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Association for Postal Commerce

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


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What's New in the Postal World
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April 23, 2009

Word has it from reliable sources that the National Rural Letter Carriers Association intends to oppose the Postal Service's proposed Standard Mail summer sale experiment. Reportedly the NRLCA is of the opinion that after having their contract mail piece counts expanded already by the Postal Service, any additional mail volume will not result in any additional rural letter carrier compensation.

Associated Press has reported that "The Homeland Security Department is dropping some newspaper and magazine subscriptions to save money. The agency has told its employees to cancel subscriptions to general interest newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post and to magazines such as Newsweek and Time by April 27. Future subscriptions will have to be authorized in advance. The department says employees will still have access to news because most publications can be found online on an in-house Web site." [EdNote: I suppose you're pretty close to hitting bottom when even the feds don't want you anymore.]

According to CNN Money, "Stamps.com®, the leading provider of online postage to approximately 400,000 small businesses, enterprises, and advanced shippers, today announced a free webinar to inform customers and prospective users of PC Postage about the 2009 USPS postage rate increase and tactics they can immediately implement to help lower their mailing and shipping costs. The webinar will teach small business owners everything they need to know about the new USPS postal rates and options to lower costs such as discounts available on Priority Mail, Express Mail and International Postage. To register for the Postage Rate Increase -- Smart Ways to Lower Mailing Costs webinar, go to http://www.stamps.com/webinars and select the date that is most convenient for you. Date options include: -- Friday, May 8, 11 a.m. PDT -- Monday, May 11, 11 a.m. PDT."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV stuck to its annual cost savings targets and raised the prospect of thousands of forced redundancies after postal union members rejected a draft labour accord that included wage cuts. The firm said on Thursday it would maintain its target of 395 million euros ($514 million) in annual cost savings until the end of 2015, to compensate for declines in mail volume. TNT warned the restructuring could entail the loss of 11,000 staff over a period of one to three years if there was no agreement with unions. But it was open to talks on other options for achieving the savings target."

From PR Newswire: "TNT Post, the national postal operator for The Netherlands, has selected BancTec as its new partner for Scanpost, a recent initiative to meet the increasing demand for digital receipt of incoming mail. Customers of Scanpost will receive same day delivery of their incoming mail, which is rapidly scanned, digitally sorted and processed, and then delivered directly to the required department or business process. As a result, incoming mail processing requires far less time, space and expense, while response to customer correspondence will be much faster."

There will be a presentation by Dr. Leon Pinsov, Vice President, International Standards and Advanced Technology, Pitney Bowes Corporation, on ``Postal Product Innovation and New Opportunities for Postal Commerce'' on Thursday, April 30, 2009, beginning at 1 p.m., in the Postal Regulatory Commission's hearing room. The briefing is open to the public; however, seating is limited, and those wishing to reserve a seat should telephone Leona Anasiewiez at 202-789-6877. The program will be Webcast at http://www.prc.gov.

Brand Republic has reported that "TNT Post and the Direct Marketing Association have signed a letter of understanding pledging commitment to working together to promote environmental best practice within the direct mail sector. The letter contains a call for the responsible use of direct mail and proposes the implementation of at least two joint initiatives over the next 12 months."

Dow Jones has reported that "TNT NV said Thursday it has taken note of the trade union members' rejection of the in-principle agreement on a new three-year collective agreement for TNT Post operations staff in the Netherlands. In the in-principle agreement, to compensate for the decrease in pay, the parties had agreed transitional measures and a job guarantee spanning six years, the first three unconditional. The rejection of the agreement means that the proposed measures from the in-principle agreement no longer apply. New consultations on the social plan will now be required. As the result of the use of e-mail, and now with the opening of the postal market from 1 April, the volumes of mail handled by TNT Post are dropping faster than ever before - by 5 to 6 percent per year. The result is an ongoing decline in work for TNT Post operations staff. What's more, the company's competitors offer their staff a much more sober employment package. This means that over the coming period TNT will have to continue making preparations for the restructuring plans required to achieve the necessary savings. These plans will involve making a number of changes, including reducing the number of days on which business mail is delivered, a move that is in line with the wishes of the customer. In compliance with its obligations under the Postal Act, TNT Post will continue to deliver consumer mail six days a week."

The Nashville City Paper has reported that "Lately, the news has been littered with story after story about Ponzi schemes. Since the economy hit the skids, the supposed financial wizardry of people like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford has been washed away and their greed laid bare. Interestingly, one federal agency charged with investigating and building cases against Park and Grigg has offices a stone’s throw away from where much of the fraud took place. Interesting, that is, unless you’re under investigation. Nestled in a nondescript office building in Brentwood are the offices of the U.S. Postal Inspectors. Now, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation may get the bigger headlines, this “Silent Service,” as the postal inspectors are known, is right in the thick of rooting out Nashville’s most notorious criminal enterprises."

WhatTheyThink has noted that "Mail and messaging technology specialist Pitney Bowes has launched Click&Mail, an online service that enables businesses to send post directly from their desktop. Once communications have been written, users simply click ‘print’ for their document to be remotely printed folded, inserted and despatched. No need to order and store pre-printed stationery, forget the hours spent preparing mail at the last minute before rushing to the postbox, no more over-stamping costs - Click&Mail now provides an easy way to send professional looking mail from the comfort of a PC, anywhere in the UK."

According to the Bay Area Reporter, "In a move to ensure that residents of single-room residential occupancy hotels get their mail, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is preparing for a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service. The hotels are home to many low-income San Franciscans, including LGBTs. In January, the postal service in San Francisco stopped delivering mail individually to many SRO residents, potentially leaving people's mail open to being misdirected or stolen."

Digital Video & Imagery Distribution System has noted that "Combat Logistics Battalion 3 delivered some of the amenities of daily life that most take for granted during a specialized combat logistics patrol to Forward Operating Base Now Zad, Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 1, 2009. Equally as important for the Marines at the FOB was CLB-3's first mobile post office, giving Marines the opportunity not only to send letters home but also extra personal items they've accumulated, which many packed in storage trunks that were purchased at the mobile post exchange. "It was a big hit," said Staff Sgt. Jason N. Dixon, the postal chief based out of Okinawa, Japan, who is currently assigned to CLB-3. "It was really successful, and we were really busy." Dixon said the Marines were extremely happy to send home letters and lighten their load of non-essential personal belongings before redeploying home. As well as collecting outbound mail, Dixon also brought the 10 large containers-worth of inbound mail with him. "It feels great," said Cpl. Ryan P. Little, an automatic rifleman assigned to second platoon, Co. L. "We knew it was coming, and everybody was excited." [EdNote: Who said "mail is dead "or "mail doesn't count?" Try and tell that to the Marines.]

Finextra has reported that "The new PostFinance service allows customers to transfer money from one postal account to another for up to a maximum of Sfr100 per recipient account per day by text message. The transaction is free of charge for both the sender and the recipient, except for the standard text message charge, and the amount is credited to the recipient's account within minutes."

UPS today reported adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.52 for the first quarter of 2009 compared to the $0.87 reported for the prior-year period. Revenue was off 13.7% at $10.9 billion. The continuing deterioration in global economic activity resulted in decreased revenue and profitability in all business segments.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "China could pass new legislation for postal services as early as Friday that foreign companies worry will restrict them from competing in the nation's growing market for express delivery of documents. The major global express-delivery companies -- DHL Worldwide Express Inc., FedEx Corp., TNT NV and United Parcel Service Inc. – have been lobbying the Chinese government for years as it worked on a new law governing mail delivery. Concern about the legislation has heightened in recent months, with businesses worldwide fearing the global downturn could lead to a revival of protectionism in many countries."

Reuters has reported that "Europe's highest court ruled on Thursday that the universal postal service provided by UK's Royal Mail should be exempted from VAT, following a complaint from Dutch international mail group TNT. TNT filed a court complaint to dispute the validity of the value-added tax exemption from services provided by Royal Mail, saying it provided comparable services but was subject to VAT. The European Court of Justice (ECJ), however, took the view that the services provided by the two companies were not comparable. "Royal Mail supplies postal services under a legal regime which is substantially different from that of an operator such as TNT Post," the court said in a statement. Royal Mail was designated in 2001 as the only universal postal service provider in the United Kingdom. The UK postal market was later fully liberalised in 2006, without affecting the status and obligations of Royal Mail, the court said. TNT entered into an agreement with Royal Mail for the latter to provide downstream services to TNT. It collects post from clients, sorts and delivers it to Royal Mail, which then ensures delivery to addressees." See also the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian.

DM News has reported that "The United States Postal Service launched a campaign today to increase awareness and create results for energy conservation at a “Turning Over a Green Leaf” event in celebration of Earth Day. The agency, which says it wants to reduce energy use 30% by 2015, exhibited “green” initiatives at the event, including the USPS' green Web site, a carbon and lifestyle calculator, an office supplies swap Web site, energy-saving tips, and Cradle to Cradle-certified “green” packaging and shipping supplies."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union is to hold a May Day March and Rally as part of it's ongoing campaign to stop the partial provatisation of the Royal Mail."

Federal Register:

  • Postal Regulatory Commission. "Meetings: Briefing on Postal Technology," 18596 [E9–9287] [TEXT] [PDF]
  • Postal Service. "International Product and Price Changes; Correction," 18467–18471 [E9–8512] [TEXT] [PDF]

CIO has reported that "The USPS announced last year its success in cutting annual transportation costs by more than $5 million. The decrease in transportation has resulted in reducing fuel consumption by 615,000 gallons per year. What made this possible is a transportation-optimization system called HCAP (Highway Corridor Analytic Program), developed by the USPS and IBM using Ilog Cplex optimization software. HCAP determines the most efficient plan for using existing mail-transportation assets in various types of scenarios, such as bulk-mail delivery and planning for holiday peak volumes, weekend transportation, and along highway corridors. It accounts for parameters such as starting and ending points, delivery times, truck-capacity restrictions, and mail classes. The system analyzes existing scenarios then generates alternative loads and routes that would save USPS money but still meet all of its service goals (such as getting that first-class letter from Boston to Washington, D.C., within two days), says E.J. Matto, an associate partner at IBM.

The BBC has reported that "the global economy is set to decline by 1.3% in 2009, in the first global recession since World War II, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says.

Last week, PostCom reported on a Postal Service idea that represents a rather innovative approach to using pricing freedoms to generate more mail volume and revenue. In response to numerous mailer inquiries, the Postal Service has sought to flesh out a bit more about its thinking, as it gets ready to offer the proposition for Board of Governors review. If the Governors give the proposal a green light, the next step would be to file the proposed summer sale experiment with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Under the new postal law, the PRC will have 45-days to review the proposal and offer its decision.

From PR Newswire: "This Earth Day, Pitney Bowes Inc., a leader in mailstream technology, offers tips for consumers wanting to adopt more sustainable practices when it comes to their daily mail delivery. Numerous studies have shown the true environmental impact of mail and that individual choices can make a big difference in increasing the efficiency of this vitally important communications channel. In a white paper published last year, Pitney Bowes compared the carbon emissions for the creation and delivery of mail to many household activities. Among other findings, the study revealed that the carbon impact of mail was relatively small when compared to many daily chores. These findings are similar to a US Postal Service life-cycle analysis of mail, which concludes that the annual carbon footprint of a typical household’s mail is equal to the use of a kitchen coffee maker for a year." [Sooooo.....will that be regular or decaf?]

According to Bloomberg, "United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package-delivery company, may say first-quarter revenue fell for just the second time in 10 years as businesses curbed shipping to thin out inventories."

DM News has reported that "Direct marketing solutions provider Direct Group will be consolidating its direct mail, digital printing and fulfillment operations into one location over the remainder of this year and anticipates eliminating approximately 50 positions as a result. “We want to optimize our associates, equipment and facilities infrastructures,” said Don McKenzie, president and CEO at Direct Group, of the move."

April 22, 2009

As one writer for Advertising Age put it: "The death knell for newspapers has been sounded too quickly. Newspapers are suffering from a confluence of factors, but many of their woes are self-imposed and have solutions, albeit painful ones. Newspapers have an enduring place in today's fragmented media world. The industry's survival depends on curing its structural ills and reshaping a new strategy for post-recession recovery. Like millions of American homeowners, many newspaper companies are buried in debt. It was piled on with the anticipation of never-ending profit growth and readily accepted by bankers and optimistic buyers. Tribune Co., the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and a number of other major companies will fall soon. They were not capitalized to survive a severe recession; Chapter 11 will provide them with a capital structure to see them through to a better economy. The double whammy of excess debt and a severe recession exposes the broader structural issue of excess industry capacity: There are still too many newspapers in America. The newspaper industry will inevitably consolidate further."

The Detroit News has reported that "Chrysler LLC is celebrating Earth Day today with the unveiling of four all-electric minivans at an event in Washington. The electric minivan is the automaker's first product from its ENVI electric vehicle division that is intended for production as a fleet vehicle. It is a joint product with the United States Postal Service, although the two have not yet signed an agreement to produce electric versions of a cargo van, both right- and left-hand-drive, for the USPS."

From PR Newswire: "Northrop Grumman Corporation reported that first quarter 2009 earnings from continuing operations increased 48 percent to $389 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, compared with $263 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2008.Electronic Systems first quarter 2009 sales increased 16 percent from the prior year period and included higher deliveries for LAIRCM, and higher volume for aerospace systems and postal automation programs, the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program, and intercompany programs.

The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service will meet in Washington, DC, at Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, on May 4-6. The public is welcome to observe the Board’s open session, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on May 6 in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. The Board is expected to discuss the following items: Wednesday, May 6 at 8:30 a.m. Call to order and approval of minutes of previous meetings. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. Recognition of the former Board Chairman. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. Committee assignments and committee reports. Quarterly report on service performance. Quarterly report on financial performance. Tentative agenda for the June 22, 23 and 24, 2009, meeting in Washington, D.C., and adjourn.

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Newspaper executives on Tuesday requested a bailout of sorts to help protect their papers from the far-reaching power of the Web. The papers want to be exempt from antitrust laws in order to explore new business models, a suggestion not favored by the Justice Department and labor unions. The Department of Justice does "not believe that any additional exemptions … are necessary," said Carl Shapiro, deputy assistant attorney general for electronics in the antitrust division at DOJ. "Antitrust laws can work well in this industry, reflecting as well as the Newspaper Preservation Act. Bernie Lunzer, president of The Newspaper Guild, was also concerned about changing antitrust laws to accommodate major newspapers. "An antitrust exemption for such large corporations would create real barriers to entry for others, who may choose to compete in this same market," Lunzer said. "[This] would create incredible power for a select few." See also the San Francisco Chronicle. [EdNote: Reminds me of the time the AMA wanted physicians exempted from antitrust provisions. The AMA actually thought it would get its way....until they ran into a Virginia Stonewall named Jim Miller....you know, a member of the postal board who formerly served as its chairman. Miller, at the time, was serving in the Reagan Administration as the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. That ended that.]

Press Release: "Quad/Graphics President & CEO Joel Quadracci is proud to announce on Earth Day that the company has donated a conservation easement on its 325-acre Camp/Quad parcel of land in Erin, Wis., to Tall Pines Conservancy, a non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving natural areas in and adjoining Northwestern Waukesha County. “When we purchased the land in 1997 we always intended for it to remain in its pristine condition,” said Mr. Quadracci. “Designating Camp/Quad as a conservancy is an ironclad way to ensure the land can never be developed commercially, residentially or otherwise and that it will continue to serve as an environmental showpiece and education center for generations to come.”

According to the Washington Post, "A team of very nonscientific researchers has finally discovered one thing that can distract the nation from Britney Spears: coupons. According to Google, searches for coupons have outstripped those for the pop train wreck since 2008. In addition, Coupons.com reported that Washington area residents printed $2.85 million worth of coupons last month. The top items were ready-to-eat cereal, baby products and baking ingredients." [EdNote: Seems like an area that's ripe for new postal development.]

NCNewsonline has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is looking into the feasibility of consolidating some operations in New Castle with Pittsburgh. If the consolidation should occur, up to 75 percent — 150 — of about 200 employees at the Cascade Street facility could lose their jobs, according to David Wigley, president of Local 227, American Postal Workers Union."

Austrian Times has reported that "Austrian Post AG is considering an unusual option as part of its current cost-cutting measures: making churches post offices. After the announcement that the post will close 33 branches in Styria, the company is looking for so-called "post partners" to replace them in order to arrange continuation of its services all over the country. "Post partners" are shops that do some of the postal service’s work."

The Morpeth Herald has reported that "Northumbrland can save on their mail bills from today with the launch of the region's first independent postal service. Northern Mail, based at Cramlington, has launched a service delivering and collecting post from Berwick-upon-Tweed to York. It comes off the back of a Governmental review of postal services last December, which recommended that independent mail outlets should be launched to work alongside Royal Mail." See also the Journal Newspaper.

NewsRoom Finland has reported that "The Finnish Post and Logistics Workers´ Union (Pau) is to stage a six-hour stoppage on Wednesday, leading to delays in postal services for the rest of the week. The union maintains that there is ambivalence about whether permanent unemployment pension could be treated as a legitimate outcome in cooperation procedure talks in government-owned companies like Itella, formerly known as Finland Post." See also YLE.

The Baltic Course has reported that "As of today, April 22, the chairman of the board of Latvijas Pasts (Latvia Post) postal company Ivars Krauklis resigns, as the Transport Ministry informed BC. Krauklis explained his decision to resign with the fact that, from May 1, there will be changes to regulations, which foresee substantial salary reductions – in his case, by 60%."

NVDaily has reported that "Rep. Frank R. Wolf has once again joined the fight to keep local mail-sorting operations from being moved to Dulles." [EdNote: Makes you wonder if Congress is prepared to take back responsibility for the Postal Service as they foreclose all options for improving cost-efficiency.]

The Drum has reported that "A new campaign has been created by advertising agency Mightysmall for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) as it looks to prevent the Post Office from being privatised. The marketing campaign will see full page ads running in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Daily Record, The Daily Mirror and The Scotsman newspapers."

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

"The stabilisation of the rate of decline indicates that we have reached rockbottom." While Deutsche Post’s official message to this Tuesday’s AGM was relatively cautious, CEO Frank Appel sounded a much more upbeat note: "We’ve touched bottom." After this year’s first two months had seen a marked slump in business, the downward trend had now been halted.
After apparently intense negotiations Austria’s Minister for Infrastructure Doris Bures presented the draft for a new Postal Act on Monday. The new legislation is due to come into force this summer, stipulating rules and regulations for a postal market that is to be liberalised from 2011.
Dutch TNT also suffered a clear drop in consignment volumes during the first quarter of the current financial year.
La Poste’s change of corporate form to plc planned for this autumn is evidently being postponed.
Shrinking mail volumes and declining income figures seem to be forcing Posten Norge to axe more jobs.
Michel Kunz, new CEO of Switzerland’s Schweizerische Post, is expecting a slump in profit of almost 30% this year.
In connection with a profitability review of the smallest post offices in Switzerland, the postal management appears to have given in to the public pressure created by the trade unions.
SkyPostal Networks Inc., which claims to be the biggest private provider of postal services in South America, suffered considerable losses despite higher turnover last year.
Chronopost, the international express service of France’s La Poste, ended the financial year 2008 with excellent results.
The turn-around plans of French express and logistics operator Mory Group appear to be making good progress.
Taobao, Asia’s biggest online auction site with almost 40 million registered users, has become one of the most important suppliers of orders for Chinese express services.
British CEP operator City Link remains in the red.
TNT has officially opened a new regional hub at the Singapore airport.
Following the announcement that 390 jobs at Finland’s post Itella would be axed, the postal union has signalised protests.
Top managers of the Latvian post have announced their intention to resign, should the government carry out its threat to cut postal workers’ salaries.
Dutch transport associations Transport & Logistik Nederland (TLN) and Koninklijk Nederlands Vervoer (KNV) have decided to cooperate closely in future.
The Universal Postal Union wants to lend its support to the development of direct mail programmes for post companies in Third World countries. According to UPU, direct mail is currently on offer in only two thirds of its member countries. Global volumes attain around 170 billion items per year and represent more than a third of all domestic mail, says UPU.
Just like its arch rival TNT, DHL seems to pick up business growth in the streets in South East Asia.
TNT Express Russia has announced a 26% increase in turnover for 2008.
German telecommunications company Telekom is claiming damages from its former supervisory board president Klaus Zumwinkel.

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.)

Hellmail has reported that:

2009 is becoming a nightmare year for many European postal operators and most, already contending with annual mail volume shrinkage are now trying to weather a global recession. Liberalisation is still running at full speed ahead despite what has ultimately been consistent decline for many operators. The problem is, trying to liberalise a market in the midst of a global recession is like trying to change a lightbulb, blindfold, with boxing gloves on. The timetable is there, but there is far less scope for operators to consider risky ventures now, particularly when the decline in stamped mail still hasn't bottomed out yet." [EdNote: There are certain things you should never try to do in the midst of a recession. Postal liberalization is one of them.]
DX Group (DX) today announced they have agreed a deal to access the Post Office network to provide a local collection facility for undeliverable mail.  

Postal Technology International has reported that:

An organisational restructure of the Jersey Post Group came into effect earlier this month to streamline Jersey’s national postal operator into two autonomous trading businesses. The restructuring of Jersey Post, as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of becoming independent from the UK’s General Post Office, marks yet another chapter in the development of the group.
Finnish postal operator, Itella Group will begin statutory labour negotiations this week in Finland. The negotiations will affect both administrative and production functions and will concern around 2,200 people. According to an initial estimate, approximately 390 permanent employees’ current jobs will be made redundant.

According to Flightglobal, "Stalled talks and the likely dissolution of an agreement with DHL is forcing UPS to look at shedding its 44 DC-8s before the original 2013 exit date."

USPS Lite Blue has reported that "The Postal Service’s efforts to reduce its inventory of leased and postal-owned vehicles this year is the subject of DPMG and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe’s latest edition of Field Updates. According to Donahoe, the year-end goal is to remove 10,000 vehicles from the existing fleet of 220,000 vehicles. This will involve transferring some 3,000 right-hand drive vehicles to rural routes, redistributing under-utilized vehicles to where they are needed, and selling surplus vehicles. Area and district offices also will re-evaluate their needs for administrative vehicles and share resources."

The American Postal Workers Union has informed its members that "a new PowerPoint slide show about H.R. 22, a bill of critical importance to anyone concerned about the Postal Service, is now available to local, state, and national officers for use at union meetings. The slide show explains the significance of H.R. 22 in staving off a financial collapse of the USPS. “We hope union activists will use the slide show to inform rank-and-file members about the legislation,” said APWU President William Burrus. “This bill is essential to the viability of the Postal Service — and to our jobs.”

Federal Register: "The current mail cover regulations provide definitions for sealed and unsealed mail. Certain words used (e.g. second-class, third-class, and fourth-class mail) no longer reflect current classifications. The definitions of sealed and unsealed mail are revised to mirror mail classification definitions found in the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual, and in the International Mail Manual.

  • "Sealed mail is mail which under postal laws and regulations is included within a class of mail maintained by the Postal Service for the transmission of letters sealed against inspection. Sealed mail includes: First- Class Mail; Priority Mail; Express Mail; Express Mail International; Global Express Guaranteed items containing only documents; Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes; International Priority Airmail, except M-bags; International Surface Air Lift, except M-bags; First-Class Mail International; Global Bulk Economy, except M-bags; certain Global Direct mail as specified by customer contract; and International Transit Mail.
  • "Unsealed mail is mail which under postal laws or regulations is not included within a class of mail maintained by the Postal Service for thetransmission of letters sealed against inspection. Unsealed mail includes: Periodicals; Standard Mail; Package Services; incidental First-Class Mail attachments and enclosures; Global Express Guaranteed items containing nondocuments; Priority Mail International, except flat-rate envelopes and small flatrate boxes; International Direct Sacks—M-bags; certain Global Direct mail as specified by customer contract; and all items sent via “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” under 39 U.S.C. 3403-06 and International Mail Manual 270."

A revised agenda for the next meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has been posted on this site.

PR Newswire: "TALX, provider of Equifax Workforce Solutions and a leader in human resource and payroll-related services, today announced the highlights of its involvement at the Annual HRO World Conference & Exposition. The conference, which this year will have a special focus on "Developing Effective HR Leadership for Tough Times," takes place at the Hilton New York in New York City, May 5-6. Co-presenting will be Tony Vegliante, CHRO and EVP, United States Postal Service. USPS has a unique story to tell regarding successful shared services and selective outsourcing."

Postal Regulatory Commission:

April 21, 2009

The New York Times Company has reported a first-quarter loss of $74.5 million on Tuesday, compared with a loss of $335,000 in the period a year ago, as it joined the roster of newspaper companies recording the steepest advertising declines in generations.

According to Yahoo! News, "More than a half-a-dozen newspapers in the United States and Europe have gone "Web only" in the past year in a bid to stave off bankruptcy. But the first cold-eyed analysis of this approach is not encouraging. The central reasons the experiment has failed -- at least so far -- are probably the same ones bedeviling newspapers the world over, according to the researchers in London. "Readers are reluctant to pay for content online, and... the value of advertising space on the web is significantly less than in print," their study said. Philip Meyer, author of "The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age," has forecast with unnerving precision that paper-and-ink news will "run out of daily readers late in the first quarter of 2043." For Web journalism guru Vin Crosbie, their demise will happen before 2021. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger thinks that news print could peter out by 2012. "

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has won a United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision today that said FedEx Ground independent contractors are independent business owners – not employees -- and are outside the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This decision validates the company’s long-standing position that FedEx Ground contractors are small business owners. The US Court of Appeals decision was made on a FedEx Ground-filed petition for review following a September 28, 2007 NLRB decision granting the International Brotherhood of Teamsters the ability to conduct a membership election among single work area contractors in FedEx Ground’s Home Delivery terminals in Boston and Wilmington, MA. In the September 2007 decision, the NLRB claimed that the Home Delivery single work area contractors were employees. The US Court of Appeals agreed with FedEx Ground’s contention that the NLRB Regional Office wrongly excluded material evidence and misapplied settled law on the most important factor that defines the statutory “independent contractor” exemption from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Reuters has reported that "The European Commission on Tuesday conditionally approved the planned merger of Swedish state-controlled postal services firm Posten with Danish counterpart Post Danmark."

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As 7thSpace has noted, "Building on its history of environmental innovation, the Postal Service is working to create a culture of conservation among its 646,000 employees in its 34,000 facilities and among its suppliers and partners in the mailing industry. The Postal Service is recognized as an environmental innovator and leader, and has been honored with more than 70 major environmental awards, including the 2009 Climate Action Champion award and 39 White House Closing the Circle awards for environmental stewardship."

Federal Express Canada Ltd. (“FedEx Express Canada”), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., will celebrate Earth Day by working with PITCH-IN CANADA and Tree Canada to support programs that will give back to communities across the country and reduce the effects of global warming. These programs complement FedEx Corp.’s global initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve fuel efficiencies of its vehicles and aircraft.

CNET News has reported that "A new Web-based rental service called BookSwim describes itself as Netflix for books. The pricing doesn't seem to be quite as good a deal as Netflix; the fees are slightly higher and the average price of books is somewhat lower than for movies. But it's in the ballpark. For example, BookSwim offers a subscription with three books out at a time for $19.98 per month. BookSwim covers shipping both ways via U.S. Postal Service media mail, though books over two pounds do carry an extra fee based on the actual difference in postage. This is not too far away from the three-DVD subscription from Netflix for $16.99 per month, also with free shipping. BookSwim is aimed at high-volume readers; its plans go up to 11 books at a time for $39.94 per month."

Press Release: "Following the phenomenal success of Global Distribution Strategies – Europe in 2008, plans are well underway for 2nd Global Distribution Strategies – Europe, which is to be held at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Brussels, 6 - 7 October 2009. Sponsored by Agility and EVE Partners, the conference will explore the latest trends and developments occurring in the transport and logistics industry as the market evolves in a rapidly changing economic environment. For more information on sponsorship, exhibition and delegate opportunities please contact Sarah Smith, ssmith@transportintelligence.com, 44 (0) 1666 511872 or visit http://www.ticonferences.com/gds_europe/strategic-overview/.

According to The Guardian, "There is something deeply unsatisfying in sitting down to write a commentary about why newspapers can't charge for online content. It's not that what I have to say is unoriginal, though it is. The internet, after all, is awash in arguments as to why the disintegrating newspaper business must stop giving away its content and, conversely, why it can't. More than that, though, I fear that in pointing out the obvious, I'm only convincing myself there's no future for the metropolitan newspaper as we've come to know it, either in print or online. Probably the best we can hope for is to help newspapers shrink slowly into a new role as specialty news sources. It is probably too late to save newspapers. Our efforts would be better spent figuring out how to save journalism." [EdNote: Makes you wonder how far away we are from saying similarly: "It's probably too late to save the Postal Service. Our efforts would be better spent figuring out how to save universal mail service.]

Bloomberg has reported that "Former Deutsche Post AG Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel gave back his Federal Cross of Merit three months after the head of Europe’s biggest postal service was convicted in a tax-evasion scandal, Bild Zeitung said. Zumwinkel returned the Federal Cross of Merit, which was awarded to him in 2001, to Germany’s Office of the Federal President, the newspaper said in a preview of an article to be published today, without saying where it got the information."

AMEInfo has reported that "The launch of Arab Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) marked the opening day's session of the three-day Arab Direct Mail and Marketing Forum '09, which was opened by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal. The forum has the support of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Amr Al-Dabbagh and Saudi Post as well in launching ADMA as a way to develop and grow direct marketing across the global Pan-Arab community."

The Financial Times has reported that "Lord Mandelson was urged to delay his plans for a part-privatisation of the Royal Mail after a Labour group claimed that it would be an error to sell the stake at the bottom of the market. Compass, which is backed by scores of Labour MPs, said the sale of 49 per cent of the state-owned postal operator would raise £1bn - barely half the £1.9bn it could have fetched a year ago."

From Business Wire: "SkyPostal Networks, Inc., the largest private postal network in Latin America, today announced that it has entered into a co-marketing agreement for its PuntoMio online U.S. shopping facilitator service (www.puntomio.com) with TAM Fidelidade, the Frequent Flyer Program of TAM Airlines, the largest airline in Brazil. TAM currently services almost 50% of the air travel market in Brazil. Through SkyPostal’s PuntoMio service, subscribers are provided a physical U.S. address in Miami, which serves as their shipping address when making Internet purchases from U.S. stores. Merchandise is delivered to the assigned U.S. address at which point PuntoMio becomes responsible for international transport and associated logistics, including customs clearance and final delivery to the customer. PuntoMio also assists the shopper by providing product price and merchant rating comparisons though web integration with PriceGrabber. Customers are steered to secure sites that accept international credit cards through their Verified by PuntoMio program and provided with a cost estimator which enables the buyer to determine the total purchase cost including transportation, customs duties, taxes and delivery. PuntoMio also provides complete online tracking as the parcel moves from PuntoMio to its final delivery destination, and free international merchandise return shipping to Miami, plus returns handling back to merchant."

Dow Jones has reported that "Postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post AG Tuesday said first-quarter net profit soared on a higher valuation of put options on Deutsche Postbank AG shares and signaled volume declines had stabilized. The former state monopoly said volume continued to shrink for all products and across all divisions in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2008, but the rate of contraction had stabilized, "suggesting that overall flows are bottoming out."

MediaPost has reported that "Publishers Clearing House has formally launched an online ad network made up of six Web properties anchored by its flagship PHC.com site. The PCH Online Network -- which includes PCHGames.com, PCHQuiz4Cash.com, PCHLotto.com, PCHTV.com and PCHtrvia.com -- reaches more than 5 million monthly unique visitors and draws 90 million page views, according to the magazine and sweepstakes brand. Publishers Clearing House has also unveiled a new business-to-business site at pchonlinenetwork.com that provides details about ad opportunities on the network."

Hellmail has reported that "The Communication Workers Union has accused the UK government of getting it's sums wrong over the partial privatisation of Royal Mail and that 30% of the state-owned postal service would cost the treasury £900m. The comment by CWU general secretary Billy Hayes, follows research by Compass which warns that the sale of Royal Mail could raise only a £1m, almost half of what it might have done a year ago. This is partly due to the recession, partly due to stifled lending, and more significantly, a shrinkage of stamped mail volume."

As Deadtree Edition put it: "While countless words are published about the environment in honor of Earth Day this week, it's time for the publishing industry to confront its involvement in an egregious, and rather bizarre, form of greenwashing. I'm talking about touting Web content and digital editions as being environmentally friendly and disparaging ink-on-paper editions, which are still the major source of revenue for most traditional publishers. For example, one magazine's Web site recently admonished readers to reduce their carbon footprint by signing up for a digital edition -- right next to an article about the huge amounts of electricity that Web servers gobble up. But the worst offenders are the vendors of digital-publication software, such as Nxtbook, Texterity, and Zinio."

China Daily has reported that "A proposed legal amendment that would ban foreign couriers from delivering letters in China conforms to the country's commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), legislators said yesterday. An article in the amendment to the Postal Law, which is under second review at the top legislature, bans foreign companies from providing letter delivery services in China. The rule has raised public concerns and complaints from some international express delivery giants that it might breach China's WTO commitments and threaten the businesses and investments of foreign companies."

The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) has told its members that "At December 31, 2008, the Canada Post pension plan (the Plan) held total net assets of $11,709 million, a decrease of $2,957 million from prior year. The Plan earned a rate of return of negative 19.3 per cent over the year against a benchmark return of negative 17.6 per cent. This was the first time since the Plan’s inception eight years ago that the rate of return underperformed its benchmark. The Plan began 2008 with a solvency surplus, partially mitigating the impact of the financial market decline, and ended 2008 with an estimated solvency deficit of $1,190 million." Learn more:
http://canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/pr/2009/2009_apr_pension.jsf

The Telegraph has reported that "Postal department officials are undergoing a four-day training, “Management training programme on rural business opportunity and emerging challenges”, to tap the market potential in rural areas and to overcome the challenges there."

The Chief-Leader has reported that "The New York Metro Area Postal Union staged a day of protest April 15 urging the U.S. Postal Service to rescind the closing of three Manhattan post offices and the termination of overnight service at the James A. Farley Main Post Office in midtown."

Brandweek has reported that "CMOs see digital as the medium of choice in this economy, but aren’t getting what they want out of it, according to a new survey from Heidrick & Struggles. Time after time in the survey, marketers expressed an awareness of digital’s potential along with a recognition that they weren’t close to tapping it."

The Independent has reported that "Gordon Brown faces growing pressure from mutinous Labour backbenchers to ditch or delay moves to partly privatise Royal Mail. Party whips have warned the Prime Minister, who is already dealing with the "smeargate" scandal, that the plans have stretched the loyalty of his MPs to breaking point."

Docket No. MT2009-1. The Postal Regulatory Commission's Public Representative has recommended "the approval of this collaborative logistics market test because it satisfies the statutory requirements4, but also because the product offering being evaluated will serve several key public interests. Those interests include: providing additional revenue to the Postal Service to aid in maintaining its Universal Service Obligations; providing increased economic efficiency benefits; providing environmental benefits; and providing additional shipping options to customers. However, the Public Representative herein urges the Commission to pay particular attention to several areas warranting caution: possibility of disproportionate harm from market tests in a limited geographic area; provision of adequate information to the public and the Commission; potential for legal challenges; challenges in costing and cost attribution; and administrative complexities that may pose deployment risks."

The Boston Globe has reported that "Senator John F. Kerry will hold hearings in Washington next week on the financial problems facing the newspaper industry, as dwindling advertising dollars push many US papers to the brink of closure. The hearings by the Senate Commerce Committee, beginning April 30, are the latest effort in the nation's capital to help out newspapers. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, introduced a bill last month that would enable newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits. "America's newspapers are struggling to survive and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," Kerry wrote in a letter sent to union leaders Friday. The union released the letter yesterday."[EdNote: Hey Congress! What about the Postal Service?....Yeah, I know....Postal Service? What's the Postal Service?]

   


2009 Postal Prices

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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)
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* The many documents that serve as backup  (SLS Study) 
* How To Deal With "Do Not Mail" Mania (PostCom) 
* What You Need to Know About
Mail, the Economy, and Society
(PostCom) 
* U.S. Constitution, Article 1
Section 8:
"The  Congress 
[not the States] shall have power...To establish post offices and post roads."


 
This Day in Postal History

Things You Should Know

Postal Facts
Contacting the President of the U.S.
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