Association for Postal Commerce

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

"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you are willing to defend."

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Postal News and Information from Around the World

March 6, 2015 

First-Class Mail 2015 Promotions Registration Begins March 15 As part of its commitment to grow the mail, the Postal Service is pleased to announce several First-Class Mail promotions that will offer incentives or discounts to mailers throughout 2015. Earned Value Reply Mail is designed to encourage mailers to use First-Class Mail as the primary reply means for their customers, by providing a postage credit for each returned Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail piece. Color Transpromo is designed to encourage mailers to increase the value of bills, invoices, and statements by combining the power of digital and color technology, which can produce greater connection and response from customers. Emerging and Advanced Technology is designed to create omni-channel marketing opportunities by integrating direct mail with mobile technology. This engages interactive experiences and encourages mailers to use “enhanced” augmented reality, Near Field Communications (NFC), and other technologies.



Registration Period

Program Period

Earned Value Reply Mail


March 15 - April 30, 2015

May 1 - July 31, 2015




Color Transpromo


April 15 – November 30, 2015

June 1 - November 30, 2015




Emerging and Advanced Technology*


March 15 - October 31, 2015

May 1- October 31, 2015

On February 24, 2015, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) found the Postal Service pricing proposals for First-Class Mail to be consistent with the Consumer Price Index based price cap under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. Customers may find registration and promotion details on the RIBBS website under the Promotions & Incentive Programs for First-Class & Standard Mail tab; postings on the website are scheduled to be available on March 9, 2015.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. R2015-4 Order On Price Adjustments For Standard Mail, Periodicals, And Package Services Products

The Commission has reviewed the pricing proposals for consistency with the requirements of title 39 and the Commission’s regulations. The Commission provided its analysis of the proposed prices and mail classification changes for First-Class Mail in Order No. 2365. This Order discusses the planned price adjustments for the Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services classes.

As currently proposed, prices for the Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services classes do not comply with certain statutory and regulatory requirements and are therefore remanded to the Postal Service for further action.

In section II of this Order, the Commission determines that the unequal commercial and nonprofit discounts in the Standard Mail class violate the requirement that disparities between commercial and nonprofit discounts must be justified. The Postal Service did not provide a justification for the proposed unequal nonprofit and commercial dropship discounts. The Commission also finds that the Postal Service failed to adequately justify the proposed disparity for nonprofit and commercial presort discounts. In addition, the Commission finds that several Standard Mail workshare discounts exceed 100 percent and have not been adequately justified in accordance with 39 U.S.C. § 3622(e).

In section II, the Commission also finds that the Postal Service must revise the Standard Mail billing determinants in accordance with 39 C.F.R. § 3010.23(d). The Commission also encourages the Postal Service to address other pricing issues when revising Standard Mail rates in order to send more efficient pricing signals.

In section III of this Order, the Commission explains that the Postal Service incorrectly adjusted several billing determinants associated with Flats Sequencing System (FSS) prices for Periodicals bundles, sacks, and pallets and failed to provide the Commission with the data necessary to calculate the actual average price increase for the Periodicals class. As a result, the Commission is unable to make the finding required under 39 U.S.C. § 3622 and 39 C.F.R. § 3010.11 that the proposed Periodicals price adjustment is consistent with applicable law.

In section IV of this Order, the Commission explains that it does not have the information necessary to calculate the average price increase for the Package Services class. As a result, the Commission is unable to make the finding required under 39 U.S.C. § 3622 and 39 C.F.R. § 3010.11 that the proposed Package Services price adjustment is consistent with applicable law.

In recognition of the Postal Service’s pricing authority, the Commission remands all Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services rates to allow the Postal Service to modify its planned rates to comply with the applicable legal standards. Pursuant to 39 C.F.R. § 3010.11(f), the Postal Service shall file its amended notice of rate adjustment and describe how the modifications to the planned Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services rates comply with applicable legal requirements. An opportunity for comments from interested parties will be provided. See 39 C.F.R. § 3010.11(g). The amended notice is due no later than March 12, 2015, so that new rates that comply with applicable legal requirements can be reviewed and implemented, as planned, on April 26, 2015.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

 PostCom 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 none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. See what you've been missing.

Associated Press: Officials say a former letter carrier dumped undelivered mail into a ravine in Virginia four times this year. The Virginian-Pilot reports ( that a neighborhood man in Norfolk found the mail and brought two trash bags filled with tax information, bills, handwritten letters and magazines to the local post office. Thirty-one-year-old Shalita Corley of Chesapeake was indicted Wednesday on four counts of secreting and detaining mail.

PRNewswire: The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) announced today that the 200,000–member union, with the assistance of the AFL-CIO, has engaged a team of financial advisors, lawyers and economists to challenge the merger between Staples and Office Depot. The union is urging the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to block a merger that it sees as monopolistic and unlawful. The union also will reach out to members of Congress and state and local officials to raise objections.

Special Podcast on the Mailing Industry Project at the
National Postal Museum

Join Allen Kane (Director of the National Postal Museum), Marty Emery (Manager, Public Relations and Internet Affairs), and Karen McCormick (Project Manager) along with Gene Del Polito in a discussion of the latest project to be undertaken by the National Postal Museum -- "The Telling of the Story of the Mailing Industry in America."

There are slides that accompany this podcast. The last two slides are specifically referenced during the podcast.

Dead Tree Edition: Although the April postage hike for Periodicals will supposedly average only 1.4%, some publishers are learning that their increases will be 10 times that amount. The biggest rate increases will probably hit relatively lightweight publications that contain little or no advertising, such as weekly magazines and association newsletters. Some other publishers, however, will probably see lower postage bills.

What They Think!: "US Commercial Printing Industry has Strong January" Members of both parties of Congress this weekend will not only commemorate a watershed moment in civil rights history by traveling to Alabama. They'll also join President Barack Obama as he marks the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." The name was given after a mob including Alabama troopers used whips, clubs and tear gas to beat peaceful marchers who were trying to go from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery to demand equal voting rights. The violence began at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where the marchers were asked to turn back. This week, Brown, a Democrat, was joined by Portman, a Republican, and a handful of other colleagues including Beatty, a Democrat, in introducing a Senate-House resolution that would instruct the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp honoring the Selma anniversary.

Some Upcoming Postal Events of Which You Might Want To Be Aware

Prospects for Reforming the Postal Sector - March 27, 2015 Washington, DC

34th Annual Eastern Conference - May 13-15, 2015 Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania

23rd Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics - June 3 – 6, 2015 Vouliagmeni, Athens, Greece


DC Velocity: Over the past 45 days, several parties have asked the Postal Regulatory Commission, the agency that oversees USPS' operations, to take a deep dive into how the Postal Service accounts for costs across its product lines. The question, according to entities ranging from Atlanta-based UPS Inc. and Memphis-based FedEx Corp. to the Association for Postal Commerce, a group composed of large mailers, is whether USPS provides enough information about its costs to prove the quasigovernmental agency is covering each product's expenses from its corresponding revenue stream, or if it is, in effect, "robbing Peter to pay Paul." By law, USPS provides costing data in its annual compliance review, submitted to the postal commission.

March 5, 2015 

Hursh Blackwell: Transportation contractors held five of the top 10 spots in the list of the agency’s Top 150 U.S. Postal Service Suppliers for fiscal year 2014. Federal Express Corporation was again the U.S. Postal Service’s largest contractor, a position it has held since 2002. Top-ranked FedEx’s fleet of aircraft carries a variety of postal service products, including packages, letters and Priority Mail. FedEx earned postal revenues of $1.4 billion in 2014 – down from almost $1.8 billion in 2013. The Postal Service attributes these savings to reduced rates under a new seven-year Air Cargo Network contract, which commenced on Oct. 1, 2013. Package giant United Parcel Service is also among the agency’s largest suppliers, earning $123 million in Postal Service revenues and ranked No. 12. However, while they were removed from the top 10, another packaging company, Victory Packaging, jumped from No. 14 up to No. 4 with $214 million in Postal Service revenues. While FedEx and UPS are among the agency’s largest suppliers, they are also large Postal Service customers. The Postal Service provides last-mile carrier delivery for FedEx’s SmartPost and UPS’s SurePost ground services.

FY 2014 Rank FY 2013 Supplier Name FY 2014 Revenue City, State
1 1 Federal Express Corporation $1,408,985,575.12 Pasadena, CA
2 2 EnergyUnited Electric Membership Corporation $433,947,370.45 Statesville, NC
3 4 Pat Salmon & Sons, Inc.* $226,058,006.23 Little Rock, AR
4 14 Victory Packaging $214,456,360.01 Houston, TX
5 3 Kalitta Air, LLC* $196,546,191.37 Ypsilanti, MI
6 5 United Airlines, Inc.* $176,568,690.27 Pasadena, CA
7 6 Hewlett-Packard Co.* $171,703,627.38 Atlanta, GA
8 8 Accenture Federal Services $170,856,752.85 Chicago, IL
9 9 Wheeler Bros., Inc. $159,298,582.16 Somerset, PA
10 7 Northrop Grumman Corporation* $154,790,095.31 Merrifield, VA

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 12048 [2015–05064] [TEXT]

Marketwatch: The Western Union Company, a global leader in payment services, and bpost, the leading postal services operator for Belgium, announced today the expansion of their long-standing relationship under a renewed agreement. Both companies will work together to drive customer-centric innovations in international money transfer along with services and technologies that improve convenience, reliability and speed for consumers. The renewed agreement will seek to extend bank account-based money transfer solutions including debit card for Western Union® consumer-to-consumer (C2C) money transfer services, while also introducing self-service technology-led options to meet evolving customer needs and enhance convenience. Western Union will also extend the services offered through existing bpost post offices and franchised Post Points, co-located in other retail premises, to an increasing number of Post Points, reaching new customers and new locations across the country.

Sydney Morning Herald: Australia Post has been delivering the mail for more than 200 years, but for many households the daily visit from the postie simply isn't as significant as it once was. The number of letters being sent is plunging 8.2 per cent a year. This sharp decline is set to continue as digital communication further displaces the humble letter. At the same time, we are sending and receiving more parcels than ever thanks to the online shopping boom. These shifts go to the heart of monumental challenges facing Australia Post, which have prompted the government to propose raising stamp prices to $1 and introducing a two-tier delivery system. The Herald accepts these changes are needed to keep Australia Post in good financial health and save taxpayers a costly rescue package in the future. Yet for Australia Post to best serve the interests of taxpayers and its customers in a sustainable way, further reforms will be needed to help this national institution survive.

iAfrica: Post Office workers belonging to the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have gone on industrial action the SA Post Office said on Thursday. SAPO acting group, CEO Mlu Mathonsi, said that CWU members had gone on a go-slow after the union had issued the employer with a 48-hour notice of its intention to commence industrial action. Mathonsi, in News24 report, said the the Post Office had contingency measures in place to deal with the go-slow and that the action would have "minimal interruptions on our services".

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   The Memphis Metropolitan area is currently under a winter storm event. The NCSC - Memphis inclement weather policy has been implemented, which impacts the PostalOne! Help Desk. If you should require assistance with PostalOne!, and experience difficulty making contact by phone, please send an email to and we will respond as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Business Spectator: E-commerce has changed the way we buy, sell, package and send goods, and two recent developments highlight just how it is transforming the billion-dollar logistics industry. The first development was Singapore Post (SingPost) acquiring parcel delivery company Couriers Please in Australia for $95 million in December 2014. The second occurred last month when Japan Post made a $6.5 billion takeover bid for Toll Holdings. Arguably, the disruptive force of e-commerce has played an important role in these transactions eventuating and they make an interesting case study of how global companies are continually being shaken-up by the digital sphere. Like many postal organisations across the world who have declining revenues and profits, SingPost and Japan Post are contending with shrinking mail volumes in an increasingly digital world. Certainly, Australia Post’s recent forecast of its first company-wide financial loss since 1982 is another proof point locally. Addressing this requires a transformation of a business model that has existed for generations. For SingPost and Japan Post, that includes an international strategy with a bigger footprint to take advantage of the e-commerce wave. It’s a strategy that leverages off postal operators’ expertise of owning the consumer relationship -- a big advantage in the e-commerce world of B2C deliveries.

Office of the Inspector General: How Can the Postal Service Use Promotions to Add Value to the Mail? The U.S. Postal Service uses price incentives and promotions to stimulate mail volume and increase the value of mail. Price incentives are meant to increase mail volume or curb its decline through rebates to large commercial mailers that exceed predetermined volume thresholds. Promotions aim to increase the value of transactional and direct mail so it will be sustained or grow over the long term. The Postal Service offered its first promotion in 2011 primarily to increase awareness of how mobile technology can be effectively integrated into mailers’ advertising campaigns. To date, the Postal Service has issued 15 promotions, with another four planned in 2015. Our audit will evaluate the Postal Service’s promotions program. Specifically, we want to determine whether the promotions are effectively managed and add value to the mail. We will also evaluate opportunities for new promotions and mobile enhancements. How can the Postal Service use promotions to improve the long-term value of mail and increase volume and revenue? How can the Postal Service change the mailing behavior of those who elect not to participate in the promotions program? What types of promotions would you like to see continuously offered?

ISE: Postal industry software provider Escher Group Holdings PLC on Thursday said it has renewed its contract with Hungarian national postal service company Magyar Posta.

March 4, 2015 

Supply  Chain Digital: Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU) has announced the acquisition of DHL Digital Solutions, a team within DHL Specialist Services UK, part of the world's leading postal and logistics group, Deutsche Post DHL. The new company born from this acquisition, Panasonic Business Software Solutions Europe, offers advanced software for the control and management of logistics and supply chain. A total of 13 members of the UK based DHL Digital Solutions will join the new Panasonic organisation and will integrate the logistics software, with Panasonic hardware, to provide deep expertise in system solutions integration to clients across Europe.

The Messenger: Reflecting widespread dissatisfaction with changes made by the U.S.?Postal Service during the past few years, there is a move in Congress that has gained impressive, bipartisan support for a resolution to stop the decline in mail service.

Oregon Live: Earth Class Mail, briefly among the best-known Oregon startups, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday. But the Beaverton company is still operating and is apparently preparing itself for sale. "There's someone that's going to be buying Earth Class Mail," said Amber Hensley, the company's customer service manager. She said she cannot disclose the buyer's identity, but indicated Earth Class Mail will continue operating under its new owner. "We're doing business as normal," she said. "There weren't any interruptions in the service." Chapter 11 is a voluntary bankruptcy for companies that seek an orderly reorganization of their debts.

American Postal Workers Union: The APWU and USPS are facing off over management’s latest scheme: The Postal Pulse, a new employee opinion survey. “The APWU vehemently opposes Postal Pulse – and any other employee opinion survey – despite management notices that say otherwise,” said President Mark Dimondstein. A Feb. 19 USPS announcement says the APWU, along with other unions and management associations, supports the goals of the program. A Feb. 26 News Break repeats the assertion. The union filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Feb. 25, protesting management’s false claim. The APWU has a long history of opposing employee opinion surveys because management uses workers’ responses against union members during contract negotiations. The timing of management’s notice to employees, Feb. 19, was especially insidious, Dimondstein said, because it coincided with the opening day of contract talks. [EdNote: An institution at war with itself.]

Government Executive: A new bill would give more U.S. Postal Service employees the right to appeal negative personnel actions, potentially providing thousands of workers with a new ability to present their cases to a third party. Democratic Sens. Jon Tester, Mont., and Brian Schatz, Hawaii, introduced the Postal Employee Appeal Rights Amendment Act this week, which would give about 7,500 mid-level postal managers the right to have their cases heard by the Merit Systems Protection Board.

eCommerceBytes: The U.S. Postal Service, reeling from a sustained decline in letter volume and hefty payment obligations relating to its workforce, could do more to glean value out of one of its most significant assets: its corporate brand. And the Postal Service agrees, indicating that it is set to begin the search for an outside partner to help it advance its third-party licensing efforts. So how much money is in play with the USPS brand? A new study from the Postal Service Office of Inspector General pegs the value of the USPS brand at $3.6 billion, measured by projected cash flows realized over the life of the agency. However, the OIG report also suggests that the Postal Service could up that number by taking steps to burnish the brand, including mobilizing the public relations team to paint the agency in a more positive light, and to increase licensing programs, through which the agency sells branded products like tape and mailing supplies at retailers like Office Depot. The study marks the first formal effort to quantify the value of the USPS brand, an exercise the inspector general's office said aims to sketch out the value and potential of an otherwise intangible asset, and, ultimately, to help the agency improve its financial position.

The Street: AMP Holding (AMPD) makes all-electric vehicles but has decided to focus specifically on the local delivery truck market, according to CEO Steve Burns. The vehicle, called the Workhorse, would be perfect for an entity like the United States Postal Service. The average USPS route is just 15 miles long, with plenty of stopping and going. the vehicles are equipped with a generator that can produce electricity if the vehicle gets too low on its charge. That's not the only innovation from AMP Holdings. The company also has developed its own drone delivery unit, the HorseFly. The HorseFly is mounted to the top of the vehicle and can deliver packages on its own, fly back to the vehicle and land. Once landed, it begins to recharge, he explained.

Prince George Citizen: The union representing Canada's postal workers wants the Federal Court to declare the cancellation of home mail delivery unconstitutional and a violation of the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada Post employees announced last October they would take the Crown corporation to court over the cost-cutting plan to end delivery and install community mailboxes across the country. The union's court filing is signed by six other organizations representing retired and handicapped citizens.

March 3, 2015 

Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service's latest financial report is being called upbeat, but a closer look provides a far less optimistic assessment. While revenues grew this quarter, it lost $754 million – outpacing the loss incurred this period last year by $400 million. The Federal Times' recent story effectively highlights the poor fiscal outlook facing the Postal Service. Yet the piece primarily focuses on the remedies proposed by the Postal Service and its advocates to grow the agency, mainly through expanded package delivery services, added 'flexibility' to change prices, and consolidation of mail processing centers. On paper, the Postal Service is not allowed to subsidize its competitive services with its monopoly dollars, but it is not obligated to confirm if and how this requirement is met by only having to attribute a limited portion of costs to its products, leaving the rest categorized as "institutional overhead." This preference for incomplete cost attribution not only hinders the Postal Service's ability to accurately price its products in fluctuating markets, but enables the risk of the agency using its monopoly power to prop up other products that are losing money.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

All notes and presentations from the February MTAC meeting are available on the MTAC website.

The New Daily: The Federal Government has given Australia Post the green light to implement a two-speed letter delivery system, while stamps could increase to $1, in an attempt to keep the service afloat. These sweeping changes come as Australia Post announced a 56 per cent drop in half-yearly profit last week, with the dive driven by mounting losses of $151 million in its letters business. See also The Guardian and Radio Australia.

Post & Parcel Daily News (You can subscribe to receive Post & Parcel News your inbox. It's a fantastic postal news source.)

  • Sustainability – a top priority at Asendia Asendia, the Joint Venture between La Poste and Swiss Post – has reinforced its commitment to sustainability by signing up to participate in a carbon offsetting scheme which involves the support of renewable energy projects in India. This important step is in line with Asendia’s objectives and long-term vision to achieve environmental and corporate sustainability.
  • TNT receives contract renewal from AB Volvo for international delivery services TNT has received a three-year contract renewal from the Swedish truck and bus maker AB Volvo for ‘inbound to production’ and aftermarket delivery services in Europe.
  • Lithuania Post moves to new logistic centre Lithuania Post has opened a new logistics centre in Kaunas, Lithuania, with operations beginning in the middle of March.

Small Business Trends: FedEx is looking to give some shipping and other discounts to its loyal small business customers. The company has extended the participation eligibility in its FedEx rewards program. FedEx says that small businesses can earn shipping and printing discounts, receive exclusive offers. They can also be eligible to earn rewards like gift cards to popular restaurants or for popular websites, the company says. Called MyFedExAwards, the program now includes all FedEx small business customers that print or ship with the company. The company says the program’s expanded eligibility will mean many more small businesses using FedEx services will be able to take advantage. The expanded program adds to a suite of services for small business in the company’s Solutions that Work for Small Businesses. Included in these services, Small businesses that ship with FedEx can receive a special, more predictable payment plan, called OneRate. The company also offers a FedEx Delivery Manager app that allows small businesses to arrange for package pick-ups and drop-offs at their home address. Each year more than US$60 billion in remittances is sent to and within Africa but often at great expense. Finding ways to leverage this powerful financial and development force by making remittance services more affordable and accessible to rural people is the focus of the first African Conference on Remittances and Postal Networks, 4-5 March in Cape Town, South Africa, hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Over two days, some 100 delegates from postal operators, postal banks, regulatory authorities, governments, the private sector, international organizations, civil society and others involved in the remittance market from across Africa will focus on addressing the challenges for improving the provision of remittance and financial services through postal networks in rural Africa, and share experiences and solutions. Among the topics to be covered by the conference are market positioning of postal operators, linking remittances with financial inclusion, innovative technologies for financial inclusion, and the legal and institutional environment affecting post offices and remittances.

Office of the Inspector General: Where is the Love from Low Fuel Prices? If you’re a shipper, you may have noticed your fuel surcharge fees aren’t going down in step with the declining price of oil. That’s because both FedEx and UPS tie their fuel surcharges to the price of diesel, which hasn’t dropped as far or as fast as gasoline prices. Furthermore, both shipping giants recently adjusted how they calculate fuel surcharges, resulting in surcharges that won’t drop as much as they would have under the previous calculation. In some cases, fuel surcharges are even going up. Fuel surcharges are common in the transport industry, from taxis and airlines to moving and delivery companies. Many of these industries instituted fuel surcharges to smooth out costs when fuel prices were skyrocketing. But in times of low fuel prices, like now, customers see these surcharges as a blatant money-grab. Right about now, you may be noting the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have a fuel surcharge. It also didn’t go all in on dimensional weight pricing (See our previous blog). And it’s not likely to chase the next big thing in pricing: “surge” or “peak” pricing. For the 2015 holiday season, UPS said it plans to follow the Uber model and hit shippers with “peak” prices on its busiest days. This comes after UPS said it experienced higher-than-anticipated 2014 peak season expenses. FedEx is expected to follow suit. For consumers, this could mean the end of free shipping, at least on last-minute orders around the holidays. So, the Postal Service might look even more attractive these days with its relatively straightforward, consistent pricing. Of course, the Postal Service isn’t a public company, so it’s not under the same pressure to deliver profits as UPS and FedEx are. But customers are not too interested in the whys and wherefores – they just want low-priced, reliable, fast delivery. Do you think the Postal Service is well-positioned to lure away commercial package business from FedEx and UPS? Does the lack of a fuel surcharge put the Postal Service at any kind of a competitive disadvantage? Or is it only advantageous? Do you see the Uber surge or peak pricing model getting a foothold in other industries?

2015 Explore New Horizons at PostalVision 2020/5.0! Check out our Session Topics! Why? To expand our horizons, scope, imagination and vision of the ideal postal ecosystem to serve future generations worldwide To enlighten our comprehension of the technological, economic, market and political forces reshaping the global postal-parcel-logistics-delivery industry To be challenged and inspired by speakers and thought leaders from inside and outside the industry to envision a bright and sustainable future To discover new product ideas, technologies, applications and innovations To join the conversation, share concerns, ideas and solutions with stakeholders from everywhere What's 5.0 All About? PostalVision 2020/5.0 will discuss the significance of "Customers, Connections and Collaboration" as key empowering forces driving transformation and reinvention of the global postal ecosystem. Register Now!

Jalopnik: The USPS is replacing the squat little vans you're use to seeing around the neighborhood, and is now trying to find a replacement. This sketch has just been released as an idea of what the Postal Service has in mind. [A USPS Presentation for Next Generation Delivery Vehicle is posted here: Some recent questions and answers about the program are posted here:]

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: 

March 2, 2015 

Cato Institute: The United States Postal Service lost $5.5 billion last year. That is the eighth annual loss in a row and the third highest ever. The only good news is that it remains below the red ink tsunami of $15.9 billion in 2012. Why does the federal government deliver the mail? Why does it have a monopoly over delivering the mail? With politics rather than service the PO's priority, Congress took the next step and approved the Private Express Statutes, preventing anyone from competing with the government in delivering first class mail. That left the system ill-equipped to adapt to changing circumstances. Banning competition could not preserve the postal market. The number of pieces of mail peaked in 2001 and continues to fall despite a rising population.

Yahoo! News: Britain's Royal Mail is joining Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Tmall Global's online marketplace, hoping to link small British companies with Chinese consumers and boost trade for its overseas parcels business. Alibaba's Tmall Global is Asia's largest business-to-consumer retail platform, connecting 302 million online Chinese consumers with virtual store fronts and payment portals, Royal Mail said. It said its Tmall online shop front, which will launch later this month, would provide consumers with access to small- and medium-sized British retailers and exporters who want to do business in China, but do not have the means to do so alone. Royal Mail will handle the necessary documentation for the firms, as well as things such as marketing, promotions and customer services. In return, Royal Mail will receive commission on the sale of products and revenue for shipping them through its Parcelforce express unit.

REMINDER: Webinar on How to get Executive Mail Center Manager Certification at NPF For the first time, National Postal Forum (NPF) attendees will have the ability to receive Executive Mail Center Manager (EMCM) certification at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim, CA, held May 17-20, 2015. This is an exclusive opportunity for NPF attendees! Instructors from the USPS National Center for Employee Development (NCED) will travel to the Forum and provide certification classes. Join an hour webinar on March 4, 2015 at 1 p.m. (EST) to understand more about the program and how this certification provides a solid foundation in mail center management and a return on investment. Speakers: Hear from Paul Warrick, Manager, National Center for Employee Development and Maureen Goodson, Executive Director, National Postal Forum The EMCM course is a comprehensive training program that is designed for individuals who wish to develop Mail Center Management skills. It offers a certified designation that emphasizes professionalism in Mail Center Management. The course teaches skills needed to manage more effectively, boost productivity and cut costs. The program is sponsored by the USPS and has been developed by a professional committee with representatives from the mailing industry. To earn official certification, participants are required to attend all 14 planned sessions and pass an exam at the completion of each module.

Lexology: On 11 February 2015, the Court of Justice of the EU rendered an important decision in response to a preliminary question submitted by the Brussels Court of Appeal in the context of a dispute between bpost and the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications ("BIPT") on the admissibility of the "per sender" tariff model. The "per sender" tariff model, as applied by bpost, entails calculating commercial discounts to be granted to clients (both direct customers and mail handlers) on a "per sender" basis (meaning that the separate volumes of various senders of the mail handlers are taken into account instead of the total volumes deposited with bpost). In its judgment of 11 February, the Court of Justice took a diverging view from that in the Deutsche Post case by ruling that the non-discrimination principle from the European Postal Directive does not preclude a postal operator from applying a system of discounts per sender, as applied by Bpost. The Court considered that the "per sender" model did not entail any discrimination between direct customers and mail handlers as these two categories are not in a comparable situation "as regards the objective pursued by the system of quantity discounts per sender, which is to stimulate demand in the area of postal services, since only bulk mailers are in a position to be encouraged, by the effect of that system, to increase the volume of their mail handed on to bpost and, accordingly, the turnover of that operator". Consequently, the different treatment given to those two categories of client which follows from the application of the system of quantity discounts per sender does not constitute discrimination. The East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers has urged the trading bloc to fast track the implementation of the Regional Postal Sector Strategy, an official said over the weekend. The strategy would assist EAC partner states to harmonize their policies, laws and regulations for the sector. In the recent years the region has liberalized the sector, which led to a development of a vibrant private sector. The director said that development of the postal sector cannot take place without the involvement of the private sector. According to the EAC official, electronic commerce presents a great business opportunity for the postal sector. "This is because physical goods bought online have to be delivered physically to the buyer," Wambugu said." However, the challenge is for postal operators to develop strategies for exploiting the opportunities that e-commerce provides," he said.

Lloyd's Loading List: Amid news that three major US passenger carriers have requested that the US government should review and renegotiate Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, FedEx Express president and CEO David Bronczek has weighed in to express strong support for "honouring our Open Skies agreements" and warning against a "return to the restrictive, inefficient, expensive agreements of the past where customers, communities, air cargo, and the greater US economy suffered". Bronczek concluded: "FedEx urges the US government to honour the Open Skies agreements it has negotiated with over 110 countries in every region of the world. There is no need to consult with our Open Skies partners absent public proof that alleged unfair competition meets the standards long established in US law. "The US should not capitulate to the interests of a few carriers who stand ready to put their narrow, protectionist interests ahead of the economic benefits that Open Skies provides to the people of the United States."

eCommerceBytes: "Online Selling and the Future of Package Delivery" -- a conversation with John Callan of Ursa Majors on his upcoming conference, Postal Vision 2020.

March 1, 2015 

Direct Marketing News: The Postal Museum, housed in Washington, DC's old main Post Office near Capitol Hill, is now laying the groundwork for telling the complex and significant story of the mailing industry. It hired former Fulfillment Express President Karen McCormick as the project director who will reach out to the 12 segments it has identified as comprising the industry. A website is under construction, and the museum hopes to have a full-blown exhibit in place within the next two or three years. On the occasion of the opening of such an exhibit, scores of printers, list brokers, direct mail agencies, and sorting equipment manufacturers will assume a place in the history of the nation. Allied with the Smithsonian Institution, the Postal Museum creates exhibits on par with the best museums in the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of people a year. In 2013, with the help of a $10 million private donation, the museum opened the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery to showcase gems from its collection of millions of stamps. It's a state-of-the-art multimedia show, featuring interactive displays and a research room where philatelists can conduct digital searches and unearth historic materials from slide-out displays built into the walls.

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