Postal News from December 2001
December 31, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "postal workers were again urged by their union to stay home from their jobs at a mail facility where anthrax traces were discovered on a sorting machine. The postal union also planned to return to court this week to ask a judge to shut down all or part of the Manhattan facility pending a 'thorough testing throughout,' said William Smith, president of the New York Metro Area Postal Union. Employees reported for work on Sunday despite the discovery of traces of anthrax on a machine that had been previously infected and cleaned, postal officials said."
December 31, 2001 -- Bloomberg News has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service may face a cash crunch within the next year if the agency doesn't recover business lost in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and public concern over anthrax-contaminated mail."
December 31, 2001 -- The Anchorage Daily News has reported that "legislation to reform Alaska's bypass-mail system failed to move forward in Congress this year but will be revived next session. The present system, designed by Stevens three decades ago, is so named because it generally "bypasses" post offices. Four 'mainline' carriers -- Alaska Airlines, Northern Air Cargo, Lynden Air Cargo and Air Cargo Express -- fly larger shipments or cargo-passenger combinations from Anchorage and Fairbanks to Bush hubs such as Bethel, Barrow and Nome. From there, shipments are divided, then distributed by smaller planes to villages. Shippers pay parcel post, which is usually cheaper than air freight."
December 30, 2001 -- United Parcel Service (UPS) has pulled the wraps off its latest technological innovation - the UPS Electronic Return Label. The service, available today through UPS OnLine® WorldShip software, enables businesses to e-mail shipping labels directly to customers who need to return merchandise. When customers receive the e-mail, they simply click on a link to retrieve the label, print it on a regular sheet of paper and send the package back via UPS. The e-mail also gives the customer a link to listings and maps of the nearest UPS drop-off location; a tracking number to check the status of the package any time of day or night, and a receipt. And, as usual, UPS designed the tool to work with its entire network so businesses enjoy the flexibility of having packages returned by UPS ground, overnight, two-day or three-day delivery.
December 30, 2001 -- As CNET News has reported, "after years of trying to improve the system through software and online tools, an increasing number of merchants are falling back on a decidedly low-tech answer by simply letting customers bring their returns to brick-and-mortar stores."
December 30, 2001 -- According to American Banker, "companies that are looking for loans but need to use their inventory as collateral often find them hard to come by. Many lenders consider inventory financing risky, since they cannot keep tabs on inventory flow. But that is less of a problem for UPS Capital, the banking subsidiary of United Parcel Service of America Inc. in Atlanta. It lends against inventory even to borrowers with the riskiest collateral of all: delicate material that needs to be shipped long distances at controlled temperatures."
December 30, 2001 -- Mobile Computing Online has reported that "all Hong Kong's 6.8 million residents will be offered free digital IDs for use in secure online transactions when a new 'smart' national identity card is introduced in mid-2003. The government believes the benefits to e-business and adoption of online government services in Hong Kong through the introduction of additional features on the ID card outweigh the security and data privacy risks. The offer of a free digital certificate with each ID card is part of the government's e-business and e-government drive. An e-certificate issued by the Hongkong Post Certification Authority would be embedded into the card's memory chip. The digital certificate allows the holder to transact securely with government Web sites, e-commerce merchants and banks through a unique digital signature."
December 30, 2001 -- Techweb.com has noted that "Americans already stuff their wallets with credit cards, driver's licenses, employee ID cards, and much more. So why not add new smart ID cards to the stack? Proponents, notably Sun CEO Scott McNealy, argue that smart cards are the ideal platform for a national ID card system. More recently, airline industry executives say biometric smart cards are likely to be embraced by the Department of Transportation, which must submit a technology review for airline security by May 2002. Smart cards typically combine a magnetic strip and a bar code with an embedded digital chip. They can store thumbprints, retinal data, palm geometry, or facial recognition data. Flyers could apply for the cards on a voluntary basis, motivated by the prospect of swifter passage through airport security."
December 31, 2001 -- Al Bawaba has reported that "the UAE Postal Authority has reported an increase in the volume of mail during the holiday season, despite the worldwide anthrax scare and the universal use of the internet. Sultan Al Midfaa, Director of Operations at Emirates Post, reported that that the incoming mail volume increased by nearly 40% over last year. Outgoing international mail volume has also increased this year. The Emirates Post mail collection boxes located throughout the country receive between 60,000 to 100,000 items of mail every day."
December 29, 2001 -- The Financial Times has reported that this was a record season for Consignia. "A record number of letters were sent this Christmas despite fears that the growth of electronic mail would gradually kill off the traditional greetings card. The blizzard of Christmas cards helped Consignia, the renamed Post Office operator, shrug off the problems of last year when rail delays caused a collapse in the reliability of deliveries. This year Consignia said all letters posted before the publicised deadlines should have arrived in time for Christmas Day."
December 29, 2001 -- According to The Independent, "The Royal Mail had its busiest Christmas to date, delivering 2.1 billion items this year, up by 50 million on last year, it announced yesterday. Parcelforce Worldwide handled a record 12 million packages, up by 500,000. More than 750,000 letters to Santa were delivered."
December 29, 2001 -- According to Dagens Naeringsliv, " Posten Norge, the Norwegian postal service operator, is to focus on the Swedish market in co-operation with Pan Nordic Logistics (PNL), the logistics company owned by Posten Norge and Posten, its Danish counterpart. Up until November this year, Posten in Norway, Denmark and Sweden collaborated on Scandinavian package market and PNL. However, Posten in Sweden has entered an agreement with La Poste of France and broken off all connections with PNL. Posten Norge and PNL are now to concentrate on package post in Sweden and on corporate packages in particular."
December 28, 2001 -- AsiaPort has reported that "DHL-Sinotrans Ltd, a unit of DHL World wide Express, a leading international express delivery company, launches two new products recently. Industry analysts predict the move will sharpen the already cutthroat competition in China's delivery services market. They said the two products, Jumbo Box and Jumbo Junior, are 40 to 50 percent cheaper than similar services provided by Chinese deliverers and those in the European and US markets."
December 28, 2001 -- According to Asia Pulse, "Korea Post today said it will raise postal service charges by 9.5 per cent from January 15 next year. The postal service said current low postal service rates, the depreciation of the won versus the U.S. dollar and boosts in international postal service charges necessitated the increase."
December 28, 2001 -- According to Business Line, "India Post will focus on high growth areas like the parcels business and express mail services between India and the Gulf states and plans to shortly introduce its new money transfer service in the UAE, according to Mr B.N. Som, Director-General of India Post. Mr. Som, who signed a bilateral agreement with Emirates Post in Dubai on Monday, told Business Line that a team from India Post will visit the UAE next month to introduce the money transfer service concept."
December 28, 2001 -- Denver Post has reported that "large mailers may back 37-cent stamp. Next Christmas the stamps are likely to cost at least 37 cents. As much of the nation did its holiday shopping, postal officials were pressing large mailers to endorse their latest rate-increase application with hopes of implementing higher stamp prices as soon as June."
December 28, 2001 -- DM News has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has pushed back the starting date for increases under its rate case settlement proposal from June 2 to June 30, the agency said this week. Many businesses, especially those with a fiscal year ending June 30, had opposed the June 2 date, saying it would add to expenses at a time their budgets had no room for added costs."
December 28, 2001 -- Reuters has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has made little progress in offering some of its services over the Internet for several reasons, including poor management, according to a Congressional report released on Wednesday. Efforts to allow customers to pay bills online, send certified mail and offer computerized postage stamps have also suffered from disorganization and incomplete accounting, according to a report by the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative agency." See the GAO web site for a copy of this report.
December 27, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that, "U.S. Postal Service employees who worked at the Brentwood Road facility will be offered anthrax vaccinations beginning this morning, as well as additional antibiotics to prevent anthrax, according to postal and federal health officials. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were unsure how many of the 2,100 Brentwood employees were interested in the experimental vaccination and the additional supply of drugs to prevent them from developing anthrax."
December 27, 2001 -- According to The Times of India, "The Andhra Pradesh Postal Circle has made special arrangements for prompt dispatch and delivery of seasonal greetings mail keeping in view of the ensuing festive season with three major festivals falling within a span of 20 days. Special counters have been opened at 13 major post offices in the twin cities for sale of stamps, collection of greeting mail and stamping."
December 27, 2001 -- According to the Dow Jones Newswires, "Roadway Corp. plans to use recently acquired Arnold Industries Inc. as its entry point for a major move into next-day delivery trucking, said Michael W. Wickham, chairman and chief executive. "We will make other acquisitions that put us in the next-day trucking business region by region," Mr. Wickham said. "Next-day delivery regional trucking is the fastest-growing segment in the trucking industry, and it's also more profitable" than long-haul trucking."
December 27, 2001 -- According to InternetNews "Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE:UPS) rolled out an electronic return label that capitalizes on the power of the Internet, letting businesses send e-mail shipping labels directly to customers who need to return merchandise. The service is available through UPS OnLine WorldShip software."
December 27, 2001 -- The New York Times has reported that the president of the New York region's postal workers union said he objected to the anthrax vaccinations that the federal government would be offering to post office employees in a few days. "They want to experiment on our people," said William M. Smith, president of the New York Metro Area Postal Workers Union, which represents 10,000 New York employees, including the 5,500 who work at Morgan Station, the main branch. "Those vaccinations can cause all kind of harm. Until I see the Supreme Court and the Congress taking those vaccinations, I don't want to them to be giving it to us."
December 26, 2001 -- On Monday of last week the Postal Service filed its proposal to settle the pending rate case. The following is a statement issued by the John "Jack" Potter, USPS Postmaster General.
December 26, 2001 -- According to the Dow Jones Newswires, "Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda expressed support Wednesday for a reported plan by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to privatize in 2005 a postal public corporation to be created in 2003."
December 26, 2001 -- Al Bawaba has reported that "a gathering to promote collaboration in postal services between India and the UAE was held Sunday. An Indian led by B.N. Som, Director-General of India Post, met Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, UAE Minister of Communications and Chairman of Emirates Post, and Abdullah Al Daboos, Director-General of Emirates Post. During the meeting, Al Tayer praised the close relations between the UAE and India in the field of postal services, and expressed his hope that the visit would boost this relationship further. Explaining that the cooperation would lead to improved services to India, chiefly those pertaining to Mumtaz Post and Parcel Services, Al Daboos said: "This visit will help us to identify areas in which we can provide improved services to the large expatriate Indian population that lives in the UAE."
December 25, 2001 -- Happy Holidays from the PostCom staff.
December 25, 2001 -- The BBC Monitoring Service has reported that "after reaching an agreement with government officials on the signing of a collective work agreement for Croatian Post (HP) workers, the Croatian postal workers on Monday [24 December] discontinued the strike they started on 21 December. The agreement should be signed on Thursday, 27 December, the president of the Croatian Post and Telecommunications (HPT) Workers' Union, Jadranko Vehar, said."
December 25, 2001 -- Market News Publishing has reported that "Group 1 Software, a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM)-enabling software solutions, announced Canada Post Corporation's (CPC) regulatory approval of Group 1's enhanced SortStream Canada postal presort solution. SortStream Canada has been recognized by CPC's Software Evaluation Recognition Program (SERP) and supports the January 14, 2002 Canadian postal rate increase. As a most significant enhancement, SortStream Canada now meets the requirements of the United States Postal Service (USPS) Global Direct Canada Admail program. This program, offered in alliance with CPC, provides U.S. direct marketers more convenient, cost-effective and timely delivery of marketing materials and periodicals into Canada."
December 25, 2001 -- According to the Associated Press, "the anthrax vaccine will be available this week to postal workers at the Manhattan facility where the killer bacteria were found, union leaders said, but they predicted few if any takers. Traces of anthrax were discovered on five mail-sorting machines at the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in October. No New York postal workers have contracted anthrax, but mail that likely went through the Morgan center is blamed for several New York cases of skin anthrax, all of them non-lethal. A city hospital worker died on Oct. 31 of inhalation anthrax, but officials haven't determined the source. The U.S. Postal Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not return calls for comment Monday."
December 25, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "an envelope found on the streets of Manhattan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has started a long-distance friendship between two strangers. The envelope contained a check Donna Snyder mailed to her vacation club on Sept. 10. A month later, she was about to stop payment when an envelope arrived containing the remnants of the check and this note: "To whom it may concern. This was found floating around the street in downtown New York. I am sorry if you suffered any loss in this tragedy. Sincerely, a friend in New York!"
December 24, 2001 -- According to the "Financial Standard/All Africa Global Media , the United Parcel Service (UPS) Worldwide, an international courier company, has spent more than $1 billion to develop appropriate technology to drive its services. Mr. Joseph Caulcrick, country manager of UPS Nigeria Limited said in Lagos last week at the launching of the UPS Express Centres, a new technology-driven service introduced by the company that UPS lays emphasis on technology research and development. He said this has put the company ahead of the market and competition. The express centres will provide 24-hour service using the most recent technology in parcel delivery and tracking. With the service, customers can track their mails at every point sitting behind their personal computers or using telephones to call any of the centres."
December 24, 2001 -- According to the The Times of India, "Now, you may have passport in 30 days through the Patna General Post Office (GPO) as the Patna GPO is starting passport service from Monday for the benefit of people desirous of having passports. Chief post master of Patna GPO Anil Kumar told Times News Network that the Patna GOP will start selling forms and begin the process for issuing of passports from Monday. According to him, Rs 300 will be required for passport and Rs 100 for service charges, like postage etc."
December 24, 2001 -- AFX has reported that the "French post office La Poste said it has no comment on a report it will post net profit of 15 mln eur under its 2002 budget, down from an anticipated 85-87 mln in 2001."
December 24, 2001 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "at the request of the municipal government of Furukawacho, Gifu Prefecture, post office mail carriers are now paying close attention to elderly residents who are living alone in the town. The mail carriers have been asked to check whether single elderly people are living without problems. The postal carriers will notify the municipal government of the town when they find an elderly resident to be sick or having problems as the result of natural disasters."
December 23, 2001 -- Direct magazine has reported that "of 50 firms surveyed by e-mail, 62% will continue using direct mail as their primary contact vehicle. Thirty percent said mail offers the best return on investment, and 32% said that fear of the mail is a short-term phenomenon. Those who are pulling back cited increased costs and terrorist activity. Half of the respondents said they will stick with Standard A mail as their main channel. But an equal percentage said they would cut back on Standard A mail. Of those cutting back, 90% said they were turning to e-mail or their Web sites for retention, and 52% for prospecting. And 18% are increasing their telemarketing for retention, and 12% for prospecting. Another 18% said they would use more postcards and self-mailers for retention, and 16% said they would use them for prospecting."
December 23, 2001 -- The Sunday Times (U.K.) has noted that "Consignia, the state-controlled company that operates Parcelforce, the Post Office and the Royal Mail, has disclosed that the firm gets nearly two million formal complaints annually. The postal service in Germany, which delivers the same number of mails, receives just 500 complaints annually."
December 23, 2001 -- Linns.com has reported that "the United States Postal Service revealed in early December that its bar-code scanning machines generate reports from which the addresses of some pieces of mail can be tracked. Postal investigators were perplexed that the Postal Service had not previously revealed this capability. The ability to track some of the thousands of pieces of mail that went through the same bar-code sorting machines in Trenton, N.J., that handled the anthrax-tainted letters sent to Sens. Thomas Daschle and Patrick Leahy came to light as investigators sought the source of the anthrax that killed 94-year-old Ottilie Lundgren in Oxford, Conn. Dan Mihalko of the Postal Inspection Service said that investigators didn't know that the bar-code sorting machines produced a record of the pieces of mail sorted until relatively recently."
December 23, 2001 -- According to American Printer, "Prior to Sept. 11, the consensus among economists surveyed by “Blue Chip Economic Indicators”* and printers surveyed by NAPL (Paramus, NJ) was that the worst was over. Now the consensus among both groups is that the worst is yet to come....But around the middle of next year, things are likely to change, largely because priorities in Washington have changed."
December 23, 2001 -- As The Scotsman has noted, "Consignia, the Post Office group, has confirmed the busy Christmas period means it will divert five million letters to be sorted far away from where they were posted or their destination. The troubled company, which lost £281 million in the last six months and has just announced plans to make 30,000 workers redundant, says that it is quicker to divert items long distances when local sorting centres are busy. Consignia is supposed to deliver 92.1 per cent of first-class post by the following day."
December 23, 2001 -- The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications is likely to fully deregulate postal services-with some conditions. But many twists and turns are expected. The ministry is expected to draw up, perhaps by the end of this month, a blueprint for the state-run Postal Corp. that will debut in April 2003. The corporation will take over postal services (mail, savings and insurance) from the ministry. The blueprint will likely set the stage for a broader review of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's plans for the eventual privatization of postal services. The review is expected to reach a decisive stage next summer. Atsushi Yamazaki, managing director of Yamato Transport Co., a major parcel delivery firm, supports Koizumi's plan to open the mail service to private firms. ``We can also deliver mail throughout the country, possibly at a lower cost,'' he said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun."
December 23, 2001 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "some [Japanese] post offices have provided expedited service to gangsters by sending their mail to other post offices after putting it into special envelopes used for correspondence between post offices. Executives of post offices in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures said the special postal service was begun to prevent friction with gangsters, who were upset over the possibility their mail would get dirty."
December 22, 2001 -- As the Oregonian has reported, "in committing to electron-beam irradiation as the nation's best bet to protect its mail, the United States Postal Service has taken a leap of faith -- technologically, financially and practically. Just eight machines have been ordered. When they go on line sometime after the first of the year, those machines will have the capacity to treat an estimated 5.6 million pieces a day -- a fraction of the 680 million letters and packages that move through the postal system on an average day. But there remain questions about how electron-beam technology should be adapted for mail; how strong the irradiation current should be for effectiveness without damaging sensitive mail, what mail should be targeted for treatment, and even whether treated mail should be labeled as such."
December 22, 2001 -- The Postal Service is seeking comments on a Federal Register proposal to delete the standards in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) that allow bundles (more than one package strapped together) of Periodicals flat-size mail to be bedloaded instead of placed in a sack or on a pallet. Comments must be received on or before January 22, 2002.
December 22, 2001 -- The Postal Service has published in the Federal Register that it is offering discounted rates for online customers who purchase Global Express Guaranteed TM service. The discounted rates are based on minimum shipping volumes which average 5 pieces per week, 12 pieces per week, and 20 pieces or more per week. The Postal Service is also offering a standard Web discount for all Global Express Guaranteed customers who prepare and pay for their shipments online but do not qualify for the volume-based discounts.
December 22, 2001 -- Africa News has reported that "the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has proposed the warehousing of the Posts and Telecommunication Corporation debt, as part of the privatisation of the monolith. The privatisation agency has come up with options for the government of dealing with debt excluded from the privatisation. These options include paying off a proportion of the debt out of sale proceeds, restructuring the debt through negotiation with the lenders and converting a proportion of third party debt to equity in the privatised business, potentially as part of the indigenous offer."
December 22, 2001 -- Het Financieele Dagblad ( The Netherlands) has reported that "Frans Rombouts, CEO of Belgian postal company De Post, will be given a board of four to five directors, who will take decisions jointly in future. This is a proposal drafted by a government task force looking into the De Post management. The task force concludes that the modernisation process has been delayed at De Post."
December 22, 2001 -- CNET news has reported that "too much holiday cheer forced Hallmark.com to turn away some visitors after a crush of customers looking for free online greeting cards swamped the site. It was one of the first instances this year of traffic overwhelming a Web site--once considered a fairly common occurrence during the holiday season. Traffic to Hallmark.com, which doesn't charge for e-greetings, has doubled this year since competitor American Greetings began charging for electronic greetings earlier this month." But, as Reuters has reported, "Electronic seasonal greetings are catching on in trying economic times, but corporations are finding that this year's Christmas wishes are often scrambled, mangled or completely destroyed before they reach the recipient. Thousands of e-cards never arrive in their intended form because computer networks are designed to filter out suspicious attachments, which can apply to e-greetings that typically contain animated pictures and sound files"
December 22, 2001 -- According to the New York Times, the "woes [of recent weeks] have been reflected in recent advertising[by the Postal Service], most notably a television commercial, 'Pride,' which features real postal employees carrying out their duties with determination and enthusiasm, notwithstanding snow, gloom of night and, presumably, bioterrorism. But times change. The anthrax threat seems to have eased. The national mood, while still subdued, seems less bleak. And postal officials have decided to lighten up, at least for the holidays. So they have introduced a 30-second spot called, appropriately, 'Holiday.'" The ad is intended to remind viewers that the mail is about not just duty but also 'bringing people together.'"
December 22, 2001 -- According to the BBC, "Croatia's post office unions, which went on strike on Friday [21 December] due to [the government's] failure to sign the collective agreement, have been invited to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Communications to discuss their demands on Saturday."
December 21, 2001 -- The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has provided the leadership of the House Committee on Government Reform with a report on a conference it held at the Committee's direction on options to enhance mail security and postal operations. GAO said that "the conference participants agreed that there is no single or simple solution for ensuring the safety of the mail. Nevertheless, they agreed that the Service, the mailing industry, and other stakeholders should work closely together to assess current risks, develop a framework for responding to potential threats, and take immediate steps to secure the safety of the mail to restore public confidence in the integrity of the postal system."
December 21, 2001 -- The United States Postal Service has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract valued at approximately $93 million to replace existing optical imaging cameras on equipment used to sort mail. The new program, called the Wide Field of View (WFOV) Camera System, improves the read rate of POSTNET bar codes so that fewer items are rejected and more letters can be sorted automatically. In addition, the enhanced software reads two-dimensional Information Based Indicia (IBI), including electronic postage generated by Web-based or stand-alone computerized applications authorized by the U.S. Postal Service.
December 21, 2001 -- In cooperation with the military, Dear Abby has announced an Internet partnership with the LIFELines Services Network to continue the 18-year history of her holiday greeting program Operation Dear Abby. But this year, because of the anthrax scare, the Department of Defense reluctantly discontinued the program out of concern for the security of our service members. In the meantime, the military went to work to develop an Internet solution to the problem. The result was a delivery system for those wishing to send a message over the World Wide Web."
December 21, 2001 -- According to DM News, "catalogers and carriers said this week that the holiday mailing season is going smoothly with most deliveries reaching homes on schedule. The news is bittersweet, however, since one reason for the smooth sailing is that sales are down for many direct marketers. The U.S. Postal Service, for example, said volume this holiday season is more than 6 percent lower than last year."
December 21, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "the busiest days of the year will come next week for FedEx and United Parcel Service as consumers rush to get holiday packages to their loved ones in time for Christmas. Reflecting the recession, both carriers are expecting lower traffic volumes than on last year's busiest day, however."
December 21, 2001 -- The British post office, born when King Charles I opened his Royal Mail to the public in 1635, had been famed for its innovation, including the world's first post boxes, postal orders and postage stamp -- the Penny Black in 1840. But its successor is struggling to keep up with high-tech challenges from e-mail and mobile messaging, as well as new bill payment systems such as digital banking. More important, Consignia's core operations are inefficient in comparison with other national postal services as well as its new rivals.
December 21, 2001 -- As the Financial Times has noted, "Consignia will next month strike another blow to the beleaguered rail industry by revealing it does not plan to renew one of the largest long-term contracts in the industry. A review of the Post Office group's transport strategy is understood to have concluded it should opt instead for "more flexible" short-term agreements. These are expected to result in a substantial reduction in mail trains in favour of road and air. Consignia uses 58 trains a night under a 10-year contract worth approximately £650m, but has been reconsidering its dependence on rail after problems with Railtrack led to a dramatic fall in reliability levels."
December 21, 2001 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia, formerly the Post Office, is said to have been diverting mail and parcel to places far away from their destinations. With such an inefficient mail handling process, it comes as no surprise that Consignia recently incurred a six-month loss of GBP281m."
December 21, 2001 -- Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation, has announced that Czech Post, the largest postal services provider in the Czech Republic, will use data warehousing technology from Teradata to improve operational efficiency and better serve its clients. The solution from Teradata includes the Teradata(R) database, professional services and hardware. Czech Post employs 40,000 and provides parcel-shipping services along with full-service direct mail programs.
December 21, 2001 -- Traffic World has reported that "DHL Worldwide Express opened a strategic parts center in Guam, the company announced Dec. 17. The Guam SPC is the latest addition to DHL's network of 200 parts centers around the globe."
December 21, 2001 -- La Tribune (France) has reported that "French unions CGT, FO and SUD representing postal workers in the Ile-de-France region are still threatening to call a strike on January 2. A strike warning will be submitted if negotiations currently under way with directors of public postal service La Poste prove disappointing."
December 21, 2001 -- Group 1 Software has announced Canada Post Corporation's (CPC) regulatory approval of Group 1's enhanced SortStream Canada postal presort solution.
December 20, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to pay $2.58 million to a controversial construction partnership that was stripped of a contract to build the La Plata post office in 1997. Last week's out-of-court settlement came just three days before Rufus Stancil -- the partnership's primary financial backer -- was jailed in Washington. He was the first property owner targeted in what D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) has labeled a battle against slumlords. The Postal Service's settlement means that the government will pay more to Stancil's partnership -- a company that suggested racial discrimination prompted cancellation of its contract -- than it paid to a subsequent contractor that eventually built the $2.38 million post office."
December 20, 2001 -- The New York Times has noted that "sending Christmas cards by e-mail is the newest twist on mass-produced holiday cards, which began with British lithographers in the 1840's and migrated to Boston in the 1870's. And they continue the technological evolution in greetings that desktop publishing helped accelerate two decades ago. Whether cards sent by e-mail will affect greeting card sales this year is not clear. No one knows how many cards will be sent by e- mail, and estimates mainly reflect cards sent through commercial Web sites. Those who make their own cards go uncounted."
December 20, 2001 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia will strike another blow to the rail network next month by revealing it does not plan to renew one of the biggest long-term contracts in the industry. A review of the Post Office group's transport strategy is understood to have concluded that it should opt instead for "more flexible" short-term agreements. These are expected to result in a substantial reduction in mail trains in favour of road and air."
December 20, 2001 -- As the BBC has noted, "Royal Mail, once a venerable national institution, has fallen from grace in the eyes of its increasingly frustrated customers." To make matters worse, "E-mail and text messaging have eaten into the traditional mail market. Courier companies have also taken a slice and, in March, the Post Office's monopoly on postal services came to an end."
December 20, 2001 -- According to La Tribune (France), "the senior authority for the public and semi-public finance sector in France finally made its report public yesterday into preparatory documents on the precise structure through which French post office La Poste would integrate Eulia, the joint-venture between French banks Caisse d'Epargne and CDC." This is the French choice on how to buttress an ailing post office.
December 20, 2001 -- The Financial Times has noted that "a Dollars 116m share of the US government's airline bail-out programme, coupled with the first contributions from a contract with the US Postal Service, allowed Federal Express to report a 26 per cent increase in second-quarter earnings. Volumes at FedEx's core domestic express delivery business fell by 10 per cent over the quarter. The business was badly affected by a decline in shipments of high-technology components, but express profits rose 14 per cent thanks to the bail-out funds, a Dollars 16.5m tax settlement and the new USPS business." See also the report in the Journal of Commerce and the New York Times.
December 20, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that:
December 20, 2001 -- Traffic World has reported that "Danzas has created a South American trucking network offering customers time-definite, door-to-door deliveries in six countries: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. The trucking network is coordinated by Danzas Brazil and it is being integrated into Danzas warehousing and brokerage services."
December 20, 2001 -- According to Wired magazine, "in an effort to eliminate terrorist threats such as anthrax that are delivered by mail, the U.S. Postal Service is considering the implementation of "smart stamps" that would trace mail and identify senders. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-California), the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform is proposing the implementation of a two-dimensional barcode "stamp" that would contain the sender's identity as well as the date, time and place the postage was paid. The technology is currently used by companies that provide Internet mailing services, such as Stamps.com."
December 20, 2001 -- An arbitrator has ruled that United Parcel Service needs to pay San Jose, California area Teamsters more money for working late-night or early-morning shifts. Following the ruling, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters negotiated with UPS, and the company agreed to pay employees throughout the United States who are affected by the ruling.
December 20, 2001 -- BusinessWorld (Philippines) has reported that "United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's largest express carrier and package delivery company, recently began construction on its intra-Asia hub in Pampanga at the Clark International Airport."
December 19, 2001 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "the European Commission rebuked Britain and the EU’s other member state governments yesterday for failing to keep their bold promises of economic reform. A specific example cited in the Commission’s report is the EU’s failure to open up its postal services — a measure on which Britain is stalling in order to protect rural post offices."
December 19, 2001 -- CEP News (Courier- Express- and Postal-Market News) has reported that "TNT, Consignia and Singapore Post, the partners in the Association for Worldwide Business Mail, Delta, say they are intending to expand the Philippine operation so that it becomes the principal Asiatic transhipment point for direct marketing consignments." Check out the latest issue of CEP News for the details on this and other news items affecting the courier, express, and postal market around the world.
December 19, 2001 -- For those who follow such things, the Postal Service has posted its FY2001 revenue, pieces, weight (RPW) report on its web site.
December 19, 2001 -- Handelsblatt (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, Germany's partly privatized postal and logistics service, said Tuesday that strong business in the run-up to Christmas will ensure that it can meet its full-year earnings target for 2001 despite the overall downturn in the economy."
December 19, 2001 -- The New York Times has reported that "printed holiday mail-order catalogs from 600 stores, including L. L. Bean and even Amazon.com, have been digitized and indexed by the search engine company Google at catalogs.google.com. The company developed its own optical character recognition software to turn the type in headlines and product descriptions into searchable computer text." Be sure to watch how this ultimately affects mail. Yessir...Keep raisin' postal rates, and you'll find that marketers really have someplace else to go.
December 19, 2001 -- As the Washington Times has noted, "some of the region's mail that is being sanitized against anthrax is arriving slightly damaged and discolored from the irradiation technology that the U.S. Postal Service is testing. The Postal Service purchased eight irradiation machines to be used in post offices in the Washington area, but the technology has not yet been installed, as the agency is still choosing sites. Eventually, the entire nation's mail will undergo sanitation. But first, the Postal Service has to settle on a permanent technology, as Titan's irradiation machines may not be used. For now, the Postal Service is irradiating only mail directed to the federal government, media outlets and postal offices in Washington, as well as mail that had piled up in the New Jersey and Washington post offices where anthrax was found."
December 19, 2001 -- Reuters has reported that "congressional negotiators have approved a compromise $20 billion Sept. 11 response package that shifts nearly $4 billion that President Bush wanted for his military campaign against terrorism into Democrats' priorities of relief for New York and tighter homeland security. The measure includes $500 million for the U.S. Postal Service to buy equipment to irradiate mail after the recent spate of anthrax-laced letters....The company's contract to carry the Postal Service's Express, Priority and first-class mail, launched in August, is considered 'pretty critical' to its future growth. The agreement is expected to add as much as $900 million a year to FedEx's revenue."
December 19, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that according to industry analysts, "FedEx has been doing a great job at reigning in its costs since the company first saw a slowdown in its business a year ago. The company's flagship express-shipping business has been hurt by the Sept. 11 attacks, which left its planes grounded for two days when federal authorities shut down the nation's air space. The overnight delivery business has also been vulnerable to economic downturns as customers shift to less expensive, slower-moving delivery services offered elsewhere. But the company's recent entry into the ground delivery business, FedEx Ground, has helped it retain such penny-pinching clients.
December 18, 2001 -- The U.S. Postal Service has announced that a three-member arbitration panel has finalized a new three-year agreement between the Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). The agreement provides for a 4.4% general wage increase over three years, i.e., a 1.2% general wage increase retroactive to 11/18/2000, a 1.8% general wage increase effective on 11/17/01, and a 1.4% general wage increase effective 11/16/02. The agreement also provides for a contiuation of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) but provides a lump sum cash payment of $499 in lieu of COLA payments for the first year. In addition, it provides for "several one pay level upgrades affecting 50,000 employees." The contract covers the period of November 20, 2000 to November 20, 2003. For more details, check the APWU web site.
December 18, 2001 -- If you into depressing reading, take a gander at the Postal Service's auditor's report for fiscal year 2001.
December 18, 2001 -- The United States Postal Service (USPS) is seeking suppliers for outsourcing services to actively manage, update, host, market, sale, support, share in the coordinated sales and marketing activities and other related services for secure electronic messaging services.
December 18, 2001 -- CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement software and services and part of CheckFree Corporation, and Southern California Water Company, a subsidiary of American States Water Company has announced that electronic billing and payment is now available to more than one million water customers throughout California and parts of Arizona. Through this service, Southern California Water customers will be able to pay utility bills at their choice of CheckFree-powered sites including banks, brokerages, credit unions and Internet portals.
December 18, 2001 -- Airborne Express has announced the addition of electronic signature capability to eCourier, its secure document delivery service. With addition of e-signature, accessible through its website, Airborne Express becomes the first and only carrier to provide secure electronic document delivery with electronic signature capability.
December 18, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that "a [French] parliamentary committee urged the French government Tuesday to introduce sweeping reforms at La Poste (F.PST), the country's powerful national post office."
December 18, 2001 -- A copy of the new organizational chart for the Postal Service's Marketing Department has been posted on this site.
December 18, 2001 -- The U.S. Postal Service is seeking proposals from firms for advertising effectiveness research, including qualitative pretesting of proposed advertising, quantitative pretesting of proposed advertising, and in-market advertising effectiveness testing.
December 18, 2001 -- DM News has reported that "officials involved in postal rate case settlement negotiations expect a decision by the end of the week. The settlement proposal calls for an average 8.7 percent rate increase to be implemented in June. Without the settlement, the next postal increase likely would occur in September or October. The USPS wants the June date because it estimates it will raise an additional $500 million for each month of higher rates. If industry businesses and trade groups do not approve the settlement, the postal service has said it will ask for a higher rate increase. Meanwhile, a joint House-Senate committee may reach a decision today on a defense appropriations bill that includes up to $600 million for the USPS."
December 18, 2001 -- The Birmingham Post (U.K.) has reported that "the [British] Post Office has pledged that door-todoor deliveries are safe following reports that plans were being hatched to scrap the service. A spokesman for Consignia, the new name for the Post Office, stressed concern over the future of the doorstep delivery service was unfounded and also said there were no plans to sell-off its lossmaking Parcel Force delivery operation."
December 18, 2001 -- According to the Guardian (U.K.), six inns (pubs) close every week. Supporters of this British lifestyle, most particularly the Prince of Wales, are hoping to use the provision of postal services as means of salvation. I'll have a pint with that stamp.
December 18, 2001 -- According to Business Times (Singapore), "German group Deutsche Post World Net is keen to generate maximum synergy from the consolidation of its global express concern under DHL and its cargo forwarding operations under the Danzas brand. While the company's mail division, Deutsche Post, still accounts for a large portion of DP World Net's profit, contributing 1.57bn euros (S$25.9bn) to the firm's gross profit of 1.9bn euros for the first three quarters of the year, DP World Net expects that future results will be driven by growth at DHL and Danzas. DHL posted a 6.6% increase in revenue for the first nine months of the year, while Danzas' revenue rose 16.4%."
December 18, 2001 -- According to Catalog Age, "catalog delivery timeliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."
December 18, 2001 -- According to Information Age, "it's beginning to look a lot like cyber-Christmas....With companies continuing to expand their use of online communication tools, it's a reflection of where [things] are going. Plus, the E-greeting approach saves a few bucks--printed cards cost about a dollar each, plus postage."
December 18, 2001 -- USA Today has reported that:
Can you imagine? Both stories, one extolling the growth on online billing and payment, the other talking about its failure to catch fire...all in the same paper. So which is it?
December 18, 2001 -- According to the Nikkei news service, "after postal operations are transferred to a new public corporation in 2003, privatization of letter delivery service is likely to follow. Yamato Transport Co. (9064), Japan's leading delivery service, is seen as the most promising competitor to the new public corporation."
December 18, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. and leaders of the Teamsters Local 2727, which represents more than 1,100 UPS aircraft mechanics and utility workers, have reached agreement on a new contract."
December 17, 2001 -- The Sunday Times (U.K.) has reported that "Prime Minister Tony Blair is said to favour the break-up of Consignia in order to guarantee the future viability of Britain's postal system. The proposal thought to have gained Mr. Blair's support would see the renamed Post Office split into two companies, one consisting of ParcelForce and Royal Mail, and the other based around government-backed Post Office Counters operations. The move is expected to be opposed by the Communication Workers Union, as it could results in the layoff of between 20,000 and 30,000 postal workers."
December 17, 2001 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Consignia, the state-owned post office group, has been criticised for cutting jobs as the market for home deliveries is set to increase significantly. Verdict, the retail consultancy, says home delivery is set to grow rapidly over the next five years, driven by increased online ordering and more multichannel retailers.
December 17, 2001 -- The Yorkshire Post (U.K.) wants to know: "Why can't the post still deliver?"
December 17, 2001 -- According to the Irish Times:
December 17, 2001 -- According to Dow Jones, "Lockheed Martin Corp.has received a contract modification from the U.S. Postal Service to continue improving recognition systems that "read" addresses on machine printed and handwritten envelopes. The contract, called the Letter Recognition Improvement Program or LRIP, is for modifications and upgrades to the U.S. Postal Service's Remote Computer Reader, or RCR, system deployed by Distribution Technologies, a Lockheed Martin unit that has been the prime contractor on this system since December 1994. LRIP supports the U.S. Postal Service's goal to increase read rates for letter mail to greater than 90% on machine printed mail and over 80% on handwritten mail by 2004."
December 16, 2001 -- The Chicago Tribune has reported that "seven weeks after postal officials began using electron beam irradiation to cleanse mail of possible anthrax, the process has burned, discolored and delayed letters, sending officials searching for other ways to protect the nation's mail. Irradiation, which has already cost the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service millions of dollars, has proved to be far slower than expected, and has left some aides on Capitol Hill complaining that their mail is yellow, brittle, stuck together and smelly."
December 16, 2001 -- Be sure to check out an excellent summary of reader comments on a piece that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal on the future of the U.S. Postal Service.
December 16, 2001 -- The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "it is a bleak Christmas for Consignia, as the Post Office is now called. In the space of a week the company has admitted that it may have to cut up to 30,000 jobs in a drive to cut costs by £1.2bn, narrowly averted serious industrial action by its workers and even run out of its festive second class stamps."
December 16, 2001 -- As one British commentator noted in the Sunday Telegraph, "the Post Office (sorry, Consignia) has never been overburdened with a surfeit of star management. And it's unlikely to be so as long as the Government insists on keeping it in semi-state control. For most ambitious executives life is simply too short to work round the clock for a company that has 40 per cent of its post-tax profits snaffled by the Treasury and cannot borrow more than £75m a year without asking ministers for permission. I don't believe Consignia has a self-sustaining future in this form. It's the worst of all worlds. The answer is to privatise the lot and set Postman Pat free."
December 16, 2001 -- GovExec.com has reported that "citing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration will not award performance bonuses to its top executives this year, Jane Garvey, FAA administrator said. The FAA ’s personnel system is separate from other federal agencies’ because it is exempt from Title 5 of the U.S. Code, which dictates standard personnel rules for the federal government. Under the FAA system, executives forgo traditional pay raises and bonuses in favor of cash bonuses of up to 5 percent of their annual salary if they meet performance goals. Before Sept. 11, the agency had planned to hand out about $1 million in bonuses for fiscal 2001."
December 16, 2001 -- Air Cargo World has reported that:
December 16, 2001 -- According to Traffic World, "Prognosticators say a turnaround [in the air cargo business] won't come until second quarter but that the worst is over."
December 16, 2001 -- According to the Federal Times, "delivering [governmental] services electronically to citizens appears to be paying off in the form of higher customer satisfaction ratings for many federal agencies, according to a new survey scheduled to be unveiled this week."
December 16, 2001 -- Hoovers Online has reported that:
December 16, 2001 -- Eyefortransport.com has reported that "the Society of Logistics Engineers has issued a report on the development of logistics and their application to e-commerce, first published in Logistics Spectrum, the magazine of the International Society of Logistics."
December 16, 2001 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that "a nonprofit association representing motor vehicle department officials wants to enhance the credibility of the license as an ID document." Could this have some utility for the Postal Service?
December 14, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the union representing [British] postal workers has called off a strike threat after reaching an agreement with employers that 30,000 planned job cuts would be through voluntary retirement only. The Communication Workers Union had threatened strikes in the new year after Consignia, the public company which runs the Post Office, said it intended to cut 15 percent of the work force."
December 14, 2001 -- Any word on the results of the American Postal Workers Union-U.S. Postal Service arbitration decision will be delayed until December 18th.
December 14, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the U.S.Customs Service, backed by congressional Republicans, is seeking authority to open and inspect mail leaving the U.S. without first obtaining a warrant, giving law enforcement a long-sought power but troubling postal officials. Customs officials note that under current law, they can open inbound mail without a warrant, search people leaving the country, and search outbound mail carried by companies such as FedEx Corp., but not outbound mail. The U.S. Postal Service opposes expanding the searches, saying it would harm privacy, impair international postal services and could hurt the postal system financially."
December 14, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "about 800 drivers and mechanics working for a company that transports U.S. mail across the South agreed Thursday to return to work, ending a 4-day strike that threatened to slow deliveries during the Postal Service's busiest time of the year."
December 14, 2001 -- The New York Times has reported that "in theory, e-mail should be a useful tool for democracy, an easy and prompt way for citizens to reach their representatives. And with the fear and disruption resulting from the discovery of anthrax in Congressional mail, e-mail might seem an ideal alternative. But although many members of Congress asked constituents to switch to e-mail after mail delivery to their offices was halted in October, the trend on Capitol Hill seems to be a backlash against the medium."
December 14, 2001 -- InfoLatina has reported that "proposals to reform the law governing the Mexican Postal Service (Sepomex) would not only harm large courier companies, but would put some 5 thousand small companies with local and regional coverage at risk of bankruptcy. In response to the Communication and Transport ministry's announcement that Sepomex is as good as bankrupt, legislators have suggested that the service be protected with a law to reserve it the market for the delivery of packages weighing less than 350 grams. The industry organization representing Estafeta, UPS, Federal Express and other courier companies demanded that competition be based on price rather than a legal monopoly."
December 14, 2001 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "a pounds 500m contract to administer the BBC's television licensing system over the next 10 years has been lost by Consignia to the fast-growing support services group Capita. Consignia, formerly the Post Office, has controlled the service for more than 10 years but lost out."
December 14, 2001 -- According to The Scotsman (U.K.), "Margaret Thatcher refused to privatise the Post Office as she regarded it as an important emblem of national unity. The Post Office broke the halo above its head by adopting the ugly and meaningless name Consignia. It is now merely a loss-making plc, having been a profit-making nationalised industry."
December 14, 2001 -- According to The Herald (U.K.):
December 14, 2001 -- According to European sources, the Spanish postal services market has grown appreciably.
December 14, 2001 -- De Standaard (Belgium) has reported that "Deutsche Post is to amalgamate the national distribution activities of Danzas Belgium into a separate judicial structure called Speedpack. This will take effect on 1 January 2002. The new company unit will form part of Van Gend & Loos Euro Express and will mainly focus on offering customised transport services. Deutsche Post World Net indicates that it has been streamlining its activities in various European countries for some time and states that the move is part of this strategy."
December 14, 2001 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal and logistics company TPG NV has bought Bleckmann Group BV, a Netherlands-based transport and warehousing provider for the fashion industry."
December 14, 2001 -- Direct marketing sources have said that "postcards are becoming increasingly popular with direct marketers because of their lower cost and the speed in which they can be read."
December 14, 2001 -- American Banker magazine has reported that "the payment terminal manufacturer Hypercom Corp. has developed a biometric finger-scanning pad that attaches to its terminals and can be used to verify a cardholder's identity at the point of sale. The Phoenix company said the device, which costs about $120 per terminal to buy and install, works with magnetic stripe cards and smart cards."
December 14, 2001 -- According to De Financieel Ekonomische Tijd (Belgium), "the operating profit of Belgian postal company De Post has nose-dived by 85 per cent from 134m euros in 1999 to 20m euros in 2001."
December 13, 2001 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service experienced a net loss in accounting period 3 of $30 million. USPS net income through first three APs of FY 2002 is about $110 million, more than $500 million worse than plan. At this point, USPS on track to lose $1.9 billion in FY 2002. Expenses remain a bright spot. USPS kept expense growth to only 0.1% in AP 3 over same period last year. Year-to-date, expenses just 0.6% higher than last year." [For Business Mailers Review subscription information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.]
December 13, 2001 -- According to postal observer, Alan Robinson, "the Postal Service's immediate challenge is a shortage of cash. The Postal Service's CFO Richard Strasser has the unenviable challenge of identifying how the Postal Service can generate an additional one to three billion dollars in cash between now and the beginning of the next fiscal year. This money is the estimated increase in operating losses due to rapid reduction in demand for postal services and increased operating costs necessary to ensure the safety of postal employees and recipients of mail. Additional cash may be necessary to cover the costs of destroyed postal property, criminal investigations and equipment necessary to sterilize mail."
December 13, 2001 -- The latest PostCom postal issues papers, one dealing with the R2001 postal rate case and one dealing with Mail Redesign (a.k.a. postal classification reform) have been posted on this web site.
December 13, 2001 -- Stamps personalized with customers' photographs have been an instant success in Taiwan, as post offices have been swamped with more than 100,000 requests, the postmaster general's office said Thursday. Thousands of people have lined up at post offices in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung hoping to place orders for personalized stamps before the 300,000 stamp limit is reached.
December 13, 2001 -- The new International Mail Rates approved by the USPS, effective January 13, 2002, have been posted on this site..
December 13, 2001 -- The U.S. Postal Service has published in the Federal Register a notice that extends the comment period on the Postal Transformation Document until January 31, 2002. The Postal Service is requesting comments and feedback specifically on the "Outline for Discussion: Concepts for Postal Transformation". This document is available on the Postal Service's public website at www.usps.com/strategicdirection or at www.usps.com keyword: transformation. Comments can be e-mailed to email@example.com. Those wishing to send written comments should mail them to Julie S. Moore, Executive Program Director, Office of Transformation, Strategic Planning, Room 4011, United States Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington DC 20260-1520.
December 13, 2001 -- According to Wall Street Research Net, the Postal Service seasonal hiring is down about 50 percent from two years ago. It's down at United Parcel Service too.
December 13, 2001 -- In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell Daniels, Postmaster General Jack Potter has renewed his request for Congress to pay out the $928 million it owes the USPS for revenue forgone.
December 13, 2001 -- The Postal Service's governmental affairs chief has detailed the Postal Service's concerns over a bill that would give the Customs Service unprecedented authority to search and seize outbound and inbound cross-border mail.
December 13, 2001 -- GovExec.Com has reported that "appropriators failed to meet Tuesday to begin reconciling the House and Senate versions of $20 billion in supplemental anti- terrorism spending, but House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, R-Fla., and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., traded jabs about which side was to blame for the lack of progress....Although Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has urged Congress to give the Pentagon the entire $7.3 billion supplemental it requested, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) told reporters Tuesday that not providing the full amount could prompt faster action in Congress. Stevens predicted the work on the bill would be finished 'by early next week.'"
December 13, 2001 -- According to the Wall Street Journal, "thirty years ago, before the advent of e-mail and the birth of FedEx, the U.S. government supposedly fixed the patronage-ridden, strike-torn, money-losing post office by turning it into a hybrid of a government agency and a regulated business. What seemed a bold step forward in 1970 looks today like the worst of both worlds."
December 13, 2001 -- According to the Financial Times, "Consignia's plight signals failure to deliver The government's part-privatisation model has been called into question by Consignia's plight."
December 13, 2001 -- European sources have reported that British postal operator Consignia's director general John Roberts said no final decision has been made on prospective job cuts and that the figure of 30,000 reported yesterday is "speculative", as it was extrapolated from the company's plan to cut its cost base by 15 pct. He added that he hopes any job losses would come through natural wastage. Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was not consulted about Consignia's plan to axe another 30,000 postal workers over the next 18 months. During Prime Minister's Questions, Blair said he regretted the possibility of further job losses but said it was not a matter for the government but one for the company and the unions. In the meantime, UK postal workers have warned Consignia it must drop its plan to axe 30,000 workers by tomorrow to avert strike action. In addition, MSF representing 15000 managers and senior managers within Consignia has today called on the government and Postcomm regulator to provide financial flexibility to deal with the Consignia financial crisis.
December 13, 2001 -- Britain's state-owned postal service Consignia has shocked workers and raised concerns over the British letter service by slashing 30,000 jobs. BBC News Online takes a closer look at how bad the situation is, and how it got itself into such a mess.
December 13, 2001 -- According to the Financial Times, "Consignia, the state-owned Post Office group, was rebuked by a trade minister yesterday for announcing plans for up to 30,000 job cuts without forewarning or consulting postal unions."
December 13, 2001 -- The Guardian (UK) has reported that "Consignia launched a concerted damage-limitation exercise yesterday, as furious postal workers threatened a strike ballot unless a threat to sack 30,000 workers was withdrawn and politicians on all sides rounded on the state-owned company." See also the story in The Times.
December 13, 2001 -- Airborne Express (http://www.airborne.com) and OfficeMax, Inc. (http://www.officemax.com) have announced a strategic alliance to provide shipping solutions to small business customers nationwide. The three-year arrangement begins with an aggressive rollout of Airborne's presence at 32 OfficeMax locations in the Seattle and Cleveland markets, where both companies are headquartered, and is planned to eventually expand to over 960 OfficeMax superstores nationwide.
December 13, 2001 -- More than one-third of holiday shoppers across the country--approximately 37 percent--say they plan to do more shopping online and via catalog this holiday season than last year, according to a recent Market Facts survey of 1,000 consumers conducted Nov. 26-28. The results of this study, commissioned by FedEx Corp. in an effort to learn more about consumer shopping behavior this season, support earlier projections that online and catalog retailers will experience an increase in sales this holiday season.
December 13, 2001 -- The Mexico City daily, Reforma, has reported that "proposals by Mexican legislators to reform the Postal Service Law in order to provide more support for the Mexican Postal Service (Sepomex) were opposed by the nation's private courier industry. Companies like Federal Express, United Parcel Service, DHL and Estafeta criticized suggestions that Sepomex should be protected through monopolistic measures. Legislators have suggested that only Sepomex should be able to handle deliveries of articles weighing less than 350 grams. Courier companies, under the Mexican Association of Courier Companies, say that competition should be based on price, and not on monopolistic licenses."
December 13, 2001 -- Francotyp-Postalia, Inc. has announced that it has promoted Tim Sokley to Director of Product Management from his previous position of Product Manager.
December 13, 2001 -- According to Nihon Keizai, "the Japanese Posts Ministry has decided to allow the private sector to fully enter postal operations as early as the year to March 2004. The ministry intends to include the proposal in the draft of the postal corporation law set to be submitted to the ordinary parliament session convening in January."
December 12, 2001 -- The American Postal Workers Union has told its members that "it is expected that arbitrator Steven Goldberg will issue his final decision in the APWU interest arbitration on Thursday, December 13, 2001. I intend to announce the decision via a teleconference that will be held on Friday, December 14, 2001 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time."
December 13, 2001 -- According to Africa News, "the Postal Corporation of Kenya has withdrawn Telegraphs and Telegraphic Money Orders services from December 1. The PCK will launch Express Money Order (XMO), electronic money transfers, service shortly to compliment the existing Ordinary Money Order service. The latest radical change that PCK undertook was the introduction of a new five-digit coding system for all post boxes and private bags with all the post offices having their own code numbers in October. All post offices now has their code numbers, the General Post Office's code number is 00100 while their post box number is 34567 Customers, Post Master General Bishar Hussein had said, would maintain their old numbers but their codes will change."
December 12, 2001 -- If you haven't read it yet, check the interview by CNN with Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan.
December 12, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that:
The government has a problem explaining how it calculates employee pay. The latest case study of a hard-to-understand pay program is at the U.S. Postal Service.
December 12, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that:
For many companies, the U.S. Postal Service's plans to irradiate mail might be an inconvenience. For others, it could have been a disaster. Experts say radiation used to kill anthrax wouldn't damage the vast majority of objects sent through the mail. But there are exceptions: film might be exposed, prescription drugs weakened or food essentially cooked. Several people involved in discussions say the Post Office wants to rely on irradiation as little as possible, focusing instead on technology that could detect biohazards and irradiate them if necessary. 'I think you're looking at scanning for detection, and if there's a problem, then irradiating,' said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of corporate affairs at the Direct Marketing Association."
December 12, 2001 -- Reuters has reported that British "postal unions are threatening strike action after Consignia, the state-owned company that runs the Royal Mail, has announced it will slash up to 30,000 jobs or 15 percent of its workforce."
December 12, 2001 -- According to the Financial Times, "Consignia, the state-owned postal services group formerly known as the Post Office, could hardly be in a worse mess....The underlying reason is that Consignia's protected monopoly position allowed it to ignore productivity until March, when it became a state-owned plc responsible to an independent regulator determined to introduce competition."
December 12, 2001 -- The Financial Times has reported that "European online retailers are two years behind their US peers in terms of providing information about their orders, but are proving more successful in keeping shipping costs down, according to a study released today. Accenture, the consultancy, found shipping charges were about 20 per cent cheaper in France, Germany and the UK than in the US."
December 12, 2001-- American Banker has reported that "lawmakers have announced a voluntary agreement to alert financial services trade groups if the mail service is disrupted by biological attacks such as anthrax. The postmaster general would notify the House Financial Services Committee, the Senate Banking Committee, the federal banking regulators, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, the American Bankers Association, and the Consumer Bankers Association of the post offices and ZIP codes affected by a biological, chemical, or radiological attack. The bank regulators and trade groups would then notify creditors, who would individually decide whether to waive late fees and other penalties for mail from the affected area."
December 12, 2001 -- Pitney Bowes is celebrating 100 Years of the postage meter. On December 9th, 1901, inventor Arthur Pitney filed a patent application for the first postage meter. Today, Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) holds more than 3,400 patents world wide in mail and document management that cover a range of technologies including shipping, printing, encryption, funds management and security.
December 12, 2001 -- DRI-WEFA, Inc., a subsidiary of privately held Global Insight, Inc., has announced the appointment of Robert A. F. Reisner to the position of Executive Managing Director, Strategy Advisory Services. In this position, Mr. Reisner will be responsible for leading DRI-WEFA's strategy and government consulting activities and will play an important role in guiding DRI-WEFA's future strategy advisory service development. Mr. Reisner joins DRI-WEFA from the US Postal Service where he held the position of Vice President for Strategic Planning.
December 12, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has enlisted Gov. Gray Davis to appear in a 30-second public-service announcement to help convince Californians that the mail is safe and that they should continue to use it."
December 12, 2001 -- According to Dow Jones, "French banks Caisse des depots et consignations (F.CDC) and Caisse d'Epargne (F.CCE) promised to forge closer ties with La Poste (F.PST) Tuesday, but said bringing France's national post office into their two-way alliance was impossible for the time being."
December 12, 2001 -- According to the National Post, Canada Post is trying to make its "image more innovative."
December 12, 2001 -- InfoLatina has reported that "Mexican legislators are planning on a restructuring of the Mexican Postal Service (Sepomex) to eliminate what they call unfair competition from the private sector. The legal reform or new law that the Chamber of Deputies develops will be directed toward eliminating unfair competition from messenger services or postal services in Mexico in the part of the market that corresponds to the public mail service."
December 11, 2001 -- Zairmail, Inc. has announced a relationship with Microsoft(R) bCentral(TM) to offer Zairmail's direct mail services on bCentral's website.
December 11, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that:
America West Airlines Inc. has agreed to give the federal government a potential stake in the company to win government approval of $400 million in loan guarantees -- a move that could set the pattern for other airlines seeking federal bailout funds. The government signal that it would like a financial stake in carriers seeking loan guarantees will mean a greater role in the airline industry for the Bush administration. How 'bout a greater role with the Postal Service?
U.S. advertising spending fell 7.8 percent in the first three quarters, to $68.8 billion, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres's Competitive Media Reporting unit. Television networks lost advertising after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as they aired continuous coverage, while magazines and newspapers were hurt as companies pulled back marketing campaigns and reconsidered ads in the wake of the events, exacerbating an already weak advertising market.
December 11, 2001 -- According to the Associated Press:
House-Senate bargainers will have to overcome a $5.3 billion gulf over defense spending as the two sides try wrapping up a deal on a final $20 billion anti-terrorism package. House-Senate bargainers are trying to strike a compromise by this week or next. See also the report by DM News.
December 11, 2001 -- According to Internet.com, "the importance of offering consumers multiple channels from which to shop was highlighted once again in a report on the catalog industry from DoubleClick's Abacus division. The Fall 2001 Catalog Industry Trend Report has found a consumer purchasing channel shift -- away from catalogs and toward online shopping."
December 11, 2001 -- Eyefortransport.com has reported that "FedEx Ground, received a 'Moby'' award at the information technology industry's premier wireless conference, Go Mobile, sponsored by Mobile Insights and held recently in Phoenix. The award recognizes FedEx Ground's recent enhancement of its pickup and delivery data collection and transmission system to enable the capture of an electronic signature at package delivery. The technology upgrade provides FedEx Ground customers with the signature proof of delivery (P.O.D.) and adds to the detailed package tracking information in the ground shipping market.
December 11, 2001 -- The Irish Times has reported that "An Post [the Irish postal service] will today challenge in the High Court a sizeable levy charged by the telecoms regulator, Ms Etain Doyle. It is thought the State company will challenge Ms Doyle's legal right to impose the fee for regulating the quality of postal services this year and in 2002."
December 11, 2001 -- European sources have reported that the Bulgarian government plans to offer a foreign investor a 15-year concession to run state-owned postal services. Canadian and Dutch postal services have already shown interest.
December 11, 2001 -- Eric Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of plastic envelopes, has announced the release of Anthrax Evident Mailers, tamperproof plastic envelopes with Anthra-Chek(TM) windows providing recipients clear viewing of enclosed contents before opening.
December 11, 2001 -- Internetnews.com has reported that "the last two weeks in November marked the biggest weeks so far this year for median weekly online spending for the average American as holiday shopping began in earnest, according to a report from Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings. In fact, the report says 25 percent of online shoppers are already finished with their gift buying. And weekly online consumer spending has jumped an estimated 34 percent since the beginning of the holiday season."
December 11, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "a team of 50 postal inspectors will be monitoring letters and packages bound for Olympic venues during the 2002 Winter Games in a vigil against terrorism."
December 11, 2001 -- Be sure to check the PostInsight web site for:
December 10, 2001 -- According to the Wall Street Journal:
Having agreed to President Bush's demand for budget discipline, the House and Senate this week must bridge substantial differences over details of a $337.5 billion spending package for the military and homeland defense....The Senate would add an additional $600 million for the Postal Service.
As the Postal Service wrestles with ballooning losses triggered by a falloff in deliveries and new costs of keeping the world's largest mail system safe, it is starting to spread the pain to even far-flung post offices. Postal managers across the country are being told to cut costs right in the middle of the annual onslaught of holiday deliveries.
December 10, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that "the Homeland security spending fight between the president and congressional Democrats that has now been suspended until next year was never mainly about homeland security spending. Nor was it merely maneuvering for political advantage. Rather, it was to a large extent an anticipatory fight in code about the shape of next year's budget."
December 10, 2001 -- DM News has reported that "Senate Republicans and Democrats continued negotiations Friday over two amendments to a $318 billion Defense Department appropriations bill that offer differing amounts for the U.S. Postal Service. An amendment by Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-WV. His amendment includes $875 million for the postal service as part of $7.5 billion for homeland defense and $7.5 billion to help New York and other areas recover from the Sept. 11 attacks. Competing with Byrd's proposal was an amendment introduced Thursday afternoon by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK. Under Stevens' proposal, the USPS would get $575 million."
December 10, 2001 -- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), "Deutsche Post AG, the German post office operator and logistics group, is expanding its internet buying, and by 2004 it will buy goods such as computer or office suppliers worth DM400m over the internet. The internet helps cut costs and simplify business processes."
December 10, 2001 -- New Straits Times (Malaysia) has reported that "Pos Malaysia Bhd [the Malaysian post office] will spend more next year to boost operations as it expects flat earnings growth for the current year ending Dec 31, 2001, hurt by a sluggish economy and increasingly popular e-mail. The company expects a higher capital expenditure for 2002 to improve and build facilities. Pos Malaysia also expects to unveil early next year its new five-year blueprint that redefines its core business of mailing service."
December 10, 2001 -- Borsen-Zeitung (Germany) has reported that "Danzas Holding AG, the Swiss logistics subsidiary of German postal services operator Deutsche Post AG, has acquired Scandinavian Garment Service (SGS), Scandinavia's leading logistics specialist for textiles."
December 10, 2001 -- British sources have reported that "the Punch Pub Company is talking to the Post Office about opening concessions within its village pubs in rural areas where Post Office branches have closed." Could you put a head on that catalog?
December 10, 2001 -- According to the report from the Japanese postal ministry, "a public entity to be set up in fiscal 2003 to take over state-run postal services will likely incur a revenue loss of 350-700 billion yen in fiscal 2005 if mail handling is completely opened to private firms when it is set up."
December 10, 2001 -- The modernization and restructure of the Mexican Postal Service (Sepomex) will likely include the reservation of one market segment for the organization, in order to guarantee its financial viability, reported Mexico City daily Reforma.
December 9, 2001 -- According to Microsoft, "postal services are ideally situated to become the bridge from the old to the new economy and across the digital divide. As postal services enter into new business ventures, they must continue to manage their costs, in accordance with their accountability to the public, and to fulfill their responsibility to serve all citizens. The Microsoft vision for postal services is to support their efforts to employ Internet-based technologies to enhance and expand their service offerings, and enhance their ability to operate more efficiently."
December 9, 2001 -- The Universal Postal Union had, at one time, tried to get a new top level domain (.post) for the use of postal administrations around the world. It failed, and a gander at ICANN's response can tell you why.
December 9, 2001 -- The Postal Service's Inspector General has reported that a recent audit has "revealed that the use of the economic value added concept was not appropriate to fund the Postal Service’s pay for performance program." See also the report in the Denver Post and GovExec.Com..
December 9, 2001 -- According to Data Monitor, "at first sight, USPS' situation looks similar to UK postal operator Consignia. There are real differences, however. USPS is a relatively efficient operator, in trouble because of low demand. Consignia is just inefficient. Oddly, this might make Consignia's recovery easier than USPS' - as long as the UK operator can avoid strikes disrupting its business....Both groups are facing real competition for the first time, reducing the volume of business being realized. Allowing companies to compete with national postal services improves the quality and efficiency of the service given to businesses, which in turn helps the clients to operate more efficiently therefore improving the economy."
December 9, 2001 -- According to the Washington Times, "several people who rent mailboxes at a post office in Southeast D.C. are wondering why they found sliced-open letters addressed to them in their boxes during recent weeks."
December 8, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that the "Senate has killed a Democratic proposal to give President Bush $15 billion more than he wants for anti-terrorism programs and approved a scaled-back compromise that meets the president's demands."
December 8, 2001 -- Air Cargo World has reported that:
Klaus Knappik, chief executive of Swisscargo and one of the most respected leaders in the air cargo industry, has resigned to join Deutsche Post World Net as chairman of its global mail division.
Air France is joining the parade of air carriers presenting shippers with a Christmas gift by abolishing its fuel surcharge.
The European Union's top anti-trust official said EU airlines could get approval to merge on condition their governments first give up bilateral aviation agreements with the United States and accept a collective trans-Atlantic accord instead. This is the latest initiative in the commission's attempt to wrest negotiating authority from the 15 EU member states. It is currently taking legal action against eight countries for signing bilateral deals with Washington, claiming they violate EU law.
December 8, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "Danzas, the Swiss-based forwarding giant, announced that it has signed an agreement to create a new joint-venture company in Japan. The agreement with Maruzen Showa Unyu KK provides for the integration of Danzas' wholly owned subsidiary in Japan, Danzas KK, with AEI Maruzen, the 30-year-old joint venture between Maruzen Showa and the former Air Express International Corp. AEI became part of the Danzas Group logistics division of Deutsche Post World Net last year."
December 8, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "batches of mail being treated with radiation to eliminate possible anthrax contamination caught fire, apparently because some material overheated. Hundreds of large envelopes and magazines -- 90 pounds in all -- were destroyed during two small fires, one Thursday and one early Friday."
December 8, 2001 -- According to Reuters, "internet surfers who logged on at work flocked to shipping and delivery Web sites last week as they sent and tracked packages during the holiday season, leading Internet audience measurement service Nielsen//NetRatings said Friday. Visitors to the official Web site for the U.S. Postal Service (http://www.usps.gov) skyrocketed 76 percent to 1.3 million Web surfers, compared with the previous week, Nielsen said. The Web site for United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) (http://www.ups.com) jumped 45 percent to 1.5 million visitors, NetRatings said. Rounding out the list, FedEx Corp. (FDX)(http://www.fedex.com) grew 27 percent, attracting 824,000 visitors.
December 8, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "as a batch of mail at the U.S. Federal Reserve tested positive for anthrax, officials assured government workers on Friday that all federal mail is being irradiated to sanitize it, rendering any anthrax spores harmless. Mail that has been irradiated can still test positive for anthrax in preliminary tests, said U.S. Postal Service vice-president Azeezaly Jaffer. Postal Insp. Dan Mihalko provided another possible explanation: 'This may be another false positive.' The imperfections of the testing process sometimes indicate the presence of anthrax when there isn't any.S"
December 7, 2001 -- ZDNet has reported that "AmericanGreetings.com sent notices to members this week saying it will charge $11.95 annually for access to its e-mail greeting card service. The company is also charging the membership fee at its other sites, including Egreetings Network and Blue Mountain Arts, which AmericanGreetings acquired from Excite@Home."
December 7, 2001 -- The New York Times has noted that "according to the International Data Corporation, some 9.8 billion electronic messages are sent each day. E-mail is a communications mainstay of businesses. It is the glue that keeps far-flung families together. Romantic relationships find both outlet and solace in it." Heck, they used to say that about postal mail.
December 7, 2001 -- Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), has announced an agreement to supply TNT Express with a Teradata(R) enterprise data warehouse solution. The Teradata Warehouse, which will be installed at TNT's National Data Centre in Warwickshire, will provide a single view of the business and its customers and will be used to support both strategic and tactical decision making across the enterprise.
December 7, 2001 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "mail redesign can provide the Postal Service and its customers with a unique opportunity to change all that. Instead of basing postal prices on subclasses (aggregations of mail) that differ markedly in terms of their efficiency of preparation and processing and delivery costs, they can be redefined more homogeneously and based on their most cost-efficient preparation....In many ways, mail redesign is as important to the Postal Service as postal legislative reform. In fact, even in the absence of postal reform, redesign is a necessity. So let's get on with it."
December 7, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "United Parcel Service laid off between 35 and 37 employees in Brazil last week. Most of the laid-off employees worked in Sao Paulo and Campinas, though some were in Rio de Janeiro."
December 7, 2001 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available on this site.
December 7, 2001 -- DM News has reported that "Senate negotiations continued into the evening last night over a Defense Appropriations bill that includes funding for the U.S. Postal Service. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, introduced an amendment that would redistribute funds already set aside for security, rebuilding and other measures. Money for the USPS would increase to $575 million." See also the report by the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal.
December 7, 2001 -- According to the New Zealand Herald, "revolutionary air-filtering cartridges to be manufactured in New Zealand will join the fight against anthrax in the United States."
December 7, 2001 -- Borsen (Denmark) has reported that "Flemming Hansen, the new Danish minister of traffic, continues to restructure Post Danmark, the Danish post office, in order to make the company a limited company before the end of 2002 and make it ready for sale in 2003."
December 7, 2001 -- Corriere della Sera (Italy) has reported that "Italian postal services operator Poste Italiane yesterday unveiled five new charge brackets for sending telegrams within Italy, with an average increase of 13 per cent."
December 7, 2001 -- Asia Pulse has reported that "Korea Post plans to raise postal charges by 9.5 per cent in the first half of next year. The state-run postal authorities attributed the hike to worsening foreign exchange terms and the failure of postal rates to cover the cost price which the postal service spends to accept, process and deliver mail."
December 7, 2001 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "the merger announced one year ago between French courier group Jet Services (acquired in 1999 by Dutch post office TPG) and TNT International Express (TNT IE) is about to be finalised."
December 7, 2001 -- According to InfoLatina, "Mexican Postal Service (Sepomex) and National Telegraphs of Mexico (Telecomm) are bankrupt and obsolete, and should be modernized, said Communications and Transport (SCT) Minister Pedro Cerisola." Some say the same is true of the USPS. Could it be a disease born of a common border?
December 7, 2001 -- Many online retailers are improving customer service and lowering operating costs by integrating Plug-in to fedex.com online applications into their Web Sites. Plug-in to fedex.com enables businesses that ship via FedEx Express, FedEx Ground or FedEx Home Delivery to simplify shopping for their online customers by providing them with useful information such as package status, shipping costs or a Signature Proof of Delivery.
December 7, 2001 -- The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has reported that:
APWU President William Burrus called on Congress last week to support a study on the long-term effects of Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Doxy (doxycycline), on healthy postal workers.
In a recent national-level award, Arbitrator Shyam Das considered the issue of whether casuals hired to work primarily in the Mail Handler or Letter Carrier craft, but who may be utilized from time to time in an APWU-represented craft, should be counted towards the casual cap in the APWU agreement. “Though the arbitrator remanded this case to the parties for further discussion, his findings will inevitably reduce management’s ability to use casuals in lieu of career employees,” said APWU President William Burrus. “This decision will provide greater job opportunities and full-time conversions that have been previously denied by the improper use of casuals,” he added. The case arose in 1986, when the Postal Service exceeded the limit on the number of casuals that could be used in the APWU bargaining unit. The union filed several other casual grievances at the time as well.
December 6, 2001 -- In an open letter to Congress that will appear in the Washington press, The Emergency Committee On Mail Safety & Postal Stability, a coalition of leaders in the U.S. mailing industry, "policymakers already know that the ongoing cost of providing safe and secure mail to the American public will be high. The U.S. Postal Service estimates that it needs nearly $1.1 billion immediately to finance the purchase of equipment that will secure the safety of the mail at all points in the national mail stream....The consequences for inaction are substantial. Most immediate is the jobs and family incomes of the 9 million Americans who work in the Mailing Industry. If unaddressed by Congress, the anthrax crisis will also likely force the Postal Service to either seek dramatic increases in postage prices or drastically cut service - or both." The group "urged Congress to provide full and immediate funding that will keep America's mail system secure."
December 6, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue a nationwide alert today on precautions people may take to reduce the chances of contracting anthrax from mail contaminated with traces of the bacteria. Although the risk appears small, the agency, in a shift in tone that is causing consternation at the U.S. Postal Service, has decided to offer what one official called "prudent tips" for mail handling during this time of uncertainty.The move by the CDC puts added pressure on the already beleaguered Postal Service to notify recipients of potentially contaminated mail and revives a broader debate in the Bush administration over what alarms, if any, to sound on potential bioterrorist threats. [See also the report in the San Francisco Chronicle.]
Mail addressed to Congress is not only being irradiated, it is being slit open by a contractor to check for evidence of biological agents, congressional aides said yesterday. Irradiating the mail is supposed to take two days, postal officials said. The additional inspection will delay delivery up to three more days, aides said.
As the Senate today takes up measures to protect the nation against terrorist attacks, Democrats are stepping up efforts to capitalize politically on President Bush's threat to veto homeland defense initiatives that are popular in Congress. [Editor's Note: This bill contains the Postal Service's requested funding for irradiating mail.]
December 6, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that President Bush has told congressional leaders that he will take the extraordinary step of vetoing the Defense Department appropriation if Democrats insist on attaching $35 billion in anti-terrorism spending. The bill includes more money for bioterrorism, the postal service, federal and local law enforcement, security at airports and ports, and securing Russian nuclear material so it won't fall into terrorists' hands.
December 6, 2001 -- The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) has lambasted Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd's (D-W.Va.) decision to give the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) $875 million in bailout money without requiring it to initiate long-overdue reform measures. In addition, CCAGW blasted USPS for paying out bonuses. Though the Washington Post has reported that executive bonuses for 2001 will be $124.5 million, the actual number is $164.1 million. [For background, see the story reported by the Denver Post and GovExec.Com.]
December 6, 2001 -- The Associated Press also has reported that "catalog retailers and some Wall Street analysts are pinning their hopes for solid holiday sales on shoppers like Souza, who have opted not to travel but to send gifts this season."
December 6, 2001 As the Wall Street Journal has reported that:
December 6, 2001 -- New Zealand Post, the state-owned enterprise said Fonterra asked it to sell its shares in RD1.com to help the company's merger with Fencepost.com. NZ Post, which bought the shares last October, said the investment was worthwhile financially, but it was happy to pull out to help the merger.
December 6, 2001 -- With less than a month to go until the big day, more than seven million people are expected to shop on-line for Christmas presents this year, compared to around five million last year, new research by Royal Mail has revealed.
December 6, 2001 -- According to WYFF TheCarolinaChannel.com, "the Postal Service brought together in Greenville, SC several of its bigger customers to talk to them about how to deal with mailroom security threats and to help them understand that there is little reason to be afraid of the mail. Officials talked about the best way to screen incoming mail and what to do if there is some sort of scare. Postal workers and customers said that they know that sending and delivering mail is a business -- and when it hurts, an industry hurts."
December 6, 2001 -- According to the Sacramento Bee, "both the U.S. Postal Service and United Parcel Service are hiring fewer people than they have in the past because, so far, customers are shipping and mailing less this year."
December 5, 2001 -- Postal mavens! Finally! The definitive work on how courier and express companies used legislative advocacy, litigation, public relations, public affairs, and scholastic appeal to encourage regulatory reform in the United States and Europe has been published! The work is called "The Rise of Global Delivery Services: A Case Study in International Regulatory Reform." The author is James I. Campbell, Jr., and you can find out more about this book by visiting the web site at http://www.jcampbell.com/jcpress.
December 5, 2001 -- CNF Inc. is combining its Menlo Logistics, Emery Worldwide and Vector SCM operations to form Menlo Worldwide, a new company that begins today as a leader in the global logistics, transportation, freight forwarding and supply chain management field.
December 5, 2001 -- After a lengthy courtship, consumers finally seem ready to embrace the concept of paying their bills online. According to research by Gartner, Inc., 32 million Americans will view their credit card statements and other bills online this year, compared to 20 million at the end of last year. AT&T, now the largest standalone e-biller in the world, has seen interest in its online billing option triple this year and expects to sign up its one-millionth e-billed customer within weeks.
December 5, 2001 -- Be sure to check the latest reports filed by the Universal Postal Union concerning discussions on the creation of a new council to serve as the voice of the mailing community.
December 5, 2001 -- Reuters has reported that "the European Commission has fined the Belgian post office 2.5 million euros ($2.23 million) for abusing its monopoly in the general mail sector to eliminate competitors in the business courier sector. The EU's executive body said in a statement Belgium's La Poste had linked a discount on its general letter mail service to the acceptance of a new business-to-business mail service." See also the European Union's official statement.
December 5, 2001 -- CEP News (Courier- Express- and Postal-Market News) has reported that:
The French La Poste has relinquished its Chronopost Espana majority. The Spanish post Correos y Télégrafos, previously an equal-ranking partner in the joint venture, will in future hold 57% of the express service company, according to a contract signed today (4 December) by the president of the Spanish post, Mr Albert Nunez Feijoo and Mr Gilles Moutel, president of the French express service Chronopost International.
The Bulgarian government is planning to put out the national post to a 15- year lease to a foreign investor, who should during that time modernise and develop the company’s range of service offers.
The Dutch Royal PTT Post has completed its pilot project for an electronic letter service and now offers the product nationwide at www.privver.nl. The pilot project involved six main senders using E-mails instead of letters for their invoices and communications to around 6,000 addressees between June and October.
The Dutch TPG and the Danish transport group DSV AS are said to be involved in negotiations over a possible logistics co-operation.
The Amsterdam based holding company General Logistics Systems International B.V., which is the European parcel arm of the British Consignia, intends to complete the set-up of its network ‘before the end of the current financial year.
General Parcel Finland Oy, a parcel service due to be taken over by the Danish Pakke Trans.
The German Deutscher Paketdienst launched a completely new internet website at the beginning of this week. All European partners may now be contacted at www.dpd.net.
Pin AG, Berlin’s biggest private letter service, does not intend to install any mailboxes while operating under an overnight licence. Pin AG is currently involved in the development of a tracking & tracing system, which would facilitate the tracing of each individual letter from the point of collection until delivery.
The British parcel and express service Business Post Group plc is changing its strategy. Alongside its current core business – parcels for business customers in Britain – the company wants to set up five additional divisions, some of which already exist: HomeServe (domestic parcels to private households), UK Today (domestic courier services), UK Mail (letter services as part of a partial access arrangement Pallet Express (fast delivery of palleted shipments) as well as international Business-2-Business parcels.
Emery Expedite, the American express service Emery Worldwide’s express and freight organisation specialising in road transport, has entered a partnership with Continental Airlines, according to which Emery takes responsibility for collections and deliveries as part of the ‘Quickpack’ express parcel service from United Airlines.
Check out the latest issue of CEP News for the details on these and other news items affecting the courier, express, and postal market around the world.
December 5, 2001 -- As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "to stem the [tide of] red ink, the Postal Service wants to accelerate implementation of a pending postal-rate increase that it requested in September. The agency's board of governors said at the time that it would seek an increase in the price of first-class stamps by three cents to 37 cents. Richard Strasser, the agency's chief financial officer, told reporters after Tuesday's board meeting that the board is seeking to accelerate the process for reviewing its rate-increase proposal, with a goal of implementing it by June."
December 5, 2001 -- According to the Washington Post, "postal officials sought yesterday to play down concerns raised by estimates that "tens of thousands of letters" processed weeks ago could be contaminated with traces of anthrax. Worried about upsetting employees and causing fear among an already skittish public, Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan dismissed as conjecture Monday's statement by Jeffrey P. Koplan, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding evidence suggesting that two unexplained anthrax deaths of women in Connecticut and New York may have been caused by cross-contaminated mail."
December 5, 2001 -- GovExec.Com has reported that "the Postal Service will pay out $124.5 million to executives, managers, supervisors and postmasters for meeting performance goals in fiscal 2001, postal officials have announced. Roughly 61 percent of the 85,000 Postal Career Executive Schedule managers--the equivalent of Senior Executive Service members--have met their goals for the year." But, as the Associated Press has reported, "a partisan clash is looming in the Senate over a Democratic-written $35 billion anti-terrorism package that President Bush has threatened to veto as too expensive. Democrats muscled the measure through the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday on a mostly partly line voice vote. Underlining the political stakes, Vice President Dick Cheney reminded GOP senators during a lunch that Bush would veto legislation containing the anti-terror money if it exceeds the president's $20 billion request. And Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, top Republican on the Appropriations panel, acknowledged that he was under White House pressure."
December 5, 2001 -- As DM News has noted, "the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, which includes $875 million for the U.S. Postal Service. The bill passed by voice vote and now goes to the full Senate."
December 5, 2001 -- The Washington Times has reported that "the Environmental Protection Agency has said it will take at least five days to find out whether a toxic gas used to kill anthrax in the Senate Hart Office Building actually worked. If it turns out the gas was successful, U.S. postal authorities say it soon "will be the method" to decontaminate the District's central mail center on Brentwood Road."
December 5, 2001 -- Geographic Data Technology, Inc., a developer of premier map databases, has announced a new three-year contract with FedEx Corporation for the incorporation of GDT data into the routing and dispatch operations for FedEx Express and FedEx Home Delivery services. The agreement, which is a renewal of a longstanding relationship between the two companies, also includes geocoding service work to ensure the highest possible address location capabilities for FedEx.
December 5, 2001 -- According to SmartMoney.com, United Parcel Service has announced that it is shifting its fuel surcharge to an index-based surcharge in order to respond to fuel price fluctuations.
December 5, 2001 -- You can read an interview with Donald Laurvick, vice president of international business development for United Parcel Service on the Sales*Advertising*Marketing magazine web site.
December 5, 2001 -- The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten has reported that "Post Danmark, Denmark's national postal service, is ready to be transformed into a public limited company, followed by a privatisation and participation in a joint venture or a merger with for example a foreign postal and parcel company." At the same time, the Danish publication, Borsen, has reported that "Post Danmark, the Danish post office, is one step closer to entering extensive partnerships after its public servant employees have agreed to conditions similar to those of all other Post Danmark employees, giving up special conditions normally given to public servants. The public servants had previously indirectly prevented Post Denmark from entering partnerships."
December 5, 2001 -- According to American Banker, "since the anthrax scare took hold, market watchers have been weighing in on whether the threat to the postal system has driven consumers to online billing. Yet there is no consensus in sight. Some say the fading panic over tainted mail has had no discernable impact. Others argue that continuing consumer fear of terrorism is triggering a long-term shift away from paper statements and toward e-billing."
December 5, 2001 -- Ward's Auto World has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has approved so-called "bio" lube oil for use in all of its local delivery vehicles in either the Los Angeles or Denver districts. The test program is the first large-scale, regular use of the new engine oil made by Agro Management Group (AMG) of Colorado Springs. The USPS has been testing the oil -- derived from canola -- in a number of in-use vehicles for several years. Researchers also are examining bio oil production from soybeans -- a much larger U.S. crop than canola -- employing a bio-engineered soybean that contains the vital oleic acid content found in the canola-based bio oil. The oil has proven to cut gasoline-engine hydrocarbon emissions by 35% and carbon monoxide by 20%."
December 5, 2001 -- L'Echo (Belgium) has reported that "the European Commission is due to look into a complaint launched by British professional documentation group Hays DX against Belgian postal services operator La Poste. Hays submitted its complaint in April 2000, estimating that La Poste was abusing its dominant market position. Meanwhile, a recent survey by IPSOS into the quality of the postal service indicated that in September and October 2001, just 74.6 per cent of letters were distributed one day after having been posted, and 96.4 per cent were delivered two days after having been posted. La Poste is contractually obliged to ensure that 90 per cent are delivered the following day and 97 per cent two days later."
December 5, 2001 -- Financial Times Deutschland has reported that "Deutscher Paketdienst (DPD), a German parcel forwarder, has announced that it would close down DPD France, its French franchise subsidiary, on 15 January 2002. Chairman Peter Hoffmann argued that the subsidiary had closed the year 2000 with losses and was also set to register losses this year. La Poste, France's postal services operator which controls 85 per cent of Deutscher Paketdienst, is to take over control of DPD France."
December 5, 2001 -- Global Crossing has begun the implementation of a fully managed wide area network for the Royal Mail in the UK under a contract with Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems worth an estimated US$33 million. Lockheed Martin is the Prime System Integrator for the Address Interpretation (AI) project -- a multi-year programme by Royal Mail to implement a fully integrated, national mail processing system that will further improve Royal Mail's efficiency and reduce operating costs. The project was initiated in response to mounting competitive pressure and to improve the efficiency of the postal service in the face of increased electronic communications.
December 4, 2001 -- The U.S. Postal Service has reported continued progress in productivity, cutting $900 million in costs during fiscal year 2001. See also the report by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal..
December 4, 2001 -- According to Reuters, "several U.S. steel companies are discussing a plan to merge into one big company to meet foreign competition, and want Washington to help pay the industry's pension and other retiree costs." Oh really? What about Washington doing something about the Postal Service's pension and retiree costs?
December 4, 2001 -- In response to recent reports in the press, the Postal Service has posted on its web site a statement concerning its position on irradiating mail. It said in part, "we continue to utilize a variety of technologies and will use all methods that prove efficacious, safe, cost-effective, and are able to be integrated into our mail processing system. We are fully committed to detecting and removing biohazards from the mail. The safety of our employees and the public is paramount and we will do whatever it takes to ensure the security of the mail."
December 4, 2001 -- According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "the Postal Service wants at least $3 billion or more to sanitize America's mail and assure that future terrorists can't use it to spread fear and death. The problem: The Postal Service hasn't really explained, even to Congress, how it would decontaminate mail, how soon it could be done, what it would ultimately cost, which of the Postal Service's 800,000 workers would be protected, and whether new decontamination processes would further slow delivery of mail. 'The Postal Service should have done emergency planning before the recent attacks that would provide a blueprint on how to respond. But [they] didn't do this,' U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) said in a recent congressional hearing. 'As a result, the Postal Service is now trying to do emergency planning at the worst possible time, in the midst of an emergency.'"
December 4, 2001 -- According to the Akron Beacon Journal, "UPS workers yesterday authorized their union leadership to call a strike if the unfair labor practices they say they endure do not change."
December 4, 2001 -- According to Die Presse, "Gerhard Fritz of the Austrian postal union has criticised the economic criteria given as reasons for the closure of 640 post offices in Austria." Why is this important? Because American postal officials should be prepared to deal with the same sorts of questions and challenges when it comes to contemplating facilities of their own.
December 4, 2001 -- AutoInfo, Inc. has been awarded additional contracts by the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery during the holiday season. AutoInfo, Inc., operating through its Sunteck subsidiary, is a non-asset based supply chain logistics company. Its services include ground transportation coast-to-coast, warehouse services, air freight, rail and ocean freight. Sunteck has developed strategic alliances with major truckload, LTL (less than truckload), air, rail and ocean carriers to react to customers' needs quickly and effectively.
December 4, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journal has declared, "welcome to the Finnish postal service, the pinup model for state-of-the-art Internet protocol network services. Just a year ago, Finland Post's customer-service call center was muddling along like many state-controlled companies. Its 130 employees handled 1.3 million calls a year, but calls rang for nine seconds before they were answered, as customer requests and complaints backed up. Today, the call center still has 130 workers, but they are handling 1.8 million calls a year -- an increase of half a million -- and on average the calls are picked up after one second of ringing, slashing waiting times for customers."
December 4, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that:
The U.S. Postal Service is hoping to get out of the mail irradiation business, planning instead to focus on detection of anthrax spores and other biological agents.
Tens of thousands of pieces of mail may have become contaminated with anthrax spores that leaked out of letters sent to Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), posing a poorly understood but probably small health risk to countless postal recipients.
December 4, 2001 -- Lloyds List has reported that "Britain's state-owned express carrier Parcelforce Worldwide is in crisis talks with its unions after taking a Pounds 201m hit in exceptional half year losses. Lloyds List also reported that "Parcelforce's private sector rivals have blamed a mix of rock-bottom rates, poor service quality, low staff morale and 'white elephant' hubs for its woes."
December 4, 2001 -- As the Financial Times has noted, "in Lisbon in March 2000 leaders of the European Union set out a bold vision for the decade ahead. Europe, they said, should ensure that by 2010 it was the world's most competitive economy, overtaking the US. A European-wide takeover proposal, 12 years in the making, has fallen by the wayside, rejected by the European parliament. A deal on postal liberalisation was finally agreed in October, but it was a compromise that fell far short of full opening."
December 4, 2001 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "three former senior officials of the Kinki Regional Postal Services Bureau admitted at the Osaka District Court Monday to ordering post office chiefs in the region to collect votes for Kenji Koso, a former senior postal official running in the July 29 House of Councillors election."
December 3, 2001 -- The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) has called on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to abandon plans to distribute more than $200 million in executive bonuses before year's end.
December 3, 2001 -- The Progressive Policy Institute has published a monograph on what it believes would constitute rational postal legislative reform.
December 3, 2001 -- According to the authors of a recent paper for the Lexington Institute, "the United States Postal Service has been promoting the idea of Negotiated Service Agreements (NSA’s) for its biggest customers. Proponents suggest that NSA’s would provide variable pricing that would encourage greater volume and would reward the Service’s best customers with discounts and premium services. But a closer look shows this idea to be a non-starter within the current monopoly framework."
December 3, 2001 -- According to the Wall Street Journal, "in the puzzling debate over homeland defense, the commander-in-chief wants fewer soldiers. President Bush, in fact, wants less of just about everything Congress thinks he should have. Administration officials contend federal agencies already have more money than they can spend, thanks to $40 billion of emergency funds approved in the days after Sept. 11. But Congress is convinced there are unaddressed gaps in the nation's defenses. As haggling over the 2002 budget drags on, the OMB last week sent agencies their preliminary budget allocations to prepare the fiscal 2003 plan -- but many homeland-security needs weren't addressed. Instead, the administration continues to wrestle internally with those items. Some difficult decisions -- for example, over federal aid to the quasi-independent Postal Service or to local governments -- might have to be put off until after the budget is released."
December 3, 2001 -- The Memphis Commercial-Appeal has reported that "FedEx Express, the overnight express shipping unit of FedEx Corp., has been addressing the fact that it has an excess of operation managers and staff-function employees. Instead of firing employees, FedEx Express is in the process of asking some employees to transfer from slow-growth departments to other areas to help 'balance out other needs.'"
December 3, 2001 -- FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest non-profit trade association in the world, have agreed to a four-year extension of their contract making FedEx the exclusively endorsed provider of shipping services for Chamber members. FedEx Ground has announced the promotions of Roman M. Hlutkowsky to vice president of operations technology and system support, and Kenneth J. Spangler to vice president of applications development, field systems. Both were most recently managing directors.
December 3, 2001 -- According to DM News, "if the U.S. Postal Service were a private company, it would surely be bankrupt by now. Giving $1 billion -- or $5 billion -- may get it through its current crisis, but it won't solve the problem. For that, postal reform is the only answer."
December 2, 2001 -- As Traffic World has reported, "after enduring several days of empty bellies in mid-September because no freight was allowed to fly, cargo divisions are slowly adjusting to the new landscape of the post-Sept. 11 world. Today's environment has shut off a number of revenue streams for cargo divisions including small-package business originating from unknown shippers and a large portion of U.S. mail, sending already-strapped cargo sales people scrambling to find new ways to fill the aircraft's belly."
December 2, 2001 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia, the former Post Office, reported improved delivery figures, but the industry watchdog claimed that they masked 'unacceptable performance' in several areas, particularly London. In the three months to September, the group delivered 90.7 per cent of first class letters the following day, still below its national target of 92.1 per cent. But in many areas of London it fell well below the nationwide figures."
December 1, 2001 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that FedEx said it is dropping its fuel surcharge to 2%, effective Dec. 3. United Parcel Service said it is "actively reviewing our surcharge." DHL is reducing its surcharge from 4% to 3% on Sunday. Air Canada is eliminating its surcharge on cargo, effective Dec. 1. It joins Northwest Airlines and KLM Cargo, which had previously announced that they would abolish the fuel surcharge, also on Dec. 1."
December 1, 2001 -- The Associated Press has reported that "postal inspectors using records of fluorescent orange bar codes on mail have tracked about 300 letters that passed through a sorting machine in Trenton, N.J., seconds after anthrax-tainted letters sent to senators in Washington."
December 1, 2001 -- The Washington Post has reported that "the mysterious anthrax death of an elderly widow from Oxford, Conn., was partially resolved today when investigators discovered that mail processed at her local post office was cross-contaminated by letters to Senators Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Oct. 9, when those spore-laden letters were postmarked at a processing center in Hamilton Township, N.J."
December 1, 2001 -- NALC President Vince Sombrotto has urged all active and retired NALC members to immediately contact the Washington offices of their home state United States Senators and ask them to support inclusion of $1.1 billion in the Defense Department Appropriations bill for the U.S. Postal Service to protect mail delivery against anthrax and other agents of bioterrorism. The Mail Handlers Union is urging its members to do the same.
December 1, 2001 -- Die Presse has reported that "the budget for 2002 for Osterreichische Post, the Austrian post office, was not unanimously passed by the four-man management board." Concern has been raised that "classic services, such as the delivery of written communications, is in lower demand in the internet age while new services, into which much was invested, have not shown the targeted success."