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Postal News and Information from Around the World

September 2, 2014 

Target Marketing Magazine: Marketers put hours, weeks and years into direct mail programs. Elaborate arrangements with the U.S. Postal Service are the norm. Questions arise based on an Aug. 28 article in FedScoop titled, "USPS Loses Database and Backup in Hardware Failure." How worried should marketers be about USPS losing necessary data? What contingency plans do marketers have in case this happens?

CBROnline: Royal Mail has launched a new parcels shipping and tracking platform, which it claims will help e-retailers to improve integration between their IT systems and Royal Mail's software. E-retailers and other parcel customers using the postal service's latest application programming interface (API) are set to have access to all of its parcel services both for UK and international destinations. They'll also be able to track the process of their orders, check the track status of an item and retrieve the tracking history of their shipment.

The Straits Times: Both local and international postage rates are set to rise from October, SingPost said on Tuesday. Local rates will increase between four cents and 20 cents while international rates will move up between five cents and 25 cents depending on the weight. The revised rates come amid a challenging postal business environment, said group chief executive Dr Wolfgang Baier, where domestic mail volumes are on a decline for the second consecutive year and costs are escalating. SingPost's postage rates have not seen any adjustments since eight years ago.

Post & Parcel: Royal Mail launches its new trial Sunday delivery service this weekend, for addresses in and around London. The move aims to make it easier for online shoppers to receive their parcels if they’re working during the week. The privatised postal service will also be piloting new Sunday opening hours for 100 of its delivery offices across the UK, allowing customers to pick up undelivered parcels seven days per week. Last month, Royal Mail revealed plans to make its click and collect service, Local Collect, available through Post Offices for its 20,000 SME contract customers. This will see customers shopping from small and medium-sized e-retailers able to collect items from and of the 10,500 Post Office branches taking part.

Philadelphia CBSLocal: When the US Senate returns for its fall session, a Delaware senator plans to press legislation to reform the Postal Service. The Postal Reform Act of 2014 co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper and Republican colleague, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, already has been passed out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. But, Carper says the Senate’s leadership has failed to schedule it for a debate and a floor vote. Carper says if nothing is done before year’s end, postal management already has told Congress it will be forced to close another 80 to 85 mail processing centers across the country.

Outlook India: World's largest postal service, India Post has tied up with online marketplace major Snapdeal to sell stamps to reach out to larger audiences. Under the partnership, targeted especially at philately enthusiasts, Snapdeal will sell stamps and collections priced between Rs 300-5,500. "While stamp collection has been a popular hobby, we found consumers who said they found it difficult to buy stamps. India Post has an amazing collection of stamps that we feel we our consumers will be delighted to have," Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal told PTI. Also, with Snapdeal's extensive reach, India Post will be able to reach a large number of customers, he added.

Portugal News: Packages made up a record 4.6% of total postal traffic in the second quarter of this year even while overall deliveries fell, the sector’s regulator ANACOM has announced. Parcels and packages not only hit a peak with their 4.6% of total traffic but were also the only portion of postal traffic to register growth, up 5.6% on the first quarter and 7.2% year-on-year. Total traffic in the second quarter slipped by 7.3% on the first and was 3.8% lower than the same period of last year with the three-month average of 20.6 objects per person “the lowest level ever registered" explained the ANACOM statement. In overall, terms 80% of postal traffic is made up of correspondence, 7.8% personally addressed publicity with a further 7.5% involving the delivery of magazines and other publications. The revenues generated by the postal sector in this quarter amounted to €171.4 million, down 1.2% on the first quarter and down 2.4% year-on-year with the recently privatised CTT holding a 94.5% market share. Of the post handled, 96.2% was addressed to national destinations with the remainder heading off internationally.

Dead Tree Edition: After years of massive downsizing, the U.S. Postal Service’s workforce has stopped shrinking, at least temporarily. USPS recently reported having 616,025 active employees, just 362 fewer than a year ago. The number of full-timers actually inched up by 1,464, to 467,844. That’s a far cry from the previous six years, when the annual workforce reductions ranged from 13,000 to nearly 53,000. Automation, facility closures, declining mail volumes, and a series of early-retirement offers reduced the number of postal workers by 183,000 from 2005 to 2013.

September 1, 2014 

Evening Echo: The EU says it cannot intervene to stop Ireland from closing rural post offices. Authorities in Brussels say it is entirely up to individual countries to decide how to run their postal systems, as long as they run for five days a week.

Tribune242: A Bahamian freight forwarding start-up is aiming to differentiate itself from a crowded market by offering value-added services and prices it says are almost one-third below the industry average. #Jurelle Nairn, managing director of MrShipIt.com, which opens its doors today on Palmdale’s Rosetta Street, said the inspiration for the business came from her five-year personal experience in trying to ship goods from the US to the Bahamas. Consolidated shipping, allowing goods to be shipped together at a lower rate, will also be offered. And MrShipIt.com clients will also be given a free US postal address, with charges only levied when goods are bought or shipped.

Philadelphia Inquirer: The T-shirted battalions of union members showed up, as usual, for the annual Labor Day parade along the Delaware River waterfront. The chartreuse shirts belonged to the American Postal Workers Union, U.S. Postal Service employees who work inside post offices. Their beef is a move by the post office to offer some postal services, such as certified mail and stamp purchases, at Staples.

Jerusalem Post: Workers from the Israel Postal Service will expand a strike covering the country's periphery to include Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning from 8:00-11:00, as negotiations between management and workers collapsed. The latest issue is anger at the Finance Ministry for refusing to absorb 1,500 workers who have worked for five years or more on a temporary basis. The union accuses the ministry of trying to oust permanent workers and hire the temporary ones for lower wages.

Radio Prague: The state-owned postal firm Czech Post is seeking 1.7 billion crowns in state compensation for losses incurred through unprofitable services it is required to provide by law, the daily Hospodářské noviny reports. Part of the compensation should be covered with contributions from Czech Post’s competitors according to existing law. But they complain the sum is exaggerated, and say the payments would put their businesses at risk.

Daily Republic: Like most modern folk, I sometimes communicate via text, email and other digital methods. However, lately I have been reminded about how important the good ol' fashioned United States Postal Service is.

Smart Company: The Post Office Agents Association, which represents LPO franchisees, noted in its inquiry submission the steady decline in traditional revenue from the sale of stamps and post office boxes, and the steady increase in packages ordered online. The growth in e-commerce and online auction purchasing in outer urban and regional areas has been strong, in part because of the lack of traditional retail and department store options in these areas. Importantly, the remuneration paid to LPOs for delivering and managing these packages is scant, often not reflecting the significant costs involved in attempting delivery and then storing goods for later collection when addressees are not home. Franchisees also feel the deal for non-postal retail goods sourced from Post is low – especially compared with what would be available from other wholesalers. The move to internet banking, and away from paying bills in LPOs, is also squeezing incomes. While Post has promised, in the shadow of the inquiry, to increase remuneration to LPOs, this is seen by many as too little, too late.

PrintWeek: On the face of it, last month's annual Ofcom Communications Market Report would have made pretty grim reading for the print industry: volumes are down, direct mail spend is down and the CWU is issuing dire predictions about the future of the universal service. However, on closer inspection things may not be as bad as they first appear. Part of the problem is that there is a tendency to oversimplify the decline of DM as being purely the result of the rise of cheaper electronic communications and by extension to view the massive decline in addressed DM volumes (down almost a third since 2008) as a death knell for the sector.

Linn's: The news appearing on Indian websites over the Labor Day weekend surely must have excited many of Bollywood's fans, although the rumor turned out to be false. According to the website, the United States Postal Service was to issue a stamp honoring the late Indian film star Akkineni Nageswarara Rao by issuing a postage stamp on the his birthday. Unfortunately for the son and Indian movie fans, A Postal Service spokesman told Linn's that USPS has no plans for any such stamp. Worse still, the USPS is having difficulty trying to contact the American foundation that apparently triggered the news with a press release.

August 31, 2014 

Herald Sun: Online shoppers can put their delivery woes on ice, as 7-Eleven and Australia Post launch 24/7 delivery lockers for residents to pick up a Slurpee and their packages at the same time. Australia Post has so far launched parcel lockers at 181 locations around Australia, with four in Boroondara — two in Hawthorn, one in Deepdene and another in Kew. Almost a third of parcel locker locations are outside 7-Eleven stores. The lockers provide online shoppers more flexibility around delivery times, allowing them to collect packages outside usual business hours.

Biztech Africa: The BotswanaPost and its counterpart in Zimbabwe, the ZimPost have announced the introduction of the first inter-postal money transfer corridor. BotswanaPost aims to fulfill its vision of "servicing the entire region," according to Lebogang Bok head of Communications at BotswanaPost.

Globes: A severe crisis in the Israel Postal Company is threatening the company's future. Sources inform "Globes" that the company board of directors was summoned this evening to discuss the developments, following the Government Companies Authority's announcement that given the crisis with the employees, it was in effect halting negotiations with them, and was asking the board of directors to discuss the consequences of this.

Dead Tree Edition: Most of the Postal Service's ballooning costs for workers' compensation result from injuries that are at least eight years old, according to a postal official. "A majority of the workers' compensation costs are attributed to employees who were injured prior to 2008.

August 30, 2014 

Opposing Views: A frightening discovery was made at the international mail facility at San Francisco International Airport last month that will make you say "nope!" Customs officials say they found 20 live millipedes inside a box marked "toy car model," CBS San Francisco reports. The large package from Germany had been routed through an x-ray machine and agents realized that it did not contain a toy after all.

Portland Press Herald: A U.S. Postal Service worker who was in charge at the Unity Post Office until last year has filed a lawsuit accusing her employer of retaliation after she demanded that they take a death threat allegedly made by a co-worker more seriously.

The Pueblo Chieftain: Colorado's delegation to the U.S. Senate warned the U.S. Postal Service this week that its consolidation of processing centers could impact elections. Democrats Michael Bennet and Mark Udall joined three colleagues from Oregon and California in the letter.

Tech Times: Reports on Google's two-year-old drone project first surfaced on The Atlantic, which says that Google recently launched test flights for a self-flying vehicle that delivered a package of dog food to farmers in Warwick, Australia, where drone testing laws are not as stringent as those in the United States. Dubbed Project Wing, the project was conceived out of Google X, the Internet company's semi-top-secret laboratory for developing its most innovative projects, including Google Glass and Google's self-driving cars, which is up for testing in public roads in California.

Office of the Inspector General: Monitoring Post Office Operational Risk in the Eastern Area -- What the OIG Found The Eastern Area is effectively monitoring 12 of the 13 operational risk elements we reviewed. However, we found area and district managers do not monitor refunds. Area and district personnel are not monitoring refunds because they are not required to do so under current Postal Service policy, they have limited resources, and they consider the financial risk from errors to be low. Without refund monitoring, there is an increased opportunity for refund fraud against the Postal Service. Specifically, the Postal Service issues refunds when labels or meter strips are damaged or printed in error and voided. Accordingly, a clerk might affix labels to mail in lieu of stamps and then process a refund to obtain funds.

usps logo DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update Reminder:

  • Full-Service Intelligent Mail Open Line Calls A Full-Service Intelligent Mail "Open Line" is scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. The topic for this month's webinar will be MIDs/CRIDs. USPS® representatives will be online to answer any questions related to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. To join the call, click on the link no more than 15 minutes before the start of the call. Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?ED=235186642&UID= 0&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D Audio: (855) 860-7461 Conference ID: 747 493 349
  • PostalOne!® Release 38.0.0 Mailer Webinars – Webinars will be held for mailers to learn about the PostalOne!® Release 38.0 updates to functionality, as well as pricing and postage statement changes. The schedule and topic for the next webinar is shown below. Go to RIBBS/Intelligent Mail Services/Education for additional webinar information, including links to recordings of previous webinars. PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 eInduction – for mailers who participate in eInduction, this webinar will cover upcoming changes with Release 38.0.0. When: Wednesday, September 3, 2014, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=740374710 Meeting number: 740 374 710

Wall Street Journal: Constrained American consumers are threatening to weigh on U.S. growth just after the economy regained its footing following a pullback early in the year. Hamstrung by weak income gains, consumers are struggling to step up spending. That is providing perhaps the biggest challenge to a second-half economic breakout that already is at risk due to global unrest and persistent slack in the labor market. Household spending declined a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the first time spending fell in a month since January. Meanwhile, personal income, reflecting income from wages, investment, and government aid, rose 0.2% in July—the smallest monthly increase this year.

ABC News Radio: Google, Amazon and Domino's Pizza are big fans. The FAA is feeling it out. But one person clearly not a part of "Team Drone" is Matty Rose, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired mail carrier. Google announced Wednesday that it tested drone delivery of items like dog treats, vaccines and candy to farmers in Australia. Though companies like the search giant are figuring out the legalities of FAA rules regarding commercial drone use, the realities of food and product deliveries by small aircraft appear to be closer than ever before. Though no companies have declared they will replace mail delivery, Rose says you can count him out of the fan club if they ever decide to do so when it comes to packages and letters. "I don't think letter carriers can be replaced. Everything else can be automated or bar-coded to every state for the same price," he said. "But somebody has to deliver it."

August 29, 2014 
 
The IMpb webinar scheduled for September 9 at 10 a.m. is being postponed due to PCC events taking place during the week of September 8. A new time and date will be forwarded to you shortly.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Blackburn News: The head of the union local that represents 150 postal carriers in the region hopes residents write Essex MP Jeff Watson a lot of letters. Watson is the parliamentary secretary to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, the minister in charge of Canada Post, and with the agency posting a $67-million net profit in the second quarter, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers thinks it's time to take another look at postal banking. President of CUP-W Local 500 Susan Markham believes allowing Canadians who don't have enough income to get a bank account to do their banking through Canada Post, could reverse the agency's financial difficulties and save services. She's frustrated the federal government isn't taking the proposal seriously.

Stuff: New Zealand Post operating profits were up 11 per cent to $124m, as a result of lower costs, a growing parcels and logistics business and a steady result from Kiwibank. The letters and parcels business turned a profit, too, after heavy cost-cutting and job layoffs. NZ Post is breaking even on letters alone, but sees that as a good result compared with the huge losses in other postal services. The letters and parcels business combined is now making a $10m profit, a big reversal from the $38m loss in the previous year. That profit excludes some overhead charges accounting for the balance of the total $107m profit. In the past year NZ Post has reduced costs by about $118m.

Otago Daily Times: Kiwibank substantially boosted its parent New Zealand Post's profit for the year ended June, with figures supplied to the market showing NZ Post would have barely broken even without the bank's contribution.

The Telegram: The Canada Post Group of Cos. reported Wednesday a net profit of $67 million in the second quarter, boosted by growth in its parcel delivery business and lower pension costs. It also said it would look to eliminate 6,000 to 8,000 positions over the same time period, mainly through attrition. Canada Post said it continues to stay on course with its plan to cut down operating costs. In February, it installed community mailboxes for 100,000 addresses in 11 communities across Canada. A total of 1.17 million conversions will be completed by 2015. It also raised prices for letter mail to better reflect inflation and operating costs.

CNBC: A report in Government Executive this morning notes that while USPS spends about $39 million a year to rent 10,000 trailers—the cargo bodies of its trucks—it also leased 35 trailers in fiscal years 2011 and 2012 to a distribution center in New Jersey. "There was one problem with these particular trailers, however: The Postal Service had no idea where they were, according to the agency's inspector general, or if it ever even received them from the leasing company."

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  Please be advised that the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system is now available to receive and process Mail.XML 10.0 messages. The Mail.XML 10.0 message types include creating and updating appointments. Note that FAST continues to process messages supported in Mail.XML 12.0A, 12.0B, and 14.0.

YouTube: Each day the United States Postal Service processes hundreds of millions of pieces of mail and delivers to over 150 million addresses. At the center of this bustling postal network are more than a hundred Processing and Distribution Centers spread across the United States. Follow these letters, catalogs, magazines, and parcels as they make their way through the Postal delivery network. Worth a look-see.

The Hill: The nation's economy grew more quickly than first estimated from April to June, expanding by 4.2 percent in the second quarter. A new report released Thursday by the Commerce Department says the economy surpassed the already robust growth of 4 percent that was initially estimated in July. The revised number exceeds the expectations of economists, who had predicted growth would remain near 4 percent. The second estimate seems to confirm that the U.S. economy experienced a strong comeback in the second quarter of the year.

Austin Business Journal: Austin's Scan Mailboxes Solutions LLC began offering a service in April that diverts postal deliveries and automates the scanning process of individual pieces of mail. Customers receive emailed images of the mail and then select what to do with it. CEO Ken Brown III said the service has proven popular with customers who travel frequently, operate home offices needing an extra level of security or work in paperless offices.

Daily Finance: What's the real story with the United States Postal Service? Is business booming, or is the Post Office going bust? The Good News ... With revenues up 2 percent, the Post Office closed the gap between the money it brings in and its cost of doing business. The Bad ... The problem, of course, is that the 7.7 percent increase in package deliveries comes with some serious implications for Post Office profitability. As The New York Times recently observed, "a large portion of the increased revenue in package delivery comes from contracts with FedEx and United Parcel Service." And unfortunately for the Post Office's fiscal health, delivering packages on behalf of FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) may not be the best way for it to make money.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Service NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records , 51627–51628 [2014–20627] [TEXT]

New Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's postal agency, Zimpost, has said it has revamped its operations and diversified its products to beat the current harsh macroeconomic environment. The company's head of retail services, Neil Moyo, said due to rapid technological advances, the parastatal which used to focus on mail delivery services had now shifted to other services such as money transfers and rural mobile communication centres.

Federal Times: Even as some lawmakers push to limit Postal Service cost-cutting measures, the agency still plans to reduce its workforce by up to 15,000 employees and close up to 82 processing centers. The agency estimates that it could save $750 million annually from the planned cuts, and said it had already saved $865 million from closing 141 mail processing facilities in 2012 and 2013. The Postal Service believes the best way to position the agency for the future is through comprehensive reform legislation, according to Licata, but will continue to cut costs where it can. "The Postal Service is disappointed by the efforts to block our ongoing network rationalization. It would be unfortunate if such action were to impede the financial progress we have made," she said. But comprehensive reform legislation has stalled in Congress, with lawmakers unable to agree on what form the legislation should take – if its needed at all. But lawmaker and union officials point to recent improvements in the agency's financial reports that show operating profits before prefunding requirements - $1 billion so far in fiscal 2014. They argue the only issue that hurts the Postal Service is the need to prefund retiree health benefits, and there is no need for additional legislation beyond reforming that requirement.

August 28, 2014 

 PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is 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. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

"Today the Postal Regulatory Commission issued final regulations that establish new procedures concerning requests from the Postal Service to conduct market tests of experimental products. The regulations balance the Commission's oversight authority over market tests with the Postal Service's need for flexibility to test new product ideas. The regulations also reflect the lessons learned from past market tests. The new rules provide increased clarity for the Postal Service, mailers, and the public regarding how such market tests are to be conducted and evaluated under the law. The rules offer the Postal Service the flexibility to conduct market tests of experimental products and to gain valuable experience from market tests, but also include safeguards to avoid disruptions to the commercial marketplace. The rules also discuss the elements the Postal Service must include in a market test proposal, the Commission's review process, the revenue and time limitations, the data to be collected from a market test, and the mechanisms by which the Postal Service can seek to change market tests or transition experimental products to permanent products. To date, the Commission has approved nine requests filed by the Postal Service to conduct market tests. At the Postal Service's request, the Commission also has granted extensions of four market tests, authorized two exemptions from the revenue limitation, and granted three requests to make experimental products permanent. Market Tests previously evaluated by the Commission are listed here. The Commission's Order is available at www.prc.gov under Docket No.RM2013-5. The regulations will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register."

  
PostCom Members!! The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site. If you're not yet a PostCom member -- Boy, are you missin' sumpthin' good.

Fedweek: Comprehensive postal reform legislation appears to be off the table again this year, with half of the Senate calling for a one-year delay to USPS plans to proceed with further consolidations, including the elimination of about 15,000 jobs in 2015 in order to give it more time to work out reforms. Some of the Sens., overwhelmingly Democrats, say the delay would give them a chance to enact postal reform legislation in 2015.

Office of the Inspector General: Delivery Unit Optimization Process -- What the OIG Found The revised DUO guidelines were not adequate for processing DUO proposals with projected financial losses. Also, management did not always comply with the guidelines. Specifically, in fiscal year 2013, management approved 41 consolidations with projected financial losses of $321,550.  According to management, there may be valid business reasons to approve a DUO consolidation with a projected financial loss; however, the Postal Service did not document these reasons because the guidelines did not require it to do so. As a result, management did not fully support a business case for implementing 41 of the DUO consolidations. Further, eight DUO proposals lacked sufficient support for $584,797 of savings reflected on the DUO worksheets and some DUO before and after cost studies were not performed as required. These shortcomings were due to insufficient management oversight and management's belief that they needed data from a longer time period to adequately assess the consolidation. We could not validate projected savings or losses for the studies that were not performed. Consequently, we estimate questioned costs of over $906,000 because post-implementation studies were not performed.

Daily Independent: The Post Master General of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, has said that the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) is poised to generate about 3,000 new jobs for Nigerian graduates before the end of the year.

Orange County Register: Various studies have shown that Postal Service employees earn 20 percent to 30 percent more than their private-sector counterparts. This is on top of benefits that exceed not only those in the private sector, but even those for other federal workers. To be sure, relieving the Postal Service of rules that tie its hands and drive up its costs would be a step in the right direction. An even better reform would be to relieve it of its monopoly over first-class mail and allow competition to determine the best ways of delivering the mail.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Statutory Public Service or Public Activity Reporting , 51379–51380 [2014–20431] [TEXT] [PDF]

"In its most recent Annual Report, the Commission stated that in 2014 it would review the scope of other public services or activities under section 3651(b)(1)(C).\1\ For FY 2013, that estimate included only the costs of delivering mail six days a week instead of five days, and revenue lost from unzoned First-Class Mail and Library/Media rates Id. at 30. The Commission noted, however, that this approach may be too narrow, and that a more comprehensive interpretation of section 3651(b)(1)(C) could also include the estimated net cost of activities such as the Inspection Service or the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, as well as services such as the addressing system or emergency response."

Reuters: A U.S. federal appeals court on Wednesday concluded that FedEx Ground drivers in California and Oregon are employees and not independent contractors, and can therefore pursue claims for alleged unpaid wages and benefits under state and federal labor laws. The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Portland, Oregon, reversed a lower court's ruling and would allow the drivers working for FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp, to move forward with their lawsuits in federal court.

MyBroadband.za: The appointment of Thuthukile Xolile Nomonde Zuma, the daughter of President Jacob Zuma, as the chief of staff in the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services raised eyebrows in South Africa recently. At only 25 years of age Thuthukile Zuma became the youngest chief of staff of a minister's office ever appointed in South Africa.

South China Morning Post: The leader of the Hongkong Post employees' union openly criticised the postal service for refusing to mail tens of thousands of leaflets on civil disobedience produced by democracy activists. Union of Hongkong Post Office Employees chairman Ip Kam-fu accused Hongkong Post of playing politics by refusing to deliver the fliers from the student-led pro-democracy group Scholarism. When it denied Scholarism's application to mail the fliers, it told Scholarism that the contents breached its ban on "illegal, obscene, immoral, indecent, offensive or libellous writing".

GlobalNews: The Canada Post Group of Companies reported Wednesday a net profit of $67 million in the second quarter, boosted by growth in its parcel delivery business and lower pension costs. The result was up from a loss of $50 million in the same period a year ago as revenue for the group, which includes the postal service, the Purolator courier service and other businesses, totalled $2.007 billion for the 13 weeks ended June 28, up from $1.862 billion a year ago.  All that prompted a call from the union representing many of its workers to find alternatives to cutting services. See also The Globe and Mail.

New Haven Register: Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are urging Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to agree to a one-year moratorium on further consolidations of the U.S. Postal Service mail processing facilities that are scheduled to take place sometime early next year. Blumnethal and Murphy announced their request to Donahoe during a mid-day press conference outside the USPS Southern Connecticut Distribution and Processing Center on Research Drive. The two lawmakers were joined by about 50 postal workers who chanted "The U.S. Mail is not for sale."

Associated Press: The amount of Colorado marijuana being seized en route to other states through the U.S. mail has more than quadrupled since 2010 and was destined for more states than before, according to a new report by a federally funded drug task force. Postal inspectors seized more than 493 pounds of pot from packages in 2013, up from 57 pounds in 2010, the year after medical marijuana dispensaries proliferated in Colorado, according to the figures released this month by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

August 27, 2014 

IMpb impacts on Extra Services September 9 at 10 a.m. (EDT) -- This webinar provides an overview of the features, benefits and requirements for Extra Services relating to IMpb. We will review the benefits and requirements unique to IMpb for mailers using Extra Services. Attendee Information: Event number: 992 168 882 Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=992168882&t=a  Dial-in: (888) 890-1547 Conference ID: 7017381

 Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) —occurred on Monday, August 25, 2014. There is also mandatory Mail.dat® client download for TEM.

Wall Street Journal: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a prominent student of the Great Depression, contends that the 2008 financial crisis was actually worse than its 1930s counterpart. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is quoted in the document offering a similarly apocalyptic assessment. From Sept. 6 through Sept. 22, the economy was essentially "in free fall," he said.

The Des Moines Register: Congress must pass legislation that will allow the U.S. Postal Service to survive by continuing six-day, door-to-door delivery and eliminating the mandated pre-funding of future retiree health benefits at a cost of $5.5 billion a year. The USPS is solely funded by postage and product sales. There's no taxpayer dollars. The USPS has seen rising operational profits. The sole cause of its red ink is the unfair pre-funding mandate. Reducing delivery service to five days would hurt consumers, reduce postal revenue and stunt future growth.

The Week: The United States Postal Service just reported that it lost $2 billion in the last three months, surprising no one. The news has once again prompted calls for the federal government's most omnipresent institution to come up with creative solutions to stay solvent. Chief among them: allowing the Postal Service to provide basic financial services like small loans, debit cards, and check-cashing. To supporters of so-called postal banking, the logic is simple. The USPS has built an impressive network of 31,000 post offices, nearly two-thirds of which are in ZIP codes that have fewer than two banks. Even if it charged well below market rate for its banking services, the Postal Service could create a new source of revenue while helping the estimated 10 million "unbanked" and 24 million "underbanked" American households that do not use traditional financial institutions. The postal banking idea has gained currency in media outlets like Vox and The New Republic. The only problem? Postal banking will neither fix the Postal Service's woes nor help the millions of Americans who aren't getting the basic financial services they need.

Xenia Gazette: Sen. Sherrod Brown -- In 2015, the United States Postal Service (USPS) plans to close and consolidate up to 82 mail processing facilities across the country – including ones in Akron, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown – putting 15,000 jobs at risk. To protect these jobs and ensure that Ohioans continue to receive reliable mail service, I joined with 49 other Senators in signing a letter, urging the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government to prevent all USPS closings and consolidations through Fiscal Year 2015. As our economy recovers, workers can't afford to be without a paycheck. This extension would give Congress time to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation to fund USPS operations and keep over 1,000 Ohioans in good-paying jobs.

Yahoo! News: Even in the age of emails and Internet video chatting, there's nothing like a parcel or a letter from home for US soldiers on deployment in Afghanistan. But the mail service is winding down in parallel with the pullout of US combat troops after 13 years of war and, as bases close, so too do the post offices. As they pull down, bases have been flattened and kit transported out of the country as the vast military infrastructure is cut back to a skeleton of its former self. About 10,000 US troops are set to remain into Afghanistan into next year. But the force will be reduced to a normal embassy protection force by the end of 2016 -- ending the days of parcels and hand-written letters being choppered across Afghanistan to eagerly awaiting US soldiers.

The Drum: Royal Mail challenger brand TNT Post UK has had a regional press ad and leaflet banned after the former complained to Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over claims it operates under the same rules and regulations as Royal Mail. Royal Mail said that the claim around TNT Post's regulations was misleading and couldn't be substantiated, because TNT was not required to deliver to every address in the UK on a next-day basis in the way Royal Mail was.

Parcel2Go: The recently-privatised Royal Mail exceeded its targets for the proportion of both first and second class post items delivered on time in the quarter between 31 March and 29 June. Of first class mail items, 93.3 per cent were recorded as arriving on the next working day – against a target of 93 per cent – and 99 per cent of second class mail got to its destination within the required three working days, beating the 98.5 per cent benchmark. That shows that – given the massive amounts of both first and second class post which is handled, sorted and delivered every day – anyone using the second class service stands quite an appreciably better chance of having their items delivered inside the requisite maximum five days, if weekends are included.

Post & Parcel: Spain's Correos has invested more than EUR 5m in modernising its delivery fleet, ordering more than 1,300 new vehicles. The national postal operator in Spain said last week that it has purchased 1,000 Piaggio Liberty motorcycles, 220 Renault Kangoo vans, and 136 Citroen Jumpy trucks. The Kangoo vehicles offer a 600kg payload, while the Jumpy trucks offer a payload of 1,200kg.

The Connexion: La Poste has denied claims that it has only delivered letters every other day during the summer in a rural area of the Tarn department due to staff shortages. Residents of Viviers-les-Montagnes have claimed that they did not receive regular post as expected, with one saying that his daily newspaper subscription arrived every second day, regional newspaper La Dépêche du Midi reports. When he complained, he was informed: "It turns out that exceptional circumstances did not allow us to ensure the delivery of mail in your sector during this period." According to the newspaper, four of nine regular post workers in nearby Labruguière were off work at the same time, and the company had not found temporary replacements.

ABC10News: The Postal Reform Act hopes to revamp the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service, which last year posted a $5 billion loss, but two proposals in particular are drawing negative attention. One is a proposal to stop Saturday delivery and the other would be to stop home mail delivery altogether.

Office of the Inspector General: Management Alert – Backup and Recovery of Essential Data (Report Number IT-MA-14-001) -- "During the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Information Technology Internal Controls audit (Project Number 14BM003IT000), the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) became aware of a hardware failure that resulted in the loss of the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) database used to record and monitor computer incidents (Project Number 14BM003IT001). The U.S. Postal Service's Data Management Services group periodically performs off-site backups for hundreds of critical databases. However, there are other essential databases that are not classified as critical that are used for daily functions. These functions include analysis of historical data and maintaining records for compliance with existing security policy. We are issuing this alert to make the Postal Service aware of the need to modify its current backup and storage requirements to ensure that essential, but not critical, data is available. The Postal Service did not ensure all database backups were being stored on separate hardware. Specifically, the CIRT database was lost due to a hardware failure and the data was not recovered due to the absence of a backup on a separate piece of hardware. As a result, this database was not available to perform historical analyses and the Postal Service could not comply with security policy."


Postal Technology International:

eCommerceBytes: ShipWorks has launched version 3.9.4, which includes FedEx One Rate, FedEx Electronic Trade Documents, and several new integrations. ShipWorks is the first shipping software provider to integrate FedEx One Rate into their software platform. ShipWorks version 3.9.4 is available immediately for download, and all of these new features are available to all ShipWorks customers.

eCommerceBytes: I have found a problem with the shipping cost calculator for sellers printing Fedex labels on eBay. In many cases, the shipping cost estimator shows the buyer's address is a business address, but the seller later gets charged the higher residential delivery rate. When printing Fedex shipping labels through eBay, the box showing whether the buyer's address is residential is sometimes checked, but often it is not. An eBay CSR told me the buyer specifies whether their delivery address is business or residential. Fedex charges about $3.25 more per package if the delivery is residential. Often, the buyer chooses the cheapest shipping method, which is often Parcel Post or Parcel Select. When printing a shipping label, though, eBay sometimes shows Fedex shipping as cheaper than Parcel Post, so I may choose that to save a buck or two and so the buyer gets their package sooner. If the eBay screen shows the delivery address is a business address, but it is actually a residential address, Fedex charges the residential delivery surcharge. Since I don't find out the actual Fedex shipping cost until I get my eBay seller invoice up to a month later, I don't know what the actual charge is until after the package has been delivered.

Brisbane Times: The growth in e-commerce and online auction purchasing in outer urban and regional areas has been strong, in part because of the lack of traditional retail and department store options in these areas. The remuneration paid to LPOs for delivering and managing these packages is scant, often not reflecting the significant costs involved in attempting delivery and then storing goods for later collection when addressees are not home. Franchisees also feel the deal for non-postal retail goods sourced from Post is low – especially compared with what would be available from other wholesalers. The move to internet banking, and away from paying bills in LPOs, is also squeezing incomes. While Post has promised, in the shadow of the inquiry, to increase remuneration to LPOs, this is seen by many as too little, too late.

Daily Caller: A government audit of the U.S. Postal Service found that it lost important data after a hardware failure erased both the data and its backup, which were both stored on the same piece of hardware. The Computer Incident Response Team database, "used to record and monitor computer incidents," was lost after an unspecified hardware failure in April of this year. The report found that "the Postal Service did not ensure all database backups were being stored on separate hardware. Specifically, the CIRT database was lost due to a hardware failure and the data was not recovered due to the absence of a backup on a separate piece of hardware." The database lost was considered essential, meaning it was "necessary for daily operations." CIRT monitors "events that threaten the integrity, availability, or confidentiality of information resources, such as suspicion or occurrence of any fraudulent activity; unauthorized disclosure, modification, misuse, or inappropriate disposal of Postal Service information."

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

 Attention Postal One! Users:   FAST Release 28 Known Issue The Facility Access and Shipment Tracking® (FAST) System, Release v28.0 was deployed on Sunday August 24, 2014. Release 28 introduced updates to messages supported in Mail.XML 12.0A, 12.0B and 14.0A. These updates impacted specific Mail.XML messages for Appointment Create requests and the Appointment Close-Out Data Report. The updates were not made to Mail.XML 10.0 which prevented mailers from making appointments using Mail.XML 10.0. The USPS is currently working towards reverting to support Mail.XML10.0 Appointment Create requests. The recommended workaround is for mailers to schedule an Appointment using the FAST on-line system. Mailers can also contact the FAST Help Desk via eMail (FAST@usps.com) or telephone (1-877-569-6614). We are working to resolve these issues as soon as possible. Updates will be provided as they become available. The "Known Issues" list is posted on RIBBS/Major/Minor Releases. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you.

usps logo DMM Advisory: Updated Link: Mailpiece Design Analyst Help Desk Open Line Webinars for Mailers. The U.S. Postal Service® has launched a new help desk platform to streamline Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) customer service. The MDA Customer Service Help Desk is a centralized process that connects customers directly with MDAs who have specialized mailpiece design expertise. The new MDA Customer Service Help Desk system will automatically route customer calls and emails to help: * Minimize customer handling and wait time * Improve the customer call-back process by expediting customer connectivity with the MDA assigned to their ticket through the telephone menu option * Enhance and simplify the customer experience through new telephone menu options * Internally monitor customer interactions and responses to measure quality
*  Get directly connected with an MDA by calling 1-855-593-6093 or send an email to MDA@usps.gov. The MDA Customer Service Help Desk is available to all customers, internal and external, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time, excluding holidays.
*  Open Line webinars will be hosted to provide mailers with an opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback about the new MDA Customer Service Help Desk process. In addition, MDA Help Desk customers are invited to complete a customer survey on their MDA customer service experience. A survey link is included at the bottom of each email correspondence with an MDA or you can Click Here to tell us about your latest MDA Customer Service Help Desk experience.
*  New Link! To join the MDA Customer Service Help Desk Open Line Call, click on the link below no more than 15 minutes before the start of the call.
*  Webinar Dates: Monday through Friday, August 18, 2014, through September 18, 2014 Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time Meeting Number: 743 271 900 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=740139426 Teleconference information Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-8607461 (US) Conference Code: 260 841 5474 Additional information about the MDA Customer Service Help Desk can be found at RIBBS.usps.gov under the MDA Customer SVC Help Desk tab.

August 26, 2014 

Post & Parcel: Scandinavian postal operator PostNord made a slight loss in its latest quarter, as the company implemented a new organisational structure. The parent company of Sweden Post and Post Danmark — owned jointly by the Swedish and Danish governments — has been suffering sharp falls in its mail volumes as customers digitise their communications. And, the firm has found growth hard to come by in the parcels industry up against such intense competition.

Newshounds: Fox News' Cashin' In show used the U.S. Postal Service's default on a $5.7 billion payment recently as little more than a pretext to bang the drum of privatization again. Jonathan Hoenig got the privatization ball rolling. "We should follow Europe in this case and privatize it just like postal industries in England, in Denmark, and in Germany." "Privatize it. I love that idea," host Eric Bolling said. Michelle Fields said she "absolutely" agrees. "And this is not surprising. All you have to do is walk into a post office to understand why they are going broke. It's horrible customer service. …Just privatize the whole thing." Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/fox_still_working_to_privatize_the_post_office_08262014#9Cmq3VkJU8JGJU7p.99

Perth Now: A stand-off between Australia Post and residents of a Runcorn street has resulted in 15 households not receiving mail for almost a month. Tensions sprung from an alleged incident involving a postman, a couple and their errant dog on Amaranthus St during the last week of July ending August 1, with a second confrontation reported a few weeks later. More than three weeks after the initial altercation, residents are still not receiving bills and other important correspondence, with one man threatening to seek compensation from Australia Post for any late fees he incurs.

Hindu Business Line: The Department of Posts will roll-out 1,000 ATMs in the next couple of years as part of its plans to hive off its financial services business into a bank. Since 2012, the Department has put 676 Post Offices on the core banking platform. By end of March 2016, it expects to put 25,000 such offices on the platform, which entails networking of branches to enable customers to access their account from and perform transactions at any of these networked offices. Given that India Post has been handling financial services such as Post Office savings schemes, postal life insurance and money remittance services for several decades, it is likely that it will opt to become a payments bank.

Office of the Inspector General: Big Data, Big Questions -- Data is vital to our work as an OIG. We use data analytics – including data mining, risk assessment models, and predictive analytics – to help focus our audits and investigations on high-risk areas of the U.S. Postal Service that yield the largest financial impact and/or efficiency improvements. For our organization, data analytics is a game-changer. Using a single data interface, investigators no longer have to comb through different programs and network folders, saving considerable time. Our predictive model lets us identify cases involving a high probability of fraud, before beginning an investigation. While the data game is rapidly evolving, federal laws governing data use have moved at a slower pace. The recently enacted DATA Act provides a powerful weapon in combatting fraud and waste in government by standardizing and opening up federal spending information for all to see. But agencies still face bottlenecks in uncovering fraud and abuse. Notably, the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 – written before Big Data and intended as an extension of the Privacy Act – added procedural steps that agencies must follow when matching federal, state, and local electronic databases."

Boston Globe: Depending on whom you ask, package delivery by drone is either looming large in our future or is off in the distance. While we wait, researchers at MIT are building the parts that will make delivery robots functional and efficient, including battery-swapping stations and algorithms that streamline the way the crafts will think.

eCommerceBytes: It sounds like a joke along the lines of, where can I find the bathroom scale? (the bathroom, of course). But the U.S. Postal Service isn't joking when it asks "How much does a 1-pound box weigh?" in a new ad. The answer: "11 pounds, if you use the wrong shipping company."

Minneapolis Star Tribune: National lawmakers have joined Minnesota mayors in the fight to keep mail processing centers in four outstate cities from closing. In a letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe, Franken said he's heard similar criticism from folks in Rochester. Because of the closure, he wrote, a letter sent from one Rochester address to another "can take up to eleven days to get back down to Rochester."

The Association for Postal Commerce has submitted to the Postal Service a petition for reconsideration in response to the Postal Service's final rule regarding administrative wage garnishment ("AWG").

The Hill: Animal rights activists are lobbying the U.S. Postal Service to stop selling stamps honoring the circus. More than 60,000 signers of a petition calling for the Postal Service to scrap the stamps say they do little more than lionize abusers of elephants and other animals.

August 25, 2014 

Oregon Business Report: Thousands of Oregonian and millions of American households would no longer receive door-to-door mail delivery service under legislation proposed by Representative Daryl Issa (R-CA). Instead, a growing number of households will be assigned to a local "cluster" box, where mail is distributed by U.S. postal workers to a collection of curbside mail boxes for multiple addresses. In some cases, this may mean a short walk down the street. Others may require a little more effort to retrieve mail.

Financial Times: Italy loses enthusiasm for privatisations. The main event of the programme described as Italy's largest privatisation push since the late 1990s was the government selling 40 per cent of the national postal services operator Poste Italiane to raise at least €4bn. But Mr Renzi has back-pedalled on the listing of the postal service after a poor market debut by state-run shipbuilder Fincantieri in June.  Bankers say that Mr Renzi's move to hold back from listing Poste Italiane until next year or even 2016 makes business sense. They argue that giving Francesco Caio, the recently appointed chief executive, more time to restructure the postal service may allow him to emulate the success of the listings of state-owned Deutsche Post and the UK's Royal Mail.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 38 deployed on Sunday August 24, 2014. If you have any issues, including the submission of electronic documentation or accessing information through reports, contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800.522.9085. Following are the known issues and temporary procedures.
  • Commercial Plus Pricing · The system is incorrectly calculating postage for mailers who receive Commercial Plus Pricing using Postal Wizard or hard copy postage statements. Business Mail Entry employees have been instructed to accept and release these mailings but to not process the postage statement(s) until this issue is resolved.
  • Uploading Mail.dat®/Mail.XML™ files · Mailers may experience issues uploading Mail.dat or Mail.XML files. If you experience any issues uploading files, please contact the PostalOne! Held Desk at 800.522.9085.
  • MicroStrategy Reports · The data for the MicroStrategy reports is not available at this time. This includes the Mailer Profile, Electronic Verification, eInduction, and Seamless tabs of the scorecard. We will provide an update when the data is available.
  • R 38 Price Change Statement Mailing Date Reminder: For all Postage Statement submitted for all submission types, the Postage Statement Mailing Date cannot cross any price change date. An error message will be occur when the Statement Mailing Dates within a job cross the price change date when the mailing dates are not all before or not all after the Price Change date. For example, the Postage Statement Mailing date for each postage statement within the job must all be before or after the price change of January 25, 2014 or September 7, 2014.
  • Live Animal Transport Fee · When Mail.dat files are submitted, the system is unable to collect the Live Animal Transport Fee · PostalOne! IT will provide the BMEUs with the amount to be collected once the issues is resolved. The BMEU will then perform a manual adjustment.
  • Reminder - New Client Download is required for Release 38.0
  • We are working to resolve this issues as soon as possible. Updates will be provided as they become available. The Known Issues list is posted on RIBBS/Major/Minor Releases.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • The Postal Regulatory Commission has established Docket No. PI2014-1, to invite public comments on the meaning of "other public services or activities" by the Postal Service under 39 U.S.C.3651(b)(1)(C) for cost reporting in its Annual Report to the President and Congress. In its Annual Report, the Commission is required to report an estimate of the costs incurred by the Postal Service to provide other public services or activities which, in the judgment of the Commission, would not otherwise have been provided by the Postal Service if the service wasn't a legal requirement. The Commission's 2013 Annual Report estimated the costs of delivering mail six days a week instead of five days, and revenue "lost" from unzoned First-Class Mail and Library/Media rates. The Commission has noted that this approach may be too narrow and would like to receive comments on the cost of other Postal Service activities. In early 2014, the Commission asked the Postal Service to provide an analysis of activities that could qualify for cost reporting. A copy of the Postal Service's assessment is available in Docket No. PI2014-1. The Commission will receive comments from all interested parties no later than September 17, 2014, and reply comments no later than October 1, 2014.

The Warsaw Voice: Poland's national mail operator Poczta Polska (The Polish Post) wants to make a belated entry into the CEP segment (courier, express and parcel) in order to offset the decline in revenues from the delivery of letters and plans acquisitions. Poczta Polska wants to take advantage of growth in the e-commerce market, which is expected to expand by 20% this year.

Washington Times: The Postal Service has been cutting back hours at smaller, rural facilities rather than close them down completely. Currently, downsizing has occurred or is planned at some 33,000 post offices around the country.

August 24, 2014 

Dead Tree Edition: Letter carriers and other postal employees have been saying for several years that changes at the Postal Service would lead to more job-related injuries. A new report suggests they may be right.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment — has been completed and the production applications are back online as of 09:00AM CT. Please note this release has a mandatory Mail.dat® client download.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) — will occur on Monday, August 25, 2014, and PostalOne! TEM will be unavailable from 6:00AM CT through 3PM CT.

Newsday: Perceived conflict of interest on the part of Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation (TTPOST) chairman Dr Franklin Ali is the only reason why senior managers have been leaving the company. Sunday Newsday reported last week that Trinidad and Tobago Mailing Systems Limited (TTMSL) (now Streamline Solutions Ltd) of which State-owned TTPOST owns 30 percent shareholding, had complained to TTPOST's former director attorney Margaret Rose in 2007, that "Justal Ltd", a company registered in the name of Ali while he held the position as manager (operations), had solicited TTML clients. New information obtained by Sunday Newsday is that a certificate awarded to Ali by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) based in Switzerland was questioned by top management in August last year as to its legitimacy. Senior managers have also been questioning the qualifications listed in an employee's resume, which they say is a misrepresentation, which she used to seek out a promotion to TTPOST's top management level, and which she eventually gained, reportedly through the goodwill of a minister of Government.

August 23, 2014 

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
50707–50708 [2014–20051] [TEXT]  [PDF]
50708 [2014–20052] [TEXT]  [PDF]

August 22, 2014 

usps logo DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update.

  • Reminder: PostalOne!® Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment — will require an extended maintenance window to complete all software updates. There will be a PostalOne! outage from 12 midnight through 9 a.m. CDT, on Sunday, August 24, 2014. A mandatory Mail.dat® client download will be available immediately following the software update. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 can be found on RIBBS by clicking on Major/Minor Release Schedule/ 2014 Releases in the left-hand navigation bar or by going directly to RIBBS.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) — will occur on Monday, August 25, 2014, and PostalOne! TEM will be unavailable from 6 a.m. through 3 p.m. CDT. PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 Mailer Webinars – Webinars will be held for mailers to learn about the PostalOne! Release 38.0 updates to functionality, as well as pricing and postage statement changes. The schedule and topic for the webinars is shown below. Log on to RIBBS/Intelligent Mail Services/Education for additional webinar information.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 Business Related Changes – this webinar will cover changes to PostalOne! functionality and postage statement and price changes · Friday, August 22, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 748 335 429 Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=748335429
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 FAST®, Mail.dat® and Mail.XML™ – this webinar will review changes to the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system and updates on Mail.dat and Mail.XML. · Wednesday, August 27, 2014 from 10 a.m, to 11 a.m. EDT Meeting Number: 744 206 784 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=744206784
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 Full-Service Intelligent Mail and Seamless Acceptance – this webinar will provide a review of the programs, timeline of upcoming enhancements, and Release 38 enhancements to program elements such as the Mailer Scorecard. · Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 747 170 710 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=747170710
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 eInduction – for mailers who participate in eInduction, this webinar will cover upcoming changes with Release 38.0.0. · Wednesday, September 3, 2014 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 740 374 710 Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=740374710
  • Program Registration Release 11.0 — will be deployed to Production from 12 midnight to 9 a.m. CDT on Sunday, August 24, 2014. There will be an outage and the application will be unavailable during that time.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Wall Street Journal: The Justice Department has added three charges of money laundering to last month's dubious indictment of FedEx for drug trafficking. Maybe government prosecutors figure by the rules of probability that the more implausible allegations they make, the greater the odds that one will stick. Justice is turning the screws with a goal of browbeating FedEx into settling the case by paying a fine and agreeing to do the government's enforcement work. So instead of nailing the criminals, Justice is targeting law-abiding companies. FedEx deserves credit for not rolling over. The prosecutors in this case should be found guilty of fraud and harassment

Postal Reform Act Of 2013 Report Of The Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs United States Senate

The Oregonian: A few years ago, the U.S. Postal Service gave Oregonians a fright when it announced a plan to shut down unprofitable post offices, most of them rural. Good news: The pitched public outcry against the idea was heard. Now for the bad news — familiar but, owing to Congress' inaction, worse than ever: The Postal Service drowns deeper in liabilities as it watches its mainstay – the delivery of First Class mail to every address in America – steadily decline at the rate of 4 percent a year. Liabilities of the service, which supports nearly 490,000 career employees nationwide, exceed assets by about $42 billion. There are other complications. Its massive infrastructure was designed for letters, which take little room and pack differently. That means one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world – more than 200,000 smaller postal trucks, most of them 20 years old — is ripe for replacement with larger, box-friendly, fuel-efficient vehicles. That also means new mailboxes are needed just about anywhere folks would prefer to avoid having to drive to the post office to pick up an undeliverable parcel – a cost burden that in many instances will be shared with customers. The estimated tab to the service to mount these changes alone – there are others, too – is $10 billion.

Ferret: Auckland's Croxley Stationery has announced that it is considering ending its manufacturing operations, with 100 jobs to be shed. Croxley's managing director David Lilburne said in a statement that cheap imports, an elevated currency eroding export sales, and changing communication habits had hurt the business. "We are operating in an environment which has seen a decline in postal use and a reduction in demand for traditional paper based office products," said Lilburne. "Emails have replaced envelopes and writing pads."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
49822–49823 [2014–19883] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Products; Amendments ,
49823 [2014–19882] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
49823 [2014–20157] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  49823 [2014–19925] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  49823–49824 [2014–19926] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Oregonian: A group of postal workers and supporters set up a picket line Thursday outside the Vancouver Hilton, where Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman was attending a mailer's expo. They chanted and circulated flyers to call attention to the U.S. Postal Service's plans to consolidate distribution centers in Oregon, potentially costing the jobs of several hundred workers. John Schwiebert, a retired minister and a member of the group Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, said he spoke to Stroman inside the expo. During a formal question-and-answer session, Schwiebert said, he and Stroman ended up discussing the virtues of postal banking, which could give some customers an alternative to traditional banks and payday lenders. Schwiebert said Stroman was aware of the protest outside and was "very engaging" to talk to.

The Saline Reporter: Some city residents may not have received their July utility bills due to what appears to be an error by the United States Postal Service. According to a press release, the city was made aware in August that a number of July 2014 utility bills in the same route had not been received by the residents. The city reviewed billing records that indicate the number of bills printed, distributed and postage paid for was in comparison to the same number billed quarterly. The quarterly count was verified with the mailing agent and with the postage permit paid at the United States Post Office. Therefore, the City of Saline's records indicate that all July 2014 utility bills were printed, prepared and postage paid, and has requested an investigation of the delivery of mail. The city treasurer's office has been in contact with the United States Postal Service regarding this matter and an investigation is underway at this time.

August 21, 2014 

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:  

  • PostalOne!® Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment — will require an extended maintenance window to complete all software updates. There will be a PostalOne! outage from 12:00AM(midnight) CT through 9:00AM CT, on Sunday, August 24, 2014. A mandatory Mail.dat® client download will be available immediately following the software update. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 can be found on RIBBS by clicking on Major/Minor Release Schedule/ 2014 Releases in the left-hand navigation bar or by going directly on RIBBS.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) — will occur on Monday, August 25, 2014, and PostalOne! TEM will be unavailable from 6:00AM CT through 3PM CT.

Public Opinion Local News: A former Waynesboro postal worker was sentenced on Friday at a U.S. District Court for deserting mail in August 2013. Jacki M. Snedegar, was in charge of the mail when she knowingly abandoned the mail instead of delivering it to a post office at the end of the route, another mail carrier, messenger or other agent of the United States Postal Service authorized to receive mail, according to court documents. Snedegar, represented by American Federal Public Defender Heidi R. Freese, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of desertion of mails on Friday, after being charged with the federal level offense in July 11. According to court documents, Snedegar's desertion of mail ended on Aug. 30, 2013.

Shreveport Times: A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from Shreveport has pleaded guilty to stealing Netflix DVDs and money, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today.

New Jersey Monthly: The United States Postal Service Northern New Jersey District officials will be hosting a special postal job fair at City Hall on Thursday. Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp is organizing the joint community outreach at the Watchung Avenue complex from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to assist the USPS in filling their open positions. Attendees will have the chance to learn about and apply for postal service openings, including: clerks, carriers, temporary holiday employees, motor vehicle operators/truck drivers and auto mechanics.

WANE: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is hoping to fill hundreds of Rural Carrier Associate positions in Indiana. According to the release from USPS, the salary for the positions is $16.25 an hour plus an equipment maintenance allowance. Employees may be required to use personal vehicles but compensation would be provided for that.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

usps logo DMM Advisory:  PRC Affirms Priority Mail Price Changes On August 15, 2014, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) affirmed the Priority Mail® price changes proposed by the United States Postal Service® on July 1, 2014. These prices will be implemented on September 7, 2014. For additional details, go to Postal Explorer® at pe.usps.gov for pricing files (look in the blue navigation bar for September 2014 Price Change Information) and to the PRC website at http://www.prc.gov/Docs/90/90202/Order No. 2156.pdf to download Order No. 2156. A Postal Bulletin article will be published on August 21, 2014.

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

  • Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe earlier this week gave an update to attendees of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), noting positive USPS revenue trends, service improvements, and continued USPS cost reduction efforts including Phase 2 of its Network Rationalization efforts. The PMG had little insight as to what the USPS might do in 2015 concerning postage price changes, and agreed with industry representatives that a better approach is needed in the future to replace the Postal Service's historical costing systems.
  • The USPS recently announced its plans to move ahead with Phase 2 of its Network Rationalization facility consolidations and service standard changes effective January 5, 2015, and late last week held a webinar to provide industry representatives with more detail around its plan. The changes will include consolidation of about 82 facilities, as well as service standard and Critical Entry Time (CET) changes for First-Class Mail and Periodicals. The USPS said it expects to publish the initial Mail Moves plan in about 4-6 weeks.
  • February and May 2015 MTAC meeting dates set. Looking for more news from MTAC? Carper urges colleagues to move on reform. Booming e-commerce shaping postal pressures. USPS offering a competitive alternative to UPS and FedEx. Upcoming UPS FedEx services and prices getting scrutinized. Rush to make same day service a marketplace advantage. APWU Keeps up the heat on USPS-Staples dealings. NLRB Judge rules staples deal illegal. USPS apologizes for Israel-Gaza mail flap. Postal reform languishes. USPS Showcases mail tracking service.
  • An update on DMM and PostalOne customer alerts.
  • An update on Federal Register postings regarding mail service.
  • An update on key docket activity at the PRC.
  • An update from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews.
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The Oregonian: How bad is the outlook for the U.S. Postal Service? Ronald Stroman, deputy postmaster general, doesn't hesitate. We're defaulting on our retiree health benefit obligations, he explains during a Wednesday stop in Portland. We owe the Treasury $15 billion, he says. First class mail volume is declining about 4 percent a year, he notes. The Post Office should spend about $10 billion to upgrade its fleet of delivery vehicles and improve its sorting equipment to reflect the growing importance of package delivery, he adds. "People don't want us to change," Stroman said Wednesday, alluding to uproars that follow when the agency talks about cutting Saturday service, closing or reducing service hours at its branches or raising postage rates. "We're pressing Congress for change," he said, "but we're not waiting." The Postal Service is looking for ways to extract new sources of revenue from its national delivery system, he said. Operating tests are being carried out, but as to specifics, he said, "I can't go into it."

Direct Marketing News: Most transit advertising companies have to fulfill their media plans with logistical analyses that ensure their client's messages are motoring around the right neighborhoods, the ones where their target customers live. The U.S. Postal Service need not trouble itself with such trifles. Their trucks are always in the right place because they're everyplace! USPS already owns the billboard "real estate," as it were, because they own the doors of every address in the country. All the Postal Service has to do is get new and better billboards. (Trucks, that is.) Here's what I'd do to jump-start the program. Send RFPs to all the major truck manufacturers, asking them to design the U.S. Mail truck of the 21st Century. But instead of paying the winning bidder with cash money, currently in short supply at the Post Office, you pay them with free designated market area media. If Ford wins, it can use its truck space to crow that it built the vehicle on which the world's largest delivery fleet is based, or it can choose to promote the new F150 or Mustang. When you begin selling truck panels to the nation's leading advertisers, Ford gets orders for tens of thousands of new vehicles. I would be very surprised, Mr. PMG, if you couldn't score at least 20,000 free trucks this way. You pay big bucks to Interpublic to handle your media, right? Instead of having them just buy your media, why not put them to work selling some for you? Call them tomorrow and ask them to start working up a media kit. Let's release the U.S. Mail truck from its pathetic role as a dying dog. Give it a new script and take it on the road!

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
49543 [2014–19799] [TEXT]  [PDF]
49542–49543 [2014–19800] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Privacy Act; Systems of Records ,
49543–49544 [2014–19813] [TEXT]  [PDF]

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

August 20, 2014 

People's World: The two developments, plus previous "no confidence" votes by both big postal unions, the Letter Carriers (NALC) and the Postal Workers (APWU), should be enough to give any managers pause. But the unions are again taking their case public, too, with planned protests. NLRB Administrative Law Judge Eric Fine dealt the legal blow. He ruled that, since last November, USPS broke labor law in refusing to provide requested materials, e-mails and memos about the Staples deal to APWU.

Wall Street Journal: UPS Store Inc. on Tuesday warned that customers' personal and financial information may have been compromised at some of its locations following a security breach. The company, a unit of United Parcel Service Inc., said it has found no evidence of fraud stemming from the breach, but is offering free credit-monitoring services to eligible customers whose information may have been compromised. The company said it discovered malware on systems at 51 locations in 24 states after receiving a government bulletin alerting retailers to the possible intrusion.

Office of the Inspector General: Federal Employees' Compensation Act Reform White Paper Report Number HR-WP-14-003

Federal Times: Even as the Postal Service has cut hundreds of thousands of employees its workers' compensation costs continue to grow, according to an Aug. 19 report by the Postal Service inspector general. The Postal Service also pays more than the industry standard: The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that private industry workers' compensation in the same occupations cost 73 cents per work hour, while the Postal Service paid $1.16 per work hour in fiscal 2013, according to the report. The agency could save $477 million if it capped workers' compensation benefits by time and amount, and required employees to take generic drugs for prescriptions when available, according to the inspector general.

Politico: Mitch McConnell has a game plan to confront President Barack Obama with a stark choice next year: Accept bills reining in the administration's policies or risk a government shutdown. In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to "move to the center" if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress. In short, it's a recipe for a confrontational end to the Obama presidency.

TechInAsia: Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba announced today it will introduce self-pickup delivery across Hong Kong today for goods purchased on Taobao Marketplace Hong Kong, in partnership with 7-11 and Hongkong Post, the city's government-run postal service. Now, users based in Hong Kong who buy goods off of Taobao Marketplace can opt to pick up their items at one of over 200 designated locations. 125 of these locations belong to Hongkong Post, while 7-11 and a bevy of local logistics providers operate the remainder. Read more: Alibaba introduces self-pickup delivery spots in Hong Kong as it flexes its logistics muscles http://www.techinasia.com/alibaba-introduces-selfpick-delivery-spots-hong-kong-flexes-logistics-muscles/

Direct Marketing News: The Postal Service has been openly touting its shipping services to e-coms as a low-cost alternative, especially since UPS and FedEx announced "dimensional pricing" plans that will charge premiums for larger-sized packages, no matter the weight. The new rates will take effect at year's end. The Postal Service already accounts for nearly two fifths of the total volume shipping in the U.S., but less than one fifth of revenues, according to a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service. That's because the Post Office has focused on lightweight packages that return a revenue-per-piece of $3.37 as compared to $9.70 for FedEx and $9.39 for UPS. Apparently, the decreased rates for heavier packages are designed to remedy that disparity. The package business has been one of the few bright lights at the Post Office in recent years, posting regular increases over the last several quarters. During USPS's recently concluded Fiscal 2014 third quarter, shipping and package volume increased 7.7% and added $196 million in revenue.

Boston Herald: The American Postal Workers Union and its supporters plan to protest at Staples stores in Boston and Saugus today against what they call the outsourcing of postal work to a troubled retailer. The U.S. Postal Service and Staples launched a pilot program last October to allow 82 stores in Worcester, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco to sell the most popular postal products and services. "The major concern is the U.S. Postal Service belongs to the people of this country, and what it's doing with Staples is a form of privatization where profit motive comes into play, which ultimately leads to higher costs for the consumer and less service," said Rich Shelley, an APWU member and organizer of the Staples campaign. "This is also the transfer of living-wage jobs at the postal service to low-wage jobs at a retailer to save money."

Guelph Mercury: At a public forum held in Guelph Aug. 6 by two local unions, Shelley Sillers, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, was quoted as saying, "while postal workers are not facing a strike or a lockout, they are facing job losses as the federal government plans to stop door-to-door mail delivery in favour of community mail boxes." Well, let's face the inevitable: door-to-door delivery of mail is in its dying days, thanks to email and the internet, where it can be done in mere seconds by the flip of a few keys and at much less cost.

Digital Journal: This month saw the launch of a revised code of conduct from the UK's foremost Direct Mail trade body, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The Code is aimed at improving the effectiveness and public perception of direct marketing. The aim is to take members beyond the levels of compliance required by legislation, advertising bodies and data protection organisations to enable them to deliver a service that ‘adds value' to recipients of Direct Mail.

Seeking Alpha: PostNL has been able to stem the decline of mail volume with strict cost cutting discipline outside of their restructuring efforts. Increased efficiency has been found from each car unit and has benefited from a transition to the 5 day delivery model. Even with 11% declines in mail volume, the company expects to achieve 9-11% cash operating margins from mail compared to the 3.8% achieved in 2013.

Office of the Inspector General: Federal Employees' Compensation Act Reform -- A White Paper

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 49345–49346 [2014–19639] [TEXT] [PDF]

Forbes: The coming rate increases in ground service by FedEx and UPS have businesses scrutinizing every aspect of their parcel-shipping programs. Both companies are preparing to introduce dimensional weight pricing for all parcels in U.S. ground service — UPS on Dec. 29, 2014, and FedEx on Jan. 1, 2015. The change means that the cost of shipping any package will be based in part on the item's volume — the amount of space it takes up on a truck. Up to now, the two carriers have limited the use of that formula to domestic ground packages measuring three cubic feet or greater, and for air and express shipments. Shippers are waking up to the implications of the pricing change. The likeliest benefactor is the U.S. Postal Service, whose Priority Mail option will continue to charge a flat rate for domestic shipments of up to 70 pounds. The Postal Service has recently undertaken a major marketing push to draw business away from FedEx and UPS, providing tracking capability and free insurance, and partnering with leading e-commerce players such as Amazon.com to offer Sunday delivery in major cities. Meanwhile, Amazon, eBay, Google and other major e-commerce sites might step up efforts to launch their own delivery services.

National Journal: The stage is being set this month for another round of argument and angst over the future of the U.S. Postal Service when Congress returns to work in September. The latest squabble erupted after the USPS, which this summer reported a net loss of $2 billion in the second quarter of 2014, announced plans to cut 15,000 jobs and consolidate 82 mail-processing centers in 2015. The Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail-processing facilities since 2012. Last week exactly half the Senate wrote to appropriators urging them to block any more Postal Service cutbacks in legislation to fund the government after Oct. 1, which Congress must enact in September to avoid a shutdown. On Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee responded with a statement saying Congress should instead enact comprehensive postal reforms "before it's too late."

Forbes: Google, Amazon, eBay, Walmart — at this point, the list of tech and retail giants trying to perfect same-day home delivery — alongside such startups as Instacart and Postmates — might be longer than the list of those that aren't. Big or small, though, they all have to contend with the same problem: Driving stuff right to a customer's front door in a specific window of time is expensive, and software can only go so far in bringing that cost down. What if the answer is using cars that are already on the road, driving that so-called last mile? That's what Uber is betting with Corner Store, its experimental foray into home delivery of sundry goods. The personal transportation startup is testing the new service in Washington, D.C., where users can order from a list of products that includes hand sanitizer, laxatives, razor blades, lubricant and chewing gum.

The Hill: A key senator is calling on his colleagues to rally around his bill to shore up the Postal Service's finances. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, told his colleagues Tuesday that if they wanted to save the Postal Service from collapse, they should sign on to his legislation and add to it.

Government Executive: Federal workers' compensation laws discourage employees from returning to the job and create unnecessary and burdensome costs for federal agencies, according to the U.S. Postal Service inspector general. USPS' workers' compensation costs have grown rapidly in recent years, the IG found, despite drastic cuts to the agency's workforce. The Postal Service paid $1.3 billion in benefits to employees injured on the job in 2013 -- a 35 percent increase from 2008 -- while it decreased its workforce by 26 percent in the same period. The agency maintains a $15.9 billion workers' compensation liability. Workers' compensation costs have grown as USPS has fewer light-duty positions available for injured employees coming back to work, employs an older workforce and endured cost-of-living adjustments.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

August 19, 2014 

Finnbay: Itella Posti will launch a product-specific delivery experiment lasting from September 1 to November 30 in Korso (Vantaa), Kivenlahti (Espoo), Porvoo, Riihimäki, Varkaus and Leppävirta. During the experiment, products referred to in the Postal Act as universal service products, as well as newspapers and parcels, will be delivered five days a week, as is the current practice, whereas letters, advertisements and magazines sent by companies will not be delivered in the experiment areas on Tuesdays.

Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE): Here's a reaction from Chairman Carper to his colleagues' letter regarding a one-year moratorium on postal facility consolidations:

"The Postal Service continues to face severe financial challenges and unfortunately continues to dangle on the edge of collapse. If Congress continues to do nothing, we face a future without the valuable services the Postal Service provides. This would be a devastating blow to our economy. The Postal Reform Act of 2014 is a comprehensive and bipartisan solution to the Postal Service's financial challenges that would prevent collapse, protect millions of mailing industry jobs, and enable this critical institution to serve the American public for years to come. Moreover, it would preserve existing service standards – including the 82 plants and Saturday mail delivery –until other reforms have a chance to bear fruit. This latest round of closures isn't the first time the U.S. Postal Service has had to implement potentially damaging cost-cutting measures on its own in order to reduce costs. In the absence of comprehensive postal reform, it probably won't be the last. If my colleagues want to address these concerns for the long-haul, I urge them to join me this September as we continue our efforts to fix the serious, but solvable, financial challenges facing the Postal Service. Our bill isn't perfect but it is an important step in the right direction. I hope my colleagues will join our efforts to enhance this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it's too late."

eCommerceBytes: As the USPS gets ready to lower commercial rates for Priority Mail packages next month, UPS and FedEx expressed some concerns. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) referenced those concerns in its order Friday approving the rate changes to Priority Mail that take effect on September 7, 2014. Stamps.com Senior Director of Online Marketing Eric Nash told EcommerceBytes that with the September rate changes, "the USPS is going aggressively after the ground business from UPS/FedEx Ground."

Post & Parcel: Spain's Correos has launched a new door-to-door delivery service for railway passengers' baggage. The "Puerta a Puerta" (Door to Door) service is targeted at passengers of trains run by state rail company Renfe, including long distance trains, the high-speed AVE and tourist trains. Correos said it secured the contract with Renfe through a bidding process, winning the deal thanks to its experience, the extent of its delivery and retail networks and the public trust in its brand.

Alliance News: Ministers considered selling the government's whole stake in Royal Mail PLC when the shares were trading close to their post-privatisation peak earlier in the year, but decided not to do so because the move would risk antagonising City investors, Sky News reported Tuesday. Sky News said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Shareholder Executive, the body which oversees state-owned assets, discussed the sale of the remaining 30% stake held by taxpayers in Royal Mail in March, five months after the business was listed on the London Stock Exchange. By deciding against selling off the rest of the stake, ministers effectively forfeited a further GBP500 million gain on the sale of the postal service, Sky News said. The news could reignite the row over the controversial sell-off of Royal Mail, which has faced criticism from the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and the National Audit Office that the shares were priced too low when the company was floated in autumn 2013, costing taxpayers GBP1 billion.

Office of the Inspector General:

  • The OIG wants to know: "Should the Postal Service continue its consolidation plan? " Be sure to vote.
  • eCommerce Customer Registration Audit Report. What the OIG Found: Controls used to safeguard the eCommerce Customer Registration process and reduce online credit card fraud need improvement. Management has not established a threshold for fraud-related chargebacks (transactions rejected by credit card companies) for the four eCommerce applications in our review. As a result, management cannot objectively measure when to increase oversight and controls to reduce fraud. Of the four applications, Click-N-Ship's credit card fraud-related loss of $4.6 million was above the industry's recommended threshold for acceptable levels of credit card fraud in FY 2013. In addition, management did not always ensure all credit card company chargebacks were validated. Further, seven of the eight Customer Registration controls we tested worked as management intended. However, we identified one vulnerability that could permit a cyber criminal to impersonate a valid user and obtain postage using stolen credit card data. Finally, we did not identify any critical or high-risk vulnerabilities when conducting over 3,000 additional tests of the USPS.com login page.

From the Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 49116 [2014–19567] [TEXT] [PDF]

WSET: A an informational picket is planned outside Congressman Bob Goodlatte's office this week as a way to let the public know about coming proposed changes. Earlier this month the US Postmaster submitted changes to the standards that will end the overnight delivery standard. It will be replaced with a two day standard. Information provided by the USPS shows the move is needed to allow for the consolidation of the postal system. Roanoke is set to lose its processing center to Greensboro in April as part of an ongoing downsizing of the system in an effort to save money. The proposed changes to delivery, which will affect zip code starts with 240, 241, 243 and 245 will go into effect on January 5th barring any changes. Monday American Postal Workers 482 president, Carlton Cooper, said Wednesday's picket outside Congressman Goodlatte's Roanoke office is designed to let the public know about the change.

August 18, 2014 

usps logo DMM Advisory: PRC Affirms Priority Mail Price Changes On August 15, 2014, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) affirmed the Priority Mail® price changes proposed by the United States Postal Service® on July 1, 2014. These prices will be implemented on September 7, 2014. For additional details, go to Postal Explorer® at pe.usps.gov for pricing files (look in the blue navigation bar for September 2014 Price Change Information) and to the PRC website at http://www.prc.gov/Docs/90/90202/Order No. 2156.pdf to download Order No. 2156. A Postal Bulletin article will be published on August 21, 2014.

Slate: "A Short History of Postal Banking"

Sacramento Business Journal: Will you remember where you were when you heard the news that FedEx and UPS had gone postal? No, not that kind of postal. "FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. increasingly are moving their own packages through the U.S. Postal Service," the Wall Street Journal reported the other day. For me, this is a little like finding out that when it's running low on potatoes, Stoli pours Popov in its bottles.

  At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   The U.S Postal Service launched a new help desk platform to streamline MDA customer service. The MDA Customer Service Help Desk is a centralized process that connects customers directly with Mailpiece Design Analysts (MDAs) who have specialized mailpiece design expertise. The new MDA Customer Service Help Desk system will automatically route customer calls and emails to help: (1) Minimize customer handling and wait time (2) Improve customer call back process by expediting customer connectivity with the MDA assigned to their ticket through the telephone menu option (3) Enhance and simplify the customer experience through new telephone menu options (4) Internally monitor customer interactions and responses to measure quality

  • Get directly connected with an MDA by calling 1-855-593-6093 or send an email to MDA@usps.gov. The MDA Customer Service Help Desk is available to all customers, internal and external, Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00AM and 5:00PM Central Time, excluding holidays.
  • Open Line webinars will be hosted to provide mailers with an opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback about the new MDA Customer Service Help Desk process. In addition, MDA Help Desk customers are invited to complete a customer survey on their MDA Customer Service Experience. A survey link is included at the bottom of each email correspondence with an MDA or you can Click Here to tell us about your latest MDA Customer Service Helpdesk experience.
  • To join the MDA Customer Service Help Desk Open Line Call, click on the link below no more than 15 minutes before the start of the call. Webinar Dates: Monday through Friday, beginning August 18, 2014 through September 18, 2014 Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm eastern Meeting Number: 743 271 900 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=743271900 Teleconference information Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call: Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-8607461 (US) Conference Code: 260 841 5474 Additional information about the MDA Customer Service Help Desk can be found at RIBBS.usps.gov under the MDA Customer SVC Help Desk tab.

Central Penn Business Journal: A few facts are indisputable: The postal service is bleeding money. Prices continue to rise as demand slows. Demand has slowed because technology that has existed for decades has replaced many of the services the postal service used to provide (email, online bill paying, etc.), and that technology is not going to go away. In the business world, that's a no-brainer. It's time to cut back — on jobs, on locations, on services offered. Stem the financial bleeding, then determine how much service the market truly needs.

MobileNext: Mobile commerce had some great numbers in Holiday season of 2013 according to the report by Monetate. In this infographic, we look at the predictions for Mobile commerce by Forester, Goldman Sachs group for the year 2014 and 2018. One in three purchases in 2014 were on mobile. Mobile commerce is expected to account for two third of purchases in 2018.

PRWeb: Market prices for letter and parcel delivery services have grown significantly during the past three years despite relative stability in carriers' wage and fuel costs. This relationship is notable because wages and fuel are the main components of carriers' cost structures. Carriers' package volumes have risen during the past three years due to growth in the number of businesses, per capita disposable income and trade volume. Booming e-commerce has magnified the impact of these demand drivers, as this market's carriers are responsible for shipping nearly all goods purchased online to their end users. Buyers' ability to reduce costs through long-term shipping contracts is limited in this market. "Despite recent growth, carriers' average profit margins remain low, limiting the steepness of contract discounts.

The Barbados Advocate: Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, says he is aware that the Barbados Postal Service has been encountering some difficulties, as there seems to be less reliance throughout the world on the service provided by post offices, but he said that entity is making adjustments where necessary to meet the challenges head on. The Home Affairs Minister made the point while speaking to the media following the launch on Friday of the new commemorative stamp issue to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, which was made possible through the hard work of thousands of Barbadians.

Government News: A dire warning from Australia Post's chief executive that mail volumes "will literally fall off a cliff" if the government stops sending out paper correspondence has been quickly followed by landmark deal with Canberra that promises to dramatically slash the number of letters sent by the Commonwealth. In what could be ‘Thelma and Louise' moment for the struggling Postal Service, its boss Ahmed Fahour and Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull have hit the accelerator on a digital joint venture that, if successful, could massively drop paper mail deliveries in just a year. Mr Turnbull and Human Services Minister Senator Marise Payne on Monday revealed that Australia Post will now front-end secure electronic mail from the popular ‘my.gov.au' online portal and its myGov inbox. The deal will allow users of the myGov inbox to have mail they get there forwarded to their Post Digital Mailbox – the assumption being that they either have or will want one.

Universal Postal Union: "Vision 2020 : Delivering innovative, integrated, and inclusive development solutions" -- The Conference aims to identify key trends and drivers of change that might infl uence the future of the postal sector and of the UPU, and compare them against the work being done to implement the Doha Postal Strategy.

eCommerceBytes: The United States Postal Service is raising rates for Priority Mail when purchased at the Post Office. But, it is lowering rates for those who purchase Priority Mail postage online, a further incentive for merchants to print labels online. The USPS announced the new rates last month, and the Postal Rate Commission issued its order approving the rate changes on Friday, August 15th. The new rates take effect on September 7th.

August 17, 2014 

PM News Nigeria: The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has called on Federal Government to provide adequate infrastructure for the service to enhance its productivity. In an interview with NAN in Abuja on Sunday, Mr Emem Samuel, the Deputy Postmaster-General, Counter Operation, said some capital projects were being done by the service alone. "NIPOST is a government-owned responsible for providing postal services in Nigeria; so, the capital intensive infrastructure should not be left for it to manage. "We need capital investments from the Federal Government to upgrade NIPOST as this will attract investors to invest in the service.

MSN.ie: The Irish Postmasters'Union (IPU) is calling on the government to move the provision of Motor Tax renewal to post offices. The IPU is citing a report by Grant Thornton on the future of the Post Office Network which found that moving the renewal of Motor Tax to Post Offices could save the taxpayer €27m over five years. It would have an overall benefit of €63m when the additional business it would bring to Post Offices is factored in.

The Island: Postal rates have been increased with effect from August 7, 2014, Postmaster General, Rohana Abeyratne said. The minimum postal charge for an ordinary letter has been pushed up by 100%. "This means that the earlier five rupees has been doubled to ten rupees". The rate for business mail has also been doubled – from Rs. 15 to Rs. 30.

The Hill: The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday apologized to customers who were wrongly told that the conflict in Gaza prevented mail from being sent to Israel, after complaints from a prominent Jewish group. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said this week that it was still getting reports from across the country, including Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey, that customers trying to send mail to Israel had been turned away because of the fighting in Gaza.

August 16, 2014 

Montreal Gazette: The leader of Quebec's municipalities union says she's "bitterly disappointed" that Canada Post hasn't consulted her before building community mailboxes in Quebec. Last April, representatives from the postal service met with the Union des Municipalités du Québec (UMQ) about their plan to phase out home delivery beginning in the fall of 2014. UMQ president Suzanne Roy says that, during the meeting, the municipalities union was promised they'd be consulted before a single mailbox was installed in Quebec. But Canada Post moved forward with the community mailbox projects, installing the structures in North Shore communities like Rosemere without so much as a phone call to the UMQ — according to Roy. In fact, Roy says she learned of the new mailbox rollout by reading about it in the newspaper.

Mobiletor: Postal workers are not likely to be pleased by this, but the government has opened an e-Greetings website as part of its Digital India initiative in the hope that people will use this eco-friendly way to wish friends, colleagues and loved ones. You simply have to go to the online portal, pick an e-card which catches your eye, customize it and then send it via email. The e-Greetings cards are separated into four main sections covering Heritage, Celebration, Glimpses of India and Festivals, while each of these categories are further divided into even more sub-sections.

MONDAQ: "United Kingdom: Charity VAT Newsflash - Direct Mail VAT Bombshell"

Office of the Inspector General: Competition Advocate. "The U.S. Postal Service established the competition advocate (advocate) on January 28, 2011. The advocate promotes competition by helping contracting officials develop effective ways to obtain best value in contracting and issuing an annual report on noncompetitive purchase activity. The advocate must review noncompetitive requests for contractual actions (steps to create or modify a contract) greater than $1 million. The advocate does not approve or deny noncompetitive purchases but offers feedback to contracting officers (CO) on how to increase competition, including how to transition work to internal resources and research potential suppliers. COs are supposed to consider this feedback when evaluating whether the Postal Service should compete a contract. The advocate does not decide appeals by contractors . . . . We recommended management develop metrics to gauge the impact of the advocate, reiterate the requirement to obtain the advocate's review of applicable requests, and establish a process to verify that the advocate reviewed all applicable noncompetitive actions. We also recommended management clarify how COs should address the advocate's feedback."

Barron's: TNT Express, one of Europe's biggest parcel-delivery companies, has fumbled in delivering for shareholders. Its prospects could worsen as competition intensifies and management struggles to implement its latest strategic plan—the third in the past two years. In Europe, which contributes about half of annual revenue, the company's orange-and-white vehicles connect more than 40 countries by road from 19 hubs and 550 depots. TNT appears to have lost its way since its planned sale to UPS came unglued. A more robust European economy would go a long way toward helping TNT get back on track and achieve its profit goals. Absent that, and a sharper strategy, the company could deliver more losses for investors.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
48776–48777 [2014–19422] [TEXT]  [PDF]
48777 [2014–19423] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
PROPOSED RULES
Standards to Enhance Business Reply Mail Visibility ,
48717–48719 [2014–19433] [TEXT]  [PDF]

usps logo DMM Advisory: IMb™ Services Update

  • PostalOne!® Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment — will require an extended maintenance window to complete all software updates. There will be a PostalOne! outage from 12 midnight through 9 a.m. CDT, on Sunday, August 24, 2014. A mandatory Mail.dat® client download will be available immediately following the software update. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 can be found on RIBBS by clicking on Major/Minor Release Schedule/ 2014 Releases in the left-hand navigation bar or by going directly to RIBBS.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 and Release 38.1.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) — will occur on Monday, August 25, 2014, and PostalOne! TEM will be unavailable from 6 a.m. through 3 p.m. CDT.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 Mailer Webinars – Webinars will be held for mailers to learn about the PostalOne! Release 38.0 updates to functionality, as well as pricing and postage statement changes. The schedule and topic for the webinars is shown below. Log on to RIBBS/Intelligent Mail Services/Education for additional webinar information.
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 Business Related Changes – this webinar will cover changes to PostalOne! functionality and postage statement and price changes · Friday, August 22, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 748 335 429 Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=748335429
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 FAST®, Mail.dat® and Mail.XML™ – this webinar will review changes to the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system and updates on Mail.dat and Mail.XML. · Wednesday, August 27, 2014 from 10 a.m, to 11 a.m. EDT Meeting Number: 744 206 784 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=744206784
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 Full-Service Intelligent Mail and Seamless Acceptance – this webinar will provide a review of the programs, timeline of upcoming enhancements, and Release 38 enhancements to program elements such as the Mailer Scorecard. · Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 747 170 710 Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=747170710
  • PostalOne! Release 38.0.0 eInduction – for mailers who participate in eInduction, this webinar will cover upcoming changes with Release 38.0.0. · Wednesday, September 3, 2014 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 740 374 710 Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=740374710
  • Program Registration Release 11.0 — will be deployed to Production from 12 midnight to 9 a.m. CDT on Sunday, August 24, 2014. There will be an outage and the application will be unavailable during that time.

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