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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."


1901 N. Fort Myer Dr., Ste 401 * Arlington, VA 22209-1609 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * NEW Fax: +1 703 997 2414
What's New in the Postal World
Page Two (The Entire Month's Entries) | Page Three (Prior Month's Entries) | Page Four (And the Month Before That)
 

May 7, 2009

In a letter to selected Members of Congress, Postmaster General Jack Potter wrote:

We are facing an unprecedented decline in mail volume, and the resulting loss of revenue is critically affecting our ability to maintain mail service to the American people. Fiscal year (FY) 2009 is proving to be every bit as challenging as we had projected, providing us with our most challenging financial environment in 60 years. We are on track to lose roughly $6.4 billion this year. Our mail volume has declined at an accelerated rate for each of the last nine quarters; culminating in a decline of roughly 15 percent in quarter two alone, versus the same period last year.

This loss will come despite our target to cut $5.9 billion in FY2009. I am proud to say that as a result of the incredibly hard work of our employees nationwide, we have already achieved

40 percent of those savings in other words, we have already cut costs by $2.4 billion this year. This reflects the fact that we have reduced workhours by 58 million; our goal this year is to cut 100 million workhours. This is a remarkable achievement, as the most the Postal Service has ever been able to cut in one year has been $2 billion. I would like to note that these cost-cutting efforts have occurred while maintaining the high levels of service that the American public has come to expect.

However, despite these efforts, the financial picture of the Postal. Service remains bleak. We anticipate an additional loss of more than $6 billion in FY2010. We have outlined additional cost reductions of $3.8 billion in FY2010, which will yield savings of $8 billion when combined with the recurring savings generated by this year's cost-cutting efforts.

These forecasts take into account the May 11 price increase for mailing products. In addition, our financial picture is compounded by the fact that current economic forecasts state that the Consumer Price Index, which caps products yielding 90 percent of our revenue, will not increase sufficiently to allow us to raise prices in May 2010.

As I have testified before the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, the Postal Service desperately needs help from Congress. Our urgent request is that the Postal Service be allowed to pay its retiree health benefits premiums from our Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund. This would be an intergovernmental transfer of funds, which should not impact the federal deficit. The Postal Service would continue to pay the annual pre- funding payment, ranging from $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion. There is roughly $32 billion currently in the Trust Fund. The Postal Service's contribution to the Fund would always be greater than the premiums flowing out of, so the Trust Fund would continue to grow.

The Jerusalem Post has reported that "The state comptroller, investigating the Israel Postal Company's practices regarding the purchase of equipment and services, has found that it often ignored the need to issue a public tender to choose the most reasonably priced and best supplier. n general, the comptroller charged, discussions for choosing a supplier were not in-depth and not serious. A dozen different times, the Postal Company decided on a supplier without issuing a tender. This was standard when they claimed there was great urgency in deciding or to prevent "harm" to the company."

May 6, 2009


ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF MUTH COMMUNICATIONS

We extend our congratulations and best wishes to former PostCom Vice President Kate Muth on the launch of her new enterprise.
"Muth Communications is a comprehensive editorial services company, with a focus on writing, reporting, editing and proofreading. Whether you are a small nonprofit in need of newsletter writing or a large corporation looking for assistance on white papers, issue briefs or policy reports, Muth Communications can help. With more than 20 years experience in trade journalism and newsletter publishing, Muth Communications has the market covered."
[Editor's Note: I heartily endorse Muth Communication's services. Heck, we use them ourselves.]

According to Harry Stephens, writing for Mailing Systems Technology, "the term dire hasn’t been used to describe the economic climate since the Great Depression. But it has been used to describe our most recent economic and financial condition. And I predict it will be used to describe the USPS—and the impact on business mailers—more than once if we don’t come up with solutions for change."

Press Release: "Postal Service Ends Second Quarter with $1.9 Billion Loss Year-End Cash Shortfall Possible Despite Aggressive Cost Reductions; Mail Incentive Programs Introduced to Offset Unprecedented Volume Declines."

Postal Regulatory Commission today:

The Government Accountability Office has published its report on the Postal Service's intelligent mail program. A copy of that report, "Intelligent Mail Benefits May Not Be Achieved if Key Risks Are Not Addressed" has been posted on this site.

Ministers are worried the controversial plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail could be held up by opposition to the deal, the BBC understands. Postal unions and many Labour MPs are opposed to a plan to sell 30% of Royal Mail, designed to fund modernisation. Almost 150 Labour MPs have criticised the plan, meaning Labour may have to rely on Conservative support to win a Commons vote set for early June. Ministers are under pressure to avoid another defeat after recent setbacks. But pressure on the government shows no sign of abating with one Labour MP threatening to resign from the government unless it modifies its plans.

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Information and communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has thrown his weight behind the decision by the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) chairman to suspend six top managers on fraud allegations."

The National has reported that "Historically, the Arab world’s lack of addressing systems and home-delivered mail have kept direct marketers out of the region, but in recent weeks Saudi Arabia has launched a number of initiatives in an attempt to build up a regional version of the industry. Among them is the foundation of an Arab Direct Marketing Association (ADMA), created on April 20 in Jeddah as an affiliate to the US-based DMA, which aims to boost direct marketing’s percentage of regional advertising spending from its current level of 1 per cent to more than 25 per cent by 2020."

USPS Board of Governors Meeting.  Postal board Chairman Carolyn Gallagher and Postmaster General Jack Potter both said that despite aggressive actions to reduce costs and grow revenue, the Postal Service will likely face a cash shortfall of over $1.5 billion at the end of the fiscal year. The year-to-date net loss is $2.3 billion for the Postal Service, while it lost $1.9 billion in Quarter 2. The USPS volume was down 14.7%. The Postal Service is well on its way to meeting its 100 million workhour reduction goal, with cutting 58 million, the equivalent of a reduction of 33,000 full-time employees, in the 1st six months of this fiscal year. A copy of the Financial Update presented at the Board of Governors’ Open Session on May 6, 2009 by Joseph Corbett, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President, has been posted on this site.

DMM Advisory:  PostalOne! Release 20 and the Business Customer Gateway – We are preparing PostalOne! release 20 to support the price change on May 11 and the Test Environment for the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option on May 18. Beginning May 11, mailers can enter the Business Customer Gateway to access PostalOne!, Electronic Verification System (eVS), TEM, FAST®, Intelligent Mail information (including Mailer ID applications), Full-Service feedback reports, and much more. 

Business Customer Gateway Log-In InformationPostalOne! and FAST users who logged in through PostalOne! between March 30 and April 15 can use their existing usernames and passwords to access the Business Customer Gateway. Those who didn't log-in but responded to the security question can use their existing usernames but must change their passwords. These users should confirm that their profile includes a valid e-mail address, or they will be unable to change their passwords after May 11 and must re-register. Users who did not log-in to PostalOne! during the prescribed dates or answer the security question need to register through the Business Customer Gateway as a new user. We have identified a few accounts that do not meet our username and password standards. We will contact these customers via e-mail to give them new user names. 

Gateway Business Services Administrator – Beginning May 11, the former PostalOne! External Site Administrator role will be migrated and replaced by the Gateway Business Services Administrator role. Administrators are responsible for their user base and access to USPS services. In addition, the Administrator approves or deactivates all requests for Services at the business location and assigns additional users to the Administrator role. Former External Site Administrators will be migrated to the position of Business Services Administrators. Companies that did not have an External Site Administrator will be able to access the system and use its services. New users for that company will be notified of the Administrator requirement and asked if they will assume the responsibility upon creating a new account. If the user agrees to become the Administrator, the registration process continues. If the user declines, the service request goes into a pending status until there is an Administrator. As part of the transition process, some Administrators will be contacted via e-mail and asked to review their profiles this Friday. Please be on alert for e-mail notification in the next several days.  

Mail.dat and User Access – Customers using Mail.dat to send files to USPS using the batch mode need to confirm they have a verified username. If not, please obtain a new username and password under the Business Customer Gateway. 

PostalOne! Assistance – Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions or if you have problems accessing your accounts.

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

The recession has left a deep indent in the balance sheet of Dutch TNT.
Deutsche Post has let the time lapse away to submit a bid for Royal Mail before the deadline expired. At the weekend Austrian state-owned holding company ÖIAG denied reports that it was working on the sale of 25% of the post.
Last Wednesday the Swedish post announced a 2% decrease in turnover to 717.8m euros, accompanied by a 43% drop in operating result to 37.2m euros. The figures were mainly influenced by the trend affecting the mail segment Posten Meddelande. A clear decrease in volumes caused a turnover drop of 4% on Q1 2008 to 387.5m euros for Posten’s biggest division.
At 477.6m euros the Q1 turnover of Finland’s Itella was up 5.5% on the previous year’s first quarter. Last Thursday the Finnish post reported that the figure resulted solely from last year’s realised acquisitions, among them DH Tools Oy, OOO Connexions, Kauko Group Oy, Hansar Logistics AB and 50% of Norwegian Universal Spedisjon Bergen AS. After adjustments the turnover showed a clear downward movement at -6.6%.
Post Danmark has seen a continuation of the declining trend from Q4 2008 during this year’s first three months, too.
The French government is planning to renew the "Public Services Contract".
Italy’s cartel authority AGGM (Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) has launched an investigation into the post for possible abuse of a market dominating position. Last week Italian media reported that the investigation included payment transactions, of which Poste Italiane has a 90% market share. AGGM wants to ascertain whether the post’s market dominating position acts as a hindrance to the development of alternative payment methods and whether terms and conditions, particularly the costs, are fair.
Last week Austrian companies and trade associations announced the foundation in Vienna of an initiative for the future of the postal market (Initiative ZukunftPostmarkt). Among the initiators are the Trade Association, the Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ), the Central Association of Carriers & Logistics, DPD, DHL, redmail, Styria Medien AG and TNT Post.
Last Wednesday the board of Belgium’s La Poste presented the trade unions with a proposal for a new collective wage agreement. An official statement said that the proposal ensured that the job guarantee until 2010 could be maintained. It also included a small pay rise.
The difficult economic situation put a damper on An Post’s consolidation course last year. Last Thursday the Irish post announced a 2% decline in mail volumes, leading to a 2.9% drop in turnover (850m euros). While the operating result went up by 7.2% (31.2m euros), the net profit shrank by over 23% to 33.2m euros.
In view of the EU - China economic summit scheduled for this week, the EU Commission has gone out of its way to avoid any dissent regarding the new Chinese Postal Act in the run-up to the meeting.
Following Post Danmark’s sale of its share in Pan Nordic Logistics (PNL) to Posten Norge in September 2008 (CEP News 38/08), PNL has now set its sights on the Danish parcel market.
For the dispatch of parcels in Germany, online trader Amazon has recently begun using Hermes.
DHL hasmore than doubled its air freight capacity on the Singapore to Hong Kong route.
Schweizerische Post is promoting a new solution for digital signatures. The new SwissStick is a USB stick on which the user stores his or her digital ID and signature. Used in conjunction with the SwissSigner software, it enables users to produce legally valid signatures on electronic documents.
The Swiss Social Democratic Party (SP) is supporting the post’s demand for a banking licence.
Around 200,000 citizens in the Brazilian region of Paraiba are complaining about very poor service quality from the post ECT.
Portugal’s post Correios has offered the trade unions a pay rise between 1.2 and 1.8%.
"The Russian post will continue its activities to support the distribution of newspapers and magazines despite the difficult economic situation." On 24 April deputy general director of the post I. Mandrikin told 170 chief editors from 62 Russian regions that the post intended to keep charges for these services unchanged.
In Spain, registered consignments can now be sent to a mobile phone via SMS.
FedEx subsidiary Caribbean Transportation Services (CTS) will become completely integrated into the group on 1 June this year.

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 Financial Times has reported that "Gordon Brown signalled he would be willing to scale back the stake in Royal Mail sold to a foreign rival, but yesterday ruled out a U-turn on the proposed part-privatisation, setting the stage for a confrontation with Labour MPs and unions next month. The prime minister is willing to offer only modest concessions to the massed ranks of Labour rebels opposed to the plans to sell off 30 per cent of the state-owned postal operator. Asked if the government would be prepared to reduce the privatised stake to 20 per cent, or even less, Mr Brown's spokesman stated: "This will be a decision that will have to be taken at the time [that the sale is agreed]." The department for business is also canvassing plans to offer shares to Royal Mail staff in an attempt to make the deal more palatable for Labour backbenchers."

Staten Island Live has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service will sponsor a public meeting tonight about shifting some of the mail processing work currently done at the Manor Road Post Office to Brooklyn, as a cost-cutting measure. Postal union representatives have been rallying workers in opposition as well, saying it doesn't make sense to truck mail addressed to Staten Islanders to Brooklyn for processing, only to truck it back again for distribution. In an apparent bow to local opposition, postal officials have said the Staten Island postmark will continue to be utilized, regardless of where the mail is processed."

NALC President William H. Young surprised many in attendance by announcing that he plans to retire soon – probably before the end of the year – at which time under the Constitution he will turn the reins of the union over to Executive Vice President Fred Rolando.

The Connexion has reported that "plans for the controversial privatisation of La Poste have been postponed until after the European elections. The government wants to change the status of La Poste from établissement public to société anonyme – a move that is feared to be a first step to selling off parts of the group. Nothing will happen now until after the summer although President Nicolas Sarkozy had wanted the first moves to be in place before then, with privatisation next January."

According to U.TV, "The big debate on the future of Royal Mail is missing the point. In a desperate effort to save a declining industry, mainstream politicians are offering two outdated alternatives: partial privatisation by the government and full-bloodied privatisation, the latter backed by the opposition, if Peter Luff, Tory chair of the commons business, enterprise and regulatory reform committee, reflects their views.Privatisation of utilities has been for the most part an unmitigated disaster. Trains provide monster profits for operators, higher fares for passengers and huge dollops of taxpayer subsidy for companies. Buses make similar profits but also receive huge subsidies from councils for local services. Not much difference for gas, electricity and water. The part or full privatisation of the postal services and the Post Office will inevitably be the same – big profits for the new private bosses and demands for large subsidies to provide a universal postal service in rural areas. The taxpayer will end up subsidising the private operator – even if the government tries to impose a levy on other operators to pay for the service.

You might want to check out www.postaltechnologyinternational.com/industry-blogs.php where Postal Technology magazine posts opinions submitted by readers.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Deutsche Post DHL today (May 6) released its interim results for the first quarter of 2009. The Germany-based global express, mail and logistics company revealed a 12.9% drop in revenue to €11.5bn whilst underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) fell by 42.1% to €312m. Management stated that the decrease was primarily caused by the "unprecedented plunge" in demand across all regions and sectors as well as reduced volumes and higher wages in its Mail division. Reported EBIT fell to €27m compared with €539m in the previous year, mainly because of charges related to the restructuring of the group's DHL Express business in the US." See also Reuters.

The Nation has reported that "The head of the Postal Corporation of Kenya has been asked to give reason why he should not be fired for alleged mismanagement at the State corporation, the Nation has learnt. A three-man committee convened to come up with recommendations after a forensic audit of the corporation’s activities since the inception of its money transfer service, PostaPay, decided to ask Post Master General Fred Odhiambo to explain why he should not be sacked."

Hellmail has reported that "A bid by Dutch-owned TNT for a strategic partnership with the Royal Mail could be thrown out altogether unless a compromise can be reached. The economic downturn and TNT reporting a 58 percent fall in net profit for the first quarter, has left the government smarting after TNT refused to match the government's own valuation for the partnership." See also PrintWeek.

A 10-month investigation by inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has lead to the filing of criminal charges against six area residents for allegedly mailing more than 200 packages containing marijuana through the U.S. Mail system

The House Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee will be holding a postal oversight hearing on May 20, 2009. The following will be testifying at that hearing. PANEL I Mr. William P. Galligan Senior Vice President, Operations, United States Postal Service; Mr. John Waller Director, Office of Accountability and Compliance, Postal Regulatory Commission Mr. Phillip Herr Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, United States Government Accountability Office PANEL II Mr. William Burrus President, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO Mr. John Hegarty President, National Postal Mail Handlers Union Mr. Dale Goff President, National Association of Postmasters of the United States PANEL III Mr. Anthony W. Conway Executive Director, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers Mr. Robert E. McLean Executive Director, Mailers Council Mr. James O'Brien Chairman, Association of Postal Commerce

The Telegraph has reported that "Gordon Brown will press ahead with plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail and will rely on Conservative support if he cannot persuade more than 100 rebel Labour MPs to back the proposal."

May 5, 2009

A WEBINAR ON: "THE USPS SUMMER SALE"

An opportunity to help your business & the USPS through tough economic times.
Hear about this opportunity and have your questions answered by Tom Foti, USPS Manager for Marketing Mail at a virtual seminar on may 11th @ 12:30 p.m. EDT.
There is a modest registration fee of $15 intended to cover the line-related cost of the offering only. Individuals and groups may register here.

(This seminar is being sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and its Nonprofit Federation in conjunction with the Association for Postal Commerce, Magazine Publishers of America, the Parcel Shippers Association, the National Postal Policy Council, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association, the Printing Industries of America and The Print Council.)

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:  MC2009-24 Comments of Express Delivery and Logistics Association Pursuant to PRC Order 207

"Order 207 is a notice of filing by the USPS to add a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) to the Competitive Product List; specifically a commercial agreement with Royal Mail for Inbound Air Parcel Post traffic. XLA objects to the inclusion of the abovementioned agreement to the Competitive Product List on the grounds that the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) prohibits competitive products from having unequal regulatory treatment between the USPS and other competing American international delivery providers."

Advertising Age has reported that "Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy gave a stark warning to an international gathering of magazine publishing executives today, urging the industry to innovate and to be more creative. The addresses to the FIPP World Magazine Congress come as the magazine business endures the most calamitous period in its history, thanks to the breakdown of print advertising and publishing companies' struggles in grabbing a piece of the growing digital pie. Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia predicted that magazine market share will keep shrinking through 2011 even though the world economy is expected to be back to growth by then."

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Online retailers are shifting their marketing from traditional advertising to less expensive tools like Facebook.com and Twitter and e-mail as they seek market share or just work to retain customers, according to an industry study being released Tuesday. Conducted by Internet analysis firm Forrester Research for Shop.org — the online arm of the trade group National Retail Federation — the survey found that merchants believe online business is better suited to withstand an economic downturn than physical stores or catalogs, though they acknowledge challenges for both."

BeyondChron has reported that "San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera will file suit against the U.S. Postal Service in federal court today, for refusing to deliver to mailboxes in residential hotels – after an initial demand letter to the U.S. Attorney was rebuffed."

eGov Monitor has reported that "The Government has tabled an amendment to the Postal Services Bill today to ensure that robust and transparent information about the Post Office network is published every year. The amendment introduces a new requirement for the Post Office to produce an annual report about the number, location and accessibility of Post Offices across the national network. Minister for Postal Affairs Pat McFadden said: "The Post Office network is part of the fabric of this country. It plays a vital commercial, public and social role. "We want transparent information about how accessible the network is, in particular to small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, to be published every year. "This information will help us to work with the Post Office to ensure that the network maintains its wide national coverage and continues to serve all our communities well." John Wright, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The Post Office network is absolutely crucial to small businesses and to keeping communities alive. According to a recent FSB poll, nine out of 10 small businesses said that they use Post Offices to buy stamps and send letters and nearly half use their Post Office a couple of times each week. Small firms cannot afford to see any more Post Offices close and the FSB welcomes the Government's indication that it will not support a further programme of closures and that it will promote transparency about the accessibility of the network."

According to Sky News, "The Government remains on course for an awkward clash with its own MPs over plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. It has rejected a compromise to the proposal despite a Commons motion opposing part-privatisation being signed by 148 Labour members of Parliament. The Compass think tank put forward a suggestion to turn the postal service into a not-for-profit company, in a similar model to Network Rail, rather than selling off at least a third to an overseas competitor. "The Prime Minister's office said last night that the proposals published by the pressure group were not workable and not under consideration so I think this is an attempt by somebody to get some publicity," he said. "The plan we have put forward is threefold: bring in a new investor; take away the pension fund deficit from the company; change the regulation to put Royal Mail on a level playing field with competitors. "If alternatives and options are made they must be convincing in terms of their ability to transform the company, they cannot be a political fix which pretty much leaves Royal Mail where it is, because that would not be good for Royal Mail and it would not be good for the public." See also ePolitix, The Guardian, and the Evening Standard.

In an editorial, the New York Daily News wrote:

Mail fraud is a federal crime, isn't it? Yes, except if you're the U.S. Postal Service. Then you're free to engage in one of the most blatant cons around.

The Daily News' front-page headline yesterday, "First Class Ripoff," nailed what's going on. Our colleagues conducted 10 tests, sending letters by both priority and first-class mail to see which arrived faster. Eight of 10 times, the 42-cent first-class missives got to their destinations as fast as $4.95 envelopes with "Priority Mail" in superfast-looking typography.

At almost $5 a shot, the Post Office is making a killing on each delivery without guaranteeing speed. But customers do get the opportunity to buy insurance or tracking and what a spokesman called the "ooh factor."

There's a reason for this money grab: Thanks to e-mail - and a plummeting volume of deliveries, the Post Office is going broke. But that's no excuse for making it a priority to scam the public.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
Periodic Reporting Rules ,
20834–20858 [E9–9590] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Service
RULES
Rules of Practice Before the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals ,
20590–20599 [E9–10336] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
International Product ChangeRoyal Mail Group Inbound Air Parcel Post Agreement ,
20760 [E9–10355] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Amazon.comInc. on Wednesday plans to unveil a new version of its Kindle e-book reader with a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to periodical and academic textbook publishers. Amazon has worked out a deal with several textbook publishers to make their materials available for the device. Dozens of newspaper and magazines subscriptions for Kindle are sold through Amazon, but some publishers have concerns about the arrangement. That has spurred some publishers to back Kindle alternatives and to pursue mobile reading options for smartphones and other portable gadgets. Hearst Corp. is investing in a start-up that's developing an e-reading device, and News Corp., owner of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., is mulling a possible investment in a Kindle competitor. Plastic Logic Ltd. said that it will conduct a trial launch of its 8.5-by-11-inch reading device this summer with the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, daily papers that recently stopped delivery of their print versions most days of the week."

Yahoo! Finance has reported that "Mr. Buffett has long held himself out as a newspaper man. As a child, one of his first jobs was delivering newspapers. An Omaha newspaper Berkshire owned, Sun Newspapers, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 based in part on a tip Mr. Buffett provided. One of Berkshire's biggest investments in the 1970s was the Buffalo News, which it still owns. But his view on the future of the newspaper industry is dismal. "For most newspapers in the United States, we would not buy them at any price," he said. "They have the possibility of going to just unending losses." As long as newspapers were essential to readers, they were essential to advertisers, he said. But news is now available in many other venues, he said."

May 4, 2009

From the Postal Regulatory Commission:

MC2009-23 "Public Representative Comments in Response to United States Postal Service Notice of Classification Change for International Mail"
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63011/PRCommentsMC2009-23.docx.doc
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63011/PRCommentsMC2009-23.docx.pdf

R2009-3 "Order No. 209 - Notice and Order Concerning Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program" SUMMER SALE
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63012/ORDER%20NO%20209.pdf
http://www.prc.gov/docs/63/63012/ORDER%20NO%20209.doc

Posted on this site are the slides that were a part of last Thursday's presentation by Pintsov and Obrea on an Extensible Postal Product Market Language (EPPML) and its role in postal operation, management, and product development.

DMM Advisory:  Confirm® Service: New Choices. Confirm service — also known as “OneCode Confirm®” when using Intelligent Mail services — offers more choices for customers than ever before. Our new Bronze subscription tier provides an affordable option for smaller-volume mailers who prefer to receive their data directly from the Postal Service. Customers can also have the Confirm system send data to whomever they choose, such as a service provider or an affiliated organization. We are also offering new data distribution options for Full-Service Intelligent Mail customers who are not Confirm subscribers. For instance, we can generate Confirm data using a non-subscriber's mailer ID in the barcode and send that data to a Confirm subscriber through the Full-Service Intelligent Mail data distribution process. Subscribers must register the mailer ID in Confirm and pay the "additional ID" fee. This option is just one of the many Full-Service Intelligent Mail benefits supported by Confirm and other applications, such as OneCode ACS®. Confirm is all about choices — using the traditional Confirm service or some of the new Full-Service Intelligent Mail options — for our customers. For more information about the new options, refer to the Supplement to the Confirm User Guide. For questions and customer support, contact Confirm Customer Assistance at 1-800-238-3150 or confirm@usps.gov.

Reuters has reported that "Germany's Deutsche Post DHL has no plans for now to take a stake in Britain's Royal Mail [GBPO.UL], financial sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. The Bonn-based group that is Europe's biggest mail and express delivery company has not submitted a bid for Royal Mail and is not interested in pursuing a deal at this stage, the sources said."

The latest blog entry 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/. Banking on the Postal Service. In 1910, to help restore trust in the financial sector, Congress passed the Postal Savings Act that allowed savings to be deposited with interest (with Government backing) at local Post Offices. You can vote on whether you believe a new postal savings system is needed and whether you would be willing to deposit funds, if it were created. You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

i955fm.com has noted that "The Postal Company wants help from the public in protecting the delivery of pension cheques. Postal workers have been robbed while delivering the cheques. TTPOST now says supermarkets and other members of the business community must not encash these cheques, since it is against the law for anyone but the recipient to do so."

From Business Wire: "Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI), the leading global provider of location and communication intelligence solutions, today announced it is teaming with LandPoint Systems, Inc., a product development and consulting services firm for the GIS market, to provide a mobile consumer survey service called FACES (Faster, Accurate, Current Economical Surveys). FACES, offered through LandPoint's KnowYourFaces division, provides retailers and restaurant companies with customizable surveys to help them better capture customer data at the point of experience. Utilizing digital technology--electronic handheld devices such as PDAs or Smartphones equipped with customized FACES consumer survey software and PBBI location intelligence solutions--helps to address the industry-wide issue of capturing consumer data by making it a more accessible, efficient process."

Posted on this site is a slide presentation on the Postal Service's "Network Distribution Center Activations."

 PostCom Members!!  The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site. In this issue:

  • Mailers Voice Concerns Over Raising Of Barcode Quality Bar
  • Folded Self-Mailer Test Still Open To Participants
  • Move Update Data Can Lead To Significant Improvements
  • Migrating To IMb
  • Navigating The USPS’ New Business Customer Gateway
  • USPS Identifies Acceptance Issues
  • Revised Standards To Lower Right Placement Of IMb
  • IMb Full Service Verification
  • FSS Testing Back On Track
  • FSS Flats Prep Workgroup To Hold 2nd Think Tank Meeting
  • USPS Moves Forward On Initiatives To Grow FCM Volume
  • Eliminating Obstacles To Mail Growth
  • Marketing Mail Growth Ideas Also On The Table
  • USPS Explores Secure Mail Destruction Service
  • The Future Of CASS/MASS
  • Reply Mail IMb Workgroup To Issue Recommendations
  • Mark Your Calendar For Upcoming Rule Changes

The Financial Times has reported that "Doubts about the political viability of Lord Mandelson's plans to part-privatise Royal Mail are spreading through government, as the recent bout of Labour indiscipline underlines the political risks of confronting backbenchers. The business secretary's team are "proceeding as planned" with the core proposal to sell a 30 per cent stake in the state-owned postal operator to a foreign rival, which MPs are due to vote on before the summer. But Gordon Brown's recent Commons defeat over Gurkhas and the part-climbdown over MPs' expenses has intensified concerns about the Royal Mail stand-off, convincing some senior ministers the government must give way. Lord Mandelson believes the reforms are essential. He wants the chance to press his case to Labour backbenchers in the Commons, after seeing the positive effect that a "convincing argument" has recently made in the Lords. He still has the backing of Mr Brown, who remains convinced the reforms are urgently required."

According to the New Haven Register, "The price of a first-class stamp is going up again Monday in what has become an annual event. But if a 2-cent increase, to 44 cents, to mail a letter or a check across town or across the country seems like another insult to the family wallet, the cost of sending something to Mexico is really going to be a shock. The price of a stamp to send a letter weighing 1 ounce or less will jump from 72 to 79 cents, almost a 10 percent increase. But Mexican-Americans’ reaction to the increase provides a clue to the financial woes the U.S. Postal Service is suffering."

The Herald has reported that "Campaigners against the controversial plans to part-privatise Royal Mail urged the government to review proposals as it was reported that Gordon Brown was preparing a climbdown over the issue. Just last week there were defeats over the Gurkhas and MPs' expenses and it is now believed the scheme to sell off part of the postal service could be defeated if put to the vote. Sources say the plan may have worked a month ago, but with growing opposition it is thought the government do not want to be left in the position of relying on Tory support."

The New York Daily News has reported that "Postal Service customers who shell out extra bucks to send letters by priority mail aren't getting their money's worth, the Daily News has found. The special-delivery service costs more than 10 times as much as first-class mail, but doesn't get a letter to its destination any faster in many cases. In eight of 10 tests conducted last month, letters sent priority and first-class were delivered to the same location on the same day. Even the cash-strapped Postal Service admits that paying $4.95 for a flat-rate priority envelope won't guarantee faster delivery than a 42-cent stamp. Read more: "First-class ripoff: News experiment finds pricier priority mail isn't faster than 42-cent stamp."

"The SNP (Scottish National Party) will this week bring opposition to UK Government plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail to the Scottish Parliament. Speaking ahead of the debate Central Scotland MSP Jamie Hepburn said; "The future of Royal Mail as a public service is a vital interest to Scotland. The postal service must remain run for and owned by the public. "It is plain as day that privatisation would spell the beginning of the end for Royal Mail, opening the door to job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers."

Bloomberg has reported that "Austria currently has no plans to sell a stake in Oesterreichische Post AG, Austria’s biggest mail service, the country’s state asset agency OIAG said in an e- mailed statement."

Marketing Daily has reported that "Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard Inc. said Friday that its first-quarter profit fell 18% from the year-ago period, but earnings still topped analysts' expectations. Despite some overall pessimism about the world economic climate, the company's CEO said marketing expenditures should head back up."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV reported a 44 percent drop in operating profit, less severe than analysts expected, hurt by lower demand for its delivery services as the economic slowdown dampens transport volumes."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. has stopped running a national television ad after rival FedEx Corp. accused UPS of falsely asserting that it has been "ranked the most reliable" package-shipping company. UPS has notified FedEx that it will no longer air the ad, UPS spokesman Norman Black said."

May 3, 2009

According to North Country Gazette, "They call it snail mail. That it is and it’s getting worse. As the costs of the U.S. Postal Service go up to customers, the service goes down. On numerous occasions over the past four months, we have experienced extensive delays in using priority mail. The Postal Service claims that Priority Mail is the only two-day service that delivers to mailboxes, mail slots and PO Boxes with Saturday delivery and residential delivery at no extra cost. Poppycock, not in two days it doesn’t. Doesn’t the Postal Service have to comply with the Truth in Advertising Act?"

According to HealthNewsDigest, "One of the drawbacks to the increasing mechanization of postal facilities is the increase in paper dust. The machines doing the grunt work loosen the dust and send it airborne where workers can breathe it in copiously. Contrary to what management and the union may say, paper dust can be a hazard to postal workers, causing and exacerbating respiratory problems. Sorting machines could also theoretically disperse contaminants (such as anthrax) intentionally sent through the mail into postal facilities, further adding to the risk of the job."

The Times has reported that "Gordon Brown was preparing for a third embarrassing climbdown last night as the government signalled full-scale retreat over plans to privatise the Royal Mail. Following last week’s defeats over the Gurkhas and MPs’ expenses, allies of the prime minister said that the controversial scheme to sell off part of the postal service would be “kicked into the very long grass”. Labour whips have told the prime minister that, with his authority badly damaged, a Commons defeat over the Royal Mail would be “inevitable” if he put it to the vote. Around 150 Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion condemning the plan to sell up to 30% of the Royal Mail to a foreign rival such as Dutch-owned TNT. The government had planned to put the proposals to a vote after the June 4 European elections. Sources close to Brown believe that a full debate is now unlikely until after the party conferences in October."

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "FedEx slapped its chief rival Friday with a lawsuit claiming false advertising by UPS. UPS officials said they were pulling the offending ad, which touted UPS as most reliable, after learning the claim was based on an out-of-date customer satisfaction survey. STORY TOOLS E-mail story Comments (11) Printer friendly More Business News Memphis notario publico sued for misleading advertisements Appraisers perform more reviews as homeowners appeal assessments Comptroller's plan would curb financial risks of cities, counties Share and Enjoy [?] The lawsuit asked UPS to kill the ad and pay FedEx for lost business and other impacts, including "corrective advertising costs" of at least $20 million."

   


2009 Postal Prices

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

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