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Postal News and Information from Around the World
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August 28, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Barrons: Amazon's threat of moving more product to expedited truckers is limited by the low supply of qualified truckers. Amazon is forecasted to control ~35% of the domestic ecommerce market in 2015, according to Cowen's internet analyst. In 4Q14, Amazon spent $3Bn on shipping costs. UPS is the main carrier for Amazon and would stand to lose some of this revenue if Amazon changed their shipping policies. Trucking companies capacity has been limited by a small supply of qualified truckers; new regulations limit the number of hours truckers can work. Due to this, we believe FedEx and UPS will still perform the majority of e-commerce deliveries…

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Guide.co.nz: After another year of returning good profits, New Zealand Post has plenty of room to take a breath and begin planning for the future, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union. "The postal industry is changing," says Joe Gallagher, EPMU organiser for New Zealand Post workers. "New Zealand Post is changing too. But now they're in a strong position and it's time to start investing properly in their workforce and their services." Hundreds of jobs have been lost at New Zealand Post in recent years as the company responded to declining mail volumes and government demand for increased dividends. "We don't want to see any more jobs go, and we don't know where there's any more room to cut," says Joe Gallagher. "The strategy for New Zealand Post's future can't be more cuts. "There are big opportunities in the parcels and logistics business, and we want Post to sit down with its workers and the union and refine our engagement around productivity. "We've done it before with companies like Air New Zealand, which has just enjoyed its own record profit off the back of a lot of work around building a high performance organisation.

August 27, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One! Users: Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application, CI #694796 application. We are continuing to work to resolve the issue. · FS ACS Provisioning - was delayed by 2-3 hours; the records have been provisioned · MicroStrategy Reports are delayed.

Mailers Technical Advisory Committee: Presentations and notes from the August MTAC meetings are available on the MTAC webpage on RIBBS. The documents are located MTAC Notes and Presentations, 2015, listed as August 2015 MTAC Meeting Presentations and 2015 Presentations for MTAC Open Session.

Postal Regulatory Commission

DOMESTIC NEWS

FCW: Think your mail carrier can evolve? The U.S. Postal Service does. Kelley Sullivan, an IT program manager at the agency, fully expects that tomorrow's USPS will have new technology but not, she hopes, fewer employees. "The work that they're doing will change," she said at an Aug. 25 Internet of Things panel discussion hosted by GovLoop. The size and cost of USPS' workforce have long been a subject of debate. Labor costs were among the culprits fingered for killing USPS in a 2011 Atlantic article. In August 2014, the USPS inspector general issued a report showing that the agency's workers' compensation expenses were 50 percent greater than the industry average and that labor costs had risen 35 percent even as the agency slashed nearly 20 percent of its workforce.

Quad Graphics: "What's In the Tea Leaves for USPS Fall Service Performance?"

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (via Twitter): Possibly coming this Friday: Even though @PostalRegulator gave @USPS what the court ordered, many expect USPS to file another appeal of # exigent this week.

Lansing State Journal: The president of the state and local unions for U.S. Postal Service workers was indicted in federal court this month on an embezzlement charge.

Transport Topics: American Trucking Associations and two major business lobbying groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking a three-judge panel to find in favor of a FedEx Corp. subsidiary and against the National Labor Relations Board. ATA was joined by the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its support of the Home Delivery unit of FedEx Ground. Last year, Home Delivery got on the court's docket to appeal an NLRB order that said drivers in Windsor, Connecticut, are employees rather than independent contractors. The board faulted Home Delivery for its refusal to bargain with the Teamsters union regarding the drivers.

Fort Hood Sentinel: Postal customers wanting to send parcels from overseas military post offices starting this fall will no longer be allowed to submit handwritten customs forms and instead will have to do the forms online. The change starts Oct. 1 and applies to all customers using post offices on U.S. military installations in the Pacific and Europe, said Matthew Lewis, the Camp Casey, Korea, postmaster. In Korea, the change will affect about 43,000 military customers, including service members, Defense Department civilians, Family members and contractors, according to Postal Management Division Korea. The change comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection looks to further tighten screening of items entering the United States, he said.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

MetroNews Canada: The Coalition for an Accessible Public Postal Service calls on mayor, councillors to officially oppose Canada Post's phasing-out of the urban service.

August 26, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One! Users: The PostalOne!® system is experiencing Mail.Dat validation errors due to an Internal Server Error. The issue is currently under investigations. We will send another update as soon as information is made available. In the interim, mailings will continue to be accepted using the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf. Please note Ticket INC000000700911 as the incident number.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Field Technologies Online: Scandit, developer of the leading software-based barcode scanning solutions for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, today announced the launch of a new mobile Proof of Delivery (POD) solution designed to improve efficiency for an increasingly mobile workforce by enabling the use of smartphones and wearable devices to keep track of pickups and deliveries. Companies using Scandit's solution benefit from a single app that supports all driver tasks and enterprise-grade barcode scanning that eliminates the need for costly dedicated barcode scanning devices. The Scandit Proof of Delivery solution includes a customizable and easily deployable proof-of-delivery app (for iOS and Android) combined with Scandit's Enterprise Mobility and Data Capture Cloud, and easily integrates with existing enterprise IT infrastructures. It supports all delivery tasks, including navigation, geotagged signature capture and barcode scanning equivalent to dedicated devices. The solution can easily be distributed to corporate devices or downloaded by third-party contractors ensuring that everyone in the delivery chain — drivers, contractors and even part-time workers — can track deliveries in realtime.

The Washington Post: Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that the Postal Service caused a "disaster that is negatively impacting Americans all over this country" when it shuttered more than 140 mail-sorting plants and slowed delivery times to cut costs. "I have heard from people all over this country who have reported serious delays in receiving life-saving prescription drugs, and the bills that they need to pay to keep the lights and electricity on in their homes," the senator from Vermont wrote in a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan, urging her to reinstate overnight delivery for regional mail. Sanders wrote that he has heard from veterans and seniors in his rural state who are not getting life-saving prescriptions in the mail for nine or even 11 days.

MAIL: The latest issue of Mail magazine's Memo to Mailers has been posted on its web site.

WBTV: The US Postal Service is warning neighbors in south Charlotte and Matthews about mail thefts. Packages from delivery trucks are also being stolen as soon as they are dropped off. The USPS says zip codes affected include: 28210, 28211, 28270, 28277, and 28105. Police believe the thieves are targeting gift cards, financial information, and hoping to steal packages with valuable contents. Stealing mail from a mailbox is federal crime.

Troy Daily News: Post offices are crucial anywhere, but especially crucial in rural areas that depend on the postal service to stay connected through news delivery, services crucial to businesses, and, in some communities, a link to prescription drugs and other services. The mail service is a national treasure that has been in operation for 240 years. Every day, the Postal Service provides affordable, universal mail service to all—without using taxpayer dollars for its operation. The Center for Rural Affairs has signed letters of support for continuing reliable, affordable six-day mail delivery from the U.S. Postal Service. Particularly for remote rural citizens, the service is a lifeline. Nearly 10,000 people have signed the pledge.

The Washington Post: Amid a significant downsizing of the money-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the number of letters arriving late has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year. And that's as measured against the agency's own newly relaxed standards. First-class mail has gradually been traveling more slowly since the Postal Service started closing dozens of mail-sorting plants in 2012. But in January, something more drastic happened: To prepare for another round of plant closings, the agency eliminated overnight delivery for local first-class letters that used to arrive the next day. And up to half of mail traveling longer distances was given an extra day to reach its destination. These longer delivery times became the new normal, or "service standards" in postal parlance. Mail was considered on time if it took four to five days to arrive instead of three.

NextGov: The future of mail delivery could include sensor-equipped mailboxes that text recipients when packages arrive, or that adjust their temperature to keep food or medicine deliveries fresh. At least, that's according to a report the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General released earlier this month, urging the Postal Service to investigate how the Internet of Things could transform its operations. But at a recent conference on the Internet of Things in Washington, USPS IT Program Manager Kelley Sullivan told an audience the agency's first priority with emerging technology is cutting costs.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: CBC: Finding a bridesmaid's dress can be stressful enough. For one Halifax woman, trying to track down a bridesmaid's dress she bought online turned into a postal nightmare. Jessica Lunn ordered the dress from China last month, for a wedding on Friday. She said she stopped being able to track it two weeks ago when it got to Canada. She called Canada Post last week and created a service ticket number. Canada Post could not find the parcel and told her the package was redirected twice to incorrect addresses, she said. Lunn says she's been getting parcels delivered to her workplace for years with no problem. "It was the physical address, no PO box or anything," she said. "The workers that are on foot everyday have become so familiar with the names that it would've taken a day for my parcel to be given to me instead of a week."

LIBERIA: The New Dawn: Posts and Telecommunications Minister and Postmaster General, Dr. Fredrick B. Norkeh, told a press briefing Tuesday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism in Monrovia that the service delivery is to enable citizens have access to Internet Communication Technology in the country. Dr. Norkeh said the ministry has started a numbering system to mark every house in Monrovia and across the country for the purpose of easy identification and mail delivery. He added that the Post Office in Monrovia should be another base for vehicle registration, driver license and passport issuance, while the Liberia Telecommunications Authority or LTA regulates the communication system and implement strategy to make communication one of the cheapest services in the country unlike four years ago.

August 25, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • PI2015-1 Notice of The United States Postal Service Concerning the Filing of the Statistical Design Plan for Internal Service Performance Measurement 
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/93/93212/Notice of Filing and Stat Plan.pdf
    USPS description: "The new supporting document -- USPS Informed Visibility: Statistical Design Plan for Internal Service Performance Measurement (August 25, 2015), reflects the proposed statistical design methodology for measuring transit-time performance for various market-dominant product letters and flats and explains both the sampling methodology and the estimation methodology for calculating service performance scores and their margins of error."

Attention PostalOne!® Users:  Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application, CI #694796 application. We are continuing to work to resolve the issue. The following are currently delayed: · FS ACS Provisioning - delayed two (2) hours · MicroStrategy Reports – delayed four () hours.

DOMESTIC NEWS

The Wall Street Journal: Warehouse demand in Denver is hot, but it's not because of a surge in logistics business. WSJ Logistics Report's Robbie Whelan writes that Colorado's marijuana industry is gobbling up available warehouse space in the Denver area, straining availability and driving up costs for companies that want to use the structures as, well, warehouses. That's tough on distribution channels because the city is a key hub for business in the Rocky Mountain states, and an important crossroads between the Pacific Coast and the Midwest. Rents have soared and some logistics operators say they have turned away customers because of a lack of space. And it's not like they're getting a new market: because marijuana is only legal in a handful of states, the pot in Colorado is grown and consumed right there, with no shipping involved. [EdNote: Any available excess USPS facility capacity?]

eCommerceBytes: UPS would like to gain access to your mailbox. The USPS Office of Inspector General invited four experts to contribute a column on neighborhood logistics, and Keith Kellison, Senior Vice President of UPS Global Public Affairs, chose to tackle the issue of mailbox access . Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox, Kellison wrote - but given the demand for parcels containing such items as eyeglasses, designer clothes, and even time-sensitive groceries, doesn't it make sense to no longer restrict mailbox deliveries, he asked. Not only that, but consumers own the mailboxes. "Customers would benefit from reduced delivery costs, additional flexibility, and the knowledge that their packages are safe," the UPS executive said. And it wouldn't be the first country to lift such restrictions. "For years, third parties in Europe have been allowed to deliver parcels to mailboxes, with no security issues. If it's worked there for so long, why can't it work here?" Kellison said that if such restrictions were lifted, neighborhood logistics could continue to advance. "Electronic delivery notifications and boxes with temperature controls are just two potential ideas with immediate potential. The list of opportunities is endless, but the first step is access."

eCommerceBytes: eBay previewed its Fall Seller Update, and some may be wondering if the promises made by the new CEO of what appears to be a "kinder, gentler" company may truly be fulfilled. The head of eBay's Global Customer Trust Laura Chambers provided details of how eBay would be changing the way the company hands out defects when it comes to late shipments. Currently, sellers can be penalized for factors outside of their control, such as shipping delays due to the carrier of Postal Service. In fact, at one point, readers were telling EcommerceBytes that eBay Customer Service Representatives were blaming sellers for using the Postal Service when they received defects for late delivery.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

FINLAND: YLE: Postal services Posti will begin trials of drone copters for mail deliveries to the island of Suomenlinna in September. The pilot programme marks the first time that unmanned aerial vehicles have been used for the purpose in Europe. Posti will use the remote-controlled aircraft to deliver packages to Suomenlinna, a former island fortress that forms part of Helsinki. The drones are expected to take to the air in early September, initially make deliveries to Suomenlinna residents for orders made in the online store Verkkokauppa.com.

CANADA: The Windsor Star: Windsor city council has directed administration to write a sternly worded letter to Canada Post to avoid the problems encountered with the installation of community mailboxes in the east end of the city. "This is totally unacceptable," said Ward 6 Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac, who brought forward the motion at Monday night's meeting. Some parts of East Riverside in Windsor have already had the mailboxes installed in recent weeks because they are served by the Tecumseh letter carrier depot. Windsor was awaiting consultation with Canada Post on the locations of the boxes, although many communities across the country claim they have not been adequately consulted.

August 24, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office Of The Inspector General: Now posted on the OIG's Pushing the Envelope blog --

  • What's in Store for Neighborhood Logistic Services? -- It's now the norm to see doorstep delivery of groceries, medication, dry cleaning, oversized patio furniture, and basically anything else you can think of. And we expect those deliveries on demand, sometimes even the same day we place the order. Read more...
     
  • The Delivery Revolution in Your Neighborhood -- By Jody Berenblatt, senior advisor, GrayHair Advisors -- We are living in the age of the "delivery revolution." Businesses are positioning themselves to deliver goods where and when customers want them. Order nearly anything anywhere and the Postal Service can deliver the item in a reasonable timeframe at a reasonable price. In my Greenwich Village neighborhood, we are able to get anything promptly delivered, from the mundane to outrageous. In the 1990s, we were amazed when our local McDonalds, which took orders by phone and delivered them to our door, would ask, "The usual Happy Meal and Big Mac?" McDonalds used a phone-driven database for customer preference and delivery information. Read more...
     
  • Worth the Price: High Quality, Convenience, and Timeliness -- by Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., president and vice-chancellor, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB Canada When I became president of Mount Allison University, Canada's top-ranked undergraduate university, I moved to a college town, which, like most Canadian towns, did not get home delivery from Canada Post. I had to adjust to the rhythm of mail runs to our Post Office. Read More...
     
  • Carriers as Conduits -- By Jim Holland, research director, National Association of Letter Carriers Six days a week, over 200,000 city delivery letter carriers fan out on routes across the country to deliver and pick up mail and packages for residences and businesses. Carriers now even deliver packages on Sundays and holidays. Increasingly, letter carriers do work beyond traditional postal services, helping to meet the growing needs of both shippers and recipients. Read More...
     
  • Rethinking Mailbox Access -- By Keith Kellison, senior vice president, UPS Global Public Affairs -- When we say "neighborhood logistics," what we really mean is serving everyday people like me and you better than ever before. At UPS, that's nothing new. Since our start in 1907, we've gone through a host of transformations. From the early days of delivering by bike, to the first package cars, to next-day air shipments, UPS has led the way in meeting customers' demands. Read More...

Attention PostalOne!® Users:  Update on the processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) application. We are working to resolve the issue. The following are currently delayed seven hours: · FS ACS Provisioning · MicroStrategy Reports

Postal Regulatory Commission:

Attention PostalOne!® Users  Due to database maintenance, the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) MicroStrategy reports are delayed seven hours. We are working to resolve the issue and will provide an update later day.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Omaha World-Herald: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska recently sent a letter to the U.S. postmaster sharing Nebraskans' grievances over slow mail delivery, including overdue charges because of late credit card payments and delayed arrival of prescription drugs. Then, just days later, Fortenberry found himself with a major snail mail gripe of his own. Because of a yet-unexplained recent foul-up at the Omaha mail processing facility, postcards inviting Fortenberry's Bellevue constituents to a town hall meeting didn't arrive until the day of the event.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

AUSTRALIA: Post & Parcel: Australia Post has issued a trademark infringement notice against parcel delivery start-up Sendle over its "Post without the Office" tagline, according to local sources. An article published by The Australian today (24 August) said that Australia Post has objected to the Sendle's tag-line for being "substantially identical" and "deceptively similar" to the national postal operator's own trademarks.

FIJI: The Fiji Times: POSTAL mail is in decline worldwide because people have moved to new forms of communication, says Post Fiji Ltd board chairman Lawrence Tikaram. However, he said, they had a robust system that tried to capture other opportunities in the marketplace. Post Fiji's recent partnership with LICI for the payment of premiums through 40 Post Fiji outlets was an example of extending their services. "At the end of the day, we are deemed to be a service provider, trying to provide the very basic services that are necessary to everyday ordinary Fijians. We are also mindful of the needs of consumers and the need to lookout for opportunities out there. We operate in a very competitive environment." Mr Tikaram said they had changed their point of sale system three years ago to embrace new opportunities in the wider market.

SOUTH AFRICA: Reuters Africa: The state-run corporations that have shaped South Africa's economy and been part of its every day life for nearly a century are mostly in a state of collapse, threatening to crush already weak growth. Economists estimate that underperformance and inefficiency in state-owned firms ranging from power utility Eskom to South African Airways (SAA) to the postal service is lopping 2-3 percentage points off annual growth. Johannesburg resident Gertrude Nduna [said] her fledgling online perfume shop is facing ruin due to late deliveries by the South African Post Office, whose slogan is "We Deliver, Whatever It Takes", but which is tipping into financial failure. "It is ruining my business and my reputation but I cannot afford to use private couriers," Nduna said, lamenting her reliance on a postal service that ran out of money for fuel for its delivery vans this month.

August 23, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Corpus Christi Caller Times: U.S. Postal Service officials will gather public comment on the proposed closure of the Corpus Christi Processing and Distribution Center tonight at Del Mar College. The Corpus Christi center is a hub for sorting regional mail for distribution or shipment, and is one of 252 regional plants being reviewed by the Postal Service. The agency is looking for ways to make up for a multibillion-dollar shortfall, though no decisions would be made for several months. A Postal Service study's initial results support consolidating the facility with operations in San Antonio. The service estimates closing the plant could save $11.2 million in transportation, maintenance and employee costs.

Buffalo News: Over the course of one week this month, three U.S. Postal Service carriers appeared in Buffalo federal court and admitted stealing or destroying mail they were supposed to deliver. And that was after two other carriers pleaded guilty or were sentenced for similar crimes earlier this year, and after two postmasters – one in Lawtons, the other in Frewsburg – garnered headlines last year for stealing cash.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Daily Telegraph:  The potential demise of Australia Post is not something that might happen one day. Without major, rapid reform it could happen any day.

August 22, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Watchdog.org: Our Big Dog interview of the week is with Jason Hart, who takes a look at the spiraling debt at the U.S. Postal Service and what can be done about it. Do we even need the USPS in a world where Amazon will soon be making deliveries by drone?

WINK: Neighbors say their mailboxes are getting raided and mail stolen. It's happening on 5th Avenue Northwest and at least five mailboxes have been hit multiple times. "They are helping themselves to the mail, opening it and throwing it on the ground," says one neighbor who didn't want to share her name. Neighbors say they are finding mail ripped up and scattered down their street. Some have had checks stolen. "One of my neighbors handed me one of my checks, he found it laying on the side of the road," says another neighbor. The checks were for her bills; she had to cancel all of them. "It's terrible. It's a federal offense," says one neighbor. "That's something everyone has always trusted, the US Post Office and the mail system and now someone is violating it."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

KENYA: Daily Nation: The Communications Authority has reviewed postal and courier regulations in a move likely to increase Postal Corporation of Kenya's (PCK) clout in the industry. Last week, CA announced it had adopted a new market structure and license fees for postal and courier service providers. The new regulations came into effect on July 1. They require new postal and courier service providers applying for licences to adhere to conditions such as use of PCK's vast national networks to interconnect to areas the couriers have no presence.

INDIA: The Hindu  Postal service is playing an important role in facilitating exporters. Scores of agro-based product samples were being dispatched to importing countries through posts by exporters on a regular basis. Ahead of exporting agro products to overseas countries, pre-shipment samples were dispatched to buyers normally, to get their nod after ascertaining its quality. The number of samples air-shipped to countries abroad through Tuticorin Head Post office had increased in 2014-15, during which 744 samples were sent, whereas 531 samples were sent during 2013-14, sources told The Hindu here on Friday. Samples of agro products including senna in leaves and powder form, drumstick leaves, cassia leaves and gymnema leaves were being sent. Among these products, senna samples had been delivered, mostly to importing countries like Japan and China, through express mail service (EMS). EMS could be availed to send permitted articles to reach 98 foreign countries and also through ‘World Net' to 202 countries abroad, sources added.

August 21, 2015 

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users  An issue was identified in the PostalOne! system that has impacted a few mailings submitted electronically and claiming Incentive discounts. Specifically, for extremely large eDoc files (over 2 million piece records) the system was creating the postage statement without including the Incentive discount information. A data repair was completed on Friday, 8/14, to allow future mailings to be processed claiming the discount until the root cause can be determined. For mailings that have been affected: Non-finalized Mailings – if possible, mailers should cancel jobs (postage statements) that have been already submitted and resubmit the jobs. Finalized Postage Statements - If a job has been submitted and the postage statement has been finalized:

  • Provide the BMEU a listing of affected mailings containing the following information
    • Permit Holder
    • Permit Number
    • Total Pieces
    • Total Postage
    • Mailer Job ID
  • The BMEU will reverse the affected postage statements and notify the mailer or Mail Service Provider
  • Mailers should resubmit the mailings information once the reversals are complete.

FedBizOps: The U.S. Postal Service will rent minivan cargo vans and cargo vans (low, medium and high roof) up to 2 tons capacity for delivery of packages and to fill in for vehicles out of service. The contract will extend for a period of one year with an option to renew for one additional year.The total number of vehicles is unknown. We are projecting the estimated value of the contract could range into the upper six figures per year. However, there is NO GUARANTEE that the number of vehicle rentals will result in this level of spend. Mail volumes and number of carrier delivery route expansion will influence the demand. During the holiday season on can anticipate that a single location may have a demand level of 50 to 100 vehicles.

USPS Industry Alert:  PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 Production Deployment - PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 will deploy Sunday, September 20, 2015 between 4:00AM CT and 9:00AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be unavailable during the deployment time. Please note the following regarding the Mail.dat client: (1) New Mail.dat client download 41.3.0.0_PROD will be made available during this release. This download will be optional and users can continue to submit files using Mail.dat client Version 41.2.0.0_PROD. (2) Mail.dat client download 41.2.0.0_PROD will continue to be supported. (3) Mail.dat client download 41.1.0.0_PROD will expire and be unsupported on September 20, 2015.
PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will also occur Sunday, September 20, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Monday morning September 21, 2015 between 9:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT.

USPS Office of the Inspector General:  Is the Postal Service's Active Directory Environment Secure? The Postal Service, like 95 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, uses Active Directory throughout its network. Active Directory uses physical and logical security controls to protect the network infrastructure. Active Directory centralizes and automates the security access management of user data, security, and distributed resources. With a single network logon, administrators can manage directory data and authorized users can access resources on the network for which they have permissions. What are the latest security risks we should take into account while reviewing Active Directory?

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES

Periodic Reporting,

50815–50816 [2015–20633]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

NOTICES

International Mail Contract,

50879–50880 [2015–20648]

[TEXT] [PDF]

New Postal Products,

50880 [2015–20634]

[TEXT] [PDF]

50880–50881 [2015–20635]

[TEXT][PDF]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Foster's Democrat: Our nation and the world faces many challenges. The list is long: ISSL, Iran, China, the growing deficit, the entitlements, and most importantly, the unfunded liabilities. Most New Hampshire voters want presidential candidates to explain how they plan to make change, not just talk about it. The federal government has many challenges that are not prominent in our minds, but require leadership. This week, for example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) reported a third quarter new loss of $586 million. It is presently headed in the wrong direction.

Multichannel Merchant: Latching onto the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which connected devices share data in real time to provide enhanced services, the U.S. Postal Service is envisioning an "Internet of Postal Things." According to a paper published this month by the USPS Office of Inspector General in collaboration with IBM, the USPS has prioritized 16 potential IoPT applications for development. These include things like data-gathering sensors on delivery trucks, smart connected mailboxes and applications that monitor the status and performance of vehicles, including fuel consumption and maintenance.

Wall Street Journal: With sales of DVDs, videogames and traditional packaged software slumping for years, more state and local governments are eyeing technologies, such as streaming video subscriptions and cloud computing, to help make up for hundreds of millions of dollars or more in lost revenue. Applying age-old sales taxes to the era of new media hasn't been simple. States have long taxed tangible goods, but the broad array of new digital products often don't fit the category. Some states are trying to use existing laws, while others are taking on the politically thorny task of rewriting tax rules. The result is a patchwork of tax policies—and some new laws—for fast-growing slices of consumer and business sales. While taxes on digital entertainment and software represent only a sliver of the $271 billion that states collected in sales taxes last year, the issue highlights the challenge states and localities face as technologies rapidly shift.

KFYR: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., says rural residents are being left behind when it comes to both modern and older forms of communication. To fix that, she's introduced a plan that would have rural post offices deliver high-speed Internet on top of their normal mail delivery duties. "We're going to continue to do everything that we can to get postal service back where it belongs, at a quality category, for our rural residents," Heitkamp said. Nearly half of rural North Dakota residents don't have access to high-speed Internet yet. Heitkamp says this project would improve global connectivity for those communities while allowing post offices to remain economically viable.

Postalnews.com: Earlier this week, hackers released millions of records of people who had subscribed to the "Ashley Madison" web site, a meeting place for people seeking extra-marital affairs. Given that there were around 36 million individual accounts leaked, it is hardly surprising (and hardly newsworthy) to learn that some postal employees may have been members. What is surprising, and quite newsworthy, is that 52 of them apparently used their official @USPS.GOV email addresses to sign up for the site!

Triple Pundit:If you are a Sprint customer, this month your statement might be printed on a tree-based paper alternative. Sprint is piloting a new type of paper for its customer mailings that is made from a wheat straw byproduct. The pilot program marks the first time wheat straw paper has been used for customer correspondence in the U.S. The wheat straw paper is made by Prairie Paper and called Step Forward Paper. It looks the same as tree-based paper, but it's more sustainable. In other words, no trees are cut down to make it. To learn more about the company's groundbreaking use of wheat straw byproduct-based paper, [read the conversation with] Keanon Swan, strategic partner of relationships and postal alliances for Sprint.

Reuters: FedEx pilots tentatively agreed with the package delivery company on an amended collective bargaining agreement, the Air Line Pilots Association, or ALPA, said. Fedex and its pilots have been negotiating on employment conditions since 2011. FedEx management filed for a mediation process with the National Mediation Board in October 2014. The terms of the agreement are not being released pending approval by the union's executive council, ALPA said on Thursday. The contract would become amendable in 2021 if the tentative agreement is ratified by more than 4,000 FedEx pilots, ALPA said.

Pymnts: United Parcel Service held its quarterly earnings call this week, and the logistics and delivery conglomerate's B2B operations took center stage as one of its strongest aspects for growth. According to reports from The Motley Fool, UPS CFO Richard Peretz highlighted B2B services as outpacing B2C.

Richmond County Daily Journal: Many residents along Rummage Pack House Road have had a little trouble getting their mail. Twice this week, neighbors have woken up to find their mailboxes beaten and knocked over with mail scattered along the roadside.

Reuters: The U.S. Postal Service and its internal watchdog plan to review whether or not some of the agency's employees may have violated federal policies by using their government email on the infidelity website Ashley Madison.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UNITED KINGDOM: PrintWeek: Royal Mail is aiming to migrate 90% of its machine-readable mail to its Mailmark tracking system by March 2017, and is increasing the cost of other systems in comparison to encourage uptake. Mailmark, launched in March last year, now tracks 22% of machine-readable mail dealt with by Royal Mail. Managing director of consumer and network access Stephen Agar told PrintWeek the company's target was to increase the percentage of mail using Mailmark to 35%-40% by March 2016 and to 90% by March 2017. It plans to increase a previously proposed price differential of 1%, due to come into effect in January, to up to 5% and is currently consulting businesses on the plans. Currently Royal Mail scans between 50 million to 60 million items a night using Mailmark. Mail is scanned up to five times, starting when it arrives at a Royal Mail sorting office.

AUSTRALIA: The Advocate: Under new regulations people will be able to walk a letter faster than they can post it in Tasmania, according to mainland union officials. See your ad here The new service, expected to come into effect next month, will see a 30 cent increase in stamp prices and a slower service. It will create a two-tiered speed system, with a regular service operating slower than the existing delivery speed. The other tier would be a premium priority product, which would provide a faster speed for a higher cost. The union's NSW secretary, Jim Metcher, said the new system would hit Tasmanians hard. "You'll be able to walk a letter from Hobart to Launceston faster than you'll be able to post it under these new regulations," he said.

FINLAND - ESTONIA: Baltic Business News: Posti, the Finnish state-held postal service and logistics company, plans to relocate some accounting functions to Estonia to save costs. The company expects to save about half a million euros in costs annually by relocating purchase and sales ledger operations from Finland to Estonia.

UNITED KINGDOM: Postal Technology International: Online marketplace Amazon has announced that as of August 28, 2015, it will no longer be delivering parcels to CollectPlus (Collect+) locations in the UK. The CollectPlus network consists of approximately 5,800 newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations throughout the country.

GERMANY - AUSTRIA: Postal Technology International: DHL Parcel, a subsidiary of German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL, has unveiled its plans to invest €100m (US$110m) in establishing its own parcel network in Austria by 2016. The company has already set up operations in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

August 20, 2015

logoPostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online. Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. See what you've been missing.


PostCom Members !!
The latest issue of PostCom's Postal Operations Update is now available online.
 

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne!® & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 Production Deployment - PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 41.3.0.0 will deploy Sunday, September 20, 2015 between 4:00AM CT and 9:00AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be unavailable during the deployment time. Please note the following regarding the Mail.dat® client. (1) New Mail.dat® client download 41.3.0.0_PROD will be made available during this release. This download will be optional and users can continue to submit files using Mail.dat client Version 41.2.0.0_PROD. (2) Mail.dat® client download 41.2.0.0_PROD will continue to be supported. (3) Mail.dat® client download 41.1.0.0_PROD will expire and be unsupported on September 20, 2015. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.3.0 can be found on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm.

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES

Periodic Reporting ,

50589–50590 [2015–20534]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

NOTICES

International Mail Contract ,

50669–50670 [2015–20535]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

New Postal Products ,

50669 [2015–20579]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

 

Postal Service

NOTICES

Product Changes:

 

Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,

 

50670 [2015–20533]

[TEXT]  [PDF

Attention PostalOne!® Users: RESTORATION COMPLETE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 – The PostalOne! System is fully operational with no performance issues. eDoc processing is now current and there is no backlog.

DOMESTIC NEWS

HCPress: After a resident in Foscoe submitted a complaint, a postal carrier out of the Banner Elk office is no longer flying a small Confederate battle flag while delivering mail, according to U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Freda Sauter. U.S. Postal Service policy regarding employees driving their own vehicles states, according to Sauter, that employees must cover up any "political bumper stickers … during the time that the car is used for work." "Employees are prohibited from engaging in political activities while on duty, in any government office, while wearing an official uniform or while using government or personal vehicle," Sauter said.

Las Vegas Now: Jim Bilbray is no stranger to political tussles. He was a Nevada regent, state senator, and served four terms in Congress, but when this lifelong Democrat was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, he may have thought he was entering a non-political arena. But instead, he says he found that hyper-partisan political battles are being waged. "If we don't get any new appointees by Dec. 6 of this year, I will be the only governor in the United States Postal System" explains Bilbray.

American Postal Workers Union:  A hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples was dominated by procedural wrangling on Aug. 17 and 18. The hearing before Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will resume on Nov. 2. Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26 in response to an "unfair labor practice" charge filed by the APWU against the Postal Service. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return work that existed on July 31, 2014, to the APWU bargaining unit. At the hearing, the Postal Service withdrew its request to defer the hearing to arbitration. Both the Postal Service and Staples continued to resist complying with subpoenas issued by Region 5 of the NLRB and the APWU for use at the hearing, claiming that many documents contain confidential, proprietary information. Judge Bogas will rule on their claims at the Nov. 2 hearing. Bogas granted a motion by Staples to intervene in the case, after Staples argued that it could not rely on the Postal Service to defend its interests in the proceedings. The Postal Service supported Staples' motion. The judge's ruling is not supported by legal precedent, attorneys for the APWU and the NLRB General Counsel noted, and announced plans to appeal.

American Postal Workers Union: A delegation representing six member organizations of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service met with Postmaster General Megan Brennan at Postal Headquarters in Washington, DC, on Aug. 13. The meeting was "a historic first" for the Alliance, which is dedicated to building a vibrant, public Postal Service for generations to come.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: Canada Post: Canada Post will be shutting down its website, canadapost.ca, and its web services and mobile app from Friday, August 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) to Sunday, August 23 at 7 p.m. ET as we complete an important upgrade of our IT infrastructure. This shutdown will impact all of Canada Post's online and retail IT systems. The website and related services will not be available for any transactions during this time. Canada Post understands this outage will disrupt your ability to conduct business during that weekend. We apologize in advance and thank you for your patience and understanding. This large-scale effort will improve the stability, security and capacity of our platform. This work is critical to our ongoing efforts to support the growing 24/7 digital expectations of our customers. To find out more, go to https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/blogs/business/details.page?article=2015/08/12/website_and_web_serv&cattype=business&cat=shipping.

CANADA: Post & Parcel: The core segment of Canada Post has reported a loss before tax of $31m for the second quarter (Q2). The Canada Post Group of Companies consists of the core Canada Post segment (whose results were announced today) and its three non-wholly owned principal subsidiaries, Purolator Holdings Ltd., SCI Group Inc. and Innovapost Inc. According to a statement issued by Canada Post, the loss was due to a sharp fall in transaction mail as well as higher employee benefit expenses, although this was partially offset by continued strong growth in the parcels business.

UNITED KINGDOM: PrintWeek: Whistl has officially opened its new Scottish depot. Whistl has operated in Scotland over the past nine years and collects and sorts an average of 2 million items of mail a week before handing over to Royal Mail for delivery. Its most remote Scottish customer is the Western Isles Council, which uses Whistl for its Hybrid Mail services.

August 19, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users:  FINAL UPDATE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 - The PostalOne! application is back online the issue that was causing the technical problems earlier has been resolved. We expect to be fully operational by 5:00PM Central this evening. We will be monitoring Mail.dat and Mail.XML processing until these processes are all caught up. We anticipate being caught up later today within the next 3 – 4 hours. We will send out a notice later this evening once all of the processes are caught up.

Postal Regulatory Commission

Attention PostalOne!® UsersUPDATE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 - The PostalOne! application is still experiencing technical problems and we are continuing to work on the issue. The following applications are affected by the PostalOne! issue: · Business Customer Gateway · CAPS · Program Registration Mailings will continue to be accepted following the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf. An update will be provided in one hour or when the issue is resolved. If you have any issues or concerns, please contact the PostalOne! Helpdesk at 800.522.9085 [EdNote: This is getting ridiculous! The complaints on this issue have been pouring into the PostCom office. Whoever is responsible for addressing this should do so post haste(!).]

USPS Postal One! AlertAttention PostalOne!® Users -- UPDATE: PostalOne! CI # 685548 - The PostalOne! application is still experiencing technical problems and we are continuing to work on the issue. In the interim, mailings will continue to be accepted using the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf. Program Registration Issue INC000000686066 - Program Registration External application is down and the Internal application is slow. The root cause has been determined and the application will be available when the PostalOne! issue is resolved. An update will be provided in one hour or when the issue is resolved.

Federal Register : State Department Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services September 2015, 50375–50376 [2015–20492] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Memo to Mailers: Memo to Mailers is updated daily at www.mailomg.com. Share Memo with a colleague. Got news? Email it to mailmagazine.com.

Supply Demand Chain: "Undoubtedly." It's the simple answer most tech industry watchers give in response to the question of whether or not Uber will move beyond delivering people and into delivering packages. Local delivery is a $45 billion industry in the United States that does 2 billion deliveries per year. While on-demand companies could certainly cut into the local delivery industry's business with their better-known brands and large coffers, entering the same-day and local delivery market would require a significant amount of initial subsidization to overcome the industry's large existing B2B package volume. UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service will also struggle to provide this service level since they're optimized to consolidate volume overnight and send drivers out in the morning, although they could presumably repurpose a part of their operations to get there.

World Stamp Show: The much anticipated information regarding discounted hotel accommodations is contained in the lead article in World Stamp Show-NY 2016's ninth quarterly newsletter. It was timed to be released less than a week before the opening of APS StampShow in Grand Rapids, taking place August 19-23. The newsletter can be downloaded from http://www.ny2016.org/images/ny2016newsletters/2015-08-newsletter9.pdf..

eCommerceBytes: "Despite Warning over Mail Delays, USPS Focuses on Same-Day."

Decaturish: DeKalb County says the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is to blame for a number of residents in north DeKalb who did not receive their water bills. In a press release, DeKalb Watershed said some bills mailed on June 23, 2015, "were marked ‘undeliverable' by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) due to a glitch in its system with the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INDIA: NDTV: Armed with a payments bank licence now, the postal department should gear up to become a vehicle of financial inclusion in the country, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. The minister said that the postal department should prepare itself properly and effectively for this opportunity. The payments bank licence will enable the Department of Post (DoP) to offer banking services to the masses through its vast network of 1,54,000 post offices, of which 1,30,000 are in rural areas.

UNITED KINGDOM: Brand Channel: The criticism of Amazon's treatment of workers may be creating an opening for rival brands, young and old, to compete just as the company is evolving its delivery services yet again. In the wake of the New York Times‘ harsh takedown of the company's US workplace culture, the criticism has spread across the Atlantic to the UK. According to The Guardian, the GMB trade union has heard complaints from workers at Amazon's UK warehouses of physical and mental stress caused by the company's relentless "regime" to make its delivery service ever faster.

NIGERIA: AllAfrica.com: The post master general of the Nigerian Postal Services (NPS), Ibrahim Mori Baba, says the agency has seized goods worth N125.243 billion in nine years of his leadership. According to him, the items were interceptions of scam (419) letters and financial instruments from 258,207 seized within the period.

AUSTRALIA: Perth Now: Australians could be forced to walk kilometres to pick up basic letters and bills from local "community mailboxes", under a bleak forecast for the future of our 206-year-old postal service. A new report points to the near-collapse of the service in Canada, where letters are now being sent to neighbourhood drop-off points, and says the same thing could happen here.

SAUDI ARABIA: Arab News: The Passport Department has launched its new postal parcel service, aimed to deliver residency permits (Iqama) to beneficiaries directly, Saudi Press Agency said. The service will be conducted through the ‘Muqeem" e-portal, in coordination with the Elm Company. The department claims that this advancement will develop the e-portal's list of services, which include the issuance of profession changes, service transfers and the launching of the postal parcel service.

August 18, 2015

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Graphic Communications 5700 Darrow Road, Suite 110 Hudson, OH 44236 Contact: Erv Drewek, Manager, Postal Affairs.
Founded in 1979, Graphic Communications is a Veritiv company. Veritiv is a North American leader in business-to-business distribution solutions, specializing in the implementation of end-to-end packaging, paper and print management, publishing supply chain, facility and logistics solutions that help our customers make their business operations more efficient, sustainable and cost effective.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 50052 [2015–20246] [TEXT] 50053 [2015–20247] [TEXT]

Attention Postal One! Users: The PostalOne!® system is experiencing an issue with Postal Wizard with customers being denied access to procure their statements. The issue is currently under investigations. We will send another update at as soon as information is made available. Access Denied You don't have permission to access "http://www.uspspostalone.com/postal1/postage_statements/manual_statements/index.cfm?" on this server. Reference #18.190ad817.1439855467.90f4c7 In the interim, mailings will continue to be accepted using the PostalOne! Contingency plan which can be found on RIBBS at: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf.

USPS Office of the Inspector GeneralJenny Come Lately -- Think stamps are only worth the paper they're printed on? Philatelists will tell you to think again. The tiny One-Cent Magenta stamp, now on display at the National Postal Museum, recently sold for $9.5 million. Of course, that sole-surviving stamp of the British Guiana penny issues is the rarest stamp in the world. Other stamps deemed collectible by the philatelic community are also worth a pretty penny. Take the 1918 Inverted Jenny 24-cent airmail stamp. It is one of the world's most collectible stamps because a sheet of 100 misprinted stamps showing an upside-down biplane was accidently sold to a customer. In today's market, an Inverted Jenny stamp could fetch close to $1 million. To generate interest in stamp collecting and engage new generations of stamp collectors, the Postmaster General requested that the Postal Service create 100 additional stamp sheets that showed the biplane upright. Seventy of these Un-Inverted Jenny stamp sheets were distributed to be sold in the top 50 markets along with 1.2 million Inverted Jenny stamp sheets. The remaining 30 Un-Inverted Jenny stamp sheets were to be randomly distributed in the first 60 days of release. While an innovative idea, this action had the unintended consequence of creating and improperly distributing a philatelic rarity. In 2014, at least two Un-Inverted Jenny stamp sheets sold for more than $50,000 each.

Postal Regulatory Commission:

DOMESTIC NEWS

Postalnews.com: Back in my previous life as a financial analyst, one book that was always on my shelf was "How to Lie With Charts" by Gerald Jones. The title is meant to be tongue in cheek- Jones's purpose is to help presenters avoid creating misleading charts and graphs. But I couldn't help thinking of the title after reading Kevin Kosar's article "Four charts explain the Postal Service's financial struggles", which was posted on the RStreet blog yesterday. Kosar was formerly an analyst with the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, where he frequently wrote analyses of the postal service's finances. He now works for the very partisan RStreet lobbying organization. What led me to connect Kosar's piece with Jones's book wasn't the charts themselves for the most part, but rather the conclusions Kosar wants the reader to reach based on the charts. He certainly isn't lying- but his charts don't always support his conclusions. And sometimes they show the exact opposite. Let's look at them, one by one . . . .

Direct Marketing News:  Upset over Postal Service procedure in which operational changes translate into de facto rate increases for certain classes of mail, a coalition of mailer associations (including PostCom) filed a petition with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to address the problem yesterday. The petition also asks the PRC to create a rule-making proceeding that would require the Postal Service to file a notice of an operational change and give mailers at least 15 days to respond with their evaluations. Should, based on those comments, the PRC decide that the proposed change will have a greater than de minimis rate effect, the Postal Service should be ordered to file a notice of rate change, say mailers.

The Guardian: According to Western legal doctrine, once one enters a shared, public space, their individual rights are curtailed in order to preserve the security and integrity of that space. In a public park, for example, it is perfectly legitimate for a government to monitor your behavior and listen to your conversations. Mail, on the other hand, is considered a specific transmission of information between two or more people, and is afforded robust protections from government intrusions on the content of the messages. International treaties and organizations continue to ensure the secrecy of correspondence, as long as that correspondence takes place via traditional, twentieth-century means of communicating. The modern internet economy in many ways evolved out of a casual disregard for secrecy and privacy; it is dependent on gathering and analyzing individual user behavior and benefits a handful of western countries and companies. When the UPU was formed, statesmen understood that establishing shared standards and rules for communication across national borders, including protecting the confidentiality of messages, was critical. Perhaps it is time to consider expanding our definition of internet freedom to include a guarantee of secrecy of correspondence. Such a move may, at a minimum, provide the historical context for protecting the integrity of online communications and establish a path forward for a shared, global, and democratically inclined internet.

Mobile Marketing Watch: "Email Marketing Benchmarks 2015: Are Performance Metrics Revealing Signs of Consumer Fatigue?" examines the need for relevancy, which has never been more critical. "If consumers are going to engage with a brand, they expect that brand to know the best way to reach them and communicate with them," says Spencer Kollas, vice president of global deliverability services at Experian Marketing Services. "They don't care that your email marketing group isn't going to get credit if you click on something through an SMS. They see you as one brand." What has changed?

KTNV: Residents in a North Las Vegas neighborhood are taking to social media in hopes of finding one or more people they say have been stealing their mail. "We've been missing mail now off and on now for about a month," Kevin Scott said. That's why Scott says he decided to look at surveillance video from the camera pointed towards the mailboxes at the edge of his driveway. In the video, he saw the person walking up and unlocking the boxes before walking back to a pickup truck with arms full of mail. "He had a key, opened it right up and took what he wanted," Dallas Davis said.

Post & Parcel: The United States Postal Service (USPS) has issued a strong-worded rebuke to the Americans for Tax Reform group, which last week accused it of being "incapable of financial accountability". The USPS hit back with a riposte posted on its website yesterday (17 August), in which it described the Americans for Tax Reform column as "overtly flawed and significantly exaggerated". The USPS statement continued: "The entire piece is based on a competitor-funded paper fraught with errors about the financial status of the Postal Service that the Americans for Tax Reform organization unquestioningly parrots. "The writers of both documents fail to report the truth — that the Postal Service receives no tax dollars or subsidies for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund operations. "The writer also makes no mention of the incredible cost savings the Postal Service has achieved. The Postal Service has proactively down-sized its network from 675 processing facilities to 318 over the last 10 years, and enacted other savings initiatives reducing our annual cost base by over $15 billion per year, an extraordinary cost savings by any measure. "The ‘subsidy' numbers referred to in the column and paper are created by flawed methodologies and assumptions, apples-to-oranges comparisons, and a one-sided narrative. "The document claims that the Postal Service's economies of scale and scope are a ‘subsidy' resulting from the organization's monopolies. This is completely incorrect. In fact, the opposite is true. The Postal Service has a universal service obligation to deliver to each and every address in the United States, six days a week, regardless of the volume of mail destined for each. "Without any support, the piece accuses the Postal Service of failing to be financially accountable. Yet nowhere in the article does the writer discuss the fact that the Postal Service is constrained by a price cap tied to inflation for the overwhelming majority of its products or that the Postal Service has billions of dollars in unique burdens placed upon it, like the requirement to prefund its Retiree Health Benefits, something no other private entity is required to do. "Americans for Tax Reform owes readers a more accurate, better researched and fact- checked representation of the financial situation of the United States Postal Service. The inaccuracies contained in the column are a disservice to the American public."

RStreet.org: The U.S Postal Service reported a third-quarter loss of more than $500 million. If you are wondering whether this is news you're already heard, it is. The USPS has been running deficits for years. But this was not how the Postal Service was supposed to work. Congress abolished the tottering old Post Office Department in 1971 and replaced it with the USPS. An "independent establishment of the executive branch," the Postal Service was designed to be self-sustaining. Toward this end, it has more operational freedom than a typical government agency. It can, for example, sell unneeded real estate with relative ease. The agency also has managed, to its credit, to downsize its workforce by 225,000 persons over the past decade. So why is the agency losing money? Four charts explain the Postal Service's financial struggles.

Direct Marketing News: Direct mailers and catalogers worry that the Postal Service won't be able to predict on-time delivery by the advent of the fall mailing season. Late mail increased by 494 million pieces in the first six months of 2015, a 48% rise over the same period last year, according to a management alert released last week by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Postal Service. Due to drastic changes in service standards implemented in January, a rise in delays was expected, yet the sheer volume of lateness has big mailers concerned about the status of their fall mailings. "The Postal Service made some massive changes with the 24-hour operational clock that has taken some time to recover from," said Hamilton Davison, president and executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association. "At last weeks' MTAC meeting, USPS officials explained why they feel ready to handle the busy fall mailing season with the usual level of performance," Davison said. "But we need to have better mechanisms to understand what it is actually running rather than receiving after-the-fact reporting. Given notice, we can adjust to most anything." The Postal Service uses an External First Class Measurement system, which has IBM sending out test mailings and tracking them to obtain a view of delivery standards. It's an imperfect metric, said Grayhair Software analyst Jody Berenblatt, something USPS itself recognizes. "We can have a better system when and if the Postal Regulatory Commission approves the Postal Service's request to perform real-time measurement itself," she said.

Shelton Herald: For two days I didn't pick up the mail. No bills to worry about. No get-rich offers to resist. No once-in-a lifetime bargains for timeshare in Trinidad and Tobago. And no solicitations from charities to make me feel guilty. Things just aren't the same anymore. Gone are the days of anticipation when the mail delivery held the possibility of a new job, a college acceptance, a love letter, a secret decoder ring or some other exciting offer you got as a kid with your sugar-coated, artificially colored and artificially flavored breakfast cereal. After two days, my mailbox was bursting at the seams. Out of the 25 or so pieces of mail, not one was — how should I phrase this? — the real deal. It was all junk mail, which is known in polite postal terms as "direct advertising." The good news is that a lot of people make their livelihood from junk mail, including postal workers, copywriters, graphic designers, marketers, printers and garbage haulers. I calculate that if we doubled or tripled the volume of junk mail we produce, America could rival the growth of China's economy in a few years. (Marketers spend $17 billion on postage alone.) Since junk mail is keeping the U.S. economy afloat, President Obama, in one of his last acts as chief elected major domo for the U.S. Postal Service, should join forces with Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court to declare National Junk Mail Day. Then, we could spend the federal holiday sitting around the kitchen table, opening all those envelopes and applying for credit cards, which is surely an economic stimulus.

Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Postal Service is ramping up same-day delivery of everything from bottled water to fresh fish as its new postmaster general tries to better compete with FedEx, UPS and even Amazon.com. In New York City, letter carriers in the early morning hours load boxes of fresh and frozen seafood from Fulton Fish Market onto mail trucks and deliver them to local restaurants by 11 a.m. They collect packages from Internet electronics retailer Newegg Inc. for fast, local afternoon delivery. They're also doing daily water delivery to businesses for Nestlé SA in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Same-day delivery is part of a big push by Megan Brennan, the new postmaster general, to make the postal service more competitive.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Postal Technology International: The latest issue of Postal Technology International is now available online.

EUROPE: Transport Topics: European Union antitrust regulators will decide by Jan. 13 instead of Dec. 8 whether to clear FedEx's $4.9 billion bid for Dutch rival TNT after the logistics companies asked for more time. The European Commission opened a full-scale probe last month, concerned that the deal would lead to higher prices for businesses and consumers because the merged company would only compete with UPS and DHL, a unit of Deutsche Post. "The parties have requested a 20-day extension for the phase II investigation, as they are entitled to do according to the merger regulation," Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said Aug. 14.

NIGERIA: Punch: The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ebony Express Limited, Mr. OkeyUba, has said that the Capital market and postal industry collaborations are crucial for the nation's economic development. Uba stated this while presenting a paper, titled, "Postal Industry and Capital market: A synergy for wealth creation', at Bulk Post's Annual Customer Forum/Public Lecture in Lagos. He said that the ultimate role of the capital market was to raise funds for both government and companies through investments in securities by the public. Uba, who was the guest speaker, said securities documents were generated including public offer forms, share certificates or lodgment notices, annual reports, dividend warrants or dividend credit advice, rights circular, share transfer forms, among others, which require delivery. Thus, he said, the capital market operators engaged the services of the postal industry to collect, convey and deliver the documents to shareholders. "In all, the common gain from this activity of the capital market operators and the postal industry is wealth creation for the investing public," he said.

August 17, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention PostalOne!® Users:Update CI # INC000000664723 – SASP and BIDS Delay -- We are continuing to investigate the root cause of this issue and will provide an estimated fix date when one is determined. The impact is as follows: FS ACS Provisioning is currently delayed by 24 hours. MicroStrategy Reports are currently delayed by 8 hours.

USPS Industry AlertPostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 Production Deployment - PostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 will deploy on Sunday morning Aug 30, 2015 between 4:00 AM CT and 9:00 AM CT. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues to include updates to select BIDS MicroStrategy reports. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will not be a Mail.dat client download required. Please note release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.2.1.0 will be published and can then be found on: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm

DOMESTIC NEWS

Federal Soup: The National Postal Mail Handlers Union announced it has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Postal Service, charging USPS with breaching its contract when it unilaterally reversed an earlier craft determination. In that earlier determination, USPS had determined that that mail handler craft is the primary craft for operating the Postal Service's new Small Parcel Sorting System. That determination was made after both NPMHU, which represents about 45,000 mail handlers, and the American Postal Workers Union submitted position statements vying for the positions. According to information in the lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, neither union disputed the Postal Service's determination to assign the system to the mail handler craft. Beginning June 1, USPS began to implement the determination by posting and awarding bids to member of the mail handler craft for positions on the new system. In some facilities, non-career mail handler assistants had been converted to full-time and permanent career mail handler positions, according to the filing. But on Aug. 7, USPS revered its determination and issued a new determination that certain duties associated with the new system instead would be assigned to the clerk craft represented by APWU. Because the original determination resulted in a tripartite agreement among USPS, NPMHU and APWU, the lawsuit also names APWU as a required party to any litigation.

CNET: Amazon's CEO says he doesn't measure drone delivery's arrival in months. He does say, though, that he expects the service to be ubiquitous. Ever since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos floated the notion, I've been excited about what life will be like when the air is constantly filled with the same sound as when my neighbor cuts his trees with a chainsaw. Bezos remains excited about this too. In an interview with the Telegraph, he said that he expects the sight of his Prime Air drones to be "as common as seeing a mail truck."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

HONG KONG: South China Morning Post: As China's e-commerce market tops US$670 billion, Hong Kong's Tom Group joins JD, Alibaba in targeting rural consumers.

GERMANY: Irish Independent: When monopolies had a popularity peak in the mid-20th century, the common view was that they guaranteed a quiet life. That was certainly the case for our company today, the German postal giant, Deutsche Post (DP), up to the time it went public in 1995. It had been the protected monopoly provider of postal services in the old West Germany from 1947, but the challenges that the emerging world of the internet was likely to throw up fascinated the business world in Germany and abroad and DP took up the task.

THAILAND: Bangkok Post: Thailand Post expects to maintain its stellar profit growth of 10% and reach 2 billion baht this year, supported by the higher-margin express parcel business and booming e-commerce market.

August 15, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office of the Inspector General

  • This management alert focuses on a substantial increase in delayed mail over the last several months (Project Number 15XG023NO001). The U.S. Postal Service considers mail delayed when it is not processed in time to meet its established delivery day. The issue came to our attention during our audit of Mail Processing and Transportation Operational Changes (Project Number 15XG023NO000). Our objective was to assess the timeliness of mail processing after the January 5, 2015, service standard revisions. These revisions were expected to affect about 14 billion pieces of total mail volume, and up to 16 percent of First-Class Mail.

We recommend the vice president, Network Operations:
1. Continue to monitor and mitigate delayed mail processing as appropriate.
2. Assign appropriate staffing and conduct training to ensure timely processing of the mail.
3. Ensure appropriate transportation is in place to help meet the new service standards.
4. Establish criteria for determining if the network has stabilized and ensure the criteria are met prior to resuming the Phase II consolidations or conducting any other optimization efforts.
  • Election Mail Opportunities -- Elections provide opportunities for U.S. citizens to support a candidate or agenda and participate in the political process. In addition to federal and state elections, local elections are held to select municipal officials and school board members and to decide public policy issues. Election jurisdictions typically hold between two and eight elections per year. Every state allows voting by mail via absentee ballot under certain circumstances. Some require an excuse such as illness or out of town travel. More than half of U.S. states allow any registered voter to vote by mail via absentee ballot without an excuse. Election mail is any mailpiece created by an authorized voting registration official and mailed to or from a citizen as part of the voting, registration, and election process. Election mail includes mail-in ballots and ballot materials, voter registration cards, absentee applications, and polling place notifications. Political mail is not official election mail and promotes political candidates, referenda, or campaigns. Our objective was to evaluate voting methods to identify opportunities to increase voting by mail.

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Periodic Reporting , 49184–49186 [2015–20232] [TEXT] 49186 [2015–20233] [TEXT]

Attention Postal One Users : The eDoc backlog issue has been resolved. Files are processing normally and the system has caught up.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Direct Marketing News: The exigent surcharge's expected demise next April is, of course, a good thing for mailers. Even better, the CPI-U (urban consumer price index), which is used to set the percentage of the Postal Service's annual rate increase, was up only 0.1% this June over last June. That sets up a possible scenario in which, come spring of 2016, mailers would see the 4.3% surcharge go away and no higher rate installed—a hallelujah situation if ever there was one. But nothing is that simple when it comes to matters postal. In fact, Joe Schick, Quad/Graphics' director of postal affairs, maintains that no CPI rate increase could turn out to be a bad thing for mailers. "It's good for the obvious reason, but it could be bad if it interferes with adjustments to mail preparation," Schick wrote in a blog this week. Under the Postal Service's annual request for, say, a 2% increase like the one granted for 2015 are rate changes all around that number for separate classes of mail. Big mailers like Quad have several efficiency projects surrounding some of those classes in the works with USPS that would require rate changes to be put into effect. But class changes are nearly impossible to attain without a blanket CPI rate boost.

USA Today: It's no secret that the U.S. Postal Service has been consolidating and shutting down mail sites as more people abandon mail for communicating and paying bills through the Internet. But the agency had no idea that its cost-saving measures and other delaying complications would push the envelope. Mail delays rose by almost 50% to the tune of almost 500 million pieces of mail in the first six months of the year compared to last year, the U.S. Postal Service self-monitoring office said in an audit report to managers. In the 12-page document dated Aug. 13, the agency's Office of Inspector General blamed Post Office organizational changes and the brutal winter.

Wall Street Journal: Wearable computers like Google Glass never took off with consumers but the Internet-connected eyewear are finding their niche in the logistics industry. Exel, the freight forwarding arm of Deutsche Post DHL Group's supply-chain management business, is preparing to test "vision picking"— replacing handheld scanners and paper job orders with wearable "smart-glass" devices outfitted with warehouse management software—in two U.S. warehouses later this year.

Washington Examiner: The United States Postal Service is too focused on marketing itself to political candidates who need to send mailers, and should spend more time marketing itself to people who could be voting by mail, according to a report released by the USPS Office of Inspector General earlier this month. "The Postal Service has … focused its marketing and sales efforts on the larger, more lucrative political mail market and has not developed a marketing and sales strategy for election mail," the OIG said in the report. The Postal Service defines political mail as mail that "promotes political candidates, referenda, or campaigns" sent by any "political candidate, federal, state or local campaign committee, or political party." The report criticized the discrepancy in revenue between political and election mail, noting that in 2014, "the Postal Service had over $317 million in political mail revenue as opposed to $24 million in election mail revenue."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

JAPAN: Nikkei Asian Review: The government-owned Japan Post Holdings and its two financial units are eyeing November for their simultaneous listing, expected to be the biggest initial public offering in Japan in decades. The holding company and the two units -- Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance -- submitted their formal applications to the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the end of June. The bourse is likely to approve the applications as early as Sept. 10. The parties have been working to set the IPO date around Nov. 4.

UNITED KINGDOM: Belfast Telegraph: Palace Barracks: Explosion at MI5 headquarters and Army base in Northern Ireland caused by device hidden in postal van.

CANADA: The Chronicle Herald: As door-to-door mail service ends in many parts of Halifax and Dartmouth, 55 permanent and 172 temporary Canada Post workers will lose their jobs. The president of the Nova Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the public may believe that the permanent employees who will lose their jobs are relatively recent hires, but Tony Rogers says that's not true.

CANADA: Yahoo! News Canada: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre took matters into his own hands in his battle against Canada Post's plan to end door-to-door mail delivery in urban areas. On Thursday, Coderre took a jackhammer to the concrete slab foundation that would be the base for community mailboxes in Parc l'Anse-à-l'Orme, on the western edge of the island. He said it was installed without authorization from the municipality. He said Canada Post made assurances it would consult with municipalities before setting up the boxes but the mayor said the Crown corporation is "doing what they want, savagely and they're arrogant." Coderre called the promise to collaborate "baloney." Several mayors across Canada, including Ottawa's Jim Watson and Vancouver's Gregor Robertson, have expressed the same concerns.

August 14, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One Users :

  • PostalOne! is currently experiencing a backlog which may result in Mail.dat submissions showing as "In Progress" for 45 minutes or more. The files are being queued and will be processed. We are actively working to process the backlog and expect all jobs to successfully complete. In the interim, Mail.dat jobs will be accepted under the PostalOne! Contingency Plan to avoid disruption of your mailing operations. https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf The incident is currently under investigation. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any additional questions please contact the help desk at 800-522-9085. Update CI # INC000000664723 – SASP and BIDS Delay We are continuing to investigate the root cause of this issue and will provide an estimated fix date when one is determined. The impact is as follows: · FS ACS Provisioning is current · MicroStrategy Reports are currently delayed by 4 hours

USPS Office of the Inspector General : In a memorandum, Robert J. Batta Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Mission Operations notes to Linda M. Malone, USPS Vice President, Network Operations noted that a

. . . recent management alert focuses on a substantial increase in delayed mail over the last several months (Project Number 15XG023NO001). The U.S. Postal Service considers mail delayed when it is not processed in time to meet its established delivery day. The issue came to our attention during our audit of Mail Processing and Transportation Operational Changes (Project Number 15XG023NO000). Our objective was to assess the timeliness of mail processing after the January 5, 2015, service standard revisions. These revisions were expected to affect about 14 billion pieces of total mail volume, and up to 16 percent of First-Class Mail . . . .
The service standard revisions included the elimination of single-piece overnight FirstClass Mail service and also shifted a portion of mail from a 2-day service standard to a 3-day service standard. According to a June 2014 Postal Service commissioned study, more than 80 percent of consumers say that adding one delivery day to local and national mail would have "no effect" or it would be a "change (they) could easily adapt to."
This alert includes analysis of First-Class Mail service following the service standard revisions. We plan to analyze service performance for other classes of mail during our audit of mail processing and transportation operational changes. Processing and distribution centers nationwide had to adjust their mail processing and transportation operations to meet the critical entry times (CET), clearance times, and dispatches of value associated with the new, expanded operational window. This was the largest change that has ever been made to the nationwide network of mail processing and transportation operations.
These changes took place during a major effort to align plants with mail volume, which is known as Network Rationalization. Phase I involved consolidating 141 mail processing facilities between 2012 and 2013. Under Phase II, begun in January 2015, the Postal Service planned to consolidate 82 additional facilities by October 2015. However, many stakeholders have voiced concerns that delayed mail is increasing and service is declining as a result of major network changes.
In May 2015, the Postal Service's chief operating officer (COO) announced that, in response to customers' concerns about the need to stabilize service performance, the Postal Service would delay implementation of Phase II consolidations. However, the COO did not provide a definite date for resuming the consolidations.

Federal Register

  • Postal Regulatory Commission
    NOTICES New Postal Products, 48934–48935 [2015–20052] [TEXT]

  • Postal Service
    RULES Standards Governing the Design of Curbside Mailboxes, 48702–48718 [2015–20033] [TEXT]
    NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 48935–48936 [2015–20031] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

North Platte Bulletin: The Center for Rural Affairs has signed letters of support for continuing reliable, affordable six-day mail delivery from the U.S. Postal Service. Particularly for remote rural citizens, the postal service is a lifeline, said Marie Powell of the Center. In a report in the center's online newsletter, Powell said nearly 10,000 people have signed the pledge. "We also signed letters of support for two bi-partisan measures in the House of Representatives," she said. One bill, HR 54, would restore service standards to those in use before last January's reductions. Powell said the combination of reduced service standards and closing mail processing facilities has left rural Americans and businesses experiencing the worst of mail delays.

New York Times: In what experts say is the first acknowledgment of how the United States Postal Service's mail surveillance program for national security investigations is used, the service's internal watchdog found that inspectors failed to follow key safeguards in the gathering and handling of classified information. The overall program, called mail covers, allows postal employees working on behalf of law enforcement agencies to record names, return addresses and other information from the outside of letters and packages before they are delivered to the home of a person suspected of criminal activity. The information about national security mail covers, amid heated public debate over the proper limits on government surveillance, was contained in an audit conducted by the Postal Service's inspector general last year. Although much of the information was public, sections about the national security mail covers were heavily redacted. An unredacted copy of the report was provided to a security researcher in response to a Freedom of Information Act request this year. The researcher, who goes by a single legal name, Sai, shared the report with The New York Times.

WSB: de have been accused of cheating on time sheets and are still getting paid, an investigation by Channel 2 Action News uncovered. Thirty-six postmasters are on the list of employees investigated for time and attendance fraud, including one postmaster in the Atlanta metro area. The U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General recorded 275 cases of potential time and attendance fraud since 2012. The accused are a tiny fraction of the postal service's 617,000 employees, but they are allegedly stealing money from an agency struggling to stay solvent and looking for Congress to help it survive.

DNAInfo: A former postman is looking for a stamp of approval from the U.S. Postal Service when it comes to updating the agency's uniforms. Marty Grace, who worked as a mail carrier at a Bedford-Stuyvesant post office and other locations for 22 years, creates his own USPS gear and sells the merchandise to postal workers around the country, he said. "I got involved because of the need," Grace said. "The light blue shirts we were wearing were always getting dirty, and everybody wanted something fresh-looking." Grace, 48, has been selling his shirts since 2002 and recently launched an online petition asking the federal agency to approve the designs. The Jamaica, Queens resident creates dozens of unofficial uniform variations in his home — screening and pressing up to 300 shirts a day, he said.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CHINA: WARC.com: Outdoor marketers in China are being offered opportunities for more precise targeting as China Post, the postal service, has upgraded its 20,000 digital outdoor screens to incorporate features such as facial recognition technology. In 20 cities across the country, cameras attached to the screens can take a series of images of viewers with the system then able to compare them against a database of biometric profiles before linking these to programmatic buying information and delivering dynamic content.

August 13, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal RegisterPostal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 48572 [2015–19864][TEXT]

USPS Industry Alert: USPS Shipping Products and Services Webinar Series August 18, 2015, 11a.m. EDT  Join the Postal Service for a webinar on My USPS.com -- a dashboard that provides you with the ability to track and manage your incoming packages in a simple and convenient way. By using My USPS.com, you can see the status of your packages — throughout key points in the delivery process — in one place. You also can manage these packages by requesting delivery updates via email or text message, providing delivery instructions on certain packages, or requesting redeliveries if needed. Speaker: Patti Mason, Manager, Digital Media. Attendee Information: US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 17345196 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=ea6303940eab039a6b4af29392947eb28

DOMESTIC NEWS

eCommerceBytes: Endicia says Uber and Amazon are making moves to enter the package-delivery space, reportedly testing crowd-sourcing services where "everyday folks" will deliver packages. The shipping software company conducted a survey that found that while 67% of respondents said they would use such a service from Uber or Amazon, 34% would be more likely to use traditional carriers such as USPS, FedEx and UPS. Top reasons for sticking to traditional shipping carriers: familiarity, reliability, security, and convenience. "US Postal workers are, in a way, like Uber drivers for Amazon," a Bloomberg reporter opined in an interview with her colleague. You can watch the video interview on the Bloomberg website. The accompanying article quotes Bernstein Research data that estimates Amazon pays the USPS $2 per package, "which is about half what it would pay UPS and FedEx."

The Hill: The Postal Service is finalizing new design standards for curbside mailboxes. Under the new rule, new locking and non-locking curbside mailboxes must be able to accommodate the insertion or removal of a new minimum-sized mail item 7 inches high by 13 inches wide by 16 inches deep. Locked mailboxes will need to pass a three-minute physical security test of the customer access door using commonly available hand and pry tools and a three-minute manual test to ensure that mail can't be removed through the front carrier door. The new standard covers all curbside mailboxes that are served by a carrier from a vehicle on any city, rural or highway contract route. The standard does not apply to mailboxes made for door delivery service.

Wall Street Journal:  FedEx Corp. is not concerned about the European Commission's decision to open a full investigation into its intended €4.4 billion ($4.8 billion) takeover of TNT Express NV, and is not currently moving toward identifying possible remedies to eliminate the European Union's antitrust concerns.

Daily Yonder: The U.S. Postal Service leases most of the buildings it uses for post offices. The relationship of a local post office to its landlord – sometimes located in distant states – can affect the cost of the lease, the timeliness of repairs, and, in one case, even the existence of the local P.O. Dakotafire Media, a reporting collaborative serving parts of North and South Dakota, examines patterns of post-office ownership. This story originally appeared as part of a series on the Dakotafire website and in collaborating newspapers.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

GERMANY: Air Cargo World: In the face of a near meltdown, is it time for Deutsche Post DHL to divest itself of its DHL Global Forwarding division? It is an incredible question to ask, but one that is prompted by the tu-multuous events going on within the group's forwarding business. Has DHL Global Forwarding just become too un-wieldy and unmanageable in its present state? Separating the company from its current German parent could provide more corporate focus and allow it to revitalize its prospects.

DENMARK - SWEDEN: Business Wire: E-commerce displays strong growth, while mail volumes continue to fall, especially in Denmark. Implemented restructuring programs improve profit. During the quarter PostNord signed several major contracts in the area of parcel distribution, both in B2B and B2C, as well as a significant contract with the COOP chain of cooperative association supermarkets in Denmark regarding the distribution of direct mail. About a third of the new agreements that we enter into are in the e-commerce segment, which is continuing to grow strongly, and B2C parcel volumes rose by 17% during the quarter. During the quarter PostNord expanded its strategic cooperation with the international network DPDgroup, which is the second largest service provider in the European parcel market. The core of the expanded cooperation comprises a powerful B2C strategy, which will link PostNord's and DPDgroup's distribution networks, thereby creating a harmonized system with service points at 26,000 locations in Europe. PostNord entered into an agreement to acquire the company Uudenmaan Pikakuljetus Oy in Finland. This deal reinforces PostNord Finland's position in logistics solutions. In the wake of continued digitization, mail volumes continued to decline, especially in Denmark. In total, mail volumes declined by 9% in the quarter, of which 15% in Denmark and 7% in Sweden. It is vital that amendments to the postal regulations should be based on the continually changing needs of customers so that a universal postal service can be maintained in the long term under reasonable economic conditions.

August 12, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission:

USPS Office of the Inspector General:

Background. Elections provide opportunities for U.S. citizens to support a candidate or agenda and participate in the political process. In addition to federal and state elections, local elections are held to select municipal officials and school board members and to decide public policy issues. Election jurisdictions typically hold between two and eight elections per year. Generally citizens use one of three methods to cast their votes — a traditional polling place via electronic or paper ballot, an absentee paper ballot, or early in-person voting . . . . Every state allows voting by mail via absentee ballot under certain circumstances . . . . Election mail includes mail-in ballots and ballot materials, voter registration cards, absentee applications, and polling place notifications. Political mail is not official election mail and promotes political candidates, referenda, or campaigns. Our objective was to evaluate voting methods to identify opportunities to increase voting by mail.
What the OIG Found. The U.S. Postal Service has opportunities to increase voting by mail to grow mail volume and revenue. Voting by mail offers benefits to voters and election officials yet, on average, only 24 percent of voters in states that allow voting by mail with no excuse took advantage of this option in the 2012 presidential election. The Postal Service has the opportunity to expand voting by mail as election officials face challenges in replacing aging and outdated election equipment. Finally, Internet alternatives will likely not be viable for widespread use until security concerns are addressed. The Postal Service has not taken full advantage of these opportunities because it has focused its marketing and sales efforts on the larger, more lucrative political mail market and has not developed a marketing and sales strategy for election mail. Highlights The U.S. Postal Service has opportunities to increase voting by mail to grow mail volume and revenue. 1 Election Mail Opportunities Report Number MS-AR-15-007
What the OIG Recommended. We recommended the Postal Service develop a strategy to increase voting by mail to grow election mail volume and revenue. A strategy to encourage increased voting by mail could grow mail volume and revenue an estimated $2 million each year, increase momentum for election jurisdictions to transition to all-mail voting, and support the Postal Service's obligation to bind the nation together.
Executive Summary. The parcel delivery value chain is in flux. Once operations-driven and predictable, today's value chain is dynamic, complex, and multi-faceted in response to technology, evolving customer preferences, and booming e-commerce. This changed dynamic means that if postal operators wish to remain competitive in the parcel space, they must understand these changes and adapt. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General held an international roundtable on March 9, 2015, to discuss the new parcel value chain and strategic implications for posts.
During the event, two trends emerged as particularly transformative: (1) Increased Customer Power. The Internet, social media, and mobile devices have empowered customers with more information, choice, and forums to air their opinions, express their preferences, and compare their buying options. As a result, the power to influence the customer experience has shifted from supplier to recipient. Moreover, both senders and recipients increasingly expect a fast, customized, diversified, and low-cost experience in a "personal logistics network." (2) Technology-Driven Business Models. New software enables nimble, innovative asset-free start-ups to create flexible business models that can anticipate and quickly respond to emerging customer needs. For instance, Roadie and Shyp, two start-ups, seek to do the same in crowdsourced delivery services as Uber did in crowdsourced passenger transport. Such algorithm-based business models significantly lower barriers to entry and align with emerging customer preferences; a low start-up cost allows these firms to selectively compete with postal operators in the most promising markets. The trends are threats and opportunities for the Postal Service, which will need to proactively monitor their development. Moreover, appropriate response strategies will be critical if the Postal Service is to remain competitive in a changing marketplace. The success of these strategies will depend on the ability of postal operators to redesign the parcel value chain in a way that is customer-centric and information-rich. This will involve a multipronged approach: defend and strengthen the last mile, expand along the parcel delivery value chain through strategic partnerships and diversification into complementary business lines, and leverage new technologies and data. Such an approach would help reposition posts at the center of the value chain.

Attention PostalOne!® Users: Update on the critical incident ticket (INC000000664723) opened to track processing delays within the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) and Business Intelligence Data Store (BIDS) systems. (1) FS ACS Provisioning is current (2) Microstrategy Reports are delayed by 7 hour. An update will be sent as soon as they become available.

Attention BIDS MicroStrategy Report Users: BIDS MicroStrategy Release 41.2.0.1 will deploy to Production tomorrow, Thursday, August 13, 2015. This will be a phased deployment, with the first phase planned for 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM CT, and the second phase scheduled for 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM CT. This release will address certain defects in MicroStrategy reports. While no outage is anticipated, users logged into the application during either of the above maintenance windows may need to login again as the system refreshes with the update. The release notes for BIDS MicroStrategy Release 41.2.0.1 will be published at the following page: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releases/may2015/releasenotes.cfm.

DOMESTIC NEWS

AL.com: Eight people from Alabama and Georgia were sentenced to prison last week for their part in a stolen identity fraud ring that targeted U.S. Army soldiers, the U.S. department of Justice announced. The conspiracy led to $24 million in fraudulent tax claims and involved 9,000 soldiers, including some who were serving in Afghanistan. To continue the scheme, [The perpetrators]. . .recruited U.S. Postal Service employees. The corrupt postal employees specified addresses along their postal routes to have the U.S. Treasury checks mailed, then obtained those checks and turned them over to the defendants for a fee. Almost $10 million in fraudulent tax refund checks were cashed at several businesses located in Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.

MyPrintResource: Epicomm will present a series of three webinars to help companies fully utilize the U.S. Postal Service Mailer Scorecard. Webinars will be moderated by Epicomm Vice President/Postal and Member Relations Leo Raymond, and feature panelists Tammy Caserta, Director of Mailing & Digital Services, Think Patented, Miamisburg, Ohio, and Michael Patterson, Postal Logistics, Tri-Win Direct, Dallas, Texas. The series includes sessions for Mailer Scorecard Beginners—Introduction and the basics (August 18); Intermediate users—Focus on Mail.dat (August 20); and Advanced users—Focus on Micro-Strategy Reports and defending yourself against errors (August 25). Each one-hour webinar begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

eCommerceBytes: In terms of dollars and cents, eBay and Amazon benefit from the shipping costs merchants charge shoppers. In the pre-Internet days, Shipping & Handling was a profit center for mail order companies, but now online merchants are lucky to break even thanks to the pressure to offer free shipping. Even for those who do try to recoup expenses by charging buyers S&H, a certain percentage of those charges has become an outright expense when it comes to selling on eBay and Amazon thanks to their respective policies. On Amazon, the marketplace processes payments on behalf of merchants, and while it charges non-Prime customers for shipping, it doesn't pass along the entire amount to the non-FBA merchants who actually incur the cost of shipping the items to the customer. eBay also takes a cut of seller shipping charges. Four years ago, eBay started charging commission fees (Final Value Fees) on the total selling price - including S&H, but excluding sales tax. Not only is the policy wildly unpopular, eBay fails to credit sellers if they refund buyers for overcharges when purchasing multiple items.

eCommerceBytes: The government is scrutinizing the Stamps.com deal to acquire Endicia, but Stamps said it expects the deal to go through this year. It also revealed that if the deal does not gain antitrust regulatory approval, Stamps must pay Endicia's parent company Newell $10.75 million. Both companies are USPS PC Postage providers that offer solutions to shippers and mailers, including online merchants. Stamps announced in March that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Endicia for $215 million in cash.

Financial Times: A U.S. regulator has aroused the wrath of the elderly, the postal service and the paper industry, by proposing that mutual funds disseminate investor information online only, rather than sending out hard copies. The proposed rule, part of the Securities Exchange Commission reporting modernisation efforts, aims to enhance and standardise disclosure requirements for mutual funds and exchange traded funds. But as the period for public comments closed on Tuesday, the almost 200 responses focused heavily on opposition to the removal of paper reports being sent to investors.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser: A package mailed from Las Vegas containing a Golden Nugget casino sweater, a pillowcase and 6 pounds of methamphetamine led authorities to a man's Aiea apartment, where he allegedly kept another 14 pounds of crystal meth, a large amount of cash and a revolver, according to court documents. Authorities intercepted the package last week, and a postal inspector posing as a mail carrier delivered it to the Kaonohi Street apartment building.

eCommerceBytes: eBay will host a webinar on Monday in conjunction with the US Postal Service to answer questions about shipping via USPS. eBay seller advocate Jim (Griff) Griffith will be joined by Maria Aspiras, who will answer questions through the live webcast. The webinar takes place August 17th at 1:30 pm PST. You can learn more at http://ebay.yourbrandlive.com/c/shipping/.

Press Release: - LaserShip announced expansion of their service network into 5 areas: MI, KY, OH, IN, and W. PA. The expansion is a result of their acquisition of Prestige Delivery Systems in 2014 as well as the increasing demand of same-day and next-day shipping options for ecommerce consumers. LaserShip now services 22 states and Washington, D.C. and has the largest one-day and two-day footprint in the eastern U.S. Their continued expansion is the latest evidence of the growing threat to national carriers, along with other companies such as Deliv and Uber who are offering last-mile delivery services.

re/code Fourteen years after his first same-day delivery service went belly up, Webvan founder Louis Borders is working on a redo. The serial entrepreneur, who also co-founded the Borders bookstore chain, is developing a $99-a-year shopping club that aims to deliver groceries and other merchandise from partnering retailers on the same day they are ordered. This time, though, Borders thinks he has a secret weapon to make the economics work: A robotic warehousing system where people are an afterthought. "It takes out almost all of the human labor," he said.

Deseret News:  The International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian relief organization, has made available to all humanitarian groups a "FedEx-style" package tracking system, as Wired described it, to track donated goods.

Fresno Bee: Shipping company FedEx will pay $1.75 million to settle suits brought over alleged illegal transportation and storage of hazardous waste. FedEx Ground disputed the claims, but the company was cooperative in the investigation and it has corrected all of the alleged violations, investigators said.

Memphis Commercial Appeal: A stamp collector in Memphis who purchased first-day covers of the new Elvis Presley postage stamp two days before its issue date says he was contacted by U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigators on Tuesday morning. "They were very kind; they were very polite," said David Saks, who bought three sheets of the stamps Monday afternoon at a post office in Mason in Tipton County. "They inquired as to whether I had previous knowledge that the stamps would be available before Aug. 12. I did not. They also inquired as to whether I had exchanged any additional money with the clerk, which I did not, and would be illegal to do so." Saks, 63 and retired, said the agents indicated that he had done nothing wrong. He had called around to a number of post offices before finding one that said they had Elvis stamps to sell. The stamp's official issue date is today, with a ceremony at 8 a.m. at Graceland featuring Priscilla Presley and other dignitaries.

National Association of Letter CarriersStatement of NALC President Frederic Rolando -- Today's results show the impressive Postal Service financial turnaround continuing in full force. After three quarters, the operating profit for 2015 stands at $1.2 billion, compared to $1 billion for the first three quarters of 2014. The relatively small operating loss of $197 million for the third quarter isn't unexpected—the third quarter is typically the slowest—but it doesn't change the fact that 2015 is turning into one of the USPS' most impressive annual performances since the Great Recession. Moreover, this reflects the positive trend in operating profits that began in 2013 and that includes last year's $1.4 billion operating profit. USPS officials said they expect "positive controllable income for the fiscal year." The operating profits stem from structural factors and thus augur well for the future. Revenue is growing as an improving economy leads to stabilized letter revenue and as rising online shopping produces skyrocketing package revenue. Letter revenue fell 2.2 percent for the quarter, while package revenue rose a striking 10.6 percent. This three-year trend in operating profitability makes clear the need to strengthen – not degrade – the now-profitable networks. We hope to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the administration and the postmaster general to build on the progress achieved in the last Congress, within the mailing industry and among major stakeholders on consensus postal reform that promotes a strong and vibrant Postal Service. The Postal Service enjoys widespread support from the public and lawmakers.

Linns: Every quarter a small drama plays out over the latest United States Postal Service financial numbers that come out of USPS headquarters at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington. Postal officials bemoan the size of the U.S. Postal Service's growing deficit, but postal labor officials argue the actual numbers that matter aren't that bad. The third-quarter numbers, released Aug. 10, showed that the best news the USPS has is that its packing and shipping business is continuing to grow rapidly. First-class and advertising mail numbers continued to drop. Package revenues were up 10.6 percent for the quarter, while letter revenues dropped 2.2 percent. While that might seem like some good news, a note in the agency's latest Form 10-Q financial filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission points out that the Postal Service's costs for shipping and package service "are substantially higher than our costs associated with First-Class Mail."

Record Journal: Expanding its presence in the state and along the East Coast, Amazon plans to open a sorting center on Research Parkway. The global online retailer is leasing a building at 29 Research Parkway for the facility, according to Aaron Toso, a company spokesman. Toso added that the facility will create "hundreds of jobs" for the state. The company is unsure when the facility will open. Amazon refers to the facility as a "sortation center," which differs from a fulfillment center. Packages delivered to the sorting center will already be in sealed boxes, which employees will organize by zip code to be sent out for delivery. By creating the "sortation centers," Amazon hopes to avoid shipping delays, according to Bloomberg Business. The facility is across the street from the U.S. Postal Service sorting and distribution facility, 24 Research Parkway.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

GERMANY: Postal Technology International: Deutsche Post DHL Group has announced that it has taken important steps toward its long-term business plan – Strategy 2020 – after it released its second quarter (Q2) figures for 2015.

EUROPE: Postal Technology International: Germany has the largest network of parcel shops and lockers in Europe according to a report by independent research and consulting firm Apex Insight. The European Parcel Shop and Locker Networks Market Insight Report 2015 gives a detailed historical account of each country's parcel shop and locker network, as well as a forecast of its development. It includes sections that examine the strategies of the main network operators, a profile of the locker manufacturers and the development of eight of the leading markets (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK). The report lists Germany as being at the forefront of local parcel pick-up and drop-off points, although France, Poland and the UK are also listed as having extensive networks. Parcel shops are shown to account for the majority of the 100,000+ locations, versus alternatives such as supermarkets or convenience stores.

BOTSWANA: Botswana Daily News: Postal service providers have to modify their business models and collaborate in regional blocks such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) until full integration with the rest of the world is attained. Giving a keynote address at the 14th annual general meeting of the Southern African Postal Operators Association (SAPOA), Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority's deputy chief executive officer, Mr Mphoeng Tamasiga, said business and individual customer expectations were getting higher than in any other generation. "We can no longer conduct ourselves and our institutions as if it is business as usual," he said. He said the postal sector across the globe bore the worst brunt of these changing times and had to come up with innovative ways to not only survive, but grow and thrive.

August 11, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission:

USPS Office of the Inspector General:

  • Have New Service Standards Impacted First-Class Mailers? -- In 2011, based on dramatically declining mail volumes and the subsequent excess capacity in its mail processing network, the Postal Service announced plans to revise its service standards, which would enable it to streamline its mail processing and transportation. In January 2015, the Postal Service implemented Phase 2 of its plan to update its processing network. Phase 2 changed operations for processing and distribution centers, which process and dispatch mail to and from post offices and collection boxes within a region. Phase 2 also changed the service standards for several mail classes, including First-Class Mail. Generally, the time it takes First-Class Mail to reach its destination increased from an overall average of 1.8 days to an overall average of 2.1 days. The critical entry time (CET) for First-Class Mail also changed. The CET is the latest time mail can be inducted into the postal network to be processed and dispatched in time to meet service standards. If the Postal Service accepts a mailing before the posted CET for that day, the day of receipt is designated as the arrival date. If the mailing is accepted after the CET, the mailing will have an arrival date of the following processing day. Under the service revision, the current process for entering mail will remain in place while the Postal Service evaluates how to make changes that will minimize the impact on business mailers inducting large quantities of mail. (1) Have the service standard changes had any impact on processing of your First-Class flats? If so, please explain how. (2) Have the new critical entry times for First-Class Mail presented difficulties in service commitments? If so, please explain how. (3) Have you noticed any significant delays in delivery of your First-Class flats? If so, please explain how.
     

  • When Did You Last See an Ad for a Postal Service International Product? -- The Postal Service offers a host of international products including Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Mail International. It receives billions of dollars in revenues each year from these products and expects even more as the international mailing and shipping marketplace continues to expand. At the same time, the Postal Service faces significant competition from domestic and international private delivery companies and other foreign posts. Consequently, it is critical that the Postal Service effectively markets its international products and services. We would like to hear your opinions about the marketing of international products. When is the last time you saw an advertisement or marketing campaign for the Postal Service's international products and services? How do you think the Postal Service's international marketing compares to that of its competitors? Who do you think could benefit from the Postal Service's international products and services, and do you think the Postal Service is effectively marketing to these potential customers? What suggestions do you have to improve the Postal Service's marketing of its international products and services?
     

  • Curbing Workers' Comp Abuses -- Disability programs are vital for a nation that supports its citizens. In the United States, federal employees, including postal workers, who suffer employment-related injury or illness are entitled to workers' compensation under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). The U.S. Postal Service funds workers' compensation benefits for employees who sustain job-related injuries. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, the Postal Service incurred over $1.3 billion in workers' compensation expenses. In addition, the Postal Service estimated its liability for future workers' compensation costs at nearly $17.1 billion. The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers the workers' compensation program and then bills the Postal Service for reimbursement. While most compensation claims are legitimate, fraud and abuse do occur. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) focuses resources on identifying claimants and providers who defraud the system. In FY 2014, OIG investigations saved the Postal Service more than $275 million in future workers' compensation costs, and arrested 82 individuals for workers' compensation fraud . . . . What suggestions do you have for preventing workers' compensation fraud? And if you suspect fraud by either a Postal Service employee or provider, please contact our office at 888-877-7644.
     

  • Use of Leased Fleet Trailers – Northeast Area -- The U.S. Postal Service leases about 9,000 trailers nationwide for operations. It procures trailers to meet local transportation needs and assigns them to specific facilities. Each Postal Service area is responsible for trailer use and requirements. As of September 2014, 3,021 trailers were leased in the Northeast Area. Our objective was to assess the use of leased trailers in the Northeast Area.
     

  • Oversight of Expense Purchase Cards -- The expense purchase card is the most commonly used purchase card in the U.S. Postal Service. Postal Service personnel use it for purchases under $10,000 when day-to-day operational needs cannot be met through other sources such as catalogs and contracts. Only employees with a written delegation of authority can use the card. In addition, cardholders are required to obtain prior approval before making purchases and must maintain records to support their purchases for 3 years. Cardholders and credit card approving officials must also complete expense purchase card training and approving officials must reconcile cardholders' transactions monthly to verify they were made for business purposes. Our objective was to assess the Postal Service's oversight of expense card purchases and payments.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Memphis Commercial Appeal -- Two days before the issue date of the new Elvis Presley postage stamp, a collector from Memphis managed to purchase three first-day covers from a rural West Tennessee post office. David Saks, a lifelong philatelist who in 1993 was first in line at Graceland to pick up the U.S. Postal Service's original Elvis stamp, bought the three 16-stamp sheets Monday from a post office in Mason. The covers, designed to look like the sleeve of a 45 rpm vinyl record, are dotted with circular cancellation marks bearing the date Aug. 10. Saks also received a receipt for his $23.52 purchase that bears the same date stamp. "I thought, just as a lark, one of the satellite stations throughout Shelby County, Tipton or Fayette might have some," Saks said. "So I called the Macon post office ... . The postal clerk answered the phone, and I said, ‘I'm just calling to see if you have any of the Elvis stamps.' And she said, ‘Well, yes, sir, I have three sheets.' I said, ‘Will you hold them for me?' And, man, I just threw on these junky clothes, drove 70 miles to get there. Walked in and she sold those to me, and canceled them." Errors in cancellation dates (such as a date that precedes the day of issue) are highly prized by collectors. Saks estimates his canceled first-day covers could sell for as much as $15,000 to $20,000, if they're the only ones that leaked early. Saks said he called at least a half-dozen post offices to ask about the stamps. "They said, ‘No, sir, we are absolutely not authorized, we cannot sell them, it is forbidden. They are not to be seen until Wednesday morning.'"

Wall Street Journal: The owner of onetime mail-order music giant Columbia House filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, seeking to sell what remains of its business after almost two decades of declining revenue. Filmed Entertainment Inc. filed for chapter 11 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, citing the advent of digital music and dramatic changes in technology that are threatening to render CDs and DVDs obsolete. Since peaking in 1996 at about $1.4 billion, revenue has declined almost every year since, according to FEI director Glenn Langberg. Last year, net revenue was just $17 million.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ITALY: Bloomberg: Italy is proceeding with a plan to sell as much as 40 percent of the country's postal system, the biggest disposal of a state asset by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government as it seeks to cut public debt. The government may raise as much as 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) from the initial public offering, valuing the postal carrier at about 10 billion euros, according to a person familiar with the IPO plan.

EGYPT: Daily News Egypt: The Egypt Post Authority has completed the installation of surveillance cameras in 1,100 post offices so far, within the framework of its procedures to insure its offices against burglary and robbery, which recently saw an increased incidence. The authority is also set to continue implementing the single-window system, to include all the offices affiliated to the post, which makes it easier for clients to access all services from a single window.

August 10, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office of the Inspector General: The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated a review of the U.S. Postal Service's International Marketing Efforts. Our objective is to evaluate the Postal Service's marketing efforts for its international products and services. The OIG established an Audit Asks web site to provide an opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on our projects. Web site visitors can register comments and upload documents related to our project at the link below. We will consider and use this information as appropriate during the course of our work. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me at 636-345-9722 or Carol Frizell, Auditor-In-Charge, at (630) 315-2768.

[Sen. Carper] Senator Thomas Carper: Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a statement following the announcement that the U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of $586 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2015:

"Today's financial report highlights the Postal Service's best efforts and ongoing challenges to sustain and maximize its unique 200-year-old distribution network. Despite its efforts, the Postal Service's longstanding financial and legislative burdens coupled with an ongoing decline in the volume of First Class mail make this American institution's existing business model unsustainable and its future uncertain. Today's news underscores that the only way to alleviate the Postal Service's financial challenges and preserve its opportunity to grow in the digital age is for Congress to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation. Though the current financial state of the Postal Service is better than past financial reports, continued losses of this kind do little to bring the Postal Service out of its fiscal quagmire. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress, the Administration, and stakeholders to fix the serious, but solvable challenges facing the Postal Service."

Postal Regulatory Commission

DOMESTIC NEWS

Weirton Daily Times: A U.S. Postal Service employee at the Steubenville office has been placed on a non-duty, non-pay status after investigators found 2,000 pieces of mail in the worker's personal vehicle. Federal officials are not releasing the name of the employee but indicated in an e-mail statement sent to the Herald-Star, postal management will determine what will happen to the employee. "On July 30, 2015, special agents with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General received a call from a supervisor at the Steubenville post office. The supervisor had observed a large amount of mail in an employee's personal vehicle in the employee parking lot. USPS OIG special agents went to the post office, interviewed the employee and received consent to search the employee's vehicle," Special Agent Scott Balfour of the U.S. Postal Office of Inspector General stated. "USPS OIG special agents recovered about 2,000 pieces of mail, which have since been delivered. The employee is currently in a non-duty, non-pay status," Balfour said.

Global Newswire: The U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of $586 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 (April 1, 2015 -- June 30, 2015), a reduction of $1.4 billion from the net loss of $2 billion for same period last year. Operating revenue was $16.5 billion for the quarter, essentially unchanged from the same period last year. Due to the seasonality of its business, the Postal Service has historically experienced lower revenue during the third quarter of each year. A price increase impacting certain mail classes went into effect on May 31, 2015; however this was offset by declining mail volumes as First-Class Mail and Standard Mail volumes fell 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Shipping and package revenue and volume increased by 10.6 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively, from the same quarter last year.

ArtDaily: The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum opened "PostSecret: The Power of a Postcard" Aug. 3. The exhibition offers a contemporary narrative of mail and the postal service, highlighting the aesthetics of postcards and the juxtaposition between anonymity and shared experiences. It also reveals the unique relationship between mail, digital technology and social media. The exhibition is open through September 2016. More than 500 artfully decorated postcards mailed anonymously from around the world reveal regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, childhood humiliation and other compelling confessions. From taboos to confessions of hidden acts of kindness and shocking habits and fears, the display shares deep secrets by individuals seeking a safe and anonymous space to share untold stories. A pyramid of more than one-quarter million stacked cards is also on display, representing the magnitude and popularity of sharing secrets via postcards.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

INDIA: Business Standard: The surge in business through e-commerce parcels has forced India Post to reduce its traditional dependence on Indian Railways and more on own vehicles for short-haul (200-500 km) routes. The reason has also to do with their difficulty in getting permission for installing closed-circuit TV for security purposes in an allotted train compartment. This makes it impossible to track the orders from a security point of view. "We need to change our delivery mechanism, which has remained the same over the decades. We have to evolve with the changing dynamics, especially seeing the boom in e-commerce. Shifting to a road network will ensure a secure and quick delivery of parcels," an official from the department of posts (DoP) added.

CHINA: Xinhua: Beijing will tighten parcel mail security as the city counts down to the Sept. 3 military parade commemorating World War II victory, the State Post Bureau (SPB) said in a statement on Sunday. Every single postal package must be mailed using real names and go through a security check, said SPB chief Ma Junsheng at an internal meeting. Ma asked all departments to increase inspection of delivery companies to ensure postal security in the capital. Neighboring provinces have also been required to strengthen safety supervision for parcels.

August 9, 2015

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

JALMAICA: Jamaica Observer: Following the launch of Jamaica Post's international courier service Fast Track in October of last year, the government agency recently has been rolling out the rebranded priority mail service, Zip Mail, which provides delivery of packages on the next business day. "Jamaica Post has been on a drive for the last few years to modernise and improve the services and offerings to the public, especially as it relates to the demands of the market," Kathy-Ann Yetman, public relations officer, told the Jamaica Observer.

August 8, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 47964 [2015–19531] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Post & Parcel: On-demand delivery start-up Favor is starting operations in Nashville this week. User place orders for food, groceries or other items via Favor's iPhone or Android app and a Favor "runner" will deliver within an hour. Delivery charges in Nashville, paid through the app, are $5 plus 5% of the order. But to mark the launch in the "Music City", the company will be charging $1 delivery fees all August.

August 7, 2015

POSTAL & FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission

NOTICES

New Postal Products ,

47537 [2015–19388]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

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Postal Rates; Changes ,

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Postal Service

NOTICES

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Priority Mail Express Negotiated Service Agreement ,

 

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Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreements ,

 

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DOMESTIC NEWS

RailwayAge: The U.S. Senate on August 5, 2015 officially confirmed the appointment of Marie Therese Dominguez as Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Dominguez, who began serving as Administrator on June 22, was first nominated by President Barack Obama for the role on May 29. Dominguez previously had served as the head of the Postal Service's government relations staff.

eCommerceBytes:&nbs eBay requires its Top Rated Sellers to adhere to a higher level of service when it comes to fulfilling orders. But a bug this week at an outside partner shows how vulnerable sellers are when it comes to meeting those standards. Sellers said Wednesday that eBay was showing incorrect data when it came to USPS tracking. Reports came in to Ecommerce EKG such as the following: "eBay not showing accurate tracking upload percentages. They know about it. Still not fixed." But the problem may have stemmed from problems at the USPS. Sellers on the eBay discussion boards noticed that the USPS website itself showed incorrect tracking information on Wednesday.

Knoxville News Sentinel: The overall economy took a big downward turn right as the U.S. Postal Service committed billions and billions of dollars to pre-pay health benefits for future retirees since a law passed in 2006 mandating the Postal Service to do so. Despite eight straight years of losses, however, officials with the Postal Service are optimistic that solutions are near. For all of the concerns about a world transitioning to a paperless society, the Postal Service's top financial issue has nothing to do with email and websites. Instead, the biggest issue for the Postal Service is a Congress mandate to pay for health benefits well in advance. There is a relatively simple fix to the pre-funding problem. If retirees could file through Medicare — which Postal Service employees pay into — the tab for the pre-funding health benefits could be eliminated.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CANADA: Canada NewsWire: There are members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers among about 135,000 people who would see instant wage hikes with a $15/hour federal minimum wage. "A $15 federal minimum wage is exactly the sort of thing we mean when we talk about real ground-level change in federal politics," says Mike Palecek, CUPW National President. "The majority of our members are doing better than $15, but some of our private-sector members would benefit as soon as the minimum comes in." CUPW has been negotiating better wages for some of those workers – who work for postal contractors – but hasn't been able to get to $15. "Critics may say that it's a hollow PR move," says Palecek, "but I dare them to say that to the face of our members who could use that bump to help make ends meet. It's pretty cynical for anyone to suggest that a couple dollars an hour isn't meaningful. It's real, and it's about time."

INDIA: Trak:  With the help of India's postal department, farmers will now be able to sell paddy, cotton, pulses or any other farm products directly to the traders online that too without spending even a single buck on transport. For this novel plan the postal department is going to launch a pilot programme first that will seek to help farmers sell their produce online. Based on the results of pilot project, the postal departments will then look on and take a call on extending the service across the country.

GERMANY: Wall Street Journal: Deutsche Post AG seems to be rebuilding almost every part of its business. The German business group is restructuring a troubled freight forwarding operation, bulking up DHL Express to meet a growing threat from its big competitors and trying to overhaul its postal operations in the face of fierce opposition from labor unions. The WSJ's Neetha Mahadevan reports the clouds on multiple fronts pushed DP to lower its earnings outlook for the year after a 30% slide in second-quarter profit. The international freight business doesn't have the high profile of the express and postal operations but the struggles there may be the most troubling. Other major logistics operators have reported strong earnings for the first half of 2015 but Deutsche Post is in the midst of a repair project that analysts say may take as long as three years to conclude.

GERMANY: Reuters:  German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post cut its 2015 profit target on Thursday after walkouts by staff in Germany in the second quarter cost the firm 100 million euros ($109 million).

NIGERIA: Leadership: The postmaster general of the federation, Malan Ibrahim Mori Baba has announced that the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, has computerised over 70 per cent of its post offices and rehabilitated more than 80 per cent of them in the country in order to ensure that the emergence of ICT is no longer a threat to postal service.

UNITED KINGDOM: Reuters: UK Mail Group warned that its full-year profit would be materially below market expectations, as its move to a new automated hub in Ryton near Coventry had led to a greater-than-expected customer churn and loss of parcel volume.

MALAYSIA: The Rakyat Post: POSTING letters at Layang-Layang Island in Sabah just got interesting and postmen here need not worry about getting chased by dogs, for once. Apart from using the post box on land, tourists, divers, navy personnel and resort staff can now post letters through an underwater post box, planted on a sledge that's 40-metres deep. The post box, recognised by the Malaysian Book of Records as the country's deepest underwater post box combines the concept of postal services and tourism. It also undoubtedly increases the interest to use postal services on the island, located 293 kilometres northwest of Kota Kinabalu. A joint initiative by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Pos Malaysia, the introduction of the underwater post box is part a special programme known as ‘Program Kedaulatan Pulau Layang-Layang' that's supported by the National Security Council, Royal Malaysian Navy and Avillion Layang-Layang. The programme focuses on maintaining the sovereignty of the island, extends postal services on the island by introducing a special postcode — 88005 —, special postmark, underwater postmen and the appointment of a stamp agent.

August 6, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Diamonds.net: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) lost a parcel of $50,000 of diamonds shipped express to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) lab in Carlsbad, California, Nashville, Tennesee local television station WSMV-TV reported on Tuesday. Joey Nunley, co-owner of Nashville jewelry store Prima Jewelers, told the TV station that this was the first time in 20 years of sending diamond parcels through the mail that a package had gone missing. He said that he had insured the parcel for the legal maximum of $5,000. Nunley said that while after repeated attempts to file a claim, the postal service told him that his insurance claim was being processed. The postal service also told him, he said, that his parcel was last recorded as last being processed in a Los Angeles post office ad marked "undeliverable as addressed."

RStreet.org: In the waning days of 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The statute made myriad changes to postal law and tasked the Postal Regulatory Commission with a big job: issuing regulations to establish a new system for pricing the postage everyone pays to send mail and parcels. To its credit, the PRC got the work done way before the 18-month deadline. Would that more agencies were so successful.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

EUROPE: Euronews  Forget Amazon and its out-of-this-world share price. Instead, U.S. mutual fund managers are turning to small-scale shipping companies such as Stamps.com Inc and Pitney Bowes Inc as a backdoor way into the growing $334 billion (215.40 billion pounds) e-commerce market. Portfolio managers say that they are attracted to e-commerce suppliers not only because of the growth of Amazon and smaller scale businesses like the eBay and Etsy stores of the world, but because of the decline of the U.S. Postal Service. Package volume rose 14.4 percent in the Postal Service's second quarter, while standard mail dropped 2.1 percent. After a round of acquisitions by both companies over the last 12 months, Stamps.com and Pitney Bowes are the largest firms licensed by the Postal Service to create and print official postage at home, making themselves the most likely alternative should the Postal Service follow through on its plan to cut some rural locations. Both firms sell stamps at marked-up rates, and also provide customers ways to ship via FedEx, United Parcel Service and other firms.

GERMANY: Post & Parcel: Deutsche Post DHL Group has reported that its consolidated net profit for the second quarter (Q2) of 2015 declined by 29.3% to €326m, although revenue increased by 7.3% to €14.7bn. The company said the drop in profits should be view "against the backdrop of the negative impact of the strike in the Post – ecommerce – Parcel (PeP) division. As previously reported, the industrial dispute – which focused on the status of the company's parcel delivery agents – was resolved following an agreement between Deutsche Post DHL and the union ver.di on 5 July. In its Q2 results statement issued today (6 August), Deutsche Post DHL described the deal as a "sustainable wage agreement that lays the foundations for long-term growth in the German parcel business". See also Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

August 5, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission:

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 46610 [2015–19117] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

PRWeb: LaserShip announced expansion of their service network into 5 areas: MI, KY, OH, IN, and W. PA. The expansion is a result of their acquisition of Prestige Delivery Systems in 2014 as well as the increasing demand of same-day and next-day shipping options for ecommerce consumers. LaserShip now services 22 states and Washington, D.C. and has the largest one-day and two-day footprint in the eastern U.S. Their continued expansion is the latest evidence of the growing threat to national carriers, along with other companies such as Deliv and Uber who are offering last-mile delivery services.

Post & Parcel: US retailers Macy's and Bloomingdale's have confirmed that they are expanding their same-day delivery service to nine additional markets, for products purchased online at macys.com, bloomingdales.com and on both brands' mobile-enabled websites.

Federal News RadioThis week, Women of Washington is on location at the Executive Women in Government Leadership Summit for a special episode. Hosts Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm interviewed two of the presenters at the forum to get their take on in the federal government. This week, they sit down with Katherine Coffman and Shoshana Grove. Grove, secretary and chief administrative officer of the Postal Regulatory Commission, described what it has been like to be a pioneer for women in the Postal Service. "At that time, it was not a job that women did," she said. "I was the only woman letter carrier in my branch when I started out. Then a few years later, through very hard work and a lot of persistence, I was made the mail supervisor of letter carriers, and I was the first woman in our area to do that job. And then I was the first woman postmaster, and et cetera." She also shared some of the challenges she faced, and why she kept going with the job. "And it was very, very difficult. Many days I came back crying — literally crying," she said. "There was a lot of mistreatment, in those days, of women in that role, because there was a perception that this was a man's job. … And because I'm stubborn, when I saw that there was a gender breaking situation, and that there was a combination of admiration, but also disdain by some, it made me more determined to break in there."

Wall Street Journal: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. said Tuesday that it plans to split itself into three publicly traded companies, joining the recent wave of companies looking to spur growth by breaking up. The Chicago-based company said it would separate into a financial communications and data services business with about $1 billion in sales; a publishing and print services business with $3.5 billion in annual sales; and a communications management business with about $7 billion in sales. Chief Executive Thomas J. Quinlan III said the move will give each business more flexibility to focus on strategic priorities.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UNITED KINGDOM: Invezz: Royal Mail Plc's premium service, Sameday, which guarantees delivery within the same day to "almost anywhere in the UK", has launched a new website that will significantly improve the service's accessibility. The new website allows customers to book and quote courier services on a pay-as-you-go basis with the use of a debit or credit card, removing the need for customers to register an account. The new website also facilitates the entire transaction without the need to make bookings over the telephone, as was the case in the past.

AUSTRALIA: ZDNet: The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) is looking to replace postal votes, and believes the solution is the iVote platform. NSW Electoral Commission CIO Ian Brightwell outlined during recent state elections 283,000 people relied on iVote to cast their votes, many of whom were living overseas or were travelling interstate. "They were using it because postal voting isn't working anymore," he said, speaking at the Technology in Government Summit in Canberra on Wednesday. "As you know Australia Post is having a few problems...and they're going to be struggling in the future and we don't know where they're going, but we believe in an election or two, postal is not really going to be an option for us." Brightwell added there is a "level of integrity" when it comes to electronic voting because of the "controls and checks".

AUSTRALIA: Post & Parcel: Australia Post has today (5 August) officially opened a new superstore in Alice Springs, following a $1 million investment to cater for changing consumer needs. Australia Post Executive General Manager Postal Services, Christine Corbett, said the new superstore offered an "innovative" range of parcel and postal products and services.

AUSTRALIA: WhyAllaNews: Australia Post is sourcing dozens of workers from an alleged criminal syndicate involved in migration crime, a multimillion-dollar taxpayer-funded fraud and the exploitation of foreign students. Fairfax Media can reveal that a Ferrari-driving Indian education provider, Baljit "Bobby" Singh, allegedly heads a syndicate bringing students to Australia on the pretence of doing courses at a government-subsidised education college in Melbourne's north. The students are often promised a working visa or permanent residency at the end of their education course. However, the education is often not delivered, and the students are sub-contracted to Australia Post where they work at sub-award wages, sorting and delivering packages. The revelations are acutely embarrassing for Australia Post and its owner, the federal government. Each has been effectively funding Mr Singh's operations - Australia Post through contracts with his labour hire companies, and the federal government through millions of dollars in student fee subsidies to his college, St Stephens Institute in Reservoir. The money has continued to flow even though Australia Post has been repeatedly warned since 2012 that Mr Singh allegedly exploits overseas workers and students. Mr Singh's syndicate allegedly involves several other Indian business figures, including a licensed government migration agent, and student recruitment agents in India and China. See also The Age.

August 4, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission

  • PROPOSED RULES Periodic Reporting, 46214–46215 [2015–19029] [TEXT]

  • NOTICES New Postal Products, 46357 [2015–19085] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Washington Times:  Four Tuscaloosa residents, including two post office workers, have been accused of participating in a marijuana trafficking operation. The employees are also accused of tipping off dealers to not accept packages when they knew law enforcement had been tipped about drugs inside that particular package.

Newsweek: Whereas once stamps had prices on them, they are now called the "Forever" stamp. When the postal service introduced the "Forever" stamp, the idea was to incentivize people to buy many of them to avoid letter-sending price increases in the future. But actually there's a subtext to the "Forever" stamp. It could be about how long it takes to deliver a letter. But really, it is the government's way of telling you that this incredible anachronism called the postal service will last forever. It will never let go of its monopolistic control over first-class mail. It will never get rid of its stamps. It will never stop carrying around physical paper from place to place. It will never stop losing money and it will never innovate. Much like a diamond, this system is forever.

Post & Parcel: The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been testing out new small parcel sorting systems (SPSS) at five sites across the country – with encouraging results. Since the tests began earlier this year, the teams at the test sites have demonstrated that they can use the equipment to sort more than 6,00o small parcels an hour, which is significantly more than USPS had expected.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

SOUTH AFRICA: IT-Online: As the staff exodus at the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) continues, Minister Siyabonga Cwele has agreed with the Public Service Commission to initiate an independent inquiry into the management affairs of the department, and may place the director-general on leave for the duration. The Minister had previously indicated, during his May 2015 budget speech, that he was attending to the ongoing leadership challenges which are negatively impacting the department's ability to execute its functions timeously. "The Minister had received concerns from individuals and managers of the department about the paralysis within the department," according to a statement from the department. "The Minister approached the Public Service Commission for assistance regarding the role played by senior management, including the director-general, in the dysfunction of the department. "The Public Service Commissioned reviewed the concerns and determined that the seriousness thereof warrants an independent inquiry."

INDIA: WebIndia123: Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narasimhan today underlined the need for revival of the good old Telegram System by the Postal Department. He said despite technological advancement in information and other areas, people still have affinity towards the postal system including post card. Mr Narasimhan said it may not be possible to have mobile and internet connectivity in the nook and corner, but Postal service are already wide spread reaching to the remotest villages in the country.

AZERBAIJAN & IRAN: AzerNews: Iran and Azerbaijan intend to expand cooperation in the field of postal services, said Mehdi Mohtashami, the head of the secretariat of the Azerbaijan-Iran intergovernmental commission. He said that Iran established a postal service center in Tabriz, through which it is possible to send to and receive post from Azerbaijan. The document on cooperation in the field of postal services was inked between the two countries, as part of the visit of Iranian president to Azerbaijan.

FRANCE: Post & Parcel: Neopost and Esker have announced the finalisation of their joint venture to market cloud-based solutions to SME/SMI clients via Neopost's worldwide network. The agreement allows for on-demand mail distribution and the automation of supplier invoices and customer invoices. The software as a service (SaaS) solutions, based on Esker's cloud platform, will be marketed by the Neopost network under the Neopost brand. The initial priorities will be France, to follow up on the success of the Neotouch pilot hybrid mail solution, and the United States, where the two companies both already have strong market positions.

August 3, 2015

PostCom Members !! The latest issue of PostCom's Executive Postal Summary is now available online.
 

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission

USPS Office of the Inspector General: The Internet of Things refers to interconnecting networks of physical objects embedded with digital sensors that can collect, transmit, and act upon a wide variety of data. The Office of Inspector General, in conjunction with IBM, examined how this technology could be applied to create an Internet of Postal Things (IoPT) that could increase efficiency, lower costs, generate revenue, and improve customer service. In our report, we note that the Postal Service has a vast and rich infrastructure that could be adapted to create an IoPT. We also identify more than a dozen IoPT applications that could be developed in four key categories: (1) Transportation and logistics — Sensors on postal vehicles to increase efficiency through predictive maintenance, fuel management, and real-time dynamic routing. (2) Smart postal buildings — Sensors to not only increase security and reduce energy consumption, but also improve customer convenience through, for example, equipping clerks with wearables to help them find what customers need. (3) Neighborhood services — Sensors on postal vehicles, carrier devices, and mailboxes that could perform tasks useful to local authorities, such as monitoring air quality or identifying potholes. (4) Enhanced mail and parcel services — A mailbox, for example, that could "sign" for parcel delivery, store it securely, and notify the recipient of its arrival. We also discuss how the Postal Service can start building the IoPT in ways that account for privacy and other concerns.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Broadway WorldThe Smithsonian's National Postal Museum will open "PostSecret: The Power of a Postcard" Aug. 3. The exhibition offers a contemporary narrative of mail and the postal service, highlighting the aesthetics of postcards and the juxtaposition between anonymity and shared experiences. It will also reveal the unique relationship between mail, digital technology and social media. The exhibition will be open through September 2016.

Navigant Research: Synergy is one of the most overused and abused words in business. Whenever this word is uttered, it's time to break out a big hunk of salt. However, at the recent TU-Automotive Detroit conference in Detroit, an actual synergistic opportunity popped up in the course of discussion. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS)—and by extension, other postal services globally—could play an important role in the future of automated driving. According to Navigant Research's Autonomous Vehicles report, nearly 95 million vehicles with some autonomous capability will be on the world's roads by 2035.

RealClearPolicy: "We lose revenue on every single package we deliver." It was a clear and unmistakable point made by the U.S. Postal Service's inspector general during a recent House Oversight Committee hearing. Federal officials, industry representatives, and members of Congress were discussing the shipping rates that USPS charges to foreign sellers — artificially low rates that are one reason the agency is having so much financial trouble. The rates come from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a 141-year-old institution, comprising 192 countries, that works to set international postal prices. Each nation is granted voting power on these rates, and the Department of State handles the negotiations for the U.S. As a result of this archaic arrangement, the U.S. now has rates that do not cover the costs of delivery. This leaves the Postal Service effectively subsidizing mail coming from foreign senders — costing the agency more than $300 million since 2010. Such losses are particularly troubling considering the Postal Service's continuing financial turmoil. The agency has posted losses each of the last eight years, amounting to more than $50 billion dollars. The outlook for the USPS in 2015 remains grim, as the organization reported a loss of $2.25 billion in the first two quarters. To better negotiate on USPS's behalf, the State Department needs more accurate knowledge of service costs, which the Postal Service has failed to fully analyze. While the Postal Service has said that a move toward shape-based pricing could be an option to help alleviate costs, the reality is that greater systemic cost-tracking concerns persist within the agency.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

FRANCE: L'Atelier: French postal service La Poste sees the adoption of digital tools – aside from being part of the Internet of Things (IoT) movement – as an opportunity to create better customer relations and also work towards a ‘smarter' city. Digital development across the La Poste Group is spearheaded by subsidiary company Docapost, which also serves external customers, mainly large firms and public institutions. These services, which include assisting client companies and organisations in making the transition to digital and mobile channels through paperless document transfer and management, account for 95% of Docapost's €450 million.annual turnover. Another example is the Navigo pass, a contactless smart card which public transport passengers can use to pay for their journeys. Mandated by STIF – the transport organisation authority that oversees the Paris public transport network, coordinates the different transport companies operating in the Île-de-France region and sets basic policy for the network – Docupost is responsible for managing card distribution, implementing charging facilities and running operations from back office right through to after-sales service.

SOUTH AFRICA: News24Wire: Millions of rands have been paid to top officials at the South African Post Office (Sapo) for settlements over the last five years. Sapo was put under administration in November last year after a protracted four-month illegal strike that dented postal services. Financial problems have also beset the post office. In July, Minister Cwele revealed in a response to a parliamentary question that Sapo owes almost R245m to more than 2 000 suppliers, and is in arrears of over six months.

CHINA: Supply Chain Analysis: DHL has expanded its cross-border and domestic e-commerce operations in China by opening a new terminal, according to reports. Dhl has opened a new terminal in Shanghai, in the Jiuting region, as the central point of consolidation of e-commerce goods from China for global distribution. The logistics company is aiming to increase its domestic and cross-border e-commerce operations. DHL currently operates a centre in Hong Kong, but it is believed that the new site will reduce transit times by up to three days for manufacturers.

August 2, 2015 

DOMESTIC NEWS

Mobile Marketing Watch: Though the talk in digital advertising circles is all about the data that allows marketers to target customers, it's slow going. Recent studies show that such benign "beginner metrics" — email addresses, names, and simple demographics are the prevalent data employed for personalization. "When it came to understanding customer behavior –necessary for effective personalization — marketers in North American marketers were most likely to use customer service history (71 percent) and demographic profiles (66 percent). Past online purchases as well as offline interactions and geolocation were used by fewer than half of respondents."

WatchListNews: When one thinks about deliveries from e-commerce purchases, the focus always seems to turn to FedEx or UPS. However, the United States Postal Service is now delivering close to 40% of the nationwide orders at Amazon, which is more than both FedEx and UPS. The USPS's infrastructure is set up already to handle same-day deliveries making that pivot quite seamless according to Megan Brennan the postmaster general. Brennan said the USPS in on doorsteps of people six days each week and in certain cases seven days each week, making is recent move just a logical progression. The Achilles heel of the service is the dependence on the Postal Regulatory Commission for its rate increases as well as pricing based on the laws Congress has passed. USPS requires new technology as well as vehicles to make the shift from being letter and package delivery to being a more comprehensive and nimble delivery unit. Its dependence on Amazon also could hurt the USPS, if the e-commerce giant were to start using drones or find another way in which to deliver its packages as well as groceries. That is why the USPS is looking to diversify its list of clients now that it has started to get the equipment and technology to compete both in same-day and long-distance delivery markets.

Journal of Commerce: On-time delivery guarantees have existed for more than 30 years for express and 17 years for ground service, but the time has come for parcel carriers to put an end to them. Those on the front lines at shippers and even carriers would welcome such a move, with the only unhappy people being those who created a business based on recovering refunds for service failures. Why should carriers eliminate the guarantee? For shippers, the guarantee was such a compelling value proposition that UPS and Airborne Express also had to offer it. But the carriers knew shippers had limited opportunity to seek refunds for service failure, because there was practically no visibility into deliveries that didn't arrive on time. As a result, carriers experienced minimal cost for refunds. On-time service was about 95 percent for UPS and FedEx Ground. With ground service volume many times larger, it quickly became more appealing for shippers to seek refunds for service failures. This created an opportunity for businesses to offer a refund-recovery service on a gain-share basis, resulting in carriers paying even more for service failures. Retailers allow consumers to return merchandise because the cost of processing those returns is built into the cost of product sold. Parcel carriers, however, failed to include the cost of offering the guarantee. The U.S. Postal Service, meanwhile, took a different approach: Although it guarantees its express service, it chose not do so for its more popular Priority Mail and other parcel services.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

SINGAPORE: Straits Times: With electronic mail more prevalent globally these days, SingPost's mail volume has been declining. Mail made up nearly 60 per cent of SingPost's revenue for the financial year 2010 to 2011 but fell to about half for this and last year. SingPost has been ramping up its business towards e-commerce and the online shopping boom. Last week, it said it had invested $75.6 million into expanding its e-commerce logistics and postal services. Its revenue from logistics, which includes its e-commerce logistics business operations, rose by 43.6 per cent for the first quarter of the financial year 2015-2016 compared with the last financial year.

UNITED KINGDOM: Tamebay: Royal Mail have enhanced their Click & Drop one-stop postage and label solution with international services and multi-label creation and printing. Click & Drop now enables online sellers to buy postage and create labels for up to five items at once and also now offers international services to 200 countries and territories worldwide. Earlier this year the eBay integration for Click & Drop was launched, which imports sender information directly removing the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of mis-delivery. Click & Drop payment is accepted via PayPal, debit and credit card. Click & Drop users can post then their items directly in a Royal Mail postbox or drop off at one of 11,500 Post Office branches nationwide. The new services available are: International Tracked & Signed, which provides end-to-end tracking and online delivery confirmation; International Signed, which takes a signature on delivery and; International Standard for cost-effective overseas delivery.

ISRAEL: Times of Israel: Want to mail a letter? Think again. Many of the Israel Postal Company's red metal mailboxes throughout the country have been labeled "Inactive," and their mail slots filled with hardened white foam. The Israel Postal Company, originally known as the Israel Postal Authority, is a government-owned company that has been undergoing a privatization process for several years, but is still struggling with its recovery plan following a massive strike last October. "The issue is whether the older media, in this case the post office, can find ways to adapt itself to a new threat, which is email," said Lehman-Wilzig. "People stopped sending letters, I almost don't get any wedding invitations in the mail. So what the post office has been trying to do relatively unsuccessfully is to branch out."

UNITED KINGDOM: Daily Telegraph: Post boxes in rural areas will be given electronic tags as Royal Mail tries to stamp out regular "spates" of thefts by criminals who can sell rare models for as much as £5,000. More than 100 traditional red post boxes are stolen every year and officials believe there is a "significant threat" of further disappearances, particularly in isolated towns and villages in the countryside. "We have an internal security team looking at equipment, including forensic tags, permanent metal-marking systems and electronic tracking."

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Tobago News: EVERY business and house in Tobago should now have been assigned a postal code, according to the Minister of Public Utilities, Nizam Baksh. The Minister was speaking at the launch of the new postal codes on Monday. "We are making a clean break with the old and highly unreliable system of casually locating addresses and moving up to the international standard of postal addressing used all over the developed world," notes the Minister. Postal cards are now being delivered to all residents to inform them of their new address. These can be used to notify banks and companies of an official change of address. Those who don't receive a card are urged to make a request at the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation (TT Post) Delivery Office at Dutch Fort.

UNITED KINGDOM: The Guardian: A spate of thefts targeting post boxes that have been a feature of Britain's street corners since the 19th century have forced the postal service to fight back – with an arsenal of hi-tech tools. Royal Mail has unveiled plans to use forensic tagging to identify stolen post boxes and even electronic tracking to keep a close watch on the treasured landmarks.

August 1, 2015

POSTAL-FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission

NOTICES

New Postal Products ,

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46069 [2015–18861]

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46070–46071 [2015–18900]

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Postal Service

NOTICES

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Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement ,

 

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DOMESTIC NEWS

Morris Sun TribuneFrederic Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers -- The proposed cuts in service are based largely on the following premise: The Postal Service is losing billions of dollars a year because everyone's on the Internet, plummeting mail volume produces massive red ink, so cuts in service are imperative. That premise, however, is demonstrably false. For starters, postal operations are profitable, and increasingly so. Why? After dropping during the worst recession in 80 years, mail revenue is stabilizing amid an improving economy. Meanwhile, skyrocketing package revenue makes the Internet a net positive — auguring well for the future. Yet, some in Washington hope to use this artificial financial "crisis" to achieve something they've long sought — dismantling a popular public agency (enjoying 80-plus percent approval), even turning its duties over to private corporations.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

EUROPE: Reuters: The European Commission said on Friday it had opened an in-depth investigation into Fedex's proposed 4.4 billion euro ($4.9 billion) takeover of Dutch rival TNT Express. The Commission, which oversees EU mergers and competition issues, said it had concerns that the merged entity would face insufficient competitive constraints in small package deliveries from the only two remaining players, UPS and DHL, owned by Deutsche Post. "Many businesses, and in particular e-commerce, rely heavily on affordable and reliable small package delivery services and many consumers depend on these services to ensure rapid and safe delivery of goods they have bought," Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. Fedex and TNT Express said they were still on track to complete their proposed combination in the first half of 2016, despite the announcement of the European Commission's in-depth review.

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