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Association for Postal Commerce
"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"
"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you believe are worth defending."


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

The Association of Postal Commerce (PostCom) is seeking an energetic, dedicated, and dynamic individual to serve on its staff in the role of vice president. Those interested should refer to the position available announcement posted on this site.

August 6, 2008

Don't forget to check out the podcast on Postal2020. Learn how you can get the real facts about mail and the environment.

At today's meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Techical Advisory Committee, PMG Jack Potter:

  • Provided an update on the FBI's work on the 2001 anthrax attacks in the mail. He said the USPS would continue to move ahead with its programs designed to protect the mail.
  • Noted that the Postal Service has experienced an economic downturn mirroring what's been going on in the mailing industry and throughout the nation. The loss for the third quarter was over a billion dollars. The loss for the year is a little less than a billion. Despite this, the USPS has NO plans for an exigency rate case. "This," Potter said, "is not the time to cause mail users more pain."
  • Affirmed that mail service will remain a priority. There will be no let up in providing quality service.
  • Said the USPS is committed to going forward with service performance measurements for all market dominant products,
  • Noted that the plan remains to be ready to go with the Intelligent Mail Barcodes by May 2009. See USPS press release.
  • Added, that the USPS is NOT planning to make a rate change in May 2009 for IMB use. The Postnet bar code will still be available for mailers to use until May 2011.
  • Reported that FSS is up and running in Virginia. The results have been positive.
  • Clarified that the recent USPS HQ reorganization is, at least in part, to focus more sharply on business growth.
  • Cathy Moon, FSS project manager, reported that flat mail volume is down 11.3% year to date.

Also from the MTAC meeting:

  • USPS senior vice president for Intelligent Mail and Address Quality told MTAC members that the majority of mailers who had been queried asked the USPS to slow down its plans regarding IMB implementation and rate differentials. Consequently, rate incentives will not be built into the May 2009 rate increase for basic and full intelligent mail use.
  • USPS senior vice president for customer relations Steve Kearney told MTAC members that the USPS intends to make greater use of blogs to facilitate communication between the Postal Service and its customers.
  • USPS CFO Glen Walker provided greater detail on the Postal Service's financial performance for quarter three of the current fiscal year. Mail volume (-5.5%) was down across the board compared to last year. The mail volume decline has accelerated quarter to quarter. Expenses were a little higher than last year, but still below inflation. See the USPS press release. The USPS has responded by going beyond its one billion dollar target for operational savings. Walker said the actual dollar cost reduction will be between $2.0-2.5 billion. USPS is planning to expand package and international business. The USPS does not expect any financial recovery during the fourth quarter. COLA costs are increasing with inflation. A copy of Mr. Walker's MTAC report has been posted on this site.

As the Associated Press has noted, "It can scale mountains in a single bound and wend its way down the most wretched roads. It is the mighty cell phone signal — and the latest hope for bringing financial services to the world's masses who don't have access to banks."

As UWeekly has noted, "A similar campaign to the Do Not Call Registry is soon developing plans, which gives consumers the preference to opt out of junk mail. These individuals would like the choice to not be bombarded with junk mail, just as they have the choice to not be called by telemarketers at all hours of the day. As a result of these nuisances, the Do Not Mail campaign has launched itself as the representative for these proactive consumers. Receiving junk mail can be a nuisance, but people’s livelihoods depend on delivering this type of post. It takes the efforts of several million employees to pack and deliver junk mail; however, if the efforts of the Do Not Mail campaign take effect, it has the potential to affect the employment of many. According to Newsmax magazine, “Proponents of direct mail say that 3.5 million Americans directly or indirectly owe their jobs to direct mail advertising.” Not only are these jobs going to be impinged upon, but the U.S. Postal Service is also going to feel the hit when they are no longer receiving postage payments for these type mail-outs."

The Lexington Clipper-Herald has reported that "Originally from Cozad, Leta Zimbelman has worked for the United States Postal Service for 17 years, and became the Postmaster General in Lexington on May 24. [EdNote: Gosh....Has anyone told Jack Potter? :)]

The U.S. Postal Service ended its third fiscal year quarter (April 1 – June 30) with a greater-than-expected net loss of $1.1 billion. The national economic slowdown reduced mail volume at an accelerated pace and continued inflation in fuel prices produced rapidly escalating transportation costs. Despite these financial challenges, Postal Service employees delivered record-breaking service performance in the third quarter

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "When Republican presidential candidate John McCain meets Thursday with citizens and officials in Wilmington, Ohio, he won't need a playbook to understand why they're worried about deep job losses at the local freight airport. Little known to those citizens, McCain and his campaign manager, Rick Davis, played roles in the fate of DHL Express and its Ohio air park as far back as 2003. Back then, however, their actions that helped DHL and its German owner, Deutsche Post World Net, acquire the Wilmington operations resulted in expansion, not retraction."

The following is a report from Experian's Steve Lopez, who is serving as the head of PostCom's delegation to the UPU Congress in Geneva. Here's what Steve had to report:

"The CA elections were held today. No surprise that in our hemisphere the US and Canada were re-elected. One area of surprise was that Portugal lost their CA seat to Turkey. This is a surprise especially since it is a six seat region and before this morning only six countries were running and Turkey was not one……..but came time to election they were on the ballot and took that seat from Portugal.

"After we returned from lunch break, and after all the countries were announced prior to lunch, we learned there was a controversy. We learned that in the Eastern European region (non-Asia) that Kazakhstan and Armenia actually tied even though both were announced as members. This caused a stir as both had reported back to their respective countries they had been elected. The resolution was a ballot drawn from a glass bowl by the Chairman with each country on a page in the bowl. Kazakhstan was chosen and Armenia lost. This was the excitement of the day.

"In other news, the Director General of the UPU announced that there was a cooperation agreement brokered through the UPU with the Palestine and Israeli Posts to help mail process amongst the two countries. Jordan agreed to be the "clearing area" for mail bound for Palestine. This joint agreement and announcement was greeted with much applause."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast 08.06.06

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito
and Postal2020.com's Peter Miller in a discussion of what Postal2020.com is and what it hopes to accomplish in today's debate over mail and the environment.


The BBC has reported that "Union officials have said they cannot rule out strike action over plans by Royal Mail to close a main sorting office in north-west England."

From PR Newswire: "A report released today by ForestEthics pegs junk mail's contribution to climate change at the equivalent of more than nine million cars, seven US states combined, or the emissions generated by heating nearly 13 million homes for the winter. The group released the irreverently illustrated report as part of their campaign and petition for a Do Not Mail Registry to give Americans the choice to stop receiving junk mail. ForestEthics launched their Do Not Mail campaign on March 12 of this year, and the petition at donotmail.org now has nearly 60,000 signatures, including those of Leonardo DiCaprio, Adrian Grenier, David Crosby and Daryl Hannah."

The Milwaukee Business Journal has reported that "Commercial printing company Quad/Graphics Inc. said Thursday that it is spending $25 million in new equipment and upgrades to a facility in Pewaukee in an effort to strengthen and expand its direct mail services through its QuadDirect division."

The July/August MailPro [HTML] | [PDF] is available now on usps.com/mailpro. You’ll find informative articles on election mail, greening the mail, the new Flats Sequencing System, Move Update, and National PCC Day.

The Liverpool News has reported that "a Liverpool MP branded Royal Mail as "reprehensible" last night, after the company officially announced it wants to close the city’s Copperas Hill sorting office. Employees and political leaders fear many of the 580 jobs at the sorting office will be axed after Royal Mail outlined plans to relocate to Warrington. Another 200 separate delivery jobs are thought to be secure, but Liverpool City Council estimates a further 600 indirect jobs could be lost if the move goes ahead."

Viet Nam News has reported that "Though commune post offices have played a crucial role in the national postal system, they will soon be subject to an overhaul to bring them more in line with latest developments in the area."

The Northern Echo has reported that "Royal Mail has been criticised for scrapping deliveries to rural homes in the region because of concerns over access via dirt tracks. The decision comes days after people living in the North Yorkshire village of Booze were told that access to their homes was dangerously steep for the company’s staff to negotiate. Now east Cleveland villagers with private access roads have been told they will have to either pick up their own mail or build a postbox at the entrance to their properties. Royal Mail said the move had been taken because of “difficulty of access concerns”."

As The Scotsman has noted, "gone are the days where communities revolved around a bustling post office, and that’s a fact – four million fewer people a week are now using the network than two years ago. The post office may once have been a hub for collecting benefits and state pensions, paying car tax and TV licence fees, obtaining a form for a passport, and was used by many as a savings bank. But times have changed and most people now prefer to doADVERTISEMENTtheir business in other ways, such as paying by direct debit or online."

Sharecast has reported that "TNT advanced in Amsterdam on rumours that the Dutch postal group will receive a bid approach soon."

According to Hellmail, "Royal Mail blames falling mail volumes for a massive restructuring of sorting operations in the north-west of England that are likely to see the closure of mail centres in Liverpool, Stockport, Oldham and Bolton. However, Hellmail has learned that plans had been in the pipeline for some ten years with a proposal to combine sorting operations on a new site at former air-base Burtonwood, close to both Manchester and Liverpool and the cessation of its use of the rail network by 2004, key to plans to make better use of the road network. A planning application for development on the Omega South site at Burtonwood had already been submitted."

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

The stock exchange acknowledged the half-year figures submitted by Deutsche Post with substantial stock market losses of just about 5 percent.
The U.S. Postal Service is hoping to reduce the scope of the universal service. In particular, the services for which competition exists, such as priority mail and the parcels service, should no longer come under the universal service obligation, according to a request submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission. These services should not be treated any differently from those of the competitors of UPS, FedEx or DHL, the post office stated in support of its request. This is because only then could the post office cut these services back, notably in the sparsely populated areas of the country.
Singapore Post ended the first quarter with comparatively low growth rates.
Ceska Posta is planning sweeping job cuts. At the beginning of October, 2,500 out of a total of 37,000 employees - just about 7 percent - will be receiving dismissal notices.
The price increases announced recently by the Brazilian post office, ECT, came into force as early as 31st July (CW 31/08). The prices relating to international letters, e.g. to Europe, were increased by 17.6 percent; on average, postal services are now 8 percent dearer.
The Norwegians are ordering more goods from abroad than ever before. As stated by Posten Norge on Friday, orders from abroad have increased sharply because of the low exchange rate with the dollar.
With an anticipated EUR 50 to 57 million in losses, the British CEP service, City Link, will slip a long way down into
the red this year.
Blue Dart Express Limited, the Indian subsidiary of DHL Express, has also remained set on a course of growth in the first half of the year.
The rapidly rising cost of petrol is causing serious problems for private CEP services in China.
As at 1st September 2008 the Finnish post office, Itella, is going to increase the postage for letters and parcels.

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.)

The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "At a Cabinet Ministers session held yesterday Ali Abbasov, the communications minister, said that for January-June 2008 postal sector earnings grew by 30%. “Azerbaijan still encounters difficulties that are distinctive for post-Soviet countries. To ensure profitability and high proceeds of postal institutions they should be equipped with modern electronic and transport systems. With this purpose the country has been realizing Financial Service Development Project since 2005 with support of World Bank. The project completion is scheduled for late 2008 and already next year it is planned to launch new services. But switching to profitable use of new services will be carried out for the next two or three years,” Abbasov said. The minister proposes to increase subsidizing for postal sector to ensure its profitability."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "The Universal Postal Union (UPU)* yesterday (August 5) reported that its 191 member countries had unanimously adopted a proposal to develop and implement a global monitoring system to evaluate the quality of service. The system, which will cover incoming priority letter post items and the quality of service link to terminal dues (the means by which countries pay each other for processing incoming international mail), is expected to become operational in 2010. The system will also be used to evaluate how successful postal operators are in improving their quality of service through projects financed by the UPU's Quality of Service Fund."

August 5, 2008

According to InformationWeek, "Deutsche Post spent six months evaluating what it could gain from outsourcing the bulk of its IT department to a services provider. The conclusion, said a company IT manager, is that its own IT department proved a level of efficiency that made it unnecessary to outsource."

Air Cargo World has reported that "DHL named Hans Hickler, who led the U.S. business for the express carrier until a major restructuring, to run the division aimed at its largest corporate customers. Hickler, who is also a former president of APL Logsitics, becomes chief executive officer of DHL's global customer solutions group. Hickler had been CEO of DHL Express in the United States since September 2006 when he was replaced in May by Ken Allen under a larger overhaul that will have the subsidiary of Deutsche Post scale back its operations in North America."

The New Zealand Herald has reported that "Kiwibank, the "People's Bank" conceived by Jim Anderton, posted its first annual net profit in 2005, three years after opening for business and right on schedule. Kiwibank's speedy growth means it continues to rely on its parent New Zealand Post for the additional capital it requires to back its increasing loan book. Sceptics say there has been no clarity over how much of Kiwibank's bottom line is from business such as bill payments, which was previously part of NZ Post's operations. Mr Knowles says it Kiwibank's sharing of NZ Post's outlets would make any prospective sale of the bank somewhat problematic." 

PRWeb has reported that "The United States Postal Service (USPS) has selected AspireHR’s TalentScout software and eQuest for updating their e-recruiting implementation."

People's Weekly World has reported that "Protesting another attempt to cut government services, 60 postal workers and their supporters picketed the Cleveland Airport Mail Center July 31 responding to a threatened shutdown by the U.S. Postal Service. “Save Our Airport Post Office!” the protesters, strung out along the highway leading to the facility, chanted as drivers of vehicles waved and honked in solidarity."

USPSOIG: The following are the latest reports that have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/). If you have additional questions concerning the reports, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

MediaDailyNews has reported that:

  • Despite broader issues in the overall economy, the media industry continues to be among the fastest growing industrial sectors in America. Long-term secular shifts, however, are altering the role of some major media and forms of advertising and marketing services, according to the 22nd edition of private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson's annual Communications Industry Forecast. To underscore the fundamental shifts transforming the media economy, VSS notes that newspapers, long the dominant U.S. advertising platform, has fallen behind broadcast TV this year, which itself is poised to be usurped by the Internet within the next three years.
  • Most of the big newspaper publishers have seen their ad revenues fall sharply over the last year, if not longer. The downward trend is clearly established, with executives warning investors that there are more declines on the way. It seems that things can't get any worse--but incredibly, they can, and probably will. As newspapers are buffeted by a perfect storm of industry-specific and general trends, the rate of revenue decline is likely to accelerate in the second half of 2008 and 2009.

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

MaterialsHandling has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has long been the single largest purchaser of plastic pallets in the country, possibly even the world. Over the past year, leakage and budget concerns have led the USPS to re-evaluate its purchasing practices. The USPS has begun purchasing wood pallets, INCA presswood pallets and some low-priced plastic pallets. Peter Grau, a contractor to the USPS, said, “The action to purchase wood pallets over plastic pallets is due to budget constraints and asset management issues with plastic pallets. From an operational and engineering perspective, the twin sheet thermoformed plastic pallet is still the pallet of preference.” The bottom line is that the USPS has leaked out plastic pallets about as fast as they had been buying them. It seems the USPS got into its present dilemma by failing to create an adequate pallet control system. Now it seems the USPS may be embarking to another equally precipitous course of action. It is moving to a wood pallet program without specifications and other quality control measures in place to ensure a consistently good quality pallet every trip."

Business Week has reported that "Two U.S. senators have asked the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to review a proposal by UPS Inc. to carry some air packages for DHL. But UPS says the agencies don't have authority over the vendor relationship."

Just in case you missed these, here are three new items that have been posted on the Courier-Express-Postal blog operated by Alan Robinson:

  • The Postal Service now faces its greatest financial challenge since I first began writing about Postal Finances in 2001. The combination of secular and cyclical trends are having a devastating impact on postal volumes and revenue and cost-cutting efforts cannot happen fast enough to counter the decline in revenue.

  • The Postal Service now has indicated that it will offer voluntary early retirement to all clerks mailhandlers and supervisors in processing facilities and retail units. In addition, they have now asked for the authority to offer Voluntary early retirement for postmasters but have not indicated if they will use that authority.

  • In most cases, under-served communities are thought to be in geographic areas where delivery mail volume per delivery point is low and demand for retail services is also low. It is in these communities that the cost of delivery per piece is believed to be higher and a postal administration might offer inferior, slower service to minimize losses. These perceived under-served delivery communities are those with a large number of lower mail volume delivery points and are concentrated in lower income communities. On the retail side, these communities are thought to be the most rural communities where the distance that a customer would have to travel for service might be longer.

As I.T. Vibe has noted, "The UK postal service does not seem to have been out of the news for the last 12 months with cut backs, strikes and general upheaval at Royal Mail. However, at a time when services are being cut, prices increased and post offices closed the Royal Mail directors have introduced a new technology into the mix, an online virtual assistant called Sarah and a service called, Ask Sarah."

Hellmail has reported that "On the 1st January 2006 POSTCOMM opened up the UK postal market to competition. New postal operators and new products came to the market, and the evolution continues with new operators continually emerging, and the de-regulated landscape providing an environment for innovation and creativity as suppliers and customers’ alike search for that competitive edge. One such opportunity has been seized by 21grams, whose iSort product utilises the commercial offerings from the various postal operators and optimises the mail on a day by day basis to minimise postal costs by splitting a particular day’s posting the most cost effective way between the different postal operators and tariffs available at that time."

Costa Rica Travel & Business News has reported that "Costa Rica is well-known for its lack of physical addresses, opting for metered directions, usually originating from a known landmark. For this reason, many Costa Ricans and expats opt to rent an apartado, or P.O. Box. Unfortunately for these paying customers, Correos Costa Rica is woefully irresponsible and inefficient, with more mail lost, stolen, or postponed for months at a time than delivered within a reasonable time frame."

According to MainStreet, "Most small businesses wrestling with $5.50 gallon of diesel fuel are dealing with heavy-duty new-age business concepts like online office processes say, Google (GOOG) Apps. But there is a much smoother road to innovation and saving that most smaller businesses seem to avoid: the basic -- but crucial -- process of mailing your business letters. Bulk mail solutions that send out thousands of letters once were strictly big-company options. Even heavy-duty mailing equipment supply companies like Rena Systems, Secap or Addrex offer powerful bulk mailers that can fit on a desktop and handle thousands of pieces of mail per hour. Even small businesses with less intensive mailing needs can expect to find plenty of innovation. The names here are Hasler, Neopost (NEO) and Pitney Bowes (PBI)."

August 4, 2008

The Telluride Daily Planet has noted that "If you went to the post office last week, you pulled out flyers for places you might not shop, ads for vision care you might not need, and catalogues for sexy underwear that is not appropriate for your gender. This is routine. Other than the fact that you may begin to believe your name is “Postal Patron,” and that you’re married to a person named “Or Current Resident,” most of these flyers are recycled and forgotten. But there were questions this weekend about one particular mass mailing that struck some “Postal Customers” as odd. It came from Sheep Mountain Alliance, the county’s environmental watchdog, formed 20 years ago this weekend to stop logging on that gorgeous nearby peak. Nowadays it fights to preserve the Valley Floor, eliminate plastic bags use and reduce junk mail. So at least a few postal patrons saw the flyers — 4,000 printed, dozens strewn over the post office counters — as a bit of a mixed message. After all, hadn’t Sheep Mountain Alliance helped sponsor a junk mail reduction campaign just two months ago?"

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that "United Parcel Service reached a tentative agreement with Chicago-based Teamsters Local 705 on a new contract covering roughly 11,000 drivers, package handlers and other part-time and full-time workers just hours ahead of a strike deadline."

According to The Hindu, "The Postal Department will soon issue ‘Proof of Address’ cards to residents of Chennai, according to Chennai City Region Postmaster General M.S. Ramanujam. “Basically, we are trying to help those coming into city on transfers and those seeking jobs. Most of them find it difficult to produce a proof of address. Our card will enable them to open a bank account, buy mobile phones, apply for a telephone connection and ration card among other things."

Air Cargo World has reported that "while harboring hopes the U.S. economy will turn around and fuel prices will start to level off, FedEx is positioning itself for what company officials say is an altered industry landscape."

In a commentary for Federal Times, U.S. Postal Service chief financial officer Glen Walker wrote: "The risk of not taking action outweighs the risk of taking action. That can be an unsettling idea. After all, taking risks can lead to failure, sometimes resulting in severe consequences. But risk-taking is often necessary not only to survive in today’s business environment but also to thrive. I came to the U.S. Postal Service from the private sector in 2006. The same year marks the first major legislative change to the Postal Service since 1971. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act changed the way the Postal Service operates, giving us new flexibility to better respond to dynamic market conditions and changing customer needs. While the law opened the door to new opportunities, it also created new challenges and new risks. The dawn of this new era seemed like the perfect time to take a more proactive and comprehensive approach to risk management, one that has been gaining traction in the private sector."

According to Hellmail, "Fatigue at work can be due to many things, but Correos, the Spanish postal operator, is to make fundamental changes to mail centres which it says will improve staff health and improve productivity."

August 2, 2008

The New York Times has reported that "globalization may be losing some of the inexorable economic power it had for much of the past quarter-century, even as it faces fresh challenges as a political ideology. Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex."

The Associated Press has reported that "The Postal Service has ended a long tradition in which mail delivered to Maine's small offshore Sutton Island by a private ferry service was left in a specially marked trash can on the island's dock. Postal Service higher-ups got wind of the practice that served residents of about 25 seasonal homes on Sutton Island. They decided it had to be halted because it provides no security for the mail."

Thaindian News has reported that "Five hundred post offices across the country will be upgraded under a special project to be launched later this month, Minister of State for IT and Communication Jyotiraditya Scindia said here Saturday. Addressing mediapersons here, Scindia spoke about the proposed facelift of postal network under project Arrow, which would be inaugurated Aug 16-17. He said a proposal was chalked out for modernization of the postal department."

August 1, 2008

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

  • PostCom has learned the Postal Service will release its final rule on the Intelligent Mail Barcode early next week, and will post the full final rule on its website. A postal official told PostCom the final rule commits the Postal Service to the May 2009 implementation date, but it will not indicate any pricing decisions regarding the Full Service IMB and Basic Service.
  • Mailers need to be aware that although changes to the Move Update standards will take effect November 23, another key date – August 20 – is looming. To be ready for Move Update, mailers must begin using addresses that have been updated no earlier than August 20. The USPS is extending the Move Update requirement to all Standard Mail and reducing the window for move-update processing of names and addresses of discounted First Class Mail to 95 days from the current 180 days. The effective date of these changes is Nov. 23, 2008.
  • The Government Accountability Office says the Postal Service needs a comprehensive measurement system to evaluate the cost-savings from outsourcing and to provide it with a better understanding of its effectiveness. In its recent report on USPS outsourcing, the GAO said cost-savings data is crucial to assess the risk and value of outsourcing.
  • The Government Accountability Office recently said the Postal Service is working to strengthen planning and accountability for its network realignment efforts per the GAO’s earlier recommendations. However, the GAO said the USPS has not established measurable performance targets for its realignment initiatives. It’s a charge the USPS refutes by claiming its budgeting process accounts for the cost reductions achieved through these initiatives. The deputy postmaster general said these performance targets are captured in Postal Service’s annual goal of achieving $1 billion in savings.
  • USPS distributes addressing fact sheets. USPS plans for to ‘green’ delivery fleet. Postal Service sets new record for service. U.S. air express market static to declining. American Airlines to raise express weight limits. DHL Express to boost tracking capability for customers. First sentences passed in cargo price-fixing dustup. U.S. postman wants to add kilts to uniforms.
  • Mixed report card for Royal Mail. TNT profits fall in first half. France hunts for universal service support. E.U. says Saxony plan to pay DHL won’t fly. Danes to boost postal security in Copenhagen. Finnish post office sees profits drop. China post sees 21 percent growth in first-half receipts. TNT backs off Belgian challenge. Brazilian postal prices to rise. Substantial driving restrictions could occur during Beijing Olympics.
  • A list of upcoming postal-related events.
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The Courier, Express, and Postal Blog has reported that "Postal Service now faces its greatest financial challenge since I first began writing about Postal Finances in 2001. The combination of secular and cyclical trends are having a devastating impact on postal volumes and revenue and cost-cutting efforts cannot happen fast enough to counter the decline in revenue. With one quarter to go, the Postal Service faces the prospect that its actual revenue could be only $75.2 billion or $3 billion short of plan. The decline in revenue could result in a FY loss of $2.6 billion unless even greater cost reductions occur in the next 90 days, even with the additional $1 billion in cost savings that this year that the Postal Service has announced."

Media Daily News has reported that "In the latest iteration of possibly illegal digital content-sharing, a new Web site, Mygazines.com, allows members to share digital editions of magazines--in essence reading them for free, according to Folio:, which first reported the news. American magazine publishers are not amused: the Magazine Publishers of America is suing Salveo Limited, the owner of the British site, which is incorporated on Anguilla, a British territory in the Caribbean."

Radio Praha has reported that "Česká pošta is being inundated with parcels arriving from the United States. The postal service has handled over 120,000 packages arriving from the states in the first six months of this year alone - that is up from 70,000 during the same period last year. Ivo Mravinac is a spokesperson for Czech Post, he thinks the glut of incoming packages is down purely to economics."

According to Yahoo! News, "LG Electronics on Thursday said this fall it would sell a high-definition Blu-ray disc player that can stream to a TV more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes from Netflix. Netflix has offered subscribers the option of streaming movies to their PCs at no additional cost. The company is hoping to stay ahead of the curve as the Internet matures as a distribution mechanism. Netflix rival Blockbuster is also expanding its digital offerings." [EdNote: Of course they mean out of the mail.]

The Washington Post has noted that "Seniors Tap Into Texting -- The fastest-growing group of cellphone users, older adults are eager to train their thumbs to do more than dial." [EdNote: So much for what seniors will or will not do in a rapidly changing digital world.]

According to Direct, "A slightly higher number of small business executives think this year’s postage hike will affect their advertising expenditures this year than those who don’t, according to an InfoGroup survey."

Aircraft Economics has noted that "Parcel carrier FedEx has began services using the 757 Freighter. The airline will have 12 757 freighters in the next year as it replaces the 727-200 freighter fleet. FedEx are investing $2.6 billion in replacing the 90 727-200 freighters with 90 757 freighters."

"A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks, the Los Angeles Times has learned. Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation." "Death, it seemed, was coming through the mail."

Bloomberg has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, Europe's biggest mail carrier, said second-quarter profit fell 11 percent on costs to revamp the DHL Express division's U.S. unit and after writedowns hurt earnings at Deutsche Postbank AG. Chief Executive Officer Frank Appel forecast in May that the DHL U.S. express-delivery unit will suffer a loss of $1.3 billion this year as a slowing U.S. economy hurts demand for air shipments and the business struggles to compete with United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp."

Precision Marketing has noted that "Royal Mail is launching a direct mail campaign in a bid to promote its marketing products and services. The postal provider will target 14,000 marketers to highlight awareness of its range of direct mail campaign solutions. The pack will highlight Royal Mail’s personalised integrated media, developed with Sony DADC, which fuses digital with direct to create a truly individualised, branded CD mailing. The pack also draws attention to Royal Mail’s sensory mail, created in conjunction with BRANDSense, which creates standout mailing campaigns by engaging all five of the senses."

Management Consultancy has noted that "Royal Mail web-based self-services have raised web site hits from 3.5 million in 2007 to 4.5 million in the first half of this year."

According to the Daily Mail, "Villagers in a tiny hamlet have been left up in arms by Royal Mail red tape after their road was declared 'too steep' for postmen to deliver to them. Residents of Booze in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales have been told to collect their post in Richmond, which is a 45-minute drive away, because the road is too dangerous for postmen to use - and one of the regular deliverers has a 'bad back' which could be worsened if he walks up the road."

Union Network International has reported that "Speaking at the UPU Congress debate on sustainable development, Head of UNI Post & Logistics Global Union, Neil Anderson, encouraged the delegates to become more active in the work of the UPU on sustainable development. He said UNI was pleased to have been part of the social dialogue activities that had been run in Africa and Europe and was hoping to encourage other regions to be part of the dialogue."

Radio Taiwan has reported that "Taiwan's postal service decided Friday to restore the company's original name, Chunghwa Post. More than a year ago, it was renamed "Taiwan Post" by the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration. The move was made in line with a resolution by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) on the grounds that the name change process was unlawful. "Chunghwa" means "Chinese" or "China" in the Chinese language. The company adopted the name "Taiwan Post" in February 2007 amid a DPP-backed campaign to change the names of state-owned enterprises that contain references to China."

GAO:  The Government Accountability Office has issued a report regarding the United States Postal Service and "Information on the Irradiation of Federal Mail in the Washington, D.C., Area." It noted that:

"The cost for irradiating D.C. federal mail exceeded $74.7 million from November 2001 through April 2008, based on available data.5 The vast majority of these costs, about $66.2 million (89 percent), was for contractors to transport and irradiate the mail and for the oversight contractor to manage and oversee the current irradiation contractor. The remaining costs, about $8.5 million (11 percent) were for the Service’s staff, supplies, and mail preparation facility, among other expenses. The Service paid at least $74.3 million of the approximately $74.7 million from its general operating fund—i.e., funds from the Service’s revenues.6 Annual costs for fiscal years 2004 through 2007—the period with more complete data—remained relatively constant, averaging about $12 million. Most costs are unaffected by declines in the volume of mail irradiated....Currently, D.C. federal mail typically is delayed 2 to 3 days....While Congress appropriated $7 million in 2005 for an irradiation facility in Washington, D.C., the Service has not yet used the funds but is exploring options that may provide an opportunity to use them".

Hellmail has reported that:

  • Postal workers at Royal Mail are about to embark on what is perhaps the most controversial part of a national agreement established in the wake of industrial action last year. Under the phase 3 agreement established between the CWU and Royal Mail bosses, staff will now be expected to cover for one another and adopt a sensible approach to absorb absences and increase workload where time exists within normal hours. It is also hoped that a new working environment can be created where employees, CWU reps and managers feel valued and motivated but that all paid work hours are utilised.

  • The Communication Workers Union has added its voice to concerns over the Post Office Card Account contract and the devastation it could create for post offices that survive the present round of closures if the contract were lost. The CWU has written to James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, warning him that unless the Post Office Card Account (POCA) contract is awarded to the Post Office a further 3,000 post offices could face closure.

Fine Gael TD Michael Ring has called on An Post and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív TD to save the postal service on Inisbiggle. “An Post are getting rid of the rural post office by stealth, they are not paying people to make it a viable service. The post office on the island was ran by the O’Malley family for over 60 years and Bridget O’Malley, who was the person running it as an agency up to now, was getting only 36 cent per transaction,” he told the Mayo Advertiser this week.

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

The U.S. Small Business Administration Advocacy Office offered its views on the Postal Regulatory Commission's universal service inquiry. It said: "Changes in postal policies may impact small entities and affect competition. In reviewing the docket, it appears that groups that represent the interest of small entities, such as the Alliance of Independent Store Owners and Professionals and the Direct Marketing Association, filed comments or appeared at the hearings on the issue of universal service. Advocacy encourages the Commission to give full consideration to any comments that it received from small entities in drafting its report to Congress. Moreover, if changes to postal services are necessary in the future, Advocacy encourages the Commission to consider viable alternatives to assure that the changes are not unduly burdensome for small entities."

The UN News Centre has reported that "The United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU) has adopted a new and expanded four-year road map that emphasizes the key role played by the postal sector in the world’s economy. The strategy’s objectives cover the previous one, but also seek to bolster the inter-operability, quality and efficiency of the global postal network, promote sustainable development of the sector and its economy and encouraging the growth of postal markets and services. The UPU’s member countries unanimously adopted the new road map yesterday during the 24th Universal Postal Congress convened in Geneva."

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