping hubs are still closing. Netflix still maintains 39 distribution centers nationwide. The company declined to share any specific numbers around these closures with us, with a spokesperson only saying that "DVD continues to be important to Netflix and we want to offer our DVD customers the best possible service." Previously, Netflix operated as many as 58 distribution centers.

Business Wire: FedEx Express, an operating company of FedEx Corp., is introducing FedEx One RateSM which gives U.S. customers a simple, predictable, flat rate shipping option for their express packages. FedEx One Rate shipping is backed by the reliability, world-class tracking, time-definite delivery and high levels of customer service of the FedEx Express network. FedEx One Rate shipments also are covered by the FedEx Express money back guarantee. "With its simple, predictable pricing, FedEx One Rate takes convenience and flexibility to the next level for our customers," said Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president of Marketing at FedEx Services. "For consumers and small businesses alike, FedEx One Rate pricing allows customers to plan and control their express shipping costs more easily. They can add to the box without adding to the cost."

ITBusiness.ca: DMTI Spatial Inc., a Canadian provider of location-based data solutions, has announced Neopost, a European mailroom equipment provider, has acquired it for an undisclosed sum. In an announcement on Thursday, DMTI Spatial said it'd be joining Neopost's data quality business unit, assisting with the company's customer and address solutions by providing geo-spatial data. Neopost is looking to ramp up its services in customer communications management and data quality and shipping solutions.

STA: National postal services operator Pošta Slovenije generated EUR 1.08m loss in the first eight months of 2013 due to a EUR 2.3m impairment related to shares of NKBM bank. Sales revenues in the period reached EUR 633m, the company said Monday.

Post & Parcel: Dutch postal service PostNL is raising its retirement age to 67, as part of a raft of changes to its under-funded pension system. The company has reached agreement with trade union negotiators on the arrangements, along with the PostNL/TNT pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds PostNL, after "intensive" dialogue since December aimed at a "future-proof" approach to the pension deficit.

Washington Post: For Josefina Castellanos, it was a simple request to the D.C. tax office: Send the property tax bills for her rental home in the District to her new house in Virginia. But the mail never came. Instead, the tax office sent her bills to a wooded lot across from a strip shopping center five blocks away. By the time she discovered the mistake in 2010, a tax lien investor was already moving to foreclose in court.  "Think about this: I was about to lose my house," she said. "You trust the government to do the right thing." Despite warnings from internal auditors, District tax officials are using property records riddled with errors, preventing bills and critical notices from reaching owners who have fallen behind on their taxes, The Washington Post found. Using the agency's address records, The Post mailed notices to more than 1,800 delinquent property owners this summer and found that nearly 400 — one in five — were returned as undeliverable. In some cases, the tax office had incorrect house numbers or missing unit numbers. In other cases, the owners' primary mailing addresses were long out of date. All of the owners had liens on their properties for sale at the July auction, with 171 sold on those with flawed addresses. [EdNote: Duh. Has anyone told the District about the practice of address hygiene? Helloooo Postal Service.]

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Docket No. R2013-10 -- "The American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO (APWU) hereby objects to the methodology used by the Postal Service in calculating workshare discounts in this price adjustment. The Postal Service has now split the single piece letter rate into a stamped letter rate and a metered letter rate and is calculating the discounts from the lower rate. The effect of this change is to adversely affect rates and services provided to users of postal services who do not take advantage of the discount rates. These discounts are, therefore, in violation of Sections 3622(e)(2) and 3622(e)(4)(C) of the Act. "

ITWire: Australia Post has announced record financial results. It ascribes the numbers to a continued growth in the digital economy – delivering products ordered on the Net.

Newsday: The U.S. Postal Service is proposing price increases next year including a three-cent hike in first-class stamps to 49 cents, the largest increase since 2002. The news comes on the heels of the Postal Service's recording a nearly $16-billion loss last year and expectations that it will end this fiscal year with a roughly $6-billion loss. The increases could put a crimp in the budgets of companies that do a lot of direct-mail marketing, requiring them to become more focused and targeted in their approach, say experts.

Codewit News: The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has concluded all arrangements to hold the third Nigerian Courier Summit in Lagos, where courier regulatory issues among others, would be addressed.

The Postal Regulatory Commission has adjusted its procedural schedule for the public to participate in proceedings surrounding the Postal Service's exigent rate increase proposal. The Commission issued Ruling No. R2013-11/1 outlining the new schedule.

Date Action
Thursday, September 26, 2013 Filing of Exigent Request
 
Thursday, October 24, 2013 First Technical Conference- Taufique
Thursday, October 31, 2013 Second Technical Conference* Thress
Friday, November 1, 2013 Third Technical Conference - Nickerson.
Friday, November 8, 2013 Deadline for filing suggested questions to be asked of the Postal Service during the public hearing (39 CFR 3010.65(c))
Monday–Wednesday Nov. 18, 19, 20, 2013 Public Hearings (39 CFR 3010.65(b))
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Deadline for filing initial comments (39 CFR 3010.65(f))
Friday, December 6, 2013 Deadline for filing reply comments (39 CFR 3010.65(g))

October 20, 2013 

Charleston Gazette: What if the Postal Service went belly-up, and the ubiquitous blue boxes and white trucks were gone for good? The idea is so sensitive that representatives of business and government were reluctant to discuss, even hypothetically, what a post-Postal Service world might look like. But some spoke of the difficulties that could arise - particularly in a state where many people still don't use the Internet. In July, a federal study showed that more than 35 percent of West Virginia households don't have a computer - the second-lowest rate of computer ownership in the United States. Just 59 percent of West Virginia households subscribe to high-speed Internet, according to the "Exploring the Digital Nation" study. "Many people want to see their bills arrive in the mail and their bills go out in the mail. Others prefer to get their bills online. Communications have changed over time," said Frontier Communications spokesman Dan Page, who said he still prefers to get paper bills delivered to his home.

The Independent: Vince Cable will appear before a powerful committee of MPs for an urgent hearing, following growing concerns that the coalition has privatised Royal Mail on the cheap. The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary will again face members of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee after they felt he had given "incredibly superficial" answers over the pricing of Royal Mail shares.

The Telegraph: As Britain enters week three of the great Royal Mail float farrago, it is worth remembering that when it comes to decisions in business and politics it is not a choice between the reality and Shangri-La. It is a choice between reality and the alternative.

Sunday Mail: You've got email... so when was the last time you wrote a letter? Read this brilliant account of a lost art...and weep.

October 19, 2013 

New York Times: Over the past few months, the discoveries of two engineers have led to a steady trickle of alarms from the Department of Homeland Security concerning a threat to the nation's power grid. Yet hardly anyone has noticed. The advisories concern vulnerabilities in the communication protocol used by power and water utilities to remotely monitor control stations around the country. Using those vulnerabilities, an attacker at a single, unmanned power substation could inflict a widespread power outage. Still, the two engineers who discovered the vulnerability say little is being done.

The West Australian: Stamp prices are set to rise after Australia Post lost $187 million on traditional mail services. Australia Post says the number of letters delivered dropped by 263 million to 4.5 billion in the past year. An Australia Post spokeswoman said it costs more than 60 cents to deliver a letter, which contributed to the price hike. "The current price of 60 cents to send a letter anywhere in Australia is not an accurate reflection of the true cost for it to be delivered, nor in keeping with inflation," the spokeswoman said. "Losses in the letter business are expected to increase and we will continue to address ways of limiting the losses. An increase in the basic postage rate would naturally be part of this plan as we look to secure a future for our letters business, while ensuring we maintain all our Community Service Obligations (CSOs)."

The Motley Fool: Wall Street may be ignoring the continuing labor negotiations between the United Parcel Service and the Teamsters, but investors should keep a very close eye on these negotiations as they unfold. There remain 12 supplemental contracts still to be voted on, and if they can't come to an agreement, the national contract will not go into effect. Further, if these contracts don't pass after a third vote, it could lead to a strike in those specific locations.

BBC: The government ignored two banks that valued Royal Mail at £5 billion, far more than shares were sold for, the Financial Times has reported. At least two banks canvassed on the sale said shares would be worth up to £5 each, the FT claims. It was common practice to see government sell-offs priced at around 20% below full value so early investors are not penalised. [EdNote: Hmmm. It didn't work that way with Facebook.]

Statesman Journal: Following a handful of volleys, back-and-forth salvos involving Aumsville residents, the United States Postal Service and the city, the outcome is – status quo. USPS spokesman Pater Hass affirmed on Thursday, Oct. 17, that changes thought to be forthcoming in the Aumsville postal delivery have been tabled. The city's residents who receive their mail via free post-office boxes will continue to do so. Potential changes that evolved over the past several months indicated differently; either the postal service would deliver mail to clustered boxes on the street or charge residents $44 per year for a PO Box.

CBS2Iowa: In early August, representatives from the United States Postal Service (USPS) held a public meeting to announce plans to downsize and move the Iowa City Main Post Office at 400 S. Clinton to a smaller, less expensive location. They have now announced their top two site selections: Pepperwood Plaza on Highway 6E, east of K-Mart, is the preferred site, while 1925 Boyrum Street has been chosen as the alternate in case an agreement is not able to be reached for the Pepperwood location. A public comment period has been launched by the City of Iowa City to allow members of the Iowa City area community to submit feedback on the site selection.

The Park Record: Park City leaders in coming weeks are expected to decide how mail will be delivered in a section of Old Town, including the possibility of putting up so-called gang boxes in the neighborhood that would serve multiple households. City Hall and the United States Postal Service have held a lengthy discussion about mail delivery in the neighborhood and appear to be preparing for a decision. According to Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer and the staffer who has represented City Hall in the talks, the postal service has deemed a swath of Old Town as being eligible for home delivery. That part of Old Town has traditionally not received home delivery, making a free post-office box available to those households. As a result of the change, the households will not eligible for a free post-office box, he said, leading to the upcoming decision.

The State Journal-Register: Residents of this small Christian County community now have a new place to buy stamps and mail a letter. The Village Fast Stop, a convenience store at 315 W. Arch St., started operating Friday as the first Village Post Office in the county. The regular post office in Mount Auburn is still open, but the convenience store has longer hours and will be able to take care of basic postal needs.

The Vicksburg Post: The U.S. Postal Service is planning to place cluster mailboxes in Vicksburg residential areas and at retail centers in a measure meant to save time and costs.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 62364 [2013–24723] [TEXT] [PDF]

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Financial Times: Royal Mail was valued by investment banks at up to £5bn in June, 50 per cent more than the price at which the UK postal operator was sold to the public a week ago. The revelation will intensify criticism of the government's handling of the controversial flotation. MPs are preparing to grill its main adviser, Lazard, on the conduct of the £3.3bn offering at a hearing next month, in the wake of a public outcry and accusations by the opposition Labour party that a prime state asset has been sold on the cheap.

October 18, 2013 

Fall Mailing Season Gets Rolling: This is the time of year when retailers, nonprofit organizations, and other mailers step up their holiday advertising mailing campaigns. Volume spikes in this period, known as the fall mailing season, which then gives way to the even-busier holiday mailing season, when personal correspondence and packages spike. The U.S. Postal Service makes most of its money for the year in the period between Labor Day and Christmas. Commercial mailers work closely with the Postal Service to help it prepare, but the fall mailing season has always presented operational challenges. In some ways, it is highly efficient because facilities are staffed for busy times. But postal equipment, including mail tubs, trays, mail transporting equipment, and pallets, have to be in the right places at the right times. In past years, commercial mailers have complained about shortages of mail equipment. Ideally, mail sorting equipment should run at optimal throughputs for maximum efficiency, and the online system mailers use to set up mail entry appointments should work seamlessly. Still, mail delays can occur for a variety of reasons, including mail processing errors, inefficient use of automation equipment, congestion on the facility floor, and working from incomplete operating plans. The Postal Service's fall mailing season plan attempts to eliminate roadblocks to swift processing and delivery. This year, it has ordered extra mail transport equipment and looked at ways to shift volume from heavily used equipment to under-used processing equipment. The Postal Service is also relying on the increased visibility from the Intelligent Mail barcode as a diagnostic tool to uncover bottlenecks. These tools helped it reduce mail delays in fall 2012 by showing "pinch points" and helping managers act on that information to reduce mail cycle times. This year, however, could prove especially challenging as the Postal Service continues with its network consolidation implementation. It has completed more than 150 facility consolidations and has moved more than 700 pieces of equipment in support of the consolidations. With the late date of Thanksgiving this year, the end of fall mailing season pushes right into the peak mailing season for the holidays.

New York Times: With the government reopened and a debt default averted for now, Congressional negotiators on Thursday plunged into difficult budget talks to avoid a repeat crisis within months, and quickly agreed to lower their sights from the sort of grand bargain that has eluded the two parties for three years. After approval late Wednesday of the agreement ending the standoff, the deal-making mantle shifted overnight from the leaders of the Senate to the Budget Committee leaders, Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, two less senior lawmakers who nonetheless could make very effective salespeople since they command loyal followings in their parties. The political pressure lifted as well, for now. The question of what a new House-Senate budget conference can deliver by its Dec. 13 deadline — in time for Congress to act by Jan. 15 on funding to keep the government open — remained the subject of deep skepticism, well earned by past failures at reaching so-called grand bargains for deficit reduction and spending investments in the past three years. With the scope of the talks narrowed for now, on the table are ideas left over from past, failed bargaining: possible reductions in other programs — like farm subsidies, federal pensions, the Postal Service and unemployment insurance — and relatively minimal tax loophole closings, possibly as little as $55 billion.

Wall Street Journal: Swiss Post traces its roots to 1849, when the Swiss Confederation replaced disparate cantonal postal organizations with a unified national postal system. By Swiss law, the group must provide both postal and payment transactions services. Reorganization has characterized much of the group's recent history. In June of this year, the group announced that postal and financial functions would be demerged into two public limited companies and that as part of that demerger, PostFinance would receive a full banking license. Pascal Koradi, chief financial officer of Swiss Post, told Risk & Compliance Journal how the group changed its approach to risk management in preparation for the banking license.

Financial Times: Barack Obama made a big mistake when he designed his healthcare programme. The president put his faith in computers – and as anyone of a certain age should know by now, these whizz-bang gizmos aren't all they're cracked up to be. Sure, they're great for kids' stuff. But if you are doing something adult – something for which you are paid money, for instance – doing it with a cell phone, a tablet or another contraption with software inside is an invitation to frustration and the inevitable advice from someone in the know to turn the thing off and then on again and see if that helps.The problem with Obamacare is that its creators couldn't resist putting the whole kit and caboodle online. We could cure much of what ails Obamacare today by simply turning back the clock and using old-fashioned methods. All the information about insurance plans and applications for medical coverage could be printed on paper, delivered by the US Postal Service, filled out by hand, processed by people and stored in secure metal filing cabinets in sturdy office buildings.

Australian News Net: Australia Post has delivered the federal government a $244 million dividend in 2012/13, but warns a decline in regular mail bodes badly for the business. The postal agency's $312 million after-tax profit, up 10.9 per cent on 2011/12, came via strong growth in online shopping, the purchase of the StarTrack parcels service and cuts to running costs.However, mail volumes continue to fall as more people turn to email. Australia Post now delivers one billion fewer letters per year than we did in 2008 due to the shift by both businesses and consumers to digital means of communication.

The Sudbury Star: Canada Post is expected to lose half its workforce in the next 10 years, due to attrition, and will need to cut costs to adapt to a rapidly changing market for mail delivery. The Crown corporation has around 60,000 employees across Canada, but half are due to retire in the next 10 years, and most will not be replaced. "Our revenue is declining quite a bit, but we still have the same cost structure," said Doug Jones, Canada Post's senior vice-president of delivery and customer experience.

Dead Tree Edition: For the first time I can remember, the U.S. Postal Service issued a formal response today to a Dead Tree Edition article, USPS Comes Up With Yet Another Way to Discourage Early Retirement. The response was submitted as a comment on that article.

Direct Marketing News: In an exclusive interview with Direct Marketing News, Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman expressed a firm belief that postal reform can be enacted by Congress in the coming months and that a 4.3% exigent rate increase can be averted. Extraordinary forces are aligning in the turbulent 113th Congress, noted the Capitol Hill veteran, that favor quick passage of postal reform.

TechVibes: Canadians now have the option to access their epost account through a free iPad app, Canada Post announced this week. The new app adds a greater degree of choice in how Canadians can access their epost account, through which they can receive, view and organize their bills, and statements, accordinng to Canada Post.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Kokomo Perspective: Postal Unions against Carper-Coburn Bill Bill aims to phase out door-to-door delivery, eliminate Saturday delivery The postal bill that was introduced this summer by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has postal workers up in arms. The bill (S. 1418) that's designed "to improve, sustain, and transform the United States Postal Service," isn't going to accomplish that goal, said Pam Jones, member of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 533. "With the postal reform that is presently before Congress, it will affect every American because they want to eliminate door-to-door delivery. They want to eliminate Saturday delivery. It's a bad bill for the American public," she said.

National Association of Major Mail Users: Canada Post will hold its eighth Annual Public Meeting on October 23 at the Corporation's head office conference centre in Ottawa. Meeting registration will take place at 1:30 p.m. and the meeting will start at 2:00 p.m. Mr. Marc Courtois, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Deepak Chopra, President and Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Wayne Cheeseman, Chief Financial Officer, will present at this meeting. For those unable to attend in person, a webcast will take place at the same time. Webcast participants can submit questions by email, and responses will be given during the question period, time permitting. To register for the webcast or learn more about the meeting: http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/announcements/publicmeeting.jsf?ecid=murl07001141&LOCALE=en canadapost.ca/publicmeeting The session usually lasts about one hour and members are encouraged to participate as major stakeholders in the future of postal services in Canada. Kathleen Rowe President | executive@nammu.ca

October 17, 2013 

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

  • The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) on October 11, 2013, published on its Postal Explorer web site an advance copy of the proposed changes in mailing standards related to the January 2014 pricing changes filed by the USPS on September 26, 2013. Mailers have 30 days from the date the proposed changes are published in the Federal Register to respond, but with the current government shutdown...the Federal Register is not being published, except for posting "documents necessary to safeguard human life, protect property, or provide other emergency services consistent with the performance of functions and services exempted under the Antideficiency Act."
  • The Association for Postal Commerce ("PostCom") hereby submits these comments in response to the United States Postal Service's ("Postal Service") Notice of Market-Dominant Price Adjustment ("Notice"), filed September 26, 2013, and Commission Order No. 1842, establishing this docket and requesting comment. PostCom believes that the proposed price adjustments generally comply with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act ("PAEA"), in that the proposed rate increases appear to be consistent with the Postal Service's price cap authority. PostCom submits these comments to direct the Commission's attention to aspects of the Postal Service's notice which highlight the need for the Commission to complete its project, begun in Docket No. RM2013-2, of updating and revising its rules regarding marketdominant price changes and compliance with the price cap. Specifically, the Commission should open a docket to definitively establish criteria for evaluating the price cap treatment of promotions, incentives, and other forms of discount pricing. Additionally, PostCom notes that the Residual First-Class Mail Price established by the Postal Service in this docket does not resolve the ambiguity which led the Commission to reject mail classification changes associated with this price in Docket No. MC2013-30. Until the Postal Service provides MCS language implementing this price, it is impossible to determine whether the Postal Service has resolved the concerns PostCom raised in that docket.
  • Mintel looks at "alternative banks." H-P: Cyber crime on the rise. Door-to-door war: how Amazon ignited a boom in same-day delivery services. USPS gets $16.7M supercomputing upgrade. A USPS IPO? It is not a daft as it sounds. Banks left behind as payments go mobile? New MTAC participation opportunities. FedEx rises to highest since 2007 on stock buyback plan. USPS comes up with yet another way to discourage early retirement. Verizon starts same-day delivery in Philly, coming soon to San Fran & New York. Square cash lets anyone with a debt card send money instantly over email. Multi-Channel retailers scramble to respond to proposed 6% rate increase. UPS relies heavily on railroads to keep giant Chicago hub on schedule. USPS privatization: the dark side.
  • An update from the Domestic Mail Manual.
  • An update on postal happenings across the world.
  • Postal previews.
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

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  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Scunthorpe Telegraph: Royal Mail employees in North Lincolnshire are among 1,500 in the DN postcode area to be handed a total of £5 million worth of free shares in the company. Each eligible full-time employee is entitled to 725 free shares, with an initial market value of £3,545.25. But, as The Lincolnite has reported, Royal Mail employees in Lincoln will strike next month as part of a dispute over pay, following the company floating on the stock market.

Progressive Railroading: The world's largest ground package sorting facility doesn't seem all that imposing from the road leading into the suburban Chicago complex. Known as the Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH), the mostly one-story United Parcel Service (UPS) facility appears to resemble a conventional distribution center or warehouse. But a bird's-eye view of the 240-acre complex from the hub's employment office on a nearby hill reveals a gargantuan central building and 10 long and narrow "spokes" that house a seemingly endless row of overhead doors. Ten percent of UPS' entire volume nationwide is handled at the hub, which processes packages that are sent to more than 90 percent of the company's 1,160 domestic facilities and touch every U.S. address. It's an understatement to say the CACH is a vital facility for the world's largest package delivery company, which processes 16.3 million parcels each day using more than 96,000 vehicles, and employs 323,000 people in the United States and 76,000 overseas.

The Epoch Times: If the British can do it, then the Yanks can do it as well. So after the news that the British government would privatize a large portion of the Royal Mail hit, talks of privatizing the U. S. Postal Service (USPS) resurfaced. The real reasons behind the push, however, might have to do with the company's real estate portfolio.

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

Royal Mail made a furious debut at the stock markets. On last Friday, the first day of the conditional trade, which was reserved for institutional investors, the share price climbed by nearly 40% compared to the offering price of 3.89 euros.
Now, it is agreed: 70% of Portugal's CTT Correios de Portugal are already to be sold in December this year.
Posten Norge is searching for a new co-operation partner for its postal bank.
After PostNL forwent compensation payments for the provision of the universal service in 2011 and 2012 (among others CEP-News 27/13), the Dutch post now plans to file an application for 2014.
Italy shows how to utilise state-owned companies as political tool these days. To rescue the again crisis ridden airline Alitalia, Poste Italiane is due to invest 75m euros into the carrier in the course of a capital increase.
The Irish government is backing the use of individualised codes for the introduction of postcodes.
With a verdict from the beginning of October, the Krakow appeal court opened a multi-million business for privately run postal operators. In the future, courts and prosecutors are not allowed to include a condition in their tenders concerning registered mail (including an advice of receipt), that the carrier has to proof the despatch process with an official seal.
DPD plans to open own parcel shops in Russia. Logistics portal »Trans-Port« (14.10) reported that DPD plans to set up its own shops, pick-up points and drop-off locations in ten cities initially. The goal was to offer parcel recipients more flexibility given the growth of e-commerce.
InPost, the subsidiary of Polish mail and CEP service provider Integer.pl now launched its service in Romania, too.
A Master thesis at the University of Amsterdam provides a first glimpse on how much consumers are willing to pay for a fast delivery. The author Michel Heikamp concludes in his thesis 'Service delivery pricing in E-fulfillment', that consumers in the Netherlands are willing to pay 2 euros more for a delivery within 24 hours compared to a lead-time of two to five days. Above this amount, a majority prefers a lower delivery time.
As expected, members of the US union Teamsters have approved the new framework collective agreement with DHL.
Austrian Post wants to become the number one on the Turkish market together with parcel service Aras Kargo.
The Russian post could go public within three to five years. This at least is the opinion of communications minister Nikiforov.
French La Poste is apparently testing a programme for the comprehensive introduction of 3D printers.
The announced auction of properties of Spanish Correos will begin on Thursday this week (CEP-News 27/13). Interested buyers can make an offer for one of the 111 properties across the country until November 21.
Malaysia Post's share price soared by nearly 60% since the beginning of this year.
Australia Post will equip all its deliverers with handheld scanners. With these devices, a real-time track & trace service will be available.
The Mexican post plans to make yet another effort to stand on its own feet. Yuriria Mascott, the new general director who just entered her office at the beginning of this year, plans to win customers back from privately run service providers.
The British post's branch network found a partner for the first of the 70 Crown Post Offices to be outsourced. Last week, Post Office Limited announced that book and magazine retail chain WH Smith would take over 16 of the remaining 373 top offices.

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.)

Furniture World: Among multi-channel retailers that rely on mailing everything from full catalogs to postcards to prospect for and draw customers to stores or ecommerce sites, the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) proposed rate hike of 5.9 percent, the largest since 2007, has driven many to evaluate less expensive alternatives. With the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) having up to 90 days to rule on the proposal, the price hike could go into effect as early as January 27, 2014, if approved. In an open letter posted on its site, the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) further warned that the PRC can apply the increase differentially to each class of mailer, which could include a surcharge on Standard Flats used to send full sized catalogs that could be as high as 10-12%. For many multi-channel retailers, simply paying the higher mailing rates is not an option. Instead, early feedback suggests that many intend to reduce catalog circulation and send frequency, or turn to less expensive forms of mailing such as mini catalogs, or digital promotion methods including search, email, display and social media advertising.

The Independent: Royal Mail staff are to strike early next month in the latest chapter of a long-running dispute over workers' rights between the unions and the newly privatised company. Postal workers belonging to the powerful Communication Workers Union (CWU) will strike on 4 November for 24 hours after securing a 78 per cent backing in the ballot for industrial action.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   On October 20, 2013, the Postal Service will deploy software to enhance the Intelligent Mail Full-Service initiative. We are offering webinars to share key information on the enhancements and how these changes can benefit mailers. Learn how participating in Full-Service can provide you with a waiver on paying the annual permit fee. Gain knowledge on how you can use Postal Wizard to submit Full-Service Periodical and Bound Printed Matter mailings and find out about the significant enhancements in Mail.dat and Mail.XML, for example, mailers are now allowed to submit logical pallet and tray information for presort mailings. Join the webinar to hear details on these exciting enhancements and many more! The webinars will be offered on the following dates:

October 16, 2013 

Hampton Roads Pilot: Somewhere in an upstate New York warehouse are piles of colorful postage stamps that may never grace an envelope. Chances are, they're headed for a shredder, all because of idiotic political correctness.

Postal Technology International: Almost one third of citizens in the Nordic countries shop online at least once a month according to PostNord. Denmark tops the list with the most people buying online each month, while consumers in Norway spend the most.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 36.0.0 Deployment — will require an extended maintenance window to complete all software updates. There will be a PostalOne! outage from 12:00AM(midnight) CT through 9:00AM CT, on Sunday, October 20, 2013. A mandatory Mail.dat® client download will be available immediately following the software update. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 36.0.0 can be found on RIBBS by clicking on Major/Minor Release Schedule/ 2013 Releases in the left-hand navigation bar or by going directly to Full Service 2013 Releases.

  • PostalOne! Release 36.0.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) — will occur on Monday, October 21, 2013, and PostalOne! TEM will be unavailable from 5:30AM CT through 3PM CT.

Mobifriendly: The United Nations just released a report that in just a few short months, 40% of the world or 2.7 billion people will have online access, much in part to mobile broadband.

The Verge: Verizon Wireless is ensuring its online customers can get new phones into their hands as soon as possible. The company has announced that a same-day delivery program is now live in Philadelphia, allowing customers to place orders online by 10AM on any weekday, and have their order guaranteed to arrive no later than 7PM that same night.

The Verge: What if sending money was as simple as sending an email? That's the premise of Square Cash, launching today for all debit card users in the US, using any email service. To use Square Cash, all you do is compose an email to a friend, type the amount you way to pay in the subject title, and cc cash@square.com. If it's your first time using the service, you're directed to Square's website where you type in your debit card number — and you're done. There are no accounts to create, apps to download, friends to add, surcharges to pay, or bank account numbers to look up.

IFAOnline: Royal Mail shares have fallen in early trading as investors take stock of their positions following the huge surge in the share price of the group over the last few days. Shares in the group are currently down 2.8% or 13.75p at 475.25p, having soared yesterday to a peak of 491p.

ITV: Nearly three quarters of British adults (72%) expect postal services will be more expensive after Royal Mail's privatisation, the ITV News Index carried out by ComRes has found.

Bloomberg: FedEx Corp. (FDX) surged to the highest in more than six years after the operator of the world's largest cargo airline authorized a buyback plan of as many as 32 million shares, its biggest repurchase program ever. The stock jumped 4.1 percent to $120.08 at the close in New York, the highest since February 2007. The shares touched $122.50 in intraday trading for the highest price on that basis since the Memphis, Tennessee-based company's initial public offering in 1978.

Dead Tree Edition: Amidst all of the postal reform proposals that went nowhere the past few years, the one tactic that has definitely worked for the U.S. Postal Service is getting employees to retire early. The tactic would work even better if the Postal Service stopped confusing or misleading potential retirees – by providing them with incomplete or just plain wrong information about what their retirement benefits will be. Just think how much greater the savings would be if the Postal Service could just do what is commonplace among large businesses – provide accurate and timely retirement information to its employees.

The Telegraph: Ms Greene discussed the issue of stamp prices in the wake of the privatisation. Interviewed by Sky News, she compared Royal Mail with other countries in the EU and said its prices were "low to middle of the spectrum". Asked if that meant a price rise was imminent, she replied: "Well, we didn't raise stamp prices last year." Royal Mail is allowed to increase prices of second-class stamps in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation. But there is no such cap on first class stamp, currently 60p. Ms Greene insisted the company had to "retain the loyalty" of its customer base, but also "stay competitive".

New York Times: Yahoo, once the biggest seller of display ads, has been ceding share of the display advertising market for years. This year, its share is expected to fall to 7.7 percent, from 8.6 percent share last year, while Google and Facebook's share of the market is expected to grow to 17.4 percent and 17 percent, according to eMarketer. The market is getting more competitive with the advent of advertising exchanges, which allow advertisers to instantly buy advertising placement across a broad range of Web sites, which pushes down prices that online sites like Yahoo can charge. Even as Yahoo increased the number of ads it sold by 1 percent last quarter, the price per ad declined 7 percent.

The Guardian: The Royal Mail is offering a £300 bonus to any of its 150,000 staff who cross the picket line in any forthcoming nationwide postal strikes. Moya Greene, its chief executive, wrote to all employees before Wednesday's strike ballot result to offer the sum if they continue working while colleagues are out on strike.

The Guardian: Royal Mail boss Moya Greene has called for "protections" from strikes as more than 100,000 postal workers prepare to announce plans for industrial action that could take place as soon as 23 October.

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