January 31, 2001 -- Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) has expanded its presence as a provider of business solutions with the recent announcement of master license agreements covering multiple countries and territories in the Caribbean region. With the addition of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, and Saint Lucia, MBE has master license agreements in 72 countries. The new MBE locations will provide mailbox rental, packing and shipping, faxing, black & white and color copying, printing and binding, mail receiving and forwarding, wire transfer of funds and office/packing supplies.
January 31, 2001 -- The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) has urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to revoke the right of DHL Worldwide Express, Inc., owned by German postal giant Deutsche Post AG, to operate in the U.S. as a foreign air freight carrier.
January 31, 2001 -- I.D. Systems, Inc., a provider of end-to-end wireless asset management solutions, has announced that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has ordered the Company's Wireless Asset Net(TM) fleet tracking and management system for more than 50 industrial vehicles in the Air Mail Center (AMC) at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. This is the seventh USPS facility -- with a cumulative total of more than 500 vehicles -- to order the Wireless Asset Net system. The USPS maintains approximately 500 major mail processing centers and approximately 40,000 facilities overall in the United States.
The USPS also utilizes I.D. Systems' mail tracking system to monitor and analyze the flow of mail.
January 31, 2001 -- DM News has noted that "the U.S. Postal Service will offer a new service Sunday that allows mailers to learn the date and time their mail piece was received as well as to obtain the recipient's signature.The service, called Signature Confirmation, will only be available for mailers that use USPS package services, such as Parcel Post; Bound Printed Matter; Library and Media Mail; and Priority Mail. It may also be combined with insured, registered, c.o.d. and special handling mail as well as with Restricted Delivery service if the item is insured for more than $50."
January 31, 2001 -- As the Financial Times notes, "privatisation [paradoxically] has in the past two decades...created areas of regulation, as ministers rush to impose controls on the former nationalised industries. For example, few rules were required to govern the delivery of postal services while the Post Office was a government department. Now it is becoming a public limited company (albeit a wholly government-owned one for the time being), ministers have established a regulator. Consignia, as the Post Office is now called, will be governed by detailed licensing conditions. So will any other company wanting to deliver postal services."
January 31, 2001 -- In a recent article published in DM News, postal commenator Cary H. Baer offers his views on "postal achievement awards for 2000."
January 31, 2001 -- The results of the Postal Service's Fourth Accounting Period for Postal Fiscal Year 2001 is posted on this web site.
January 31, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that "after reporting slightly stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), the world's largest delivery company, said Tuesday it's closely watching the impact of the slowing economy on its shipments."
January 31, 2001 -- According to Dow Jones, "shares of Airborne Inc. (ABF) are gaining altitude, but it may be that wings other than its own are bearing the company aloft. The Seattle air-freight company's stock price is up 28% on an 84% increase in volume since the beginning of the year, a period during which the value and trading activity of most competitors' shares are flat to lower. Investors and analysts say part of the move is a relief rally after brutal tax-loss selling last year, but most of the gains are speculation that a buyer is swooping in on Airborne."
January 31, 2001 -- -- As more online businesses rely on email to maintain ongoing and fruitful communications with their customers, a new survey suggests that companies' efforts are being seriously undermined by frequent consumer email addresses changes. A nationwide study of consumer email habits and practices, conducted by NFO WorldGroup and commissioned by Return Path Inc., revealed that when consumers change their email address, on average less than one-third of the consumers surveyed notify regularly visited web sites, online newsletters, and discussion lists of their email address changes.
January 30, 2001 -- The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers has reported that "the word appears to be out on the fate of the House Subcommittee on the Postal Service. We understand that the duties and responsibilities of the Subcommittee are going to be rolled into the direct sphere of the Full Government Reform Committee under Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN). This move suggests that former Post Office Subcommittee Chairman John McHugh (R-NY) will continue to play a vital role in postal reform efforts. The action also means that the basic framework of HR 22 will likely continue to serve as the beginning point for reform discussions." PostCom has confirmed that Chairman Burton has assumed postal responsibilities. Word has it that veteran Republican staffer, Dan Moll, will be coordinating the Committee's postal business.
January 30, 2001 -- The latest issue of PostCom's Tech-Notes "2001: A Flats Odyssey" is available on this site.
January 30, 2001 -- Zairmail, Inc. is offering a fast, convenient and even free way to send personal letters. The January 7, 2001 first-class U.S. postal rate increase from 33-cents to 34-cents makes Zairmail(TM) letters (http://www.zairmail.com) even more attractive. Zairmail offers consumers worldwide the opportunity to create and send personal letters anywhere in the United States for free. See also the story on CNET.Com.
January 30, 2001 -- -- Orion Technologies, Inc. has announced that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has selected its wholly owned financial services subsidiary Transaction Verification Systems, Inc. (TVS) as the vendor for point-of-sale terminal monitoring nationwide.
January 30, 2001 -- The American Trucking Association has come out in support of United Parcel Service's petition in opposition to DHL International and Deutsche Post.
January 30, 2001 -- UK Smart, has announced the launch of Smart creds, the new innovative, pay- as-you-go way to shop online without a credit card. This payment system opens up a whole new audience of shoppers who currently cannot shop online. Smart creds cards are available from Post Office branches throughout the UK in units of 20 British pounds.
January 30. 2001 -- Trucking and shipping firm CNF Inc. (CNF) said on Monday its fourth-quarter profits were down about 29 percent from a year earlier. CNF, which provides about $200 million per year in air transportation for the U.S. Postal Service's Express Mail, is suing the U.S. Postal Service over pricing and a proposed contract with competitor FedEx Corp.
January 30, 2001 -- The Financial Times has reported that U.K. Post Office has been given a maximum of three years to start hitting its service standards or face substantial fines by the UK Postal Services Commission, the newly appointed industry watchdog. The commission also imposed price controls on a wide range of letter and parcels services, and made clear that the Post Office will be forced to give access to its business infrastructure to new companies that want to compete with it. The tough conditions were included in a draft licence to take effect from March 26 when the Post Office will be renamed Consignia and become a wholly government-owned plc with significant commercial freedom. Wow! Accountability! What a neat idea!
January 30, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp., jumping into a battle started by United Parcel Service Inc., has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to cancel a license it granted that allows an affiliate of rival DHL International Ltd. to operate as a foreign-owned air-freight forwarder in the U.S. FedEx's filing with the DOT is the latest sign that it and UPS, usually fierce competitors, are joining forces against a possible invasion of the U.S. delivery market by German giant Deutsche Post AG. Deutsche Post took a majority stake last fall in Brussels-based DHL International, the largest delivery company outside the U.S."
At its most recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Association for Postal Commerce resolved to give this matter a long, hard look. "As an association," the Board of Directors resolved, "PostCom believes that the interests of postal users and users of postal-related services are best served in a least restrictive, competitive environment." The Board affirmed its intention to determine whether the efforts by UPS and Fedex constituted an "unfair and unnecessary effort to restrict competition within the American express and package delivery market."
January 30, 2001 -- Retrieval Dynamics Corporation (RDC) has launched QxPrint, a wireless file delivery and fulfillment application which allows a user the ability to send files or documents to selected contacts with their wireless device. The user can select a delivery option including e-mail, fax, U.S. postal, or FedEx Priority Overnight.
January 30, 2001 -- The National Postal Forum has elected its slate of officers for 2001. Elected as Chairman and CEO, Peter F. Lyons (DuPont Consulting), as Treasurer, Gene R Howard (USPS retiree); and as Secretary, Patricia Goldman (USAir). Returning as directors are C. Neil Benson, Michael Coughlin, and PostCom's own William David.
January 29, 2001 -- The Postal Service's accounting period four numbers are out...and they're not good. In AP4, the USPS ran up a $294 million loss. For the period year-to-date, the loss is now $87.3 million. First-Class Mail volumes fell 2.9%, Priority Mail was off by 2.8%, Standard Mail was up by a paltry 0.8% and Standard B (package and media services) were down by a percent.
January 29, 2001 -- CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement applications, and Amica Mutual Insurance Company, a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal excess liability insurance, today announced that Amica's 500,000 property and casualty insurance customers can now receive and pay bills at their choice of nearly 275 financial services Web sites. As a leading insurance provider, Amica has chosen to implement integrated software and services from CheckFree i-Solutions.
January 29, 2001 -- Airborne Inc. has set a new pricing structure for its domestic shipment products including an average rate increase of 5.5%, a shift to zone-based pricing, and a nonscheduled pickup fee. The rate increase will apply to customers whose rates are not already set by contractual agreement. The increase will be phased in to include all accounts as existing contracts are renewed and separate rate increase will be applied to airborne@home customers.
January 29, 2001 -- A commentator in the Detroit Free Press has recommended that "Congress...mandate that in every election for the U.S. House and Senate, all candidates would have a franking privilege to send letters and campaign brochures free of postal charges to the electorate.The cost to the public would be minimal. Given the usual load of [explitive deleted] mail delivered daily by our letter carriers, it is hard to imagine that the few extra pieces of campaign material in an election year would necessitate the hiring of any new personnel. Even if there were some additional expense, Congress could provide the needed temporary subsidy for the Postal Service. Such an effort would come far cheaper than any other public financing plan thus far contemplated."
January 29, 2001 -- Hongkong Post and Baltimore Technologies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide the first mobile certification authority (CA) service in Asia. The agreement further extends the strong relationship between Hongkong Post and Baltimore Technologies, enabling customers in Hong Kong to conduct online transactions, such as bill payments, securely via mobile devices.
January 29, 2001 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Siemens is understood to be close to selling Mannesmann Dematic Postal Automation, as required by the European Commission when it gave regulatory approval for the Atecs purchase. The Commission wanted to prevent Siemens from dominating the postal automation business."
January 29, 2001 -- PostMag.Com asks: Consignia....The Post Office....A rose by any other name?
January 29, 2001 -- A commentator for the Financial Times maintains that "one of the most distressing aspects of the recent debacle of The Post Office's change of name to Consignia is the nagging suspicion that they have got something to hide."
January 29, 2001 -- The Bangkok Post has reported that "the country's postal service should be able to reverse its annual losses of one billion baht and turn a profit within one year of being privatised, says the Communications Authority of Thailand. One of the first moves after privatisation would be to raise the local letter rate of two baht, one of the lowest in the world, to three baht.
January 29, 2001 -- Patent Number: 6176908 for E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company: Aqueous, fluorescent red ink jet inks which meet US Postal Service requirements for metered mail are disclosed and comprise an aqueous vehicle, a red or magenta pigment, a polymeric dispersant, a fluorescent dye and, optionally a hydrotrope additive. Ex Claim Text: An ink jet ink composition comprising; a) an aqueous vehicle; b) at least one pigment selected from the group consisting of red pigments and magenta pigments; c) a polymeric dispersant; and d) a fluorescent dye; wherein said ink is suitable for use in metering mail.
January 27, 2001 -- Read more in The Washington Post about the UPS-Fedex effort to dodge increased competition from DHL-Deutsche Post in the package delivery market.
January 27, 2001 -- According to TechWeb.Com, "the online bill -- just like a paper bill in an envelope stuffed with promotions -- is increasingly being viewed by e-tailers as an opportunity to improve the customer relationship. And new software tools are emerging to help them do exactly that."
January 27, 2001 -- According to InternetWeek, "companies are plowing ahead with Internet technology investments despite the economic slowdown, citing cost and competitive pressures as well as longer-term strategic positioning." The next postal rate increase ought to have them "steam-rolling" with IT investments to get their advertising and marketing operations out of the mail.
January 27, 2001 -- InternetWeek also has reported that "four states--Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin--will test an Internet-based tax calculation and remission system using software and services from several vendors. Experts advise e-businesses to observe the tests closely, as the systems being tested represent a cost-effective way to manage the complexities of evolving tax code" The software is being integrated by Pitney Bowes Inc. and Hewlett-Packard. Merchants will send live sales transaction data in real time using the Internet to one of four systems in the pilot. There goes more B2B business out of the mailstream.
January 27, 2001 -- American Business Media postal attorney David Strauss says "it is essential that publishers, software developers and printers work hard, individually and cooperatively, to prepare periodicals mail in a way that not only minimizes publisher costs under the new rates in the short term, but minimizes USPS costs in 2001 and beyond."
January 27, 2001 -- TransportNews.Com has reported that "Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE), one of the world's largest non-food franchises and the top franchiser of retail business, communication and postal service centers, is ranked second on Entrepreneur magazine's 2001 Franchise 500.
January 27, 2001 -- The Dayton Business Journal has reported that U.S. Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio) asked U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) have raised possible antitrust issues involving the recently announced deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Federal Express. Both are seeking to delay the arrangement from going into effect.
January 27, 2001 -- The Memphis Commercial-Appeal has reported that "stealing blank checks to commit identity theft has become a career for some criminals, and among them, according to federal investigators, are postal employees." That's called sullying the "sanctity" of the mail.
January 27, 2001 -- Traffic World has a nice piece on the United Parcel Service program that provides employment and financial assistance to college students who are willing to take on part-time employment at UPS sorting hubs. Ahh the joys of having a free, unencumbered hand in the hiring and placement of part-time employees. Something about which the Postal Service can only dream.
January 27, 2001 -- FedEx subsidiary Viking Freight has launched a web site called iShipViking.com, where customers can arrange for delivery notification by e-mail and generate bills of lading, among other things.
January 27, 2001 -- According to WiredNews.Com, "a technological revolution is gathering momentum in La Poste, the French postal service. Frequently derided as one of the last administrative outposts of the old economy, the French postal service is shaking off the dust and getting into the 21st century in a big way. La Poste has instituted a Cyberpost project, involving the installation of 1,000 Internet terminals in rural and neighborhood post offices throughout France. It is also offering a free Web address and permanent electronic mailbox to every French citizen."
January 27, 2001 -- The Pakistan Post Office and Canada Post InternationalLimited (CPIL) have signed an agreement for carrying out technical assistance study on improving the quality and enhancing the competitiveness of postal services in Pakistan. The study will be carried out by Canada Post International Limited (CPIL) and their partners (SOFREPOST) France who have the necessary expertise and are globally recognised as leading consultants in the fields of postal services.
January 27, 2001 -- According to the Cato Institute's Edward Hudgins, "a privatized U.S. Postal Service, even subject to the same tax and regulatory regime of the private sector, would certainly be able to integrate much more efficiently into the new economy." "A private U.S. Postal Service," he said, "could act as an entrepreneur facilitating economic growth rather than as a government monopoly seeking to cripple competitors and acting as a ball and chain on the leg of the economy."
January 26, 2001 -- Now that PMG Henderson's leaving is official, postal commentator Gene Del Polito has a few words of advice for the new PMG.
January 26, 2001 -- According to outgoing PMG Bill Henderson, "superior customer service" is his greatest accomplishment.
January 26, 2001 -- As a medium for communication, the printed word is far from dead. Need convincing? Then register NOW for the PaperCom Alliance's new, one-day seminar: World PaperCom Alliance Conference 2001 (www.papercom.org/conference). The event will be held on February 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
January 26, 2001 -- A copy of the European publication, the Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) is posted as a courtesy provided to PostCom members. Our thanks go to the MRU Consultancy GmbH for this courtesy.
January 26, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "tension appears to be growing between the management of Deutsche Post and the postal workers‘ union. The central issue is the trade union‘s criticism of postmen‘s working hours. Quoting trade union figures the daily ‚Hamburger Abendblatt‘ reports that many postmen work 45.5 hours or more per week but only get paid for 38.5 hours. Deutsche Post views the situation differently. A company spokesman said that working hours were often below 38.5 hours in the summer, while in the winter they would be longer, leading to a yearly average of 38.5 hours."
January 26, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) also has reported that "according to Mr Ulrich Gygi, CEO of the Swiss Schweizerische Post, the next five years will see the closure of up to 900 branches....The branch closures would enable the mail company to reduce costs by approx. 65m euros per year...
January 26, 2001 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that according to outgoing PMG William Henderson, "the U.S. Postal Service may own the world’s largest electronic communications network. The challenge is finding ways to profit from it. Finding commercial uses for the Postal Service’s communications infrastructure is part of a technology strategy Postmaster General William Henderson said he intends to put into operation before he leaves the top job at the Postal Service in May. USPS has satellite communications capability at 10,000 post offices, and it has phone lines connected to 30,000 more. Its network includes some of the most sophisticated transmission devices in the world."
Henderson also told FCW that "the recent collapse of many Internet companies has slowed the shift from paper mail to e-mail and electronic funds transfer, Henderson said. In the short run, that is expected to slow the decline in first-class mail, which is the Postal Service’s most important source of revenue. Last fall, the Postal Service identified electronic communication as a serious threat to its future financial self-sufficiency. Since then, however, 'the euphoria around the Internet has subsided somewhat' and been replaced by 'a certain cynicism,' leaving consumers more reluctant to accept or pay bills via the Internet, Henderson said. Disenchantment with the World Wide Web has also caused advertisers’ spending to shift back from the Internet to advertising that is mailed, he said."
January 26, 2001 -- According to Wolfgang Porzdik, Washington representative for Deutsche Post and a member of the PostCom Board, the effort by United Parcel Service (UPS) seeking to use restrictions on foreign government ownership to block Deutsche Post's ability to offer air delivery services in the US. highlights its "fierce resistance to any competition in the domestic parcel market". Reuters has reported that Deutsche Post AG has rejected claims by U.S. rivals FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc that its stake in express firm DHL Airways Inc violates U.S. transport and competition law.
January 26, 2001 -- Deutsche Post AG could make further acquisitions this year even as it focuses on the integration of its various existing units, including express delivery firm DHL International Ltd., Deutsche Post Chairman Klaus Zumwinkel told Dow Jones Newswires.
January 25, 2001 -- Postmaster General William Henderson has announced that he will be leaving his post at the U.S. Postal Service on May 31, 2001. The search for a new PMG continues. The outgoing PMG told The Washington Post that his successor will need to "communicate and think strategically -- don't get caught up in this swirl of day-to-day activity. You've always got to keep your head above water. You won't be successful looking through a periscope."
January 25, 2001 -- Direct Newsline has reported that "catalogs, bracing for significant increases in postage and paper costs this year, are likely to experience fallout that resembles the current collapse of numerous pure-play e-merchants." So says the Winterberry Group, New York, in its new report, "10 Internet Direct Marketing Trends for 2001."
January 25, 2001 -- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), citing findings from a Postal Service Inspector General's report, told the Associated Press that nine U. S-Postal Service executives improperly used government vehicles and chauffeurs more than 520 times since 1996, a violation of both federal law and agency policy, . Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general, federal prosecutor and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, learned of the Postal Service IG report as part of his Integrity Watch campaign to expose and eliminate waste, fraud and mismanagement of government funds. The report said that eight Postal Service headquarters executives and one field executive improperly used vehicles and chauffeurs to travel between home and office-a federal violation punishable by a minimum one-month suspension or removal from office.
January 25, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "last year, Bear Creek Corp., the Medford, Ore., parent of catalog retailer Harry and David, could have been a poster child for the rejuvenated U.S. Postal Service. The company sent almost 900,000 shipments of pears, gourmet cheesecakes and other specialty items by Priority Mail, the Postal Service's popular, bargain-basement way to mail packages for delivery in as little as two or three days. But don't count on the mailman to bring your chocolate truffles and cinnamon swirls this year. Earlier this month, postal officials -- hoping to bolster the bottom line by leveraging Priority Mail's growing popularity in recent years -- raised rates for the service an unusually steep 16%. It could be a big mistake."
January 25, 2001 -- FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has transported approximately 70,000 lbs. of relief materials via a FedEx Airbus A300 aircraft from Toluca, Mexico, to El Salvador's Comalapa Military Base on Tuesday, January 23. Materials were donated by the government of Taiwan and also the Mexican Red Cross, in cooperation with the Embassy of El Salvador, as well as by the athletic apparel giant, Nike, Inc., in the United States. All donations were consolidated at FedEx facilities in Toluca and loaded aboard the FedEx aircraft early Tuesday morning. FedEx donated the use of its aircraft for the relief mission.
January 25, 2001 -- According to Quicken.com, 222 billers are now signed to use CheckFree's electronic billing and payment services, and nearly 275 Internet sites enable consumers to view and pay bills. Electronic payment percentage passes 60 percent mark. Eight percent sequential quarterly subscriber growth continues. Things are about to get worse for the Postal Service.
January 25, 2001 -- RockyMountainNews.Com has reported that "an administrative law judge has leveled a $400,000-plus judgment against the U.S. Postal Service, finding senior managers at the General Mail Facility in Denver subjected a disabled mail handler to an 'intolerably hostile, intimidating and offensive' work environment."
January 24, 2001 -- According to The Wall Street Journal, "FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc., combining forces against a threatened invasion of their home turf by large German delivery provider Deutsche Post AG, have asked the federal government to ground the U.S. air and freight-forwarding operations of DHL Worldwide Express. The requests, made last week in separate filings with the Department of Transportation, put FedEx and UPS on a collision course with the recently privatized Deutsche Post only months after the German postal agency took a majority stake in Brussels-based DHL International Ltd., the largest delivery company outside the U.S." See also the story in the Standard. The nastiness begins.
January 24, 2001 -- OnTimeAudit.com, Inc., a company offering Delivery Intelligence Solutions for small and medium businesses, has announced its shipment tracking services will now be available at, http://www.allbusiness.ontimeaudit.com to AllBusiness's millions of small business customers. AllBusiness, which is a leading provider of comprehensive service and commerce platforms for small businesses, will host OnTimeAudit's Delivery Intelligence tools on its website. OnTimeAuditor(TM) software enables businesses to track where their customers' goods are in the supply and delivery chain. OnTimeAuditor automates all UPS and FedEx package tracking via the web and provides detailed reports that can be viewed, printed and emailed. OnTimeAuditor(TM) also enables small businesses to more easily claim refunds for packages that arrive late
January 24, 2001 -- Knight-Ridder News has reported that the U.S. Postal Service's remote encoding site in downtown Beaumont plans to hire between 700 and 1,000 data conversion operators through this year. The postal service had operated 53 of the remote encoding centers around the na-tion, but recently completed a consolidation that decreased those numbers to about 28 or 29. Beaumont's is the only one left operating in Texas.
January 24, 2001 -- According to Tass, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian Ministries of Press and Communications to introduce a single subscription tariff to all periodicals published in Russia. The order came in the wake of Putin's recent meeting with the chief editors of Russia's leading media editions in the Kremlin on January 13. This might be the only time in history when American publishers might be wishing they had a Russian base. Word has that the USPS intends no such mercy the next time rates rise.
January 24, 2001 -- PostMag has just completed a visit of Deutsche Post’s new “Letter Mail Centers” in Hamburg. One of 83 new facilities that Deutsche Post has developed under its “Brief 2000” project to improve its letter services, Hamburg claims to be the largest plant, sorting over 4,000,000 pieces per day.
January 23, 2001 -- Tumbleweed(R) Communications Corp. (Nasdaq:TMWD), a leading provider of mission critical messaging solutions, announced Tumbleweed Secure Public Network(TM) (SPN(TM)), a secure messaging solution using server-based S/MIME (Secure/Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions). Tumbleweed SPN(TM) integrates seamlessly with existing e-mail networks to secure communications automatically, without organizations re-training end-users or changing desktop software. No desktop software or desktop certificate management is required, nor is end-user training. Once the sender and receiver e-mail networks are configured with Tumbleweed SPN(TM), e-mail communications are automatically encrypted before traveling over the Internet, and then authenticated and decrypted before reaching the recipient's desktop.
January 23, 2001 -- Returns Online, Inc. and the United States Postal Service (USPS) have come together to provide the last mile in the management of returned products.
January 23, 2001 -- CargoWeb News has reported that "Federal Express will offer later times for shipping packages via FedEx Express in the United States, Europe and Toronto. FedEx Extra Hours(SM) will allow select customers with regularly scheduled pick-ups and customers who drop off shipments to extend their business day by up to three hours in many major markets."
January 23, 2001 -- As InformationWeek has noted, "if Wall Street is wondering why the click-and-mortar sites are outshining E-retailers, a new study suggests logistics issues are still a big part of the reason."
January 23, 2001 -- According to InformationWeek, "now that the 'global village' is no longer a McLuhanesque abstraction, meeting the challenges of a worldwide business environment is more daunting than ever, and one of the toughest parts is global logistics."
January 23, 2001 -- Shipping and handling charges is souring one commentator for InfoWorld.Com on the online direct buying experience. Wait'll she sees what the Postal Service has in store for mail services used to fulfill customers' orders. She'll really go off the deep end....So will postal volumes and revenues.
January 23, 2001 -- According to The Times ( London), "the [U.K.] Post Office is to make no attempt to reform its heavily criticised accounts when it becomes a plc next month, despite government promises that the organisation will face greater financial discipline. In a response to a call from the Trade and Industry Select Committee for clear financial results for each operation, the Post Office said that a detailed breakdown of its figures would be 'at best misleading, and at worst commercially damaging'”.
January 23, 2001 -- According to Editor & Publisher, "newspapers...fear the USPS might seek to offer special low rates to direct-mail advertisers who already offer keen competition for advertising revenue." "The incoming administration of President Bush," E&P said, "has at least three important appointments to make among those who set or review postal rates. On Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives' subcommittee on postal service is losing a chairman who tried — albeit unsuccessfully — for major postal reform favored by newspaper companies. And the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) itself may be gearing up to ask again this year for increases in postage it was denied late last year."
January 23, 2001 -- The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp.'s recent agreement with the U.S. Postal Service is expected to generate about 1,500 jobs during the next seven years, but the total local economic impact remains unclear."
January 23, 2001 -- Voxware, Inc., a provider of noise robust speech interfaces for logistics, package handling and industrial applications, has announced $150K in new contracts from the U.S. Postal Service for additional speech-based systems for Manual Case and Small Parcel Bundle Sorting. The new contracts, totaling approximately $150K, are for Voxware's Small Parcel and Bundle Sort (SPBS) system for U.S. Postal Process & Distribution and Bulk Mail Centers in Fort Worth, Warrendale & Lehigh Valley, PA, and Cincinnati, and a Manual Case Distribution System for the center in Tampa.
January 23, 2001 -- DHL has announced it will be raising rates by 2.9%, effective Feb. 4.
January 22, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that PubliCard Inc. (CARD) and TecSec Inc. will provide next-generation encryption technology and smart-card infrastructure for the U.S. Postal Service.
January 22, 2001 -- Semio Corporation, a provider of content categorization solutions, has announced that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has selected Semio's Taxonomy software to power its nationwide marketing intelligence portal, MarketTracks. The portal provides USPS' marketing workforce with strategic reports, marketing analysis, and customer data from any desktop browser. Currently, more than 800 USPS professionals have access to the service, which is cutting costs and dramatically increasing the efficiency of delivering marketing and sales resources. Semio Taxonomy, leverages the full capability of Semio's patented technology to automatically categorize and structure text-based information in a user-friendly browseable interface.
January 22, 2001 -- PostX Corporation, a provider of ecommunication solutions, today announced a partnership with Wysdom Inc., a wireless software and infrastructure company, to offer wireless applications to PostX customers. Developed by PostX and powered by Wysdom, the new PostX Wireless (TM) solution will enable the secure delivery of a broad range of text notifications directly to cellular phones, pagers, and PDAs.
January 22, 2001 -- As the editor of Traffic World has noted, "the FedEx deal is very different from the Emery deal." Read why.
January 22, 2001 -- The New York Times has noted that under the Postal Service's new NetPost Certified program for federal agencies, "it will cost 50 cents to send a document using the service, regardless of the size of the transmission. Any revenue from the deliveries will be split among the Postal Service, AT&T, I.B.M. and the other vendors."
January 22, 2001 -- The General Services Administration wants to convert the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW into a hotel and get rid of the retail pavilion, a financial loser since it opened 17 years ago. Under a plan that would require congressional approval, developers would have to pay the government $12.5 million upfront for leasing rights to the 12-story building, which was constructed in 1899 as headquarters for the Post Office Department.
January 22, 2001 -- FedEx Corp. has announced a plan to re-align its logistics companies to streamline the organization and further improve the industry's highest levels of customer service.
January 22, 2001 -- According to the Scripps Howard News Service, the U.S. Postal Service's Inspector General has reported that "U.S. Postal Service executives improperly used chauffeurs and official vehicles more than 520 times over four years for office-to-home travel, aiding spouses and delivering cakes and packages.' The study by the agency's inspector general was completed last year when the Postal Service had $199 million in revenue losses and pursued a 1-cent postage hike that went into effect this month. Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., said the chauffeur service "is definitely an abuse of power. I think that all these people who have done it should be made to reimburse the Postal Service, and this man who repeatedly did this should be fired." Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said he will seek a review of postal procedures by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to prevent more abuses. The Inspector General's report is available on the OIG web site.
January 22, 2001 -- According to Traffic World, "FedEx Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service may seem like unlikely partners. But the new accord between the express delivery pioneer and the quasi-government entity promises to bring each new efficiencies that only the other could provide."
January 21, 2001 -- The Scranton Times writes that "by striking a seven-year deal with Federal Express the United States Postal Service, a government-protected monopoly, has taken a step toward privatization. This is an acknowledgment of the anachronistic nature of the USPS and a welcome step toward a more efficient, fully privatized postal system."
January 20, 2001 -- As InfoWorld.Com has noted, "most postal services, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Canada Post, are accepting that the Web will soon absorb large chunks of their mail service....During the next four to five years, both the USPS and Canada Post expect to see letter mail volume drop significantly as online bill presentment and payment, as well as services such as targeted bulk mail and e-cards, gain customer interest."
January 20, 2001 -- Direct Newsline has reported that "more than nine out of ten consumers with Internet access browsed shopping sites this past holiday season, and of those 84% made purchases, according to a study from Cognitiative Inc. and Greenfield Online. Nearly half said that they spent more online than they did in 1999, and 55% said their level of online shopping would increase in 2001. First-time shoppers made up 12% of the online buyers, and were even further underrepresented among the big spenders. Additionally, more than 90% said they made purchases from sites at which they had bought in the past, while nearly 90% said they explored new sites during the holiday season. But just over half (52%) said they limited their shopping to between two and four sites. "The implications are significant to Web sites as they develop customer acquisition and retention programs," said Laurie Windham, founder and CEO of Cognitiative." There's a message here for the Postal Service...particularly as the talk picks up about another rate case. Don't take direct marketers for granted.
January 20, 2001 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, "DHL Worldwide Express is confident that it will retain its international business with the U.S. Postal Service despite the agency's new alliance with FedEx Express."
January 20, 2001 -- Usually informed sources have told PostCom that it looks as if Mark Souder, 4th District, Ind., will become Chairman of the Postal Subcommittee. Ben Gilman, among others, reportedly has refused it. Also, it has been reported that Postal Rate Commissioner George Omas may be named interim Chair of the PRC and may agree to take the position on a regular basis. Since he was just re-confirmed, no advice and consent is necessary.
January 19, 2001 -- TransportTopics.Com has reported that "a spokesman for United Parcel Service (UPS) categorically denied reports that it was on the verge of buying air cargo carrier Emery Worldwide from CNF (CNF)." "We have no intention of purchasing Emery," said Daniel McMackin, public relations manager for the Atlanta-based package carrier. McMackin said rumors about a deal were "completely groundless" and strategically, in light of UPS's announcement that it will purchase Fritz (FRTZ), "is not an area where we want to go." "Fritz is a freight forwarder. Emery is similar, but it is asset-based. We need expertise to move things. We don't need (assets)," McMackin said.
January 19, 2001 -- Escher Group, Ltd., a provider of solutions to the postal industry, has announced that The Post Office in the UK, one of the world's largest global distribution companies, has selected WebRiposte(TM) as the platform for its network banking projects. WebRiposte is Escher's newly released Web-enabled, peer-to-peer, distributed messaging solution that includes content distribution and storage. ICL Pathway will deploy WebRiposte on behalf of The Post Office throughout the country's retail outlets. This platform will serve as the foundation upon which distributed, Web-based applications can be built. With the introduction of WebRiposte, The Post Office plans to offer extensive banking services, bureau de change, and a range of e-commerce services targeted at the 28 million customers that visit The Post Office each week.
January 19, 2001 -- Smt. Aparna Mohile is the first woman to have become the Member of the Postal Services Board in charge of Development. An officer of the 1965 batch of the Indian Postal Service, she took over the assignment consequent to the superannuation of Shri P.Bhagawandas who was holding the post. Smt. Mohile has held various important posts in the Department of Posts including Assistant Director General (International Relations and International Mail) Deputy Director General (Marketing), Postmaster General (Mumbai), Chief Postmaster General (Maharashtra Circle and Principal Chief General Manager of Business Development Directorate.
January 19, 2001 -- A copy of the European publication, the Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) is posted as a courtesy provided to PostCom members. Our thanks go to the MRU Consultancy GmbH for this courtesy.
January 19, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "from the word go Chronopost has noticed distinct service improvements following its new co-operation with FedEx. The French La Poste express subsidiary declared last week that transit times for consignments from Europe to Asia and to the US had been considerably reduced. Perhaps the U.S. Postal Service will see comparable service improvements for its Express Mail and Priority Mail products.
January 19, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the Brazilian ebX express brasil has ambitious goals for this year. The company, which resulted from the merger of the 5 express companies Epatil, Hot Service, InterCouriers, Post Card and Speed Cargo, aims for a turnover of over 136m euros. This would mean a 92 % increase in relation to last year‘s results. The company, which co-operates with UPS, currently handles more than 8 million consignments per month and is a major service provider on the Brazilian CEP market, which is otherwise dominated by the mail company Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos with an approx. 60 % market share. Other important CEP businesses include Total Express, Boy Service and DHL."
January 19, 2001 -- "Savor the irony," Forbes has said, "of a $7 billion, seven-year deal between FedEx Corp. Chief Executive Frederick W. Smith and the U.S. Postal Service. The guy who built his career and a $20 billion (estimated fiscal 2001 sales) company demonizing the blundering bureaucracy now carries water for it—or, at least, its priority and express mail and some of its first-class mail—and is going to put FedEx boxes in more than 10,000 post offices. The $1 billion in extra revenue each year is nice for Memphis-based FedEx, whose annual growth threatens to dip to 8% after galloping at a compound annual rate of 12% since 1996. But perhaps Smith should have turned down the dough and instead swapped his services for access to USPS' 300,000 carriers. That's where FedEx is weakest: on the ground."
January 19, 2001 -- According to The Wall Street Journal, "Germany's major daily newspapers are set to give postal giant Deutsche Post AG a run for its money. Within the next few months, publishers Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung plan to start delivering letters along with their newspapers."
January 19, 2001 -- PostalNews.Com has reported that "the following organizations have offered Voluntary Early Retirement to selected organizational units, occupation codes, or grade levels for various window periods ending in January or February: Diversity, Washington, DC; Employee Resource Management, Washington, DC; Great Lakes Area Office, Bloomingdale, IL; Headquarters Retail Operations Support, Washington, DC; HRIS Support Services, Eagan, MN; Midwest Area Field Retail Operations, St. Louis, MO; National Center for Employee Development, Norman, OK. National Field Retail Operations, St. Louis, MO; Northeast Area Office, Windsor, CT; Operations, Washington, DC; Pacific Area Office, San Francisco, CA; Public Affairs and Communications, Washington, DC; Quality, Washington, DC; Southeast Area Field Retail Operations, Atlanta, GA; Southwest Area Office, Dallas, TX; Strategic Planning, Washington, DC; Western Area Office, Denver, CO.
January 19, 2001 -- According to China Infobank, the "Xinjiang autonomous region's postal service reported operating revenues of RMB590m for the year 2000, with a drop of RMB110 year- on-year in losses. The postal service expects an 8.5 per cent rise in operating revenues for 2001, with losses of RMB150m forecast to decrease. Labour productivity from all postal workers is predicted to increase by 12 per cent."
January 19, 2001 -- NUI Corporation has announced that its sales outsourcing firm, TIC Enterprises, LLC (TIC), has introduced a new Internet site, PostalStreet.com, to provide businesses with electronic access to the United States Postal Service's (USPS) expedited services. TIC is also developing a strategy for on-line business supplies and nationwide same-day courier services. PostalStreet.com provides businesses with direct access to the USPS' expedited delivery services. Customers can laser print labels (eliminating the need for three-part labels), and bar-coding technology developed by TIC will enable customers to electronically track packages and create on-line confirmations, all free of charge. Electronic postage is also targeted to become available in the future.
January 19, 2001 -- RSA Security Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in which the companies will work together to help enable government agencies to manage critical information and conduct filings and transactions securely over the Internet. Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. Postal Service has licensed RSA BSAFE® encryption software for its NetPost.Certified, a secure electronic mail and transfer service designed to help government agencies move from a paper-based to an electronic-based business model.
January 19, 2001 -- According to the Financial Times, "Consignia, formerly the Post Office, is to have most of its prices frozen for two years in a draft operating licence soon to be published by the Postal Services Commission, the newly appointed government watchdog. Graham Corbett, the commission's chairman, has decided to order a freeze while a team of economists works out a basis for long-term price controls, probably using the RPI-X formula adopted by other utility regulators. The freeze will cover products that face no significant competition, including the first- and second-class post, parcels posted at post offices and direct-mail contracts. It will apply from March 26, when Consignia will become a government-owned plc in line with the Post Office Act and any company operating postal services must be licensed by the regulator. The freeze will cover about 80 per cent of Consignia's revenue." See also the report by Reuters.
January 19, 2001 -- The Swiss postal service said it will reduce 900 jobs over the next five years or 100 positions per year, Swiss News Agency SDA reported. Under the measures, the postal service said it will close 180-240 offices per year, affecting 100 full-time jobs per year, it said. The transaction is expected to lead to annual savings of around 100 mln sfr, the news agency said.
January 19, 2001 -- BBC News has reported that striking British "postal workers have rejected a management proposal aimed at resuming deliveries across Liverpool. The dispute, now in its fourth day, began when staff at the central sorting office at Copperas Hill walked out in support of a colleague who had been disciplined. The action spread across Merseyside, leaving the entire L postcode area, which covers half a million homes and businesses, without deliveries."
January 19, 2001 -- The word coming out of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) headquarters these days is that the USPS will file another postal rate increase request with the Postal Rate Commission sometime mid-year. Word has it also that the size of the increase the USPS will propose will be hefty. Senior postal officials believe they gain very little political or public relations value in moderating increases. The future looks grim for mailers. Increasingly, the postal system will act as an inhibitor to economic growth rather than a facilitator.
January 19, 2001 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that Rick Weirich, the USPS’ long-time vice president of information systems, has retired. Bob Otto takes on the duties as acting vice president of IS. For more information on this and other matters reported in BMR, contact the editor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or the publisher by writing to: Busienss Mailers Review, P.O. Box 328, Boyds, Maryland 20841.
January 19, 2001 -- Business Mailers Review also has reported that Phoenix-Hecht’s semiannual survey of remittance mail delivery "seems to indicate that cities participating in the National Firm Holdout — a program designed to speed the handling of remittance mail — actually have seen larger mail deterioration than other cities.
January 18, 2001 -- QAS Systems, developers of QuickAddress software, is establishing operations in North America in Woburn, Massachusetts. It offers addressing solutions using current data from the United States Postal Service (USPS). Through indexing and compression techniques, QuickAddress software allows clients to take down and capture information from the database of all 134 million United States postal addresses. This information can be accessed whether or not a zip code is known. Additionally, the software returns full and accurate delivery details. Data is refreshed on the software every two months to keep it up to date with USPS.
January 18, 2001 -- The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has published a report that addresses the major performance and accountability challenges facing the U.S. Postal Service as it seeks to bind the nation together through the correspondence of the people, to provide access in all communities, and to offer prompt, reliable, and efficient postal services at uniform prices. It includes a summary of actions that the Service has taken and that are under way to address these challenges. It also outlines further actions that GAO believes are needed. This analysis should help the new Congress and administration carry out their responsibilities and improve government for the benefit of the American people.
January 18, 2001 -- Heard it through the grapevine.... The latest rumor is that the Board of Governors is looking at Al Checchi, former CEO of Northwest Airlines, as a possible candidate to replace the outgoing William Henderson as Postmaster General of the United States. Remember....it's only a rumor.
January 18, 2001 -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has a filing posted on its web site submitted by Fedex, which provides some of the details of the recent Fedex-USPS agreement.
January 18, 2001 -- According to the European Intelligence Wire, there is no truth to the story that appeared in the European press that United Parcel Service was in the process of purchasing Emery Worldwide.
January 18, 2001 -- Postal services group Neopost has bought the parcel delivery division of Alcatel Belgique, the Belgian arm of the French telecommunications equipment supplier Alcatel (ALA). The acquisition will add around EUR3.5 million to Neopost's annual revenues.
January 18, 2001 -- According to The Media Audit, a syndicated survey of both online and traditional media in more than 80 US markets, the web sites of America's daily newspapers are building a commanding lead over other local media web sites. Television -- even network affiliates -- and radio seem incapable, with few exceptions, of attracting the web audience numbers of daily newspaper web sites. In addition, -- and perhaps more importantly -- newspapers are attracting to their web sites an audience which complements their traditional/print subscriber base. The newspaper web audience is predominantly 18 to 44-year-olds in contrast to the traditional newspaper subscriber base, which is heaviest among those over 45. The Washington Post web site leads the way in attracting an Internet audience with 32.8% of DC area adults visiting the site in a 30-day period.
January 18, 2001 -- The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled a new service that allows government agencies to send and receive sensitive documents such as birth certificates and medical records over the Internet in a secure manner. An electronic version of Certified Mail, the new service uses a system of passwords and ID cards embedded with computer chips to provide proof that the document arrived safely in the hands of its intended recipient. The system will cost 50 cents per use, regardless of the size of the transmission. Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan said the system, dubbed NetPost.Certified, should speed up government services and cut down on paperwork. The service is designed only for use with government agencies. The Social Security Administration has signed up with the program, while the Health Care Finance Administration has participated in a pilot test. A Postal Service spokesman said other agencies are looking into its use as well. NetPost.Certified will support such e-government enterprises as the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Presidential Memorandum on e-Government initiatives.
NetPost.Certified will support such e-government enterprises as the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Presidential Memorandum on e-Government initiatives. The NetAuthority deployment stems from Cylink's five-year contract with the Postal Service, announced last year, to provide PKI software and systems for its e-business services. In addition to incorporating NetAuthority, NetPost.Certified uses technology from GemPlus, Npoint, PubliCARD, RSA, TecSec, ValiCert and WareOnEarth Communications. The NetPost.Certified implementation fostered a relationship between Cylink and WareOnEarth that recently resulted in a strategic partnership whereby the companies will provide secure peer-to-peer technology to protect government and business Internet communications. See also the story by PostalWord.com.
January 18, 2001 -- In its report on the Postal Service's NetPost Certified annoucement, CNET.com noted that "the move is part of a Postal Service push to restore its financial health as first-class mail faces competition from the Internet for bill paying and banking. First-class mail, over which the Postal Service maintains a monopoly, accounted for more than half of the government-chartered company's $63 billion in revenue in 1999. The new program is also part of the U.S. government's effort to bring some of its operations online and of the Postal Service's move to increase its electronic services. The Postal Service said in a statement that it's considering a similar service in the future for individual and business use in the private sector. The Postal Service currently offers digital signatures and an electronic bill-paying service. It also is weighing creation of a secure e-mail address for each person in the country. The e-mail service would enable people to track and reroute their regular mail over the Internet.
January 18, 2001 -- ValiCert, Inc., a provider of trust solutions for online business transactions, has announced that the company has been selected as a security technology supplier for future e-Commerce solutions offered by the United States Postal Service. The ValiCert solutions, which include ValiCert Validation Authority , ValiCert SecureTransport and ValiCert Digital Receipt Solutions, will be included into future suites of USPS e-Commerce initiatives.
January 18, 2001 -- E-business security pioneer Cylink Corporation has announced the deployment of its NetAuthority(TM) public key infrastructure (PKI) solution as the certificate authority for the U.S. Postal Service's NetPost.Certified, a new Internet-based service designed to secure and authenticate electronic correspondence between government agencies. NetPost.Certified enables government agencies to obtain digital certificates - used to authenticate parties to e-business communications - provided online by Cylink's NetAuthority after users present proof of identity to the Postal Service. Users can then store the digital certificate and their private key on a NetPost.Certified smartcard, which is then used to securely and privately send electronic files to government computers. Cylink's NetAuthority features a certificate authority, registration server, registration authority client and a toolkit that provides all the components to make applications and devices PKI-compatible.
January 18, 2001 -- PubliCARD, Inc. and TecSec, Inc. today announced their role as providers of the critical next-generation encryption technology and smart card infrastructure utilized in the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) new NetPost.Certified (NPC) service. The NetPost.Certified service, announced earlier today, represents the smart card based electronic equivalent of Certified Mail.
January 18, 2001 -- XandMail, a supplier of 3rd-generation Webmail solutions, has announced La Poste Group's choice of its XWebMail(TM) as the standard messaging solution for its entire line of electronic mail services.
January 18, 2001 -- Hoping to boost their use by both citizens and businesses, Hongkong Post has cut the costs of its digital certificates and is embarking on a more aggressive public awareness program. The Hongkong Post certification authority (CA) is Hong Kong's first public certification authority, issuing digital certificates for almost a year now under the name "Hongkong Post e-Cert." Digital certificates are bought by individuals and companies so that they can identify and authenticate each other in electronic transactions. The services also include digital certificates for Web servers.Hongkong Post said on Tuesday it would reduce renewal fees for personal e-Certs from HK$150 to HK$50 (US$19.23 to $6.41). Other charges remain the same: a personal e-Cert will initially cost HK$50 ($6.41), while organizations will pay HK$50 ($6.41) per certificate and HK$150 ($19.23) per application and HK$150 ($19.23) for renewal. Certificates for Web servers cost HK$2,500 ($320.52).
January 18, 2001 -- La Poste, France's state-owned postal service, is outsourcing the management of its 48,000-strong fleet of vehicles to the private sector to make cost savings of an estimated 123 million French francs (EUR1=FRF6.55957) a year.
January 18, 2001 -- Reuters has reported that "ten French postmen are coasting around Paris on foot-propelled scooters to test whether the trendy two-wheelers can help them deliver mail more easily. If they are approved, up to 3,000 postal routes in French cities could soon be served by postmen buzzing about on scooters, it said. La Poste stressed that the scooters, which popped up across Paris last year as part of a world-wide fad for a new compact aluminum model, would only be used on flat paved surfaces and wide sidewalks."
January 18, 2001 -- Euromedia.net has reported that "as of January the 13th Italians can settle their bills via the internet. The transaction fee is higher on the web, L4,000 (E2), instead of L1,500 at the postal counter, due to the necessity of using a credit card at the site, Poste.it."
January 18, 2001 -- The British newspaper, The Independent, has reported that the U.K. Post Office, which is changing its corporate name to Consignia, has taken legal action to stop a small company from using the words "post office" on its website. The Name-Shop, based in south London, has refused to withdraw its registered domain name post-office.co.uk.
January 16, 2001 -- United Parcel Service, Inc. and First International Bancorp, Inc. have announced a definitive merger agreement by which UPS will acquire First International Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of First International Bank, for approximately $78 million in UPS Class B common stock, based on the closing price for UPS Class B common stock on Friday, Jan. 12, 2001. The acquisition will add First International's innovative structured trade finance and commercial lending programs to the expanding capabilities of UPS Capital Corp., the financial services subsidiary of UPS. UPS believes the acquisition will create a powerful combination of financial, shipping and logistics solutions for customers that will enable them to better manage their supply chains through the integration of funds, goods and information.
January 16, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the advisory board of Germany's telecommunications and posts regulatory authority on Monday voted unanimously to appoint Matthias Kurth as the regulator's new president, succeeding Klaus-Dieter Scheurle. Mr. Kurth, a member of the Social Democratic Party, is currently deputy president of the regulator, known by its German initials RTP."
January 16, 2001 -- The European Union Commission has said that a decision on whether Deutsche Post AG (G.DEP) abused its dominant market position in the letter delivery market to subsidize its lucrative parcel-delivery service will be issued in "early 2001."
January 16, 2001 -- Jerry Trimarco has been appointed to the dual positions of chief executive officer of Emery Worldwide Airlines and vice president -transportation for Emery Worldwide. Both companies are subsidiaries of CNF Inc., (NYSE: CNF). Emery Worldwide is a global heavyweight air cargo transportation company and Emery Worldwide Airlines provides the air haul operations for the freight company's North America network. Trimarco has served as EWA's postal operations president since 1997, with responsibility for the planning, implementation and operation of 10 Priority Mail Processing Centers (PMPCs) under contract with the U.S. Postal Service.
January 16, 2001 -- Paper meets technology next month in Washington, DC, at a new, one-day seminar: World PaperCom Alliance Conference 2001. The conference will be held on Tuesday, February 20, 2001, at the National Press Club, 14th and F Streets, NW, beginning at 9 a.m. Speakers include leaders in several key segments of the industries involved in paper-based communication, and an internationally acclaimed analyst of how technology influences communication: Derrick de Kerckhove, director, McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology, and Professor, Department of French, University of Toronto; Phil Seder, Digimarc, Tualatin, OR; Kaj Kulp, manager of the Boston Consulting Group's Helsinki, Finland, office. The conference moderators come from two world-leading suppliers of technology solutions for paper-based communications systems: Gary S. Jensen, Vice President of Corporate Development and Marketing, Siemens ElectroCom, Arlington, TX; James A. Euchner, Vice President, Advanced Concepts & Technology, Pitney Bowes, Stamford, CT.
January 16, 2001 -- NewsAlert.Com has reported that "the fate of a United Parcel Service logistics operation in Ontario for dot-com companies -- still without a client three months after its launch -- is up in the air. Officials are struggling to decide how best to use building space at 5300 Shea Center Drive that has remained empty since the new service, UPS e-Logistics, began searching for clients in September. Atlanta-based UPS e-Logistics is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Parcel Service Inc. and the first rollout of a UPS corporate incubator called e-Ventures. The Ontario location is one of three in a nationwide network the company deployed to provide warehousing, shipping, order fulfillment, inventory control, returns management, customer call centers and other services specifically for e-businesses and divisions of companies that sell products over the Internet."
January 15, 2001 -- CargoWebNews.Com has said that "according to unconfirmed reports of AirlineBiz.Com UPS plans to announce the acquisition of Emery Worldwide early next week. According to the sources at Emery's pilot group, UPS and CNF inked the deal on Saturday to sell off Emery Worldwide the heavy freight division of CNF."
January 13, 2001 -- According to The Washington Post, the U.S. Justice Department is conducting an antitrust review of the $6.3 billion alliance announced this week between the U.S. Postal Service and Federal Express for air mail delivery." Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan had told reporters on Wednesday that Justice officials had been briefed on the deal. "If they had said it was the dumbest thing they ever heard," he said, the parties might have backed down. "But we have not gotten any such information from them."
January 13, 2001 -- GlobalSources.Com has reported that "a regional economic development group said it will launch another study of the planned FedEx cargo hub this week,, this time to explore what types of industries the overnight shipping giant could attract. The Piedmont Triad Partnership announced plans Tuesday to contract with a Dallas real estate developer for the study and will look to taxpayers to help pay for some of the study's estimated $50,000 cost. A pro-business Rockingham County group said Tuesday it plans to ask the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners to help pay for the study. Some people said...their tax money shouldn't be used to help promote private enterprise." One called it "corporate welfare."
January 13, 2001 -- TransportTopics.Com has reported that "with FedEx Corp.’s flag now planted squarely in the less-than-truckload sector, industry speculation has turned toward arch-competitor United Parcel Service for the next likely move."
January 13, 2001 -- TransportNews.Com has reported that "new equipment [based on technology developed by United Parcel Service] will enable the development of precision approaches at small airports without extensive infrastructure. Pilots soon will be able to fly precision instrument approaches to hundreds of airports serving smaller U.S. cities and towns using new navigation capabilities being developed by UPS Aviation Technologies. The new equipment will provide the pilot with both vertical and horizontal guidance to the runway, using signals from the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for the Global Positioning System (GPS). The development of this new capability will allow precision approaches to be developed for almost any airport of appropriate length, without the need for expensive infrastructure on the ground. In many cases aircraft equipped with the new technology would be able to land at smaller airports in weather conditions that would force aircraft without the equipment to divert to another airport.
January 13, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Teamsters union has expressed opposition to an agreement by FedEx Corp. (FDX) and the U.S. Postal Service to collaborate in package delivery. The paper quotes union president James P. Hoffa as saying, "this new alliance is anti-competitive and bad for American consumers." He claimed that the deal is a violation of anti-trust law and is unfair to union workers and American taxpayers.
January 12, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "the U.S. Department of Transportation has finalized an earlier decision granting United Parcel Service the right to begin service to China as of April 1."
January 12, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "Federal Express could throw a monkey wrench into United Parcel Service's planned acquisition of Fritz Cos. Inc." While UPS to purchase the forwarder in a $450 million stock swap, FedEx wants to buy three Fritz subsidiaries that perform customs clearance for FedEx." FedEx spokesman Greg Rossiter said the company had received assurances from Fritz that those negotiations would continue. If those talks do not come to fruition, Rossiter said, FedEx would consider the UPS purchase of Fritz "anti-competitive and a violation of antitrust law," although he declined to say what, if any, action FedEx might pursue."
January 12, 2001 -- The Jersey Post (the Isle of Jersey, that is) has selected Pitney Bowes' docSense Digital Document Delivery (D3) to support electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solutions for ProMail, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Jersey Post, the only mailing house in the Channel Islands that produces contract mail for utility companies, offshore financial services providers and the new generation of e-commerce businesses.
January 12, 2001 -- According to the European Intelligence Unit, when "EU postal and telecoms ministers rejected a plan to liberalise the Union's postal industry....EU governments have shut out competition from a market worth some $75 billion per year....The result of this is that 13 years after the EU first began discussing postal liberalisation, barely 6% of the market is open." Despite these setbacks, it said, " Europe leads the world in freeing its postal markets. TPG of the Netherlands and Deutsche Post are way ahead of the US Postal Service in breaking into related transport businesses, from air express to logistics, and they are challenging the industry leaders, UPS and FedEx, as consolidation in the global market gathers pace. Their biggest European rivals, France's La Poste and the UK's Post Office, are scrambling to catch up. La Poste has built up strategic stakes in the UK and German markets....Ultimately, such deals are likely to draw the big players in the US and Europe deeper into the EU's postal industry, which in turn should hasten deregulation."
January 11, 2001 -- According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, "the (U.K.) Post Office, one of the country's more enduring institutions, has given way to the pressures of an ever changing corporate world. It yesterday announced plans to change its name to Consignia from the end of March. Post Office, it explained, no longer adequately described what it did. John Roberts, its chief executive, was quick to point out that as far as the general public was concerned there would be little visible change.Its main brand names and logos will remain the same. The postman delivering letters to the door will still work for the Royal Mail, parcels will be distributed by Parcelforce Worldwide in its distinctive vans and local post offices will still display the familiar logo. The change immediately came under fire from the Post Office's own workers, however. The Communication Workers Union pledged to campaign against the decision, complaining that it was 'dumping' 350 years of tradition. Deputy general secretary John Keggie believed the exercise was 'rushed and ill-conceived'. He said: 'We should be trading on the British Post Office's worldwide reputation.'" See also the report in The Independent.
January 11, 2001 -- Airborne, Inc. has announced that the slowing economy negatively affected core domestic product growth in the fourth quarter ended December 31. While Airborne estimates overall domestic shipments grew in excess of 3.5% for the quarter compared to the fourth quarter a year ago due to the exceptional growth in its airborne@home product, growth in the core domestic product was below expectations. The slowdown in domestic core shipments coupled with higher than anticipated operating costs -- due in part to higher fuel and weather-related expenses -- will cause the company to report a loss for the fourth quarter.
January 11, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that one senior United Parcel Service (UPS) official has acknowledged the UPS "will consider pursuing the right to place self-service drop boxes at the nation's post offices after rival FedEx Corp. (FDX) struck a nonexclusive contract with the U.S. Postal Service to do so." Read also The Wall Street Journal's take on the deal.
January 11, 2001 -- Here are a few related stories pertaining to the USPS-Fedex deal: The Washington Post; a story in the Dayton Daily News pertaining to Emery's allegations of "unfairness;"an item by Reuters noting that FedEx Corp. will add 500 pilots and 1,000 mechanics and handlers to its work force to handle the increased traffic created by the Postal Service pact; a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the increased competition United Parcel Service will face from Fedex after the deal; The Wall Street Journal with the reported comments of Fedex's CFO concerning the likelihood of future cooperativeness between Fedex and the USPS. Read also the report in The Journal of Commerce.
January 10, 2001 -- HOT STUFF! The U.S. Postal Service and FedEx Express have formed a business alliance based on air transportation and retail business agreements. Under this alliance, the Postal Service will buy space on FedEx airplanes to transport Express Mail, Priority Mail and First-Class Mail and FedEx will locate overnight service collection boxes at post offices nationwide. The Postal Service will pay FedEx approximately $6.3 billion over seven years for shared access to the FedEx national air transportation network. With more than 650 aircraft, FedEx is one of the largest airlines in the world. This agreement will provide one integrated national air transportation network for the Postal Service. The transportation agreement will begin in August 2001.
The retail agreement gives FedEx the opportunity to place FedEx self-service collection boxes on postal property. This non-exclusive business concept will be open to any company that offers overnight package service with a national reach. Each day some seven million customers go to one of 38,000 postal outlets nationwide. Over the life of the agreement, FedEx has the option to place thousands of boxes at post offices nationwide. The estimated value of the agreement could range from a minimum of $126 million to more than $232 million, depending upon the number of boxes placed. This retail agreement will be launched with an operational test in February, and FedEx expects to place thousands of drop boxes throughout the country within the next year.
January 10, 2001 -- NEWS ON AP 4. While the Postal Service has not yet released officially and publicly it's numbers for accounting period four of postal fiscal year 2001, sources within the Postal Service have told PostCom that, once again, the numbers are NOT very good. Revenues for the period were $164 million below plan; expenses were $81 million above plan. Net loss for the period totaled $ 294 million, an unfavorable variance to plan of about $238 million. Year-to-date, the loss is now $87 million compared to a planned profit of 332 million. In short, the Postal Service is now $419 million below year-to-date plan through AP4. Last year through this period, the Postal Service showed a $1.05 billion dollar profit; this year it is 87 million dollar loss. That's a swing, our sources noted, of over a billion dollars! At this rate, the guesstimate is that the USPS could finish FY2001 with a $2.5 billion loss. Postal officials have expressed displeasure with this sort of "before the final numbers are released" type of reporting. Mailers, on the other hand, have been trying to make explicit their displeasure with these sorts of results In short, if you don't like bad news...don't make it.
January 10, 2001 -- Pitney Bowes Inc. has announced that it has acquired a majority ownership in MailCode, Inc., a privately held mail processing solutions company headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana. Pitney Bowes will become the exclusive sales channel for MailCode's technology and solutions around the world. The addition of MailCode products will complement and broaden Pitney Bowes' Document Messaging Technology (DMT) unit's existing core offerings.
January 10, 2001 -- Oh yeah....One of the other pieces of business handled by the postal Board at its January meeting....It approved the pay for the PMG to $161,000. Whoop-dee-do! In contrast, the CEO of Deutsche Post earns close to a million; the Canadian postal CEO comes in at $400,000 (Canadian, of course), and the Italian CEO comes in at $400,000 as well. Makes you wonder who among the nation's "best and brightest" the Board will be able to find to take the USPS' top slot after Bill Henderson resigns.
January 10, 2001 -- You've heard a lot about what postal workers are paid, but how 'bout federal workers? Well, you can find that out too by looking at the Office of Personnel Management web site.
January 10, 2001 -- United Parcel Service (UPS) and Fritz Companies, Inc. have announced that UPS has agreed to acquire Fritz for approximately $450 million in UPS Class B common stock. Fritz reportedly is one of the world's leading freight forwarding, customs brokerage and logistics concerns, with $1.6 billion in gross revenue in its most recent fiscal year. The acquisition ostensibly will allow UPS to offer a broad, integrated portfolio of services for moving everything from small packages to heavy freight, by any mode of transport, anywhere in the world. Freight forwarding, customs brokerage and logistics customers of Fritz will gain easier access to global supply chain management, service parts logistics and financial offerings through UPS. Industry observers, however, question the move. "UPS," one told PostCom, "is paying the significant premium over the current market price to gain quick access to the set of customers that Fritz now serves. Fritz represents the old way of doing business where a shipper would hire a freight forward to buy the space on planes, trains or ships for them and handle all of the customs work as well. These firms have been losing business to the integrated operators for years."
January 10, 2001 -- A copy of the European publication, the Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) is posted as a courtesy provided to PostCom members. Our thanks go to the MRU Consultancy GmbH for this courtesy.
January 10, 2001 -- Also from CEP News is the report that "the Danish Danmark Post and the Swedish Posten AB have agreed upon an intensified co-operation in the regions on either side of the Oeresund bridge. Danmark Post said that the two companies were going to target business clients in the area with the offer of a joint transnational one-stop service. The new agreement intends to support the successful positioning of the two mail companies in relation to competitors - such as the Swedish mail service CityMail."
January 10, 2001 -- Here's also one from CEP News that's sure to thrill parcel shippers: "The Association of Courier Companies of Uganda (ACCU) has announced that all international consignments will be invoiced in US dollars in future. With this shift from the national shilling currency, the Ugandan CEP service providers aim to offer their customers better price stability, as the shilling is badly affected by inflation." No doubt you were waiting for that one.
January 10, 2001 -- The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service has approved the funding of a number of projects designed to lay the groundwork for an integrated information platform. Read also the report on one of these items published by Government Computer News. Brian Sheehan, the owner-operator of postalnews.com has noted that the Postal Service has posted a report on the most recent Board of Governors meeting on its internal network's PostalLink. As Brian has noted, reading this will require the use of a Microsoft PowerPoint reader, if you don't have PowerPoint installed on your computer.
January 10, 2001 -- As one European source noted about the transformation underway at Royal Mail (pardon me, Consignia, the new corporate name), "the Post Office has been converted into a plc with a single shareholder. Deregulation of the postal services market will be a reality by the second quarter of 2001. Competition is growing, but the company still has to deliver a profit. Question - what do you expect the company to do?If your answer is that it will look for ways to protect existing revenue streams while introducing new, added value services, you would be correct. If you think it means business as usual, you would be wrong. If you believe those new services will not be right at the heart of the direct marketing services industry, you are in for a big shock."
January 10, 2001 -- DM News has reported that "catalogers didn't fare well during the holiday season as most of the big books saw sales fall. Some good news emerged, however, as online efforts continued to show tremendous growth."
January 10, 2001 -- NextBill.com, Inc., a Biller Service Provider delivering turnkey electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) systems to financial and billing institutions, has announced that its Internet billing and payment system has been chosen by Airborne Express (NYSE: ABF). NextBill's system will enable Airborne Express, one of the world's largest transportation and shipping providers for businesses, to send invoices directly to its customers via e-mail, and receive payments electronically via secure Internet transmissions. The NextBill.com EBPP system is a paperless, direct billing model, which enables Airborne Express to e-mail bills directly to its customers. The system is capable of generating invoices in HTML, MS Word, text or PDF format and can be sent to e-mail addresses specifically assigned by customers to enable proper routing of the invoices for approval and payment. Once the invoice has been viewed, a user can click on a Pay Bill hyperlink that will direct the customer to a payment screen at Airborne's Web site for easy single-step payment authorization. Payment will be automatically processed on the invoice due date, or the date assigned by the customer using the Federal Reserve's automated clearinghouse system.
January 10, 2001 -- Emery Worldwide Airlines said the U.S. Court of Federal Claims denied its bid to block the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx Corp. from entering into a delivery contract that could bring FedEx at least $5 billion in revenue over the next several years. See also the press release from the company.
January 10, 2001 -- United Parcel Service Inc. has placed an order for an additional 60 A300-600 freight planes from Airbus Industrie.
January 9, 2001 -- The Postal Service's Chief Financial Officer, Richard Strasser, reported before the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors on the Postal Service's fiscal picture through Quarter One of Postal Fiscal Year 2001. It wasn't pretty. Net income was $246 million on revenue of $15.4 billion, or $142 million below plan. Mail volume grew by 3.3 percent; revenue increased by only 1.3 percent. Revenue for the period was $159 million below plan. First-Class Mail growth was virtually non-existent. Standard Mail continued to be robust. In fact, Strasser noted, for the first time, the absolute growth in Standard Mail volume exceeded the growth of First-Class Mail. See the story from the Associated Press. A copy of the Postal Service's Quarter One revenue, piece, weight (RPW) report is posted on this site.
January 9, 2001 -- The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have elected Robert Ryder as their new chairman, and David Fineman as their new vice chairman. What didn't happen at the Board of Governors meeting? There was no announcement on the long-awaited USPS-Fedex deal.
January 9, 2001 -- The Center for Research on Regulated Industries has published the latest in a series of books dealing with postal policies around the world. It's entitled Future Directions in Postal Reform. It's a volume every serious student of things postal should have in his or her library.
January 9, 2001 -- The 9th Postal Conference on Postal and Delivery Services will be held on June 6-9, 2001 at the Sorrento Palace, Sorrento, ITALY. Contact Michael A. Crew or Jeremy T. Guenter at 973-353-5761 or email@example.com or visit their website at http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~crri/Post.htm .
January 9, 2001 -- According to the London newspaper, The Independent, "the British Post Office has given itself a new corporate name, Consignia, due to come into force in March. It says the new identity is "modern and meaningful", but just how much it means to the public is anyone's guess. The Royal Mail title will remain - last year there were reports it would disappear because it was objected to by countries with their own monarchies. Post Office chief executive John Roberts said today: "The new name describes the full scope of what The Post Office does in a way that the words 'post' and 'office' cannot. "'To consign' means 'to entrust to the care of' - which is what each of our customers does every day, no matter which of our services they use." The new name is intended to show the changing nature of the Post Office organisation, but the Royal Mail and Parcelforce brands will remain.
January 9, 2001 -- European sources have reported that "Germany is in the process of drawing up new legislation for the postal sector, which will allow the state to sell its majority stake in Deutsche Post AG, the national post office. Currently, the state owns 71 per cent in the post office, directly and via the funding institution Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW). The state is expected to sell its majority in 2002. When the IPO took place in November 2000, the state sold 29 per cent of its shares, and it seems likely that further shares will be sold at the end of this year."
January 9, 2001 -- Talk about trying to hold back the tide and time....Royal Mail reportedly is considering rolling out a new marketing campaign encouraging people to write more letters, under the banner "Pen to Paper". The company features a similar section on its website, royalmail.com, which has been designed to "combat the increasing use of e-mail."
January 9, 2001 -- According to Information Week, "consumers will spend 35% more time returning goods bought online vs. from a catalog....Too few E-retailers provide preprinted return labels or instructions, and they require that returns be pre-approved twice as often as catalog companies."
January 9, 2001 -- When it comes to the 107th Congress...."who's on first?" That's the question being asked as Congress organizes itself into committees and subcommittees for the next two years. While the chairmanships of the various committees have been named, the final word has yet to be heard as to whether there will be a free-standing postal subcommittee within the House of Representatives committee structure, nor has anyone been appointed as chairman of any postal subcommittee post. Since Congress is not expected to reconvene until January 30, it is unlikely that subcommittee decisions pertaining to the Postal Service will be made before the beginning of February.
January 9, 2001 -- The Mailers Council has added a new page to better acquaint Hill staffers with postal issues. Check it out.
January 9, 2001 -- MARSHALL KOLIN 1929-2001. An old friend of the postal community, Marshall Kolin, died on Thursday, January 4 in Charlotte, NC. Know for his papers at postal conferences around the world, he also has been published in several postal-related works. He worked as an economic researcher and manager at the U.S. Postal Service, adding an intellectual curiosity and originality of ideas that were of considerable benefit to his colleagues and the work of USPS. Marshall will be missed not just by family and friends but a wide circle of economists and colleagues in the postal, academic and regulatory communities.
January 8, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx Corp., once at war over postal ads aimed at FedEx, are nearing agreement on a highly anticipated delivery alliance, according to people familiar with the discussions." Details of the plan, which has been the subject of negotiations between FedEx and the post office for more than six months, were scheduled to be on the agenda for the January meeting of the Postal Service's Board of Governors. Sources say that the delivery partnership is likely to include having FedEx use its enormous fleet of 662 aircraft to haul Priority Mail and Express mail packages for the post office. But the alliance is narrower in scope than the two sides had discussed late last summer, with no apparent plans for the post office to deliver slower-moving ground parcels for FedEx in rural areas that aren't currently reached by FedEx's ground-delivery network. On Friday, Emery asked the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to stop the post office from awarding an air-transportation contract to FedEx. In its court filing, Emery claims the contract "contemplated with FedEx will likely result in the termination for convenience of [Emery's contract] three years before it is set to expire."
January 8, 2001 -- Epicentric, Inc., a provider of web-based portals, E-Business Network platforms, has announced that the U.S. Postal Service is using Epicentric to launch a specialized e-business network, that will provide its nationwide sales and marketing workforce with strategic reports, marketing analysis and customer data from any desktop browser. More than 3,000 USPS professionals will have access to the Market Tracks service, which will cut costs and dramatically increase the efficiency of delivering and leveraging marketing and sales resources. In addition, USPS is also using Epicentric to provide a high level online resource for its senior vice-presidents to share detailed competitive intelligence information.
January 8, 2001 -- PostalAnnex+, with 288 franchise locations worldwide, has been ranked the second largest "Postal Service Franchise" in the U.S. and the 174th largest franchise overall by Entrepreneur Magazine.
January 7, 2001 -- Here's what's at tap at the January meeting of the U.S. Postal service Board of Governors meeting in Washington, DC.
January 7, 2001 -- NEW, HIGHER POSTAL RATES GO INTO EFFECT TODAY! Most consumers yawn at the thought of a penny increase in the price of a First-Class stamp. Business mailers, however, groan under the burden of increases that are much greater than the cumulative rate of inflation.
January 6, 2001 -- According to BusinessWeek.Com, "e-commerce failed on its own merits." The same could be said of the Postal Service's e-commerce ventures. The only difference is that it failed with RATEPAYERS' money.
January 6, 2001 -- Talk about local market clout! According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Memphis International Airport is building out its airport specifically to accommodate the Airbus 380 superjumbo jets that Fedex will be adding to its air fleet.
January 6, 2001 -- Traffic World has reported that "the French postal service, La Poste, is expected to pay close to $400 million to acquire an additional 35 percent stake in Germany's second-largest express-package delivery company. The tentative deal, which should be completed by the end of February, will give La Poste 85 percent ownership of Deutscher Paket Dienst (German Parcel Service), the biggest domestic rival to Deutsche Post and the operator of an extensive franchised Pan-European network."
January 6, 2001 -- Traffic World is telling its readers that as far as the upcoming Fedex and United Parcel Service rate increases are concerned, "hold onto your wallets." While both hikes are on noncontract business, TW said, both can be expected to influence negotiations on contract business as well. The increases were higher than most analysts expected.
January 6, 2001 -- In interviews given to CNN, CNNRadio, Investors Business Daily, and The Wall Street Journal, PostCom President Gene Del Polito said that this next and subsequent rounds of postal rate increases are manifestations of the Postal Service's growing fiscal crisis. "The system is in dire need of substantive legislative reform. If the Administration and Congress fail to take this matter seriously, the USPS' dire straits will worsen and will lessen the Postal Service's ability to ever again provide services that are consistent, timely, and priced at levels businesses are willing to pay."
January 6, 2001 -- According to the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the nonprofit community is mad as hell with postal rate increases and they're not going to take it anymore.
January 6, 2001 -- The French newspaper, La Tribune, has reported that the Italian post office is in the final stages of talks on a business partnership with its French and Swiss counterparts. The bilateral agreements will cover concerns regarding cross-border mail delivery. The Italian post office has already signed a letter of intent with its Swiss counterpart concerning international mail.
January 5, 2001 -- Agence France Presse has reported that Singapore Post has told the British Post Office to stop using its Citipost Express subsidiary to bypass its official service.
January 4, 2001 -- Pitney Bowes Inc. has announced a strategic consolidation of its international and U.S. mailing businesses into a global organization focused on accelerated growth and shareholder value. Murray Martin, who formerly led the company's international operations, will head the new organization as Executive Vice President and Group President, Global Mailing Systems. Mr. Martin will report to Michael J. Critelli, Chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes Inc. John Moody, formerly President of Pitney Bowes U.S. Mailing Systems, will enter a newly created role as an Executive Vice President in the office of the Chairman. Mr. Moody's responsibilities will include leadership of enterprise-wide re-engineering and competitiveness initiatives and completion of a program to develop a global manufacturing and sourcing strategy. He will also take on and manage other broad policy issues that affect Pitney Bowes and its constituents and will work with Mr. Martin to complete certain initiatives underway and insure a smooth transition.
January 4, 2001 -- The Orlando Sentinel has reported that while "online shopping got more attention during the holiday sales season...e-commerce is still far behind old-fashioned mail order."
January 4, 2001 -- Asian news services have reported that "electronic money or 'e-money' will be accepted as legal tender in Singapore from the year 2008, under a plan announced by the Board of Commissioners of Currency Singapore (BCCS)."
January 4, 2001 -- Research has shown that potential online buyers abandon their "shopping carts" once they see the cost of shipping and handling charges. The rate increases that are scheduled to go into effect on January 7, particularly the increases for Bound Printed Matter, Standard Mail parcels, and Priority Mail, are likely to make the abandonment phenom even worse. It's a classic example of how rising costs and rates act as a drag on economic development rather than as a facilitator. This is wrong. It needs to change.
January 4, 2001 -- Postal rates rise on January 7. Turn back your clocks two decades regarding the Postal Service's understanding of customer needs. Speaking of which, there are a number of newspaper articles now appearing across the nation quoting postal officials as contending that postal rates are rising because of the rising "cost of doing business." Got that? Their costs rise...you get the "business."
January 4, 2001 -- Ricoh Corporation has announced a strategic partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to be the sole provider of digital copiers, maintenance and related supplies. This ten-year contract, with the potential for up to $200 million is estimated to save the Postal Service approximately $7.4 million annually. Have no fear. They'll waste the savings in the form of staff travel to far and exotic places.
January 3, 2001 -- A copy of the European publication, the Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) is posted as a courtesy provided to PostCom members. Our thanks go to the MRU Consultancy GmbH for this courtesy.
January 3, 2001 -- According to postal guru Alan Robinson, recent market reports suggest that sales of services that convert legacy paper based (mail) communications to electronic e-mail modes are not going particularly well. "If the USPS is losing 1st class volume," he said, "it is not likely due to massive electronic diversion of bills, or statements produced by large volume mailers, or payments from individuals or small businesses. Furthermore, it would appear that the electronic diversion will take even longer than projected only a year ago. The slow growth of electronic bill payment and presentment and electronic statement presentment does not mean that First class mail and revenue will not continue to decline. The decline will have to be explained by something other than electronic diversion of statments, bills and payments." See the story on Tumbleweed. The company suffered an amazing 62.5% drop in share price after it announced that fourth quarter revenues would be well under what the company had initially expected. Tumbleweed provides secure Internet messaging services for the United States Postal Service (among others), and announced that fourth-quarter revenue will be between $7.5 and $8 million, lower than the company had originally expected for the quarter. The company blames the revenue shortfall on an industry-wide slowdown in IT spending as well as delayed purchasing decisions by clients.
January 3, 2001 -- America Online said its members spent a record $4.6 billion online during the holidays, beating some expectations, and suggesting its members spent more online than the general Web user did.
January 3, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "transportation analysts expect that Federal Express Corp. and United Parcel Service will have a hard time getting major shippers to accept the full rate increases the carriers plan to impose beginning next month. Walk-up customers will have no choice but to pay the full increases, which average 2.9% for international export shipments at both carriers. But the slowing economy will give shippers that have contracts much more leverage in negotiating lower increases for themselves....Some analysts said the two carriers should be able to get most of the increase because of their superior service and because of financial problems at their prime domestic competitors, Airborne Express and the U.S. Postal Service."
January 3, 2001 -- According to the Daily News, "communications in the real sense, are the foundation of modern society, which play important roles in the domestic as well as international economic performance. The services offered by the Post, in that context, are of vital importance to the people in their everyday life. For several centuries, the Post has been in existence in various forms, and for more than a century traditional postal services have been provided fulfilling important social, economic and cultural functions, with acceptance. The postal networks have expanded and the services have been improved at costs within everyone's reach, so much so that, today, there is no other service so close to the people. It is one industry which has direct access to the people, as, a post office employee visits every household for delivery of mail items. The Post, however, as at today, is facing a critical situation such as that its very existence as an industry is being threatened due to economic and technological changes taking place around us. It is therefore imperative that these problems should be understood with a view to overcome them. In doing so, the fact that the services provided by the Post, in economic and social terms, are such that they should be made available to the people at affordable rates without distinction - whether it be distance, social standing or geographical location - providing the services on the basis of one's capacity to pay, cannot be sidetracked. Solutions, as such, should be found to the problems facing the Post, keeping this basic principle in mind." Wow! We're talking about the U.S., right? No. The Daily News is a publication in Sri Lanka.
January 2, 2001 -- Thinking about relocating your catalog business to Afghanistan? Well...if you're that crazy, read this. According to the BBC, "the postal authorities in Afghanistan have brought in steep increases in the cost of sending mail both within the country and abroad. The head of the central postal department , Mullah Abdul Baqi Mukhles, said the rise was partly due to the sharp fall in the value of the national currency, the afghani. Correspondents say the increased postal charges may make it difficult for many ordinary Afghans to keep in touch with family members abroad, in view of low pay levels and the absence of other affordable means of communication."
January 2, 2001 -- According to eWeek, "electronic billing is back—and this time, it means business. Although it's taken a lot longer than some financial industry experts expected, many companies and banking institutions are finally rolling out electronic bill presentment and payment, or EBPP, platforms this quarter. Their goal: to develop software that lets businesses and consumers see current and past bills and transact payments online, as well as dramatically lower bill processing costs."
January 2, 2001 -- PostCom's latest postal issues summary concerning the Postal Service's work on the development of a postal information platform is posted on this site.
January 2, 2001 -- The Accounting Period Three results for Postal Fiscal Year 2001 are posted on this web site.
January 2, 2001 -- Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) has announced that it has exercised its outstanding warrant for an additional 26% stake in Return.com, bringing its total ownership up to 40% and reducing Innotrac's stake to 60%.
January 1, 2001 -- HAPPY NEW YEAR! Okay....The first out of the shute is PostMag.Com with its predictions for 2001.
January 1, 2001 -- According to InternetStocks.Com, Federal Express' plans to increase rates February 1 by an average of 4.9% for shipments in the United States and 2.9% for U.S. export shipments will hurt. According to our Holiday Online Shopping Study, shipping costs remain by far the most problematic element of customer satisfaction. Also indicative of consumer behavior is that 50% of respondents have abandoned their shopping carts due to shipping costs. Given the sensitivity to such charges, we expect the FedEx news to have a real impact on online retailers. With consumers who appear to be increasingly influenced by shipping costs and have come to anticipate shipping promotions, we think it’s unlikely that retailers will be able to seamlessly pass this increased cost directly on to consumers.
January 1, 2001 -- Bill McAllister of the Denver Post has written that: "for nearly five years, Rep. John M. McHugh, R-N.Y., tried to convince members of Congress that the U.S. Postal Service was facing a serious crisis." Now, all of a sudden, it seems, the postal Board of Governors have gotten postal reform religion. The Governors, McAllister writes, are convinced reform is needed. Everyone else is wondering what took them so long.