Postal News from April 2001
April 30, 2001 -- As political commentator Robert Novak has noted, "President Bush had been in the Oval Office for six weeks when noxious leftovers from the previous administration belatedly landed on his desk. The nine governors of the U.S. Postal Service, seven of them appointed by former President Bill Clinton, on March 2 sent the new president this warning: 'We are facing a Fiscal Year 2001 deficit likely to exceed $2 billion and a financial crisis that cannot be averted by management alone.' Before the change in administrations, there had been no hint of such a dire financial state for the government service used by most Americans. Indeed, the Postal Service last November was projecting a $150 million surplus for this year, thanks to a new rate increase that pushed the cost of first-class postage to 34 cents. Now, the postal governors want yet another rate hike--or service cuts....The answer may well be putting former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith in charge of the Postal Service as successor to the retiring Henderson. He was brilliantly innovative and courageous in taking Indianapolis further toward privatization than any other city. Goldsmith might be the man to save Bush from going postal."
April 30, 2001 -- As the San Francisco Chronicle has noted "the U.S. Postal Service -- employer of 900,000, friend of senior citizen, foe of dog, bearer of the mail through rain, sleet, snow and dark of blackout, knitter of national unity since the founding -- is dying. A little-noticed consensus has emerged that the Postal Service is in a 'death spiral' of falling mail volume, rising costs and rate increases that spur more volume declines."
April 30, 2001 -- Les Echos has reported that Daniel Caille has been appointed managing director of the French post office (La Poste). His previous posts include that of assistant managing director of the French utilities group Vivendi. In addition, Georges Lefebvre has been made assistant managing director of the French post office (La Poste) He was formerly La Poste's human resources and industrial relations director.
April 30, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "FedEx Corp., which has refused for years to bring packages to tiny Chappaquiddick Island, has promised island residents that they will soon receive deliveries at their doors...A local delivery company will bring FedEx packages door-to-door on the island, which is home to only 150 people year-round but more than 2,000 in the summer."
April 30, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Deutsche Post Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel told Welt am Sonntag newspaper he sees no room for a cut in postal rates, despite calls from German Economics Minister Werner Mueller over the weekend for a reduction beginning in 2003. Further, Focus magazine reported that Deutsche Post will no longer offer its postal code book for free, but customers will have to pay to get postal code information over the Internet or in the form of a CD-ROM."
April 29, 2001 -- The latest issue of PostCom's Tech-Notes is available on this site. This issue focuses on PostalOne!.
April 29, 2001 -- In fiscal year 1995, the Postal Service had the largest increase in operating profits of any company in the world and earned $1.8 billion. By 1998, some were complaining that the Postal Service was making too much money. In 2001, the USPS is predicting a $3 billion loss that may be the largest negative change in the bottom line of any company in the world. What happened and why? The Postal former Chief Financial Officer, Michael Riley thinks he knows what and why.
April 29, 2001 -- According to the Postal Service's former Chief Financial Officer, Michael Riley, "The Postal Service can have a great future if it chooses. But to quote from the latest book by two McKinsey Consultants "Creative Destruction") about many large businesses, "For the executive committee, taking on this task (listening to customers and employees) amounts to a role reversal – a reversal for which it is generally not prepared." It goes on, "Their skill is an expert's skill at answering questions, not the leadership skill of asking questions." This really applies to the Postal Service. Ask questions; listen to answers; measure the results; stop what isn't working; and do more of what is working. These are the keys to long run success."
April 29, 2001 -- According the the Postal Service's Inspector General, the Postal Service vastly overreached in its alleged efforts to stem mailbox fraud through the use of unjustifiable restrictions on the users of private mailboxes. Read a quick summary of the IG's report on the PostalWatch.org web site.
April 27, 2001 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that the Postal Service fiscal year 2000 Cost and Revenue Analysis (CRA) shows that the rate the Postal Service had charged (before the January rate increase) for periodicals and First-Class single-piece postcards was insufficient to recover the attributable costs of those services. "Periodicals," BMR said, "covered only 89.2% of its costs." Even with a 10% increase in rates, it said, "Periodical Mail's cost coverage either remains right below or about at cost....Periodicals Mail will likely see a rate higher than average in the next case." Among those carrying the highest cost burden...Standard Enhanced Carrier Route (210.8%) and First-Class presort letters (257.5%). [Editor's Note: Business Mailers Review is considered one of the "must read" publications within the postal community. Subscription information is available by contacting Kathy Thorne, Group Publisher, P.O. Box 328, Boyds, MD 20841.]
April 27, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal and logistics group TNT Post Groep NV (TP) unit PTT Post said it is raising the price for letters by 5 Dutch cents to 85 cents effective Jan. 1, 2002. Rates for international letters and other special services will also rise. Prices will also be indicated in euros; for domestic letters the price will be 39 euro cents."
April 27, 2001 -- According to the Kyodo News Service, "Toranosuke Katayama, Japanese minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, has said he would tolerate debates on whether to privatize the nation's three state-run postal services....The government plans to create a public corporation in 2003 to oversee the three postal services -- delivery of mail and parcels, postal savings and ''kampo'' limited life insurance coverage -- which are currently handled exclusively by the Postal Services Agency under Katayama's ministry....The minister said one question is how to allow private-sector firms to enter the business of mail delivery. Privatization of postal services has been a controversial issue in Japanese politics because managers of small local post offices form one of the largest and staunchest support groups of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Junichiro Koizumi, elected Japan's new prime minister Thursday, is known as a long-time advocate of the privatization of these services."
April 27, 2001 -- Emery Worldwide, the global heavyweight air cargo transportation subsidiary of CNF Inc., reported substantial international growth in 2000 on top of the strong increases it recorded in 1999, with significant gains in shipments, weight and revenue.
April 27, 2001 -- The hoax that just won't die....Australia Post has had to publicly refute an e-mail message circulating around the Australian Internet after the old hoax has continued to spiral out of control Down Under in spite of the efforts of the media and the Australian government to put it to death. Apparently the hoax is an altered version of the "e-mail tax" hoax that was born in Canada and the US over two years ago. The localized message claims that new legislation will permit Australia Post to charge a 5 cent fee for every e-mail sent in Australia. A ôBill 602Pö is supposed to make this happen, and the e-mail urges people to protest the legislation.
April 27, 2001 -- UPS Full Service Brokerage, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, is buying one of the largest family-owned brokerage firms on the Arizona-Mexico border.
April 27, 2001 -- DHL Worldwide Express has released an upgraded version of EasyShip v4, the desktop PC-based shipment management system which operates on the windows platform and ensures easy access for customers to automate and manage their shipments.
April 27, 2001 -- According to RedHerring.Com, "UPS's home-grown brokerage unit has implemented a slew of new technologies to conquer the complex customs processes that can turn the fastest shipping system to a snail's pace if not handled right. And with the recent purchase of San Francisco-based Fritz Companies, UPS's customs business is becoming a crucial component of the company's success."
April 27, 2001 -- The U.S. General Services Administration has announced the winners for the General Services Administration's Second Annual Federal Mail Best Practice Awards for Innovation in Mail Management. For Mail Manager of the Year, the award goes to: Theodore E. Boyd Diplomatic Pouch & Mail Division Department of State Washington, DC. Tied for Federal Mail Center Excellence, the award goes to: USDA Mail & Reproduction Mgmt. Division Washington, DC Team Members: Robert F. Gilliand (team leader), June Bryan (supervisor), Howard Neverson, Darius Clinton, Michele Lambert, Barbara Pendergrast; Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Washington, DC Team Members: Alice Roberson and Dolores A. Gibbs. Congratulations!
April 27, 2001 -- Below you will find a story concerning a report from the Economic Strategy Institute portraying the Department of Transportation's grant of a freight forwarding licence to DHL as a danger to the Amercan economy. Puhleeeease! Exacting who is this Economic Strategy Institute and who are among its supporters. For the information on the former, check out the Institute's web site. Among its Directors...is none other than Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO, Federal Express--a complainant against DHL and also one of its international competitors. Yes, yes, I know...only the purest of motives.
April 27, 2001 -- According to the Journal of Commerce's way of thinking, "the U.S. States Postal Service, which lost $199 million in fiscal 2000, has added United Parcel Service to the list of companies it hopes will help improve its efficiency. UPS announced on Thursday that it would offer a range of postal-related services, including presorting and localized printing of mail items. The company joins FedEx Corp., DHL Worldwide Express and Emery Worldwide, among others, that perform sorting or transportation service behind the scenes of mail delivery."
April 27, 2001 -- To ensure that marketers accurately pinpoint their target audiences, and to help postal services develop new products and services that allow effective marketing through the physical mail network, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has produced a World Guide to Direct Mail. The publication of the guide is the latest addition to the UPU's direct mail initiatives and follows the earlier introduction of a Direct Mail Markets Development Programme and the establishment of a Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB). The aim of the DMAB is to foster the development and stimulate the worldwide growth of the direct mail industry. For many postal services direct mail has become an effective way to counterbalance the substitution effects modern electronic communication methods such as the telephone, fax and Internet have on traditional letter mail volumes and revenues.
April 26, 2001 -- If former Indianapolis mayor Steve Goldsmith does become the next Postmaster General of the United States, the following ought to make interesting reading.
April 26, 2001 -- At the Annual General Meeting of shareholders in Amsterdam, Mr. Ad Scheepbouwer, Chairman and CEO of the Board of Management of TNT Post Group N.V. (TPG), confirms TPG's outlook statement for the year 2001. Assuming stable exchange rates, TPG expects to grow net income in 2001 by 20-25% (on a like to like basis after restating for changes in the Dutch accounting rules). The forecast was originally announced at the annual results presentation on 12 March. In the first quarter of 2001 the Mail operating margin has improved compared to the same period last year, despite some softening in Dutch mail volumes, particularly direct mail. The yield management program in Express has continued to be successful in the first quarter of 2001 further improving the margins, despite some signs of economic strain in Europe and continuing performance issues in Australia. Logistics has shown strong improvement of the organic revenue growth in the first quarter of 2001. The economic slowdown in North America has less impact than anticipated. The new contract pipeline remains healthy. TPG Board of Management therefore reconfirms its outlook statement for the year 2001.
April 26, 2001 -- United Parcel Service Inc., through its wholly owned UPS Logistics Group, is embarking on an ambitious plan to dominate Asia's logistics business. The vital but highly undeveloped industry provides supply-chain, inventory and order management for companies in the export-dependent region.
April 26, 2001 -- United Parcel Service (UPS) has announced it has expanded its portfolio of services with several acquisitions and other initiatives that will help customers manage their flow of information by mail, whether it originates in vast computer databases or small company mailrooms. These new services are an extension of UPS's strategy to enable global commerce. ``While electronic forms of communication continue to grow, there's no question that physical mail is a fundamental component of the way business is conducted,'' said Joe Pyne, UPS's senior vice president for corporate development. ``We have the daily presence in our customers' mailrooms, the electronic connectivity to our customers and the physical infrastructure to provide superior distribution services - and that's a powerful combination.'' Expedited delivery times, production efficiencies and cost savings are a few benefits customers will enjoy. Currently, these services are for first-class and standard mail generated in the United States and do not include final mail delivery, which is a monopoly service provided exclusively by the U.S. Postal Service. The services include:
The services will be offered under a new business unit headed by Randy Pulito, a former president of UPS Europe and vice president of corporate strategy.
April 26, 2001 -- The Knoxville News has reported that "Former Tennessee Gov. Ned McWherter says Saturday service by the U.S. Postal Service isn't in danger of being eliminated despite recent talks of the possibility by the agency."
April 26, 2001 -- According to the Cato Institute's Edward Hudgins writing in The Washington Times, "the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recently announced it might cancel Saturday mail delivery in light of a projected $2 billion to $3 billion deficit over the next year. This plan is a political ploy to obtain another increase in stamp prices only months after the last one. This scheme should be a wake-up call to the public and policy makers. The time has come for this government monopoly to go private and compete for its customers the way any other enterprise must."
April 26, 2001 -- MailersClub, a direct mail company that serves small businesses and non-profit organizations, has ôopened its mail boxö to the 3000 clients affected by the closure of EletterÖ April 16, 2001. ôWhen a company in our industry is regrettably forced to close,ö states Barry Yarkoni, MailersClub ôPostmaster Generalö and CEO, ôwe feel it is incumbent upon us to offer them a comparable opportunity to continue the kind of service they are used to. We can do that without any interruption in their service.ö Eletter clients will find a similar online system and competitive prices, along with unique additional features. These include a ôSelf-Correcting Address Bookö which continuously updates their mailing list, and a guarantee that all mailings will be delivered to the post office in three days or less.
April 26, 2001 -- Veripost, the provider of e-mail address changes, has announced the addition of five channel partners that will use Veripost to update changed e-mail addresses for their client bases. Through the addition of these companies, Veripost is now the e-mail change of address provider of choice for the majority of leading e-mail marketing service providers. The new members of the Veripost Partner Network are Innovyx (a Rapp Collins Worldwide company), Netcentives, Responsys, Socketware (makers of Accucast) and Xpedite. These companies join nine existing Veripost channel partners - Acxiom, American List Counsel, Bigfoot Interactive, CheetahMail, Digital Impact, directmedia.com, Impower, MessageMedia and Xchange.
April 26, 2001 -- According to the Associated Press, " United Parcel Service Inc. plans to end its charter service, citing a downturn in the economy and an inability to compete with its aging fleet of Boeing 727s. UPS Airlines, based in Louisville, Ky., is negotiating with travel companies to terminate the flights by year's end. The company uses four 727-100s each weekend for flights between Atlanta, Louisville, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa., and several beach destinations in the Caribbean.
April 26, 2001-- Government interference with the collective bargaining process is unlikely to alleviate problems within the airline industry and could harm a system that clearly works, the union representing the pilots of Federal Express Corporation cautioned today. The FedEx Pilots Association (FPA) issued its warning following a hearing by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation regarding the status of labor issues in the aviation industry.
April 26, 2001 -- As The Washington Post has noted, "a whole new industry is springing up around e-mail, trying to automate and personalize pitches based on our shopping history and how we respond to each contact. Forrester Research, an Internet market research company, predicts commercial e-mail will be a $6 billion-a-year industry by 2005 and claim 10 percent of online marketing dollars. Much of it will come from merchants that you buy from regularly"
April 26, 2001 -- The word on the street is that the Postal Service's Governors will override the Postal Rate Commission's third recommended decision with rates of their own. Ostensibly, the increase will take the form of a three-percent across-the-board increase for all classes and categories except for the first ounce rate for a First-Class stamp. Additionally, usually informed sources have said that Steve Goldsmith, former mayor of Indianapolis, IN, is the front-runner in the sweepstakes for becoming the next U.S. postmaster general. Odds makers give the nod to Deputy PMG John Nolan as the insider of choice. (Apparently, The Washington Post agrees.)
April 26, 2001 -- According to Congressional Quarterly, "electronic payment systems and e-mail provide consumers with quick and inexpensive alternatives to traditional mail, but the rapid growth of those communications is posing a threat to the cornerstone of the nation's 226-year-old mail system -- universal service in every corner of the country."
April 26, 2001 -- According to Dow Jones, the Spanish company "ViaPostal said it aims to take between 35% and 40% of the liberalized sectors of the Spanish postal market by 2005, investing 40 billion pesetas (EUR1=ESP166.386) and employing over 4,000 workers. The company is hoping to cash in on the gradual opening of the Spanish postal market to competition."
April 26, 2001 -- In what has got to be the most blatant, opinion-for-hire piece of tripe noted to date, the Economic Strategy Institute (ESI) has issued a paper in which it claimed that "Deutsche Post, having been allowed to compete with private-sector firms while continuing to benefit from access to monopoly profits, provides a glimpse into how serious the effects of monopoly abuse can be. In this case an important U.S. industry is threatened, and if the abuse is not checked, the entire U.S. economy will be at risk." Some companies spare no expense when it comes to poisoning the well of a public policy debate.
April 26, 2001 -- In its latest filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation, DHL Worldwide Express tries to untangle the knot of obfuscation surrounding United Parcel Service's complaint against DHL and Deutsche Post.
April 26, 2001 -- Africa News has reported that "the courier sub-sector of the communication industry in Nigeria takes another step forward today as experts in the industry review the operations of the sector and suggest ways of improving their services." Among those present...DHL and UPS.
April 26, 2001 -- The Asia News Service has reported that "DHL International Kazakhstan, which specializes in providing express air delivery, and the Kazpochta [Kazakh Post] open-type joint-stock company have concluded a cooperation agreement."
April 26, 2001 -- Roy F. Weston, Inc. has been awarded a U. S. Postal Service (USPS) National Environmental Services Contract to provide environmental services at more than 40,000 USPS facilities across the country.
April 26, 2001 -- The U.S. Postal Service has published in the Federal Register a "final rule that clarifies and strengthens requirements for manufacturers of postage meters to control meters used for demonstration and loaner purposes."
April 25, 2001 -- According to GovExec.Com, "former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, a key adviser to President Bush on government reform issues, is the leading candidate to become the next postmaster general, according to Postal Service sources."
April 25, 2001 -- United Parcel Service announced it has received overwhelming support from elected officials and labor leaders nationwide for its petition to revoke the Foreign Air Freight Forwarding License (FAFF) of DHL Worldwide Express--the express carrier ultimately controlled by the Deutsche Post, the German post office. When it comes to squelching the prospects of competition, some hegemonists pull out all stops.
April 25, 2001 -- --"Posts worldwide at one time had 100 percent of the parcels and packages business. But, their inability to react to market conditions gave rise and birth to companies such as Federal Express and UPS. Now they represent billions of lost opportunities to the Post Office," according to Peter Melanson, president and CEO of EPOST, the world's first electronic post office.
April 25, 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.
April 25, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the Dutch TNT Post Group is pressing ahead with its plans to become involved in the German letter market and is therefore expanding its Hanover subsidiary Europost AG, according to information published by the trade magazine æKep aktuellÆ."
April 25, 2001 -- CEP News also has reported that "according to the Danish daily æBerlingske TidendeÆ (23.04.01) the national competition authority intends to focus its attention on the practices of Post Danmark. At the behest of the National Audit Office the competition authority will be looking into the methods with which Post Danmark finances its activities in the competitive sector, among other things. The investigation was brought about by the 10.7m euros losses accumulated over the last two years by the competing business sector MailHouse (enveloping and stamping letters for private companies).
April 25, 2001 -- CEP News has noted that "Chinese authorities are using a sharper tone when dealing with private CEP service providers in China. The Xinhua news agency reports that a spokesperson for the national postal authority accused private courier and express services of entering the letter business without a licence, thus creating æmarket disturbanceÆ and seriously upsetting the business of authorised mail companies."
April 25, 2001 -- -- Northrop Grumman Corporation has acquired Mannesmann Dematic Postal Automation S.A. (MDPA), a leading European-based manufacturer of postal sorting equipment.
April 25, 2001 -- The New Zealand Herald has reported that "New Zealand Post has appointed independent auditors to investigate its lauded international subsidiary, Transend. NZ Post chairman Dr Ross Armstrong said the state-owned enterprise acted after receiving two anonymous letters from employees expressing concerns about the appointment of staff, expenditure approvals and operational and business strategies. The audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, expected to be completed by mid-May, would cover elements of NZ Post's operations and Transend."
April 25, 2001 -- As MSNBC.com has noted, "neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night can keep the U.S. Post Office from delivering parcels to their destination. But when the recipient has moved and left no forwarding address, the Post Office sends the package to the same place millions of individuals go to unload their unwanted stuff: eBay." And there are mailers that don't like it one bit.
April 25, 2001 -- It may look like Big Brown is banking's latest competitor, but worry not. Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. is spending approximately $78 million in stock to buy First International Bancorp of Hartford, CT, but isn't actually entering the banking business. UPS plans to jettison the banking charter of the $322 million-asset First Interstate and stop taking insured deposits. But it will keep its portfolio of structured finance and commercial loans, the bulk of which carry government guarantees against default. And all of First International's 200-person staff, including chairman and chief executive, Brett N. Silvers, will stay on board to keep running the business, which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS Capital Corp
April 24, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has noted that "nearly half of US adults have purchased something online and 81 percent with Web access have made at least one Internet buy, a survey has found. More than 100 million people, or 48.2 percent of everyone in the US over 18, have made at least one purchase online, according to a Nielsen//NetRatings survey of 39,000 Internet users." If the next postal rate increase is the "killer" the USPS has predicted, more and more mail order buying will become "online" buying. And, no, I don't think the companies forced to make this transition will be shipping many of their parcels via the Postal Service. Yeah, I know, they "feel our pain."
April 24, 2001 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, "it's the calm before the storm for DHL and its U.S. rivals as they wait for the U.S. Department of Transportation to decide complaints filed by United Parcel Service and Federal Express against DHL."
April 24, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has closed on the sale of its global freight handling subsidiary to Germany's D. Logistics, a logistics services company, as part of its plan to focus on core activities."
April 24, 2001 -- At its meeting on April 13, 2001, the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service voted unanimously to close to public observation its meeting scheduled for May 1, 2001, in Washington, DC via teleconference. Among the matters to be discussed: 1. Postal Rate Commission Opinion and Recommended Decision on Further Reconsideration in Docket No. R2000-1, Omnibus Rate Case. 2. Strategic Planning/Postal Reform. This seems to suggest that the Governors may be voting to override the Postal Rate Commission's third and final recommended decision at this May 1 teleconference.
April 24, 2001 -- InterSystems Corporation has announced that ZIPM (www.ZIPM.com) has been selected by the U.S. Postal Service as a Direct Mail Service Provider link. InterSystems develops and markets the CACHE post-relational database. ZIPM is using CACHE as the database foundation for a website that offers complete, cost-effective online solutions for direct mail campaigns. The Postal Service introduced the link to ZIPM.com on its Direct Mail Merchants page (www.usps.com/directmail) as part of a campaign designed to deliver the power of direct mail to small and mid-sized businesses.
April 24, 2001 -- Delivering timely and targeted information to customers and potential clients in a quick, easy, and inexpensive manner is a goal most businesses share. Zairmail says it can fulfill this goal with its Internet-driven Mail-on-Demand solution, Zairmail Express Direct. Express Direct is a direct mail service that is built on Zairmail's proprietary software architecture and distributed network of high-volume regional printing and mailing facilities. The end result is a solution that allows business users to quickly and easily launch direct mail programs right from their desktop for delivery in one to two business days.
April 24, 2001 -- Postal commentator Murray Comarow shares his thoughts regarding the possibility of a Presidential Commission on the Postal Service.
April 24, 2001 -- As the USPS flounders around looking for ways to avoid the inevitable new rate case PostMag takes a look at how the competitors are faring during this unexpected economic downturn and what, if anything, the Postal Service can learn from them.
April 24, 2001 -- Airborne Express (www.airborne.com) has announced a new 10:30 a.m. next-day express delivery option with a performance guarantee unique in the parcel industry.
April 24, 2001 -- According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, "with Junichiro Koizumi now certain to be elected to replace outgoing Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the issue of how far to go in relaxing the government's monopoly in mail delivery is expected to move into the spotlight."
April 24, 2001 -- Chronopost International, the express mail service of France's postal service La Poste, has hired Francois Gauthier as director of communications. He replaces Beatrice Roux.
April 24, 2001 -- As the Associated Press has noted, FedEx Corp. promises "The World on Time." But Chappaquiddick, a sleepy island at the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard, is off the clock, as far as FedEx is concerned. The company has stopped delivering to the island, citing problems driving on the island's bumpy dirt roads. "Safety is the primary concern," Pam Roberson, a FedEx spokeswoman in Memphis, Tenn., told the Cape Cod Times. "That and the security of the packages." Chappaquiddick residents, who are joined to Martha's Vineyard by a bridge, are flummoxed by the move and a bit annoyed. "We're paying for a service that we're not getting," said Maureen Baron, who chairs the utilities committee of the Chappaquiddick Improvement Association. Roberson said the company plans to park a truck in the vicinity of the ferry shack, from which island residents could pick up their packages."
April 23, 2001 -- In a letter written to President George W. Bush, House Government Reform Committee chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) said that the matter of the reform of the U.S. Postal Service is of "increasing importance and urgency." "The ability of the Postal Service to continue to fulfill its statutory mission," he said, " is in jeopardy. The problems facing the Postal Service are the result of a variety of factors including a slowing economy and increasing competition from communications alternatives such as the Internet and fax machines. Moreover, the Postal Service operates under an outdated statutory framework that does not provide the agency with practical and adaptable solutions to compete in today's rapidly changing and truly global communications environment. Clearly change is needed and your leadership in this area would be critical to the enactment of any meaningful reforms....I appreciate your attention to this matter of extreme urgency and look forward to working with you."
April 23, 2001 -- Is the Belgian post office a manifestation of Europe's past or of its future? Check what Rik Daems, Belgium's Minister for Telecommunications had to say. You can find his comments on the PostInsight.Com web site. Check out also the paper given by Derek Hodgson, General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, which also can be found on the PostInsight.Com web site.
April 23, 2001 -- As Dow Jones has noted, "Firebrand lawmaker Junichiro Koizumi roared to an apparent upset victory in the race to be Japan's next prime minister. Koizumi's call to end faction-based politics, and pursue such radical reforms as privatizing the vast postal system and reining in runaway deficit spending caught fire with the electorate and left the machine-politicians scratching their heads."
April 23, 2001 -- As The Mercury News has noted, "Japanese postal workers have a great deal of local influence, and they have formed a powerful force that is fighting to block the rise of reformer Junichiro Koizumi, the leading contender to become Japan's next prime minister when the ruling Liberal Democratic Party meets Tuesday. Koizumi has called for privatizing the postal services, including the postal savings system. He says private banks should take the massive pool of savings to reduce the size of government spending, and that private delivery services should compete for the mail service. Though many economists in Japan believe the nation must embrace fundamental economic reform if it is ever to regain its economic stride, many doubt the LDP can take up that cudgel because it is so beholden to myriad special interests. One of these interests is the postal service, which collects more than a third of the nation's savings and funnels it into government-backed loan and building projects that keep the troubled construction sector afloat.
April 23, 2001 -- According to the High Tech Journal, "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night -- nor telegraph, telephone or fax, for that matter -- kept the U.S. Postal Service from reporting annual increases in mail volume. But e-mail and the Web may finally have done it. Annual growth in the volume of business-to-business first-class mail -- the Postal Service's most profitable line -- dropped below 1 percent in 1999 and may hit zero by 2003. On the other hand, the Postal Service believes it has some brand equity in the marketplace, and that it can use this to build a business for delivering electronic messages as accurately and securely as it does traditional mail.
April 23, 2001 -- According to Eyefortransport.com, "the chairman of UPS, James Kelly, has spoken openly of his disappointment at his firms limited earnings growth for the first quarter. Kelly points out that his firm is not alone in suffering at the hands of the poor economic performance of the US, which slowed much faster than had been anticipated. UPS has now taken the view that the economic slowdown will be a long, drawn out affair rather than a blip, and the firm is responding accordingly. One of the main priorities for UPS will be continuing its efforts to control costs."
April 23, 2001 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Hays, the [British] outsourcing and distribution company, is putting together a bid to deliver mail in direct competition to Consignia, the renamed Post Office. The company hopes to break into the lucrative market of delivering letters and parcels that cost pounds 1 or less to post. Last year, Consignia turned over pounds 7.19bn. If Hays wins its bid, the company will for the first time give customers a choice of mail company."
April 23, 2001 -- According to the U.K. publication, The Daily Mail, "the Royal Mail is considering selling personal postcodes which would replace traditional names and addresses. Under the scheme, which is still in its early stages, customers would buy a postcode for life which would remain the same no matter how many times they moved. The code - which would replace house numbers, street and town names - may be formed using parts of an individual's name. It would match up with records stored in a central computer, meaning mail could be directed to wherever the recipient has registered their whereabouts. Postmen would be able to deliver mail to the exact address by swiping a handheld device over barcodes printed on to letters during the sorting process. The scheme, which will go on trial in 18 months, is one of a number of money-spinning ideas being examined by the Royal Mail. Gillian Wilmot, managing director of the Royal Mail's business and consumer markets, said: 'The personal postcode would work on the same basis as email. The post would be delivered to the person, not the address."
April 23, 2001 -- Japan's online Sony Bank Corp, one of the newest challengers in a conservative and rigid sector, is to link with the sprawling postal savings network, giving it a huge nationwide reach. The alliance between the online bank to be set up by giant Sony Corp and the Postal Services Agency was agreed on Friday and will link their automaticteller machine (ATM) networks. By March 2002, Sony Bank customers will be able to deposit and withdraw money from the postal savings system's 25,000 ATMs nationwide.
April 22, 2001 -- As The Washington Post has reported, "like many people nowadays, Patrik Falstrom rarely stays put for long. To keep tabs on the globe-trotting telecommunications engineer, you have to know eight different contact numbers and addresses. Home, work and fax phones in San Jose and Stockholm. Cell. And e-mail. Having to remember all those digits and letters is one of the irritating side effects of our increasingly connected world -- and one for which Falstrom hopes he's found a solution. He's outlined a plan to allow a phone number to also serve as the basis for someone's e-mail address. The arrangement would effectively allow a person to reach all kinds of devices by knowing a single contact number. That simple idea has won the endorsement of an influential advisory panel that is responsible for reviewing Internet standards, and it has become part of an international tug of war over who might one day run a merged communications network. Under his plan, the main number for the White House, 1-202-456-1414, would become 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.0.2.1.e164.arpa, as an Internet address. That's the phone number backward with '.e164.arpa' tacked on to the end. The system would recognize both as belonging to the same person."
Okay...okay....There are days when some things are too much to take. This idea of merging one style of "addressing" with another is not new. In fact, a postal-based email addressing scheme was advanced some time ago. Just take a look at the article " Is There A Role For The USPS On The Internet " that's posted on this site. See also Empowering Core USPS Service With Electronic Technology. The idea was posed to the Postal Service, and...it went nowhere. At least there are others who can recognize the possibilities.
April 21, 2001 -- A coalition of mailers and postal employee organizations, under the banner of the Coalition for the Preservation of Universal Mail Service, has said that "the Postal Service should delay and reduce any request for higher postal rates and should not impose service reductions on the American people. To do otherwise would result in lower volumes and ultimately lower revenues for the Postal Service. Rather, the Postal Service's core products and services should be improved and promoted."
April 21, 2001 -- The highlights for the Postal Service's performance during accounting period seven of postal fiscal year 2001 are posted on this site.
April 21, 2001 -- The latest PostCom issues paper, this one dealing with a review of the Postal Services latest Household Mail Stream Diary Study.
April 21, 2001 -- As Traffic World has noted, "Airborne Express for the past 50 years has concentrated efforts on its domestic air business. Yes, the company branched into international air and ocean forwarding and has a logistics unit, but overall Airborne has made its living competing with United Parcel Service and FedEx Express in the air. That all changed this month with the launch of Airborne's ground delivery service. Airborne, which has watched volumes in its overnight express product shrink and profit margins fall, is banking on its new business-to-business ground product to catapult it into serious competition with market dominator UPS and FedEx Ground."
April 21, 2001 -- The international postal scene within the Western Hemisphere gets interesting when you add NAFTA to the mix. As the Journal of Commerce has noted, " Canadian activists and labor leaders filed suit in March constitutionally challenging Nafta's Chapter 11. Their argument is that Nafta allows private firms to sue the government over alleged trade discrimination, a right which is not similarly extended to domestic companies. As with American activists opposed to Nafta, the Canadians argue their government's sovereign right to protect citizens' health, safety and well-being through their courts and regulatory systems is being undermined by Nafta. What is said to have triggered their outrage is the alleged claim by UPS that Canada Post, the government postal service, was using its lucrative letter monopoly to unfairly subsidize its courier and express-mail services. UPS is reportedly demanding $156 million while at the same time admitting that similar anti-competitive practices exist in the U.S., although it has no similar remedy under U.S. law. On the other hand, UPS supposedly admitted that a Canadian courier service could make a similar claim against the U.S."
April 21, 2001 -- Direct Newsline has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors has rejected a mailing industry organizationÆs plan involving short-term government loans and industry help in finally getting Congress to pass postal reform legislation....The postal governors said they 'had no intention' of borrowing money either from the U.S. Treasury or the open market to keep the financially ailing USPS afloat. The board's rejection of short-term loans basically ensures that by mid-summer the USPS will ask for a rate hike of between 10% and 20% that would go into effect some time in 2002."
April 20, 2001 -- Airborne Express, faced with an earnings slump and increased competition, will begin a new nationwide ground delivery service. It has decided to offer the less expensive alternative to its air delivery service in response to competition from rivals United Parcel Service and Federal Express.
April 20, 2001 -- United Parcel Service Inc. has said its first-quarter operating earnings dropped 14 percent, and warned that second-quarter profits would fall at the low end of estimates due to a weaker U.S. economy.
April 20, 2001 -- Zairmail, Inc., a company that facilitates the convergence between the Internet and postal mail on a large scale, has signed with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to offer small businesses access to affordable, quick and convenient direct mail campaigns.
April 20, 2001 -- Eyefortransport.com has reported that "UPS, the worldÆs largest package service, has backed up its promise to give customers access to parcel-tracking facilities through wireless devices."
April 20, 2001 -- E-Stamp Corp. has agreed to merge with Learn2.com Inc., a union designed to help the two struggling Web companies weather the economic slowdown. This announcement marks the second time that E-Stamp is altering its business as it vies to become profitable. E-Stamp, which in 1998 became the first company to receive approval from the U.S. Postal Service to sell stamps on the Internet, exited the online-postage business in November to focus on Web-based shipping-management software and services after it realized that it couldn't overcome the challenges that constrained its growth.
April 20, 2001 -- Agence Europe has reported that "Posteurop, the association of European public postal operators, has launched the CAPERS project (Computer Aid Post for Eastern States), a new technology that should allow postal services in 6 candidate countries to control and speed up mail distribution. This system of electronic information exchange is based, says Posteurop, on the 'best practice in mail management'. The European Commission has partially subsidised this project, with up to EUR 720,000. Beneficiary countries are Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Posteurop has 42 members."
April 20, 2001 -- According to the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, "the jobs of thousands of American postmen will be under threat if the public move away from traditional post, or "snail mail" as it is becoming known, continues. The postal service has come up with various schemes, including one to give every person in America a free "emailbox", just like a street address. The innovations have been criticised as lacklustre, given that 90 million Americans have internet access. Rob Enderle of Giga Information Group, a technology research firm in California, said: 'The Postal Service is in the business of delivering mail, and email is a form of mail. So ignoring that is a way of making yourself obsolete.' A recent survey showed that only five per cent of Americans under the age of 18 would consider writing and sending a letter, while more than 70 per cent said they communicate by email."
April 20, 2001 -- The Italian newspaper, La Stampa, has reported that "steps have been taken to remove the final obstacles to the entry of Italian bank Bancoposta, set up by Italian postal services company Poste SpA, into the country's banking network. Thus, for those who hold post office accounts there will no longer be limits on banking methods."
April 20, 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.
April 20, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the German Deutsche Post AG is currently investigating the possibility of an an appeal against a decision reached by the Cologne Administrative Tribunal, which puts Deutsche Post under the obligation to deliver letters from its Hannover competitor CitiPost to post office boxes on the very day the letters were posted."
April 20, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the Swedish Posten AB is making another attempt at linking business customers to the company by offering higher postage discounts. Posten AB has therefore applied to the official competition regulator for permission to return to its previous, more graded price list."
April 20, 2001 -- According to the Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News), "the current competition proceedings before the European Commission, during which government subsidies for Deutsche Post AG are being investigated and which should be terminated by the end of this year, continues to spread confusion throughout large parts of the media. It is apparently still unclear against whom the proceedings are directed. While the recently ended lawsuits concerning cross-subsidisation in the letter sector were directed against Deutsche Post and led to fines of 24m euros, the official target of the current competition investigation is the German federal government."
April 20, 2001 -- A report on Postal Service plans regarding MERLIN is posted on this site for PostCom members.
April 20, 2001 -- A report on the Postal Service's flats strategy is posted on this site for PostCom members.
April 20, 2001 -- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced a simple resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the need to preserve six-day mail delivery.
April 20, 2001 -- According to Bloomberg News, "Jim Kelly began his career at United Parcel Service Inc. as a part-time driver. Now, 37 years later as chief executive, he's leading the world's largest delivery company into businesses that move money and information around the globe. Kelly calls the strategy a work in progress, one that is moving the company deeper into inventory management and distribution, electronic commerce, financing and freight management. Kelly has another motive for pushing into these new businesses: He wants to find ways of minimizing the damage done to earnings when companies ship less during economic slowdowns."
April 20, 2001 -- CTT Correios de Portugal has selected WebRiposte(TM) to offer new levels of track and trace services for its registered letters delivery system. WebRiposte is Escher's Web-enabled, peer-to-peer messaging solution that includes content distribution and storage. WebRiposte will simplify the customer's access to track and trace and will provide management and operational data on the delivery performance of registered items.
April 20, 2001 -- The newest enhancement to the usps.com website provides links to service providers that offer complete online solutions for direct mail campaigns -- from list services, to creative, print, production and mail entry -- everything companies need to launch a successful direct mail campaign and grow their business.
April 20, 2001 -- ADVO, Inc. has announced a new, five-year agreement with the Denver Newspaper Agency. This agreement allows for a continuation of the joint selling and distribution agreement that ADVO has had with The Denver Post. In addition, the agreement will now include the Rocky Mountain News, the other Denver daily newspaper which recently combined operations with The Post as a result of the papers' Joint Operating Agreement. Based on the agreement, ADVO will distribute a direct mail package of advertising, including advertisements from each newspaper, to all non-subscribers in the Denver market. Each newspaper will, in turn, distribute a similar package weekly to their subscribers via the paper.
April 19, 2001 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, it's time for the postal Governors to wipe the economic cobwebs from their eyes. If not, he says, then it might be time for a visit to the Presidential woodshed.
April 19, 2001 -- PostalWorkersOnline has reported that "the USPS may be looking to cut Casual employees as a quick and easy way to reduce its workforce. Casuals are temporary employees that have no job retention rights, are generally not as productive as their regular coworkers (due to being new employees and lack of adequate training), and are a potential financial liability due to a $350 million grievance on Casuals and TEs not being supplemental to the workforce. Eliminating Casual employees would effectively eliminate a potentially costly settlement."
April 19, 2001 -- According to VARBusiness magazine, "last September, United Parcel Service placed a banner on its Web site that informed customers they could track packages via cell phones and other wireless devices. Response from wireless users was immediate and substantial."
April 19, 2001 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, "CNF Inc. has said its earnings dropped 60% to $13.5 million, or 26 cents a share, in the first quarter as the economic slowdown took a toll on all of its businesses. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based transportation conglomerate earned $33.4 million, or 62 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2000, which included the effects of an accounting change. CNF also warned that the present trends are likely to continue in the second quarter, with Emery Worldwide, its airfreight subsidiary, expected to post a larger operating loss, and Con-Way Transportation Services, its regional less-than-truckload business, likely to show a drop in earnings. The economic downturn comes at a time when Emery is also suffering from the loss of two contracts with the U.S. Postal Service to FedEx.
April 18, 2001 -- The latest issue of Post Insight has been posted on the PostInsight.Com web site.
April 17, 2001 -- The Postal Service is extending the comment period on proposed changes to the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) that would change mail preparation standards for flats. The changes themselves are outlined below by class of mail; the proposed DMM language follows at the end of this proposed rule. The proposed implementation date for these standards is September 1, 2001. This proposed rule was published previously in the Federal Register on March 16, 2001 (66 FR 15206); the original comment period ended on April 13, 2001. As of that date, no comments were received.
April 17, 2001 -- The European Commission has criticized the slowness of action in economic and structural reforms among European Union member states. In its second annual review of the implementation of the internal market strategy by member states, the commission, the executive body of the 15-nation bloc, said that strategy progress was disappointingly slow. The review bemoaned EU countries' failure to agree on such internal market measures as postal liberalization, a community-wide patent system, and further opening of the energy and transport sectors.
April 17, 2001 -- -- Neopost Online Inc. has been named the exclusive electronic postage provider for eBay and Half.com in a move to provide the companies' online sellers with fast and convenient postage solutions.
April 17, 2001 -- Dale Clark, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers writes in the Financial Post, "the European Commission didn't order the break-up of Deutsche Post, the German post office, on account of cross-subsidization as the feature by the Canadian Courier Association suggests (Canada's Courier Wars, April 9). Deutsche Post decided to sever its letter and courier operations. What the European Commission did do was fine Deutsche Post for giving discounts to large customers on the condition that a customer's business go to Deutsche Post. Canada Post doesn't offer these anti-competitive discounts. There's no real comparison between Deutsche Post and Canada Post. It's all just part of UPS's strategy to scream "unfair competition" and "cross-subsidization" over and over again until people start to believe it. By crying "wolf" (or unfair, anti-competitive, etc.) UPS hopes that people won't notice that their NAFTA complaint is about money, not postal service. UPS wants Canadian taxpayers to hand over $230-million because it thinks Canada's publicly funded postal network gives our post office an unfair advantage. UPS wants more of our post office's business, but without the universal service obligation."
April 17, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the U.S. Air Force is hoping its gigantic C-17 Globemaster transport plane will have some use in the private sector, including companies like United Parcel Service that have a use for commercial air haulers. But despite attractive incentives from the Air Force that include sharing some of the cost, UPS isn't buying just yet. The Air Force wants to increase industry interest in the C-17 in hopes of extending production of the huge plane and bringing down the $200 million-per-plane price tag to about $160 million each. Two more potential customers and UPS competitors, FedEx Corp. and Atlas Air, are taking a wait-and-see approach."
April 17, 2001 -- -- Airborne, Inc. has announced first quarter domestic shipment growth slowed to an estimated 1.9% over year ago levels. Total domestic shipments for the quarter are expected to increase to approximately 83.3 million, augmented by growth in @home shipments, compared to 81.8 million shipments in the first quarter of 2000. Volumes of @home were 5.5 million shipments in the first quarter compared to .6 million a year ago. As a result of the decline in core domestic shipment volumes (excluding @home) and the shift in mix of business, the company expects to report a loss greater than the current mean of First Call consensus estimates, $(.20) per share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001. The first quarter of 2001 has one less operating day compared to last year's first quarter, which impedes volume and margin performance. Read also the report in the Seattle Times.
April 16, 2001 -- Read the latest published by the Wharton school on why "snail mail" continues to be important in an email era.
April 16, 2001 -- As the Bangkok Post has noted, "the Thai postal system is slow and parcels often go astray. This can lead to all sorts of trouble, from a favourite magazine taking far too long to arrive, to problems with creditors who fail to receive payments you sent weeks before. Lost and delayed mail might have been grudgingly accepted in the past, but in today's world of instant electronic communication, having to rely on the postal service--so-called 'snail mail'-- can be most frustrating."
April 15, 2001 -- According to the Federal Times, "Mr. David Fineman, vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, has blown the board’s cover. In a revealing statement to Congress April 4, Mr. Fineman admitted there was no consensus on the board about how to fix the Postal Service. Translation: The nine governors are part of the problem....The best the governors can do is come up with stop- gap measures such as jacking up the price of stamps. The fundamental problem is that today’s Postal Ser vice is an unsustainable enterprise."
April 15, 2001 -- As Business Week has noted, these are fast times for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Stocks of these quasi-government agencies have turned in stellar performances over the past decade. And there's no end in sight. Helloooo! Postal Governors, here's a hint. The U.S. Postal Service should be transformed into a government-sponsored, stock enterprise. You gotta wonder. Why are the Governors so clueless?
April 15, 2001 -- A little tired, are you, with the Postal Service's "revenue assurance" program? Then take a look at what Microsoft is doing to better (?) its customer relations.
April 15, 2001 -- According the the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, "when Project Arise began last year, Memphis-based FedEx Corp. wanted to regain on the ground what Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. was taking from it in the air - market share. Chiefly, as part of Arise, FedEx blessed the former Caliber units with its lucrative brand name. RPS became FedEx Ground, for instance. FedEx combined its sales forces to sell bundled express and ground services and launched a residential ground delivery service, FedEx Home delivery, to eat away at UPS's virtual lock on Internet deliveries sent to the home." As the Memphis paper noted, FedEx's plan has exactly panned out.
April 15, 2001 -- Fritz Cos., in determining to merge with United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), considered a number of strategic options given the changes in its industries. In a registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fritz cited the globalization of international trade, increased complexity in transition from freight forwarding and customs brokerage to integrated logistics, the increasing level of investment required for technology and facilities, and the advantages associated with economies of scale and industry consolidation.
April 15, 2001 -- As the negotiations between FedEx and the USPS became public late last year, it seems that UPS was formulating its competitive response. And, when the time was appropriate, UPS moved quickly and decisively. This UPS move could change the residential-to-residence parcel market segment for years to come.
April 15, 2001 -- As Traffic World has noted, "just weeks after predicting only negligible declines for its fiscal fourth quarter, FedEx Corp. has revised its forecast downward. March turned out to be much worse than expected, even after company officials told Wall Street analysts during its third-quarter earnings call three weeks ago that early March was looking positive."
April 15, 2001 -- Now here's an alternative to Seguro Dinero. At least two Mexican e-commerce companies have plans to tap the flow of the estimated $6 billion a year that Mexicans in the United States send home to their families, usually through money transfers. The idea is that Mexican workers, instead of sending money through notoriously expensive transfers, would buy products such as refrigerators and stoves on the Internet, which Mexican companies would deliver to their families here.
April 15, 2001 -- UPS will announce its first quarter earnings on Thursday, April 19, 2001, at approximately 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. At 10 a.m. EDT, UPS Chief Financial Officer Scott Davis will conduct an analyst conference call. This call will be open to reporters and the public, on a listen-only basis, via a live Webcast. To listen to the live Webcast, go to www.ups.com, click on UPS Investor Relations, then click on “Earnings Webcast.” The Webcast audio will be accessible for two weeks on the Investor Relations website. Now why can't the Postal Service webcast its Board of Governors meeting? With a $65 billion budget, surely there must be room for a little tech-saavy PR.
April 15, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "the economic slowdown that has hit U.S. air cargo airports spread to their counterparts in Asia and Europe in December, according to new statistics from the Airports Council International."
April 15, 2001 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, "the U.S. Customs Service is investigating the Atlanta office of Danzas AEI for possible improprieties." Danzas AEI, one of the world's largest freight forwarding organizations, is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. It was created through the merger last year of Danzas and Air Express International, which was the largest U.S.-based air forwarder. Danzas AEI is owned by Deutsche Post World Net.
April 15, 2001 -- FedEx Corp. has reduced its capital expenditure plan for the remainder of 2001, according to a Form 10-Q the company filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. FedEx now plans to spend around $2 billion, the same level as last year. The company's original plan called for spending around $2.3 billion. FedEx attributed the change in its plans to its outlook for economic conditions in 2001. The company said economic conditions have deteriorated more than it expected.
April 15, 2001 -- According to the Daily Herald (IL), there's magic in money up on Capitol Hill. Don't believe? Then read the following from the Herald on the story of United Parcel Service's pursuit of China landing rights and its effort to enlist union support.
April 15, 2001 -- Where does all the Postal Service's money go? Well, the Inspector General has a few thoughts she recently shared with Congress.
April 14, 2001 -- The Postal Service is changing the effective date for elimination of the Global Package Link service from April 1, 2001 to April 30, 2001. This change will allow our customers more time to change their manifesting systems.
April 14, 2001 -- When Benjamin Franklin, the nation's first Postmaster General, discovered electricity in 1750, he probably never envisioned that one day it would be used to power the vehicles that deliver the mail. But that is exactly what has happened. This spring, the United States Postal Service and Ford Motor Company are putting the nation's largest pollution-free electric vehicle fleet on the road.
April 14, 2001 -- According to one commentator writing in the Irish Times, "the deal...in which banks transferred their bill payment business to An Post will not save its post office services."
April 14, 2001 -- The New York Times has reported that "Robert A. Moon, a career postal employee who in 1963 won a 20-year fight for what was to become the ZIP code, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Leesburg, FL, 34748. He is the undisputed father of the first three digits in the code."
April 14, 2001 -- According to PostalVoice.Com, postal workers are none too pleased with the allegations made on a recent Fox News program contending that postal unions were crippling the Postal Service from more effective performance.
April 14, 2001 -- The British Post Office is facing an uphill struggle to convince the new industry regulator and consumer watchdog of its case for raising the cost of both first and second class letters by 1p. PostComm, the British postal regulator, said it would consider the PO's application to increase prices from October 1 "carefully and critically," pointing out that it would be allowed only if "there is a significant risk to the company's ability to finance its licensed activities." The PO, now known as Consignia, it said, must also prove that no other course--such as improving efficiency--is appropriate. The U.K.'s new postal consumer watchdog, PostWatch, has made plain that the proposed increases would be subject to stringent consultation. Peter Carr, PostWatch chairman, claimed that Consignia had been arguing for a price freeze just 10 days before its licence was granted and the increases in stamps and other products would cost customers pounds 280m over 18 months - on top of pounds 240m increases over three years in other parts of the PO business already conceded. "Service levels to customers are at their lowest for years. Customers cannot be expected to continue to pay more and more for a deteriorating service."
April 14, 2001 -- According to Upside.Com, "the idea may have been novel, but if the downfall of Kozmo.com is any indication, Web-based home delivery service may soon become as rare as milkmen and telegrams, analysts say." Actually, as someone who delivered both mail and pizzas during his college years, PostCom President Gene Del Polito says he could have told analysts that the whole idea of "web-based" home delivery programs should ever be considered "hot dot.com" ideas was just plain dumb, dumb, dumb. There never was, he said, "any THERE there. To have heard about the Postal Service's interest at one time in delivering home groceries was enough to make a thinking person weep."
April 14, 2001 -- National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) President Vince Sombrotto strongly attacked action by the Postal Service Board of Governors that raised the specter of ending six-day postal delivery, saying the union will fight any move that undermines service to postal customers and endangers the future of the Postal Service. Sombrotto said the NALC will continue to assist congressional committees in drafting postal reform legislation that will help the Postal Service be on a sound financial basis as an institution, improve service, and also protect the livelihood of letter carriers.
April 14, 2001 -- Okay, mark this down as another idea that deserves a "gimme a break." American Postal Workers Union Executive Vice President William Burrus has issued the following statement: "Locals are advised to inform their members that APWU will be advising that employees refrain from purchasing the Internet or Intranet services provided for in the USPS offered computer package. I shall be writing an extended article on the subject in the next issue of the tabloid but in the interim you should advise that employees who wish to purchase the computers should absolutely refrain from purchasing Internet or Intranet services through the Connectivity Program. These services can be purchased separately without the use of the PIN code number. In response to a series of written questions that I posed to postal management their responses left open the possibility that the Internet and Intranet services may be used in the future for management to communicate directly with employees. This poses the possibility of supervisors communicating directly with employees who are on leave, on IOD or issuing instructions contrary to the terms of the national and local agreements. Consistent with the laws governing an employer’s obligation to bargain, I have demanded the opportunity to bargain over the Employee Connectivity Program." Heaven forfend!
April 14, 2001 -- The New York Post has reported that "the company that brought you Times Square's billboard extravaganza will start selling ads on all mail trucks, mailboxes, mail packets and even on stamps....Coca-Cola, Kmart and American Express are also in talks to use the Postal Service's huge advertising blunderbuss, which will become the nation's biggest network for saturating a market with outdoor ads. Even the country's 38,000 post offices will have billboards on their exteriors or in lobbies, where product kiosks also can be set up by a company."
April 14, 2001 -- As one commentator for the Detroit News has noted, "events that used to take hours to assess and develop now happen in the blink of an eye. Conversations, electronic mail, complicated documents -- they all travel at warp speed over sophisticated fiber optic networks whose systems make Albert Einstein's theories look like rubbing sticks together to make fire. The major problem with the postal service is that in an era of rising prices and salaries and intense competition from e-mail and companies like UPS and FedEx, it is neither fish nor fowl. Although it was scissored off the fed's budget 31 years ago, it still is hobbled by one of Washington's worst bad habits: congressional meddling, sometimes called oversight."
April 13, 2001 -- According to Direct Newsline, Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan said in an exclusive interview today that despite the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service's current efforts to find alternatives, there's only an "outside chance" that the agency will not file for another rate increase this July.
April 12, 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.
April 12, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the aim of TPG (the Dutch postal service) seems to be to obtain nationwide network coverage on the German letter market as quickly as possible....TPG wants to open up city markets by end of 2002 at the latest."
April 12, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "together with the French La Poste, the software company Intersoft and Labrakis, the biggest publisher in Greece (DOL) are planning a bidding syndicate in order to get a look-in during the partial privatization of the Greek national mail company....The Greek government intends to privatize 25% of the mail company."
April 12, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "after years of bitter battling over the access of change of address and forwarding applications, the Swedish competitors Posten AB and CityMail have now founded the joint venture Adresspoint, which will provide bulk senders with a range of services related to address management and verification."
April 12, 2001 -- As The Times (London) has noted, "Consignia, the holding group which runs the Post Office, yesterday squared up for an early dispute with its regulator when it filed a request to put up charges on first and second-class mail by 1p. The application, which also seeks permission to impose increases across business services, was attacked by the postal consumers’ group. Peter Carr, chairman of Postwatch, said: “Service levels to customers are at their lowest for years. Customers cannot be expected to continue to pay more and more for a deteriorating service.” See also The Independent.
April 12, 2001 -- According to the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, e-commerce has become United Parcel Service's fastest growing business sector.
April 12, 2001 -- The latest issue of "Postal Insight" is available at PostalInsight.Com
April 12, 2001 -- Postcomm [the British postal regulatory agency--not the Association for Postal Commerce--has received a request from the Royal Mail for increases in a wide range of postage rates, including a penny on first and second class post. This request is made under the provisions of the licence we recently issued to Consignia. Postcomm will examine this application carefully and critically and consult with Postwatch, the Consumer Council for Postal Services. When applying for any price increase, Consignia must demonstrate that without it there is a significant risk to the company's ability to finance its licensed activities. It must also demonstrate that no other course is appropriate, for example by improving efficiency. Postcomm will only allow the price increase if it is satisfied that Consignia has made the case for price increases in accordance with the criteria in its licence on the basis of comprehensive and reliable information. We will if necessary go out to formal consultation to seek views from all interested parties before deciding whether or not to allow the whole or part of the price increases, and their timing.
April 12, 2001 -- The Postal Service is seeking proposals "to identify and procure services for the removal, recycling, and proper disposal of up to 700 Flat Sorter Mail (FSM) 881 Processing Machines nationwide."
April 12, 2001 -- Reuters has reported that "the United States Postal Service has signed up outdoor advertising company Van Wagner Communications to manage its Postal Ad Network, a newly-created advertising vehicle. The Postal Ad Network is designed to give advertisers access to a network of postal assets such as delivery vehicles, collection boxes, Priority Mail and Express Mail packaging, stamp booklets and web sites to advertise on, the Postal Service said. It said that Van Wagner will manage the whole program for the Postal Service, which will include marketing and selling advertising space for the network."
April 11, 2001 -- The Postal Rate Commission has issued its third recommended decision in response to the remands of previous decisions by the U.S. Postal Service Governors. The Commission essentially has returned the same decision. The Governors now have the option to override the Commission's recommendations (if they can do so by unanimous vote) to implement rates of their own choosing sufficient to ensure break-even operation in the test year. An override is expected.
April 11, 2001 -- According to the Associated Press, "United Parcel Service is best known for the plain brown, box-shaped delivery trucks stopping at homes across America. But there was nothing simple about the multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign UPS waged to win a direct route to China....UPS provided draft letters for lawmakers to send to the Transportation Department, the agency that chose the company over three other airlines seeking the new China route. The company handed out $1.2 million in political donations to those who signed the company letters or wrote their own. Twenty-seven House and Senate members got UPS checks within a week before or after the dates on the letters they signed, and 120 had received checks within two months." Associated Press also has published the responses of several congressman on the relationship between the political contributions they have received from United Parcel Service and UPS' efforts to win the China air rights. Yumpin' yimminy! It really IS the best Congress money can buy!
April 11, 2001 -- Government-owned postal service operator New Zealand Post Ltd. has said that its nationwide network of retail shops would give it a competitive advantage when it establishes its planned banking subsidiary. New Zealand Post Chief Executive Elmar Toime said in a statement that investment banking company Cameron and Co. had reviewed New Zealand Post's plans for setting up a new retail bank and had concluded the bank would be profitable in all five business case scenarios it examined.
April 11, 2001 -- Kyodo News International has reported that "the chief of the [Japanese] Postal Services Agency has begun negotiations with its labor union on trimming the 140,000-strong workforce at post offices with the aim of rebuilding loss-making postal operations."
April 11, 2001 -- The Los Angeles Times has reported that "citing a burgeoning California population that needs quality postal services, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is urging the postmaster general to reconsider the agency's decision to freeze plans to build or expand 47 post offices statewide."
April 11, 2001 -- And from Murfreesboro, TN on the possibility of the Postal Service curtailing Saturday delivery.
April 11, 2001 -- Les Echos has reported that "La Poste, the national French postal service, has announced the opening of pay negotiations for personnel employed under private law for "the second half of April", and the launch of two more negotiation "projects" relating to profit-sharing and promotion."
April 10, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "auditors are looking into whether U.S. Postal Service managers misinformed their governing board by claiming that a contract with Federal Express will save the debt-ridden agency more than $1 billion. A spokesman for the Postal Service office of inspector general, which reports to the presidentially appointed Board of Governors, said Monday it is reviewing the $6.3 billion, no-bid contract with FedEx. Air cargo carrier Emery Worldwide complained to the Postal Service governors last month that they were 'materially misinformed'' before approving the deal in January. The FedEx contract will 'cost USPS much more, both now and in the future, and will lead to reduced service levels'' for the American public, said the two-page letter from Emery."
April 10, 2001 -- With the United States economic slowdown putting a damper on earnings of air-express companies, the Asia-Pacific president of Federal Express (FedEx) David Cunningham is optimistic of growth potential in China.
April 10, 2001 -- According to Phillips Publishing, "with a +24% rate hike proposed for B2B publishers in 2002, United States Postal Service plans to possibly cut mail delivery on Saturdays may be the answer to American Business Media president/CEO Gordon Hughes' rate-reduction prayers. And while soon-to-be ex-Postmaster General Bill Henderson hinted recently that the rate increase is 'not a given just yet,' his rumored successor, Deputy PMG John Nolan, is said to be 'exploring alternatives to filing a double-digit hike this year.' Even so, the ABM/Magazine Publishers of America/BPA International coalition is showing no signs of weakness, as MPA president/CEO Nina Link went on the offensive last week with a blitzkrieg of proposals (hiring freezes/consolidations) that she claims could save the USPS between $3.1B-$4.1B. Tack on a recent USPS no-bid $6B partnership with speedy delivery rival FedEx (min's b2b, 1/15/01) and Link may be on to something, says ABM counsel David Straus, pointing to more than $52B in labor costs for USPS delivery services. And, while a war of words rages on, the politically minded Hughes is pressing the flesh with friends in Washington, D.C., to appoint a presidential postal commision to hammer out a 'fair appraisal' for future postage hikes."
April 10, 2001 -- According to Networld, "the Post Office is an organization that is trying to live off a dying market (personalized messaging) in an era where personalized messaging has moved beyond the pen and paper and into the electronic age. And while the postal service has a monopoly on first-class mail, the real growth in physical messaging is in small packages and shipping (what is Mailboxes, Etc., but a private version of your neighborhood post office?)."
April 10, 2001 -- British office supply company Danka Business Systems PLC has agreed to sell its outsourcing division to postal meter maker Pitney Bowes Inc. for $290 million in cash.
April 10, 2001 -- The Financial Post has reported that "Canadian-owned courier companies support action to bring about meaningful reform at Canada Post. If successful, the UPS NAFTA action against the government of Canada would benefit all couriers operating here by obliging Canada Post to compete on a level playing field in the courier marketplace. Canada has 1,400 private sector courier companies servicing the consumer. The suit is intended to allow these 1,400 companies to compete against each other, not against a government monopoly. Indeed, Canadian consumers of postal and courier services stand to benefit from the outcome."
April 10, 2001 -- One disaffected Canadian express operator told the Financial Post that "over the past two years under Canada Post ownership, Purolator has lost $7-million and $28-million respectively. Far from being a strategic diversification for Canada Post that would augment profitability, Purolator has become a millstone that can likely only be salvaged by cross-subsidization and co-mingling of operations -- precisely what the Competition Bureau forbade. Purolator has 50% of the private sector courier market in Canada. It has the competitive power to make the market, and engages in predatory pricing. Why is the government of Canada in the private sector courier business? Is there a valid public policy rationale for this? Taxpayer subsidization for selected private sector players is not fair."
April 10, 2001 -- PostalInsight.Com has a copy of a speech delivered by Allan Chiang, Deputy Postmaster General of Hongkong Post at the E-Post Asia Seminar posted on its web site.
April 10, 2001 -- Entrust Technologies Inc., a provider of Trust Relationship Management software and managed services, and Tumbleweed Communications Corp., a provider of mission-critical messaging solutions, today announced a strategic relationship to offer desktop-to-desktop encryption integrated with server-based content scanning to create a complete solution for e-mail communication. Entrust and Tumbleweed's transparent and easy-to-use secure e-mail solution enables both messaging security and content filtering based on Entrust's award-winning public-key infrastructure (PKI) and Tumbleweed's Messaging Management System.
April 9, 2001 -- Traffic World has reported that "a report issued last month by Richard Miniter of the Lexington Institute criticized the Postal Service for poor performance in international express package delivery despite the fact that the USPS has huge advantages as a quasi-governmental agency. The postal service does not have to comply with many U.S. Customs regulations that commercial enterprises like Federal Express and United Parcel Service must meet.
April 9, 2001 -- The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) has noted, "make no mistake, Memphis- based FedEx Corp. is a wounded army. Domestic express package shipments, its primary core business, are expected to drop 4.4 percent in March.That's a continuing decline that could double the drop that FedEx originally anticipated for its fiscal fourth quarter."
April 9, 2001 -- In a commentary for CNS News.Com, the Cato Institute's Edward Hudgins said "the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recently announced that it might cancel Saturday mail delivery in light of a projected $2 billion to $3 billion deficit over the next year. This plan is a political ploy to obtain another increase in stamp prices only months after the last one. This scheme should be a wake-up call to the public and policy makers. The time has come for this government monopoly to go private and compete for its customers the way any other enterprise must."
April 9, 2001 -- According to the Christian Science Monitor, "the mere thought of letters arriving in people's mailboxes less frequently - even by one day a week - is drawing angry protests from Morse Mill (MO) to Capitol Hill."
April 9, 2001 -- "No mail delivery on Saturday," asks Newsday.Com. " That's what the U.S. Postal Service is proposing, as part of an effort to save some serious money. But it's not likely to happen, and it probably shouldn't. What's needed is something far more radical than ending Saturday deliveries."
April 9, 2001 -- According to Gene Del Polito, in an article prepared for Direct magazine, if ever there was a time for the USPS to give phased-rates a try, now is it.
April 9, 2001 -- Despite the Postal Service's fiscal woes, the Tampa Tribune notes that the number of deliveries in the Tampa, FL area continue to grow.
April 9, 2001 -- Philadelphia area letter carriers have told the Philadelphia Inquirer that "speculation that the U.S. Postal Service could move to a five-day delivery week is like a letter without a stamp: It's not going anywhere"
April 9, 2001 -- According to T.L. Righter in a commentary for PostalWorkersOnline.com, "discontinuing Saturday mail service is the best idea the U.S. Postal Service has had in a long time. In fact, it is such a good idea that the question begs 'who authorized Saturday mail delivery in the first place?' However, as good an idea as it is, it won't happen. As one veteran letter carrier and union steward put it: 'It'll never happen – it makes too much sense'."
April 9, 2001 -- According to PostMag.Com, "nothing like the suggestion of reducing postal service to enrage politicians. In the House this week we heard such rhetoric as 'a fatal mistake' from Rep. Bob Barr and 'have a devastating impact on our economy' from Rep. Constance Morella. Nothing could be further from the truth but, of course, when it comes to the Postal Service political expedience is much more important than the truth."
April 9, 2001 -- Exactly what did the postal Board say about five-day delivery? You can read the actual press release on the USPS' web site. Now if it only didn't take as long as it does for the USPS to post such stuff on its web site. The Postal Service is the only organization one can think of that's dedicated to making e-communication about as slow as hard-copy communication.
April 9, 2001 -- According to AsiaPort Daily News, "China is moving to open up its postal sector, but the letter delivery services are currently excluded from the reform program."
April 8, 2001 -- The Amarillo Globe-Times says: "We're confused. The U.S. Postal Service says it is losing money, from $2 billion to $3 billion in projected losses this year in an increasingly competitive environment. So, what is one proposal that the agency is considering? It might end Saturday mail service...Count us among those who believe the Postal Service ought to look at such an idea as an absolute last resort in an effort to turn around its sagging fortunes."
April 8, 2001 -- According to Internet.Com, E-mail is among the reasons the U.S. Postal Service may consider canceling Saturday delivery, but studies by United Messaging and Pitney Bowes found an electronic messaging market in the United States that is running out of room for growth, and a postal system considered more secure than e-mail. In the two years since Pitney Bowes last conducted its Household Mail Preference study in March 1999, it found the percentage of households with e-mail access increased from 34 percent to 53 percent. When it comes to receiving financial documents and information, however, 93 percent of the respondents said they prefer traditional mail. The preference for regular mail also dominates categories such as product announcements and promotional mailings. The Pitney Bowes study was conducted by telephone with 1,009 U.S. households, and its findings are based on the 53 percent of those households with e-mail access.
April 8, 2001-- Joseph Allen Fisher, 77, who was Republican staff director of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee from the 1980s until retiring in 1994, died of emphysema April 4 at his home in Alexandria.
April 7, 2001 -- Want to know the value of mailer worksharing? Check out the latest paper by Cohen et al. which has been posted on the Postal Rate Commission web site.
April 7, 2001 -- "Despite proposals to cut Saturday service as a cost-cutting move, more than 125 postal supervisors in the Albuquerque area received bonuses last year, according to information found in a KOAT Action 7 News investigation. The bonuses, which total about $180,000, included three individuals receiving more than $5,000, more than $6,000 and more than $8,000, respectively. The bonuses, coming at a time when the U.S. Postal Service lost about $200 million nationwide, have created tension among some letter carriers, a former employee told Action 7 News. Many letter carriers are afraid to discuss the situation, however, citing a concern about being fired, KOAT reported."
April 7, 2001 -- Pitney Bowes says it is looking forward to growing postal sales to direct-mail marketers, including dot-coms.
April 7, 2001 -- The decision rendered by the European Commission in the matter of Deutsche Post is available on this site.
April 7, 2001 -- Inventory management and product tracking improved drastically--and labor costs fell--with the advent of the bar code more than 25 years ago. Then along came the RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag: a tiny tag that uses a silicon chip to keep track of people and products. More efficient, more intelligent, but also more expensive. Now Motorola's BiStatix(TM) smart tag--a streamlined version of the RFID--is breaking through the price barrier once and for all, flinging open the doors to a range of applications.
April 7, 2001 -- President Bush signed the instrument of ratification of the Sixth Additional Protocol to the Convention of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), negotiated at the Twenty-second Congress of the Universal Postal Union, held in Beijing, China, in 1999.
April 6, 2001 -- The latest issue of PostCom's Tech-Notes is available on this site. This issue focuses on MERLIN.
April 6, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the European Commission in Brussels says the decision of Mr Schröder‘s government to extend the postal monopoly in Germany until 2007 is disappointing. Although the Commission considers the decision to be a German matter, it still views the monopoly extension as a step backwards in the terms of the attempted liberalisation of the European postal markets. A spokesman for Mr Fritz Bolkestein, the commissioner for the national EU market, said that ‚a certain level of frustration on the German side was understandable‘ in view of the resistance from some EU member states to an opening of the postal services market throughout the EU."
April 6, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "Mr Lennart Grabe, CEO of the Swedish Posten AB, hopes that on the occasion of the meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg at the end of June, Sweden will be able to present an extensive proposal towards EU directives for the postal sector. Mr Grabe demanded that the Swedish government, in its capacity as chair of the EU Council of Ministers, promote the liberalisation of the European postal market in order to create fair conditions of competition."
April 6, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) also has reported that "last year the Danish Post Danmark achieved a turnover of almost 1.47bn euros, a small improvement compared to the previous year, which is due to a postage rate increase in 2000, among other things."
April 6, 2001 -- The Courier-Express-and Postal Market News (CEP News) has reported that "the result of a test carried out by the British paper ‘Daily Mail’ was shattering for the mail company Consignia. Out of a total of 2,000 letters, which were posted throughout the country by the paper’s journalists, only 1,380 (= 69%) reached their destination within the one day guaranteed for First Class mail. Four days later 5% of the letters had still not arrived at their destination."
April 6, 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.
April 6, 2001 -- The French newspaper, Les Echos, has reported that the Italian postal service has signed a letter of intent with La Poste, the French state mail monopoly, to form an alliance for delivery of packages and express mail.
April 6, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that "when the German cabinet agreed to extend the letter monopoly enjoyed by partially privatized Deutsche Post AG to 2007 last week, it also increased the post office's ability to go on subsidizing its international parcel businesses with the letter monopoly, according to critics."
April 6, 2001 -- After warning that its earnings for the current quarter will likely fall short of its already-lowered forecast, FedEx Corp. has said it still expects the nation's economy to turn around in the second half of the year.
April 6, 2001 -- As Dow Jones has noted, "the U.S. Postal Service, facing a deficit of as much as $3 billion this year, may reach its $15 billion statutory borrowing limit by Sep. 30, 2002, according to the General Accounting Office. GAO said this scenario comes from Postal Service officials and assumes that their financial outlook is on target and that there are no further changes in postal rates in fiscal years 2001 or 2002."
April 6, 2001 -- You might also want to check the links provided on the PostalNews.Com web site to various RealVideo clips from telecasts focusing on the Postal Service's fiscal problems.
April 6, 2001 -- The Executive Vice President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has declared that "the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, vigorously opposes any effort by postal management to reduce the service to the American public that we have provided over the past 225 years."
April 6, 2001 -- This summer the U.S. Postal Service, fresh off its January rate hike, is gearing up to petition to hike mail costs yet again -- this time by as much as 25 to 30 percent. The price hike comes in response to the Postal Office's projected losses of $2 to 3 billion this year. Meanwhile, USPS's own Inspector General reports $1.4 billion per annum in waste, fraud, and abuse and the General Accounting Office has added the Postal Transformation Process of the USPS to its high risk list. Due to its blatant failure to eliminate the bloat while attempting to raise prices, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) names the Post Office its April Porker of the Month.
April 6, 2001 -- Standard & Poor's has affirmed the AAA long-term local currency rating, AA-plus long-term foreign currency rating, and A1-plus short-term credit ratings for Australian Postal Corp. The outlook remains stable. Too bad the same can't be said of the U.S. Postal Service.
April 5, 2001 -- The Postal Service started its "day on the Hill" on a bit of a sour note. "Government auditors have just placed the U.S. Postal Service on its 'high-risk' list, meaning that among government departments, they are most susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse.The reason? A federal audit, reported Good Morning America's Consumer Correspondent Greg Hunter, indicates the Postal Service wasted more than $1 billion over the last four years. Hunter tried to get an interview with Postmaster General William Henderson to discuss the auditors' findings, but Henderson would not talk to ABCNEWS. "The postmaster is highly accountable," said USPS Senior Vice President Deborah Willhite. "He's just simply not doing an interview with you."
GMA reported that "Americans are paying more to have their mail delivered. The Postal Service recently boosted the price of stamps by a penny, to 34 cents. Now it seeks another increase that would raise stamp prices anywhere from 3 to 5 cents. And the agency is planning to study how much it could save by ending Saturday service. Over the past four years, government auditors have discovered that more than $1.4 billion have been wasted because of mismanagement, abuse and fraud. While the service was raising rates for first-class mail, they discovered, some managers were treating themselves to a variety of perks and bloated benefits. The USPS Office of Inspector General found that some managers had misused chauffeur-driven cars, hundreds of times, for their personal use. Government watchdog groups say that kind of abuse by top managers sets a bad example."
Associated Press has noted that "Postmaster General William Henderson told Congress that the Postal Service needs a major overhaul to avoid threats to the universal mail service Americans expect. The Postal Service, battered by slowing business and billions in projected losses, recently announced an array of cutbacks and is exploring the possibility of ending some Saturday mail delivery and closing some post offices and facilities."
AP noted that lawmakers came down hard on the U.S. Postal Service's plan to explore eliminating Saturday mail delivery, with one House member calling it a ``fatal mistake'' that could destroy the agency. "This is one of the most self-defeating proposals I've heard in my life,'' Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., said Wednesday. ``If there's one thing the Postal Service could do that would guarantee its demise, it's eliminate service on Saturday.'' "Reducing the number of delivery days will have a devastating impact on our economy,'' said Rep. Constance Morella, R-Md.
The Wall Street Journal noted that "among the problems cited by the Postal Service are wage rate increases larger than the rate of inflation, rising fuel costs, greater competition and increasing use of electronic alternatives like the Internet. There also has been a drop in mail volume because of the poor economy, further reducing anticipated income. The Postal Service had announced a study of options to dig out of its hole, such as eliminating mail delivery on Saturdays and consolidating or closing postal plants and offices. The American Postal Workers Union, which has 366,000 members nationwide, said it would vigorously oppose such changes, which would require congressional approval. 'The effect of such activity on the APWU membership would be dramatic as the number of duty assignments would be reduced and employees would be required to relocate to more distant locations,' William Burrus, the union's executive vice president, said in a statement."
The complete text of the testimony presented to the House Committee on Government Reform by Postmaster General William Henderson, Comptroller General David Walker, and Postal Board Vice Chairman David Fineman, as well as the statements presented by Committee chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) and former postal subcommittee chairman John M. McHugh (R-NY) are available on or off this site. You can also view the PMG giving his statement on the ABCNews.com web site. Be sure also to read a report on the day's events from Dow Jones.
April 5, 2001 -- FedEx Corporation has reported that March 2001 U.S. domestic express package volume at FedEx Express is expected to decline 4.4 percent compared to the prior year period, while FedEx International Priority (IP) volume grew at 5 percent and FedEx Ground volume grew at 6 percent.
April 5, 2001 -- FedEx Corp. plans to offer qualifying customers an enhanced level of shipment visibility through FedEx InSight(SM), a new Web-based application that dramatically broadens the amount of real-time status information on inbound, outbound or third-party shipments -- without having to enter a package-tracking number.
April 4, 2001 -- Read more on the Postal Service's announcement of its intention to study the savings associated with five-day a week mail delivery in a report from the Associated Press. In a recent release, the reaction from the Mailers' Council to the Postal Service's announced interest in five-day delivery was a terse I don't think you can do that.
April 4, 2001 -- According to The Irish Times, the [Irish] State's post offices are technically insolvent and will quickly become bankrupt without a change in the way they are funded, a new report says. Published yesterday by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Ms O'Rourke, the report says the "only real option" for financing An Post's losses is for the State to pay a subvention [i.e., subsidy] to the company. Written by an industrial relations consultant, Mr Phil Flynn, the report says the company cannot reconcile its legal obligation to trade effectively, with a Government directive to keep all 1,900 post offices open. Keep this report in mind. Soon, the same will be said of the U.S. Postal Service...unless it undergoes significant postal legislative reform.
April 4, 2001 -- Dow Jones has noted that "state-owned postal concern New Zealand Post Ltd. will miss its required rate of return by a small margin in its foray into banking, says independent adviser Cameron & Co."
April 4, 2001 -- The lineup for today's hearing before the House Government Reform Committee is posted on the committee's web site. In a statement also posted on the committee web site, it was noted: "In September 2000, the Postal Service projected a surplus of $150 million for the Fiscal Year 2001. That projection was based in part on the increase in postal rates that went into effect in January. More recent estimates, however, project a deficit of between $2 billion and $3 billion, prompting the Postal Service on March 8th to order a freeze on 800 construction projects around the country. It has also been reported that the Postal Service is preparing to seek another increase in postage rates later this year. The Committee will seek an explanation for the dramatic shift in the Postal Service’s financial outlook. The panel will also address strategies to improve service in the face of increasing economic challenges. 'Right before entering its busiest time of the year, the holiday season, the Postal Service was looking at big gains. Instead, it now seems that they’re going to be two to three billion dollars in the red,' said Chairman Dan Burton. 'We need to know what happened here. The Postal Service can’t continue to run this way without serious harm to the affordable mail service the American people deserve. Something has to be done.” The Chairman added, “We need to hear how the Postal Service plans to control costs. Beyond that, we need to look into turning the current problems into future solutions.'
April 3, 2001 -- On the eve of a House Government Reform Committee hearing on Postal Service performance, executives of three airfreight carriers announced that their companies will step up opposition to an unprecedented agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and Federal Express. In a joint statement, the three executives said:
"Mail users, taxpayers and our companies will pay a high price for the fatally flawed contract between the Postal Service and FedEx. The unprecedented contract is worth more than $6 billion over seven years. USPS prohibited competition in making FedEx the sole source carrier for the three types of mail most important to the general public: Priority Mail, Express Mail and First Class letters.
"In scrapping the present system - which distributed responsibility among several carriers - USPS will incur higher costs. Service standards will decline. The public interest will be at serious risk because if a single company's hub is crippled - by a strike, a natural disaster, or other unanticipated event - paralysis will occur."
Read more in The New York Times.
April 3, 2001 -- HOT NEWS FROM THE USPS BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING! U.S. Postal Service chief operating officer Jack Potter showed the Board a video proving conclusively that it snowed this winter. Governor Ernesta Ballard announced that the Board of Governors would NOT relent from its resolution requiring the Postal Service to pay down its prior year losses. (If there was any illusion that the people in charge know how to manage this crisis...well...just give it up.)
Chief Financial Officer Richard Strasser announced that for accounting period seven (AP7), the Postal Service's net loss was $39 million. Year-to-date, the net loss was $291 million compared to a planning income of $291 million, a variance of $582 million. He noted also that the Postal Service's total factor productivity (1.4%) was below plan (1.5%). He reported that the Postal Service was down some 19,000 employees even though the USPS has "increased deliveries."
In addition, the Board Governors announced that it has directed management to study cost-savings associated with reducing delivery service to five days and consolidating postal facilities. (The USPS' CFO said that going to 5-day a week delivery would save the USPS $1 billion to $2 billion a year. The Board reaffirmed its commitment to universal service with its directive and reinforced its call for the need for statutory reform of the laws governing the Postal Service.
April 3, 2001 -- TNT Post Group NV said its unit PTT Post, which runs the Dutch postal service, will open 300 postal service centres or "Business Points" for corporate customers. The move looks to offset the PTT's plans to close some post offices and transfer services to supermarkets and shopping centres. While retail settings will better serve consumers, business clients have expressed a preference for the local service points, TPG said.
April 3, 2001 -- Con-Way Transportation Services will be entering the airfreight forwarding business by opening Con-Way Air Express. This startup company will open on Monday, May 14, with 13 service centers, each having its own dedicated operations and sales staff. In addition, an agency network has been set up to provide full coverage for the 50 United States and Puerto Rico. Con-Way is best known for its premium less-than-truckload (L-T-L) trucking operations that cover Canada, the 50 United States, Puerto Rico and connections to Mexico.
April 3, 2001 -- According to the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, mail service is the U.K. is the pits.
April 3, 2001 -- Allan Leighton has been appointed to the new Post Office company, Consignia Holdings Plc, as one of five non-executive directors, with effect from Monday 2nd April 2001. He is the Chairman of British Home Stores Ltd. British news sources say the new position will bring in skills and experience to the full range of issues facing the Board. He will have special responsibility for the future development of the Post Office Network.
April 3, 2001 -- DM News has reported that the Magazine Publishers of America believes that "the U.S. Postal Service could save $3.1 billion to $4.1 billion by putting a freeze on hiring and consolidating underused mail processing plants, thereby eliminating the need for another postage rate increase.
April 3, 2001 -- EPOST has announced new international business and technology modules, based on the proprietary EPOST model in Canada, that are now available to postal administrations worldwide. The EPOST international modules will offer postal administrations critical speed-to-market results through EPOST's intellectual property on the business, technical and operational issues involved in launching an e-postal initiative.
April 3, 2001 -- MailersClub says it has launched an approach that marries the latest in printing and mailing technology - high speed - "`print-on-demand,'' automatic insertion and the latest in Web technology -- Internet browser-based applications services.
April 3, 2001 -- Here's a "three-fer" for you to review. The first is an ad that recently was published in the National Journal. The second is an ad that appeared in the Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, as is the third.
April 3, 2001 -- Who doesn't like receiving a greeting card or handwritten letter in the mail? The U.S. Postal Service has announced it is attempting to establish a world record to prove that, even in the age of electronic communications and the Internet, the art of card and letter writing is still relevant and a tradition worth keeping. The record setting attempt is called "Birthday Wishes to America," which kicks off April as National Card and Letter Writing Month and will help celebrate the United States' 225th birthday on July 4, 2001. Sheesh! First-Class Mail MUST be down....
April 3, 2001 -- The Organization of Rural Route Mail Couriers (ORRMC), which represents over 6,000 rural and suburban mail couriers from across Canada, launched a video to-day that offers a glimpse of the everyday lives of its members. Basic Rights: the delivery of mail in rural Canada is a bold illustration of the injustices that rural and suburban couriers face because they are denied the right to collective bargaining.
April 3, 2001 -- The Budapest Sun has reported that "the installation of the Government’s communications system Tetra is one of the main elements of the Magyar Posta’s plans to become a significant player in the country’s economy. The new strategy of the 100% State-owned Hungarian postal service also includes suggestions for the launch of banking services, as well as the establishment of an insurance company and regional expansion."
April 2, 2001 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that "mobile federal workers could have a new option for checking e-mail — any touch-tone telephone — with today’s launch of MailSpeech from DPD International. MailSpeech enables users to access their agency’s e-mail system from any cellular or regular touch-tone phone, and at a fraction of the cost and/or effort that goes into carrying around a laptop computer, pager or other special access device." Several such systems already are operative in the private sector--including one used by PostCom.
April 2, 2001 -- According to Dow Jones, "Australian Communications Minister Richard Alston wants Australia Post to face more competition, despite last week withdrawing yet to be passed laws from Parliament that would have deregulated certain postal services."
April 2, 2001 -- According to Agence Europe, "the European Express Association (EEA) welcomed the 'decision taken by Member States this weekend in Stockholm to put the debate on Postal Services firmly back on the agenda and to guarantee a Directive by the end of 2001'. It considers it is 'vital' that a regulatory framework, with a clear scope and a final date, be established for further liberalisation of postal services, to the benefit of consumers, product quality, innovation and the business environment. The express delivery industry employs around 400,000 in Europe, in companies ranging from large multinationals to small city couriers. EEA states that the number of jobs within the companies it represents went from 18,000 in 1989 to 100,000 this year."
April 2, 2001 -- Asia Pulse has reported that "Ichiro Ozawa, president of the Liberal Party in Japan, has said that postal savings and life insurance services should be privatized, while mail services should continue to be operated by the state."
April 2, 2001 -- U.S. News has reported that "that extra penny you've been paying for a postage stamp since January hasn't made a dent in the deteriorating finances of the U.S. Postal Service. After five years of operating at a surplus–helped by a booming economy–the quasi-governmental mail agency has plunged as much as $3 billion into the red, its greatest deficit in modern history."
April 2, 2001 -- According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, "city banks and businesses face serious disruption early next week when postal workers stage a 24-hour strike at a main east London sorting office over management plans to introduce a streamlined system across the country." Virtually every post office has been fitted with new computer equipment as part of the Government's Horizon program. The new Horizon system will provide a better, more efficient service to customers and provide the platform for new services and the extension of network banking.
April 1, 2001 -- The National Association of Postal Supervisors is pulling out the stops on its effort to get Congress to attend to postal legislative reform. A copy of the NAPS postal reform briefing paper is located on the NAPS web site.
April 1, 2001 -- The Federal Times has noted that "the U.S. Postal Service said it will cut $2.5 billion in costs and 10 percent of its work force in a bid to minimize or delay the postage rate increase it had planned to propose this summer. Some postal watchers, however, say the cuts, announced March 27 at the National Postal Forum in Orlando, Fla., do not go deep enough to put the agency back on sound financial footing."
April 1, 2001 -- According to Fedex's chief personnel officer, "when FedEx delivered its first package 27 years ago, the company knew that its workforce would be a vital key to success and growth. Despite dazzling technological advances, bigger and faster aircraft and unmatched global air routes, that still hasn't changed. FedEx's destiny largely rests in the hands of its employees."
April 1, 2001 -- According to Dow Jones, "a look at La Poste's major European counterparts offers contrasting views of how far and how fast the French postal monopoly can hope to expand in the financial services market."