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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."


1421 Prince St., Ste 410 * Alexandria, VA 22314-2806 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 997 2414
What's New in the Postal World
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Nashville Postal Forum
April 11-14, 2010

The National Postal Forum workshop schedule is now available online! This is the premier mailing industry event. Do not miss this opportunity! Start planning your 2010 National Postal Forum experience. And REGISTER! Early bird registration ends February 12th.
View The 2010 Nashville Session Matrix
Register Now for the 2010 National Postal Forum

February 18, 2010

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Postal Regulatory Commission held its public forum on the Postal Service's Annual Compliance Review (ACR) yesterday. The tenor of the discussion suggests that the Commission facing the challenge in this proceeding of walking the fine line between the law and disaster."

 At MTAC today, Tom Foti, USPS Marketing Manager described the 2010 Summer Sale.  The sale will cover a 5-month period with the sale period starting July 1 thru Sept 30. June and October will be control months.  A 30 percent rebate on incremental volume will be offered above a baseline.  The sale is for Standard Mail letters and flats only.  The customer’s baseline will equal Same Period Last Year (SPLY) numbers plus 5 percent. A downward adjustment will occur if June and October volume is below baseline. To be eligible, a customer has mailed over 360K Standard Mail pieces from July 1 thru Sept 30 2009. According to Foti, there are approximately 3,525 customers eligible or 67 percent of Standard Mail volume.  Mail Service Providers are not eligible to participate.

USPS Timeline:

  • File notice with PRC (late Feb)

  • Invitation to participate mailed (early Mar)
  • Customers register online and certify agreement with threshold volume on-line for program participation (Mar-May)
  • PRC decision (mid-April)
  • Sale period (July through Sept)
  • Rebates to customer accts (Dec - Jan 2011)

To learn more about the USPS future pricing incentives, check out this week’s bulletin.

Gas2.org has reported that "snail mail is getting a big push from Congress to go electric and I’m not talking about e-mail. The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to electrify its fleet and Zap motors might just to do the trick. This week, the California-based company announced they are engineering an all-electric truck prototype for the mail delivery service. Full details are still unclear but U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey will tour the Zap EV facility next week “to learn more about how this federal program is creating local jobs.”"

DC Velocity has reported that "Teamsters Union President James R. Hoffa yesterday called on Congress to force FedEx Corp.'s air express workers to operate under the same labor law that governs its arch-rival UPS Inc., and vowed to "organize 100,000 workers at FedEx" once that happens. Speaking at a conference of the union's brewery division in Washington, Hoffa said, "There is one law for FedEx and another law for UPS. We need to level the playing field and when we do that, we're going to organize 100,000 workers at FedEx." Currently, workers at FedEx Express's air express unit are governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), a 1926 law that covers workers in the airline and railroad industries. All FedEx Express employees are covered under the RLA whether they're air-based workers like pilots, or workers who aren't directly involved in aircraft operations and maintenance, such as loaders and delivery drivers. By contrast, UPS workers, which are heavily represented by the Teamsters, are covered under a different statute known as the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which governs workers in the trucking and other industries. UPS has long argued that FedEx Express is the only company in U.S. transportation whose drivers, sorters, and loaders are covered by a labor law designed for airline workers instead of ground-service employees."

Logistics Online has reported that "RedPrairie Corporation, a productivity software provider, has announced Guangxi China Post Logistics has selected RedPrairie's Warehouse Management solution to direct operations in its 8,000 square meter distribution center in Guangxi. Guangxi China Post hopes to use RedPrairie's solution to improve its DC's efficiency and inventory accuracy."

The Nashville Tennessean has reported that "A small, rural-area post office may seem like an unnecessary cost to the U.S. Postal Service, but the folks in Milton want to keep the 185-year-old service going. "If they take this post office out of Milton, that takes some of the community identity away," said Harris Hooper, a life-long resident of a community in the far northeast corner of Rutherford County."

As the Columbus Dispatch has noted, "While rain or snow or gloom of night won't keep postal carriers from their appointed rounds, missing or buried mailboxes will."

New Canaan News has reported that "East End residents are convinced the fate of their Noble Station Post Office is already signed, sealed and delivered and say the decision is based on socio-economic factors, both of which U.S. Postal Service officials denied at a public hearing Thursday."

Hispanic Business has reported that "Getting in your car and scanning the shelves to find a movie just released on DVD? That's so 20th Century. Americans' preferences when it comes to movie rentals have shifted to the Postal Service (Netflix), $1 vending machines (Redbox), online (iTunes) and cable (OnDemand) in recent years. The result? Big box retailers like Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery are suffering. "

According to Post & Parcel, "UK regulator Postcomm has issued a preliminary ‘minded to’ finding on its investigation into the alleged manipulation of quality of service performance monitoring by some staff at Royal Mail. Locations under scrutiny include the west of Scotland, Glasgow, and also Belfast." See also Hellmail.

The Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service could become insolvent if Congress doesn't approve five-day mail delivery and change the way the agency funds its retiree health benefits, according to the agency's top financial official. "We will need [some assistance from Congress] or we will have difficulty paying all of our obligations this year," said Joe Corbett, the Postal Service's chief financial officer. "And going into next year, we might not have enough cash to operate. ... We are dangerously close to running out of cash." See also Bloomberg.

The Washington Business Journal has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service said mail delivery in the D.C. area was 90 percent back to normal after this month's back-to-back snowstorms, according to The Washington Post. FedEx also had problems during the storms, because of unplowed secondary roads, but the company worked to make up for it over the weekend. And UPS assigned supervisors to assist its 1,900 drivers in the Washington region so it could work on every day but one last week."

The Bangor Daily News has reported that "U.S. Postal Service officials plan to look closer at concerns raised by members of the city planning board, which on Tuesday denied a site plan for improvements to a downtown building that the Postal Service wants to use as a post office."

Deadtree Edition has told its readers that "A prominent environmental commentator is accusing the USPS of greenwashing for including the claim "made from 100% recycled pixels" on its USPS.com/green web site....Methinks the reference to "recycled pixels" is supposed to be a joke, perhaps the Postal Service's way of pointing out that most mailed items (e.g. letters, catalogs, magazines) are more recyclable than their electronic counterparts." [EdNote: So much for humor in the environmental community. Sheesh!]

Media Daily News has reported that:

  • Digitally delivered coupons are growing fast while printed newspaper inserts are increasingly threatened, according to separate surveys by Coupons.com and the Newspaper Association of America. The findings of the two surveys suggest that newspaper coupon inserts could be in danger of experiencing the same long-term decline that has afflicted print classifieds.
  • Flat is the new fantastic in the world of traditional media, and monthly magazines have reached an even stretch after two years of straight declines, according to Media Industry Newsletter, covering forthcoming March issues. Total ad pages for monthly magazines are basically flat in March 2010 compared to March 2009, MIN says, totaling 10,857.

According to the Washington Post,  "a significant part of the U.S. Postal Service's financial problems stems from a sharp decline in the number of pieces of mail it has delivered annually since 2007. The number of delivery points has steadily increased since 2000, but the number of USPS employees has steadily decreased during that period."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Product ,
7201–7204 [2010–3034] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
7296–7297 [2010–3061] [TEXT]  [PDF]

February 17, 2010

According to the Federal Times, “The U.S. Postal Service could become insolvent if Congress doesn't approve five-day mail delivery and change the way the agency funds its retiree health benefits, according to the agency's top financial official. "We will need [some assistance from Congress] or we will have difficulty paying all of our obligations this year," said Joe Corbett, the Postal Service's chief financial officer. "And going into next year, we might not have enough cash to operate. ... We are dangerously close to running out of cash."

The Postal Service posted a $297 million loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, which ended Dec. 31, 2009. Mail volume for that period fell by 8.9 percent. But that was an improvement over the previous quarter, when volume fell by 12.4 percent; and over the first quarter of 2009, when volume dropped 9.3 percent. But the bigger financial picture for the Postal Service remains grim: mail volume has dropped from a peak of 212 billion pieces in 2006 to just 167 billion pieces today. And Corbett said the agency, which has faced multibillion-dollar deficits in the last few years, is running out of ways to cut costs."

DMM Advisory: PVDS WEBINAR — LEARN ABOUT BULK MAIL AND DROP-SHIP ACCEPTANCE FOR 2010. The Postal Service continues to look at all areas of its business with an eye to becoming more efficient and cost effective. At the same time, our commitment to customer service remains a top priority. With this in mind, over the past few weeks the Postal Service has invited customers to attend Plant Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) webinars that touch on key steps in accepting drop-ship mailings. If you have not yet attended a PVDS webinar, we are offering the chance to take part in one this Friday, February 19, beginning at 12:30 p.m. (EST). Join Steve Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations; Vincent DeVito, vice president, Controller; and Pritha Mehra, vice president, Business Mail Entry and Payment Technologies, for a discussion on drop-ship mailing processes followed by a question and answer session.

Here’s how to attend the 90-minute webinar:

Audio only: Dial 1-877-512-0764, meeting ID: 2979650 .

Web conference with audio:

  • Go to http://meetingplace5.usps.gov/join.asp?2979650.
  • After the MeetingPlace window opens, click the phone icon (under the participant list or in the upper right-hand corner).
  • Click connect me and validate your phone number, or update your phone number and click connect me again.
  • When the MeetingPlace system calls you on your phone, press #1 to join the webinar.

Contact Pete Allen, manager, Business Customer Relations, at 202-268-2165 or e-mail william.a.allenjr@usps.gov if you have any questions.

DMM Advisory:  Eligibility for Commercial Flats Failing Deflection. Today we posted an advance copy of our Federal Register final rule, Eligibility for Commercial Flats Failing Deflection, on the Postal Explorer® website at pe.usps.com. Click on Federal Register Notices in the left frame. The final rule, effective June 7, 2010, provides background, summary of the comments received on our prior proposal, our response to the comments, a summary of the changes, and revisions to the applicable prices for pieces that do not meet the deflection standards.

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

Despite the economic crisis and declining revenues Belgian La Poste could increase its earnings last year.
The upper house of the German parliament spoke out against a general VAT liability for postal services last Friday. Instead the Federal Assembly recommended to verify in the context on the legislative procedure whether all prices under general terms and conditions are to be exempted from VAT
A 7% drop in addressed letter volume caused a decline of turnover and earnings in 2009 for Itella.
Georg Pölzl, CEO of Austrian Post, will present his mid term strategy 2013 to the advisory board this Wednesday. With reference to internal papers the daily »Die Presse« (12.02) reported, Pölzl plans to keep only 300 own operated postal offices in the future. The remainig 1,000 post offices will be closed and replaced by so called Post- Partners.
Unipost (revenue 2008: 107m euros), Spain’s largest private postal service provider is suffering from the effects of the economic crisis.
Blue Dart, India’s number one express company, faced declining volumes in 2009 due to the weak economy.
Swiss Post is currently testing walk sequence sorting.
Korea Post is going for the sorting technology of Vanderlande Industries.
Swiss Post is launching the first standardized product for secure electronic proof of identity in May on.
In response to changing customer demands and declining volume Singapore Post announced to cease mail delivery on Saturdays.

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.)

According to BCLocalNews.com, "Canada Post is not being sold to the private sector just yet, but the Crown corporation is in the midst of selling the public on its view of today and its vision for the future. This vision includes some privatization and more post office closures."

CBS42.com has noted that "Like many US companies, the United States Postal Service, which receives no tax revenue, is also struggling. It wants to eliminate Saturday deliveries to save $3.5 billion dollars a year. The USPS says the demand to stamp and mail has fallen dramatically. It has lost more than 20% of mail that flows through the system, mainly due to advancements in online business. After slashing $6 billion last year, the USPS says there's no where else to cut. "You know what, we don't want to do this, but we've gotten to a point where we have to do something," says USPS spokesman Joseph Breckenridge. To be clear, the proposal does not include closing post offices on Saturdays, but rather cutting the nearly 300,000 routes across the country on Saturdays: an idea that's not resonated well with Congress in the past."

Reuters has reported that "Russian state bank VEB is seeking a strategic partner to buy up to 50 percent in a planned federal postal bank, a potential rival to Sberbank (SBER03.MM), Russia's leading lender."

MSN Money has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc.’s freight division said Tuesday it has expanded the scope of its two-day delivery network to link Montreal and Toronto to American cities as far south as Atlanta and St. Louis. UPS Freight added two-day service between the cities on a northbound basis last year. UPS Freight said its on-time guarantee applies to the new faster service times on less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments."

The Gaston Gazette has reported that "Mount Holly police arrested a Stanley woman Tuesday for allegedly embezzling almost $14,000 from two post offices in eastern Gaston County. Gwendolyn Shuford Etchison, 50, of the 700 block of Joseph Antoon Circle, was charged with two counts of embezzlement."

Deadtree Edition shared with its readers that "despite postal discounts, mailers should not implement full-service Intelligent Mail barcodes, a leading postal consultant says in a paper issued today. Costs of participating outweigh the minimal benefits, and the U.S. Postal Service’s processes and systems are not equipped for Intelligent Mail, Mary Ann Bennett says in “Ten Reasons Why Mailers Should Delay Implementing the Full Service Intelligent Mail barcode”. Bennett is founder of the Mailing Training Institute, President/CEO of The Bennett Group Inc., and a frequent speaker and writer on mailing issues."

St. Louis Today has reported that "SG Print & Mail, a company in Park Hills, Mo., bilked the U.S. Postal Service out of roughly $2.9 million, according to testimony in a plea hearing Tuesday in federal court."

Consumer Focus has published a paper on "Consumer engagement in the post office closure programme" in the U.K.

February 16, 2010


From PRNewswire: "FedEx Workers Join the Teamsters Union!"

Postal commentator Gene Del Polito offers some thoughts on a future postal business model: "In Search of An Alternative to Winding Things Down."


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

Columbus Business First has reported that "Cost-cutting measures by the U.S. Postal Service are leading to 79 job losses at a contractor-operated supplier in Jeffersonville before July, according to a state filing. Falls Church, Va.-based Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE:CSC) in a filing with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the Mail Transport Equipment Service Center it operates in Jeffersonville will be closed at the end of a Postal Service contract that runs through June. The Postal Service recently told the company it’s cutting its network of service centers, which supply mailbags, carts and hampers to processing facilities, to 15 from 23. Computer Sciences said it will begin cutting the 79 jobs from the site in May and expects to finish the reductions by the contract’s end. Of those jobs, 73 employees are represented by the American Postal Workers Union."

DMM Advisory:  February DMM Update. Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Today we updated our mailing standards to capture the following changes: 

  • Priority Mail Commercial Plus Cubic Prices
    We revised 401.1.3, 401.2.2.1, 402.2.3, 423.3.1, 424.1.1, and 425.2.4 to clarify standards for Priority Mail commercial plus cubic prices that went into effect on January 4, 2010

  • Move Update Assessment Charges for Automation and Presort First-Class Mail and All Standard Mail Mailings
    We revised 233.3.5, 243.3.9, 333.3.5, 343.3.9, 433.3.5, and 443.3.9 to describe the changes and procedures for how Move Update assessment charges are handled.  

  • Treatment of Undeliverable Books and Sound Recordings
    We revised 507.1.9 to update the standards for the disposal or treatment of books and sound recordings that are undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) in their original packaging.  

  • Advertisements for Animals and Sharp Instruments for Use in Animal Fighting Ventures are Nonmailable
    We revised 601.9.3.1, 601.11.20, and 601.12.5.7 to align our standards with section 26 (7 U.S.C. 2156) of the Animal Welfare Act as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. 

  • Labeling List Changes. We revised Labeling List(s) L001, L002, L005, L007, L009, L011, L201, and L606 to reflect changes in mail processing operations.

The latest blog has been posted today 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/
 
  • Guest Blog: A Last Mile Strategy. Robert Cohen asks: Should the Postal Service pursue a last mile strategy? His guest blog concludes, “An explicit last mile strategy would simply be a continuation of the successful outsourcing strategy that began more than 30 years ago.”
 
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at:  www.uspsoig.gov.  You can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

Press Release: "With over 170 attendees already confirmed, including representatives from over 35 Posts and 34 countries worldwide, this year’s European Postal Services promises to be an invaluable opportunity for the postal industry to collectively share knowledge and build stronger relationships. Taking place on 22nd, 23rd & 24th March in Brussels; please click here for more programme details and to register your place."

The Associated Press has reported that "Roughly 40 percent of Americans do not have high-speed Internet access at home, according to new Commerce Department figures that underscore the challenges facing policymakers who are trying to bring affordable broadband connections to everyone. The Obama administration and Congress have identified universal broadband as a key to driving economic development, producing jobs and bringing educational opportunities and cutting-edge medicine to all corners of the country.

Mary Ann Bennett, President of the Bennett Group postal consulting firm, wants mailers to know that there "Ten Reasons Why Mailers Should Delay Implementing the Full Service Intelligent Mail® barcode."

As Multichannel Merchant has noted, "Multichannel marketers today tend to get caught up in the frenzy of the next greatest trend. What about Web 3.0? What's the hot social networking application? How do we make our e-mails more effective? Sexy online strategies are and should be a big part of direct marketing. But that doesn't mean you should ignore some of the old-school tactics, like direct mail. That's right, direct mail. Sure, it may be true that mail pieces are much more expensive than e-mails, thanks to rising postal and paper costs. And many marketers and consumers alike often perceive direct mail to be old-fashioned and downscale. But when used wisely and analyzed carefully, direct mail outperforms many tactics, particularly with prospects and certainly with many customer segments. Newer technologies may excite and preoccupy the marketing team, but direct mail works."

According to the Cleantechblog, "Mail is being delivered on a trial basis by three-wheel electric vehicles in Florida, California and Arizona....The Postal Service is testing a fourth generation fuel-cell Chevrolet Equinox. The crossover vehicle has an electric drive system, lithium batteries, and a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to keep delivering electrons for extended range....A second fuel-cell vehicle is being tested in Washington, DC. In New York City, the Postal Service has had 30 electric 2-ton vehicles on the street since 2001. They were recently joined in Long Island, NY, by two 2-ton hybrid electric vehicles. The USPS uses medium-duty hybrid electric vans from Eaton Corporation (ETN) and Azure Dynamics (AZD.TO)...Quantum (QTWW) announced on February 1 that it was selected by the US Postal Service (USPS) to produce an advanced electric postal delivery vehicle based on the widely used Long Life Vehicle (LLV) platform. Quantum is also making the hybrid-electric drive system for Fisker."

According to Politics.co.uk, "Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, today welcomed a report that condemned the recent closure of Post Offices across the country and branded the public consultation process as “a sham”. The report, commissioned for the watchdog “Consumer Focus”, found that Post Office failed to effectively engage consumers, failed to communicate the right information to those opposing the closures, and missed opportunities to obtain valuable local knowledge of how cutbacks would affect communities. The MP, who mounted a determined campaign to save local Post Offices, lobbying the Chief Executive of the Post Office and securing a debate in parliament on the subject of local closures, had previously criticised the consultation effort as “a cynical public relations exercise”.

The Washington Post has reported that "Mail volume in the United States has fallen off a cliff in recent years. It has dropped so sharply that U.S. Postal Service officials have pleaded with Congress to allow a cut in delivery days from six to five. It's been a hard sell. Politicians are reluctant. Although polling data show that the public is willing to accept five-day delivery, people who count on votes for their livelihood are not at all eager to cut back on a service so basic, so trusted and so needed as the U.S. mail. Count President Obama among that number."


This week in Postal Technology International:

The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has reported that "The Associated Press has reported that the IRS and many states are cracking down on on the widespread use of the contractor model for workers. By using the contractor model, the company saves the cost of payroll taxes, workers compensation expenses, and unemployment insurance levies. The interest in this issue is likely driven by declining tax revenue during the recession as well as pressure by labor unions and competitive businesses that use an employee model. The progress of this study will be followed closely by the courier, express and postal industry, as the industry is built upon a contract worker model. Nearly all local couriers and delivery drivers are contractors. FedEx Ground and FedEx Home both use contractors for local delivery. The USPS uses contractors for providing its most rural delivery service. Outside of the courier, express and postal industry, the contractor model is used extensively in construction and information technology."

February 15, 2010

The New Zealand Herald has reported that "The boss of listed courier company Freightways has hit out at New Zealand Post, accusing it of being "reckless" in its bid to alter Freightways' terms of access to the state-owned postal company's delivery network."

The Financial Times has noted that "Murray Martin, chairman and chief executive of Pitney Bowes, the US mail systems pioneer, has always had a passion for inventing things. In his early teens, he devised a telegraph service to communicate with friends in his rural Ontario hometown of Hawkesville. In another life, Mr Martin, 62, might now be running his own private business empire rather than a stalwart Fortune 500 company with revenues of $5.6bn (€4.1bn, £3.6bn), 2m customers worldwide and 33,500 employees. But his entrepreneurial drive has survived a 23-year career with the same US group because Pitney Bowes, he insists, is different." [EdNote: This is a really nice personal piece. You should read it.]

DM News has reported that "President Barack Obama's budget for fiscal year 2011 includes language that shows his administration supports requiring the US Postal Service to deliver mail six days per week. The budget's wording explicitly says "six-day delivery and rural delivery of mail continue at not less than 1983 level." However, Joseph Corbett, the Postal Service's CFO and EVP, says that his agency will soon reveal plans for five-day delivery to Congress and stakeholder groups. He said the wording of the budget is routine language included in every appropriations bill since 1983."

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Public Representative performed a service for postal stakeholders in their estimates of the required rate increases to return the Postal Service to break even by 2011 under various estimates of the Postal Service’s retiree obligations. These estimates represent the worst case scenarios for mailers as they assume that the return to break even could only come from increases in rates. Unfortunately for mailers, the Public Representatives estimates of rate increases are not enough to return the Postal Service to self sufficiency. Simply put, the break even goal for 2011, a goal that guided rate cases under the Postal Reorganization Act, is not sufficient to ensure a financially viable Postal Service....what would really happen to postage rates if the Public Representative used more realistic financial targets? Using the Office of Inspector General recommendations for financial relief, postage rates might need to rise at least 25% without more aggressive actions on restructuring the operating network or modernizing the retail model. Without relief, postage rates might need to rise by 40% or more. (Both of these estimates do not account for the impact of price increases on mail volume.) Not a pretty picture and one that no postal stakeholder believes would ensure a viable postal enterprise as vibrant as it is today."

February 14, 2010

Transport Intelligence has reported that "FedEx Trade Networks, the international ocean and air freight forwarder subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has opened six new freight forwarding offices across its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and its Latin America region as part of a global expansion plan. The company has opened 20 international freight forwarding locations in the past nine months, bringing the company's total to 22 new international locations since 2008."

AsiaNewsNetwork has reported that "The government of Japan is making final arrangements to abolish the 10 million yen limit on the amount of postal savings that can be held by each depositor, through a postal reform bill it will submit to the current Diet session. The government's plan is to lift the ceiling three years from now. As a provisional measure until it is removed, the government intends to raise the limit to 30 million yen, government sources said. If the state-financed Japan Post Bank is able to expand its business on the strength of people's trust in the government, it will most likely put pressure on private financial institutions and inevitably invite strong opposition from the private sector, industry watchers said."

The Sacramento Bee has reported that "Nearly 200 million Valentine's cards are expected to exchange hands today – the second biggest greeting card day after the December holiday season. Even though that's enough for almost every adult in the country to receive a card, it's a slowly diminishing convention. People who select a paper card from a merchant and deliver it to someone are shrinking in number and spending, according to every economic indicator."

Livingston Daily has reported that "The residents of 17 homes along Green Hills Drive in Hamburg Township are upset with the Pinckney post office for suspending their mail delivery through the winter months."

From PR-USA.Net: "IWCO Direct, a leading, U.S.-based privately held provider of direct marketing solutions has announced it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Transcontinental Direct's US operations, a high-volume direct mail organization with a network of facilities throughout the United States. Transcontinental Direct's parent company, Transcontinental, is the largest printer in Canada and Mexico and Canada's leading consumer magazine publisher. This acquisition positions IWCO Direct's platform as an unrivaled solution in the industry for the optimization, execution, and delivery of direct marketing campaigns. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed; the transaction is expected to close in the spring of 2010."

The International News has reported that "Pakistan Post will not be privatised but matter making it a corporation would be considered in view to improve working of one this maga organisations of the country, Minister for Postal Services Israrullah Zehri said here Saturday. ôWe cannot put the future of 47,000 employees of the postal service at stake by privatising it,ö he said in a panel interview with APP. Rather, he said the ministry would go for opting ways and means to improve the existing services besides adding new utilities. He said around 700 new post offices in different areas of the country to facilitate the far-flung areas customers with modern postal services have been established. He said his Ministry will sign an MoU with a private airline for quick and speedy delivery of post and pouch matching the International standards."

February 13, 2010

Bernama has reported that "Efforts are underway to ensure Pos Malaysia remain a major player in Malaysia's postal industry despite the fact that a growing number of people are now into electronic communication, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said. He said Malaysia was not spared of this phenomenon as more people became Internet-savvy." See also the Malayasian Insider.

The Auto Channel has reported that "The United States Postal Service has awarded Bay Area electric car pioneer ZAP an engineering prototype contract for the design and development of an electric mail truck. US Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is scheduled to tour ZAP's electric vehicle facility in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:30 AM PST to learn more about how this federal program is creating local jobs."

GovExec.com has reported that "The ailing U.S. Postal Service will experience a net loss in fiscal 2011 similar to that of 2010, according to agency estimates in President Obama's budget. Declining mail volumes have contributed to net losses for the agency every year since 2007. The Postal Service expects that trend to continue through 2011, when losses will total $7.8 billion. The fiscal 2011 budget, which acknowledges the Postal Service's financial concerns, commits the Obama administration to working with the agency, its employee unions, Congress and other stakeholders to keep mail operations viable. Discussions already are under way on several issues, said Gerald McKiernan, a USPS spokesman."

February 12, 2010

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Due to weather conditions in the Washington, D.C. area, the Public Forum has been rescheduled to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 17. The public is invited to attend the Forum at Commission Headquarters, 901 New York Ave., NW, Suite 200 to discuss the 2009 Annual Compliance Determination now being compiled by the Commission. The Forum also will be webcast live and transcribed for posting later on the CommissionÆs website, www.prc.gov

Press Release: More than 200,000 tons, and counting. ThatÆs how much paper, plastics and other waste the U.S. Postal Service recycled in 2009, representing a decrease in its greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 1.67 million barrels of oil. An integral part of that undertaking is the Post Office Box Lobby Recycling program which is expanding to include an additional 2,435 Post Offices, including those in a number of U.S. national parks. That brings the total number of participating sites to more than 8,064, an increase of 150 percent from 2005, when the Post Office Lobby recycling effort started. This program is based on the success of similar mail recycling programs in the northeastern part of the United States, which began more than 10 years ago. Postal customers are being encouraged to ôread, respond, recycleö their P.O. Box mail in Post Office lobbies as a convenient and environmentally responsible alternative to taking it home to discard.

According to the Consumer Postal Council, "A 2008 paper written by Egyptian government officials posited that the international postal sector has changed more in the last 20 years than it had in the preceding 150. Egypt's own postal sector is no exception. Those changes will no doubt accelerate as the country's leaders move toward standardizing postal regulation and liberalizing the postal market. Egyptian postal leaders are pegging their hopes for growth on "increasing overall levels of private-sector investment in the postal market through open and fair competition and progressive regulation." Officials would also like to make Egypt into a regional hub for logistics by marshaling the assets of the state-owned Egypt Post (EP), various government agencies, private postal operators, and other interests."

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

  • At its February 10 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Association for Postal Commerce elected new directors to its governing board, and approved key resolutions deemed important to the association and its membership.
  • The Postal Service released its unaudited first quarter financials for Fiscal Year 2010 which showed a volume decline in all market-dominant products, while shipping services saw a modest increase of 2.5 percent. The USPS saw operating revenue decline by $740 million or 3.9 percent from the same period last year. It is expecting an over $7 billion net loss for the fiscal year.
  • The USPSÆ PostalOne! system crashed last Friday, February 5, 2010, and was not back up and running until late Tuesday night, February 9, 2010, wreaking havoc on mailers, mail service providers and the Postal Service itself. The situation made clear to business mailers that the USPS needs to improve communications, put in place a real contingency plan, and work to improve its systems to prevent these types of occurrences û which are becoming all too common.
  • Business mailers and the Postal Service are working hard this week to recover from the PostalOne and FAST system crashes. Systems were restored earlier this week, but thatÆs just the start. Businesses and the USPS must now continue to expend additional resources to ensure that all jobs and postage that should have been processed during the outage period are entered into the systems.
  • The U.S. Postal ServiceÆs Office of Inspector General (IG) sponsored Professor John C. Panzar to examine the pricing incentives confronting the USPS under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "Last fall the Postal Service presented its approach to future business models in the paper: Assessment of United States Postal Service Future Business Models. The Postal Service's approach was presented by Vice President of Strategic Planning Linda Kingsley and General Counsel Many Anne Gibbons at the Rutgers Conference in DC held last fall in a talk entitled A New Business Model for the United States Postal Service. Given the political opposition to most of these changes, they appear to be pipe dreams. Given the new found concern about budget deficits, changes to the retiree health care payment schedule, no matter how warranted, would require offsetting budget cuts or additional sources of revenue for passage. Changes in service levels and operating and retail networks and introducing market-based pricing require hard information on the business plan that supports these changes. Removal of limitations on product diversification requires Congress to accept a government enterprise competing with the private sector."
  • According to Deadtree Edition, "mail volumes and the number of postal workers will shrink more slowly this year than in 2009, the U.S. Postal Service predicted today. The Postal Service is scheduled to reveal next week its proposal to deliver mail one less day per week. But that won't have much impact on the current fiscal year.
  • William Burrus, APWU President has spoken out once again against workshare discounts.
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer ôboth the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and American Postal Workers Union (APWU) report on their respective websites that President Obama supports six-day Delivery. Both postal unions use the following line from the 2011 budget that President Obama presented to Congress to support their argument that President Obama supports 6-day delivery. "That 6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level."
  • Bar codes ride again - on mobile phones. USPS BOG meeting cancelled. Weather-related USPS help desk problems. UPS targeted in class action suit. Pitney Bowes to close warehouse, lay of 59. PRC reschedules open forum due to weather. DMA names Allen interim president, CEO. Comments due Feb 25 on hard-copy postage statements processing changes.
  • Updates on postal matters published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • An update on business before the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • A review of recent reports released by the U.S. Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • From the Mailbag
  • Postal Previews

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According to the Financial Times, "Greece can avoid a bail-out if it demonstrates convincingly to the markets that the reforms in its stability programme will be implemented in a timely fashion. To speed up and enhance the content of the reforms in the stability plan, there needs to be a bold new privatisation programme to unleash the economy's potential. Much could be gained from further privatising an economy that is probably the last "Soviet style" economy in the developed world. To kill the Greek leviathan, one has to starve its gargantuan voracity for intervention in the economy. The Greek state not only runs hospitals, universities and churches but also casinos, lotteries, hotels, marinas, ski resorts, trade fairs, exposition centres, ports, airports, water, electricity and natural gas companies, oil refineries, postal services, transport, banks, and insurance companies."

WETM has reported that "By the end of this week, the transfer of automated mail handling services from Elmira to Rochester will be complete. On Saturday, the union president tells us the remaining four mail sorting machines will be taken from the Sullivan street facility and moved to Rochester. Along with those machines are 55 workers who are being asked to transfer to other postal facilities within 500 miles. They can also take an early retirement package."

According to ReporterNews, "Two additional mail sorting machines will soon expand the workload of the Abilene mail processing facility, but no positions will immediately be created by the move."

The Straits Times has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc, the world's largest package-delivery service, said on Wednesday it has been contacted by the European Commission, which is probing price fixing in the shipping business."

The Lanka Times has reported that "In a bid to ensure a speedy and a better service on registered national and international letters, the Sri Lanka Postal Department is planning to introduce a barcode number system shortly. This new system would ease correspondence and would prevent letters from going missing, Posts and Telecommunications acting Minister Nandana Gunathilake said yesterday. He said the Postal Department was confident that the system would be implemented by the middle of this year."

The Times of Zambia has reported that "President Banda has said water transportation should be improved because it is cheaper than using roads. Speaking in Samfya yesterday, during the re-launch of the refurbished Bangweulu Post Boat, President Banda said with abundant water resources in the country, especially in Luapula Province, it was important to develop water transport. Mr Banda said the Government recognised the importance of a reliable transport system for rural communities and praised the Ministry of Communications and Transport for helping Zambia Postal Services acquire new engines to service the post boat."

From OfficialWire:

The Washington Post has reported that "Republican groups are raising money under the guise of the U.S. Census Bureau, leaving the government's people-counters worried that a flurry of misleading letters could make some Americans less likely to respond to the real thing. "There are too many reports from too many places to ignore the fact that direct-mail fundraisers are deliberately attempting to confuse people," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y."

Reuters has reported that "Japanese Banking Minister Shizuka Kamei said on Friday that Japan Post, the huge government-owned postal and financial conglomerate, could buy more U.S. Treasuries as one way to reduce its current heavy focus on domestic government debt."

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the worldÆs largest express transportation company, today announced a series of service enhancements that will give customers in Friesland and Groningen improved access to the rest of the world. The new changes include next-business-day delivery service to the U.S. and Canada, benefiting local businesses operating internationally in the area. It will also help boost the regionÆs connectivity to key international business centres, thereby becoming an attractive commercial destination for companies looking to relocate, as well as strengthening the local economy.

On Hellmail today:

February 11, 2010

Business Week has reported that "President Barack Obama, when asked to name a chief executive he admires, chose one with an unusual pedigree: FedEx Corp.Æs Frederick Smith, who raised more than $100,000 for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain and was George W. BushÆs fraternity brother."

Understanding the controversy surrounding the Postal Service's obligations regarding CSRS and Retiree Health Funding can be tough. Here are two documents you might find worth reviewing:

MAILCOM 2010 UPDATE:

  • Ruth Goldway, Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, will speak about the future of mail on Thursday, May 13 at 9:15 am. Goldway is one of four keynote speakers plus over 160 seminars, 15 certificate programs and 100+ exhibits.
  • Gene Del Polito, President, Association for Postal Commerce. Morning keynote. Wednesday, May 12.
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will be the Wednesday, May 12 luncheon keynote.
  • Super Bowl Champion coach Mike Ditka will be the Thursday, May 13 luncheon speaker at MAILCOM 2010. MORE INFO: www.mailcom-conference.com or call 609-264-0120
  • SAVE THE DATE: MAILCOM 2010, May 11-14 Atlantic City Convention Center

The Age has reported that "Australia Post faces more industrial strife with the postal union accusing the company of ''dodging'' talks over an agreement. It comes as Australia Post fronts a Senate inquiry in Melbourne today into how it handles injured employees amid claims that company-paid doctors are sending workers back too early. Australia Post management and the union have been trying to reach an enterprise agreement for more than three years."

As TechRockies has noted, "Frederick, Colorado-based UQM Technologies, a developer of electric motors, said Wednesday that the firm has received an order from Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies, covering a propulsion system to be used in a electric vehicle for the U.S. Postal Service. UQM said the win is part of a one year, demonstration and validation program which will be conducted by the USPS in Washington, D.C., to evaluate an electric postal delivery vehicle. Financial impact of the win was not disclosed."

Dow Jones has noted that "FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. said they are experiencing some service disruptions due to weather, but both continue to operate in most areas. FedEx said the company's Memphis hub and flight operations experienced substantial disruptions Monday night due to inclement weather conditions. However, FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey said the company still has staff on the ground and is operating. "It's not extraordinary circumstances," he said. "We have plenty of experience in contingency planning." According to the company's Web site, FedEx has suspended its "money-back guarantee for U.S. packages and shipments inbound into the U.S. from international locations with a delivery commitment of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010," consistent with the provisions of the FedEx Service Guide."

Post & Parcel has reported that "The move by SingPost to end Saturday delivery comes in response to lifestyle changes, customersÆ changing mailing habits and declining mail volumes. The decision will be take effect from 15 May 2010. ôOver the years, public letter mail (i.e. stamped and franked mail) has been on the decline with the emergence of new communication tools such as email, SMS and other technological platforms. Today, each person posts on average of only six letters/cards per year. That and the fact that many companies and organisations are now operating on a 5-day week have led to significantly lower volumes on Saturdays,ö said a SingPost spokesman."

Express & Star has reported that "Postal union leaders today accused Wolverhampton MP Pat McFadden of putting his ministerial duties before his constituents by refusing to back a campaign to keep a Royal Mail delivery office open."

Post & Parcel has reported that "Despite an unfavorable economic climate in 2009, Croatian Post has ended the period with an operating profit. Croatian Post made an operating profit of HRK169m from its core business, according to the first results of the unconsolidated financial report."

The Washington Post is wishing Washingtonians a "Happy Wednesday! The Postal Service will once again suspend deliveries across the Washington region on Wednesday and will provide limited retail service at local post offices. The decision means no mail deliveries in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and northern and western portions of Virginia stretching south to Fredricksburg. The Postal Service also suspended mail service across the region on Saturday. Officials cannot recall making such suspensions occurring in more than 30 years."

According to Politico, "Labor groups are furious with the Democrats they helped put in office ù and are threatening to stay home this fall when Democratic incumbents will need their help fending off Republican challengers."

Well, according to the Napa Valley Register, there just may be a way  "to win the deficit war." And that way would be to "Reduce government....Without denigrating what these folks do...the government has both the U.S. Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission." It noted that "we need curbs now"

At its February 10 meeting, the Association for Postal Commerce elected the following persons to its Board of Directors: Kathleen Baker (Sprint Corporate Marketing); Maynard Benjamin (Envelope Manufacturers Association); Craig Cecere (Reader's Digest); Debbie Cooper (Worldcolor Logistics); Victor Forman (Window Book, Inc.); John Medeiros (DHL Global Mail); Ernie Rojas (Pitney Bowes); Mury Salls (DST Mailing Services); Bob Schimek (BCC Software); and Joe Carty (SAP Business Objects).

In addition, the board passed the following resolutions unanimously by voice vote:

Board Resolution 02.10.10-5 Resolved, PostCom should continue itÆs leadership role, and build on the momentum and consensus achieved at the January 28 Leadership Summit, by proposing and pursuing a permanent correction and elimination of the annual USPS Retiree Health Benefit payment. The OIG report, Hay and PRC reports all document that postal payers have been overcharged. The annual health cost payment is pushing the USPS to cut services and shift costs to rate payers when it isn't necessary. It is a ôstamp taxö on postal payers. PostCom should urge itÆs members and other postal associations and stakeholders to ask Congress to:

  • Recognize that the USPS and rate payers have overpaid the federal treasury for postal pension obligations that arose when the Postal Service was part of the federal government.
  • This overpayment has fully or substantially satisfied the Postal ServiceÆs retiree health cost obligations.
  • Congress should stop this Stamp Tax by recalculating the overfunding of the pension obligation and reduce or eliminate the annual retiree health cost payment.

Resolution 02.10.10-6 Resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Association for Postal Commerce approves and accepts the document prepared by the General Counsel entitled: "Antitrust Compliance Guide for Members and Staff of the Association for Postal Commerce" as representing the official policy of the association. All who are members and staff of the association are hereby instructed to comply with the principles and practices stated within this document.

Resolution 02.10.10-8 Resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Association for Postal Commerce approve as policy of the association the document entitled: "Conflict of Interest Policy."

Board Resolution 02.10.10-15 Resolved, that PostCom strongly urge the USPS' COO to extend the use of electronic mailing data (EMDs) for the purposes of tracking drop shipments via 8125s.

Reuters has reported that "logistics companies DHL, UPS, Panalpina, Kuehne & Nagel and DSV UDSV.CO have been charged by the European Commission with illegally fixing prices for air freight forwarding. The case concerns suspected collusion on surcharges, the European Union's competition watchdog said on Wednesday without identifying the companies. Freight forwarding firms organise the transport of goods, customs clearance, warehousing and ground services for companies, exporters, importers and individuals."

 


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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."


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