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

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

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Postal News for February 9, 2007

According to Dow Jones, "European retailsers remain cautious about products on the Internet outside their home countries, a new European Commission survey has found. Fewer than one third of Internet retailers offer their products cross-border. Those that do often restrict sales to one or two European countries. Language difficulties are less of a concern for most Europeans, with only 43% or retailers saying this was an issue. The main obstacle is the insecurity of transactions, which 61% of retailers were concerned about, retailers said. More than 50% said they were concerned about other potential problems such as different tax regulations (58%), resolving complaints (57%), difficulties in ensuring after-sales service (55%) and delivery costs (51%)."

The Wilmington News Journal has reported that "The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined there is reasonable cause to believe DHL Express Inc. has engaged in unfair labor practices as claimed by the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO. The NLRB Region 9 in Cincinnati issued a written complaint on Jan. 30, accusing DHL of "interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights" to a fair and free union election. The complaint stems from an NLRB investigation into unfair labor practice allegations filed in November 2006 by the union against DHL."

As DM News has reported:

  • Magazine publishers are trying to pull out all of the tricks to get new subscribers. But high postal costs and production difficulties led to some campaigns being discontinued. In response, Rodale sent out pre- and post-e-mail blasts, which enabled the publisher to boost gross response by 20 percent with no mailing costs.

  • The current rate case may mark a revolution in how the U.S. Postal Service determines rates. For the first time, the proposed rate structure would consider both shape and weight. The planned increase averages 8.5 percent, but items that require hand processing would see increases of up to 90 percent. Today’s machines can read an address, print a barcode and sort more than nine letters per second. And technology has largely automated the processing of handwritten letters as well as flats and parcels. But the USPS realizes these efficiencies only when mail works with these tools. [Hey, here's a thought. What about making flat sorting machines that can accommodate the kind of flats mailers need to send to satisfy the needs of their businesses and the marketplace?]

ThisIsLondon has reported that "Postal workers threatened to strike yesterday over plans to shake up their gold-plated pension scheme. Union leaders said yesterday's announcement was "a complete shock" and described the changes as "irresponsible". They said delivery services would collapse if their 190,000 members went on strike. "We will fight as hard as possible to protect postal workers' rights," said Billy Hayes, of the Communication Workers Union."

The Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) is asking the United States Postal Service (USPS) to delay the implementation of regulations that would more than double the postage for many nonprofit mail pieces. In its formal comments, the DMANF expressed serious concerns that the proposed regulations will dramatically increase postage costs for nonprofit mailers by pushing pieces that currently qualify as automation rate flats (as well as some letter mail that exceeds 3.5 ounces) into the significantly higher priced Not Flat-Machinable (“NFM”) and parcel rate categories. Among the mail packages that will be affected are flat-size pieces that contain a “front-end” premium such as a pen, magnet, greeting card, lapel pin or similar item. Compared to other fund-raising techniques, these types of front-end premiums perform particularly well in prospecting for new donors and drive large volumes of Nonprofit Standard Mail. Even with the discount afforded to nonprofit mailers, the cost of such mailings is likely to more than double under the proposed new rules. The DMANF believes that up to 40 percent of total nonprofit mail volume could be impacted. [Given the level of postal narcissm these days, DMANF might be better off starting a prayer group....And that's not meant to be snarky to the Federation. It's simply symptomatic of the utter frustration customers are feeling toward the Postal Service's rate making policies these days.]

Postal News for February 8, 2007

According to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, The Royal Mail has announced plans to close its final salary pension scheme to new entrants after revealing that its pensions deficit had grown to £6.6 billion. The figure, believed to be the biggest of any UK organisation, has grown by £1 billion in the past year, with huge servicing costs helping to cut the postal group's interim profits by 86% in the first six months of the financial year. Union leaders expressed anger at the plan to close the final salary scheme to new workers, which they said had come as a "complete shock".

The Times has reported that "Post Office owner Royal Mail is heading for a possible run-in with unions today after unveiling controversial plans to shut its final salary pension scheme to new members."

From the PR Newswire: "The national president of the National Association of Letter Carriers union told key Washington state legislators today that passage of bills to create a "Do Not Mail" registry would be detrimental to the Postal Service, its workforce, and the general public. NALC President William H. Young, whose union represents 221,000 active city letter carriers in the nation, expressed his "fierce opposition" to the legislation in letters to Washington House Commerce and Labor Chairman Steve Conway and Senate Consumer Protection and Housing Chairman Brian Weinstein as Conway's committee held a hearing today on the legislative proposal. About 5,500 letter carriers reside in Washington state. Young said the proposal "could jeopardize the very future of America's postal system," adding that while it may be well-intentioned, it is being erroneously promoted as similar to "Do Not Call" limits on telemarketers." [Hurray for the letter carriers, because up to this point, the Postal Service has given neither a hoot nor a hollar on this one.]

According to the Financial Express, "The Department of Post is planning to ramp up its ambitious plan of setting up postal financial marts. By the end of this fiscal it wants to raise its postal fin marts count to 300, said IMG Khan, secretary to the government of India, Department of Post, ministry of communications & IT. When asked if India Post will adopt the life insurance companies’ business model based on agents, he said, “We have lot of agents and field officers. Shortly we plan to hire retired officers for expanding our rural postal life insurance business."

KETV7 has reported that "A U.S. Postal Service airplane has crashed just outside Alliance in western Nebraska. The single-engine plane appeared to be approaching Alliance from the northwest early Thursday morning when it apparently clipped a machine shed, landed in an open field and then crashed into a utility pole, authorities said. The 2:25 a.m. crash happened a mile northwest of Alliance and about five miles northwest of the airport."

Here are two items from the Wall Street Journal hell bent on driving the direct mail industry to extinction:

The agenda for the February 22-22, 2007 meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committe has been posted on this site.

EuActiv has reported that "The EU is entering the final stages of a 15-year process to make European postal services more efficient by opening them up to competition. But member states will first have to overcome differences of opinion regarding the speed of liberalisation and how to achieve a universal service for consumers."

A request of the United States Postal Service for a recommended decision on classifications, rates and fees to implement a baseline negotiated service agreement with Bank of America Corporation has been presented to the Postal Regulatory Commission.

According to the Irish Times, "The Irish Postmasters Union (IPU) is to run candidates in up to 10 constituencies in the general election to highlight what it described as a crisis facing the post office network."

CBS2 has reported that "NEW YORK In 2006 alone more than 670,000 people had their identity stolen in America. The financial toll: $1.2 billion. CBS 2 cameras recently went undercover to tell you about a scam many people don't know about. It starts in your local post office, and right now there is nothing you can do to stop it. An identity thief hijacked Steve Zuckerman's name by stealing his mail, not from his mailbox in Great Neck, but by using a loophole in the U.S. postal system. We went undercover, inside several area post offices, and found it couldn't be easier. "People lose their homes over stupidity like this," Zuckerman said. The hidden cameras then showed something shocking. CBS 2: "I want to put a change of address form in today. Do you need an ID for this?" Postal worker: "No, you just fill this out and put in mailbox or give it to us." CBS 2: "No ID?" Postal workers: "No." You heard right. You don't need ID when you turn in a change of address card."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "former workers of the Nigeria Postal Service ( NIPOST), yesterday called on President Olusegun Obasanjo to prevail on the NICON Insurance Company to offset their outstanding pension and gratuity worth N450million."

From PR Newswire: "The Government has agreed the final terms of a financing framework for Royal Mail, designed to give the company the freedom to use its resources and borrowing facilities to modernise and succeed in a competitive market, Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling announced today."

Online Media Daily has noted that "as its digital strategy continues to evolve, Hearst Magazines Wednesday said it is making a big push in mobile, adding several new phone-friendly sites accessible through Verizon Wireless and other carriers. New mobile sites for Seventeen, Cosmo Girl, and Cosmopolitan are now available in the magazines section of Verizon Wireless' Mobile Web 2.0 service. Sites for Esquire, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Popular Mechanics, and Redbook are on the way, along with additional carrier deals. As early as 2003, Hearst was exploring mobile sites accessible only to subscribers paying between $1.99 and $2.49 monthly for tidbits from Seventeen and Cosmopolitan, among other titles. But as consumers and advertisers migrate away from print, Hearst is making a bigger push to beef up mobile. "The new mobile sites for all of our magazines will have richer, more interactive content and will be tied more closely to the magazine's editorial content, in addition to being free to any consumer," said one company spokeswoman."

BBC News has reported that "Royal Mail has said it is consulting on closing its final salary pension scheme to new entrants, to help tackle its pensions deficit which had hit £6.6bn." See also the Financial Times.

The Daily Star has reported that "A huge increase in the Royal Mail's pensions deficit helped cut the postal group's interim profits by 86% in the first six months of the financial year, it has been announced. The profit figure fell to £22 million between April and September compared with £159 million in the same period a year earlier. The pensions deficit rose by £1 billion to £6.6 billion, with servicing costs increasing from £280 million to £730 million in the past year."

The Associated Press has reported that "At least six people have been injured by seven letter bombs in Britain over the past three weeks, in what police said could be a campaign by animal rights extremists or a disgruntled motorist fed up with this country's automobile laws -- or both."

As Haaretz has noted, "Despite his personal fortune and impressive lineage, Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman and publisher of the most respected newspaper in the world, is a stressed man. Why would the man behind the New York Times be stressed? Well, profits from the paper have been declining for four years, and the Times company's market cap has been shrinking, too. Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years? "I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says. Sulzberger is focusing on how to best manage the transition from print to Internet."

The National Association of Major Mail User (NAMMU) has told its members that "With thanks to Jim Wiseman, Transcontinental – RBW, Owen Sound, a NAMMU Canadian Mailers meeting will be held March 6 in Buffalo, to address the implications with USPS of planned data access restrictions. The session will be hosted by Ms. Kimberly Peters, District Manager, United States Postal Service. A recommendation to have an on-site meeting with USPS representatives of a major Canadian mail entry point was agreed by members as an important step in the understanding/resolution process. The planned implementation by USPS of data access restrictions in August 2007, impact any Canadian organization that needs to update addresses in the United States. Registration is required by February 15. Information and registration: click here.:

From the U.S. Postal Service: "The U.S. Postal Service has been notified that the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) membership rejected the tentative contract agreement that the Postal Service and NRLCA leadership reached on December 8, 2006. The parties will now meet to decide how to proceed."

Postal News for February 7, 2007

Postal Regulatory Commissioner Ruth Goldway will be speaking on Saturday morning, February 10th before the Elections Committee Session of the National Association of Secretaries of State Winter Conference. Her topic will be Postage Rates under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Details are available at: http://www.nass.org/conference/2007%20Winter%20Conference/Agenda%20-%20F ull%20Conference.pdf

According to KLTV, "A Dallas-area lawmaker, Rep. Bill Zedler of Arlington, is trying to do for junk mail what the Legislature did for phone solicitations a few years ago. His bill would direct the attorney general's office to compile a list of names and addresses of consumers who object to receiving certain types of unsolicited mail, more commonly referred to as junk mail. "We want to treat it the same way as unwanted phone solicitations," Mr. Zedler said, noting that he filed the measure in response to complaints about junk mail from some of his constituents. "This would apply to anyone offering credit cards or sending out mail where there is the possibility of identify theft," the Arlington Republican said, adding, "I personally shred all that stuff because I'm afraid to put it in the trash." As written, the bill would apply to credit card and loan applications, sweepstakes promotions that contain information about the consumer, and mailouts - with personal information - that encourage the purchase of property, goods or services. If the bill were to become law, consumers could get their address on the list for three years for $3 per household. Companies that mail to consumers on the list would be subject to fines of $1,000 to $3,000 per violation."

AMEInfo has reported that "The 'World Mail and Express Logistics Middle East, Africa & South Asia,' a major conference on the international transportation industry's calendar, will be held in Dubai from February 27 to 28, 2007, with Emirates Post as the host sponsor."

Pacific Business News has reported that "Thousands of white collar federal employees in Hawaii may decide that they would like to lose their cost-of-living adjustments, because what they get in return could be better. The office of Sen. Daniel Akaka, which said Monday it would look into an administration plan to eliminate federal employee COLAs, said Tuesday that the plan is to replace the COLAs with locality pay, now given to federal employees on the Mainland. The proposed plan affects about 15,000 white collar federal employees in Hawaii who get non-foreign COLAs as well as 2,611 additional postal employees."

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

Britain's Chancellor Gordon Brown has urged the EU member states to follow the example of Britain in opening their postal markets.
Despite a 1% drop in consignment volumes, Belgiums La Poste managed to increase its turnover by 6% to 2.25bn euros last year.
In Switzerland opposition is growing against continued subsidies for newspaper distribution.
The Association of Mayors in France AMF (Association des maires de France) has publicly voiced fears that La Poste could shrink its service range further.
Many private mail service providers in Germany are sceptical toward Franz Müntefering, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, and his demand for a minimum wage, which is also supported by trade union ver.di.
The Dutch trade union CNV has launched an attack on the country's private mail service providers.
TNT Post Italy ended the last financial year on a turnover of 147m euros. Unaddressed direct advertising mail was the strongest profit source.
Sweden;s Posten AB intends to save millions by introducing later mail delivery times.
Austria's Österreichische Post AG has bought 51% of Scanpoint Europe, a company specialising in the digitalisation of documents.
Last weekend, Algérie Poste announced a series of technological innovations. In densely populated areas, so-called "points postaux de proximité" will be set up, offering customers information on postal services, access to Algérie Postes web pages, cash withdrawal facilities and stamp sales.
Last year, La Poste received well over 22,000 complaints over missing items.
Postcomm, Britain's regulator for postal services, has requested responses by `next Tuesday to its consultation on Royal Mail’s current compensation schemes for loss, damage and delay.
Norway's Posten Norge is facing growing competition in the domestic express and logistics market.
German trade union ver.di has demanded 5.5% higher wages for around 5,500 employees working for Deutsche Post subsidiaries.
British CEP operator Business Post (BP) and FedEx have agreed on the consensual termination of their co-operation contract.
German Logistik-Initiative Hamburg is evidence that logistics really is a growth industry.
In Poland, e-commerce seems to be growing faster (2006 turnover: over 1.16bn euros) than the capacity of courier services.
Currently an anonymous small town in Hungary, Záhony could soon become a household name in the European logistics market. At a meeting in Kiev last weekend, representatives from Russia, Ukraine and Hungary agreed to set up a new central hub for their three countries in Záhony.
Increasing numbers of undeliverable letters marked "Deceased" have been found in Spain by Correos customers lately, it is claimed.

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 queRecommendations by a public committee to raise postal rates "too high" are threatening to cause the "collapse" of the Israel Postal Company, workers' union head, Reuven Karazi, charged on Tuesday. Communications Minister Ariel Attias is due to decide soon whether to accept the recommendations, which the union head said would bring about "rigidity" in rates and make it "impossible for the Postal Company to compete" with private entrepreneurs. ions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

The Jerusalem Post has reported that "Recommendations by a public committee to raise postal rates "too high" are threatening to cause the "collapse" of the Israel Postal Company, workers' union head, Reuven Karazi, charged on Tuesday. Communications Minister Ariel Attias is due to decide soon whether to accept the recommendations, which the union head said would bring about "rigidity" in rates and make it "impossible for the Postal Company to compete" with private entrepreneurs."

The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail has lost another major piece of business to its rivals, with Business Post taking the contract for TV Licensing, worth up to £8.1m a year."

The National Postal Forum Personal Planner is now up and running! Whether you already are a registrant or just thinking about attending the National Postal Forum, the industry's most compelling and complete internet planning tool is now available for your use. The NPF Personal Planner allows you to view up to the minute session information as well as the time and location for every event at this year's Forum. The Personal Planner also lists all participating vendors, their products and services. This unique tool helps you schedule your time to maximize the value of your attendance at the Forum. Don't miss this opportunity to attend the premier mailing industry event. Click on “My Personal Planner” to see what's happening at the National Postal Forum in Washington, D.C. March 25-28, 2007, or visit www.npf.org to register.
 

NATIONAL POSTAL FORUM: MARCH 25-28, 2007 - WASHINGTON, DC The National Postal Forum is the premier educational event/experience and tradeshow available to mail professionals today. Attend the National Postal Forum to get a complete education in the "Business of Mail." If your business or profession has anything to do with using mail, or any of the products and services available through the United States Postal Service... then this is the place you need to be!

Postal News for February 6, 2007

The International Herald Tribune has reported that "hundreds of state bureaucrats and postal workers marched Tuesday in Romania's capital and other cities to demand higher wages."

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General has posted the following on its website today. If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

The Associated Press has reported that "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has launched its long-awaited online movie download store, entering a market that has yet to catch on with consumers but is expected to grow rapidly."

As WDBJ7 has noted, "Each year the U.S. Postal Service joins in the National Consumer Protection Week effort. This year's theme is "Read Up and Reach Out to be an Informed Consumer".

The Economic Times has reported that "State-owned carrier Indian on Tuesday said it is considering partnership with India Post and GATI for its proposed cargo service expected to be launched by the middle of this year."

The report of the U.S. delegation to the October 2006 Council of Administration is on the State Department website. Please also note that Section 405 of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act on "International Postal Arrangements" now appears on the State website

IT Backbones has reported that "As per a Research Analyst’s view at RNCOS, who has recently researched a report on “RFID - Outlook China”, China is aware of the role RFID tags can play in improving the competence of manufacturing and supply chain management and data collection. Considering the vast variety of potential applications and the power it has to cut the supply chain costs significantly, the RFID market is anticipated to record an exponential growth in China in the coming years."

According to Belfast Today, "Despite a total trade Ireland-wide of 35 billion to North America in 2005, the North Atlantic Trade and Transport Study described the lack of a direct shipping route as very surprising. "Being on Europe's outer periphery and closer to North America, we should have the edge over the rest of Europe," said Bombardier Chairman Sir George Quigley. "But we are not able to capitalise on our geographical advantage because there are no direct lift-on lift-off or roll-on, roll off shipping services from the island to North America. Everything has to be transhipped through a port in Great Britain or on the continent."

Postalnews.com has noted that "the NRLCA membership has rejected the proposed 2006 contract. As a result, the national mail count that was scheduled to begin on February 17th, 2007 will not occur."

Forbes has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net AG has invited trade union Ver.di and 'other interested parties' to talk about the foundation of an employers' federation to implement national wage agreements in the postal delivery sector, a company spokesperson said. Ver.di said it welcomes the initiative and added that it has started talks with other mail delivery companies to secure comprehensive wage agreements."

DM News has reported that:

  • With the introduction of automatic document printing that integrates with its tabletop inserters, Pitney Bowes Inc. claims it can now offer mid-volume mailers a secure, end-to-end system for printing and mailing sensitive documents.

  • FedEx Corp. has officially launched FedEx National LTL, a new long-haul less-than-truckload service that will also debut in Canada under the FedEx Freight Canada name. FedEx National LTL and FedEx Freight Canada were created through the acquisition of the business assets of the former Watkins Motor Lines and Watkins Canada Express, a deal that was finalized on Sept. 3. The new services respond to customer demand for greater flexibility in the LTL sector. [Well....At least Fedex knows how to be business friendly with Canada.]

ThisIsMoney has reported that "Royal Mail lost another huge Government contract today as Business Post won the mailing contract for BBC TV Licensing, worth up to £8.1m a year."

The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) has told its members that "The planned implementation by USPS of data access restrictions in August 2007, impact any Canadian organization that needs to update addresses in the United States. Through various Councils and their initiatives, NAMMU is actively pursuing a positive resolution(s) for all types of members. A recommendation to have an on-site meeting with USPS representatives of a major Canadian mail entry point was agreed by members as an important step in the understanding/ resolution process." [Just great....Now we have an international postal incident over some ruling that comes from Memphis. Here we go again. Another contest to take over Fort Ticonderoga.]

Please find attached the Issue Statement for the new MTAC Work Group (WG) # 114 "Establish Service Standards and Measurements for Market-Dominant Products". If you have an interest in participating in this Work Group please contact Industry WG Leader Kathy Siviter at kathys@postalconsulting.com (tel. # 703-237-1740) or USPS WG Leader Jeff Lewis at jeffery.w.lewis@usps.gov (tel. # 202-268-4757). FYI this WG will have its first meeting on Wed Feb 21 in USPS HQ Room 1P410 from 8:30 am - 11:30 am. Please note that the WG will be divided into four subgroups as follows: First-Class Mail Periodicals Mail Standard Mail Single-Piece Package Services Please make an effort to respond by February 14th and indicate the particular subgroup on which you are most interested in participating. Your timely response will facilitate planning for this first meeting.

UPS has ordered 27 new Boeing 767-300ER freighters to support its growing package business while providing broad options for the management of its jet fleet. The 27 aircraft will be delivered between 2009 and 2012. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

PostCom welcomes its newest member:

Quadriga Art, Inc. 825 Hylton Road Pennsauken, NJ 08110-1307, represented by Judy Costello, Director of Mail Production

Postal News for February 5, 2007

Display & Design Ideas has reported that "San Diego-based Postal Connections, a retail network of franchise stores in the retail postal and business services industry, has been acquired from its parent company, Global Business Services Inc., by a partnership formed by two members of the Postal Connections management team. Both are former executives of Mail Boxes Etc. Fred Morache, managing director of postal connections, who served since 2002 as Postal Connections' operating officer, and Andy Thompson, also managing director of Postal Connections and previously the company's executive officer, formed the partnership that acquired Postal Connections. Postal Connections, which has a nationwide network of 90 locations sold or open in 24 states, offers packaging, shipping, mail receiving and forwarding, copies, scanning, fax sending and receiving, Internet access, eBay auction support, notary, and other products and services."

For the third year in a row, Americans have rated the U.S. Postal Service as the number one agency they trust to protect their privacy. Not only did the Postal Service retain the top spot, customer satisfaction and trust scores increased from the previous year, a national study shows. Ponemon Institute LLC published its "2007 Privacy Trust Study of the United States Government" during National Consumer Protection Week. The study sought to understand the level of confidence Americans have in the many government agencies that routinely collect and use the public's personal information.

MarketWatch has reported that "Pitney Bowes said the highlight of the quarter was the December passage of postal-reform legislation. It expects the act to shore up the U.S. Postal Service's finances by releasing more than $100 billion in excess pension payments, to increase mail growth by instituting an annual price cap and to encourage the postal service to engage more in private-sector partnerships. "We're proud of the role we played in helping lead the industry's advocacy of this needed reform to enhance the viability and growth of the U.S. postal network," said CEO Michael Critelli. "During the next 18 to 24 months, the implementation of the legislation will be fleshed out, and we intend to be as active in helping influence and support the specifics of implementation as we were in the passage of the legislation itself," he said in a conference call with investors. Critelli also said the company planned to discuss first-quarter results and postal reform at an April 30 meeting with investors in New York."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast Number 10
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, MFSA Postal Affairs Director Leo Raymond and Postal Services Consulting President Kathy Siviter in a discussion of the second round of USPS proposals and mailers' comments on the R2006 implementing rules AND...another rate case at the end of this calendar year.

Left to Right: DelPolito, Raymond, Siviter

The Postal Service section of the President's 08 Budget was submitted to Congress today. As expected, the Budget proposes an appropriation of $88.864 million for free mail (not available until October 1, 2008), and no funding for revenue forgone reimbursement. This compares with USPS requests of $124.447 million for free mail, and $29 million for revenue forgone reimbursement.

Bloomberg has reported that "Pitney Bowes Inc., the world's biggest maker of postal meters, said fourth-quarter earnings increased 80 percent as acquisitions helped fuel sales. Net income rose to $159.3 million, or 71 cents a share, from $88.6 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said today in a statement. Sales climbed 8.3 percent to $1.55 billion. Chief Executive Officer Michael Critelli shed units and spent more than $900 million in 2006 to buy companies, cut debt and pay dividends to shareholders. He made at least seven acquisitions last year to move beyond postage meters and focus on mailing and marketing."

UK Fundraising has reported that "On 2 April 2007 the Royal Mail will increase its charges. A first class letter will rise to 34p for stamped mail and 32p for metered mail. Second class letters will rise to 24p for stamped and 22p for metered mail. Royal Mail Special Delivery® Next Day charges will also increased by 20p to £4.30 for mail up to 100g."

AFX has reported that "Deutsche Post AG supports the introduction of a minimum wage for German postal employees, a company spokesman told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "It is unacceptable that competitors only pay three to four euros per hour," the spokesman said."

According to the Taipei Times, "With virtually no experience in lending money, China's huge postal savings system faces a steep learning curve as it transforms into the nation's fifth largest bank, analysts say. The China Postal Savings Bank (中國郵政儲蓄銀行) has been given approval by the nation's regulator to start operations, primarily in the countryside, home to 800 million underprivileged people."

The International Herald Tribune has reported that "Singapore will fully liberalize the city-state's postal sector by opening the market for basic mail services, the government said Monday. Singapore Post Ltd. will no longer have exclusive access to the segment — which includes the collection and delivery of letters and postcards within, into, and out of the country — when its license expires in March, Minister of Communications, Information, and the Arts Lee Boon Yang told reporters." See also Channel News Asia.

The Jamaica Gleaner has reported that "Postmaster General/CEO Michael Gentles is pleased that corporate Jamaica has identified Jamaica Post as an entity worthy of pursuing mutually beneficial marketing ventures. In a statement to The Gleaner Company, Gentles expressed the view that the postal service can no longer be regarded as the same organisation as in its historical roots, given its immersion into a new organisational culture."

The Washington Post has reported that "Innovations Group of Fairfax won a $27.9 million contract from the Postal Service for lease or rental of a mailing system."

Postal News for February 4, 2007

According to La Tribune, "La Poste, the French postal service operator, is to sell its air freight subsidiary, Europe Air Post, in order to concentrate on its rail freight services. Europe Air Post, which was created as a successor to Aeropostale, is France's second largest airline, with a fleet of 25 aircraft, and has a workforce of 400 people."

The Great Falls Tribune has reported that "A customer service representative with the U.S. Postal Service in Great Falls vaguely remembers a number of people complaining in January 1999 that their checks never reached their destination. That mystery was finally solved Thursday.  About eight years after those complaints, 435 pieces of mail came to the Great Falls Tribune Friday, including stacks of checks from newspaper subscribers intended for a Jan. 16, 1999 delivery. When a postal clerk was distributing mail on that day in 1999, the Tribune's share was placed in the wrong locker, one that's rarely used by the agency, she said. And there it sat until Thursday, when a customer who was assigned the locker made the discovery after opening the drawer."

The Seattle Times has asked: "Want your refund faster? Have it deposited directly into your bank account. More taxpayers are choosing direct deposit as the way to receive their federal tax refunds.The payment is secure — there is no check to get lost. Each year, thousands of refund checks are returned by the U.S. Postal Service to the IRS as undeliverable mail. Direct deposit eliminates undeliverable mail and is also the best way to guard against theft of a tax refund."

Computerworld has reported that "Organisations that fail to have their mailing databases certified as being compliant with the new New Zealand Post addressing standards by July 1 2008 will lose their bulk mailing discounts, the state-owned enterprise says. Last year, NZ Post changed both the postal codes and the presentation standards for addressing. This was done to allow for the automation of the mail sorting system, so as to reduce processing costs. Discounts begin at 300 pieces of mail and range up to the 20% mark, so a lot of money is at stake. From July 1 next year, addressing data must be 85% accurate when compared with NZ Post’s files. Each year, New Zealand Post has 22 million mail items returned because they are wrongly addressed."

Postal News for February 3, 2007

The Norman Transcript has reported that "The ground was still muddy from melting snow when a groundbreaking ceremony was held Jan. 24 for a third, on-campus training facility at the Postal Service's National Center for Employee Development on Highway 9. The new building was approved as a 117,768 square foot structure. It was designed by Gralla GH2 Architect. The Postal Service awarded a construction contract to Wynn Construction of Oklahoma City in December and dirt work began then. But icy weather delayed the ceremonial groundbreaking. ? Manager Scott Morgan will oversee the training that NCED's new Northeast Learning Center will accommodate. "The new building will primarily support training for Postal Service systems that will further automate processing of flats-mail such as magazines and large envelopes," Morgan said."

InForum News has reported that "James Chalupnik saw the bins full of undelivered CDs and DVDs inside Fargo’s U.S. Post Office as trash. He took thousands of the discs during nearly five years of working inside the building as a janitor for a company with a federal contract to clean the building. And he wasn’t alone. He claims that others inside the building, including postal employees, took discs, books and baby formula that were returned to the Post Office for various reasons and destined for the landfill. A federal judge saw it differently Friday, when he ordered Chalupnik, a 46-year-old Fargo man, to pay $78,818 restitution to BMG Columbia House Inc., the company that sent the discs to customers."

AZ Central has reported that "Hundreds of buckaroos of all ages clapped and shouted "Hashknife" as 36 trail-weary but dedicated Pony Express riders galloped Friday into downtown Scottsdale. The riders' high-noon arrival at the Scottsdale Main Post Office, 7242 E. Osborn Road, kicked off this year's Parada del Sol celebration. The men carried nearly 25,000 pieces of specially postmarked mail, a record for the Hashknife riders who are officially sanctioned by the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail."

The Associated Press has reported that "Authorities yesterday were investigating whether there was a link between two similar explosive devices mailed this week with notes to office buildings in Chicago and Kansas City. The devices were sent through the mail - the first on Wednesday to American Century Investments’ mail facility in Kansas City and the second on Thursday to a downtown Chicago high-rise, said U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector Wanda Shipp. Both devices were defused without incident, she said."

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has announced that Daniel A. Piazza will join the museum staff as the Winton M. Blount Research Coordinator. Piazza, who starts Feb. 20, will coordinate NPM research projects with researchers on-site and throughout the philatelic, academic and postal business communities. Duties will range from planning symposia and lectures to improving access to museum resources to seeking scholarly articles for the museum Web site. The newly-created position has a dual reporting responsibility to Nancy A. Pope, head curator for postal operations, and Cheryl R. Ganz, acting chief curator for philately.

Postal News for February 2, 2007

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

  • PostCom President Gene Del Polito looks at the real meaning of the new postal reform legislation, and the changes it will bring.

  • The Government Accountability Office said this week it no longer includes the U.S. Postal Service on its High-Risk list. Read the reasons behind that move.

  • Leo Raymond of the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association presents a primer on tax-on-postage, where it came from and what it means to the mailing industry.

  • PostCom this week filed comments on the USPS’ revised proposed R2006-1 mailing standards, which were published in the Federal Register January 17. Here’s a synopsis of what PostCom had to say.

  • PRC creates IG, other offices under new law. Potter selects Ainsworth as USPS VP for delivery and retail. USPS published PVDS procedures for rate implementation. Mason to become Advo president. Lott praises retiring PRC Chairman Omas. Harrington named special assistant to PRC Commissioner Acton. New women’s leadership council to host luncheon event.

  • China establishes new agencies to aid postal reform. Saudi Arabia sees huge rise in postal prices.

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Postmaster General Jack Potter announced today that Linda Kingsley, Vice President of Strategic Planning since 2003, will be serving in the new position of Senior Vice President, Strategy and Transition.

According to the International Herald Tribune, "when the German government ends Deutsche Post's monopoly on simple letter delivery next Jan. 1, in the name of better service and lower prices for consumers, the postal service will have to open its sorting and delivery system to other players — in much the same way that former telecommunications and transportation monopolies have had to adjust. For its part, Deutsche Post is fighting back, putting competitors on notice that access to its postal sorting and distribution network will come only if they meet the company's specifications for humble letters — "no bills on beer coasters," a spokesman, Hans Jürgen Thomeczek, said. And since this will be a business, and not a public utility, newcomers will have to pay for the privilege."

Senator Akaka, who along with Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) first identified serious management challenges facing the U.S. Postal Service during their tenure on the Senate Postal Subcommittee, said he was especially pleased that the bipartisan, bicameral effort to enact postal reform legislation has resulted in postal transformation no longer being on the High-Risk List.   “Senator Cochran and I worked hard to impress upon our colleagues the need to modernize the Postal Service.  I’m delighted our early efforts helped pave the way for last year’s success.”

According to the Arcadia Weekly, "Tax time means added opportunities for identity thieves to steal your identity. The documents taxpayers send and receive this time of year contain all the information identity thieves look for. Your name, address, bank and credit account information and, most importantly, your Social Security number. For the identity thief, tax time provides a treasure chest of opportunity. It is important to remember to be especially careful handling tax-related documents this time of year....During tax season; be sure to retrieve your postal mail every day. Uncollected mail is an invitation to an identity thief. When mailing your tax documents, always try to take them directly to the Post office, dropping them in a box inside the building. If you use an outside Post Office box, it’s best to drop your mail before the last pick-up of the day. Leaving mail overnight gives a thief more opportunity to steal mail. Don’t leave tax mail in an outgoing box at work, or in an unlocked box for pickup. Unguarded mail is a theft waiting to happen." [Of course, if there are ANY of those blue neighborhood collection boxes still around, you could deposit your precious items there too.]


In case you've forgotten, this is what a postal collection box used to look like.

The Hindustan Times has reported that "in a recent initiative by the postal department, women have been engaged in delivering posts. In the first round, the department has appointed six women for this purpose. These women will undergo a training for three months and then they will be associated with the various post offices around the state."

According to GovExec.com, "When William H. Young, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, responded to Bush's signing of the first postal reform bill in decades, he pointed out in a message to NALC members that the bill "preserves our collective bargaining rights - rights that many workers at Homeland Security and the Department of Defense lost earlier in the Bush years."

NY1 has reported that "Josephine Baker is still causing a stir more than 80 years after she took Paris by storm with her nearly naked dance review. Her step-son got a taste of Post Office censorship after he tried to mail post cards featuring a watercolor of the famous dancer. The U.S. Postal Service apologized for any inconvenience this may have caused, and said the clerk may have made an error. "

From Business Wire: "Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c49705) has announced the addition of “European Express Benchmarking 2006” to their offering. The product includes market shares for the leading players in each country under study in key markets / categories: "Express" vs. "Parcel", B2B vs. B2C, Domestic, EU and Rest of the World destinations. Through primary research, this study gives unique insight into the European express market, and the companies that make it up."

Bookselling This Week has reported that "On December 20, the United States Postal Service (USPS) proposed changes to its International Mail products that could have a serious effect on overseas book sales. The USPS wants to discontinue its traditional international Surface Mail and replace it with International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) and ISAL "M-bags" that would have much higher rates. The USPS is accepting comments on its proposed changes until February 2, 2007. "This will have a huge and negative impact ... on export sales by U.S. publishers, distributors, and booksellers," said Phil Bevis of Arundel Books, which includes retail stores in Seattle and Los Angeles, an online store, and two warehouses in Washington State. He believes that the new rates would "in essence" triple shipping costs on over 50 percent of international orders." [Sometimes you gotta wonder. With the increases the USPS wants to put into effect for some domestic and international services makes you question whether postal officials even WANT your business. If the USPS REALLY wants mailers to go elsewhere, then get rid of the #@$% letter mail monpoly.]

DM News has noted that "The Postal Regulatory Commission has established its Office of Inspector General, beginning a transformation mandated under the recently signed Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The law reconstitutes what was the Postal Rate Commission into a regulatory body with greater authority and responsibility. The first inspector general is to be appointed within 180 days....A PRC notice will appear shortly in the Federal Register, inviting public comment on many topics facing the commission in fulfilling the new law's requirements, Mr. Blair said. Comments are due within 60 days of the date of publication of the notice...."I cannot stress enough how much the [PRC] desires and is going to need the comments of every postal stakeholder," Mr. Blair said. "This begins a dialogue that will be essential to the future of mail in this nation, and I encourage everyone to make their thoughts known as we go forward with our efforts."

Postal News for February 1, 2007

PostCom Members! Posted on this site is the latest PostCom Issue Brief. This brief is on Postal Volume Trends. The 8-page report provides a detailed look at the trends in mail volume over the past 15 years. The charts clearly illustrate that the Postal Service's business model has changed. This might prove a useful report to share with your company's top executives, as it highlights the ongoing evolution of the Postal Service's core business. Any member that wants the original Excel charts, and the worksheets from which the charts were made, please contact Kate Muth at kmuth@postcom.org. We also have some information on Periodicals and International Mail in Excel format.

Sen. Trent Lott published in the Congressional Record a very fine tribute to former Postal Rate Commission chairman George Omas.

The lastest DMM Advisory from the U.S. Postal Service has been posted on this site.

dBusiness News Potomac has reported that "Innovations Group Inc. (IGI) today announced that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has awarded the company a contract to provide Mailing Systems to thousands of Contact Postal Units nationwide. The system will provide operators a Point of Sale functionality to sell postal products and services to consumers. The contract includes application software development, system integration, human factors engineering, software certification, program management, training and documentation, deployment services, help desk services, software maintenance and systems lifecycle support."

The Express has reported that "there is just over one month until the March 8 deadline for responses to the Government's consultation on the Post Office network. It seeks to take a strategic approach to secure the network's long-term future by addressing the considerable problems Post Offices currently face."

The Detroit Free Press has reported that "Detroit Police are crediting a U.S. postal worker today for assisting cops in catching a 38-year-old man, who shot his girlfriend in the hand after an argument on the city’s east side." [It gives new meaning to the phrase "bulk male delivery."

The Kansan has reported that "A tractor-trailer hauling mail for the U.S. Postal Service caught fire overnight Wednesday on Interstate 70, closing the highway for about 11 hours, authorities said."

According to Business Week, "United Parcel Service (UPS), buffeted by headwinds from the slowing U.S. economy, announced financial results on Jan. 30 that disappointed the market. But the Atlanta package delivery giant has been trying to build up its presence in countries like China during recent years, and its business overseas has been staying afloat."

Dow Jones has reported that "Brazil's government plans to cancel the rights of Brazilian giant private-sector bank Bradesco SA (BBD) to provide financial services through governmental post offices, Communications Minister Helio Costa said late Wednesday."

The Montclair Times has reported that "Proving that ordinary citizens can have a global impact, staff members at Montclair High School raised $950 in December to benefit American troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the cause may be a familiar one in these war-torn times, the fundraiser was unique in one respect: all of the money will go to purchase Silly String. Aerosol cans are considered hazardous materials because there’s a propellent in it,” she explained. Since the U.S. Postal Service won’t transport hazardous substances, Shriver and her helpers have made arrangements with Atlas Air to pilot the shipment overseas, she said."

Union Network International has told its members that "Organising and signing agreements with world's biggest companies are key themes of the annual meeting of UNI staff, being held in Nyon, Switzerland. "We face amazingly powerfully companies that are increasing in size," UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings told the opening session of the intensive four-day meeting. "There are more mergers and acquisitions than ever seen before and there are a trillion dollars of investment funds out there waiting to buy companies." Global organising efforts and signing agreements with multinationals to ensure labour rights wherever those companies operate were two key priorities to emerge from UNI's second World Congress in Chicago in August 2005. "We have to organise in multinational companies and we have to ensure trade union rights in multinationals," said Philip."

The Independent has reported that "The Union Haddiema Maghqudin suspended its industrial action directives at Maltapost after the management withdrew the proposals it had submitted for a new collective agreement, the UHM said in a statement."

PostCom Members! The Association for Postal Commerce has filed its comments on the Postal Service's proposed rules concerning the R2006-1 implementation mailing standards, which were first published in the Federal Register on September 27, 2006, and published a second time with some revisions on January 17, 2007.

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

  • IATA has produced its figures for airfreight traffic growth in 2006 and its projections for growth in 2007. 2006 air cargo overall grew by 4.6%, an increase on the 3.2% growth of 2005. However this global figure disguises very different growth rates in different regions.

  • A1Express, a leading US provider of nationwide same-day courier services and delivery distribution solutions, has announced that it has expanded its same day services to include a Next Flight Out option. Next Flight Out service by A1Express is a nationwide door-to-door service that utilises partner courier companies and major airline schedules. By adding Next Flight Out to the service options, A1Express says it will be better equipped to service those clients needing cross-country courier deliveries within the same day. In addition, A1Express is compliant with TSA and FAA regulations.

The latest issue of the National Association of Major Mail Users eView is posted on this site. For information on joining NAMMU, contact membership@nammu.org.

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