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Source:  http://postcom.org/

                                                                      

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

February 6, 2009

WWSB has reported that "Dozens of postal workers put up with the cold Thursday to picket in front of the main Post Office in downtown Sarasota.  They're worried about a proposal to move part of a processing facility that serves the Suncoast to Tampa."

From Mail Moves America : "A Do Not Mail bill has been  prefiled in Florida by Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Palm Beach).  A link to the bill SB1324 is below.  The legislature does not convene until March 3. The bill requires a $10 initial listing payment from consumers and then a $5 renewal fee (it is unclear how long the initial term is), limiting the 501(c)3 exemption to only callers who are “bona fide members” of the organization, and exempting newspaper publishers and their agents or employees."

Docket No. MC2009-14; Docket No. CP2009-20: The Postal Service sought to add a new product identified as International Business Reply Service Contract 1 to the Competitive Product List. The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved the Request.

February 5, 2009

The Daily Mail has reported that "Pakistan Postal Services has bounced back with offering modern facilities to customers who otherwise had lost hope for the country's once popular service. As part of these facilities, sources said motorized service had been introduced of ordinary mail in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Multan, Sukkur, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Kohat and Sukkur. For this purpose, the sources added 1,032 motorbikes had been provided to the delivery staff at these stations. They said that counter automation system had been put in place which provided state-of-the-art point of sale terminals equipped with computers, electronic weighing scales, barcode scanners and printers."

The New York Times has reported that "Anxious over the ballooning size of the proposed economic stimulus package, now at more than $900 billion, lawmakers in both parties are working on a last-minute plan to strip tens of billions of dollars from the bill. The effort is being led by two centrist senators, Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who say they would like to pare from $50 billion to $200 billion from the package. The final Senate vote on the stimulus package is expected late on Thursday." [EdNote: Something to watch now that Sen. Carper's placed his PAEA payments rescheduling proposal within H.R. 1.]

According to Techdirt, "There have been a whole series of stories lately, often from newspaper industry insiders, bemoaning the sorry state of their industry. Obviously, we've been seeing (and pointing to) similar stories for a few years now, but their pace has accelerated in the last few months -- with a pretty clear trend: blame others for the newspaper industry ills (the internet! Google! Craiglist! those darn kids! etc.), and then work out some totally hypothetical model that will somehow force someone else to pay, rather than give people a reason to buy. This distinction is pretty important. It's time for newspapers to start looking at ways they can add value and give someone, whether individuals, sponsors or others, a good reason to give them money. So far they're failing." [EdNote: Hmmm. We talking newspapers or the Postal Service?]

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) has been selected as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia, replacing Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.).   Davis had to give up the chair when he was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee in December. Lynch was president of the Iron Workers Union and worked as a labor and employment attorney before being elected to Congress. He is also a co-founder of the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus, which was formed to protect workers' rights.

Press Release: "Five-Time Winner, U.S. Postal Service Again Named ‘Most Trusted’   Consumers Rank USPS at Top of 74 Agencies in Ponemon Institute Survey."

TMCNet has reported that "Prime Minister Taro Aso said Thursday he is willing to review a planned four-way split of Japan's postal services being considered under the postal privatization initiatives launched by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi."

Media Daily News has reported that "The trick in a down economy is to enable your company to not only survive the bad times but position itself to thrive when better times arrive. Instead of hand-wringing and cost-cutting to the bone, savvy marketers and media execs should look for ways to turn the situation around, seeking out opportunities to enhance the way they do business. The best strategy is not to wait out the economic downturn and hope for a return to business as usual. Progressive companies should take this time to evolve their organizations to run more efficiently. They will be optimally positioned for the inevitable economic rebound....Most survival instincts lead us to seek safe harbor and wait for the storm to pass. However, companies that have the will to explore new strategies to achieve their goals should be better-positioned competitively in the long-term. There are actions that marketers, agencies and media can take now to ensure stability and prepare for success in future."

Dow Jones has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Chief Executive Scott Davis said it has become "very difficult" to reach a deal to fly freight for Deutsche Post AG's DHL unit, citing DHL's scaled back U.S. plans. The potential outsourcing deal, initially announced last May and valued at up to $10 billion over 10 years, had been expected to be finalized by the end of 2008."

In an opinion piece written for Foster's Daily Democrat, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) wrote:

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has traditionally prided itself on the fact that "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" can keep its carriers from the "swift completion of their appointed rounds." That is why I was astonished to hear that the USPS is considering reducing mail delivery from six days a week to just five.

Postmaster General John Potter recently made this unexpected recommendation during a hearing before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, of which I am the ranking member....

The troubled economy has certainly also affected the U.S. Postal Service, which is expected to post billions of dollars in losses in this current fiscal year. Nevertheless, I am extremely disappointed that the Postmaster General would advocate the elimination of the requirement for six-day-a-week delivery as a potential solution to the postal service's budget woes. Such a reduction in service would hurt businesses and families that pay their bills, ship and receive goods, communicate with loved ones, and receive prescription drugs through the mail. And, I would argue, it would worsen the postal service's financial problems by driving away customers....Rather than helping it recover, I believe cutting services could ultimately trigger a death spiral for the U.S. Postal Service.

In addition to considering abandoning six-day mail delivery, the U.S. Postal Service is seeking relief from fully funding its retiree health benefits obligations. Our postal reform law requires the postal service to fund its retiree health care obligations by making annual payments over a ten-year period. Though the USPS agreed that this goal was achievable just two years ago, it now argues that this requirement is unsustainable and is requesting a eight-year hiatus from this obligation. This will only worsen the unfunded liabilities of the USPS and delay the implementation of reforms it should be undertaking. I have joined Senator Carper in supporting a two-year reprieve from the requirement to help the Postal Service weather the current economic crisis, but I think suspending payments for eight years would be a mistake.

The USPS must be more proactive in addressing its long-term fiscal challenges, looking beyond short-term fixes, to address its budget shortfall. It must also provide more detailed financial information regarding the actions it plans to take to stabilize its budget. Eliminating six-day-a-week delivery should not be its first option but rather the last resort.  

From today's Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
Domestic Mail Product ,
6117–6120 [E9–2421] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
 
NOTICES
International Product Change:
  International Business Reply Service Contracts ,
  6182 [E9–2420] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Buffalo News has written: "A Postal Service request to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week has garnered the headlines, but an even more critical request — and one that would be transparent to consumers — is for the easing of a mandate that it make advance payments into a fund to cover future health benefits for retirees. That seems reasonable. Five-day mail delivery may become necessary, too, but needs careful analysis; making a service less useful is no long-term strategy for survival. But a system of mail delivery only five days of the week, even if it’s only during a low-mail portion of the year, will be a tough sell. Businesses and residential customers can argue reasonably that six-day service is not just a convenience, but a necessity."

The Wilmington News Journal has said: "There is something eerily similar about the current plight of the U.S. Postal Service and the future of the American auto industry. Both are paying now for not adequately preparing for obvious threats from competition. Congress should grant the agency's request to begin a self-imposed bailout by trimming delivery of service by one day to cut costs. And it makes sense to grant a delay in $2 billion in health care payments until after 2016. Without that break, the Postal Service could run out of cash on Sept. 30, when a lump sum $5.4 billion retiree health-fund payment comes due."

Press Release: "National on-time performance scores for the delivery of First-Class Mail reached 96 percent and 93 percent of customers gave the U.S. Postal Service highest satisfaction marks as the Postal Service debuted a new, national standards rating process."

The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET) has released a new Postal Service paper today: "An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure: A Cautionary Lesson For The U.S. Postal Service From Great Britain's Royal Mail".

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Carter Control Systems, Inc. 7618 Hayward Road Frederick, MD 21702-3006 represented by Steven M. Luscinski CEO.

 
February 4, 2009

A letter has been sent to key members of the Obama Administration by a broad consortium of mail industry companies and associations (including PostCom) regarding congressional proposals to grant the Postal Service some relief from its PAEA postal retiree funding obligations has been posted on this site.

From the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors meeting:

Press Release: "The new 2008-09 Mailing Services Pricing Study offers average and median prices on more than 30 different products and services in the mailing industry, ranging from list setup and de-duping charges to charges for mail matching, machine labeling and ink-jet addressing. Prices are reported for four different quantity breaks – 1-9M, 10-24M, 25-50M and 50M+. The study also includes average and median set-up charges and minimum charges where appropriate."

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) offered an amendment Feb. 3 to the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) to allow the U.S Postal Service to use the Retiree Health Benefit Fund to pay for current retiree health benefit premiums for two years, an aide told BNA.

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that "UPS will begin a pilot program to test Parcel Return Service (PRS), allowing customers to return items — originally shipped by UPS — to participating retailers using the Postal Service for pickup. Consumers will gain the convenience of USPS access points for a return pickup — collection boxes, Post Offices, and Free Package Pickup from home or business addresses. USPS will consolidate the PRS packages at designated postal facilities, where they will be picked up by UPS for the final return leg of the trip back to the retailer."

The following has been sent to all USPS headquarters officers regarding new hires and the hiring freeze:

"We continue to be under a hiring freeze for Headquarters and Headquarters Field Units. The freeze includes position upgrades, additions to complement, laterals, reassignments and requests for new positions. All current requests to announce a position vacancy will be returned to the requesting manager. Any job posting announcement which is contained in the vacancy package with an issue date of February 3 with a closing date of February 18 will be canceled and those employees who have submitted an application will be notified. Bargaining unit position vacancies will be filled in accordance with the applicable agreement. If a formal job offer was extended prior to today. please provide the specific details to Manager. Corporate Personnel Management."

Media Daily News has reported that "Conde Nast has adopted an Internet-based system for processing and delivering advertising designed by Quad/Graphics, according to the latter. Going forward, Quad/Graphics' AdShuttle technology will power an existing online portal called "Conde Nast Transmit," which allows advertisers and ad agencies to submit ads directly to Conde Nast's internal ad management and production systems."

As Techdirt has noted, "It's no secret that the newspaper business has been going through a rocky patch lately, and hasn't done a very good job coping with a changing marketplace. However, it does seem a bit odd to respond to that, not necessarily with new business models, but with an advertising campaign about how great newspapers are. Specifically, they put out an ad this week to claim that more people read newspapers than watched the Superbowl. As Jeff Nolan notes at the link above, that's missing the point. Nobody denies that people read newspapers. The problem is that newspapers haven't been able to figure out how to effectively build a new, sustainable business model around that community."

According to Home Media Magazine, "Netflix has begun shipping DVD rentals from distribution centers on Saturdays in select regions despite warnings from the U.S. Postal Service that it may suspend weekend mail delivery in order to cut costs."

In the opinion of the Baylor University Lariat, "During these hard economic times, it's inevitable that businesses will experience financial difficulties and government agencies like the Postal Service are no exception. The difference is that the Postal Service is performing an important duty that millions of people rely on every day. If this new plan is approved, there will be 52 less days of mail service per year, which doesn't sound like a lot, but time is of the essence when it comes to bills and late fees. By cutting out an entire day of service, this puts more strain on getting things mailed out in a timely fashion. Yes, it is a good lesson in organization and one should be aware of due dates and deadlines, but unless the Postal Service plans on speeding up their delivery process, it's going to be a major inconvenience."

According to DC Velocity, "Estimates vary as to the USPS's share of the U.S. parcel market. During the third quarter of 2008, the USPS controlled 11.7 percent of domestic parcel volumes, according to SJ Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based consultancy. Hempstead Consulting, an Orlando, Fla.-based firm that develops pricing solutions for parcel users, estimates the Postal Service had 21 percent of the parcel market in calendar year 2007. Whatever the case, its portion is dwarfed by rival UPS, whose share of U.S. parcel traffic is estimated to be somewhere between 58 and 65 percent."

The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "State-run company Azerpoct (a company of the Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies of Azerbaijan) has announced a tender procedure for construction of postal buildings and their provision with technical equipment."

DM News has reported that "The US Postal Service has approved the first two-way postage indicia for mailers using reusable envelopes. EcoEnvelopes, a designer of reusable envelopes, was authorized by the USPS to make the envelopes, for which mailers using approved reusable envelopes can use one printed indicia - markings showing that postage has been paid - for both outgoing and reply postage on an envelope.  EcoEnvelopes worked with the USPS in the testing and approval of this as a method to reduce costs by eliminating the need for a separate reply envelope, which reduces the impact on the environment, said the company.  National test mailings were conducted to assure the new indicia did not slow mail processing." 

The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that "UPS gained significant new business at the end of last year from competitor DHL's announced withdrawal from the U.S. domestic shipping market, but that wasn't enough to offset a drop in package volume caused by the sagging economy."

From Business Wire: "R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company has announced that it has enhanced its leading CustomPoint system with a new suite of direct mail capabilities."

Hellmail has reported that "An online petition to PM Gordon Brown has been submitted by John Colbert, CWU Communications & Campaigns Manager. The petition, which calls on the government to reject plans to privatise Royal Mail, follows a growing Labour rebellion, said to be in excess of 100 MPs, some of whom have threatened to resign if forced to vote on the issue in the commons. Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier, who has been warm to the idea of an outside investor for some time, supports plans which could see Dutch postal operator TNT buy a large share of the company. He said a 'strategic partnership' would be good for both Royal Mail and its customers."

GenevaLunch has reported that "The cost of shipping letters, registered letters and packages outside Switzerland will increase by 7% on 1 April 2009, when La Poste restructures its price schedule. The new prices must still be approved by Mr Price, the government’s consumer watchdog."

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

2008 was a very successful financial year for China Post.
The Russian post’s anti-crisis measures - thus labelled by the post itself - have proved to be effective.
According to British press reports, the plans for the privatisation of parts of Royal Mail could turn out to be waste paper with the founding of a "People’s Bank".
In France La Poste appears to have resumed negotiations with the French government concerning the financing of the post’s presence in rural areas.
Yoshifumi Nishikawa, president of Japan Post, last Thursday ordered that the sale of the 72 hotels owned by the post be halted.
The Indian government has retracted its plans for an amendment to the country’s Postal Act.
The Estonian post achieved a turnaround during the financial year 2008.
Postal workers’ unions have requested a review of the European postal market liberalisation concept.
The Brazilian government has issued a decree limiting postal workers’ right to strike.
Nippon Express Co. and Japan Post have announced a further step towards a merger of their respective domestic parcel activities.
France’s GeoPost has finally managed to get a foothold in the Indian CEP market - on certain conditions and after a year-long waiting period.
Austria’s logistics industry is struggling with the economic slump.
The EU Commission’s request that Slovakia reopen its market for so-called hybrid post to competition (CEP News 41/08) has caused loss of sales at the Slovakian post.
Postal services in France will benefit from the government’s 26bn euros investment programme.
Latvijas Pasts is currently looking into the possibility of concluding a franchise agreement with Latvia’s biggest oil company Latvija Statoil. The aim is to be able to offer postal services at Statoil’s 67 petrol stations.
Poczta Polska intends to axe up to 1,000 jobs this year as part of the restructuring programme adopted at the end of last year.
Deutsche Post intends to generate around 20% of its Customer Service Center GmbH turnover from third-party business by 2012.
People in the greater Zurich area are currently testing the "Personal News" service launched by Schweizerische Post.
Last year Posten Norge fulfilled the delivery targets defined in its licence for the first time since 2004. On average, 87.1% of First Class mail was delivered over night in 2008, while the licence stipulation is 85%.    

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.)

"National Newspaper Association President John W. Stevenson, publisher of the Randolph Leader, Roanoke, AL, said he feared cuts in United States Postal Service budgets might do what rain, snow, sleet and dark of night had not: keep the local newspaper from being delivered. NNA expressed grave concern about a proposal by Postmaster General John E. Potter to lift a federal mandate requiring six-day mail delivery. But NNA supported Potter’s request to change the way retiree health benefits are paid, a move that could trim nearly $2 billion from annual USPS expenses."

The Winchester Star has reported that "Postal officials will decide in the coming months if they will move some operations from the local facility to Northern Virginia."

The Ledger has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is considering a proposal to close a mail processing center in Lakeland and move its operations to Tampa."

The Journal Times has reported that "A decade ago, the public might have met a request like that by throwing an official into a mail sorter. But, with their increasing ambivalence toward “snail mail,” Americans no longer seem to view the Postal Service as untouchable. More than half of those in a USA Today/Gallup poll had no problem with cost-cutting moves like reducing delivery days or closing some post offices. Observers estimate dumping one day of mail service could save $2.5 billion or more, depending on what happens to gas prices. That would go a long way toward evening the ledger for an agency that lost $2.8 billion last year. It certainly beats raising prices."

Online Media Daily has reported that "Online advertising this year will likely be flat or slow to single-digit growth as a result of the ailing economy, according to a panel of Internet ad executives gathered Monday at the OnMedia NYC conference.:

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers in Reading are being kept in the dark about the future of their jobs, a union has said."

February 3, 2009

KRGV has reported that "The postmaster says she has a plan to clear up confusion in La Feria.  Since 911 service was established several years ago, most city residents have had two addresses, a mailing address and a physical address.  Soon, that will change."

Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package-delivery company, said it’s freezing management salaries and suspending retirement contributions after U.S. volume plunged the most in nine years."

The Japan Times has reported that "Orix Corp.'s purchase of 70 Kampo no Yado hotels from Japan Post Holdings Co. for the fire sale price of ¥10.9 billion has been making headlines for the past month and drawing the scorn of internal affairs minister Kunio Hatoyama."

Hellmail has reported that "Postcomm has just published a consultation on Royal Mail's application in October last year, to introduce a Sustainable Mail Retail product. It is understood that the product has been designed to help direct marketing companies better target their mailings and reduce waste."

The Postal Service Board Of Governors  will be meeting on Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at 10 a.m.; Wednesday, February 4, 2009, at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Place: Washington, DC, at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., in the Benjamin Franklin Room.

Status: February 3 at 10 a.m.--Closed; February 4 at 8 a.m.--Closed; February 4 at 10:30 a.m.--Open. Matters to be Considered: Tuesday, February 3 at 10:00 a.m. (Closed): 1. Strategic Issues. 2. Pricing. 3. Financial Matters. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance. Wednesday, February 4 at 8 a.m. (Closed): 1. Continuation of Tuesday's closed session agenda. Wednesday, February 4 at 10:30 a.m.

(Open): 1. Minutes of the Previous Meetings, November 12-13, December 2, 2008; and January 22, 2009. 2. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. 3. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. 4. Committee Reports. 5. Quarterly Report on Service Performance. 6. Financial Update. 7. Tentative Agenda for the March 31-April 1, 2009, meeting in Washington, D.C. 8. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors.

For Further Information: Julie S. Moore, Secretary of the Board, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20260-1000. Telephone (202) 268-4800.

DMM Advisory  Letter-Size Booklets and Folded Self-Mailers — Comments. Based on feedback to our proposal [HTML] | [PDF], we will continue to collaborate with the mailing industry to test folded self-mailer designs. The final rule will include only recommendations for folded self-mailers, rather than requirements, as we further explore mailing options. The final rule will detail our required changes for booklets and recommended changes for folded self-mailers mailed at automation and machinable letter prices. We’ll use the DMM Advisory to let you know when it’s available on Postal Explorer.

All Headlines News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has been hit by a double whammy, leading to its worst financial performance since it was established in 1775. Over the last two years, the service's total loss reached $7.9 billion. The decline in income are due to the economic slowdown which has led to less mails being sent by businesses and individuals and increasing use of email and other forms of electronic communication. In 2008, mail volume dipped by 4.5 percent. According to the Postal Service, it expects a larger decline this year."

The Associated Press has reported that "UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, said Tuesday it swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $254 million. It also said it is freezing management salaries and suspending its match for its employee retirement plans as sales slid 5.2 percent, and it warned that 2009 will be one of the most difficult years ever."

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service tried to push the envelope. Then it folded. Postal officials, seeking savings to reduce losses that totaled $2.8 billion last year, proposed moving the transparent window on business envelopes a fraction of an inch higher and to the right to improve mail handling. They also said Jan. 22 that they were considering requiring commercial mailers to reduce static cling so letters won’t stick together. The agency separately revealed that it was in such bad financial shape that mail deliveries may have to be reduced to five days a week from six. The outrage was immediate -- about the envelopes and static cling. Printers, envelope makers, mailers, paper companies and big mail users such as banks and insurance companies, which generate much of the 212 billion pieces of mail the post office delivers each year, called the changes badly timed, unnecessary and too expensive. The agency can’t afford to anger its most important customers. Six days after suggesting the changes, the service moved faster than Priority Mail to retreat."

USA Today has reported that the "Postal Service seeks to weather economic storm." "We have to make adjustments quickly to keep the ship afloat," Postmaster General John Potter says. "We have to weather the storm of the bad economy first and figure out how traditional mail fits into an electronic world." Congress regulates the Postal Service heavily. By law, the agency must deliver mail six days a week. It must deliver across the USA at the same price, even to distant parts of Alaska. It can't close post offices for economic reasons. Stamp prices can rise only at the inflation rate, except in emergencies. Potter says the Postal Service wants to avoid a federal bailout or big rate increases. "Things are changing fast, and the Postal Service has limited options," says Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Dan Blair, its top regulator. The Postal Service is projecting another multibillion-dollar loss in 2009. "The Postal Service cannot survive as we know it," says Burrus, the union chief. The Postal Service's financial crisis could lead to a variety of dramatic changes — thousands of post office closings, cutbacks or elimination of Saturday deliveries, significantly higher stamp prices or a direct federal bailout."

The Standard Freeholder has reported that "Canada Post officials and some employees of its Cornwall office are saying there's more than meets the eye to the reported banning of the phrase "Merci seigneur pour la belle journee." Canada Post spokesperson Martine Lepine had said initially the ban was for the Cornwall office, but she's now clarified that it's only for two specific individuals at the office. Lepine added that although the two individuals were told they could no longer use the phrase, which translates to "Thank you Lord for the beautiful day," it was actually the manner in which the phrase was expressed, not its content, that resulted in a complaint from another employee and the subsequent ban."

Reuters has reported that "Belgian national postal service La Poste [LAPST.UL] has set the size of a planned seven-year bond at 500 million euros ($643 million)."

According to The Local, "The agreement formally regulating the merger between the Swedish and Danish post offices, Posten and Post Danmark, has been signed, the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications has confirmed in a statement. The Danish state has also agreed to buy the UK firm CVC's shares in Post Danmark on condition that the merger is completed. That CVC is bought out will also give Post Danmark "a greater possibility to focus on the implementation of the Scandinavian merger." The combined firm will be 60 percent Swedish and 40 percent Danish owned. The board will however be divided equally."

Now available: "Handbook Of Worldwide Postal Reform" Edited by Michael A. Crew, CRRI Professor of Regulatory Economics and Director, Center for Research in Regulated Industries (CRRI), Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, US, Paul R. Kleindorfer, Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, US and Distinguished Research Professor, INSEAD, France and James I. Campbell, Jr, Attorney, Washington, DC and Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University, US January 2009 480 pp Hardback on-line discount $243.00"

Willamette Week has reported that "The possibility that the U.S. Postal Service could take a cost-cutting step of eliminating mail delivery on the comparatively light delivery day of Tuesday raises a key question for Oregon elections officials such as Secretary of State Kate Brown. The question? What would happen to Oregon's vote-by-mail system and the ballots that come flooding into elections offices on Election Day Tuesday, if there's no delivery on Tuesday. Brown wrote Postmaster General Jack Potter today to urge him to pick another day besides Tuesday if the Postal Service must cut back from six days to five days of mail delivery."

Scoop has reported that "New Zealand Post, the state-owned postal service and owner of Kiwibank, plans to sell as much as NZ$200 million of subordinated notes to repay existing debt."

Multichannel Merchant has reported on "PRC Chairman Blair Addresses Five-Day Delivery Prospect."

WWLT has reported that "A Jefferson Parish postman has been charged with opening approximately 2,950 pieces of mail, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Geronima A. Cellamare, 46, faces five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He was employed by the U.S. Postal Service."

TradingMarkets has reported that "FedEx rolled out improved tracking technologies that give customers real-time views of shipment statuses on desktops and laptops." See also Air Cargo World.

February 2. 2009

As the NiemanJournalismLab has noted, "just as newspapers should be totally reinventing their business rather than cutting here and trimming there until there’s nothing left to reinvent, so should the Postal Service be reinventing itself in a fundamental way, rather than changing incrementally." 

Finance Markets has reported that "The euro zone’s second largest economy has unveiled a €26 billion (£23.5 billion) stimulus package in a bid to boost its economy and fight off the economic downturn. €11 billion is to help businesses boost their cash flows, while a further €11 billion will be provided for direct state investment and the remaining €4 billion will be provided to improve rail infrastructure, postal service and energy services."

The Economic Times has reported that "GeoPost, the French government-owned postal services company, has been allowed to pick up 60% stake in the privately-held express parcel delivery firm Continental Air Express for an undisclosed amount, following the intervention of the French ambassador to India."

The latest blog has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place.  To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/.  The following new topic was just posted:   The Postal Service’s Financial Crisis.  The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and is concerned about additional losses in FY 2009. You are invited to comment and vote on the remedies the Postal Service proposed at a recent Senate subcommittee hearing:  allowing the Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits more slowly and reduce the number of delivery days to 5 when warranted.    You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at:  www.uspsoig.gov.  If you have additional questions, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

The Postmaster General has written an open letter to all postal employees. In it he said that "By the end of the year, we expect to lose another 12 billion to 15 billion pieces. At the same time, costs have been growing — but revenue has not. This year, the money we bring in will be less than it was 2008, when we lost $2.8 billion. We could lose more than $5 billion. 

Trading Markets has reported that "DHL and T-Systems, a corporate customer division of Deutsche Telekom, have signed a three-year contract to use their expertise to raise efficiency in supply chains via technologies such as telematics and mobile services. The companies will set up concepts, conduct tests and demonstrations as well as launch pilots in co-operation with other partners. T-Systems intends to use the initiative to share Deutsche Telekom's technological expertise in order to develop services for Deutsche Post World Net's logistic and postal customers."

The Public Representative has told the Postal Regulatory Commission that: "The recent trends of declining postal volumes, together with still-positive labor productivity, have been widely recognized by the postal community. What is less widely recognized is that in the face of rapidly declining volume, variable costs per workhour, and variable costs per piece have been steadily and rapidly rising. With variable costs per piece generally rising faster than inflation, prospects are that products which are currently near the edge in terms of recovering their attributable costs are soon likely to fall into non-compliance with the fundamental objective of the PAEA that market dominant mail classes and competitive products remain in the black. The trends identified mean that rates for a number of market dominant classes will soon butt up against their price cap. If these trends continue, competitive products as a group will soon fall below the minimum institutional cost contribution of 5.5 percent established by the Commission. It has become conventional wisdom that the way out of the Postal Service’s current predicament is to increase its volume. The analysis below demonstrates that this will not, in fact, solve the problem. Instead, only quick and bold action to control unit variable costs will halt the Postal Service’s rapid slide into insolvency."

From PR Newswire: "CVC Capital Partners ("CVC"), a leading global private equity firm, is pleased to announce that agreement on the following transactions has been reached: - CVC has entered into a conditional sale agreement with the Danish State for its 22% shareholder stake in Post Danmark A/S. The sale will be effected upon the closing of the merger between Post Danmark A/S and Posten AB of Sweden expected to take place during 2009. - CVC has entered into a conditional purchase agreement with Post Danmark A/S to acquire its entire ownership interest in De Post - La Poste, Belgium's national postal service provider. Following the Transaction companies managed and controlled by CVC Capital Partners would own 49.9% of De Post - La Poste.

Associated Content believes that "The Postal Service is a Dinosaur with a 2009 Mission; But it Can Be Saved."

According to the Lehigh Valley Express Times, "If Congress and the Postal Service approve a reduction in home delivery days, it would send a terrible message to the public about the agency's future. Many customers have already abandoned snail mail for e-commerce. Cutting home delivery service would only hasten this exodus and further cripple the Postal Service. It would send businesses and others that rely on six-day home delivery service scrambling for alternative ways to do business. And it would unfairly punish those customers who don't have Internet access or few inexpensive choices of how they communicate with the outside world."

American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President William Burrus has told his members that "Beyond relief from the obligation to pre-fund the retiree healthcare liability, the platitudes in Potter’s testimony revealed little about plans that have a chance of preventing a disaster."

Reuters has reported that "The European Commission ordered the Slovak government on Monday to bring its antitrust regulations in the electronic communications, energy and postal sectors into line with EU laws on competition."

The Asbury Park Press has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is asking federal lawmakers to allow it to cut back mail delivery from six days a week to five because the agency was $2.8 billion in the red last year. Congress should demand a full accounting and audit of the postal agency before allowing it to reduce services. With postal rate increases each of the last three years and another expected this spring, with more automated and online services freeing up postal personnel, with online purchases creating a huge market and with sell-it-yourself Web sites and online auctions that have made big mail-order business out of garage sale fodder, how can the Postal Service be losing money?"

Hellmail takes The Mirror to task.

February 1, 2009

The Mirror has reported that "Business Secretary Lord Mandelson wants to create a new publicly-owned bank based on the Post Office's network of 12,000 post offices. The move would allow local post offices to offer full banking facilities to customers whose trust in mainstream banks has been rocked by the credit crisis."

TechFlash has reported that "Amazon's annual regulatory filing, released yesterday, contains a curious disclosure: "In January 2009, we learned that the United States Postal Service, including the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, is investigating our compliance with Postal Service rules, and we are cooperating.""

According to the Boston Globe, "It's a good thing John Potter is postmaster general and not director of the National Park Service, because if he held the latter post, he'd no doubt be threatening to close the Washington Monument. Last week, Potter told a Senate subcommittee that rising costs may force the US Postal Service to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. Now, the idea that Congress will allow reduced mail service is unlikely, and Potter surely knows as much. So why the doomsday scenario? Simple: To make the citizens sigh with relief rather than seethe with anger when the Postal Service announces it can continue six day-a-week service after all - but with yet another increase in the price of stamps."

In the opinion of the Schenectady Daily Gazette, "The U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging red ink, but rather than raise rates to close the gap, it is talking about cutting out delivery one day a week. The situation is bad, but reducing service should only be pursued as a last resort."

According to the Yuma Sun, "The Postal Service is facing the same thing many private businesses, including newspapers, are facing now - a need to adapt to a completely different marketplace. Using a tried and true example from the past, no one wants to be the buggy whip maker when cars are taking over."

From CBS News: "Special Delivery: Mail By Mule."

Leadership Nigeria has reported that "The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said it has completed the design for the establishment of an independent postal sector regulator, together with the implementation programme."

January 31, 2009

The Citizens Voice has reported that "Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition to keep mail processing operations in Wilkes-Barre. The petition, led by unionized postal workers, seeks to stop the U.S. Postal Service from consolidating some operations at the mail processing and distribution center in Wilkes-Barre into a Scranton facility on Stafford Avenue — a plan that is being studied. John Kishel, president of the Wilkes-Barre Area Local 175 American Postal Workers Union, and Bill Smith, president of the Wilkes-Barre branch of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, said Friday they believe the move would be detrimental to the mail service area citizens and businesses receive."

Herbert-Michael Zapf, Chief Executive Officer of the International Post Corporation addressed global business leaders today in Riyadh at the Global Competitiveness Forum 2009 (GCF). Mr. Zapf served on a panel of distinguished speakers as part of this year’s forum Responsible Competitiveness: Competing Responsibly in Our Changing World. The Forum hosted by the National Competitiveness Center and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority brings together world leaders to discuss core competitiveness issues, including – human resources development, international trade, the environment and the micro-and macroeconomic consequences of becoming globally competitive.

WHIOtv.com has reported that "DHL pulled the plug on its domestic package delivery business Friday, leaving its hub at the Wilmington Air Park with only international operations remaining. The change had been scheduled for weeks. Where DHL leaves off, the United States Postal Service hopes to pick up."

According to Audience Development, "Economic conditions have forced Anderson News Company's hand and the wholesaler, which represents more than 20 percent of mass-market magazine distribution, has announced a program detailing two demands: Publishers must pay a 7-cent per-copy price increase on all copies distributed and they must bear the inventory cost attached to scan-based trading (SBT). The deadline for signed agreements is February 1st. Non-compliers will be refused distribution." [EdNote: As Roseann Roseannadanna used to say: "That just goes to show you. If it isn't one thing it's another.]

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

* The Environmental Impacts of the Mail: Initial Life Cycle Inventory Model and Analysis (USPS study)
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